Island Magic

Hello.   I’m a magician here on the island.  You’ve probably seen me:  I’m the guy walking around with a fox tail hanging out of my hat.  You may have even been approached by me if you’ve ever eaten in one of the tourist restaurants where I work.   “Would you like to see some magic?”  I would have asked.  Most likely your answer would have been ‘no’ – or a blank stare – but perhaps you would have obliged.  And in that case, I would have begun my routine:

“My name is Walker, I’m a Cascadian magician and storyteller.”   You pick a card.  “My own story started in 2012, when I left home heading east.”   Your card disappears.   “I had this thought that maybe I could magic my way around the world without flying.”  Your card reappears.    “As with magic, a lot of unexpected things happen when we travel.”  Your card changes.  “I wasn’t expecting to get kidnapped hitchhiking in the Middle East or to nearly freeze to death in the Soviet Caucuses.”  Your card bounces into my pocket.  “Nor was I expecting to conquer mountain peaks with my own two legs, or fall in love in a perfect snowball fight frozen forever in time.”  Your card jumps in your pocket.   “But unexpected things happen, and we deal with them and appreciate them as they come.”  Your card takes flight and zooms around the restaurant.  “Like for me: arriving in Thailand flat broke – I dust off some old magic tricks and try to hustle a few tips.”   Your card bursts into flames.  “So that’s what I’m doing now:  trying to make a few baht and/or sell this little Magic Book I wrote-”  A magic book appears – with your card printed into the back cover.   “So if you’d like to help me out, if you’d like to be part of my magic and my story, I would surely appreciate it.”

At this point you look up to me and say:  “I am zorry, we dooz not zpeak Engliz…”

Or, alternatively, you haven’t seen any of this magic because you’ve been staring up at my hat:   “Is that a snake on your head???”

“Yes, a Reticulated Python, to be exact.  Its the largest snake in the world and being poached out of existence by the skin trade.  I have this matching belt and matching notebook.”   Your card changes colors.  “I didn’t kill this snake – there’s a story behind it.”  Your card appears on the ceiling.

“I was walking home one night – its about an hour hike on a footpath through the jungle to the abandon resort which I’m squatting on the other side of the island – and at the top of the ridge where the one other house on the trail stands on bamboo stilts, a small pack of dogs were going wild.”  Your card appears in your shoe.  “For the past several months, I’ve been dirty and shifty-looking enough to make dogs quite nervous, so I figured the commotion was about me and picked up a few rocks to do battle.”  I rip your card into tiny little piece and eat them.

“But when I got up close, I realized it was actually an enormous snake that they had just attacked, leaving it barely alive bobbing its head around.”  Your card is restored.  “The Thai guy came out of his house with a flashlight, and together we stared open-mouthed at the huge serpent.  It was a full 3 meters long.”

“The next day, walking back to work, I was suprised to see the dead snake kicked to the side of the trail.”  Your card spits water in your eyes.  “‘If that’s still here when I come home,’ I told myself, ‘I’m going to eat it.’  And it was.  So I took it.  I took it back to my private moonlit beach and skinned the whole thing by candlelight.  By the time I finished, the sun was coming up, I was too exhausted to butcher her, not hungry in the least, and ended up wasting enough good meat to feed three families (this is the tropics, unrefridgerated skinned meat will go bad in an hour).  But I kept the beautiful skin, hanging it in the back room of the presidential suite where I live.”   Your card sings ‘happy birthday!’

“I woke up just an hour or two later to some bumping and thrashing sounds.  Groggily – barefoot in my underwear – I went to investigate.  And nearly crapped my pants when I saw a HUGE reptile tail wip-slither around the corner.  ‘ITS ALIVE!’ I screamed.  Then, more rationally, ‘Its attracting more snakes somehow!’   I grabbed a 2×4 and crept around the corner to get a better look.   “#@(%!!!!!!!   KAMONO DRAGON!!!!”   I was staring at – not a snake – but an ENORMOUS, terrified lizard:  easily 2 meters long with a foot-and-a-half tongue.   As it turns out, its wasn’t a Kamono Dragon, but rather a Water Monitor, which is a close cousin, and the second biggest lizard in the world.   But I didn’t know that at the time.  All I knew was that it was trying to get my snake skin, and that I was going to fight it with a 2×4.”   Your card jumps around the table and imitates a 2×4 brawl.

“I battled the dragon out of one room, into another, both of us terrified, and him suprisingly clumbsy in his frantic waddling, until it was trapped in a tiny little room with no escape.  Here we hit a stalemate and stared at each other.  Jesus, his tongue was long…   ‘Well,’ I thought.  ‘I’m going to go zip myself in my tent and hope this situation blows over.’   So I crept backwards – on guard – and slipped away.”

…”And?”  You say.

“Is this your card?”

“Can I have some money now?”


2 thoughts on “Island Magic

  1. Just. Wow. Walker, you are a gifted storyteller and writer! I love the balance of humor, surprise, and terror: “It’s alive!” you yell as a potentially deadly quasi-dinosaur visits your home in the dark, unannounced…

    May your magic do its alchemy, turning cards into gold or at least paper money.

    Safe travels. Lilly, my dog, sends a wag,

  2. Wow is what i am saying too, and now I see that Donna beat me to it. Sounds like a great act! How far around the world do i have to go to see it? Where the heck are you now? Chee the cat is apparently indifferent. andy

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