The sound of applause caught the old wizard’s attention. He stopped walking and looked at the end of the block. A small group of people dispersed from around a young girl, each going their own way with a smile on their face. The young girl bowed several times toward the parting crowd; her long silver hair caressed the dirt. After the crowd dissipated she bent down to pick up the bag she left out for donations. She interested the wizard enough that he changed direction to walk toward her.
“Excuse me,” the wizard caught up to her as she started to walk away. “That must have quite a show. They all seemed entertained enough,” he nodded at the small bag of coins. The old man reached into his robe and pulled out a handful of golden coins. “Can you entertain me?” he asked her with a mischievous smirk. The young girl smiled and dropped her bag.
“I can try,” the girl slid the sleeves of her shirt up. The wizard closed his hands around the coins.
“No. This isn’t a donation, I’m paying for entertainment,” he shrugged. “That being said, I won’t pay you if I’m not entertained.” The girl nodded.
“That won’t be a problem for…,” she straightened her back and dropped her hands to her hips. She held her elbows out and stood heroically. “…Emily the Entertainer!” A silky black cap popped out of the back of her shirt and flapped in the air. The wizard locked eyes with Emily and picked a single golden coin out of the pile in his hand and dropped it into his pocket. She smiled and shook her hands rapidly in the air.
“Alright, I’m still warmed up from the last show, I’ll skip to the best one.” Emily stepped closer to the wizard and held her hands flat, palms up.
“As you can see,…” she flipped them over to show him both sides. “… there’s nothing in my hands,…” she continued to flip her hands. Palms up again, then the back of her hand again. “Except this,…” she flipped her hands palms up again, but this time she held a box of playing cards. “…deck of cards.” She noticed a faint smile tug at the corners of the old man’s lips. He did not take a coin away. Emily opened the box and pulled out the cards. She fanned them all out with the elaborate red design on the backs face up for him.
“Pick a card, but don’t show it to me,” she asked him. The wizard stared at the red designs then he picked a card out from the middle. He looked at the 3 of clubs, then dropped his hand to return the card to Emily. As he neared the fan of cards in her hand he realized the card backs all changed colors. The red design was now blue on all the cards in her hand.
“Hey, they’re different. Is that part of the trick?” he asked Emily. She smiled.
“Oh yeah! Sorry I forgot to mention it,” she grinned. “You should check your card again to make sure you remember it.” He glanced at the card in his hand, it also had a blue back now.
“What?” He brought it up and looked at the three of clubs again. “She’s good, let’s see how good.” The wizard left a magic mark on the card. Something only he could see and find anywhere. “I’ll remember it,” the wizard said. He tried to put the card into an a green backed deck splayed in her hands. He glanced at the card in his hand, it also had a green back now. The wizard brought the card closer to look for his mark, but it was nowhere on the three of clubs.
“Wow, how’d you do that!” the wizard asked. “This card has changed twice.
“Thrice,” Emily corrected him. The wizard’s eyes rolled upward as he tried to think it through. He shook his head.
“No, it started red, then it went to blue, then it went to green. That’s two chang,”
“Then purple after green,” Emily smiled.
“I don’t remember pur-..” The wizard stopped and looked at the purple design on the back of the card in his hand. “How!?” he asked. Emily shrugged and smiled.
“Magic. Kindof like this magic here,” she held up a 3 of clubs with the wizard’s glowing mark on it. “But way better.”