Lost Moments: "The Magic Box: A Short Story"

“One of these days, I’m going to go to a place where they will never find me.”--Ray Shephard.

“We caught him this time about two blocks away, heading for a bus stop,” the house manager said, “you really need to have another talk with him! He’s going to end up injuring himself and I don’t want you suing the home!”

Margo Shephard nodded, “I’ll go have a talk with him. Is he in his room?”

“No,” the manager answered, “he’s in the recreation room with the other residents. They’re watching a Magic show!”

“Now everyone, please watch carefully!” the man wearing a top hat and tuxedo called out to the sparse crowd in the rec room, “while I place Thumper the rabbit into my hat!” The magician then placed the rabbit into his hat.

Mrs. Shephard stood in the back and scanned the room. She quickly spotted Ray Shephard in the last row with a bored look on his face. She walked up and touched his shoulder.

“Ray,” she whispered, “lets go for a walk.”

Ray glanced up, smiled, stood, and left the room with Mrs. Shephard. They went outside to a small foyer and sat down on a bench.

“Well, what do I owe the honor of this visit?” Ray mischievously asked.

“You know why I’m here, Ray!” Mrs. Shephard replied, “this is about the third time I’ve been called out here! You’ve got to stop sneaking out!”

Ray laughed, “Sneak out?! Hell, I just walk out! Security really lacks at this establishment!”

“Needless to say,” Mrs. Shephard scolded, “you need to cut it out!”

“Duly noted, ma’am!” Ray sarcastically replied.

“I mean it, Ray,” Mrs. Shephard sternly said, “I pay a lot of money to this home for your care and comfort!”

“I think you mean my son’s and grandson’s trust funds pay for all of this, don’t you?!” Ray replied.

“Be that as it may,” Mrs. Shephard answered, “you need to stay put! Now, I’ll walk you back to the show.”

“Never mind,” Ray said, “I’ve seen enough magic shows. If they want to see rabbits disappear, I could tell them a lot about disappearing rabbits! When I did research for Widmore Industries, we used to make a lot of bunnies ‘disappear!’ But you know all about that, don’t you Margo?!”

“Don’t start in, Ray,” Mrs. Shephard wearily replied.

Ray just smiled.

“Oh, by the way,” Mrs. Shephard said, as she opened her purse and pulled out a small box, “I wanted to give this to you!” She handed him the box. Ray slowly opened it and smiled.

“I think its the Rolex watch that you reluctantly gave to Christian for our wedding and that he later gave to Jack for his wedding!” Mrs. Shephard said, “I thought that Jack had taken it with him when he disappeared the second time! But I found it when I was cleaning out his desk. Thought you would like it back!”

“You sure you don’t want to keep this,” Ray asked, “or would you like me to keep it, then give it to the next guy you marry?”

Mrs. Shephard stood up to leave!

“Oh, sit back down, Margo!” Ray said, “don’t get so high and mighty! Visit awhile. God knows, I don’t get many visitors these days since the “boys” are now both gone!”

Mrs. Shephard reluctantly sat back down. Ray continued to examine the watch.

“This is a very special watch,” Ray said, almost to himself, “a magic watch! It was only used once! Well, actually twice! But then again, you knew that!”

“That’s why I figured you’d want it back,” Mrs. Shephard said, “I don’t want it around! Besides, maybe it still works! Maybe you can use it one more time! You want to leave so bad. Why don’t you use it one more time and do us all a favor!”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?!” Ray said. Mrs. Shephard didn’t reply.

There was a moment of silence between them.

“You’d had a birthday recently, didn’t you?” Ray said, breaking the silence, “I know its not polite to ask a lady her age but how old were you?!”

“You know the answer to that question as well, Ray!” Mrs. Shephard replied.

“Well, I’m talking about your actual age, Margo,” Ray said, “not the age listed on that forged certificate you carry around!”

“Goodbye, Ray,” Mrs. Shephard said, as she stood to leave.

“If I decide to use the watch, why don’t you go with me, Margo?” Ray said, “maybe we’ll end up back where I first found you!”

Mrs. Shephard gave Ray a glare, then stomped off!

“Goodbye, Margo!” Ray called after her, “thanks for giving me a shot out of here!”

Ray then took the watch out of the box and carefully removed the back. He examined a micro-dot size chip embedded within the watch works. He tapped it and held it to his ear. A slight hum put a smile on Ray’s face. He adjusted the stem. Ray could feel the subtle electro-magnetic pulses begin to surround him. He closed the watch back up and clipped it onto his wrist. He headed back into the rec room, as the Magician prepared his final trick for the night.

“I’m looking for a volunteer,” the Magician called out, “to step into this Magic Box!” He pointed to a six foot tall black monolith! “Do I have anybody?!”

“I’ll do it!” Ray called out, walking up to the small stage.

“Very good!” the Magician said, “lets give a hand to this brave gentleman!” The room was filled with sparse applause.

As Ray stood next to the box, the magician leaned over and whispered, “Now when you enter, just stand still. You’ll feel yourself turning on a wheel, because that is what you’ll be standing on! You’ll be turned back behind a curtain that will make the audience think you’ve disappeared. Then, I’ll say some mumbo jumbo, then you’ll be turned back around. I’ll open the box door and you’ll “magically” reappear! Okay?!”

“I used to do a lot of “magic” with electro-magnetic fields years ago,” Ray whispered back, “using real ‘magic boxes’!”

The Magician just nodded and opened the Magic Box. Ray entered and the Magician closed the door. Ray could hear the Magician prattle on outside. Ray set the watch and waited. He didn’t know where he would end up but it had to be better than this place! At least he was going to a place where they couldn’t ever find him and bring him back! And he would never bring back a conniving bitch like the last time!

Another round of sparse applause greeted the Magician, as he opened the door to the Magic Box to reveal it was now empty. But, as the Magician began to say some more magic words, in preparation to bring his volunteer “back”, the hair on the back of his neck suddenly stood up!

A metal necklace he wore, mysteriously levitated towards the box! Suddenly, there was a flash of purple light! The Magician was momentarily confused but continued his presentation. But when he opened the box, anticipating the ‘re-appearance’ of his volunteer, no one was there!

There was a collective gasp from the audience, then more sparse applause. The Magician was now confused! He looked behind the box. No one was there! Because unknown to him, with the help of his volunteer, he had just performed some “real magic”! The End.

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