Magic Mike

For the full experience, read the preceding entries from the Collector before meeting Magic Mike.

Entry #2 Posted on April 24, 2019:

He chose his name, not me. I am blameless. Mostly. It was after the second trick he had pulled that week. Two days before he had produced a carton of cold cream when Sogs ran out of creamer. Today he pulled a lightbulb out of his pocket when one of the overhead lights burnt out. He stood up on his chair to replace the bulb and when the light flickered to life he announced to the crowd at Sogs, “I am the Magical Mike, at your service.”

Everyone clapped. I shouted out, “What about Magic Mike?”

He heard me through the tumult and adopted it on the spot. He cleared his throat and re-announced himself, “Magic Mike at your service.” There was more cheering along with a few interspersed whistles and whoops that were more fitting for the new nickname. A minute later the Soggy Sonnet was back to business as usual.

I was immediately sorry for the suggestion. The poor guy didn’t realize I stole the name from the stripper played by Channing Tatum. Ultimately, I think it added to his mystique – there was an added layer to the conversation swirling around the magician at Sogs.

The next day a customer was searching for a copy of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and Magic Mike pulled the 700-page tome out of his pants. The customer was so excited that he didn’t mind the origins of the book. Charlie, the owner, simply shrugged and sold the book. There was scattered applause for a moment and everyone went back to their business. That is except for me. I had to know how he did it. So, I stared.

Things went on that way for two weeks. Sogs ran out of whipped cream? Mike found some up his sleeve. The typewriter in the corner was broken? Mike found the right part to repair it behind a customer’s ear. The napkin dispenser was empty? Mike pulled a rope of the things out of his pantleg. Mike kept pulling tricks and I kept staring to no effect. I think he believed that everyone was always watching him – that nothing else in the room could be as interesting as Magic Mike. He would pull minor tricks when nobody but me was watching. He would produce a pen from his nose to sign a check and shake few half-dollar coins out of his sleeve to leave a tip. Mike was always on stage, so he never approached me about my staring, and my watchful eyes weren’t enough to catch on to Mike’s secrets.

Then one day Mike pulled his last trick – he disappeared. No one had any clue where he went. It didn’t matter much, though. If something was missing they would just get it from the shop down the block. That dude loved attention and he got it. I wish I knew how he pulled the tricks off. I wish I knew where he went. Mostly, I wish I knew why he chose Soggy Sonnet as his stage. It was like hearing a talented singer belt out tear jerking performance at open mic night. With talent like that why not perform somewhere people would appreciate it? I guess we all choose our own stage and it might not make sense to the people in the audience.