Wasty Presents: Choice Of Your Pain

Murder On Stage

The light that was emitted by the magnificent, heavy chandeliers of the Paris municipal theater was slowly dimmed and finally turned off. The talk of the crowd turned into whispers and the last popcorn bags were crumpled up. A bright spotlight pointed at the curtain on the stage. The red drapes parted as if moved by an invisible hand and a young woman appeared with a shining smile that exposed her white teeth. She wore thick make-up and colorful feathers adorned her head. The skimpy costume glistened silvern and golden in the blazing light and pearls of sweat formed on her forehead. The announcer took hold of a microphone: "Bon soir, good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you to tonight's entertainment with magicians and artists from all over the world." After she had announced the programme and arranged streaks of her black hair, she said in a different tone of voice: "First I have the pleasure to introduce to you Monsieur Lars Törka from Sweden. He has quite an act. Let yourselves be taken by surprise!"
Now she explained some of the artist's background. A general murmur went through the audience as a yellow spotlight was aimed at a tall, blond person in a tuxedo. To begin with, the magician performed some simple illusions with a top hat, scarves and a pigeon. Then he made card decks disappear and had them reappear in duplicate and then he showed off some skillful handling of them. Under a soft applause he exited the stage and the announcer, having rid of the feathers, stood at the edge of the stage and put on her usual smile. "I hope you enjoyed this. Next are Mr. and Mrs. Hammet from England who will showcase their trained dogs." She disappeared again and right away two people dressed in British fashion came out accompanied by six dressed-up poodles that began climbing around a variety of gymnastic racks and bars. Secretly they were bribed, so to speak, with chunks of food. Now they showed even more acrobatics. The highlight was a three-tier pyramid. Under numerous applause the troupe left the stage. Another magician followed who showed tricks with fire. On his palm a blue flame flickered that seconds later continued to burn in a top hat and landed on his hair without burning it.
The performances got more exclusive and exotic each time and the audience applauded ever more frantically. The young lady appeared between each segment and added the appropriate commentary. After a juggler there was an intermission and the spectators started to chat. A few made their ways through the aisles and left the room. At the box office a few people still waited for tickets to at least catch the second part of the show. There were hardly any people on the streets.
After the sound of a gong the people returned to their seats and glanced impatiently at the closed curtain. At the ceiling clouds of smoke swirled and the small air conditioning hardly provided enough fresh air. It was hot and stuffy. But the spectators hardly noticed it as they were under the spell of the artists. The lights went out again and the announcer stood at the edge of the stage again. She had changed costumes. Now she wore a long evening gown. "Our programme now continues with Chen Hung from Japan. He's practiced the art of the fakirs for years. Here is Chen Hung."
Accompanied by oriental music the Japanese peeled out of the background. He looked like an Indian and of course wore a turban. First he extinguished torches with his mouth. Then he spit a huge cloud of fire out of his mouth and sat on a board with nails. Finally, he charmed a snake that slowly crawled out of a basket and obediently wiggled its way back in. Thundering applause followed. Quickly the board with nails, the basket and all the other utensils were carried off stage by assistants. After a few card tricks the artist again disappeared in the black background.
"And now we are nearing the completion of tonight's events," the announcer proclaimed, "but first the great Mr. Blossom Woolworth from Richmond will introduce himself to you and take you by surprise with his tricks. Stage ready for the master of magic." A large number of helpers put a small table with utensils on a podium on the stage.
Mysteriously the magician stood on the stage and the audience held its breath. A quick hiss and he held a tray in his hands that was loaded with three glasses that were empty. Even though that wasn't much of a trick yet, the audience was almost put under a spell by the hiss. He poured the first glass over the second and out of nowhere it filled with a green liquid that, poured into the third glass, turned blue and when poured back became invisible, therefore disappeared, again. He astonished the audience with many more magic tricks. Everybody stared at the stage with great interest. A coffin-shaped, rectangular box was put onto two supports after the table had been carried away. The announcer who obviously was going to be the assistant for the next trick stepped out of the black background, that was soaked in clouds of fog, and climbed into the box with attractive motion and the well-known smile. Under the watching eyes of the spectators the magician closed the lid of the box. The announcer's feet stuck out at one end and her head at the other end. The magician was handed a saw that he aligned with a notch at the center and started moving it back and forth. Saw dust fell to the stage floor.
After five minutes of total suspense he had sawed all the way through the box. One could still see the head that quivered slightly and the feet at the ends. Quickly someone took the saw from him. Accompanied by some mumbo-jumbo he folded the two halves apart. Mechanically the audience started applauding but soon it quieted down as blood was dripping from the coffin halves and innards became visible. The two halves stood separated on the podium. The head hung out of one end, then the body was interrupted and two feet protruded at the other end. The magician disappeared victoriously in the black background that was soaked in clouds of fog.


Copyright © December 1980, Wasty, Murder On Stage
German title: Der Auftritt des Magiers
95 lines
Reading time: approx. 5 1/2 minutes


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Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com