The Centre Of The Earth
The first trick she learned was atypical. Standing on the beach, with the castle behind you she stretched out her arms and the fireworks began to tumble down the castle walls, down the mound where it had sat for hundreds of years. Her mysterious mask flashed in the moonlight as her extravagant gestures built the atmosphere, the anticipation. Now the fireworks emerge from the sea, behind her. Quite the spectacle. The crescendo comes, an ear splitting noise and a blinding, mammoth flash on the beach between you and her. The smoke wafts around. She strikes a triumphant pose, arms still outstretched proudly, arrogantly even. Now the smoke clears to reveal, from nowhere, a monkey. A slightly bewildered monkey, it is true.
Her confident strut changed almost instantly, panicked she looked from side to side. Where was it? What the fuck had happened? Where in shitting-bollock-hell had a christing monkey come from? She looked aghast. The crowd gasped, then laughed. She ran away, off the beach. So did the monkey.
* * * *
some years later
Standing on the sea front, now without the mask, she is pedalling cheap card tricks on tourists. She is good, good enough to earn some food and drink every day, anyway. At weekends in the high season she even pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Knowing in her heart that now she is just a common street slight-of-hand-monger, nothing special. Hell; most tricks are better than the rabbit one these days. If only her big, first, untypical trick had worked that day, all those years ago down on that beach right there.
She never did find out what happened to the elephant.
with apologies to Sonido Lasser Drakar