Deal 998: Illusions

The audience quieted (aside from the inevitable heckler) as the curtains opened on a new setting. One thing they were sure of was that something amazing was going to happen. But they saw before them a fairly ordinary set familiar to just about any modern sitcom. The open plan ranch house was mostly represented in photographic drops, but the standard family sized sofa was front and center, complete with an abandoned letter jacket, some sports shoes dropped messily, and a pizza box tossed haphazardly on the coffee table.

But there were not actors to be seen, so they quieted down in anticipation.

Except for the heckler, again.

As the lights came up on this prosaic scene, they noticed that the pizza box was moving. It had started out tossed aside on the table, but turned towards the audience, then canted up a bit and the front row suddenly got nervous. It was looming at them. Then it opened and began to speak. It was using halves of an apple for eyes, and a stale pizza slice as a tongue.

It raised up further as it set out on a bit of classic oratory.

The scene was so outrageous that when discussing it later, people couldn’t agree on what the box had actually said. Everyone was sure it said something, and said it well.

As it spoke, the front row calmed. Not the heckler, though. He got louder, and revealed himself as definitely not the gentleman in the room as he taunted the box mercilessly. The box just turned and stared at him. Eventually he wound down and went silent, and finally sat back down. It was the most professional treatment of a heckler that most had seen.

Finally, some people joined the box on the stage. As they entered, the box seemed to suddenly realize it was an inanimate object, and dropped back down on the coffee table. It didn’t quite remember to pull its tongue back in though.

The couple had a fairly predictable sitcom argument about the mess in the room and junior’s grades. Then the man settled down on the couch, stretched out, and dozed off. That was the wife’s moment to exact her revenge. She pulled out a sheet, tossed it over the man’s legs. He didn’t stir. So she added the pizza box to his belly, then pulled the sheet all the way over him.

He mumbled something inarticulate, but didn’t stir.

Then the whole sheet shifted a little. Then a little more. Then we realized it was lifting up and off the couch.

It raised up to where it’s tails were just dragging on the furniture when the woman suddenly noticed it. She screamed.

The she grabbed at the sheet and just barely caught a corner as it flew up, yanking the sheet away to reveal nothing at all. No lay-about husband. No pizza box. The couch was empty. The sheet was just a sheet.

Finally she balled up the sheet and threw it at the sofa, where it lay still.

Perfectly still.

Everyone held the breath, sure that there was one more twist to come from somewhere.

She stepped back to the couch, picked up the sheet and wrapped it around herself as a cloak, flipping a corner up to hide her hair.

A sudden bright flash and cloud of smoke cleared to reveal the sheet falling to the stage and the woman gone completely.

Then the lights went out.


Deal 951: Tipped

“Step right up ladies and gentlemen and see here with your own blind eyes one of the wonders of the world!”

The barker was in fine form, gathering the crowd and getting ready to blow the tip.

“I speak, of course, of the amazing feats of strength and daring performed by our very own March of the Shadows. Being more than mere mortal, the Marquis does the improbable, speaks of the impossible, hypnotizes with wonders unimagined, and will even rhyme the unrhymable.”

The pitch was a little erudite for the usual crowd, but still it did catch one’s attention.

“Just inside this tent, for a small consideration, all things promised will be delivered.”

I stepped forward with the throng at my back …


Deal 941: Boom said the puppet.

Puppet boy has a problem.

Aside from being a puppet, that is. And aside from wanting to become a real boy. Those problems are normal for all puppet boys. Puppet boy has a problem that is his alone.

He’s nothing too exciting to look at, being about three feet tall, and being of the puppet persuasion. He’s usually dressed for a formal occasion, in a dapper black evening coat and tails. His current paint job has made him a red-head, but he’s considering a change.

Like all puppets (except for Mister Punch) he’s smarter than he looks. He does require a puppeteer to move him about, but even when left in a tumbled pile in the corner, he’s seeing all that goes on and stewing about it.

And this puppet has seen a lot.

It has changed him to his core. He’s no longer the happy scamp he’s painted to be. He’s hiding something.

He’s hiding a bomb.

And it is time for it to go off.