The Magic Watch

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fem-Fan-Sci-Fi
Sometimes anyplace, anytime is better than where you're at.

Submitted: May 06, 2016

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Submitted: May 06, 2016

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“We caught him this time about two blocks away heading for a bus stop,” the retirement home manager said, “you really need to have another talk with him. Your father-in-law’s going to end up injuring himself and I don’t want you suing the center.”

The middle aged attractive woman, dressed in a professional blue pin striped pants suit with long platinum blonde hair neatly tied up Victorian style, nodded reluctantly.

“I’ll go speak with him,” Margaret Andrews replied, with a light trace of an English accent, “is he in his room?”

“No, he’s in the recreation room with the other residents. They’re watching a magic show.”

So Margaret headed off to the recreation room.

“Now everyone, please watch very carefully!” the man wearing a top hat and tuxedo called out to the sparse crowd in the rec room, “while I place Thumper the rabbit into my hat!”

The magician then placed the rabbit into his hat.

Margaret stood in the back and scanned the room. She quickly spotted a thin man with thick white hair that was casually brushed away from his tanned forehead. Her father-in-law, James Andrews sat in the middle row with a bored look upon his aged yet distinguished face. She walked up and touched his shoulder.

“James,” she whispered, “lets go for a walk.”

James glanced up with a look of surprise then subtly smiled, as he stood and was quickly escorted out of the room by his daughter-in-law. Outside, by a small foyer, they sat down on a bench.

“Well, what do I owe the honor of this visit?” James mischievously asked.

“You know why I’m here,” Margaret replied, “this is about the third time I’ve been called out here. You’ve got to stop sneaking out.”

James laughed, “Sneak out? I just walk out. Security really lacks at this establishment. Besides, you’d try to escape too if they tried to keep you drugged up all the time.”

“Those drugs are your prescriptions, James,” Margaret reminded, “they help keep you healthy.”

“Its not the ‘scrips I’m talking about,” James continued “it’s the covert crap they stuff into your food to keep you under control. They want to keep what I know under wraps.”

“Now you’re just being paranoid,” Margaret sighed.

“Then come over and visit me at dinnertime, sometime,” James offered, “I’ll order you the chef’s special with an extra helping of psychotropics.”

“Needless to say,” Margaret solemnly warned, “you need to stay put.”

“Duly noted, ma’am,” James sarcastically replied.

“I mean it,” Margaret scolded, “I pay a lot of money to this home for your care and comfort.”

“I think you mean my son’s trust funds pay for all of this, don’t you?!”

“Be that as it may, I’ll walk you back to the show.”

“Never mind, I’ve seen enough magic shows. If they wanted to see rabbits disappear, I could tell them a lot about disappearing rabbits. When I did research for the Physics lab way back when, we used to make a lot of things disappear. But you know all about that, don’t you Margaret?”

“Don’t start in,” she wearily replied.

James just smiled.

“Oh, by the way,” Margaret remembered, as she opened her purse and pulled out a small box, “I wanted to give this to you.”

She handed over the box. James slowly began to open it.

“I think it’s your old watch you had given to Tom,” she coldly added, “I thought he had taken it with him when he disappeared, but I found it when I was cleaning out his desk. Thought you would like it back.”

“You sure you don’t want to keep this?” James coyly said, “and give it to the next guy you marry?”

Margaret gave James a hastily glance of hatred before standing to leave.

“Oh, sit back down!” James smugly stated, “Don’t get so high and mighty. Stay awhile, God knows I don’t get many visitors these days since Tom vanished somewhere down the line.”

Margaret reluctantly sat back down, as James continued to examine the watch.

“This is a very special watch,” he said, almost to himself, “a magic watch. It was only used once. Well, actually twice but then again you knew about that too.”

“That’s why I figured you’d want it back,” Margaret said, “I don’t want it around. Besides, maybe it still works. Maybe you can use it one more time. You want to leave this place so badly, then why don’t you see if it does work and do us all a favor? I’m really getting tired of having to come down here for every little irritating thing you do.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Then you wouldn’t have to pay any more from the trust fund to keep me here under wraps, which translates into more money for you, right?”

Margaret didn’t reply, as a an uncomfortable silence danced between them.

“You’d had a birthday recently, didn’t you?” James finally asked, breaking that silence, “I know its not polite to ask a lady her age but how old were you?”

“You know the answer to that question as well,” Margaret sarcastically replied.

“Well, I’m talking about your actual age, not the age listed on that forged certificate you carry around.”

“Goodbye, James!!” Margaret snapped, as she stood once again to leave.

“If I do decide to use this watch then why don’t you go with me, Margaret? Maybe we’ll end up back where I first found you.”

Margaret Andrews then stomped off without offering a word of farewell.

“Goodbye, Margaret,” James called after, “thanks for giving me a shot out of here.”

He took the watch out of the box and carefully removed the back. He cautiously examined a micro-dot size crystal chip embedded within the works. He tapped it and held it to his ear. A slight hum put a smile on his delicately wrinkled face.

He adjusted the stem and felt the subtle electro-magnetic pulses that began to surround him. He closed the watch back up and clipped it onto his wrist, then headed back into the rec room as the magician continued his performance.

James noticed the magician was now attempting some mind reading tricks on a couple of women residents. James took a seat next to the aisle and sighed loudly.

“Hi, Jim!” he heard a female voice say. He glanced to his left to see Emma, one of the fellow residents at the center give him a big smile. She sat one seat over directly across the aisle. Next to her sat a little boy, probably no more than five or six years of age. The boy was entranced with the magic show.

Emma, well into her eighties, was still trim and very attractive. She had joined James many times at his dinner table in the past for friendly conversation. Emma was the closest thing to a friend he had here.

“Jim, I want you to meet my great-grandson Eric,” she softly spoke, as the magician prattled on, “Eric, this is my friend, Mr. Andrews.”

The boy pulled his attention away long enough from the show to turn his head and direct a quick smile James’s way.

“Hi, Mr. Andrews!” Eric, very adult like greeted him, then turned back to watch the show.

“Hello, Mr. Eric!” James amusingly replied

“He doesn’t get to visit often,” Emma explained, “so while his parents are at the mall shopping, they thought they’d drop him off here for awhile.”

“How…nice,” James replied, figuring Emma’s grandkids were just using their own kid to get some free babysitting.

“You going to the movie later?” Emma asked with subtle anticipation.

James had forgotten this was also movie night and the center would later herd them all into a room to show a DVD of some old film.

“Wish I could, Emm,” James answered, “but I’ve got other plans.”

“Oh,” Emma replied, her voice tinged with disappointment, “then maybe another time.”

‘Another time’ James laughed to himself, but suddenly he had an idea.

“Emma,” he softly said, as he left his seat and crossed the aisle to take the seat right next to her, “you ever thought about leaving this place?”

“Leaving?” Emma frowned, “Leaving for where?”

“Anyplace but here.”

“Now where would I go at my age?” Emma asked, as she stifled a laugh that James thought made her sweetly girlish.

“Someplace far away,” James explained in an almost dreamily tone, “someplace where they can’t tell you what to eat, when to sleep, when to be entertained. Someplace where they’re not waiting for you to die.”

“James!! Please!!” Emma scolded, glancing over to her grandson who was still fascinated by the magic show.

“Sorry, but I can’t stand this place anymore. I’m leaving.”

“Where are you going?”

“Someplace far away, where they can’t ever find me.”

“When?” Emma asked, this time with a look of skepticism.

“Tonight!” came James’s hasty answer, “Will you come with me?”

Emma giggled, “Oh, Jim. Quit your kidding.”

“I’m not kidding,” he replied, with a severe look upon his face that let Emma realize he was very serious indeed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about but I can’t go,” Emma replied, “I’d miss my family. My grandkids.”

James nodded, “Yeah. I know. Its easier for me cause I have no family.”

“Don’t you have a daughter-in-law who comes around every once in a while to visit?”

“As I said, I have no family.”

Emma understood.

“So you’re leaving tonight?” Emma tried to re-confirm.

Suddenly, the magician called out.

“I’m looking for a volunteer to step into this magic box!”

He then pointed to a six foot tall cheap looking black wooden box, “Do I have any volunteers?!”

“I’m leaving right now,” James answered, “Goodbye, Emm.”

James quickly stood up and walked down the aisle, “I volunteer.”

“Excellent!” the magician enthusiastically replied, “Lets give a hand to this brave gentleman.”

James was greeted with sparse applause.

“I’ll need another volunteer to be a witness as to what is about to happen tonight,” the magician continued, “so, who will be that volunteer?!”

“Me!!! Me!!!” a young voice called out.

“Eric!!” Emma said, trying to get her grandson to sit back down.

“No, that’s okay, Ma’am,” the magician addressed Emma, “magic works best around the presence of children.”

“Can I Grandma?” Eric begged, “Can I Pleeeaaassee???!!!”

“Behave yourself,” she reminded him, as the boy quickly ran down the aisle and joined James and the magician in front of the box.

“What’s your names, young men?” the magician asked.

“Eric!” Eric excitedly answered.

“James,” James boringly replied.

“Okay Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James will enter the Magic Box while Mr. Eric will watch to make sure there is no trickery on display tonight. Only real magic.”

As James stood by, the magician leaned over towards him and whispered.

“Now when you enter the box, just stand real still. You’ll feel yourself turning around on a wheel because that’s what you’ll be standing on. You’ll be behind a black curtain that will make the audience think you’ve just disappeared. I’ll say some mumbo jumbo and then you’ll be turned back around. I’ll open the box door and you will ‘magically’ reappear. Okay?”

“I used to do a lot of ‘magic’ with electro-magnetic fields many years ago,” James whispered back, “using real ‘magic boxes’.”

The magician just casually nodded and opened the box and motioned James in but before he entered James turned to address Eric.

“You be sure to take care of your Grandmother, okay?”

Eric smiled and nodded his head, just as James stepped into the box and the magician closed the door behind him. He could still hear the magician prattle on outside the box.

“Okay Eric, you’re going to be a special witness to a great magical and mystical feat tonight. So just keep your eyes and mind open and behold!”

James set the watch and waited. He didn’t know where he would end up but he knew it had to be better than this place. At least he was going someplace where they couldn’t find him and he wouldn’t be bringing back another conniving person like the last one, who would end up marrying his son.

Another round of sparse applause greeted the magician, as he opened the door to the Magic Box to reveal it was now empty. However, as the Magician began to say some more magic words, in preparation to make his volunteer reappear, the hair on the back of the Magician’s neck suddenly stood straight up, as the metallic magical pendulum necklace he wore levitated towards the box. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of bluish light.

“Awesome!!” Eric gasped out, as the magician was momentarily blinded, but still managed to keep his cool and continue the presentation. However, when he opened the box anticipating the ‘re-appearance’ of his volunteer, no one was there.

Eric quickly ran into the open box to look for James himself, but instead only discovered an old discarded watch laying on the floor inside the magic box.

“Eric!!! Get out of there!!” Eric heard his Grandmother’s voice cautiously call out.

“I’m okay, Grandma!!!’ he excitedly answered from the back of the box, “It’s Mr. James who is gone!!!”

There was a collective gasp from the audience, followed by some more sparse applause.

The magician was still confused. He looked behind the box. Nothing.

For unbeknownst to him and to everyone else in the audience that, along with some slight help from his volunteer James, he had just performed some real magic.


© Copyright 2017 Felix Fossi. All rights reserved.

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