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The Old Magician’s Last Trick

Roy Jesse has waited thirty-five years to see his beloved Mary. Now much older, Roy is
comforted when his memory slips back to the thirties where he relives meeting Mary,
taking her dancing and courting her. But it isn’t 1933 on this cool autumn morning. Roy
needs a friend desperately who will help him pull off the last and greatest of his tricks.
He wants Mary to see him just as she did when they first met. Once a stage magician,
Roy has forgotten most of his tricks. Back then he was Sphero the Great. He performs
small tricks for the people who take care of him at the large estate. But Roy knows the
biggest trick is yet to come. Where will he find the answer? Can this old magician, who
once envied Frank Sinatra, steal the show in the end? Will he have the last dance with
Mary after all? Will help come in time so he can pull off the biggest trick ever,


Gazing deep in the pond, small ripples began to form a familiar face. Roy Jesse put his
hand over his mouth to stop himself from sobbing. Brown bouncy curls ran along the
outer ripples. The face was taking shape. Strands of grass swung back and forth as a
pretty blue dress would do on a spring afternoon. Drifting across the ripples of time, Roy
was back on the corner of Fifty-Second Street with his brother and some friends. Mary
and two friends turned the corner of Lancaster Avenue. Roy's heart pounded at first
sight. Pretending not to notice him at first, the three walked slowly passed them. Roy
Jesse was instantly in love with the girl in the blue dress and brown penny loafers.

"Wow, did you see that?" he exclaimed to his brother. "Hey, anybody know her?"
Hoping they'd walk around the block once more, Roy was disappointed when they
stopped at the corner to wait for the trolley car. "I can't let her get away," he thought.
As girls will be, they began to giggle and came walking back passed the boys. Roy tried
hard to say something, but he couldn't get the words out quick enough. Nudging Joe, he
begged him. "Go talk to them. I'll give you these two bits I have in my pocket. Go
ahead, get their attention."

Joe sure could use the two bits, put his best face on and approached the girls.
"Hey, you three live around here?" He expected an answer, not more giggling.

Mary was the first to speak up. Nodding her head, she asked, "Who's he in the
black pants?"

They were only a block from the movie theater and Roy imagined seeing himself
standing in line with Mary Saturday night. Beginning to scheme, he thought, “I can get
another two bits by tomorrow night. Frank's out shinning shoes all day, he'll lend it to
me. Wish I didn't give mom the rest of my pay. Can't ask her now. She paid the grocery
bill with it."

Focusing a little further in time, Roy remembered the night Mary and her friends
were going to the Apollo Theater to see Frank Sinatra. He wanted so bad to go with her,
but didn't want her to think he was intruding. Everybody knew what went on in that
place. Sinatra crooned and the girls swooned so bad, they fainted and had to be carried
“I hope she's not all taken up by that Sinatra guy." Roy sure was scared that
night. He didn't sleep well, and went out on the corner of Lancaster Avenue early the
next day hoping she'd come by.

"Why don't you just walk down there to Creighton Street and ask her yourself?"
joked his brother Joe.

Roy answered with a smirk. "Hey, she's got a couple of sisters, you know? Good
lookers, just like her. Why don't you go down and knock on the door Mr. know-it-all?"

Joe returned the compliment. "You're the muscle builder. She's also got a couple
of brothers. Bet they'd like to try your weights some afternoon. Now, that would make
an impression on her, don't you think?"

"Right, I'm gonna walk up to her door and ask if her brothers to come out and lift
weights at my house? You are so stupid sometimes."
Roy lit a Lucky Strike and leaned on the Oldsmobile parked on the corner. "I
should find out what church she attends. Maybe I'll just show up one Sunday. Whadda
think about that?"

Joe laughed and slapped Roy on the back of the head. “You don't have to do that.
Things will take care of themselves. Just be patient. What are you so nervous about?
Can't you read between the lines?” Pointing across the street at the little used car dealer,
Joe continued said, “You think she comes by every day to gawk over the new line of
Chevy's? You're the stupid one. But, I do have an idea. Why don't you come down the
garage more often? One of her friends lives across the street. Come on, we're not
working today. Why don't we hang out at the garage with Frankie? I got a brand new '38
Duisenberg SJ Speedster, that keeps conking out. Got to be a manufacturing problem. I
can't find it. Maybe you can help." Joe tugged on Roy's suspenders. "Oh, come on."

In the shop Frank was sitting at the paper piled desk. The radio was blaring.
Frank Sinatra was belting out a song on the 950 Club.

"Do you really have to listen to that? I can’t seem I get away from that guy?" Roy
complained. You’d think there were other good singers beside him.”
"Hey, Frankie, turn that thing off!" Joe yelled as they bypassed the small office.
Joe set his foot on the running board of a Model A Ford. "Beauty, isn't she?"

Roy's eyes were focused on a Corvette Raceabout. "I gotta have that. What's it
going for?"

Joe looked around and rubbed his chin with his large hand. "Don't think you can
afford that one. Now, over here, I've got a '35 Auburn 856 Boattail Speedster and a '32

Roy was looking back and forth. "Wait a minute. I'm making fifteen dollars a
week now. Doesn't that say something?"

Frankie came up behind him. "Yeah, and we both know you’ll be spending it all
on what's-her-name, Margie or something?"

Roy ignored Frankie’s remark. "Come on Joe, I'm your brother. I'll pay you
weekly, I swear. I gotta have it."

Joe rubbed his chin again. "You're gonna land up marrying that girl and you
won't be able to afford her and the Corvette. You better think this over Roy. I know
you're darn serious about that girl."

Without warning something plopped into the pond making a splashing sound.
Roy came back to the reality of the pond. Regaining his composure, he watched the
daydream fade and remembered why he was there in the first place.
"I know you're down there. This is really important. There ain't much time left.
Come on, show your face."

Slowly, a patch of white started to emerge out of the pond. "What is your
problem now? Didn't I explain everything already?"

Roy sat down on the rectangular rock. "Please, you've got to prove to me that I'm
gonna go on. I just gotta see Mary. I know it's coming soon. Love like ours can't ever
die. Please tell me I'll see her soon."

Whitey rested her chin on the edge of a lily pad. She starred and sighed. "Roy,
where did you come from?"

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