Editor’s note: I’d like to welcome all my friends from Man Vs. Debt to The Soap Boxers.  Sit down in a comfy chair, kick off your shoes, and enjoy today’s story.

 

The third rabbit hopped out of the hat, looked around for a moment, and then quickly joined his friends. The three rabbits hopped off the stage, into the hands of the assistants.

“Those suckers multiply faster than a math teacher,” boomed the voice from the middle of the stage. The large crowd responded to the bad joke with a combination of laughter and good-natured boos.

Marcus the Magnificent was on his game on this hot August night. He was playing at the Fairview Theatre – his normal venue. The massive theatre was filled to the rafters with adoring fans.

The master showman guided the crowd through his act, starting with small tricks and gradually building to two big illusions at the end of the evening.

As the evening came to a close, Marcus called his assistant, Miranda, to the stage. He had Miranda step into a box, closed the door, and told the audience that he would make the women vanish.

“Look now – the lovely Miss Miranda has completely disappeared!” With that, Marcus yanked on the door of the box. To his surprise, he was greeted by an enormous plume of smoke, and then he felt himself falling. This was most certainly not a part of the act.

When the smoke disappeared, Miss Miranda was standing on the stage, but the magician was nowhere to be seen. The crowd was puzzled at this turn of events.

Miss Miranda quickly took the reins. She stepped back toward the box and peered inside.

“Marcus?” she called. “Marcus? Where have you gone?”

Miranda turned back to the crowd. “I’m afraid that Marcus the Magnificent must have used the wrong magic words – as he himself has disappeared! Perhaps we should continue with the act and try to make him reappear.”

The crowd murmured as Miranda closed the door of the box.

“Great magic box, I command you – bring Marcus back to us!” There was another plume of smoke. A moment later, Miranda yanked open the door to the box.

“Marcus, step forth!” she shouted.

But Marcus did not step forth. Miranda was still alone on the stage.

“I apologize for the inconvenience, folks. This has never happened before. I’m really not sure where to go from here. Should I send you home for the night – or do you want to stay and watch me perform a few tricks I have learned from Marcus?”

“Stay, stay, stay!” shouted the crowd.

“OK, OK,” she acquiesced. “The show must go on! I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with the schedule for tonight’s show. Johnny, can you bring me Marcus’ notes for this performance?”

Marcus’ assistant Johnny crossed the stage and handed several sheets of paper to Miranda. She took a moment to glance through the itinerary for the evening. She pondered aloud, allowing the crowd to hear her thoughts.

“Boring, boring, too hard for me, boring, stupid rabbit trick … ah, here we go. This is a trick I can perform.”

Miranda strode to the center of the stage.

“Ladies and gentleman, the next trick has amazed and astounded crowds for decades. In front of your very eyes tonight, I will saw a woman in half.”

As the crowed focused on Miranda and waited for her to perform the best illusion of the entire evening, Marcus the Magnificent began to regain his consciousness. To his great surprised, he found himself bound, gagged, and in the captivity of three rather mean looking men.

Miranda finished sawing through the box and pushed the two halves of the box away from her. The crowd could clearly see the woman’s head sticking out of the top half of the box and her feet sticking out the bottom half of the box.

The crowd gasped when the spotlight focused on a small pool of blood on the stage.

“Oh dear,” cried out Miranda. “I’m afraid this is the first time I have tried this trick with an actual person. Perhaps I should have practiced it first.”

 

How will this story turn out?  Come back tomorrow to read the conclusion!  (Or just subscribe via RSS or email to catch all future editions of The Soap Boxers)

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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