Flashy Magic, Part One

Kira Lubahn

Art by Belquis Elhadi
When I was four, I could create sparks of magic to play with. When my brother was four, he levitated the babysitter up and out of the house. When I was nine, I pulled my first rabbit out of a baseball cap. When my brother was nine, he had already finished reading our grandmama’s magic texts and could levitate the house if he wanted to do so. Of course, levitating the house was old news by then. He did that when he was seven.
Now, Theo works for the family business. A sort of magical consulting firm. I like to call them the Magicbusters because it’s like a play on the Ghostbusters. Get it? Well, I always thought it was funny.
My name’s Ollie Floros, and I am not a member of the Magicbusting team. While I could join, and Aunt Eleni has assured me that I would be “the most darling secretary,” I’m not interested. I have a job, and maybe it isn’t glamorous and sometimes kids puke on me, and the parents don’t always tip well and- ahem, I have a job, and it’s fine. I’m Ollie the Magnificent Magician. I do parties and fairs and anything that will pay me for my time.
I mean, I get that the family might think that this is a waste of talent, but we all know I’m no Theo, and I’m better at the flashy stuff anyway. Like pulling rabbits out of hats, which the kid in front of me is not going for.
“Do something better! Rabbits are dumb.”
I smile even bigger, but I can tell my cheeks are starting to wobble. “Aw, don’t let Mr. Bun hear you. He has feelings, too.”
The kid bends down and leans closer to my rabbit. “You’re dumb, Mr. Bun.”
Snatching the rabbit away, I try to change tactics. “O-kay!” My voice sounds fake even to me, but parents don’t like it when you get sassy with their brats. “Will you help me make Mr. Bun disappear?”
He’s unimpressed, but hasn’t left yet so I figure I still have a chance. I drape a paisley scarf over Mr. Bun and look at him. “Do you know a magic word we can use?”
The kid crosses his arms, and I decide that it would be a better idea to just get on with it. “All right, we’re going to count down from three, and when we get to zero I want you to wiggle your magic fingers.
“Three, two, one…” I’m getting the impression that there will be no magic finger wiggling from him, but barrel ahead regardless. “Zero!” I squint my eyes a little as I say the number, and wiggle my fingers for show. The scarf flattens out, and the kid’s eyes widen.
“How’d you do that?” He questions as he looks under the scarf, suspicious.
I shrug and do my usual routine. “It’s magic!”
He’s frowning now. “There’s no such thing as magic.”
Crouching down next to the kid, I decide to really blow his mind. “Of course there is,” I whisper conspiratorially. The trick I’m about to do works better without the white gloves, so I take one of them off. “Magic’s all around us. Watch.”
I move my hand back and forth a little above his line of sight, and when I can feel all the threads come together I grab. My hand is abuzz with magic as I bring it down to his level, and he leans a little closer despite his earlier attitude. Carefully, I open my hand to reveal the magical sparks I played with throughout my childhood, and gently blow them toward his face.
He lights up, and his hands fall away from his chest to try and touch one of the little spheres of light. His mouth has fallen open to form an ‘o’ of astonishment, and I know I’ve done my job.
A smug grin has wormed its way onto my face as I stand up and turn to the next set of kids that have wandered into the living room. The smudges of icing on some of their faces reveal that they’ve just come from eating birthday cake. I only take a second to wonder why the kid didn’t have any cake but am already asking for volunteers. It’s time to pull some loose change out from behind ears.
By Kira Lubahn