The Third Act

In response to Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Fourth Wall

I removed my coat and rolled up my sleeves. A bit unconventional but things had to be done to be competent in the profession I was in. My assistant called for a few volunteers from the audience.

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course…it probably isn’t.’

I could almost hear John Cutter‘s words in my ear.

In my trick, I was that ordinary something. I invited the volunteers to come and inspect me and my surroundings. After they were satisfied, I stepped inside a bag and ask them to tie it up on the top.

The second act is called “The Turn”The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary…

As the volunteers return to their seat, there is visible movement seen inside the bag. And all at once the bag begins to levitate.

Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know…’

Just as it rises to the highest point it can go and stops rising any more, the movement in bag ceases and it falls flat on the ground. There is visibly nothing inside the bag anymore.

You want to be fooled.

The audience looks around not really comprehending what has happened on stage in front of them. They saw it with their very own eyes. The magician got inside, the bag lifted up and he disappeared but they didn’t want to believe it was all. They were surprised but they needed someone to assure that the surprise was genuine and that was why probably Cutter always went on.

But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back.

The audience knew it too. They were waiting. Waiting for something more. And as they look around, a man who had been sitting in the middle of the audience since the beginning of the show gets up and starts walking to the stage. He is completely covered by a jacket and a scarf. He walks onto the stage and stays there motionless

That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

All at once, the man shed his jacket and scarf to reveal that it is the magician. The audience erupts into a thunderous applause and I take a bow.

I smiled at them. It was always about the presentation; no matter how simple the trick is. As the curtain falls, I sigh. But this was not enough. People demanded more. They wanted a lot more. In the age when we have magicians like Alfred Borden and Robert Angier to compete with, they always wanted much more than what human capabilities could reach. I just worry it might lead to something disastrous someday.

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With Eyes Wide Open

In response to Daily Prompt’s Daily Post: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

Am I dreaming? I must be.

There is no other possible explanation to how this could be happening. I had turned over my resignation letter to my boss and was casually walking out of my office.

I mean, I always meant to do this. I hated being stuck in a job I had never planned on joining in the first place. It had always seemed mundane and dull but one has to do stuff for a living, I guess.

Everyday, I would dream of leaving the job and starting something of my own and everyday I would convince myself how the job is necessary for me. How I could simultaneously do a job and work on something I like but it never happened.

Slowly, the job had consumed all my time and had started to make my passions seem like a distant life of its own. Something which I could never achieve.

It was maybe then that a nerve snapped and I entered auto-pilot. I wrote down my resignation letter for the umpteenth time. I headed to my boss’s chamber and handed in my letter. I did not know what I was doing but it just had to be done.

‘What is this?’ he asked.

‘My resignation.’

He looked at me for a while not saying a word.

‘I don’t get it,’ he finally said. ‘Is it about the pay? Or do you have something entirely else in your mind?’

‘It’s not the pay. I just want something else. I want to start my own company.’

‘Do you have an idea? A plan?’

‘I have a very good idea and a brilliant plan but I have no clue where to begin,’ I was being completely honest. I did not want to hide anything.

‘Why don’t you continue till you figure that out?’

I shook my head. ‘No, this is something I have been meaning to do for a while. I don’t know how I will begin but I will not know it without starting and I definitely cannot begin with me here. I hope you understand.’

He took a deep breath. ‘I understand. I wish you well.’

‘Thank you, sir,’ I turned around and walked away.

I could not believe what I had done. Is it a dream?

No, no it isn’t. It is a step to achieve something I had been dreaming about for a long time with my eyes wide open.

Winning is Everything

In response to Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: The Perfect Game

‘I fold,’ there was no way Shiela could go on, not with Rocko and Jane at the table, at least.

She looked over at Freddy who was having as miserable a time as she was. It wasn’t as if they were being spoilsports just because they were losing but they really could not compete with the other two players at the table.

‘Check,’ Rocko tapped the table and maintained an expression on his face named after the game at hand.

‘I fold,’ Freddy flicked away his cards without giving much thought. It had come down to the hand they were at. Freddy wasn’t good at reading expressions like Rocko or Jane but even he could sense the cold air that had formed since they had seen their cards.

‘I check,’ Jane tapped twice on the table and waited for the last card to be turned over.

Shiela dealt the last card. God! She hated Poker Nights with her friends. It had always been like this. Rocko and Jane competing to see who would falter. Both of them had proclaimed themselves to be the best poker player and neither backed down when it came to proving themselves correct.

It had gotten so intense that Freddy and Shiela had to limit poker nights to once a month.

Rocko looked at Jane. He had sensed the cold air that Freddy had sensed as well but he hadn’t managed to see anything on Jane’s face to relay what kind of cards she might have been holding. He kept looking at Jane right in the eye and she looked back unfaltering.

It was now or never. If he would not raise it he definitely knew she would and then he would be caught off guard. But for all he knew Jane could have been bluffing the whole way.

He had to find out for sure.

Freddy looked at both of them and sighed. He knew whoever would win this round would win the game. The game always ended when either of them won. Shiela and him stood no chance whatsoever against the poker face these two had, and he had played enough with them to know when it was approaching the end.

Who would it be this time? Rocko or Jane. He looked from one to another and as he did he saw what he believed was a glimpse of smile on Jane’s face. Surely if he had seen it, Rocko would have too. And he was not wrong.

Rock had seen the smile too but he was not convinced. It was too obvious for it to be slip up. That meant only one thing – she had done it on purpose.

Rocko knew what he had to do. If she had let a smile out on purpose, it meant she wanted him to believe that she had good cards in her hand, which in turn meant that she had been playing on bluff all along.

‘All in,’ he pushed all his chips to the center of the table.

Jane looked at him. She had finally broken her neutral expression to reveal a one of discomfort.

‘All in,’ she sighed and pushed her remaining chips on to the table as well.

Both Rocko and Jane  revealed their cards to decide the victor.

Rocko smiled broadly and looked up at Jane.

‘I cannot believe you fell for it,’ Jane said as she got up from her place. ‘I guess I know you too well to be able to play you like that. I need a stronger opponent.’

‘One time,’ Rocko leaned back on his chair. ‘This is the one time you will get away with that but there is no way I will let that happen again.’

‘Ha, you wish! I will take you on again, if you want.’

‘Okay then,’ Rocko stood up as well. ‘How about we start over then, what do you say?’

Jane was fuming, she would never back down from a challenge. ‘Sure,’ she said. ‘Shiela, why don’t we just…’

Jane looked down to see that Shiela and Freddy had already packed up the poker set and were already sitting in front of the television looking through the channel guide.

Lets Talk

In response to Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

‘I really don’t know what to say,’ Hector looked around for inspiration. ‘I mean, I did say I can talk about anything at any given moment but you are just asking me to talk.’

‘That’s the point,’ Regina bit her lips and smiled as she felt a sense of victory. It was not frequently that she caught Hector off guard. ‘Anybody can talk about a given subject. The real challenge is to talk about something random, something out of the blue. Basically, nothing at all.’

‘This is preposterous,’ Hector was ready to give up but he still kept looking around the place to talk about something interesting. ‘What good would it do if I ramble about something ordinary?’

‘No, no, no. You are not getting it. You are not supposed to ramble. You are supposed to make it seem fun and interesting.’

‘Let’s talk about you,’ Hector said.

‘Me? What? Why me?’ Regina was clearly caught off guard and it was Hector’s turn to smile as the victor.

‘You said I could talk about anything. I choose to talk about you.’

Regina composed herself and looked at him straight in the eye, ‘Alright, then. Do it. Talk about me, but make it interesting and fun. That is the condition after all.’

‘Alright,’ Hector had really believed that the prospect of him talking about her would make her stop.

When he said that he would have no problem in talking about anything, he was trying to prove a point – that he would be a great news reporter. He sighed and looked at Regina’s daunting face. He would probably have to go with it.

‘Fine. Let’s begin,’ he paused and took a deep breath. ‘Regina. Whenever I hear this name, I automatically associate it with craziness. What can I say about you that you already don’t know? I mean, if there is one person who I know that I can talk to and  can say for sure would not be glum no matter what I say, it would be you. There have been times when I have wanted to call you but did not and sometimes I regret not doing so, because, even though you might have no clue what problems I may have had, by the end of our conversations, you still would have managed to get a smile out of me.

‘This time that I am spending with you may probably not seem like such a big thing to you but it is one of the most precious time of the day for me. It’s not just me who feels this way; it’s nature too. I mean, look at the wind. The way it likes to play with your hair and push it onto your face when you are talking…’

‘What happened why did you stop?’ Regina was clearly not expecting to hear what she had heard.

‘I have talked a lot already, you said two minutes. It’s up,’ Hector smiled.

‘At least complete the sentence of wind, and my hair.’

Hector sighed. ‘Alright. The way wind likes to play with your hair and push it onto your face when you are talking because even the wind knows that you are going to talk crap and that you better stop!’

‘What? You’re such an asshole!’ Regina hit him with her hand bag but Hector just laughed.


The Daily Prompt went “Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.

I would like to mention the author’s name here but it might spoil it for someone who is trying to venture a guess. 

The World Beyond

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Lookin’ Out My Back Door, and Through the Window

Flash Fiction

 

I turned around and looked outside. This time I didn’t just observe, I saw what was there.

I saw the lush green meadows with the cows grazing in the pastures, not giving a care in the world as to went around them. They seemed so calm. At peace. I saw a field of corn as far as eyes could see. Crops which would one day feed my family and families of those I had never met. I saw my son, running back home from school as his school bus dropped him to the nearest road. He always seemed full of energy even after a complete day at school. Some day he might not need this farm, if he chooses a different profession than what I had been handed over. I saw my wife as she came out of the barn after feeding the chicken ready to greet our son as he ran up to the house.

I smiled. Things were perfect. Somebody probably didn’t like that.

I turned around again to look outside. This time I did not just see, I observed.

I saw a gray concrete building blocking my view to the outer world. A gray building called Dumonte Prison’s Block A. A gray building which believes I should contemplate about what I had done. About how I had killed my wife and son, a crime which I possibly could not have had the will to commit.

I saw for the one last time, as blood poured out of my wrist, the gray building turn into the green pastures as I slowly slipped into oblivion

Cell Phones

A day went by in which I did not use my mobile phone, because its system had corrupted. It felt like life had stopped and something was incomplete. Made me realize how much we are dependent on mobile phones. Think about it, from the alarm clock in the morning to playing fruit ninja in boring waiting lines, mobile phones are everything people had never expected them to be.

Makes me think about a quote I read, “I miss those days when I could just go to a party and push somebody in the pool and not worry about the person having his mobile phone in his pocket.”

The Zombie Block

So, I seemed to have entered some sort of writer’s block. Some sort of writer’s block I say because it is not entirely the lack of creative ideas which is turning out to be a problem. The real problem lies in my sheer and utter lack of will power to do more physical activity than shifting my laptop from one position to another so that my neck does cramp while I lie on my bed and browse through the internet.

I think the internet has had this effect on most of us. The zombie apocalypse which everyone has been preparing for is somewhat misread. It is the internet which is causing us to turn into this lethargic beast which aimlessly wanders the boundless paths of the world wide web much like the zombies which we have imagined to be aimlessly wandering the boundless paths of the world. Also, much unlike the zombie equivalents we do occasionally search for some matter which could help us sustain our half dead – half alive state.

Think about it, if zombies could talk and after hours of wandering around on the street you happen to catch one and ask, ‘what were you doing?’, what would the response be?

My guess is it would say, ‘nothing,’ same as what your response would be after aimlessly browsing through the web trying to make sense of your living.

The True Apocalypse

I can make many more comparisons as to how the human race is wrongly equipping itself to fight zombies. Guns and ammunition aren’t going to help if all of us just stick to browsing through internet. So, get your ass up and get motivated to deal with your life while I do the same and remember that we can’t give in…

…er, I will continue with this later, I just saw a post on my phone about 12 facts about kitten that will blow my mind. I really have to see it!

That Distant Aunt’s Child Day

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Familial Feasts

While growing up, every once in a while (sometimes more than that) there happens to be a time when everyone is faced with a talk with the parents where they are told to do better than they are currently doing in life. This could range from anything in between performing better in studies to being more sporty or even sometimes just being better behaved in general.

And every time one is told to do any of those things which seem so exasperating, there is always this one thing which parents bring up which seem to further make sour the mood the child was already in; and that is draw comparison to that distant aunt’s child (whom we have probably not met for a long, long time).

“Look at Sophie. She always gets straight As.”

“Your aunt Reena’s son is a national champion in swimming.”

“His child sat quietly as we talked. Not once did he disturb us.”

And every time they are told to do better so that they could be comparable to that distant aunt’s son or daughter.

And everyone has been influenced to do great things because of them. Whether or not it actually worked still remains to be deciphered but they have been a part of everyone’s lives, nonetheless.

So, figuring that these relatives have such an important role to play in everyone’s life, it is obvious that there should be a day dedicated to them.

What should be done on this day, I hear you ask? That I leave for you to decide.

I for one would search for the person and find out if he is as great as my parents told him to be. Chances are he would be out searching for me for the same reason as well.

Fighter

A dreary silence filled the room as he entered it. Rodrick was used to it by then. 20 years of teaching had probably given him a look of seriousness even when he, proabably, did not emote anything at all. The silence was odd but in some weird way he liked it. It gave him a sense of power, a sense of being respected; even though, being a teacher, he was obligated to be respected by his students but with changing times not many teachers could actually boast of something like that.

He kept his books on the table and looked around the class and observed the children. It had become his habit to count the number of students present in the class at the beginning of the class but he did that mentally, making sure the students had no clue what he was actually doing. In most cases they would believe he was ensuring perfect silence before speaking something but he was actually counting heads. The arrangement of desks made it easier for him to count the number of students present.

‘What we really have to understand about Newton’s third law is not what it says but where it actually applies in real life,’ Rodrick began from where he had left off the previous class. He did not waste time to start off with the subject because the quicker he began the quicker the class could adjust to what he was saying.

Why Rodrick was respected so much was probably not a big a mystery if you think about how he handled himself in front of his students. He made the subject fun, he talked to the students in a friendly manner but yet he had an air of authority around him at all times. Probably, the early years of his life which he spent training to be a national level boxer had something to do with that. The early boxing had gifted him a very strong fore arm and very confident posture, not to mention a scar above his left eye brow, which even though came during his boxing practice reign but was not directly related to boxing as such.

He had gotten it when he was cycling to the gym where he was supposed to train and he had gotten late. He knew his coach Mr. Davidson would make him run an extra 5 laps if he arrived late so he was pedaling really hard. He had almost reached the parking spot but did not see the loose rock on the ground. He had to withdraw from the district tournament and after that he gave up on boxing altogether.