Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Whodini “Magic’s Wand”
 Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit”
 Gary Jules “Mad World”
 Steve Miller Band “Abracadabra”
 Lisa Stansfield “All Woman”
 Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus “We All Stand Together”
 Neil Richardson “Mastermind”
 Doop “Doop”
 Pilot “Magic”
 Queen “A Kind Of Magic”
 Europe “The Final Countdown”
 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell on You”
I wish I possessed a magic wand. There are so many people I hold dear to me who are suffering, so many hardships I wish I could wipe out, so many glorious smiles I wish I could strengthen, and so many slates I’d wipe clean, if only I had myself one of these mystical staffs. I promise I’d do good with it and treat my magic wand with the utmost of care. If only there was a way of ascertaining such a piece of kit then heaven and earth would be about to receive an almighty reshuffle. Alas, to my knowledge, nobody has yet patented this design. I do hear that Harry Potter has one knocking about in his dormitory and would ask him for a lend if it weren’t for that pesky Professor McGonagall. She is insistent that I wouldn’t be able to harness the immense power and has banished me from Hogwarts indefinitely, insisting that the new Quidditch season is about to begin and there are far better ways it can be put to use than donating it to such a foolish young child as myself. Naturally I object to being called a foolish young child as I’m forty-two now dagnabbit and therefore deserve to be known as a foolish middle-aged man. Nevertheless, I guess she has her reasons.
That said, I have managed to procure myself a magic wand of sorts, after scouring through eBay for items to assist in my wizardry. I have no idea whether or not it is authentic but the seller did have a 4-star rating and listed the item as being in excellent condition. This morning it arrived and I cannot wait to try out my fresh acquisition. Needless to say, the very first thing I shall do is to help those who I feel genuinely deserve that stroke of luck, but it would seem wasteful of me not to have a little fun with it directly afterwards. So here’s my plan Grueheads, I thought it’d be wise to keep a few spotters on hand, while I ascertain how to harness its spellcraft. Let’s just assume that I’ve already used it for the greater good and move swiftly onto the fun part shall we? It’s high time we get down to the incantation and I plan to cast many a hex before our time here is through, just to prove to myself that it isn’t hoodoo. If you think I’m going off the rails a little, please feel free to supply me with that reality check, as magic has a tendency of overwhelming its user if not practised correctly and I don’t particularly relish the prospect of becoming seduced by malediction. Anyhoots, I guess it’s time to find out what this wizard keeps up his sleeve don’t you?
First things first, I need to start small, and there seems no better intermediate trick to commence with than the old rabbit from a hat routine. This one should be bread and butter and requires little more than your bog-standard Abracadabra to instigate. Bunnies are cute right? Soft, fluffy, and harmless seems to be the deal here and it would appear that there’s very little that can go wrong with such an entry-level illusion. If nothing else, it should give me an idea of the kind of power my baton can twirl, and I’ve stocked up on carrots just in case the ickle fella gets peckish. I do hope he’s a white rabbit, with long floppy ears, massive doe-eyes, and fur so soft that it takes every last dash of resolve not to skin him alive and fashion a bobble hat and matching mittens. Feel free to take a look up both sleeves and you’ll see that I’m kosher. Rightio, let’s get this show on the road.
More cobalt than chalky white if you ask me. Not over enamored with the dental plan either, while those glowing orbs aren’t far short of supplying me with both heebies and jeebies. How does this magic shenanigans work anyhoots? Is there such a thing as best out of three? To be honest, I’m not altogether sure he’ll fit back in the hat if I try. And I ain’t best pleased about having my man-suit called stupid. Seems a little like sour grapes to me. I mean, not to piss on your lettuce leaves pal, but you’ll be lucky to make your third birthday and don’t even get me started on myxomatosis. Massively infectious, more often than not deadly, it also involves swollen mucous membranes and puffy peepers that weep like Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars. How does that little lot grab you? Now fuck off back in your bonnet before I get real darko on yo’ ass. Or alternatively you could just hover there in the shadows and make me feel uncomfortable. Your choice. Okay I see you’ve plumped for the latter. Well you’re not getting any carrots out of me bucko. Fine, just one. But only ‘cos I’m kind of digging on your theme music. Actually it’s starting to depress me a little. Perhaps that has something to do with the seven-foot buck mincing around looking all end of the world. Will someone please change the audio before my bottom lip goes? Must I do everything around here?
Thank you and, I have to say, I’m not overly impressed with your assistant skills. You came so highly recommended by the agency and look nothing like the picture. Not really blonde are you? More dirty blonde. At any rate, I believe I have learned my very first lesson about wizardry here. Clearly my magic word was too obvious a choice and has likely become sullied by such fragrant overuse. Thus I shall mix it up for my next trick and see where that takes us. My confidence has taken a slight knock after failing so miserably straight out the gate but, in the interest of putting on the good show you paid your money for and not being pelted with mildewy mangos, I shall mount the pony as it were and chalk the whole Bunny-Gate debacle down to experience. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s not how you fall, but how you rise back to your feet and I fully intend on blowing you clean away with trick number two. Prepare to be bedazzled, get ready to pee a little in those panty liners, hold onto your petticoats, as things are about to get enchanted around here real fast. Okay so huddle in close as here’s the lowdown.
Disney Princesses. When was the last time you spotted one of those going all doom prophet? Precisely, they comprise sugar, spice, and all things nice right? Rumor has it they don’t even possess workable genitalia as the magical kingdom simply wouldn’t allow such frivolity. Yet there’s never any shortage of handsome princes vying for their attention and, the last I heard, happily ever after seemed to be the running theme so what could possibly go wrong? As long as I brief them on the perils of accepting polished fruit from strange old ladies who clearly haven’t so much as flannel washed for generations then this proposes nothing more than a spot of plain sailing through decidedly unchoppy waters. I’ve even got a magic word lined up and it’s been scientifically proven to work 100% almost 22.5% of the time. Never have been too good at percentages so I’ll leave you lot to do the math and get down to granting our sweet Disney Princess her own invitation to our exclusive ball. I do hope her crystal slippers have odor eaters in them. She may be drop dead gorgeous from the ankles up but I can’t be dealing with any fungal foot infections or else I’ll be conjuring up my brunch. Anyhoots, on with the show and I’m calling dibs, just so we’re clear.
Well I’d say that was a resounding success wouldn’t you? What do you mean “nothing like the brochure”? I would suggest you refrain from judging until you’ve seen her in her evening gown. What’s that? She does have genitalia? Really, I hadn’t noticed. Was too busy admiring her earrings. I wonder if she’s got the matching ankle bracelet. Can’t really make it out from here as there’s so much low-level mist to contend with. Perhaps she wouldn’t mind terribly cocking a leg up for me. Well would you look at that? She’s got herself some of those double joints I’ve been hearing so much about recently. And I have to say I’m greatly stirred by the distance she can fire a ping-pong ball. Over here love, I’ll catch it in my top hat and transform it into a spray of cherry blossom for you just to assist with those joys of spring. Not sure I can stretch as far as a buttonhole and, besides, it doesn’t appear that your outfit would accommodate one. While my magic trick has worked, I’m a dash concerned that she keeps on scratching. I was dead set on pronouncing her the fairest of them all but something tells me I should get her checked over by a qualified physician first you know. On the plus side, my next trick was going to incorporate a flea-bitten mule and that’s looking surplus to requirements now.
A little applause would go down rather smooth right now. Just saying. Granted, my Disney Princess may boast a sexual track record that includes all seven of the dwarves, one beast, dozen upon dozen of dashing cads, several bi-curious witches, and half of Cincinnati but, last I checked, we all have a history and shouldn’t be judged on past conquests alone. What do you mean “how about the present conquests?”, is the queue for the rest room really that long? Perhaps someone is doing a poo, did you ever consider that? It would explain why folk keep exiting with massive shit-eating grins spread across their cheeks. There really is nothing more satisfying than lightening the load you know. Okay then, I can see you’re not about to let this one go. Back in the hat bitch and I’ll conjure you back up about twenty minutes after the curtain drops. And may I request you wear the rosy red lip gloss? Thanks awfully.
It just occurred to me that I may have been a tad harsh on our princess as she does deserve the same opportunity as anyone else to fall in love and it just so happens that I’m holding a magic wand in my hand right now. Actually, bear with me one moment ….. okay ….. I’m holding a magic wand in my hand right now. I know precisely what a girl wants, what a girl needs, and that is their very own Prince Charming to whisk them away for their happily ever after. Of course, this suitor must possess certain characteristics to be deemed worthy of such majestic company, and these include being devastatingly handsome, muscular and toned, boasting a six-pack at the very least, and packing that hefty broadsword in case he is required to fight for his lady’s honor. Indeed, the more he resembles Ryan Gosling the better, and this proposes being my sternest test yet as I hardly consider myself well qualified to conjure up a bronzed Adonis. That said, I’m starting to get the hang of this magic wad thingy, and have a suitably manly incantation to summon up this dreamboat. Please dim the lights.
“By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER”
“Hello my baby, Hello my honey, Hello my ragtime gal”
Jesus wept. While admittedly his legs have a certain sheen to them, this wasn’t quite what I had in mind. Presumably this isn’t quite the finished article and I’ve sat reluctantly through enough fairytales to know where kissing a frog can lead. That said, I feel obligated to act responsibly and know only too well of the salmonella amphibians tend to carry. Besides, for all his performance prowess, he only busts out the song and dance when I’ve got my back turned and that’s hardly the ideal manner in which to win me over. I’m frightfully torn right now, thus have decided to let fate cast the deciding vote. All he has to do is make it to his home on the far side of the river without coming to mischief. If that sounds easy enough, then think again frog as there is the small matter of rush-hour traffic to contend with and this tends to host cars, trucks, buses, dune buggies, bulldozers, vans, taxis, bicyclists, and motorcycles. Toss in some alligators and a couple of lopsided turtles and I’d say you’ve got your work cut out sonny boy. Rightio, are you ready to hop the gauntlet! He looks pretty ready doesn’t he?
Just for the record, mopeds aren’t permitted buddy so soak up those photo opportunities quick then get that amphibiass off that thing and do the legwork like everybody else ….. And he’s off! It’s a confident start and our contestant has made it past the first few obstacles without too much misdemeanor. One second. WATCH OUT FOR THAT EIGHTEEN WHEELER!!!
Fret not froggy, that’s one life down, and you still have two more to go so I would suggest learning from your mistakes and trying to judge distances a little more carefully next time. And he’s off once more! That’s more like it, I’m digging the way you navigated that gridlock like it wasn’t even there. Carry on like this and you’ll go far my friend. Indeed, he has made it to the river bank, and can surely smell the sweet scent of victory now as it’s well within his grasp. Beautiful transition between land and alligator, full marks for execution. One little tip for you, not sure you’re entirely welcome in your current coordinates, it may not be the best time to start WAVING TO YOUR ADORING FANS!!!
Third time lucky pal. You got this! Solid start, looking good across the freeway, excellent timing with the turtle hopping. THAT LOG’S GONNA SINK!!! It’s okay, you’re one hop ahead. I like that. One final push and I’d say you’re sitting pretty. Take that leap, NOW!!! Mag-bloody-nificent, you made it across. I’m going to name my next child after you. One more thing, there’s a wee one sneaking up on your blind side with a scalpel. Don’t want to worry you but she looks like a reasonably industrious student. Oh dear, it appears she may well get her A★ from teacher for such a clear incision, not that you’ll be consoled by her achievements right now.
It’s a shame as I was actually starting to grow rather fond of the little guy. I’ll tell you one thing for free, this magic gig ain’t as easy as it looked. Three tricks in and nothing whatsoever has gone according to plan. I’m starting to wonder whether I’m cut out for a career in wizardry after all you know. Fret not as I’m not about to make any rash decisions on account of a little mild misfortune. That said, my real showstoppers are still to come and the margin of error will be that much finer from hereon in. It stands to reason that any budding magician would leave his most death-defying tricks to the business end of his set and I reckon a little time to regroup is necessary. My mojo is looking desperately shrivelled and I can see you’re beginning to grow increasingly restless with every botch. Tell you what, let’s take a short intermission shall we? Give me five to make any necessary tweaks to my routine and I’ll leave you with a nice catchy tune to keep your spirits up during the break. Something not in the least bit annoying and not even vaguely catchy as hell too. Back in a jiffy, let’s see those jazz hands.
Fuck a ducky, I’m dying on my feet out there. Think Keeper think. It’s not too late to turn things around; you just need one real show piece and they’ll soon be back on side. Did you see those faces though? Hardly what you’d call galvanized were they? I’m starting to suspect that this wand is defective and nowhere on the description did it mention anything about LR6 batteries. Looking to the bright side, there seem to be three settings and I’ve only tested one out thus far so there’s still plenty of juice to fall back on should I really need to pull that rabbit out of the hat. It’s the danger that worries me, my next trio of crowd-pleasers are literally ridded with hazard and one of them entails recruiting a volunteer from the audience no less. Between you, me, and the wafer thin dressing room walls, said willing participant will be required to entrust me with their life and that has my stomach doing cartwheels as we speak. Time to buckle up bucko, go out there and dazzle ’em with the greatest display of unfathomable necromancy since the Republicans elected Donald Trump as their champion. Besides, I think they’re growing weary of your interval music. One of them just floored the waitress.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you think you’ve seen something already, then let me tell you that was absolutely nothing. Why are you all nodding in agreement? Okay I can see I have my work cut out here so prepare to be soundly blown away by my next trick. I would like you to give a warm welcome to a young man who I’m sure needs no introduction whatsoever. He is a multi-platinum selling recording artist who has shifted almost 50 million records in the United States alone over the course of his career, had number ones in umpteen different countries, and collaborated with such artists as Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, R. Kelly, Boyz II Men, Usher, and Will.I.Am amongst numerous others. In addition, he has compared himself to Kurt Cobain, resisted arrest for drag racing without a license, attempted to become a pastor, got into a fight with Orlando Bloom, thrown eggs at his neighbor’s house, pretended he was injured just so that he could be pushed around in a wheelchair all day at Disney, relieved himself in a mop bucket, spelled his name in snow with his own piss (actually that one’s rather impressive), trashed a restroom, hawked loogies at his own fans, ordered his entourage to carry him to the top of the Great Wall of China on their shoulders so he could post a selfie on Instagram, sprayed a photo of Bill Clinton with multi-purpose cleaning fluid, left his pet monkey to fend for itself in Munich, and earned the hatred of almost 40 million Polish people. That’s right folks, it’s the one, the only Justin “Bizzle” Bieber.
If he’s looking a little rough around the edges, then that would have something to do with him attempting to back out of this event at the last-minute to play mini-golf with Lil Wayne. However, I have pulled out all the stops to get him here tonight and, thanks to a mild sedative and electrified cattle prod, he has agreed to take part in my most audacious trick to date. As you can see, Mr. Bieber is currently heavily chained up inside this glass cabinet, within which there is barely sufficient oxygen to keep his tiny little brain alive. Take a long, hard look at the receptacle and you will see that there are no secret exits, hidden compartments, or trap doors to heed in his escape and the heavy-duty padlocks are the very same ones used to restrain the great Harry Houdini. In a moment or two I shall pull this curtain across and, before your disbelieving eyes, make Justin vanish from plain sight. Any non-Beliebers may want to start cutting themselves that hefty wedge of humble pie about now as I’m about to prove beyond reasonable doubt that magic is far more than simple hocus pocus. Drum roll please.
“Alla Peanut Butter Sandwiches”
Gadzooks, it only bloody worked. I mean, check me out with my bad self. Feel free to take a closer inspection and you will see that our guest is no longer present. That’s right, he has been spirited away to another realm entirely, somewhere far away from here, and I’d be more than happy for you all to wash my feet at this point. Ye of little faith, suspecting Keeper of being little more than a common fraudster when, in fact, I’m like Penn and Teller rolled into one with the essence of David Blaine massaged into their shoulders. Indeed, I believe the correct terminology to describe me is “the balls”, and this seems like a suitable time to remind you that I also do children’s parties and retirement villages and at a rather competitive rate. What was that from the lady in the back row? Where’s Justin? Well I’m not 100% positive but would hazard a guess at somewhere in the Balkan Sea. You got a problem with that? No, I figured you wouldn’t.
Unless I’m mistaken, I believe this classifies as something of a roll that I’m on and I’m about to seize the initiative further by attempting something a little out of left field. Now that we’ve ascertained that I’m a bona fide warlock, it seems only right that we step things up a little for my next conjuring. This time I shall be performing a hex on an item I’m fairly assured has a mind all of its very own although it has not yet been scientifically proven. The owner of this bolt-on never leaves home without it, stubbornly refuses to grant it release from captivity, and likely has a name for it which even his wife isn’t aware of.
Please allow me to pose you a question. Do you recall Samson? Remember where his incomprehensible strength lied? Let me put it you like this – why do you think The Montel Williams Show went off the air? It’s all about those follicles right? Yes indeedy it is and you’re about to witness a curse being placed that I would love to say is nothing personal but would be lying bare-faced if I did. Have you ever observed a possessed toupée devour its wearer in little over five seconds and use their femur to comb a fresh side parting with directly afterwards? You may wish to stick around then.
“Walla Walla Washington…NOW SICK ‘EM BENJI!”
Study how this beautiful creature circles its prey; never once surrendering eye contact. Right now it is likely calculating the optimal point of primary entry; that and milking its quarry’s anguish for all it’s worth. Anyone of a faint disposition would be well advised to avert your eyes right about now as things are about to get decidedly yucky. But what is this? It appears that Mr. Trump is attempting to communicate with his hairpiece and, even more alarmingly, our voodooed mongoose seems more than amenable to his suggestion. Begad, could it be that the pair have thrashed out the terms for a good old-fashioned stint of cahoots? They have you know and, judging by the dual-pronged maniacal laughter, I’ve been well and truly shafted and not in a delicate way either. Those rascals played me like Fruit Ninja and I’m the sorry sapling dripping with grapefruit extracts. What the flaming hell have I done and, perhaps more pressing, does anyone have Hilary Clinton’s home number?
Okay, I’m feeling a little hostility so, moving briskly on, I think it is high time I reveal my real rump shaker. This one will reinstate that flagging faith and you have my solemn vow that it will be utterly and categorically doozilicious. Few have attempted this trick and fewer still have succeeded but tonight, under the fading light of the moon, with solar eclipse imminent and the entire auditorium about to be plunged into tenebrous darkness, I shall make me some history. In years to come, long after I succumb to acute myocardial infarction, this will be the one they all gossip about. How did he do it? Do you know anyone who was present? Has anybody so much as attempted such multiplex sorcery since? You know, the customary posthumous hero-worship. There is just the one snag I’m afraid but, if it helps any, it need only inconvenience one commendably husky little trooper. That’s right, I’ll be needing that volunteer about now. Someone compliant with placing their safekeeping in my hands for just a handful of seconds. Anyone agreeable to signing a brisk waiver of liability (most of which is inconsequential technical jargon I might add). You madam. Back row, three from the left, what might your name be little lady? What do you mean you were just swatting a fly? I’m fairly certain that was a hand in the air I discerned. My mistake, think nothing of it, and I apologize for the confusion sweetheart.
“Tony. Eddie. Grab the chloroform from my jacket pocket and pin this slag down will you!”
Give her a warm hand of applause ladies and gentlemen. Okey dokey, now that we have ourselves a willing volunteer, I guess I should fill you in on the nuts and bolts of my ultimate deception. You may have noticed that my glamorous assistant is pointing towards a rafter-mounted pendulum not too dissimilar to the one Edgar Allan Poe used to shred his utility bills but far sharper. Comprising a titanium alloy blade that could slice through Jabba The Hut as though he were The Emperor and a mechanism that, once activated, will make its gradual descent until it reaches the wooden bench our damsel in distress is tied to, this baby takes absolutely no prisoners and knows not how to grant parole. Just to demonstrate that there will be no smoke or mirrors on my behalf, I will now ask Tony and Eddie to remove our subject’s clothes, and slap on some baby oils just in case she suffers an eczema outburst mid-procedure. What am I thinking? She is in no position to make herself look nice for her snapshot, tie her hair in pig-tails and give her a lollipop to suck on. Where are your manners boys? You can’t get the staff nowadays, sheesh. Anyhoots, here comes that big dipper folks.
And we have lift off. There’s no turning back now as I negated to peruse the operating manual beforehand and haven’t the vaguest idea how to shut this baby down. Our damsel appears a little jittery and really needn’t be as I’m still a trained professional by the way. Speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that this particular trick should not be attempted at home under any circumstances. Needless to say, precious few of you will possess fully operational medieval torture instruments, but I still feel that I should do my part as a responsible magician and decent human being. Just how decent, we’re about ten seconds from finding out, and I’d be dreadfully grateful if my assistant could ring me an unmarked cab and request that the driver wait for me out back, only because I have a show in Memphis two hours from now you understand. Have you ever been situated quite so far over the edge of your seat? Get ready for the moment of truth and, to our willing volunteer, you may wish to suck that gut in a little love as I think I just had me one of those premonitions. You may wish to move back from the splash zone.
Were you aware that so many intestines could fit in one abdomen? I swear they were pre-loaded, did you see that midriff burst like a piñata? Marvellous, I mean, deeply tragic and not, in any way, down to my negligence or any sick kick I may or may not have been having at her expense. Okay you’ve got me, I had the whole thing rigged from the start, and it seems like the right time to inform you all that those strawberry daiquiris you’ve been slurping without a care in the world weren’t what you’d call 100% kosher. Feeling a little somnolent huh? I would recommend resting those heavy eyelids and giving up fighting the inevitable. You see, I have an incy wincy little confession to make, and I do hope you don’t think me a scoundrel for what I am about to share. I’ve been playing you all for chumps and you can’t really blame me when you consider the crime you committed. I conjured a 7ft doomsdayer rabbit for you and still it wasn’t deemed sufficient proof of my wizardry prowess. Tsk tsk. As a result, I reckon it’s high time we have ourselves one of those lock-ins don’t you? These LR6 batteries still have enough juice for a couple more tricks and I have just the illusions in mind. Don’t fret your pretty little heads about a solitary thing; you just remain exactly where you are (shouldn’t be a stretch) and I’ll return in about six-and-a-half minutes for some VIP treatment. Now where did that Disney Princess get to? I’ve got something for you and it sure as shit ain’t charming.