The crowd gasped as Megalos the Magnificent flicked open his hand, revealing that the handkerchief was gone. This was a good crowd. He loved it when they were impressed by that part; that wasn’t even the real trick. Making things disappear was easy. With a satisfied smirk he glanced from the empty right hand that they all stared at with open mouths to the other, which now held the handkerchief he had borrowed from the woman in the front row. Right on cue, the eager eyes of the crowd followed his. He hadn’t been sure they could gasp further, since not enough time had passed since the previous gasp for a full exhalation, but they managed.
The magician removed his gigantic top hat and bowed.
“I don’t believe it,” stated a short round man that stood on his tippy toes in the back. He muttered more to himself than to anyone else. It was the sort of statement of disbelief that betrayed that he was, at the very least, impressed.
“You don’t?” the magician asked, straightening himself and replacing his hat atop his clean, white hair.
“Well, I didn’t mean-” the man stammered uncomfortably.
“How would you like to see it again, then?” asked the magician, an eyebrow raised and a politician’s smile on his lips.
“Well, alright,” said the man. He was more comfortable now, seeing in the magician’s smile that he had not been offended.
Megalos threw his arms out to his sides as far away from each other as they could possibly go and started chanting the pseudo-mystical sounding crap that he had made up to be the magic words. He tried not to cringe when he felt a sharp pain in the forearm of his left arm under his sleeve. Big John was getting tired of running back and forth and had bit him, it happened on occasion. Big John was a grouch, but it was worth it; nobody could figure out how the tricks were done, so they kept coming to see them. He and Big John were making a fortune.
The magician closed his left hand over the handkerchief and turned both hands around, showing the audience only their backs. He felt Big John pull the handkerchief from his hand and start crawling down his arm as fast as he could. When Big John was about to the elbow of his right arm, the magician stopped chanting and opened his left, revealing that the hanky was gone. They all watched the other side this time, knowing the trick. He could see them analyzing his every move and twitch, contemplating if that could move a handkerchief. They had no idea that there was a little man shoving the handkerchief into the magician’s hand.
It was not surprising in the least to Megalos that they were still surprised and delighted when he opened his hand to reveal that, once again, the handkerchief had traveled to the other hand. The round man in the back didn’t speak again, but instead stood there on his tippy toes with his mouth hanging open.
Together Megalos the Magnificent and Big John did other tricks, even more unbelievable than the traveling handkerchief. There was one where a member of the audience signed a playing card and put it back into the deck, which the magician put into his coat pocket. Later, after a long story about his magical coat that likes to play cards, he would pull the deck out and the signed card would be on top. Of course, Big John had searched through the deck and moved the card. Audiences came up with a myriad of explanations for how this trick was done, but the idea that a tiny man simply sorted through the cards while it was in the magician’s pocket never crossed a single mind.
Megalos and Big John did all the tricks that the two of them had, and by the end, the entire crowd was a befuddled mass of disbelief: just how he liked them.
It was twenty minutes later, in the dressing room, when he pulled Big John from his pocket and set him on the table top next to a basket of muffins. Big John was two inches tall and sweat was soaking through his tiny shirt and overalls; the shows were a lot of work for him.
“That was a great show, Big John,” Megalos said, walking to the other side of the room to fetch him a tiny towel and a small cup of warm water.
“Ever think,” Big John panted, “maybe we’re goin about this all wrong?” He began to undress.
“How do you mean?” asked the magician, setting the cup down next to the tiny man.
“I mean,” the man paused as he pulled his shirt off over his head, then started toward the cup, “it’s lot of work for me.” As he began to climb the cup, the magician picked up the little naked body and helped him into the warm bath without saying anything. Once settled into the warm water, Big John said, “I mean, don’t you think people would pay even more money to see me just walk’n around, rather than running all over the place under your clothes?”
The magician pulled up a chair and sat down, thinking this over.
“I mean, they aint never seen a two inch tall man before, and it’d be easier, right? Let’s just show ’em the truth,” said Big John as he climbed out of the cup. Megalos helped him out, then handed him the washcloth.
“Honestly,” said the magician finally, “If we didn’t dress it up as a magic trick, I don’t think they’d believe it.” The magician then got back up to go fetch the matchbox that held Big John’s entire wardrobe.