Put down that soldering iron, you don’t need a time machine to get caught up on what’s going on. Here they are, draped in a beautiful shade of “link blue”:
There’s a very bright light shining into your face so it’s tough to tell where you are but it smells like cigars covered in cheese and sounds like a group of people having a high five party. Once your eyes start to adjust you figure you’re on some sort of stage in front of a clapping live audience somewhere in… Turkey? You quickly dismiss that possibility because you’ve never been to Turkey and can’t confirm that it smells like cigars and cheese, and because every place you’ve visited on this journey has had a unique odour so this is nothing new. A voice booms over the loudspeakers, startling you.
“Give it up for our volunteer!”
The crowd goes nuts and you turn around and see a man in a tuxedo and large top hat, brandishing a wireless mic.
Next to him is a small table with three replicas of the top hat he’s wearing. Okay, you get it — the three rabbits you found after scratching the Leafs ticket has brought you to a magic show. Either that or you’ve finally made it to that famous haberdashery your youth basketball coach told you about where it’s as much about the experience as it is the hats.
As you stand all dopey-eyed, taking all this in, the magician grabs your arm more forcefully than you think necessary and leads you to the table with the hats.
“Our volunteer’s job is simple,” the magician begins as his assistant (a man who looks exactly the same as the magician except for his coveralls) passes him a pretty ugly white rabbit that you will later name “Jordy”. He turns toward you and continues, “all you must do is select the hat that the rabbit is under. If you are correct I will personally give you my entire fortune plus the secrets of the universe including one about how fire can be used to clean the tub. Of course, no one has ever been correct!”
The crowd goes nuts and you’re already bored of this. You’re pretty sure you saw your uncle perform this trick at his birthday party, only he used little goats.
The magician places the rabbit under the middle hat then begins shuffling the them like in three-card monte. Rather than humour the guy and pay close attention to his shuffling, you turn your back to the table and sit down on the stage.
“Looks like our volunteer is more confident than that outfit would have us believe!” jokes the magician.
You look down on your white cotton outfit and red canvas shoes and see that the once-pristine ensemble has attracted several strange stains and a few choice rips since this adventure started.
“Okay, time to choose. Which hat do you believe the rabbit is under?”
You stand up, grab the mic out of the magician’s hand and pretend to study each hat. You have some fun with the crowd and smell each one, which is tough because the stench of cheddar cigars is growing strong. You glance over to the magician and he looks pretty pissed.
“Well it’s definitely not this one,” you say as you remove the middle hat. Underneath is a basket of Christmas oranges. The magician snatches the mic back and gives a little twirl.
“You are correct! Feel free to take those home to your malnourished children,” responds the magician harshly. You don’t have kids but the crowd doesn’t know that. What the fuck? You decide to move things along.
“If it’s this one I’ll eat my own hair,” you point to the hat on the left and the crowd laughs uproariously. They’re back on your side. You choose the left hat and sure enough, a heap of Christmas holly lies underneath.
“Oh my, there’s only one left so it simply must be the rabbit. I might finally have to give away my vast fortune and wealth of secrets. I guess you won’t need to eat this holly for Christmas dinner as you’ll be able to afford a real bird for once!” the magician says with a flourish of his hands.
Rather than let this guy keep telling you what to do, you ignore his insult and lift the hat on the right before he can prompt you. Underneath is this old newspaper clipping:
You grab the clipping and completely tune out everything else around you. You make out the words “idiot” dand “baby licker” from the magician but whatever, you think you’ve found a way out of here. The clipping’s date is December 14 so you’ll just have to find a way to activate it. You’re momentarily distracted by the crowd gasping. You look over to see the magician removing his own hat and just like your uncle taking off his pants to reveal a half-dead goat, the rabbit is underneath.
“Sorry, you lose, the rabbit was under this hat. Classic trick. Sorry, you do not get my fortune and you must now leave the show. Give it up for our volunteer!”
You try to put aside your embarrassment and get this date gate activated before the assistant comes to drag you off the stage. You try rubbing the clipping, kissing it, scratching it and still, nothing. The whole crowd is laughing at you. Then, you get an idea. You walk over to the magician and snatch the mic out of his hand.
“Here’s some real fuckin’ magic,” you say, holding up the newspaper clipping. You start rambling off as many magic words as you can think of. “Abra Cadabroo, mooby doo, screeny deem and wonder stew, magic words and boffy meer, get me the fuck out of here.”
The newspaper article vanishes in a poof of smoke and left in your hand is a shitty rolodex. Geez, some treat. Your disappointment quickly fades as you yourself fade from the stage and into the next world. Before you’re fully gone you see the magician barfing on the stage. Seems you spooked him. The next time you attend a magic show is many years in the future when magic is real and very scary.