Elmore Johnson, known to the community as Elmore the Magnificent, had been teaching magic to young apprentices for over thirty-five years. At the age of seventy-two, his eyes still shone brightly and darted mischievously back and forth as he watched his pupils perform tricks on the stage.
No, no, no he yelled feebly from the back of the room- distract with the opposite hand while replacing the bird with the other. If an old man from the back of the room could see the switch, then everyone else will too. At this, the nervous student on stage lost his focus and allowed the bird to escape from his hand. He proceeded to chase it across the stage to the laughter of those waiting their turn in the audience.
Elmore heard footsteps to his left. Can I ask you a question? He didn’t even bother to look, so familiar was both the voice and the request. It was Herbert, a man who was destined to become Elmore’s eventual replacement. His tricks were performed with a technical precision bordering on the absurd, and he had mastered almost every trick Elmore knew to teach. What kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t allow my prize-winning protégé a chance to ask a question? Fire away, Elmore stated, his eyes still following the impromptu scene playing out on the stage. Continue reading