A Little Fun with Magic
by Judith Freudenthal
Nick was trying to get through the paperwork for the latest case when Cohen approached.
"Nick, I don't see your name on the sign up sheet for the talent show."
"I wasn't going to do it this year."
"We need you. Just one thing, we have enough musical acts."
"I'll see what I can come up with," Nick said with a small smile.
"Thanks. Let me know what you're doing."
Several hours later Nick was back at the loft, rummaging through a trunk full of stuff when he heard the elevator start. He smiled when he recognized the heartbeat.
He greeted Natalie at the door, surprising her with a bouquet of flowers seemingly pulled from thin air.
Natalie smiled, loving his playfulness. "I see they roped you into the talent show again."
"Yeah. Cohen personally requested my help. Since they don't need any more musical numbers I thought I'd see what else I could come up with."
"Magic is always a good thing, providing you can actually do a few tricks."
"If I'm going to be a magician I'll need an assistant." His wicked grin made her nervous. It didn't help when he pulled a skimpy top and skirt from the trunk.
"No way." She waved her hands in front of her. "You've gotta be kidding if you think I'm going to wear that outfit!"
Before he could say anything further she cut him off. "Who said the assistant had to be female?"
Nick grinned liking the idea, then it hit him who would be the assistant, and what he might have to wear.
"Besides, you're the one who can move fast enough to make the illusions believable."
"I think you'll make a good magician." He smiled.
"Could you teach me a few tricks? I want to do one really good illusion."
"It will take a lot of practice. Also, if I reveal the secret to you... you can not tell anyone else."
"I promise that any secrets you reveal will stay secret." Suddenly it hit her, "Please tell me you didn't know Merlin or perform with Houdini."
"No and no. I did briefly study magic with a master, but sadly, he remains unknown to this day."
"How long is 'briefly'?" Natalie asked playfully, knowing for him it could be a decade or two, or more.
"Three years. He died trying out a new trick. I was elsewhere that night, as he didn't want anyone in his workshop while he worked on his latest illusion."
"Did anyone ever master the trick?" She asked curiously.
"No. There were no notes, so the trick died with him." Nick saw how eager she was to begin. "How about we start with a simple trick or two then we'll work on the real illusion."
Nick taught Natalie how to make a colorful scarf disappear. He loved the look of surprise on her face when he showed her how simple it really was. By the end of the afternoon she had mastered that trick and regretted being on duty that night because she wanted to learn more.
Nick signed them up for the show when he arrived at the precinct that night. None of their coworkers knew which was to be the magician and which the assistant, but they enjoyed the speculation.
Schanke teased his partner and Natalie about the upcoming show, as did Grace. Nick and Natalie enjoyed the playful teasing, throwing back some of their own.
Every morning after work Natalie and Nick worked on their act for a few hours. Their days off were spent on learning the tricks she was to perform in less than a month.
Both were deeply enjoying working together, which made the long hard hours more fun.
By the end of the first week Natalie had three small tricks to warm up the audience with. She couldn't believe how simple most of the tricks were, once you knew the secret. She realized that the trick was making it look effortless and like magic. She loved learning how to amaze her friends, and couldn't wait for her chance to perform.
The next two weeks were spent on learning then perfecting the main illusion. Natalie grew frustrated when she couldn't seem to get the timing right. Nick soothed her, reassuring her that she would get it. He saw that she was trying too hard which only made things more difficult, and told her to relax and it would happen.
The last night was the dress rehearsal. Natalie had a wicked case of the giggles when she saw Nick in the black tights and loose white shirt.
"Nat, I'm not wearing these." "You look so cute in them," she said while trying to control the laughter. "You were going to have me wearing much less." She reminded him.
With that argument he knew the battle had been lost.
Show time arrived. Natalie was surprised by how nervous she was.
"Nat, relax. You'll do fine. You know the act perfectly." Nick couldn't get over how beautiful she looked in her elegant black suit tailored to fit her just right, with the not to low cut white silk blouse, showing just enough cleavage. "You look great."
"So do you." Natalie had noticed the stares Nick was receiving. "And apparently I'm not the only who thinks so." She swore she saw him blush slightly, not knowing if vampires could blush.
After a few acts of singing, dancing, juggling it was their turn.
"Get ready for some bending of reality with the illusions of Natalie Lambert and Nick Knight."
Natalie and Nick walked out onstage, the curtain opening seconds later. Both bowed then Natalie began the first trick while Nick watched from the side. Natalie theatrically displayed a scarf and proceeded to stuff it into her hand. When she opened her hand moments later, the scarf was completely gone.
There was a small amount of applause, causing both Natalie and Nick to smile. Nick was pleased to see her relax and start to really enjoy herself.
Nick carried out a tray containing the next trick and set it on the table in front of Natalie. She picked up each of the three silver cups, showing there was nothing under it or hidden inside the cup. waved her hand over the cups and made the first ball appear, then made it jump from cup to cup magically. She waved her hands across the cups then picked them up one by one, finding a foam ball under each cup. She set the cups back over the balls, waved her hands again and uncovered the cups one by one, the first two being empty, and all three balls under the third cup. She covered them and again waved her hand over the cup and when she lifted it up, it was empty. She lifted up each of the remaining two cups, to show the audience that they too were empty.
The applause was greater for this trick, but not by much. Both the magician and her assistant knew that the first three tricks might not receive much applause, but they didn't mind too much.
For her third trick, Nick brought out a black box and a cage containing a dove. He set the box on the stage, where it was promptly picked up by Natalie. She showed the audience that the box was completely empty and that there were no secret compartments by opening the top and bottom of the box at the same time. She had her assistant stick his hand through it to show that there were no hidden mirrors, panels or other such tricks. Once that had been accomplished, she closed the box up and set it back on the table. Nick took the dove from the cage and handed it to Nat. She took it, soothed it by stroking its feathers and then put it into the box. She had Nick wave his hands across the box this time, for variety, and then opened the box. She again opened the top and bottom, allowing the audience to see that the bird was gone.
The applause was even greater this time, but still not thunderous.
Natalie and Nick looked at each other, knowing it was time for the major illusion. The two of them left the stage for a moment, returning with a four foot square box on top of a raised, wheeled, platform. There was a curtain resting on the platform, which when raised with the bar attached to the top of the curtain, would completely encircle the box.
With some choreography Nick demonstrated that the box was solid, and that there were no secret panels. With further choreography Natalie stepped into the big box on stage and into a sack and the top was tied. The lid was lowered on the box and locked into place with a chain around the middle of the box and a padlock securing the ends, through the box's metal loop. Once everything was secure, Nick stood on top of the box and counted, holding the metal bar, the curtain still down around his knees.
"One." He raised the curtain. "Two."
"Three," Natalie said no more than thirty seconds later as she lowered the curtain. She jumped down did a little ballet showing the box was still locked. She unlocked the box and opened it before untying the sack.
Nick climbed out of both the sack and the box as the crowd went wild. The applause was thunderous.
Nick loved the huge smile on Natalie's face as they bowed and left the stage. He felt her joy radiating through him.
Nick slipped into a pair of jeans, and kept the white shirt. He and Natalie went out into the audience to watch the rest of the show.
About an hour later the winner was announced. No one was too surprised to learn that Natalie and Nick had won. Theirs had been the best act of the night. Nick knew Natalie would enjoy the dinner at El Piatro, one of the finest restaurants in town.
After the contest all their friends came up to them congratulating them, stunned by the impressive illusion they had pulled off, and wanting to know how it was done. Only Jenny Schanke knew the secret, having seen it on television but wasn't going to spoil her friends' night by telling anyone.
Forever Knight Index