It probably goes without saying that magicians are lying liars who lie. Mistress Kim at various times told Bora and me that she was from China, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, Thailand, and Modesto. She has claimed that she invented many magic tricks that she obviously did not with the caveat that the person who really invented them stole the idea from her. It’s just a thing magicians do. Our entire job is tricking people, of course we lie. But it’s all in good fun.
When Mistress Kim told us that there’s real magic I mostly didn’t believe her. Mostly. There was a little flame inside me that never entirely went out. The part of me that wanted to be a superhero. That part of me flared up. Maybe you can’t take down the mafia with card tricks and flash powder, but with real magic? Hmm.
Mistress Kim told us about her mentor in real magic, Royale Fantastique. She had talked about him before but always in terms of stage magic. She told us that in addition to being the world’s greatest stage magician he was also a master of true magic. He traveled the world not only performing for kings and queens but that while he was doing that, he was also foiling wicked men and banishing evil mythological creatures on the side secretly.
In other words, a superhero.
Once she let us in on the secret she spent months trying to teach us both real magic. Once I felt something. Just the barest hint of something. Something from another world. But I couldn’t have taken hold of it any more than I could have taken hold of air. Maybe it didn’t even happen. Maybe I just wanted it to be true so much that I thought it happened.
Neither Bora or I was ever able to do any real magic. Mistress Kim was very disappointed. She admitted to us that she was never a very strong magician and was barely able to conjure up any real magic anymore. She told us that magic was once a mighty force in the world but no longer. She tried to let us off the hook, but I could tell that she was hurt by our failure. We tried as hard as we could but I think we let her down.
And that was it. I never thought about real magic again. Maybe I never really believed it. Maybe I thought it was just Mistress Kim pulling my leg. Maybe that’s why I failed. Bora and I went off to college and we started performing stage shows and I never thought about real magic.
Until I met Grace.