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In a street, in a city, perhaps your own city, perhaps another, there is a man.

He may be young, or he may be old, but you may recognise him by the confident smile and the twinkle in his eyes. Before him stands a table, bearing the tools of his trade.

Most people stop to watch him for a while; his tricks are always entertaining. His hands move constantly but precisely. He shuffles the cards, and a young girl chooses one. A few moments later, with a flourish of his wand, he pulls the same card from her mother’s hat, presenting it to the girl with such a charming smile that she’ll never love another man.

He winks and blows a kiss to another woman as he juggles with several swords, sharp and shining. For one awful moment she thinks she has distracted him to his doom, as the swords fly up into the air in apparent chaos, but he bows gracefully to her as they all land, point first, embedding themselves into the carefully cleared surface of his table.

A group of young men full of bravado and machismo approach. The man behind his table invites them to a game; simply find the ball beneath a cup. They think it will be easy, but he moves the cups too fast for them to see, and within minutes his pockets jingle with their coins.

And then, almost in an instant, the magician is gone.

© Kari Fay