How to Succeed in Magic Without Really Trying

It had to be the sleep-deprivation from his son’s teething. Night after night, watching musicals and kids’ shows to distract his son were frying his brain. Or maybe he’d been working too hard at home. Wasn’t that what people said was the benefit to it? People worked more hours at home than at the office, even if he was analyzing spells, not code? The employee of CostCut, no matter what she said, wasn’t making any sense to George. “I’m sorry. What are you saying?”

“We’re all out of Georgian Blues.”

He shifted his son, Phillip, from one hip to the other. “A playpen. That’s all I need. When is your next shipment?”

She was giving him the I’m sorry, I don’t know and really don’t care until I get paid more look, but just as she turned to see if there was someplace else to go, her eyes went wide.
He looked in the same direction and saw a mirror floating toward them, bouncing in mid-air as if someone was jerking it along with a string from up above. Phillip was very happily reaching out toward it, laughing and clapping his hands. With each clap, the mirror danced and spun.

Awww heck, no. Phillip wasn’t supposed to be able to do magic yet. Not until he was twelve months old, at least.

He looked back at the employee who now had her hands over her mouth, as if her teeth were about to fly out. And then she abruptly lowered them. “A manager. I’ll get a manager.”

“No, wait!” The last thing he needed, especially in his sleep deprived state, was to have to explain a floating mirror to a person who didn’t believe such things were possible. To his great relief, the employee tripped. Fast as he could, he turned to the mirror and tried to undo the spell before she got up.

He tried an Untangling, a Breaking, an Upside-down Twisting, before finally checking to see if maybe whatever his infant had cast was a variation on a Everlasting Dancing spell (because frankly he was having a hard time figuring out what the baby had done in the first place and dang it single fathers weren’t supposed to have this kind of trouble!). He was so engrossed in his task that he hadn’t realized the employee had already left and come back. “Um,” she looked like she was about to have a breakdown. “Do you–do you know what’s going on?”

“Why do you ask?” Maybe he’d been too calm.

“It’s just–the only ones in the store right now are your son, you, and me.”

He looked down at his laughing son who looked up at him with an expression of calm joy. That look was why he’d stayed instead of packing his kid off to his parents’ house in Florida. That look was what made all the sleepless nights worth it, no matter how many musicals he had to watch. And then, he knew exactly what his son had done.

Grabbing the mirror with one hand, he led it down the aisle to the front of the store where they had a clear view of both customers and employees singing.

“Thursday.”

He turned and stared at the employee who was watching her co-workers and manager.

“The playpens arrive on Thursday,” she said, digging out her phone from her pocket. “Just let me get a picture of this first, ‘kay?”

“Too bad,” he said as he quietly prepared to cast an antidote for his son’s Instant Song and Dance Routine variation. “Your manager is a pretty decent tenor.”

Copyright © 2015; Amy Keeley

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