Saving Grace – Kelly Sharp

My name is Kelly “Card” Sharp, the Queen of Diamonds and I am the world’s greatest magician.  There’s actually a tie between myself and somewhere around 8,000 other magicians for the title of world’s greatest.  We’re all the world’s greatest.  There’s a lot of room at the top when it comes to magic.   

I got into magic through theater class in school.  If there’s a school out there besides Reynolds High where you can learn about magic in class I’d like to hear about it.  The theater teacher was a funky older lady who wore bright colors and managed to be kind of racist by trying so hard to be super inclusive.  It’s a feat that a lot of older white ladies are good at accomplishing.  She felt that theater was about exposing her kids to all kinds of things to give them the breadth of life as she called it.   

That’s why one day a magician came to class to talk to us, which I don’t think happens in most theater classes.  He said that he was a descendant of Houdini and of Black Herman, neither of which were true.  After his demonstration he said he was looking for an apprentice and I volunteered.  The only reason being so I could miss 5th period.   Looking back on it now I’m surprised that it was allowed, a high school girl leaving campus with some random dude?  I’m not convinced that either the school or my parents signed off on that.   

Herman Houdini was a fine magician.  Not great.  But fine.  He had just started being able to support himself full time with magic.  Before he had been supplementing his income as a wedding photographer and a mall Santa.  He mostly taught me assistant stuff, you know because I’m a girl, but you can pick up a lot on your own just by watching if you want to.   

I learned enough of his art to start pulling some elaborate, and honestly very mean, pranks on people I didn’t like at school.  I was a shit back then I admit.  I felt like I had a special power, and what teenage girl doesn’t want to be special?  Nothing I was doing was that hard really in terms of magic skill, once you can open a locker with a pin you have a lot of options just from that.   

One of my pranks got a kid expelled and that’s when I realized I should cool it with that stuff.  I wish I could say that I came forward and admitted that I was the one who had done it and that other kid was let back into school.  But like I said, I was a shit then.   

I never told anyone, I only halfway admitted it to myself, but there was a part of me that thought I could use magic to become a superhero.  I can’t remember much about it but I have a memory ofan old movie I saw when I was a kid about a magician who gets involved helping the police with a case and uses his magician skills to fight crime.  I think it was called Murder By Magic or something like that. 

In my daydreams that was going to be me.  I was going to have diamond shaped throwing knives (just to knock the guns out of their hands obviously, not to hurt anyone) and fishnet stockings and a magician’s top hat and I was going to clean up the streets.  First here, but eventually in the big cities.  I don’t know if I really believed that was possible but when you’re a kid you don’t not believe things like that either.   

When I told Herman that I was thinking about magic as a career he dissuaded me but stopped just short of saying that girls should only be assistants.  To his credit despite his feelings he did put me in contact with Miju Kim, the Mistress of Miracles, saying that if I wanted to explore magic as a job I would be better served with her as a teacher than him.   

That’s when I met Bora and when I met Bora everything changed.  I had friends before but past a certain age I was only halfway in.  Because we’re not allowed to punch each other when we’re awful girls turn real mean at a certain age.  Maybe there’s girls out there like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but for me it was more like having a tiger by the tail.  You couldn’t not be friends with someone because if you didn’t you were an outsider and they got it the worst, but you kept some distance to protect yourself too.   

Bora was my first real friend.  I don’t know if it’s because she’s from Oklahoma or why but she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.  She had already been training with Mistress Kim for a few months and she was so nice and welcoming to me that it was a little overwhelming.  I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.   

Bora loves magic.  She loves it.  I got into it as an excuse to miss class but she had been telling everyone she was going to be a magician since she was a little kid.  I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it without Bora there.  Mistress Kim’s attitude was that she was training us for a job, she wasn’t there to befriend us or babysit us.  She seemed cold and distant to me.   

We did eventually become friends though.  She wouldn’t have told us otherwise.  A few days before our first show by ourselves, as magicians not as her assistants, Mistress Kim held up her hand and a coin from the table flew into her palm.  She asked us how she did it.   

I started thinking furiously about all the ways you could pull that off.  Bora immediately said she had no idea.  That’s the funny thing about Bora, she loves being tricked.  You’d think with all she knows about magic that she’d be pissed when someone can pull the wool over her eyes but it delights her.   

Mistress Kim said “It’s not a trick.  It’s real magic.” 

Leave a Reply