Here is a scene from book 3 in my Quantum Entity Trilogy that my friend, mentalist Jaymes White helped me with. In this scene, a group of kids (dominated by martial arts student Des (Desmond), Michael Ruane (card trickster and budding mentalist) and Altair (Bebe, pronounced bee-bee, sometimes also referred to as Beeb or the Beeb) whose ages range between 6 and 10) are playing outside Altair’s home in Port Isabel (Texas) shortly before the final confrontation takes place between the Commonwealth of the United States (a renamed USA) and Imperial China and Germania (a renamed Europe).
Michael is about to perform a trick (all secrets revealed) that any 10 or 11 year old should be able to master to not only impress his/her friends but adults as well.
“This is a mentalist exercise so I need y’all pay attention and be very quiet so I can pick up your thoughts,” Michael says with a flourish. He is actually quite a good actor, Sebastian thinks. Des has stopped with the bo and is paying attention too to see if he can debunk Mike’s trick.
“OK, Bebe, come here.” The little girl has long brown hair weirdly streaked with blond almost white stripes. Her Texan-Romanian-Belizean heritage has resulted in a skin color comparable to light milk chocolate. The package comes complete with a clean, nicely ironed frock. “Here, you hold onto this, OK?” Michael says.
He hands her a brown bag with something inside it. “You can’t look inside, OK, Beeb?”
The something inside is a precious orange.
“Ian, I need you to hold onto this.” Michael gives Sebastian a clear Ziploc bag to hold.
Next, he pulls a few equal sized scarps of paper from his pocket together with a pencil and goes around asking each kid to name their favorite fruit. He carefully writes down their answers, folds each piece of paper over four times and drops them into the Ziploc bag that Ian is holding onto.
“OK, Beeb, has anyone looked inside the bag?”
“Have I looked inside the bag?”
“Have I come close to it or touched it?
“OK, I need a volunteer to draw one of the pieces of paper out of the bag that Ian is holding.”
“I’ll do it,” Zach says.
“Funk that,” Desmond says. “You two are confederates. No way. I’ll do it.”
“OK, Des, but before you do,” Michael pauses momentarily, theatrically, “I just need to apply my mind powers.” He holds one hand about eight inches over the brown paper bag and his other over the Ziploc. His eyes close and his hands shake a bit as he powers up his extrasensory perception. Altair’s eyes go wide.
Finally he says, as if exhausted, “OK, Des. Go ahead.”
Des draws one of the papers. “OK, open it up, Des, but let…” he pauses. He was going to say let Altair read it but he knows she sometimes mucks up her words so he says, “OK, you read it Des.” While he is hesitating, he reaches out and takes the Ziploc bag with the rest of the papers (on which he has written down the kids’ favorite fruits) from Ian and puts it in his pocket.
Des looks at the paper which says, “Orange” on it. He is tempted to say “banana”. He wants to prove Michael’s an idiot to everyone especially the Beeb but he knows if he says “banana” instead of “orange” and they find out, he’ll look bad. He figures he’s got a 5 in 6 chance of proving Michael wrong anyway.
There were 6 entries in the Ziploc because Cookie reappeared in the courtyard just in time to play. When asked what her favorite fruit is, she replies, “Tyrolean mangoes.” No one has any idea what Tyrolean mangoes are and Michael has to ask her how to spell, “Tyrolean.” None of the kids are surprised that tiny Brooke can actually spell it not that anyone present could correct her if she is wrong in any event. Nor do they doubt that she’s been there and eaten that.
“OK, Bebe, open the bag.”
Altair pulls out the orange, looks up at Michael and says, “Tutti frutti, oh cootie!”
“It’s ‘Tutti frutti, oh ruttie’,” Sebastian says correcting her. They were listening to Zoe’s old record collection including a Little Richard 45 before they relocated outta the house.
“Well, everyone knows boys have cooties!” Altair says defiantly.
“They do?” Beatrix asks worried now about the guys around her.
“Yep. How d’ya make the fruitti in the bag into an orange, Mikey?” Altair asks forgetting for the moment her previous hero (Des) of 20 minutes ago replaced now by a boy wizard who can make any fruitti he wants appear in a bag. Maybe now she won’t be so hungry all the time and can get more food for herself and Cookie.
“It takes a lot of practise, Bebe. And POWER.”
“Altair, if you were twice as smart, you’d still be dumb,” Des says pissed at her for being impressed with Michael’s obvious deception.
“I’m rubber you’re blue what bounces off me sticks to you,” Altair says to him pointing her tongue at him. She meant to say “glue”.
Des doesn’t react well to teasing even from her and raises his bo. This is no joke. Des can kill with one stroke of his bo and has used it plenty on animals including goats that he butchers, cooks and eats. Des, unlike every other kid in Texmex, does not believe in being calorie-starved and has become the wiliest predator of Hania’s and Kele’s goat herd. The guys have been on the lookout for someone stealing their goats; they just don’t realize they are looking for a kid.
As soon as Des raises his bo both Michael and Zach (who is not as tall as Mike but is much stockier) close ranks in front of Altair.
“She didn’t mean anything, Dezzie. She’s just a little kid. Come on,” Michael says.
“Did too,” says Altair not realizing the mortal danger she has put herself in.
“Altair, shut up,” Zach says.
After a few more seconds, Desmond’s eyes lose their crazed killer look and both Zach and Michael relax a little.
“OK, you just have to tell her, us, how you did it,” Des says.
“Like I said, it was a mind trick, Des, that’s all. Forget it.”
“No. Brooke, how did Mike do it?”
Of course, no one can keep any secrets from Cookie. She could see with her powerful Quanta2 mind that when Michael was supposedly writing down what the kids were saying including “Tyrolean mangoes”, he was actually scribbling “orange” each time. She knows that the evidence of his deception is resting comfortably in a Ziploc bag in his pocket.
“He’s the Cyril Takayama of his time,” Cookie says mysteriously, looking at them all from her resting place about five feet above the patio stones of the courtyard where she is currently floating free. Her super sized, vertical-axis, golden ellipsoid eyes appear to be taking them all in at once and like always they glow. But at least she appears to be fully present.
“Who?” Des and Zach say at the same time.
“Michael has the same eyebrow jewelry and earrings as Mr. Takayama,” Brooke answers.
“I do?” Michael asks.
“You do,” she answers. This is not strictly true. She’s just redirecting the convo away from how Michael pulled off his cool trick.
Michael is pleased. Cyril is an amazing American-Japanese magician who is one of his idols.
Mike’s had a dark blue, titanium barbell inserted into his right eyebrow and his twin pierced ears sport blue diamond studs that he got from his grandfather after promising the old guy that he would not add any tattoos. Naya and Sean have had yet another argument over this. Sean tells Michael that he has to take the bird shit off his face while Naya tells him not to pay any attention to his dad.
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