Theodore seemed to sense that everyone’s energy and goodwill, in particular Becky’s old man, were rapidly turning against him. But he rallied. The Totally Awesome Theodore was definitely not discouraged by the failure of his nine of hearts trick. He still had one more trick up his sleeve.
He raised his hands into the air, palms forward, arms outstretched like a television evangelist seeking donations with a hopeful promise of everlasting life.
“Dear guests, honoured members of the head table and especially the marvellous Becky, for my final trick of the evening I present to you my most popular illusion. It is called ‘The Most Beautiful Invisible Woman.”
I remember thinking that he whispered those last words as if he was reading from some ancient sacred text.
“For this illusion, I will need a woman to come forward and be my assistant.”
Theodore paused, making a blatant show of looking out into his audience as if to spot a willing participant. But no one volunteered, which wasn’t really surprising when you think about how his nine of hearts trick had gone over so far.
Quite unexpectedly, Becky stood up.
“Totally Awesome Theodore, I shall be your willing assistant.”
With these words, my beautiful wife moved out from behind our head table to join Theodore in the centre of the dance floor. Our guests all gasped at this turn of events. My heart fluttered for a moment, then began beating rapidly. My breath came in short raspy puffs. Becky’s old man started to seriously look over the head table’s utensils for a suitably long knife or stiffly pronged fork. The room was so quiet, only the soft rustling of Becky’s wedding dress could be heard as she moved toward The Totally Awesome Theodore.
While Becky was making her way onto the dance floor, Theodore slowly pulled a skein of brilliant red fabric from the sleeve of his coat jacket. No one expected this. The fabric flowed continuously from the coat in a rippling ribbon of colour. Theodore carefully folded the ribbon of cloth over his left arm while extending his right hand to Becky who had now arrived beside him.
Theodore lightly kissed Becky’s offered hand, gently positioning her closer to his side.
Becky was smiling. It appeared my wife was certainly enjoying herself. I remember the pure white of her beaded wedding gown and silk covered shoes being a striking contrast to the deep red fabric that Theodore was now unfurling.
Looking back at it now, I realize that the man was no longer the humiliated, bumbling actor who’d failed three times with his best card trick. Now there was noticeable confidence about him. His body was erect. His words were strong and confident. I sensed just a faint hint of triumph.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your complete attention? My final act of the evening, for your delight, is a magical illusion of sweet celebration. Miss Becky, may I ask you to step behind this fabric screen I’m now placing in front of you?”
With these words, Theodore slipped easily behind my willing wife, expertly moving the red fabric in front of Becky until she was completely hidden from view.
For several heartbeats, the fabric screen moved gently in an out as if caught in a sudden breeze. There was a collective intake of breath among the guests.
Like an autumn leaf, the red fabric fluttered to the floor with a faint whoosh.
All that remained were my wife’s white satin shoes.
And The Totally Awesome Theodore.
He was smiling, slowly waving at everyone. Queen-like. Left, then right. He raised his arms upward as if embracing an unseen deity.
His image sparkled within a soft aura of shimmering white light.
And then, as if by magic, The Totally Awesome Theodore was gone.