Merlin

There’s a knock at the door. Mom opens the door and who’s standing there? Why it’s world-class magician Doug Henning. Mom invites Doug inside. They stand in the kitchen. Doug says, Is Charlie home? Mom tells Doug that not only is Charlie not home, but that he hasn’t been home for years because he’s dead. Doug puts his hands on Mom’s shoulder and tells her how sorry he is. Then he reaches into his jacket and pulls out a chubby joint. He asks Mom if he can light it and Mom says yes. Doug pats himself down and then asks Mom if she has a lighter because he can’t find his. Mom says she doesn’t have a lighter. Doug says, No problem and produces a flame out of the tip of his thumb. Mom and Doug sit down at the kitchen table and talk about Charlie. Mom tells Doug that Charlie died in a motorcycle accident. Doug smokes the entire joint and pulls out another one. This time he lights it with his other thumb. He offers Mom’s kid a hit and Mom says she doesn’t want her kid smoking until he’s at least a teenager. While Doug and Mom are talking the kid turns on the television. On the sports channel a hockey player is being interviewed. The hockey player says that the reason he has decided to retire so young is because he’s met a woman and she doesn’t want him to play hockey anymore and he’d rather be with the woman than play hockey. The interviewer asks the hockey player what could possibly be the reason this woman would not want him to play hockey anymore, especially since he’s right in the middle of what could a historic season, what with him making a run at the consecutive games with a goal scored record, and the hockey player says he’s not at liberty to discuss the reason, that it’s between him and the woman he loves. The interviewer wishes the hockey the best of luck in all his future endeavors, and the hockey player gives the camera a look (the kid doesn’t understand what the look means, and he never will, because the kid has trouble reading not only other peoples’ facial expressions, but his own as well), a silent plea for help, as if the hockey player is a hostage and being forced to put on a happy face for the public, as if he wants someone to step him and help (without him having to ask), to stop him from making what he knows is going to be the biggest mistake of his life, but the look also makes it seem as if he knows no one can help him, that he’s on his own, and that’s what the look means, this sad, apologetic look he gives to the camera, which then mercilessly cuts away from the hockey player to highlights from a college football game. Mom tells the kid to turn down the television. She says it’s too loud, but it’s not too loud, it’s just that Doug is too soft-spoken. The kid decides to turn off the television instead, because if he can’t hear something then he doesn’t want to look at it either. Mom walks Doug to the front door, tells him it’s nice to see him again after all these years. Doug says he’s going to be starring in show, it’s called Merlin, it’s a musical with illusions, and he’ll leave some tickets for her and the kid if they want. Mom says, Thanks, Doug. Doug says, My pleasure, and the kid watches as Mom and Doug hug. Then he watches as Doug gets on the ground, sits in the lotus position, and slowly floats up, up, and away.

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