The magician disappeared from the middle of the crowded room, never to be seen or heard from again. He left only one ice cube on the floor, from the drink in his hand. This was at the after party. After he disappeared, we all went home. The next week, and because we had nothing better to do, we went to the magic show to watch the magician’s principal assistant pull limp flowers from the magician’s old hat. She levitated above a table, although only maybe, if lucky, by an inch. Finally, she invited an audience member to come forward and to the sound of terrible, piercing, cries for mercy from the very box inside which she had locked the volunteer, cut her in half.
The few recognizable journalists in the crowd were yawning, and the box seats were emptying out, when the magician’s principal assistant finally asked for a glass of water. When the second assistant brought it to her, we understood that she was drinking the very ice cube (now water) that the magician had left behind. In this way, really, she was also drinking the magician. After she drank him, we expected him to materialize, to come plunging breech-style out of a cello case.
But nothing happened, and then we realized that nothing should happen. That was just it. Life isn’t magic, after all. Or most of the time, anyway, that was the case. Most of the time life was about standing in front of a crowd of bored people trying to figure out what to do next. She was making a statement. It was breathtaking, if not brilliant, and we applauded her for this, for seeing, even in this somewhat small but nevertheless ingenious way, into our very souls.