This new episode of Catherine Reynolds, after an 18 months hiatus, was partially written a year ago and tells the story of a case that Catherine really didn't want to take: defending a man accused of rape.
The case of the Magic Trick (Bonus Episode)
Letters : 10039 Words : 1909
A Magician perform a magic show at a naturist center. This is in the Catherine Reynolds series, so guess who he meets after the show ?
"I am spreading the deck of cards YOU have shuffled. You verified that all of the cards were different. You place the rubber band around the cards, preventing me from manipulating in any way the deck of cards. Now, I want you to point any of the cards with your finger. Don't pick it up, just point it."
I slid the card that was touched toward the man, picking up all of the other cards and wrapping them back up with the rubber band.
"Place your hand on the card. Don't move it, don't let go of it."
I turned toward the other visitors of the naturist center present at the show.
"Now, I predicted a few cards tonight. In some cases, I could have manipulated the card between the moment they were selected and the moment they were revealed. This time, Jake here has his hand firmly pressed on it. He had verified the cards. He had shuffled them. You folks decided Jake was the volunteer. So, the selection of the card under his hand was entirely a free choice.
If I am able to predict which card is under Jake's hand, BEFORE he lifts his hands from the table, will you guys be impressed ?"
There was a resounding Yes in the audience. This is really my strongest trick and the reason I close with it. People are amazed by it.
"Eleanor, I gave you an envelop. In it, it my prediction of the card under Jake's hand. I had it printed professionally so that you didn't think I could possible trick you. And to make it better, I printed it more than a million times. Eleanor, can you please open the envelop and read the read that is circled in the paper ?"
While she was opening the envelop and taking out the classifieds page of today's paper, I dropped in my briefcase the pack of card that was still in my hands and close it.
Eleanor started reading out loud:
"Thank you very for the opportunity to present my small experiments. I hope you appreciated the show and I wish you a wonderful evening. PS : I think that the card under Jake's hand is the 5 of hearts. Jake, show us your card please."
Jake picked up the card, showing everyone it was indeed the 5 of hearts. Every one stood up and I received a standing ovation without adding a single word. Slowly, I withdrew from the community center, and went to the administration office to pick up my pay.
Gigs in naturist center do not pay a lot. I usually barely make up my fees, but sometimes, like today, I managed to convince the managers that a naked magician is really something out of the ordinary and get paid for the whole show.
You might wonder, why do magic at naturist centers ? Well, it's a really long story. I work full time as a network technician for a regional logistics support company. I know, that's a mouthful.
It's a really boring job, but it is very well paid because I am a kind of consultant on the road. My mileage is paid way above the cost of gas and maintenance, I don't have to work in an office with boring co-workers, and while some days are rather hectic with multiple calls I had to run to, most of my time is spend doing maintenance non-emergency work.
Since I was a kid, I learned to do magic, but there is so many unemployed magicians in the area fighting for the few serious gigs, that's it hard to specialize. Most of us have either another full time job or a part time job to help pay the rent, but because of that, we are all willing to bid lower than other performers like musicians or comedians.
Sadly, most of the magicians are rather dull and boring so on top of that, they burn the potential clients who often decide never to hire any other magicians out of fear of seeing another as worse magician.
There were attempts to form a regional association, but sadly, it was the least professionals who pushed for these ideas.
I had a few successes. My magic doesn't rely on sleight-of-hands so much and I invented a bunch of my tricks making me unique instead of simply a trick-by-number magician.
I have a few regular restaurant and bar gigs in which I perform magic for a single table or a single group of patrons in a bar, but these take the whole afternoon or evening and pay only a hundred or two, plus tips (which are very random).
I invented a few tricks with borrowed quarters which I mark in various ways with permanent markers, so when I present my hat for tips and offer to return the quarters, I more often than not, am told to keep them.
I usually grab 5 to 6 quarters, for a 4 minutes show, providing around 20$ per hour in tips. But from time to time, I get an encore request, for which I need at least 5$ for an additional 3 minutes of performance.
But that kind of magic is small. Simple and mostly based on sleigh-of-hand, which I like the least. It's nothing to grow my primary talents : manipulating the audience as whole.
One day, during a show on stage in a bar, one of the drunk clients kept insisting it was hidden in my shirt. Because it was not, I offered to remove the shirt and continue my show topless. As a man, even in a bar, there is nothing offending about that and I even got some ladies to whistles at my good looks.
I played every trick above the waist, but the drunk guy kept saying it was in my pants. I explained to him I could even do the trick entirely naked, and it would work. Some ladies asked me to strip. Even thought I denied, the idea stuck in my mind.
Was there such a thing as a naked magician ? Is there a way I could convince my audience I was not hidden anything.
I know the area had a lot of naturist centers thanks to the warm weather all year long. After a few weeks, I had signed my first gig at one of the centers, and after having tweaked my show a little, made a huge success.
My primary advantages is that I am the only magician in the area offering his services to naturist centers, and who is offering to do his tricks naked. There are two good reasons for that : not everyone is willing to be naked in public and rarer are the people willing to be naked on stage, and second of all, most sleigh-of-hand require clothes to hide things.
For example, a lot of magicians wear a long coat with a lot of hidden pockets, including a few in the sleeves. All of their tricks which rely on the coat would not work while naked.
However, there is a huge problem with naturist centers : there is so few of them. I need to be careful and note which tricks I did. Some of them can be redone, but most cannot be repeated.
Ha, finally, here is the administrator with my check. Having been paid, I dropped my briefcase in my car and took the opportunity of being on location to go swim in the pool of the center.
At first, I waited until the last moment before undressing, and left as soon as I was paid, but slowly, I got used to it and now, I hang out for a few hours afterwards.
Some of the centers who pay low offered a meal at their restaurant, but even to eat, you needed to remain nude, which I was hesitant to do at first. Now, I can spend hours after an afternoon show just relaxing in the sun.
The first few times, It felt weird. Not being nude so much, but the fact that most of the people I met would talk to me about the show. Sure, when I am in a bar or a restaurant, some of the patrons who meet me tell me nice things or thank me, but people at the naturist centers want to know your story. They want to know you.
It like they want to befriend you because you accepted them and their lifestyle. They want to relate to you because you agreed to break down your prejudice.
The kids are certainly nice and friendly. At first, I thought it would be really weird to see naked kids, but it's not any weirder than usual.
I was approached when I was in the pool.
"The show was fantastic. I really liked the trick with the spoon", told me a nice sexy mother with in her late twenties who was accompanied by a 5 or 6 year old little girl. A lot of the members of naturist centers were really old, so it was nice when one of those my age spoke to me. The mother sat on the side of the pool, but her daughter jumped in the water close to me.
"Thank you, miss ?"
"Sandra. My son Kyle smile a lot during the show. That's a good sign. He is often very grumpy."
"Oh, is he the 8 year old who picked the match from the match book ?"
"Yes, he told me he will cherish that match for a long time."
"I am happy to have helped him."
The little girl spoke to me.
"My favourite was the one with the drawing, with the magic markers"
"Yes, a lot of kids like that one. It's truly amazing. If I ever come back here to do a show, remind me to pick you to be my assistant, OK ?"
"Thanks ! " she said, while hugging me.
I returned to my swim, and noticed Sandra talking to an every sexier woman with long black hair and deep brown eyes. Unlike Sandra, she didn't wear a wedding ring and clearly, her curves told me she never had kids. I had seen her in the audience close to Sandra and her family. I am guessing they might be friends, but that woman was alone.
I think she noticed I was starting at her, so she came in the water next to her friend and presented herself as Catherine. She too thanked me for the show, and asked me if I was staying long or just this afternoon.
"I have another show in a bar tonight. I have to run in thirty minutes or so. Sorry, I'd love to stay, the place here is fantastic"
"Yes, it definitely one of the nicest naturist centers of the area. I hope you'll come back with more magic tricks one day"
She thanked me and resumed talking to her friend.
I didn't know what to make of that conversation, but shortly, an old couple approached me and they too thanked me for the show.
I eventually left the center, wondering if I would ever see Catherine again, nude or not...