by Lynette Mejia
The magician wobbled a little on his bar stool.
"Ask me what I did for a living," he said. Somewhere deep inside of him a small voice was shouting to shut up, that he sounded like a fool, but he ignored it. His plane was likely delayed until morning, anyhow.
"I already know what you are," she answered. Her pale skin seemed to shimmer a little in the murky atmosphere of the bar. He liked the way the dim light played on her features, rendering half of her in shadow.
"And what is that?" His words were slurred. Was this his fourth whiskey, or his fifth?
"You're a magician," she said, as if it were obvious.
"Was," he corrected, finishing off his drink. Then, curiosity piqued, he asked, "How did you know?"
She smiled. "It's your hands," she said. "Long fingers, very deft. Good bones. You have a lot of potential."
He snorted. "I've been in the business for more years than you've been alive, Miss. I doubt there's much you could teach me."
"Fifty years of third-rate casino tricks and backyard birthday parties," she said. "Is that really the magic you dreamed of as a boy?"
"Of course not," he answered, hating her for saying it aloud, "but it paid the bills. I had a family to feed, something I'm sure you know nothing about." He motioned to the bartender, then pointed to his empty glass. "But that's all over now."
"Then why are you here?" she asked.
He snorted. "Because I've got a flight to catch, same as you. Same as everyone. We've all got some place else we want to be."
"Yes," she said. "But why are you here--in between?"
"In between what?"