Sharatan the Magnificent
He called himself Sharatan the Magnificent, after the Beta Star in the Aries Constellation. He himself was an Aries: the Ram. His element – fire. His ruler – Mars. His exaltation – the Sun. He was fourteen. He was a magician.
This was a magic trick he would do. He would stuff a silk handkerchief into his loosely made fist. Then, he would open his hand. Presto! The handkerchief would be gone. Here is another. He would tie a heavy knot in the center of a length of rope. Then, with a shake of the rope – Hocus Pocus! – the knot would disappear. He would make solid metal rings link – Abracadabra! – and unlink.
One day, after a performance for kids in the neighborhood, a girl from down the street lingered until they were alone. She reached out and fingered his black cape. She smiled. I know how you made that handkerchief disappear, she said. And she told him how. I know how you made those knots disappear, too. And she told him how. And I know how you made those rings link and unlink, and I know the trick with the wand, and the one with the colored blocks, and with those big playing cards. And the one with the black top hat and the cloth rabbit. And she told him how.
He was devastated. That night, he pushed his footlocker full of magic paraphernalia to the back of his closet and never opened it again. He stopped calling himself Sharatan the Magnificent. He stopped exalting the Sun and looking to Mars for guidance. He became a normal person. Eventually, he forgot that he had once been a magician, that he had once been Sharatan the Magnificent.
Then one day, many years later, a beautiful woman told him, I have fallen in love with you. And I have fallen in love with you, he told her. How did this happen, she asked. There is no logical explanation, he said. Don't try to figure it out. It simply can't be explained.
Magic, she said.
Magnificent, he said.
About the author:
George Dila’s short story collection, Nothing More to Tell, was published by Mayapple Press in 2011. His short story chapbook, Working Stiffs, was published by One Wet Shoe Press in 2014. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in numerous journals. A native Detroiter, he now lives with his wife Judith in the small Lake Michigan shore town of Ludington. As a GI in Germany in 1960, his pride and joy was his VW beetle.