Treading the Boards

A follow-up to: https://ukauthors.com/2020/01/16/a-tense-situation/


“Take any card”, said Jessica, “look at it but don’t tell me what it is.”

She is my niece, a vivacious and adventurous 20 year-old whose looks attract a great deal of attention everywhere and she has me, her rich uncle Jeremy, wrapped around her little finger.

Although not in loco parentis, as she is an adult and of an independent mind, I like to keep an eye on her to make sure she’s safe.

She tried to be a comedian but her gags fell flat and she was booed off the stage.

Having heard that Tommy Cooper changed his act and turned to comedy after his tricks failed and were laughed at, she decided to do the opposite and she’s treading the boards working as a magician with a vast repertoire: illusion, slight-of-hand routines, card tricks and telepathy.

It looks as if she’s got the skill and doing so well that an application to join the Magic Circle is not out of the question. A firm believer of the ethics of that association, never reveals the secrets of the trade.

I’ve ceased being surprised by her versatility. One of her successful acts is mind reading.

A member of the audience has been summoned to the stage and is being subjected to a mental examination by a determined inquisitor who forces thoughts into his mind or uses trickery. In a short space of time most of his life’s background has been exposed and a beaming Jessica basks in the applause.
I don’t attempt to understand how it is done but suspect that there is collusion or someone has leaked information beforehand.  

◊ ◊ ◊

I have always liked to travel and now that I’m retired my niece is my travelling companion when her commitments allow it. Last year we went to Tunisia where she very nearly convinced Ali, a local boy, to buy her three camels. Luckily he could not raise the required amount,

This year I am planning to re-visit Switzerland where I went many years ago, before Jessica was born, and intend to discuss the idea with her.

What I won’t talk about are the terrible events that happened on that occasion which cast a dark cloud in my life and the reason I never married.

I was engaged to Elizabeth and she expressed the wish to see the Reichenbach Falls made famous by Conan Doyle.
The pathway on which the duel between Sherlock Holmes and Professor
Moriarty occurs ends some hundred metres away from the falls.

We were steadily climbing when I heard Elizabeth, behind me, cry as she fell into a ravine. The path had slowly eroded and become unsafe. There was nothing I could do to save her.

The inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death and I was cleared of any blame even though foul play had been suspected.

No reports of the accident reached England and I never told anyone about it.

◊ ◊ ◊

I am outlining  the proposed itinerary to Jessica in my living room while enjoying a cup of Lapsang Souchong tea.
She is very pensive and suddenly she looks straight into my eyes.

“Tell me all about Elizabeth”, she says.

 

© Luigi Pagano 2020

© ionicus 2020
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critique and comments welcome.

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Flabbergasted! I can completely understand this and leave it to things beyond explanation. Intelligence is the trap here…it will always think of something being leaked beforehand, but when the same intelligent mind is belittled with similar experience, it really becomes experiential. All the best to Jessica, she’ll continue to enthrall her audience for sure, not only her overprotective uncle. With the uncle, considering the unfortunate incident that happened between him and Elizabeth, I saw shades of Clamence, the protagonist of The Fall written by Albert Camus. Much enjoyed the reading Luigi. In the line “she decided to do do the… Read more »

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