The Magic Man

Ladies and gen­tle­men!” Moz­ack swung his arms out wide to take in the crowd, “tonight we have a real treat for you!”

The show had been going well. Pyro­tech­nics wheedled shocked gasps from the crowd, the impossible was just believ­able enough for people to laugh and smile and applaud and not run in fear. That was the secret, Moz­ack thought, keep them believ­ing it was all just a game or a trick. It was only the chil­dren who cried because they could see the real magic.

For my next trick, my assist­ant and I will per­form the reverse bul­let catch! As you can see, Z has brought out a pis­tol. Give me the pis­tol, Z.”

Tak­ing the gun, he aimed it at a sack of flour hanging at the side of the stage and pulled the trig­ger. The blast echoed around the theatre and people covered their ears. First, a cloud of white dust bil­lowed from the sack, then flour began pour­ing from the two holes left by the bullet’s passage.

Loaded and func­tional, as you can see,” Moz­ack con­tin­ued, “now, Z will take the gun, shoot at me, and I will catch the bul­let in my teeth.

Oh-ho! I hear you call! We’ve seen this before, Moz­ack! A bul­let catch? How simple! Well, not tonight, ladies and gen­tle­men! For this trick, my back will be turned! I will catch the bul­let in my mouth from behind!

Let us begin!”

Moz­ack walked to stage right, Z to stage left. Z raised the gun.

Now, ladies and gen­tle­men, we need com­plete silence for this trick, oth­er­wise things could go cata­stroph­ic­ally wrong.”

The audi­ence was utterly hushed, some of them still with their ears ringing from the first shot. Moz­ack breathed in the awe, the wor­ship and the hint of belief.

He turned away from Z and shut his eyes. He held his arms out straight at his side and breathed slowly, wait­ing to make the magic hap­pen. There was a bang, but Moz­ack didn’t hear it. Half his head had been blas­ted across the stage cur­tains, a bul­let lodged in his teeth.

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