Excerpt From ‘The Lonely Prince’ – My Grandfather, The Magician

From my upcoming graphic novel series/memoir. This is an insanely rough first take, but here’s the raw of it, the explosion of my feelings on the page.

His grandfather was a Music Man.

Violin, piano, organ, various brass instruments, singing, dancing; he loved to spin stories. He could tell you the same story time and time again, and every single retelling was like a new song. It kept you perched, standing on air, ears perked towards the sound, full of joy, full of laughter, thinking, “oh! I hope he tells the one about how he met Mickey Rooney again!” or “how he made the Vice President laugh so hard he fell out of his chair.” His stories were larger than life. They lifted you up, enveloped you, and placed you inside them; flewn within the bright sepia pages; a land surrounded in swirling glowing edges woven into his gestures. He spoke them with his entire body; he spoke them with great articulating swoops of his brass dictorial fingers.

But most of all, he loved to make people laugh, Charlie Chaplin mannerisms. He’d walk up to strangers in street malls, boardwalks, strips of the crowded solitary planet; where pedestrains pass by one another as if trained to. “Ignore the other walkers, their faces, their lives.” “Stay to your course.”

“Look away.”

Grandfather broke these barriers. He crossed the isolated paths, right into their lives, and his words smiled. “Got a quarter?”

But of all the endless moments, laced with the soothing scratch of a dull-sharp needle widdled against old records, once precisely pointed, now bopping zigged against the music feild; paired with the scent of mothballs, and ancient wood in whimsical basements; odds and ends from a life spent living; catching the fire; jumping onto moving trains; backflips into comical stanses; of it all, the one thing that the lonely prince remembered most, was the magic.

He took it up as a hobby, but it became so much more to the young boy prince. His grandfather was a Magician. He could pull a quarter out of your ear; he could paint a colouring book with a wave of his fluttering hand. The man became legend, a walking talking tall tale.

He died in 2006, the family was broken. There would be no more happy gatherings around the piano, singing ‘Do You Know The Muffin Man’ all together, as a family, Dad singing the harmony.

Grandfather kept us together, an everlasting fulfillment of laughter and joy. We thought it would never end, and his death left us without a magic, without majesty, a one of a kind presence that we had all come to look forward to, that would always be with us; now pulled away; an empty piano bench. One by one, we died. He feels the strain too. It’s coming. This gaping emptiness, if not filled anew, it’s coming.

The nights are often restless now, nightmares, terrible things, but there was a magic trick he learned in dream, his grandfather taught him. First he blew up a balloon, popped it, glitter, light expanding, and inside there was another ballon with a flower inside perfectly intact. Or was it just the balloon? He can’t remember now. The lightning was dark and light at the same time. Flashing shadows as if they were light, but also simultaneous. The secret of the trick was revealed. While blowing up the first balloon, he quickly placed the first balloon within his mouth, carefully hidden, then, while pushing air into the first balloon, he discretely and precisely placed the second inside, the positioning was dictated so quickly, the delicate balancing act seamless and yet intrinsically organized so that it inside stayed intact while the needle collapsed the outer balloon. To ignite the spark, he placed a match perfectly timed by the pin when popped, the inner balloon was placed against the light so precisely, an act of scientific brilliance, that it expanded reacting to the heat just enough to replace the positioning of the previous balloon, without popping it.

They say revealing how a trick is done ruins the magic, but I do not believe this to be true. If done right, sometimes the enchantience resides within the hidden yet tactical act of doing so. Sometimes the feat itself, seemingly impossible to an onlooker, yet accomplished, is the actual magic part. Suddenly the magic trick is no longer a trick, no longer deception.

It is an art, true magic.

The lonely prince learned that night, that when you do something ‘right,’ even if the secrets of the method or outcome are revealed, the work behind doing so can become more fantastical than the ghost of the invention, the surface of performance, no longer an illusion.

The magic is not lost.

The trick becomes real.

Thanks for lookin’.

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