Cigarette magic

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There's a magic shop about a 15-minute walk from here. I had occasion to wander over there yesterday for the first time, and it was a marvel. Dark. Tiny. Crammed with masks, gags, novelties, books, and gadgets. There was barely room to walk up to the counter. The place smelled of dust and cigarette smoke. I haven't smelled those smells together in a shop for a long time.

My business there does not concern this vignette, but I was invited to approach the rear counter by a gruff but friendly voice. This belonged to an aging, rotund fellow with a terrific unplaceable accent. An equally rotund and aging woman was doing something behind a side counter.

"I'll be with you in just a moment," he said, peering through his glasses at some bagged booklets he was sorting through. "I have an eleven-year-old girl who called me who wants to learn cigarette magic. I'm seeing what I can find."

From behind me, the woman screeched, "What are you doing teaching an eleven-year-old girl cigarette magic?! You can't do that!"

The old man shrugged. "The girl wants to learn cigarette magic. It's a vanishing art." His sidewise glance at me seemed to say, What are you going to do?

I would like to find occasion to return to this shop.

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William Shunn

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on October 14, 2008 4:01 PM.

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