Mysto The Magnificent

Bubbie was sick and tired of listening to his wife yammer about the county fair and Mysto the Magnificent. Polly had talked about nothing else since the previous fall. If she found the him so all-fired fascinating, then she should have followed the self-proclaimed magician when he left town, in Bubbie's humble opinion.

"Take me to see him, honey pie" Polly wheedled. Bubbie was willing to promise her anything, if she'd just quit jabbering for a spell. He must have been crazy to marry her in the first place. It was probably the biggest mistake he'd ever make in his entire miserable life. She wouldn't milk the cows, shuddered when he suggested slopping the pigs, and refused to go anywhere near the hens because their feathers broke her out in hives. He even had to get his own breakfast. Some farm wife she turned out to be!

"I'm going into town fer supplies," Bubbie informed her, as Polly primped and preened in front of the mirror. She blew a kiss at his reflection.

"You hurry back now darlin', we don't wanna be late fer the carnival."

Bubbie was lulled into a daydream by the soothing clip-clop of the mule's hooves as he rolled along. If Polly hadn't bowled him over with her good looks and overly-willing body 'bout two years back, he might have gotten hitched by now to that cute Becca Wilcox who'd showed up in town last Winter. He could tell she was sweet on him. She weren't opposed to hard work neither and she liked kids. Polly didn't want none, saying they'd only go and ruin her fine figure.

Bubbie hauled the last sack of potatoes into the kitchen. "Saw that Mysto the Magnificent fella in town," he told Polly, "spoutin' some spiel 'bout a new trick he's gonna perform. Says he'll need a volunteer to help him though."

Polly ruffled Bubbie's hair with her scarlet-painted fingernails. "Go wash up, sugah plum," she said. "If Mysto needs a volunteer, he don't hafta look no further. Be quick now, a gal don't get too many chances like this."

Mysto escorted Polly up the rickety steps to the stage. She simpered, giggling like a schoolgirl as the magician kissed her hand. Every amused eye in the crowd turned to the embarrassed Bubbie, who blushed redder than a slice of fresh beet soaked in malt vinegar.

"Tonight," announced Mysto with a dramatic flair, "I will demonstrate the difficult art of levitation." The crowd murmured excitedly, though most had no clue what he was talking about. Mysto stared enigmatically into Polly's eyes.

"You are falling asleep...deeply asleep."

Polly's eyelids barely flickered as she slumped into Mysto's waiting arms. He propped her body by the side of the stage and produced two corn brooms from behind a curtain. Jamming the handles between the wooden planks of the platform, he retrieved the limp Polly and balanced her upon the stiff bristles. With a triumphant chant of "Abracadabra," he left her suspended.

A burst of appreciative applause rippled through the audience and then died down as the magician whispered, "Polly, do you hear me?"

She nodded, still fast asleep. "You will rise when I tell you," instructed Mysto, "and then descend when I tell you." Drowsily, Polly agreed.

"Ally-Oop!" cried Mysto. Polly began to rise. "Higher," commanded the magician. The crowd gawked at the spectacle, speechless and totally flabbergasted.

Suddenly, Mysto collapsed, knees buckling as he clawed desperately aat his chest. With eyes bugged, he gasped for breath. "Help," he groaned in agony, toppling face downward on the stage.

There were shouts of: "He's gone and kicked the bucket;" "Funny, he didn't look sick a minute ago;" and "Sure hope we get a refund."

Bubbie pushed his way to the front and scrambled onto the platform.

With a reckless leap, he reached out toward the still-levitating Polly, but only managed to grab the fringe of her shawl.

"Good Lord," somebody remarked. "In all the commotion, I guess we plumb forgot 'bout her!"

Within seconds, Polly's body was no larger than a high-flying kite as it continued its unstoppable ascent.

Becca Wilcox climbed up the steps and knelt next to the fallen Bubbie who was staring upward in horror and amazement, Polly's paisley shawl bunched in his fists. She slipped a comforting arm around his shoulders giving Mysto, who had recovered in record time and was apologizing profusely for the mishap and ensuing disaster, a demure smile.

Mysto returned the gesture with a devious wink. Nothing like a little hocus-pocus to keep a favorite sister happy.

Becca kissed the top of Bubbie's head. "Don't you fret none, sweetie pie," she told him, squeezing his hand. "Becca's here now, and Becca knows exactly how to take care of everything."

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