I was working as a mime in a run-down theatre restaurant when the magician came along. He had seasons, he said. Spent four weeks at a circus, another six on a cruise ship. The owners of the restaurant seemed very pleased to get him for a two-week appearance. They kept shaking his hand, slapping him on the back. I had my doubts. Who’s this clown, said the magician, actually turning around so he could stick his thumb back over his shoulder at me. He’s the mime, said the owners. The magician just spat out some air. Can a mime do this? He produced a live dove from inside his jacket and released it into the room. It flapped for a moment, gaining height towards the rafters. I mimed pulling out a shotgun, aiming, pulling the trigger. The dove seemed to freeze in midair, spun awkwardly, fell like a rock to the floor. A little puff of feathers wavered at the moment of impact. I raised the gun to my shoulder, squinted my eye, aimed it at the magician’s face. Bang, I said.


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