This was the first ever story of mine posted on the internet, via of the old “Sheckys Illusion Archive” website, in 2000. I think it holds up well.
Michelle, by the way, was based a pretty audience member from Canada who once played Know Your Current Events on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Looking back, I remember a sense of
disappointment coming over me.
Let me explain. I have always wondered about what it must be like being a magician’s assistant. To disappear, be sawed in half, whatever - it has always been a deep-seated secret of mine.
That's why when I had the chance to see a live magic show I jumped at the opportunity. Incognito is how I felt at the start of the show as I watched and secretly hoped there would be an illusion or two done on stage with an assistant.
By the end of show there had been nothing of the kind. I felt disappointed - a little like after I visit some of those internet illusion and club sites. But wait....
The magician, Raye Black, introduced a tall, striking cabinet. Empty openings for an assistant’s face, hands and feet caused me to sit up and take notice really quick. I had a distinct feeling I was going to get my money’s worth after all.
“For the finale I am going to show you an illusion we call Modern Art,” Raye Black explained. “I need a young lady from the audience to come and check out this magic box.”
Leaving caution to the wind, I volunteered immediately, and he invited me to the stage. Walking up there I thought I was going to get the opportunity to see a box and blade illusion performed right in front of me.
“Hi! What's your name,” he asked.
“Michelle,” I spoke. I should have been feeling nervous, but I wasn’t. It helped that I had come dressed to kill in a simple top, short skirt and thin, strappy sandals.
“What do you do?”
“I work as an administrative assistant for a dot-com company.” I replied. By then I had expected to see one of the actual assistants who has been on stage earlier in the show come out and join us. Instead, it was just me and him. You don’t think...? No, couldn’t be.
“Michelle, I need you to check out this cabinet. Do you agree that it is actually not very big?” he asked me and spun it around on its canisters for all to see.
“Yes, absolutely,” I replied and giggled slightly.
“Good. Next, I’m going to open the side door. Do you also agree that there is very little room inside?”
I stepped in closer and started to feel uneasy about where this was going but checked the interior for him from top to bottom.
“Mmm-hmmm,” I nodded. “It’s just like it looks.”
Raye then shut the door but left it unlocked. That funny feeling, I had was getting stronger. He looked right at me.
“Great. Finally, would you agree that there is no room in the box ...for a magician’s assistant to bend or move?”
At that moment I knew that I was going to be the assistant. My mind started racing. Part of me wanted to put my hand up and say no way! But another part of me couldn’t believe it and wanted to say yes. I remember looking at the audience. Some were laughing. Others were applauding us. I nodded tentatively. This was really happening!
“Michelle,” Raye continued. “Would you mind stepping out of your shoes?”
“Okay,” I laughed and slipped off my high heels. Raye reopened the door to the cabinet.
“Would you now mind stepping into the box?”
“All right,” I said after a moment’s hesitation. I placed my right arm through the spot for the assistant’s hand and stepped inside. It was a tight squeeze. The magician smiled innocently at me before he closed the door.
There I was secured in a magician’s box for the first time. The box completely enclosed me except for the oval section where I had my face, and my bare feet were visible at the bottom. I looked out at the audience in front of me and an waved my fingers knowing how I looked to them. My eyes followed Raye since I was unsure of what was going to happen to me next.
“All right Michelle, are you doing okay so far?”
“So far so good,” I said. He continued to explain the illusion to the audience.
“Actually folks the cabinet that Michelle is in really consists of two boxes, one on top of another. In fact, it is made to be able to move over to the right. Let me show you.”
Raye moved where I could not see and him and I felt the top section move slightly before it ran into my hips. I lost my balance slightly before Raye moved it back. He then retuned in front of me.
“No go.” I nodded my head in agreement.
“Unfortunately, as you can tell the top section can only go so far because of the way it’s built. In fact, the only way.... for us to move...the top section away from the bottom is to cut her in half to move it.”
“But we can’t do that...or can we?”
I felt a jolt of electricity go through me. Some members of the audience said no; most of them though either applauded or otherwise let their choice be known. From there my eyes became fixated on a large, shiny steel blade that he was holding.
“Tonight folks, were going to place this blade through the cabinet and cut Michelle in half!” I clenched my toes and felt my whole-body tense in anticipation.
“Oh, you are bad,” I said in an amused disbelief as I watched him set it in the groove just below my hand. “Ouch!” I shrieked as I felt a cold sensation go right through me.
Another one followed (although my eyes were closed by that time.) Everything was silent, so I cautiously opened up my eyes.
“Do they fit okay? Would you care for another?” Raye asked me. I was speechless. Two blades had unmistakably - and uncomfortably - been anchored through my body. I glanced down to see my hand feel them, then looked up at Raye and glared at him teasingly.
He in turn glanced at me with a raised eyebrow indicating he wasn’t done yet and walked to the side of my box where I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t believe that I had been sitting in the audience just minutes ago.
“Having done this we can now easily show Michelle in two pieces,” he promised.
I then felt the top half of me move all the way over to the left. My mouth fell open wide - my body had been divided into two separate pieces! Everyone applauded at the trick. Raye turned his head and instead directed the applause at me.
That’s really all I can recall at that point. Raye adjusted my blades slightly. I wiggled my fingers below me but now to my left and below me were my feet. I waved them up and down when Raye asked me how I felt. “This is so indescribable,” pretty much said it all.
He then asked for someone else to come up to the stage with us. Seconds later Raye welcomed a guy about my age who I thought I could totally go for. So much that I was actually able to stop thinking about the situation I was in and tried to tell if he had come here with someone.
“And what is your name sir,” Raye asked.
“John,” he responded.
“Hi John, I’m Raye. I’d like to introduce you to Michelle.”
“Hi,” I said to him jokingly. What else are you supposed to say to a guy when you’re on a stage on display in a magic box with blades of steel pushed through you and cut in half to match?
“John, I’ve invited you on stage to show you that Michelle is really cut in the box just as she looks. Go ahead and hold her hand.”
He was definitely quiet. We held hands for a second. I noticed him looking at my feet, so I wiggled my toes at him and definitely got a reaction.
“Go ahead and check her feet. They're real.”
He touched me there briefly. It’s a good thing because I’m ticklish. Next Raye opened a panel door and showed my legs. Oh yeah. This I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I suspect that all of the guys there didn’t mind either seeing me show of my legs.
“Those are really her legs and finally you can see....”
Raye open the panel door showing of my chest. I liked it but suddenly the smile on my face froze.
“You can see those too but that's all.” He closed both panel doors. The audience laughed. Thanks Raye I thought.
“Let’s hear it for John ladies and gentlemen!” John left the stage area. Oh well. Raye turned back to me.
“Let’s put Michelle back together!” he declared as we looked into each other’s eyes. I held still as he slid my top half back in place, drew my breath as he pulled out my blades, and grinned excitedly when he we were done.
The side door opened, and I stepped out of the magic box in one piece.
I wish you had been there.