On the way back to work after lunch, I spotted a small crowd circling someone I couldn’t quite see. Curious, I moved closer and realized the knot of people were oohing and aahing at a street magician. As I jockeyed for a place that would let me watch unobstructed, he was pulling flowers out of thin air to the delight of those he presented them to. Wearing a cream hoodie and worn jeans, he smiled as he handed them out, and as they accepted the rose or daisy or tulip, there was a puff of glittering light. That explained the oohs and aahs.
Crossing my arms, I looked for the trick–usually the hand that wasn’t doing something obvious was involved–but didn’t spot anything. The guy was good. The bowl near him on the ground overflowed with money, testifying to his skill.
He twirled and made a grand gesture before magically creating another explosion of sparkles that entranced the audience. He grinned at me–no, he grinned at everyone while somehow making me think I’d been singled out. Talented and clever.
“And now for my last trick,” he said and pointed to the nearby bus shelter. “I’m going to walk through that wall in full view of you all.” He gracefully danced around back to the entrance and stepped forward to gaze at us through the dirty glass. “Watch closely!” he said loud enough for us to hear.
I didn’t take my eyes off him. I don’t think anyone did.
He placed a hand against the glass, then pushed, flattening his fingers against the barrier until the skin turned white.
Suddenly his hand popped through the wall. I gasped, along with everyone else. When the magician playfully wiggled his fingers, we laughed. He continued pushing against the glass, coming through it one piece at a time. First an arm, then the other, then the rest of him until he stood with us on the sidewalk.
He got a tremendous round of applause. I clapped energetically, wondering how he prepared for an illusion like that on the street.
While he said goodbye to his audience and picked up the money-filled bowl, I walked around the shelter, studying it from every angle. He watched me, amused.
“I give up,” I said. “How’d you do it?”
“The trick.” I gestured. “Walking through the glass. It was terrific.”
“Oh, that.” He transferred his cash donations to a zippered pocket on the hoodie, then folded the metal bowl until it was gone and opened his hands to show they were empty. “What makes you think it was a trick?”
I stared. “Huh?”
He smiled. “Gotta go.”
He sauntered down the street. Driven by an impulse I didn’t understand, I followed at a safe distance. When he ducked down an alley, I did the same three seconds later… just in time to see him walk into a brick wall and vanish.
Word count: 494
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