It is amazing how things that happen when you are young can have such huge consequences when you get older. The story I have to tell is pretty wild but, as I have heard, it said truth is stranger than fiction.
It all started about 6 months ago when my sister called me up out of the blue. We had not talked in a few months. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she wanted a favor.
“Teddy, how is my favorite brother doing?”
Teddy has always been my pet name for me ever since I was a baby. My first stuffed animal was a teddy bear and my sister never let me forget, even at the age of 24. Barb is over a year older than me and never missed a chance to remind me, I also had my own pet name for her, Barb. She used to play with Barbie’s all the time. But somehow it never seemed to get under her skin, me calling her Barb, as it did me being called Teddy.
“Hey Barb. I can tell from the tone of your voice you want a favor from me.” Even without meaning to, I let out a sigh and answered with a little bit of gruffness in my own voice.
“Now you know I just love to talk to my favorite brother, that’s all.” Her tone was like honey.
“Come off it. I’m your only brother and you know it, so what gives?” I was really started to lose my patience.
“OK, I was telling my friends about how wonderful a magician you are and want you to do a show for me and my friends at a big party. It will be a pretty big crowd. I even asked everyone to pitch in, and we can pay you $500 for a good show. Before you say no, remember when we were kids and you were learning, who was it that always was your assistant and helped you for days on end?” Her tone had a minor hint of reproach in it.
Shit, I hate it when she plays the guilt card on me. It was true; she was always there for me. From the time I was 16 and really took my magic serious, she helped me in every way. If I learned a new trick and needed an audience or an assistant, she was always there. She was very understanding and really took an interest in my hobby. I knew there wasn’t any way I could tell her no, but I wasn’t going to make it easy for her.
“Sis, you know I would be glad to help you, but it would take a month for me to practice up and get everything together for a really good show.” I added just a bit of regret in my own voice.
“Besides you know for the past 5 years, I have really only been working on my escape tricks more than simple magic tricks. The set up time is a lot longer than just a few coins,” I told her really trying to get her to understand that this would take a while to work up and I was not just trying to get out of it
“Not a problem Teddy. The Party is not for three months and you will have lots of time to work all the details out. You have no idea how much I appreciate this and will do everything I can to help you get ready.” There was no way to hide the excitement in her voice. She was really thrilled.
“OK sis, I’ll do it. As you knew I would.” I sighed.
“You are the best. I know you need a place to set up and practice. Why not bring everything over to my house? There is a full basement that you can set everything up there for the whole performance. I know you don’t have room in that little apartment of yours.” Her voice was squeaking in that high pitched tone when she gets really excited.
“Sounds great I will start moving all my props from the storage building and set everything up at your house. This is going to be a lot of work and long hours. I hope this is worth it,” I told her just to let her know this was a really big favor.
As I hung up the phone, I was actually very excited myself. I had been working for years on all the different tricks and escapes and wanted to put on a big show for an audience. I never did more just a few simple tricks. Never an entire show, and this would be a chance to show off how good I had really gotten. I knew I was good. There was not a single trick that I have seen or watched others do that I could not do as well. But my true passion was being an escape artist. The first time I saw guy chained up and put in a box and escaped, I was hooked. I would try to duplicate the tricks till I figured it out and tried to find way to improve on the idea.
I guess this is really where my sister helped me the most. The first time I tried an escape, I would do it to my sister first. I would study the way the chains, handcuffs or even rope was tied to see how I could get out of it.
I remember like it was yesterday, the first time that I asked her to help me. I told her I wanted to go beyond just magic and become a great escape artist. I told her I had to have someone to help me and begged her to help. She was so sweet she agreed and from that point on, if I need an assistant she was there.