My hands were shaking, I felt cold and nervous before I could take the stage. My time was coming, and the show was starting in five minutes.
I am the assistant of Arthur, a famous stage magician. Tonight, he was performing at a huge, fancy theater, and he needed my help to perform some daring acts. I've assisted him in various levels of competence, and in the process, saw just about every illusion and effect so many times, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to count.
I usually get nervous every time I come up on stage with Arthur. To me, being cut in half with a saw, getting hypnotized, or being levitated into the air seems pretty strange, unreal, and even really dangerous, but Arthur assured me he wouldn't do those things to me and only performed those tricks on volunteers from the audience. The only thing I assisted him with was his magic tricks. I would hand him his magic wand, place rabbits or doves into a top hat, or shuffle a deck of cards for him.
Normally, being a magician's assistant is quite simple. I select volunteers from the audience to help Arthur with his acts and hand him gear for his tricks. It's not really that difficult, and it's pretty cool to see Arthur perform illusionary tricks in front of his audience.
Arthur's star name is The Amazing Arthur, because he has an excellent sleight of hand, but as far as I can tell, he doesn't seem that amazing. In fact, some people find him as absolutely boring. He usually does the same tricks every time he performs, and it normally puts half of the audience to sleep.
He seems to be aware that his tricks are boring and repetitive, so tonight, he told me that he wanted to try something different, and he needed my help. I accepted, because I'm perfectly fine with being his assistant, as long as there's no hypnotism, levitating, or getting sawed in half involved.
Before we perform, I get Arthur's gear ready, and I highly anticipate the show, although I can be a little nervous.
Tonight, though, I was even more nervous than usual. I was wondering what kind of tricks Arthur was going to perform, and I really hoped that I wasn't involved in any of them.
As I was frantically getting things ready, Arthur came to the back of the stage to inform me when the show would begin.
"Hey, Roxanne," he told me. "The show's going to start. I hope you've prepared the things I need for the tricks I'm going to perform."
"Don't worry!" I replied, trying to keep my cool. "I've got everything set up and ready to go. I hope the show goes well as planned."
At least, that's what I hoped. I was quite certain that Arthur felt the same way, even though he's always confident and believes in himself. He always thinks that things will go as expected, but I don't think he'll amaze his audience with the same, boring tricks.
At last, the show began. Arthur started the show by introducing himself to the audience and announcing his first trick. When I heard that he was going to start by pulling a rabbit out of a hat, I quickly placed a toy rabbit into his so-called "magic" top hat, and hurried to the stage to give it to him.
As Arthur performed his trick, the audience responded with polite applause. I was relieved that no one was bored to death just yet.
Arthur performed a few more tricks, and, surprisingly, the audience had mixed reactions to them. Sometimes, they would applaud, and others they would groan. I wasn't a little unsure about how this show would end.
A few minutes later, I heard Arthur announce, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, I, the Amazing Arthur, shall attempt a new trick that I haven't tried. The Amazing Card Trick!"
Knowing that this was my cue, I grabbed a deck of cards and hurried onto the stage to join Arthur.
"As you can see," said Arthur. "My assistant, the Ravishing Roxanne, will help me predict the cards that someone has chosen. Now, I just need a volunteer from the audience."
Looking at the audience, I tried to decide who would volunteer for the card trick. Suddenly, I saw someone raise their hand. I pointed at the person who was willing to volunteer.
"You, the boy with blonde hair and the white shirt," I said. "Please come up on stage."
The young man came up onto the stage and I handed him the cards. "Please pick a card," I told him. "It can be any card. Go ahead. Pick one."
Without hesitation, the young man closed his eyes and pulled out a card from the deck. Now was the time to predict the card he drew.
"Your card is the three of clubs," I said.
"Um, no it isn't," he replied, examining his card.
"Is it the seven of diamonds?" I asked.
"Um, the four of hearts?"
"No. It's not the four of hearts, either," he said. "What kind of a lame card trick is this? I just don't get it."
"Well," I told him. "If you don't know what your card is, just flip it over."
Without questioning, the young man flipped his card over and examined it. He gasped in shock when he saw what his result was.
"It..it changed!" he exclaimed. "It was the nine of something, but now it's a Jack!"
"That's correct, sir," I told him. "This card trick can test your memory. Judging the result from your card, I believe that your attention span is kind of short. You should pay attention to which card you pick next time."
"Sheesh," muttered the young man. "You magicians are so lame." Then he walked offstage and went back to his seat.
"Well," said Arthur. "That didn't go to well. Anyway, I would like to perform some new tricks I had in mind. Any questions?"
"You're just a phony," someone in the audience said. "Your tricks are really boring, and we've seen those tricks before."
"Yeah!" said someone else. "Why don't you saw someone in half?"
"Or make someone or something float in the air?"
"How about a little hypnotism?"
"Uh..." I was getting a little apprehensive. I was hoping Arthur would answer these silly questions.
"Hold it," said Arthur. "I'm not allowed to do any of those types of tricks. They could be impossible and quite harmful, as stated by my assistant."
"You're just a complete fraud!" someone else in the audience retorted.
"I am?" asked Arthur.
"Yeah, why don't you show us some more exhilarating tricks?"
"Well..." said Arthur. "I would love to answer that question, but I'm afraid I've run out of time. Good night, everyone!"
And with that, he disappeared in a puff of smoke. The audience started booing and throwing tomatoes at the stage. I immediately ran back to the stage to avoid getting splattered in tomato juice.
Once I hurried back to the stage and slammed the door, Arthur was standing there, waiting for me.
"Well, we may have gotten yet another angry audience, but our show wasn't half bad, was it?" he asked.
"Uh...no, no, it wasn't," I replied. "I think I stumped that boy with the card trick thing."
"Of course!" said Arthur. "Card tricks can leave others guessing pretty quickly, and telling the boy to flip over his card really shocked him. He didn't know there was a catch."
"I guess not," I replied. "Maybe adding new tricks into our acts are making us better."
"I agree with you, Roxanne," said Arthur. "Now, let's get packed up and get out of here. I've had enough of performing for a stuffy theater audience."
As I packed up the props that we used for the show, I had one thing on my mind.
Even though Arthur was a magician who did tricks that bored his audience to death, I knew that, as a magician's assistant, I would help him make his acts even better and even more amazing than before.