He was always the loudest voice, always performing his tricks with a flash of fire and image, the same fire he held inside. Rumor was that his family had gone back and back, prestidigitators and proud pontificators. Of course, it was all parlor tricks and top hats, nothing special or mystical.
The Great Dandy, they called him, because of his dapper dress, which attracted Sarah right away. She was the daughter of a theater owner and watched him perform every Sunday until no one else showed up.
While the godly were in their church pews, she sat before him and listened to the show, which he obligingly performed even with an audience of one. The relationship was brief, fiery, and tempestuous. He was prone to fits of anger now and then, his magic going up in smoke. It was not long before they were married in spite of the bruises. Her father was too drunk to be proud or concerned; he was strangely resigned to the whole affair.
“Show me a magic trick,” she begged him on the buggy-ride to their run-down honeymoon suite. He quickly produced a bouquet of flowers with a flick of his wrist, which seemed to please her.
“Show me another,” she said when they passed the old theater where they first met. He acquiesced, sending a cooing dove out the window of the carriage. She marveled, but this time only briefly. Sarah had had her taste of doves before.
“Show the biggest trick you can manage,” she said when they arrived at the hotel, the walls peeling and the furniture stained. This was enough for him.
“Look, I have shown you all of my tricks,” the Great Dandy confessed. “You have seen my show time and time again.”
She, showing a new flare of temper, tossed the bouquet onto the floor and spat, “If you were a real showman, you would bring the stars down here and move heaven and earth for me.”
This only served to anger the hack magician and he rushed forward, ready to strike his new bride across the face, a custom he had practiced many times in their short romance.
“Wait, wait,” she said before he hurt her, “I have a magic trick to show you.”
The Great Dandy blinked and backed away, unsure of what his new bride meant. His hand slowly lowered to his well-dressed side.
“I have been watching many magic shows for many years,” Sarah told him, “and spoke with many great magicians. I have seen performers make whole crowds disappear and reappear. I have spent time with true mystics.”
“You don’t have any tricks I have yet to see,” he told her with spite, hurling the words at her like stones.
“I have one which I think you will enjoy. You may even want to borrow it sometime. Would you like to see?”
When he nodded, she waved her arms and spoke a few words he had never heard. He became a solid figure, frozen in space, while she did her deadly mysterious work. Later that night, she left the empty room, all of him stuffed into his top hat, out of sight, mind, and universe. The story went that the Great Dandy had a run-in with the law and had to leave town, his poor bride returning to her father’s theater. Poor girl, marrying a man who left in such a hurry he even forgot to grab his hat.
A few months later, a new magician began performing at the theater and Sarah watched again, appearing every Sunday to see the show. It was not long before she was planning her next magic trick.
JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His work has appeared in the Biblical Legends Garden of Eden Anthology, Bewildering Stories, and Illumen, among other publications. His latest blog project is jasondehartjustliving.blogspot.com.