Tag Archive: jape

Debunk that

How exactly do you do that?

It was a question he was asked a lot but he never answered it.

He would distract them, or move on to the next person, or leave in a rush, with a swish of his cape and a raised eyebrow.

This was the norm in his profession- keep it in house, maintain the mystique. They don’t quite believe it’s really magic, but maybe, just maybe…

It was a pact between magician and thrill seeker – don’t look too close, don’to probe too much – they get the thrill, the magician maintains his semi-authentic status; everyone’s happy.

That wasn’t his reason though. He had no idea how he did it. With his colleagues, of course, it was all an elaborate hoax, sleight of hand, tricking the eye with diversions and suggestions. He was impressed with their skills, but it had nothing to do with his act.

He just found he could do things like this, one morning. It was after the storm six months ago. He’d been out in the garden trying desperately to get his washing off the line before it was soaked. He was running from the back of the garden to the house, when the lighting bolt struck him in the back of the head. He woke up face down in the mud with a slight headache and an enormous singe mark down the middle of his thick hair.

Since that day he’d been able to perform real magic. He could make things disappear, he could transport things and people over quite considerable distances and he could make something become another thing (hadn’t tried that with people yet, felt a bit risky, but he turned water into wine quite frequently rather than drive down to the off-licence.)

He only started the shows two months ago. It wasn’t the money so much; he could create that out of thin air whenever he wanted to, for him it was the thrill of confounding the sceptics, especially the smart-arsed ones who thought they knew how it was all done, and who delighted in telling the world.

He recognised this little know-it-all in front of him now, for instance. He had his own TV programme , based on debunking and humiliating what he called con-artists.  A lot of the magicians that he’d loved to watch as a child had been publicly humiliated by this smug-faced little shit.

So, he’d taken his cheap watch and turned it into a Rolex. No big deal. Obviously he didn’t believe it and was expecting some kind of switch to take place. Actually it was now a genuine Rolex. It seemed fair enough to give him a small gift to help him cope with the trauma which was just around the corner.

He had a much bigger surprise waiting for him when he went to the toilet.  In place of the traditional male genitalia he now had two chestnuts and a small cocktail sausage between his legs.

Debunk that Weiner boy!

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The Japesters

That morning Horace was feeling particularly pleased with himself. He looked at his watch again, only a few minutes to go before his sister Prudence’s alarm woke her, which should mean only a few more seconds after that, before he heard the screaming.

This time it was the best he’d ever conceived of, had to be. She’d done so well last time, he had to admit, her planning was exemplary, even getting Nanny involved so he was convinced that she was away that night, at the Penshursts. So when she leapt out from under his bed in the middle of the night dressed as a witch, warts and huge pointy noise included, he’d been completely unprepared. She’d known it was his worst fear, that he’d had many nightmares about witches stealing into his room at night. As a result, he’d wet the bed and his sister had earned the praise of both parents for such a wonderfully executed jape. It was embarrassing to be so caught out like that, but he had to admit it was very well done; especially the part about Violet Penshurst’s dog dying and her needing to be consoled. It impressed him.

He didn’t want to react too quickly; she’d be looking out for something. He needed to bide his time. For the next 6 or 7 weeks he did nothing but plan and carry n with his usual routine, going to school, playing with Edgar on the beach and tending to his beetle collection. She played her part well in all of this, pretending not to care as the days stretched into weeks. It was only by chance that he overheard her talking to Mama as he arrived late for breakfast one morning – then he knew it was starting to get to her.

‘He must be planning something stupendous Mama. Do you know? You do don’t you?’

Mama had said nothing of course, she knew nothing of his plans, but had she known, she wouldn’t have broken the code. Prudence knew, they’d both been taught this from an early age – never interfere with a jape. Say nothing,  even afterwards, not revealing a single thing about how it had worked, the planning or any other details – you never knew when you might need to use some of that information in the future.

Both of them knew Mama and Papa wouldn’t crack, but they tried, of course they tried, it would have been disappointing to their parents if they hadn’t. Perhaps a seemingly innocent question:

‘Have you seen Prudence, I’ve got a present for her’ was his most recent failed attempt.

As far as he knew they had never cracked.

Just then the alarm went off and he listened carefully waiting for his elaborate scheme to unfold. Sure enough, there it was, a high-pitched scream and was that what he thought it was, the sound of little footsteps, running towards her toilet, exclaiming and shrieking all the way as the dog’s mess he’d carefully planted in abundance by the side of her bed squelched through her toes and with each step, smeared and befouled the white shag pile carpet, from her bed all the way to her toilet.

He was by the door now and he could hear Mama and Papa racing up the stairs to bear witness. As they arrived he threw the door open and was ecstatic to find Prudence kneeling at the toilet bowl vomiting, her bare upturned feet still filthy and behind her a trail of brown malodorous footsteps – a complete success.

He would obviously never tell her how he’d managed to ensure that the pooh was so moist, nor would he reveal how he’d contained the smell.

Mama and Papa laughed and pointed at Prudence, they turned to him and the pride on both their faces brought tears to his eyes.

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