Ron Palmer got up from the chair and walked over to the wall of
the stylish living room. There he admired a strange, antique-looking
wooden flute that reminded of the Orient and next to it a rope
that hung rolled up on a crooked hook. "Very nice",
he remarked as if he knew anything about the items. His host,
Sam Hudson, had put down his glass and got up too. "Yes,
yes, a unique collectible indeed, the flute and the rope."
A strange tone was in his voice. "I've obtained the items
from a fakir while vacationing in India. I'm sure you are familiar
with the old rope trick where a fakir plays the flute and the
rope is set in motion. This here is just such a rope but I only
use it as a decoration for my house", Sam explained. "I
never tried if I could play the trick myself".
"So, why don't you tell me more about your travels or try
to perform the trick anyway", Ron said cheerfully.
"Oh yeah, let's get down to the reason you are really here
today. So you want to borrow money from me, ho, ho",
he said impatiently. Ron Palmer was surprised about the sudden
change of topics. What was wrong with his friend today? Was he
just in a bad mood? And now this rejecting irony in Sam's voice
when he was talking about money. Sam's money, but Ron needed it.
How could he make his request if Sam was in such a mood, he wondered.
He felt the small gun in his chest pocket. He had thought of everything
because he really needed that money.
So far, Sam Hudson always has been Ron's buddy. They did a lot
of things together; vacationing together and such. Each one almost
was like the other's brother. But now, after they had not seen
each other for quite a while, Sam seemed to have changed. He was
no longer the open, friendly, talkative person he used to be.
"Just now when I need that money", he thought. "I
was hoping he would just give me the money without making a big
fuss. Then he wouldn't care either if it took me several months
to pay it back. Maybe even with a decent interest." He thought
of that and his prospects of starting a career. But for the career
he needed the money upfront and he noticed the cold metal of the
gun on his chest. "Would this really be necessary?".
The rope on the wall seemed to pay attention.
"How much do you need?", Sam asked suddenly and interrupted
the silence. "Oh, ehemm.... 35'000". Ron took a deep
breath and waited anxiously for Sam's reaction. "No, I don't
think you will get that from me," he replied with a smile.
Ron was flabbergasted. He began to get angry and even desperate.
"Damn, I need the money and I will get it!" he screamed
but saw that he was getting upset in vain; Sam was stubborn and
remained cool. "Well, then, 30'000". "No way",
was the quick response. "Yes! I've had enough!". Sam
smiled with satisfaction. "I need the money!", Ron squeaked,
agitated. He nervously pulled the gun and aimed it at Sam. Even
before Sam could get scared, Ron pulled the trigger. A shot interrupted
Ron's heavy breathing. Sam collapsed. His eyes still seemed to
say no. Ron considered briefly what he had just done and then
took the key to the safe from the body. The safe was behind the
two travel souvenirs and Ron put them down on the table. The safe
was unobstructed and he opened it. He searched through a pile
of documents until he found a checkbook. He wasn't interested
in cash as it would be easy to forge the signature on the check.
He pulled out a check for 40'000 pounds and put it in his wallet.
Then he put the valuables back and closed the safe. He returned
to the table where there were two wine glasses, still almost full.
He took his and drank to his future. For fun he blew into the
flute. Then he thought that he basically was a murderer now and
that murderers deserve to be killed just like the law says. So
the body would have to disappear. He thought that it would not
be a problem at all and that the affair would soon be forgotten.
He took another sip to his career and - swallowed wrong. Hadn't
the rope just moved? He put the glass down and started thinking.
He blew into the flute just before and then the rope moved. He
wanted to make the rope move again. "It should be given the
chance to salute me", he thought like in a trance from the
bliss about his future. He blew into flute hard so that it made
a horrible sound but also caused the rope to jerk. It started
to grow and lift into the air...
Ron started to play a tune and stared at the rope. It was already
halfway into the air and with snake-like movements it moved towards
Ron, more exactly towards Ron's neck... Ron was taken by all his
luck and didn't realize what the rope was doing. He played an
old children's song followed by a birthday song when the rope
put itself around his neck. "Hello, are you coming to me?
How nice of you", he babbled and was forced to stop playing.
Suddenly the rope tightened. Before Ron even realized what was
happening he already fell to the floor, strangled.
In far away India an old man smiled with relief. He was freed
from the curse of the magic rope that he gave to this European
some time ago.
Copyright © April 1980, Wasty, The Magic Rope
German title: Der indische Seiltrick
Reading time: approx. 6 minutes
Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com