Mick clipped a microphone onto his cape.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” he said. “You have the privilege of watching Mick the Magnificent! Please watch closely! There’s nothing up my sleeves! Nothing between my ears! At no time do my hands leave the end of my arms!”
The audience watched, stone faced. They never listened.
He took a small box from his suitcase.
“Now, if I can divert your…”
His voice immediately became softer, prompting him to tap at the microphone on his cape. He realised it had fallen off. The audience of four laughed as he picked it up from the floor. A woman and her friend stopped by, smiling at the prospect of him doing something funny. He took a step forward into the centre of the court working his rhetoric. The more elaborate his oratory, the more the audience missed his sleight of hand techniques.
The eyes of his audience rolled expectantly to one side. He followed their gaze, finding a large dog sniffing at the small box. It nudged at the box and attempted to bite the side. Mick tried to wave the dog back, but it ignored him. He began to panic, as the dog apparently detected his trained dove inside the box.
“My assistant is a bit over eager!” he quipped.
Surprisingly, he got more laughs than the few people he noted watching.
“Get out of it,” he said angrily from the side of his mouth.
The dog ignored him. Mick pushed at the dog and leapt back as it turned to snap at him. He snatched up his magic wand from its place beside one of the cassette players, playing out its pathetic tune. The dog went back to biting at the box. Mick whacked the can down on the table, deterring the animal. It turned on him with fangs barred. He fenced with the beast, keeping it at bay with rigorous swishing, resulting in plastic flowers sprouting from its tip. The dog clamped down, and tore the cane from his grasp, before running off through the crowd.
More people joined in the laughter.
“He’ll be back!” Mick said. “He knows where he’s fed!”
Not that his act went anywhere near the way he wanted, but he had gained somewhere between 20 and 30 more spectators.
“Ok, would you like to see some ventriloquism?!”
He received a staggered, “yeah,” from his audience as he fished the dummy out of his suitcase. It had been an object from the 60s, old scuffed, and faded, which he found in a Salvation Army outlet. It’s mouth looked garishly red, which he touched up with a discarded stub of lipstick. The mottled blond wig shifted on its virtually bald head. Reaching into his pocket, he took out a stick of chewing gum and put it in his mouth, hurriedly chewing. As he did this, he turned off the cassette players and put another tape into one of them.
Lifting the dummy’s wig, he pressed the chewing gum down on its scalp, and slapped down on the wig, pressing it into place.