Career Day

Last weekend our public library had a party to celebrate the end of the summer reading club. Cookies and punch was served; Professor Presto was invited.

Professor Presto is one of those magicians you watch more for the off-handed jokes and puns than for the magic. I don’t find disappearing bandannas all that intriguing, but use a banana and I’m rolling on the floor.

During the show, the Professor asked for volunteers; it took a few missed opportunities for Ian to realize that he could, in fact, get a place on stage and even be part of the show. When the Professor asked for contestants for a game show, Ian raised his hands and waggled his fingers.

Ian was younger than most of the other kids, and a four-year-old probably doesn’t make the best stage assistant. What’s that rule in show business, about working with children and animals? Kelly says, ‘Don’t.’

The Professor chose two volunteers and was scanning the audience for a third when he saw Ian. He stared at Ian for a moment and put his hands at his sides. He sighed. ‘Why not? The way this show’s going, what else could go wrong?’ He took Ian’s hand, and led him to the stage.

The Professor gave each contestant a horn, which I thought was just asking for trouble. But Ian didn’t squeeze his once; his eyes, wide and sparkling, never left the Professor.

‘What do you want to be,’ asked the Professor, ‘when you grow up?’ A girl squeezed her horn. ‘A veterinarian!’

He turned to the crowd. ‘She wants to be a vetermanarian…a veternian…she wants to play with puppies!’ He pointed to the other girl. ‘What do you want to be?’

‘A lawyer!’ I think. I don’t really remember; she wasn’t my kid. My kid was bouncing on his toes, but stopped when the Professor looked in his direction. ‘And you? What do you want to be?’

Ian, beaming, shouted, ‘A bad guy!’

The Professor’s assistant looked at the audience. ‘Okay, whose kid is this?’

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