The Magicians’ Sons A wave of the wand and the dining table’s gone. Where oh where is the bratwurst...? They start off in training capes that are nothing more than tablecloths, and they accessorize with paper mache top hats to match. It’s an embryonic stage of trial and error, and the children possess limited magical know-how. The water bill gets mixed in with Aces of Spades. Quarters become lodged in ear canals. Crickets are captured, placed in matchboxes, then cut in half with Exacto knives and disastrous results. Growing pains in the form of severed remains. Each botched flick of the wrist: one step closer to a successful trick.
The children grow into awkward adolescents. Complete with gangly limbs and blemished skin. Compounded with the stigma of being a magician’s kid–having to live up (or down, depending on the crowd) to his name. They often eat lunch alone or with other middle school misfits. Still very much the apprentice, they are able to produce doves from the palms of their hands, but can’t make teenager trauma and drama disappear.
In their later teens they’ve learned to catch bullets in their mouths, but get shot down more than the rest of their classmates. They’ll mimic fathers who met their mothers by using simple pick-up lines like, Abracadabra... I have nothing up my sleeve... Can I get a volunteer...? And most girls will ignore them like excess smoke and mirrors. But some will fall hard like a faulty house of cards. Soon after, they must decide whether to give it all up and become straight-shooters, or become juniors and pursue a life of deception and illusion that so often ends in disbelief, and divorce.
She replays the video (again) like rewinding life. Her hair was bigger. Her eyes had shimmer. Her co-ed energy: the opening acoustic melody. A careless riff of feel-good frenzy. She hadn’t yet met him. He wasn’t into that music, nor she learned, would he ever be. In fact, she would only ever know little about him.
She swayed side to side just feet from the stage. The lead singer’s sweat falling down onto her face like alternative rock rain. She got lost in cloudbursts; willful groupie to the night. Never the type to believe in warning forecasts or umbrellas.
They met just after college. She thought herself lucky. She landed a job. She landed a new life. She landed a man. Well-ahead of her ten-year plan. And the beginning was like every beginning. Honeymooned, Hollywood, coated in sugar. Eggshells not yet part of the red carpet. Teeth never introduced to the tongue. But the middle came quickly. Words drew blood. And their home became just a house. And hurt(ing) became turnabout.
The concert was etched in film. Perpetual playback on MTV--days when they played music. Her contagious smile not conscious of the camera. A typical fan dancing during a drum solo. But footage of her made it into the video. And she smiled whenever she saw it, no matter the status of her mood. Hometown girl made good, if only for three seconds. If made good means looked good, and was simply lucky.
He didn’t say goodbye when he left. But mumbled something about fifteen seconds, fame, and stuck between decades. She didn’t listen and rarely did. He tried to explain. A last-ditch effort upon remnants of tears and deaf ears. She was tired and stared through the screen, mouthing lyrics, as if each breath fed the soul of the girl in the audience, and resuscitated the woman’s current life.
The Men who make it Rain
Contrary to contemporary, urban popular belief, these men don’t sit around in strip clubs showering down their abundance like a lewd monsoon. That’s not to say they are angels. Those men are the rainbow-makers. Halo- glowing harvesters of light from darkness. These men commit their share of questionable acts. Overfed egos result in floods. Insecure manhood is manifested in famine. They are a peculiar assortment. A collection of wishy-washy stock often lost in the clouds.
As children, they were consumed with water. Nautical aficionados who dove headfirst into their passion. Some rode jet-skis in Castaic Lake. Others won Junior Olympic swimming championships. Still, others liked to simply splash in the Atlantic with their families. But they had something else in common. All were lost in accidents doing what they loved. Crashing into sudden docks. Cardiac arrest from over-held breaths. Being pulled out to sea for eternity. The men who make it rain were once boys who loved the water who became sons that died and live as ever-present trauma in their loved ones’ lives. You could take the deceased boy out of the water, but not the water out of the deceased boy.
Drizzle or downpour. Torrential showers or light dew. Bipolar weather conditions coinciding with their mood. But who could blame them for any hint of bitterness? They rode the crest of waves and were diminished directly to foam. They do their best to deal with unresolved feelings. On good days, raindrops trickle down upon skin like infant laughter. Goosebumps develop like a delightful Morse code reply.
The bad days are too dark to talk about.
About the Author: Daniel Romo's book of prose poems, When Kerosene's Involved, can be ordered here. He reps Queens University of Charlotte MFA, high school creative writing teachers, and the Long Beach Barons. He lives at danielromo.net