reading / Short story / writing

Improvisation is Maximization 4

Okay, I kind of cheated with the last two posts, I planned out the story ahead of time. As of now, I actually have no idea what comes next. Here We…


Jenna was amazed. The blue sky had patches of star filled night in them. She looked at the boy who was making this happen. He was underneath a large but plain banner that said: The Amazing Candiler, Magician Extraordinaire!

Jenna believed that the magic was real. She was looking at a real magician! Katelyn was less convinced than Jenna, but she too was amazed at the magical show. Some part of her screamed that it could not be real, but had no evidence or proposals on how.

“Thank you, Thank you,” Candiler was saying to the cheering crowd, “I hope those stars satisfied you, little lady.” A little girl in front of Candiler laughed and cheered. Then a man, Jenna guessed he was Candiler’s caretaker, gave the little girl a balloon star.

“Who likes looking in the mirror? I know you must, pretty lady,” Candiler said, inviting a teenaged girl much older than him into his makeshift stage. The lady smiled embarrassed and stepped in to the stage. Candiler gave her a small playing card.

“Now, young lady…well, you’re older than me, but whatever. Now, hold this Ace of Spades in your hand. With just a few magic words, I will transform that card, into a mirror, for you to see your shining face with!” he said. The girl held the card to her face. Candiler closed his eyes and began to shout magic words. Jenna expected the magic words to sound something like, Abracadabra, or Hocus Pocus, however Candiler instead mumbled some unintelligible gibberish. Then he shouted: ” Huzzah!”

The lady dropped the cardboard in shock, because it turned not into a glass mirror, but into miniature version of her. The Mini-girl fell to the ground and instantly grew full sized. The girl was looking at an identical copy of herself.

“Whoa!” The girl said. She raised to touch the copy, and the copy moved as well. The girl jumped back. So did the copy. The crowd cheered.

“Momma! How did he do that?” Jenna shouted. Katelyn didn’t answer. Jenna looked up at her mother.

“Momma?” Her mother was too entranced by the show to notice Jenna. 

“Well that’s no good!” Candiler was saying. “Yes, she’s beautiful, but I promised a mirror!” Candiler tapped the copy of the girl. A cloud of smoke appeared around the copy. The original girl stepped back in shock. When the smoke cleared, the copy was gone. The crowd cheered. Some stared at where the copy had gone, looking for a trapdoor on the concrete floor.

“Allow me to conjure an actual mirror for you, young lady!” Candiler said. He hummed something under his breath and closed his eyes. The crowd cheered. Jenna gasped. Candiler opened his eyes and looked at himself. He was completely sliver, like a moving statue made of mirror glass.

“Oops,” he said, “That’s not right! I don’t want to be the mirror. Oh, well. Dad?” The man who had given the little girl a star-shaped balloon came to Candiler and nervously gave him a hammer. The crowd gasped as Candiler hit himself over with the hammer. His glass, mirror like body smashed into pieces on the floor. There was a loud murmuring, wondering where the boy had gone. Again, some people were looking at the glass shards, searching for a trick door.

“Is something the matter, folks?” said a voice. The crowd cheered as Candiler, no longer a mirror, appeared sitting atop the roof of the RV. Jenna cheered, convinced that this was real magic. She couldn’t think of a way it couldn’t be. She looked up at her mother, who was cheering with the rest of the crowd. Jenna smiled and cheered even louder.

“Candiler!” the man shouted, half drowned out by the crowd, “I told you not to go on top of the RV!”

The crowd lauged. Some people booed the man, as Candiler stepped down from the RV. He seemed to apologize to his father before coming back on stage. 

Jenna and Katelyn stood there with the crowd for the entire remaining half hour of the performance. The rest of the show was just as amazing. Candiler created a fire that spat out toy dragons, and transformed into a knight to fight it. He made several people fly three meters in the air. He transformed the entire RV into a realistic looking giant axolotl, before getting yelled at again by his father.

In the end, Candiler performed his final trick of turning the sky into a sea, complete with whirlpool and waterfalls. The crowd cheered. Jenna clapped. With a flick of his hand Candiler turned the sky back to normal and gave a bow. He also picked up a cup of coins and bills from the floor and waved it around. Some peple threw coins into the cup. Interestingly enough, none of the thrown coins missed the cup.

“Mommy! Can I give him some money too?” Jenna said. Katelyn looked down at her daughter.

“Sure honey,” she said. She reached into her purse and fished out her wallet. Jenna was disappointed to see that Katelyn was starting to look sad again now that the show was over. She handed Jenna a dollar. Jenna took it and ran to Candiler.

“Wait!” she shouted as Candiler was went behind the RV. She followed him to the back. The area behind the RV was cleaned up better than the front. There wasn’t any litter on the floor. The only person behind the RV was Candiler and his father. Candiler’s father was counting the money from the bowl. Candiler himself was sitting on the stairway of the RV, reading a large book. Jenna nervously looked around. She didn’t think she was allowed back here. She cleared her throat.

Candiler looked up from his book at Jenna. His father looked at her and put down the money.

“Hello, who are you?” Candiler’s father said kindly. Jenna nervously stepped closer.

“…Jenna,” said Jenna. “I want to give the amazing Candiler money.”

“And you came in here to do that?” the father said, “Where’s your parents?”

“Jenna?” Jenna heard Katelyn call for her. Katelyn appeared from behind the RV.

“Jenna, why are you in here?” Katelyn said. She walked over to Jenna and Candiler’s father.

“Hello, is this little girl your daughter?” Candiler’s father said.

“Um, yes. She is. I’m sorry for intruding,” said Katelyn.

“No, no, there’s no trouble. She said she wanted to give Candiler some money, right?

“Yes.” Jenna said. She slowly handed the bill to the man.

“Don’t you want to give it to him yourself?” the man said. Jenna looked at Candiler who looked up from his book at her. Nervously she approached him. The way he looked at her was odd. It was not a stern look, but it wasn’t inviting either. His expression was so…blank.

“Um…hi.” Jenna said.

“Hello.” Candiler said.

“I liked your show,” she said. She handed the five dollar bill to Candiler. Candiler didn’t move to take it for a moment. Neither of them spoke for a while. Jenna could hear her mother speaking with Candiler’s father. Then Candiler smiled and took the money.

“Of course you liked it,” he said, “It was provided to you by the Candiler and Father Team. Your name’s Jenna right?”

“Yes,” Jenna said. The blank look was gone.

“Are you enjoying the festival?” Candiler said.

“Yes. How about you?” Jenna said.

“Oh, I can’t enjoy the festival. I’d like to, but I have to perform again in a little bit,” Candiler said. He closed the book.

“Oh…you’re going to perform again?” said Jenna.

“I have three more shows to do today, all of them here,” Candiler said, “Tell me, have you seen other performers around here?”

“Yeah. I have!” Jenna said. “There were a lot of street performer. Dancers, Singers, other magicians too!”

“Uh oh. Were they really good?” said Candiler. Jenna was surprised at how worried he sounded.

“The magicians? No. I mean, I thought they were, but after seeing yours-.” Jenna said. Candiler interrupted her.

“No, no, not the magicians. I’m not worried about them. The dancers and singers!” Candiler said.

“The dancers and singers? They were…actually, I don’t remember many of them.” Jenna said.

“I think I should do some singing and dancing in my show,” Candiler said, “but my dad won’t pay for the lessons.”

“Um…I think the magic is enough,” Jenna said.

“Thank you, but I think more people will watch it if I dance! Like…I don’t know, maybe I’ll make a girl out of thin air and do the tango…oops.” Candiler looked at Jenna. She didn’t seem to see anything wrong.

“What’s wrong?” Jenna asked.

“Um, nothing! Uh, so, if you liked the show, maybe you can watch it again later! You don’t have to pay me again, of course.” Candiler said.

The conversation went on for a while, Jenna and Candiler talked about the festival, and the conversation moved on to other things, like TV shows, favorite movies, and what it was like to live in an RV. Katelyn spoke with Candiler’s father about children, life on the road, education, and being single parents. 

Jenna found Candiler to be have a pleasant personality. He was a little bit boisterous, and very confident of his performance. He didn’t even consider the possibility of another magic show being better than his and his father’s. However, he was friendly and encouraging, insisted on hearing of Jenna’s opinion on topics, and didn’t keep hog the conversation once Jenna stopped being nervous. 

“And we don’t have cable in the RV so dad usually rents movies. We watch them whenever we’re travelling between towns for shows,” Candiler was saying. Jenna nodded.

“We have some channels at home, but I my mom said she was going to cancel our cable soon, so I should get used to watching rented movies from the library because all the channels will show nothing but black and white static,” Jenna said.

“Why is she cancelling your cable?” asked Candiler, surprised.

“Momma- I mean, my mom wants to spend less money.” Jenna said. Candiler remembered back at home, his father had always said they were saving money, but they still had basic cable to watch.

“Still, if you get to live in a home you should have TV. Maybe you should ask your mom to reconsider,” Candiler said.

“Recon…what’s that?”

“It means to change her mind, keep the TV.” Candiler said.

“No, no, mom is not changing her mind. She has to…” Jenna looked at Candiler. Somehow, she felt safer telling Candiler about her mother than telling Mrs.Ymes.

“She has to…?” Candiler said, encouragingly.

“She has to save money so my sister can come home,” Jenna said. Candiler looked at her. There was that blank expression he had when she first came up to him. She wondered if she had said something wrong. Then it was replaced with a look of concern.

“She’s saving money so your sister can come home?” Candiler said.

“Yes. My mother doesn’t think I know, but sometimes I hear her talking on the phone with some mean sounding people. I mean, I can’t hear the people on the phone, but they have to be really mean to make my mom say all of those bad things and cry.” Jenna said. She realized she may have said too much. Candiler looked really concern.

“How long has your sister been gone?” Candiler said.

“For two years. I don’t remember much, though,” Jenna said. She couldn’t stop herself. Maybe all the time she spent holding in secrets was piling up, because it felt good to tell Candiler these things. It felt like a relief after holding on to a weight for a really long time.

“Where did she go?” Candiler asked.

“Momma…I mean, mom says she went to a church in the sea. I don’t understand it, but she needs money for her to come back,” Jessica said. 

“Church in the sea?”  Candiler looked confused, as if it was the strangest thing he had ever heard. Jenna found it somewhat amusing that he found anything strange at all, considering he was the Amazing Candiler.

“Jenna? We’re going now.” Katelyn said. Jenna got up.

“Coming Mother!” Jenna said. She got up from the staircase. She realized she never noticed when she started sitting next to him like an equal. “Bye Candiler.”

“Bye.” Candiler said, “Come watch the show again before the festival’s over. I’ll try to convince my dad to let me dance!”

Jenna walked to her mother, who was speaking to Candiler’s father.

“It was very nice speaking with you Hermes,” Katelyn said. She took Jenna’s hand and walked her to the crowd of festival goers. Jenna turned and waved as she went. Candiler waved back happily.

Candiler’s father went back to counting the money. There wasn’t enough money in it to afford a space in an RV  parking lot, but that was to be expected for just the first show. He was confident he would have enough money after the next two shows. He sighed and looked at Candiler, who was reading his book. He knew his son wanted to have fun in the festival. He had planned to use the minutes in between shows to take him around the town, but he had spent too much of the first break speaking with Katelyn. 

“Did you get to know Jenna, Candiler?” He asked him.

“Yeah, she was fun. She liked the show,” Candiler said.

“Of course she liked the show. It was your show.”

“Ours, dad.” Candiler said.

Candiler’s father sat back down on a chair for a while. He was thinking of how to spend the next few months. Eventually, he knew, he would have to return home. Candiler would have to return to school again. This long trip, to Candiler and him, felt like a long dream. Katelyn reminded him of what was outside of the dream, and the thought made him sad.

He looked down at his watch.

“We should get ready son,” he said.


And the two went, getting ready to meet the audience.

[to be continued. Next post will be called “The Magic in the RV part 5”]



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