S&R Fiction

S&R Fiction: "Magic," by Carol Smallwood

Mark was going out the door with his baseball mitt when she asked, “How’d you like to see The Magic Spot? You know, the place that’s advertised on that big billboard with lots of question marks?”

“Sure!” He pounded his fist in his glove. “When?”

Jenny looked up from her Nancy Drew activity book and grinned.

The day to go she asked the kids, “What do you think is in the ground that makes it magic spot?”

“Maybe it has magnets,” said Mark. “We did tricks with magnets in school.”

As they neared the place, the signs became a succession of arrows of how many miles till The Magic Spot. The entrance looked like it’d been a gas station and sold postcards showing people walking up walls.

When enough people had gathered, a boy wearing a Packers tee-shirt and cap appeared saying, “Welcome folks. I’m honored to be your Magic Spot guide today. This spot is one of a kind and you’re in for an experience of a lifetime. Be careful now, we want you all to come back again,” herding them down a well-worn path. When everyone reached a cabin, he said, “Look carefully, folks,“ adjusting his cap.  “Just your ordinary cabin, right? Just follow me and walk around it. Observe closely because I want you to see there’s no tricks how it’s built.” After circling the small log cabin everyone entered and the door was shut; it was lit with wall lamps resembling kerosene lamps.

“Now folks, I need a volunteer to roll some marbles.”

A boy stepped forward. The guide handed the boy some marbles and told him to roll them on the floor. Everyone laughed when the marbles wouldn’t roll and the boy’s face had turned red.

“Let’s get a real man for the next event.” The guide sat on a chair tilting on the wall. “How can I sit in this chair and not fall?” He did other “gravity defying” acts and kept chiding the audience by pointing to pictures of people walking on the ceiling.

When they followed the guide out of the cabin he said, “And now folks, enjoy our amazing labyrinth. Follow the marked path through Michigan’s last virgin woodlands and check for prizes as you go.”

Jenny said, “I still feel like one of my leg’s shorter and everything’s crooked.” Mark laughed and explained how the tricks were done by building the cabin on angles.

Turning from the main road before she got home, she saw trees darken the dirt road with shade and gasped at the shadows, hearing Sister Mary Olive’s, “Hell will open under your feet if you talk in class.” Her hands clenched the wheel until a shadow of a bird proved things were really what they were.

She felt foolish going to The Magic Spot and when ironing clothes the floor still felt uneven. After watching M*A*S*H, she sat looking out the window after it got dark trying to figure out how the cabin was built.