This is not fan fiction. Instead, all the characters are merely named after characters, performers, or a combination thereof from the television series “Friday Night Lights.” I have always loved actress Connie Britton.
Jason Britton was walking out of Micro Center when received a new text notification. He walked to the side, in the shade to look. It was from his beautiful girlfriend Connie. Suddenly Jason remembered what he had sent her that morning. Is this when it will all end? He could not help but wonder.
Specifically, he had sent her a YouTube video of a lengthy, televised sawing in half presentation from somewhere in Asia curious about Connie’s reaction. Jason had explained, as innocently and benignly as possible, how the internet’s full of these sorts of videos that he sometimes finds amusing in a fun, campy sort of way. Maybe it’s because you rarely see this on American TV. Anyway, he had concluded, t’s probably, ridiculous, but do you recognize the language?
Connie was interested in linguistics that went part and parcel with her job as a high school foreign language teacher. She had studied in Beijing during her college freshman summer. Jason could not have been more pleased reading her response.
Hey! It’s sounded like they spoke Chinese. I didn’t understand all of it because it’s been a while, but it’s fun to watch.
Marry this woman! He thought to himself.
FIVE YEARS LATER
“So now put your feet down here. It’s going to be really tight for the next few minutes,” warned Vince.
“You weren’t kidding!” exclaimed Connie.
“I know. The blade is going to come next. What I like to do is…….,” continued Lyla. For the past 15 minutes, Connie was being given a crash course in one of magic’s biggest secrets - the tiny bottom compartment under a trap door concealed from audiences. A series of unexpected, related events had led to this. On Saturday night she was going to be the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award courtesy of the Texas Association of School Administrators. The huge event would attendees from all over the state. Booked to entertain them by mere coincidence was her high school boyfriend-turned-magician Vince Howard, who had just placed a silk handkerchief in her hand using her outstretched arm.
“Your hand has to stay in this position while I turn you around. That’s going to start now.”
“Go slow,” Connie asked from inside the cramped, dark space within the base.
“Promise,” replied Vince.
“Don’t forget to keep waving you hand steadily Connie – just like that,” Lyla added.
Since Jason, her husband, had been working long hours each week, Connie had the bright idea to amorously surprise him by assisting Vince in this single box and blade illusion. Since she already knew him and was working well with his regular assistant Lyla so far, the circumstances could not be more perfect. Connie heard Vince speak next.
“We’ll go around three times to keep the audience wondering how you can be divided and disappeared at the same time…Lyla and I will stop now. You’re doing great.”
“I’m sure your husband is going to love it,” Lyla added. This was code for how she understood what was really going on here, even if Vince didn’t.
“Yours’s or mine?” Jason asked in his half-awake state.
“Yours” Connie replied regarding the ringing iPhone in the distance. The two were enjoying a late afternoon rest on Saturday before the big event.
“Then let it go…this feels so good,” Jason muttered.
“We got to start getting ready. I’ll go first,” Connie decided. She went into the closet.
“I’m so tired right now, I bet I can stay home and see watch on the internet somewhere if it’s all right with you.”
“You will do no so such thing,” admonished Connie. She returned with a beautiful white dress over one arm and dangled in front of Jason a pair of shiny, sexy stiletto sandals with the other to pique his interest. It worked. Suddenly came the less common ring of their landline.
“Oh-o,” she remarked. They both sensed this call coming right after the ignored cell call wasn’t good. Jason got up to answer but did not tell his wife after seeing it was his law firm.
“Hello…. hey….no were both here,” Jason soon became flustered. “Don’t do this to me right now Buddy!” Connie’s spirits sank when she overheard him sighing heavily “All right, you win…yes, I understand…right, bye.”
“Somethings changed in the Riggins brother’s case,” Jason informed his wife. This was a pending trial that he and several co-workers were to litigate in England that fall. “Matt Saracen is coming in personally to discuss it. This means that everybody has to come in right now too.”
“Uh-uh!” she said rater firmly. “Can’t you call or go in tomorrow to catch up?”
“No,” Jason simply said. Connie knew by now that the firms demanding standards for its associates meant he was right.
“Maybe I can still call Glenn to be my date. Maybe I’ll invite him afterward,” she joked about a younger teacher who had a crush on her.
“Just make sure he doesn’t drink all my Scotch,” Jason said with a grin. “Let me shower first now. I’ll see you later tonight.”
“Mmm-hmm,” she replied dismayed. Connie thought it would be best not to tell him about her surprise now, or maybe ever.
“Before the awards start, we have one more thing left. I thought how it would be a great idea if Mrs. Britton herself participated. Could you come here for just a moment,” asked Vince in full performance mode. The teacher of the year faked being surprised in front of her friends and co-workers and walked over to the nearby stage thinking of Jason.
“If I can call you Connie, you can call me Mr. Magician,” Vince said once the applause stopped.
“How are doing so far?”
“I was enjoying myself until now. What does it mean to participate?” she quired per their prepared act.
“It means you get the experience the magic box of doom!” Vince announced. The audience members laughed while Lyla brought over the illusion.
“Oh no – no,” objected Connie.
“Don’t worry. I thought you may not want to, so there is a back-up.”
“Yep. If anything happens to you inside the magic box of doom, Connie, Tyra Collette, the runner-up, becomes Teacher of the Year instead!”
“Congratulations Tyra, just in case!” Connie told her friend watching. Once the merriment stopped, Lyla began to open the door until Vince unexpectedly interceded.
“Actually, don’t bother Lyla.” Connie knew immediately this wasn’t in their script.
“Let’s be honest. Would any of you be surprised to learn that Mrs. Britton already graciously met with us on Monday afternoon to rehearse the entire routine?” the magician asked. Some guests applauded, while others plainly said ‘no.’
“The trick is really called the Cube Zag illusion. Full disclosure folks – it’s as is dull as it sounds. The magician’s assistant, who was going to be Connie, bides her time hidden inside the hollow base of the box. There is a light, a docking port, you name it. She’s defiantly not really cut in half,” Vince informed the evenings attendees. This provoked genuine ‘boos.’
“Hey, I understand,” he consoled them. “If I had my way, the Cube Zag illusion would be banned forever!” Vince followed up by giving the prop a good shove that sent it out of the stage lights on its casters. “What about if we instead did something better that our beautiful victim – er I mean volunteer, has never rehearsed with us? Does that sound good?” The guests responded in kind.
Connie, for her part, remained standing in place with the same frozen, nervous smile.
Jason was working at a table in the office library. His thoughts drifted to what might be happening now at the ceremony when of the partners knocked on the door frame.
“Hey Jason, could you come here for a moment.”
“Yeah J.D.…….What's up?”
“Buddy told me about your wife’s award. Sorry. We have this – get your ass over there instead. I mean it”
Jason felt elated! “Thanks, J.D.!”
“By your applause, how many would like to see Connie, again with absolutely no practice this time, divided into three pieces?” inquired Vince. Suddenly, a picture of the famous Zig-Zag Girl illusion flashed on the monitors on the sides of the stage area. Although the picture and ensuing support it garnered rattled Connie, she was not surprised that Vince, who always marched to the beat of a different drum, was now a maverick magician.
“Or how many would rather see Mrs. Britton be cut with blades into four pieces?” The picture switched to four dismantled rectangular boxes spread across a stage. It provoked more guffaws than applause and for Connie to finally impatiently clear her throat wanting to know what’s going on here. Vince and Lyla responded with a quick wink and smile, respectively, as if there was nothing to worry about. Yet Vince deliberately let the grinding tension build by waiting a moment before speaking.
“Or, what if we did get really naughty, and divided Connie’s lovely, five foot-eight-inch body into six individual pieces!” Pandemonium followed.
Jason had not made one single red light during the short drive go the Sheraton. Once there, his drive through the rows of cars in the parking structure became a fruitless drive through the multiple floors. When he came to the fifth floor, Jason noticed the song playing on the radio.
Oh Oh, its Magic! sang The Cars.
“Should I trust this David Copperfield here?” Connie asked the spectators, who responded with alacrity. A different vacant & vertical magic cabinet now awaited. Unbeknownst tp her, it was a unique combination of the Mismade & Topsy Turvy illusions. At the bottom and top were two square boxes. In between these were six unique, triangular sections. An illustrated, rather rathe scantily clad woman decorated the entire front side. To the left was an apparatus that could tilt the real woman inside upside down, horizonal and right side up again at the will of the magician. Connie recalled how she had done this for Jason.
“What do I do first?” sounding not nearly as enthusiastic as everyone else.
Jason finally came to an empty parking spot. Once the engine was off, he thought about calling his wife but realized he could get there faster undistracted from his phone. Besides, Jason wanted to surprise her at the same time.
Meanwhile, Connie nervously held her hair up while her neck was being adorned with a tight metal collar. Two short dangling chains dangled both sites.
“Now try these,” Vince said. “Eh…are these supposed to be ankle bracelets?” she skittishly inquired. Connie looked out to Tyra again nearby with a bemused, baffled expression while two similar steel shackles were being locked over her ankles. Vince then took her by the hand to walk to the box. Lyla opened the individual panel doors.
“It looks really small in there you two.” Her comment was really an oblique reference to their practiced and perfected, but unexpectedly disbanded, first trick.
“You won’t need any,” quipped Vince. Once inside, the amateur assistant felt a slight tug when he attached the links on her collar latched to the interior. Anticipation continued to surge. Suddenly Connie felt the same shoes that she had teased Jason earlier being taken off her feet.
“It’s more fun this way,” Vince innocently explained. Lyla clicked the lower cuffs in place. Vince deftly tossed both evening sandals to the main aisle between the tables.
“If you’re trying to make me scared Vince you’re doing a great job!” she remarked when her ex-boyfriend began to close the doors. Ladies laughed, while their boyfriends & husbands felt their pulses racing, eyes dilating and hands sweating. Vince shot them a mischievous grin. “Wave good-bye now.”
Connie waved her right hand with timid, yet sexy expression on her face. She shut her eyes before it latched shut.
“Can you see anything, Mrs. Britton” asked Vince with a light knock.
“No!” came the sound of her voice.
“Is there any way you can get out Mrs. Britton?”
“Ah…no dear,” she sarcastically retorted. “Then get ready. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!” revealed the magician. Using both arms, Vince reached for the top end while Layla crouched to get a hold of the lower, left end.
“Ah..ah..what’s going on?” demanded her sharp, shrill disembodied voice.
Inside, Connie abruptly felt the cabinet – and her – being turned upside down! She managed to land on her hands while her bonds kept her body in place.
“Did you land okay in there?”
“Ah…I think so,” she replied needing to raise her voice to be heard.
“Then may I have the first blade please, Lyla?”
Jason walled through the large, double sided entrance doors. He was greeted by the intense sounds of laughter, shock, and awe. In the distance a magic act was amid a specular illusion. Walking rapidly, Jason nearly tripped over a pair of recognizable, discarded metallic high heels. After picking one up his jaw dropped — size 9!
“And now the second blade!” Vince proudly shouted.
“Is that you babe?” Connie called out to Jason before shirking in shock by having another blade driven through her!
“How did!?” Jason yelped.
“I’ll explain this later, but right now I am being cut into six pieces,” Connie informed him with her unmistakable Texas drawl. The crowd found this especially amusing. Jason quickly grabbed an empty seat.
“I want you to know Connie that I’m not the one doing this now,” fibbed Vince.
“Sure Vince.........ouch!” came her flustered voice as another blade was going through her with equal precision. Jason found it unashamedly arousing.
“I think our teacher of the year can use a break now.” Lyla opened the top panel. The sight of Connie’s own inverted, bound feet caused Jason to lurch forward to conceal a poke of his own. Vince kneeled, unlatched the front door, revealing Connie’s head and shoulders, held up with both arms, upside down in the box! Her gorgeous, overflowing hair spilled down the bottom. The completely captivated crowd studied the half-shocked, half-exhilarated look on her face. Once Connie had adjusted her eyes, she found her husband seated not far, breathing heavily.
“Surprise,” she simply said. Her bare feet above waived vigoulsy for added emphasis. Despite a lifetime of fantasies, right now Jason had no idea what a guy is supposed to say to his wife who is displayed in a magic box and effectively separated with cold blades of steel.
“I’m …. really glad I got here in time to see this. What’s it like in there?” he gently asked being genuinely dumfounded.
“I’ve never been more uncomfortable in my life, but that’s okay,” Connie sweetly replied. A shared sense of sense of amusement and bewilderment came from all directions.
“All finished Vince?” she wanted to know. Unfortunately, her ex-suitor was no longer next to her. Connie noticed how a few people had finally taken their eyes away from her. Lyla had returned with three additional blades beyond her view. Connie tried to see more having a good idea of what was afoot.
“I’ll get both of you for this,” promised but was cut short by the door close in front of her again. Vince and Lyla turned their again attention to the upper and lower sections to move her again.
Connie felt the jostling blades reverberate through her during the process. ‘‘Oh!...Careful please!” requested the voice of the amateur assistant. Lalya and Vince set her in a steady, horizontal position. Jason saw how it was now a ringer for the popular Slicer illusion.
“This position will be a little easier,” Lyla told Connie based on her own expirece inside.
“And you’re doing awesome job,” Vince added in a raised voice.
“Thanks,” she saraicaly said inside thinking how she had never signed up for this. “Are you still there Jason?”
“Oh yes,” he conformed with unconfined pleasure.
Amid uncurrent of laughter Connie felt the next assault of blades begin. Working faster this time, Vince inserted each new blade through the corresponding triangular sections with glee. Jason’s eyes stayed glued to the stage at the spectacle that defied belief.
“That was the six - and last one Connie. Congratulations!” the magician announced upon completion. “Get ready. We are going right-side up now!” said Lyla. It wasn’t long before Vince and Lyla had secured cabinet back to its correct vertical position again. The shocked attendees applauded wildly at this.
Inside, Connie felt her feet on the ground again. She began wiggling her toes as a reminder they still belonged to her especially having three more cold blades pinned against her now. Vince flipped the panel open again so she could she what had become a standing ovation for her. Jason silently said, ‘I love you.’ Since her arms now folded in front of her, Connie was able affectionately respond with the ‘okay,’ sign. She and her husband been left breathless by the entire experience.
Ultimately the cheers receded. Guests sat back down.
“Okay, I can use a little help getting out of here, and I’ll be on my way,” she happily indicated. The audience chucked, sharing a similar sense of completion and solace.
“Who said we’re finished,” the magician countered. “The last part needs to be seen to be believed the audience…and especially you” Anticipation quickly spread among the tables again. “I bet I know what happens next,” mentioned their friend Jess, seated next to Jason, who still had some mojo left.
“Ready,” Lyla asked her partner in crime.
“I am. Are you ready Connie?”
“I’m not sure. What now?” she asked hesitantly.
“We’re going to take you apart, that’s what!” Vince announced. The performers stated to pull out the first of the four triangles from the frame. Connie watched helplessly as the four sections of her body were gradually taken away and set on the floor! “How are you doing this?” was all she could say.
Once the bottom box with her feet were detached from the structure’s frame Connie’s shocked, luminous face surveyed the results below from four feet above. By now several provoked men had either stood up or were watching the aisles to have the best view. Cameras of all kinds flashed in all directions.
Lyla and Vince came back to her. “Don’t tell me,” she said wearily. Lyla indicated ‘yes’. Vince made sure the front panel was tightly fastened, and they began the delicate process of releasing the top box. “Please be gentle with me!” her disembodied voice requested.
In the dark Connie sensed being pulled forward and then slowly descend. She kept sill, began to slow down, nearly stop, and then felt herself being set on the stage still right side up. In her disembodied state, Connie heard a tap to her tap to her right that from Vince. A few seconds later she could tell how the companion square box with her feet was being placed above her. However, Connie could only feel the surface with her toes, meaning they had placed this single box upside down.
Both doors were unlatched yet again. Applause bombarded her. In place of anxiety, she felt a sexy feeling take hold of her. While Tyra and Jess gasped and some men whistled at her, Connie enjoyed being utterly helpless, separated in six sections by eight hard blades in front of Jason and everyone who had come out for her that night.
“This is really weird!” She waved and swayed both feet as much as the shackles permitted. Ironically, Connie felt more comfortable compared to any of the positions had been stacked. However, the cognitive dissonance was more intense this time.
“What do you think, do you want to take me home like this?” she asked her husband.
“I’d have no complaints,” Jason replied looking completely mesmerized.
Lyla motioned for him to come to the stage. Vince flipped the hatch on the top box open. Connie realized that - yes - he was going to tickle her feet. She laughed, partially from the feel, but also due their shared delight in the public display of her new arrangement. Lyla had the last word.
“I don’t know what kind of arrangement you both have at home. But for doing this Jason, I’d say whatever Connie wants, she gets for a very long time!”
It was no surprise how nobody remembered that the night’s awards still needed to be presented. Connie found herself in front of the attendees, this time all in one piece, from a podium, to accept the last one.
“Knowing that I want to come to the same job every week, every new year has always been a reward on its own to me. So, with clear eyes and a full heart, thank you very much for this,” she remarked gratefully.
“But at the same time….” Connie smiled, placed one hand around her empty neck and raised each leg slightly to reveal the bracelets were off and shoes on again, “I think I’ll take myself out of the running next year.” One more round of laughter and applause, led by Jason, followed.
“Good night, y’all.”