Bag of Tricks

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Originally written for a class focusing on storytelling. Had the restriction of it being between 500-1500 words. Being posted here for posterity.

Submitted: March 29, 2018

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Submitted: March 29, 2018

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Bag of Tricks

 

My name is Thomas Walden. I’m an audio technician for a local news station in Los Angeles. I live in a small one bedroom apartment in East Los Angeles. It’s nothing special but it works for me. Every day I would take the exact same roads home. Every single day. So the real question becomes, why did I decide to go a different way? And how on this Earth did my little detour end up with me outside of an old magic shop in the middle of downtown Los Angeles? Every bone in my body told me not to go inside, but something inside me couldn’t resist the temptation.

The last thing I expected to find after walking into this old magic shop was an old man passed out on the floor. Now I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a good samaritan but what else could I do but try to help him? After about three straight minutes of trying to wake him up he finally stirred awake.

“What are you doing here?” Asked the strange old man.

“I was just coming in to look around and you were passed out on the floor.” I took a good look around and it was a total mess. “Did a tornado come through here or something?”

“Not this time, I don’t think.”

“Do you need help cleaning up?”

“Don’t bother you’d just get everything wrong.”

I’ve lived in LA going on three years now. During that time I’ve encountered a guy who apologized to everyone he passed by because he thought about pickpocketing them, to a lady who insisted that all of the world’s leaders were being controlled by a race of sentient goldfish in their brains. After seeing all of these things, this old man was still one of the strangest people I’ve ever run into.

As he got up to start cleaning I got a better look at him. You could definitely tell he was old, but mostly because of his graying hair and beard, otherwise he was scarily in shape. Old dude would put most of the guys at the station to shame.

“You just gonna stand there and stare at me or are you gonna buy something?” He said suddenly.

“Oh, um… honestly I have no idea why I came in here.”

“Well you’ll have no problem knowing why you left.” He then starting pushing me toward the door. I push against him, which is much more difficult than I imagined.

“You’re just going to turn away a paying customer?”

“If you didn’t notice I’m a bit busy trying to clean up this pile of junk so if you would please---”

“I haven’t even had a look around yet.”

This bickering continued for a while. Honestly I don’t even know why I was so adamant to stay, I just felt like I needed to look around. As we continued to exchange increasingly more angry dialogue I began to notice the atmosphere felt a bit… off.

“Look could you just give me a few minutes to look around?” I asked desperately.

“I don’t have the time for this!” The old man shouted. “Now I would advise you to leave my property. Right. Now!”

After this latest outburst he pushes me so hard that I go flying out into the street. Which is impressive because at this point I was in the middle of the store and the street was about 20 feet away. This was also a bit problematic because this is LA where traffic is constant and crazy. As I was closing my eyes and preparing for my life to end suddenly after being pushed down into the street by an old man I noticed that about 30 seconds had passed and I was still alive. I open my eyes to a man shouting from the inside of his car which is not even a foot away from my body and the old man keeled over on all fours panting heavily.

I took about 10 minutes of verbal abuse from the portly bald fellow who nearly killed me until he realizes he needs to be somewhere and drives off at increasingly high speeds. The old man has since retreated back into his shop and locked the door. I stood there for about another 10 minutes until I have the good sense to get back into my car and drive myself home. It takes me about 30 minutes to get home and for the rest of the day I couldn’t do anything else but wonder how in the hell I was still alive.

 

 


 

 

The next day was no better. I went to work and was downright awful at my job. I could do nothing but think about the previous day. My boss asked me if there was something wrong and I took the opportunity to get the rest of the day off.

I immediately drove to the magic shop, burst through the door, and yelled for the old man.

“My name’s not old man!” He shouted from the back.

“Then what is your name?”

“You can call me Lyle.”

“Well then, Lyle, maybe you can explain to me what the hell happened yesterday?”

“Look if you’re gonna try to sue me I was in my right to---”

“I’m not looking to sue you, old man, I want to know what you did that pushed me 20 feet on the street, and then what you did to make a car drive 40 miles an hour to stop on a dime!”

At this he stood there flustered for a moment. He struggled for a minute to try to think of the right response, but in the end seemed to come up short because what he said was very simple:

“Son, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Well why don’t you try me.”

He looked confused after this, almost as if no one had ever confronted him about this before. Then all of a sudden he has a realization and run over to one of the several bookshelves around. He pulls a book, skims through it a bit and then shuts it.

“Son, prepare for your entire world to be changed.”

He then started to wildly tear pages from the book until nearly every page was scattered on the floor. I was obviously very confused at this point. Then he began to make strange hand symbols and mumbling to himself. After a short while of this I notice some of the pages begin to move. Then soon after that all the pages end up about three feet in the air completely still. The pages then begin to start rotating around Lyle and their speed begins to increase. They spin and spin and spin until eventually they’re merely a blur around his body. The book then floats in the air and opens up as all the pages shoot themselves into it one by one until none of them remain in the air. The book gently floats down into Lyle’s hand and he looks over at me.

“Magic. Magic would be the answer you’re looking for.”

I was in total awe of what I had just witnessed. I probably stood there with my jaw agape for 5 minutes before I could bring myself to say anything.

“What the hell was that?” Upon reflection I could’ve asked something a bit more probing.

“That was merely a simple restoration spell for inanimate objects. Even a child could do something like that.”

I didn’t know what to say at this point. All I could do was stand in awe of this man I knew only as Lyle. After about an hour of questioning and more small demonstrations I eventually convince him to teach me something, anything. He eventually hands me a page with a single spell on it.

“This spell is probably the simplest one I know. All you have to do is follow the directions on the page and it should work accordingly.”

I was ecstatic. So much so I couldn’t even think of a response aside from embracing the old man. I told him I would be back the next day to learn more and immediately darted off. After I got home I discovered that I was exhausted and fell asleep immediately.

The next day I attempted to return to the shop I found only an empty building. I asked the neighbors and they insisted there was never a magic shop anywhere near here.

After this shock to my system I would spend the next few weeks questioning if I had just had a psychotic episode or something. I would go to work, come home, go to sleep, then repeat. I settled into all my old routines. It wasn’t until I had to do laundry that I stumbled upon the piece of paper Lyle had given me. I read it three times over before even attempting it. I made the hand sign and then spoke the words:

“SIN FAN MEI IGNISTIS!”

 


© Copyright 2020 Jacob Field. All rights reserved.

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