The Magician’s Assistant

It’s Halloween and time to celebrate. So here’s a Halloween story.

Brooks and Frank were not brothers although others thought they could be. No one could remember them when they were not together. Brooks was a magician; Frank was a fireman. Or at least, he liked to dress up as a fireman.

Brooks was often on stage, showing the world his trick of sawing a fireman in half. Usually magicians saw a woman in half, Brooks sawed Frank in half. People loved the trick. Frank showed up on the stage and Brooks introduced him to the box. Frank wore his fireman’s uniform. Once Frank was in the box safe and secure, Brooks set the box on fire. Then the sawing began.

Frank always thought of himself being like the one the knife thrower threw the knives at. It took steady nerves to stand there and let those knives come at you. He thought that the knife thrower’s partner could dodge bullets if she had to. She had that kind of concentration. So he worked on his concentration.

All was well and good for quite some time. Then it happened. It happened just as Brooks and Frank became a sensation and started to fill larger venues. Frank met Darla.

Darla was a tall, slender dark-haired beauty with only one ambition. She had spent years wanting to be a magician’s assistant. She saw Brooks on stage. She just knew what he needed. He needed Darla to hand him the saw. It was a matter of faith. Every magician needed a Darla.

One night during the show, Darla walked onto the stage. She had the saw in her hands. She lifted it above her head. Then she handed the saw to Brooks.

At first surprise, Brooks was taken aback. How dare this woman interrupt his performance. When he heard the applause, he changed his mind. As the three of them walked off the stage, Brooks whispered to his new assistant, “I can’t pay you much.”

Darla just smiled. She was happy her dream had come true.

Frank took one look at Darla and he was smitten. Cupid aimed his arrow, and kwhack, it hit Frank in the heart.

For several performances, the act went on perfectly. Brooks introduced the box. Frank walked out onto the stage in his fireman’s costume and crawled into the box. Brooks locked the box. Darla brought out the fire starter and set the box on fire. Then she raised the saw above her head. And the trick went off without a problem.

Frank couldn’t keep his love to himself. One night just before a performance, he walked up to Darla and whispered, “I love you.”

Well, Darla was having none of this love thing. She knew it could blow a good act. She had seen other acts go up in flames because of the jealousy. So she let her partner-in-crime know she wasn’t interested in a gentle sort of way.

Frank walked onto stage with tears in his eyes. He crawled into the box like always. Darla set the box on fire. Brooks took the saw from her hands. Things were going well just like usual. But Frank couldn’t concentrate. He just couldn’t concentrate.

 

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haiku for the day: halloween

Okay. Let’s admit it. We love a good fright. Most of us can’t resist a horror film. You might say that it is written in our DNA. If it wasn’t, why is it that we love a good horror ride. We’ll lay down our bucks just to feel the fear. Whether it’s a ride or a movie, it doesn’t matter. And how many of us have been tempted to say “Beetlejuice” three times? There’s even a rumor that Tim Burton will ultimately make the Juice into a trilogy. Because he can’t wait till the guy shows up. One thing’s for sure. Tomorrow night, when you’re out halloweening please, oh please, do not go down into the basement. If you do, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

the house on the hill
downright scary the hauntings
no screams at midnight

A Spooky Kind of Marriage

Ken and Kendra chose Halloween for their divorce. It made perfect sense to them. Their marriage had been one long horror story since their wedding reception. With costumes, no less. Ken’s Uncle Irving showed up at the wedding reception drunk. Later they found Kendra’s aunt, Alice, in the closet with Uncle Irving. It was not a pretty sight.

On the way to their honeymoon, the car had four flat tires all at the same time. The bed in the inn where they were staying broke during their first sexual encounter. And these were simply omens of things to come.

During the honeymoon, Ken got food poisoning, Kendra was bit by a rabid dog. While they shared a hospital room, their nurse was the spitting image of Nurse Ratched. And she behaved like her as well. It was becoming pretty obvious God did not want them to have a honeymoon.

Finally, they came home. And found that burglars had broken into their new house and trashed the place. Ken went back to work and was told to pick up his walking papers. Kendra was given her pink slip too. “Cut backs,” she was told.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Kendra’s favorite aunt, Hortense, died. At the funeral, Ken couldn’t help himself. He laughed out loud during the eulogy. Kendra pinched him hard. He had a sore spot from the pinch. His dermatologist told him it was cancer.

They started looking around for help. They went to a gypsy, Drina, and she supposedly removed the curse. Then they saw on tv that she was arrested. She was impersonating a gypsy and didn’t have a license to impersonate a gypsy. Who knew you needed a license? They went to a Catholic priest and he suggested an exorcism. Instead of delivering them from a demon, the exorcism invited more demons in.

They went to a Rabbi and he pronounced that the couple were Canaanites and worshippers of Baal. Then he said, “Let my people go.” Turns out his name was Moshe and he was practicing his lines for a new version of “The Ten Commandments”.

The procession of bad events during their marriage was like a Mardi Gras parade on steroids. After two years of broken legs, broken arms, poison ivy, legionaire’s disease, the swine flu, and poor employment prospects, they both decided they had had enough. They loved each other but enough was enough. They were not meant to be together. And they were definitely not soul mates.

They went down to the courthouse to receive their final divorce decree from the judge. They waited and waited, then they were told the judge was running late. By the end of the day, it was announced the judge had died. From food poisoning no less. As they walked out of the courthouse, the stone arch above the door pulled loose and fell, missing the two of them by six inches.

At that, Ken looked at Kendra. Kendra looked at Ken. Kendra said, “You go east, I’m going west.”

“Fine with me,” Ken agreed.

And off they went running in opposite directions.

Six months later, Kendra’s mother received a short note from her daughter. “Mom,” it began. Kendra always called her mother Mom. It seemed the right thing to do. “I arrived at the Mombai airport on April 7. And I am catching an Air India flight to Nepal. Love, Dra.”

She gave the ticket taker her ticket, crossed the boarding walkway, ducked and entered the small twin-engined air craft. She looked around for an empty seat. She saw one at the front and headed for it. She took her seat and buckled her belt. Then she looked at the man sitting next to her. It was Ken.

Later, in the day, CNN, Fox News and the other news organizations announced that an Air India plane had disappeared. The flight had last been seen flying somewhere over the Himalayas.

All one announcer could say about the ill-fated flight was this. “Let’s hope they landed in Shangri-La.”

Happy Halloween everybody.

haiku for the day: sleep

There are nights I just can’t sleep. Some of it is that I am a late night kind of guy. Seems I get a new shot of energy right after midnight. Often this is the time I have been my most creative. If you have to get up early the next morning for an appointment or for work, you’re going to be tired. Because you didn’t get enough sleep. It’s a burden that I seem to have carried my entire life. But what can a fellow do? Wonder if Hamlet faced this dilemma.

to insomnia
or not to insomnia
such speculation

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Friendship

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. In honor of All Hallow’s Eve, this week’s Spotlight Creator is the celebration of friendship between the great horror actors, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price:

Vincent Price was to Boris Karloff as Gene Kelly was to Fred Astaire. Peter Cushing was the Abbott to Christopher Lee’s Costello in the Hammer Horror films.

And here’s Vincent Price honoring his good friend, Christopher Lee:

And here’s Peter Cushing:

And one final time for Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing:

It does seem an odd time to celebrate friendship, and yet why not? These three were such wonderful entertainers. Not only that. They were gentlemen (in the old fashion term) as well.

It is rare to find a friend with whom you can be your complete self. With whom you can let down your mask and let them whole heartedly into your heart. Maybe their gift was friendship. I would like to think so.

So, remember them for all the joy they brought us. And remember them for the role models of friendship they were.