“Come one, come all! This will be the performance of a lifetime! You don’t want to miss this one!” The streets are flocked with people, but nobody is coming towards me. Is my outfit too outlandish? Is it distasteful? Too ridiculous? But wouldn’t be better if it was ridiculous? Wait, I don’t want to be ridiculous!
No. I’m not ridiculous, what the hell am I thinking? I need to keep my head in the game.
“I might be a weirdo in the middle of the park, but I’ll make this day special for all of you. You see this on top of my head? Is it a hat? Is it a cap? Is it a cute keepsake I put on top of my head!? I don’t know either, so let’s learn together.”
I take off my hat, my fingers coming in contact with its soft, vibrant exterior. I wave it in front of me, hoping to grab at least one person’s attention. A bright white hat, cap, whatever it is, glowing bright thanks to the sunlight. Cute bunny ears floating at the end of my cap, making it impossible to resist. These people can’t resist the power of cuteness, nobody can!
“Now. Observe.” I toss my hat into the air. With the sly of my hand, I cause it to spin as it ascends. Once it starts to fall, It slows down, spinning faster and faster, spreading beautiful white sprinkles into the air. They sprinkle on the pavement with grace, putting the natural beauty of snow to shame.
The hat becomes a white blur, gently twirling back on top of my braids. I bow, proud of how well my performance turned out. As expected, I caught the attention of a couple people walking by. Too cute to resist I see.
“Thank you, thank you.” The small crowd rewards me with their applause, allowing me to taste the crumbs of my labor. “I’m glad you enjoyed today’s show, but this is only a prelude of what’s to come.”
I take off my cap and swing at full force, cards getting flung into the sky. “Make sure to catch my full show next week! Right here on Monday, three pm. None of you will want to miss it!” I swing my arms out wide, exaggerating myself as much as I can. It’s enough to convince me I’m putting magic into my speech skills.
I eye the crowd, watching people grab the cards with wonder in their eyes. Young men and women, especially the children. But my eyes jump to the people in the background, walking by without a care. They either don’t bat an eye or give me a double-take.
The type of double-take you do when you spot a roach in the shower. The discomfort overtakes you, the gall of something so hideous to crawl out of its hole and walk amongst humans. It’s nothing short of disgusting.
“Th—That’s it for today, s—see you all then!” I swing my cap around, releasing a puff of smoke as I dash off into the background.
I weave through the large herd of people that have their picnic blankets set up in the field. I start jumping left and right, leaping over people’s food. I start moving so fast that my ankles don’t know what to do with themselves, then they vanish!
They don’t actually vanish, but they might as well have. I roll on my shoulder and fall into my hat, the world becoming complete darkness. At least my hat won’t hurt anyone when I inevitably crash into them.
Suddenly I stop, and a force starts to pull on me. The world’s light burns into my eyes, and I find myself laying down on something soft.
“So, how’d it go,” Edel asks, her face hovering over mine.
“It was… okay.”
“Did anyone seem interested,” Edel asks again, removing her face from my view.
“I guess. They were smiling, but smiles don’t guarantee a turnout.”
“Why don’t you just make videos of your magic? You’d get a way better audience with a lot less work.”
“No, that wouldn’t work. If I did stuff online then people would be like, ‘Oh, it’s not real! Fake! Fake! Fake!’ but if I do it in person, they’ll be way more awestruck.”
“I’m feeling what you’re saying, but still, even if it’s fake, people will love it, especially kids. You’ve gotta remember that kids have the power of stupidity on their side. They’d believe it even if it was fake.”
“What’s your point, Edel?”
“Dude, kids rule the internet. You think their parents care about what they’re watching? Besides, your content isn’t harmful anyways.”
“I guess… but I don’t know.”
“If you’re not getting attention in that get-up and using real magic, then how else will you get it?”
“I don’t know… magic?”
“Think about it, Dreda. You’ve got the cute lil’ bunny ears, your cute matching cape, the looks like flower petals, all-white an’ pure, like your soul. And you’ve got this long dark blue skirt. You’re built like an… an anime girl!”
“I don’t consider that a good thing. Like, at all.”
“Yes, it is good! You’ve got the cute charm, the cute magic. You just all… cute!”
“Yeah, I get that, Edel, but clearly being cute isn’t marketable… Do you think that anybody will go to the show?”
“Of course, people have gone before, so why wouldn’t they go now?”
“Yeah, they’ve gone before, but there’s always a minimal turnout compared to how many people I see.”
“That is true, but the people that show up always enjoy your shows.”
“Yeah… but I want more people to enjoy.”
“Now you’re just being a baby.” I hate to admit, but Edel is making a lot of sense, but what doesn’t make sense is how little attention I get. I’m doing actual magic. Why isn’t the whole world flocking to me? Am I too boring? Am I not as good as I think I am? Am I just… ugly?
“Edel, am I ugly?”
“What!? Girl, no. You think I called you cute for nothin’?”
“No, I believe you, but it sometimes I feel my appearance is the problem. Do you think my clothes might be too… too ridiculous for people?”
“Too ridiculous? So what if your get-up is ridiculous? That’ll get people’s attention, and the people’s attention is what you want, isn’t it?”
“It is, but some people might have something to say about what I look like?”
“Then blow them up with your magic.”
“What!? You know I can’t do that. I don’t have stupid violent video game magic.”
“Then learn so you can blow up the people that talk bad about you.”
“Edel, no. Just let me enjoy the clouds.”
Nice fluffy white clouds. Clean, bright, white. I don’t know why but white has always been my favorite color. Some call it a shade, but I call it a color.
There’s so much potential with white. Every canvas starts with white; a blank sheet of paper starts with white. It gives you free rein with what you can do. There isn’t anything for you to work around, other than your own imagination. White is the color for a new start. It’s just beautiful.
But I never tell people that. It’s not a good look being a black woman, talking about how great the color white is. I’d definitely come off a tad bit odd to people.
The cereal aisle. A world filled with sugary monstrosities that taste so good! Even as a magician, I can’t conjure up my own meals. Some would say that makes me a fraud, but I’d say that it’s just impossible. I can’t make nutrition out of thin air. What do I look like? The food pyramid witch?
Sometimes I wish there was a cereal that had no calories. It’s comforting to chew on something that has a good crunch to it. Although, I think it’s a bad sign if I’m eating because I like the feeling of it… or is it? My metabolism is insane anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
With laser senses, I spot them! A full stack of the best cereal ever made! Unlucky Shoes, A harmful curse in every bite. Before anyone can sense my presence, I start cramming as many as I can into my bag. I would’ve brought a bigger one, but then it’d look like I’m trying to steal the entire aisle.
I get to the third box, shoving it into my poor plastic bag, and I see something hideous on the box. A dreadful sight that makes my stomach acid boil to my throat. The word “Free”.
Hoping for the best, I pull the cereal box out of the bag, and then I see it. “Sugar-Free.”
“Sugar-free!? Oh, come on! This isn’t the one that I want. I want my sixty grams of sugar!” I check the aisle again, digging into the back. Sugar-free is plastered on the front of the boxes, and I’m not touching any of these other cereals. They’re nothing in comparison to Unlucky!
“There’s no sugar anywhere here. I’m gonna need as much as I can get to practice my routine… maybe… just maybe…” I start twiddling my fingers over my plastic bag, a genius idea forming in my head.
“With the wave of my fingers and hope in my heart, make this sugar-free trash rip my arteries apart!” I don’t know what that was. I was trying to do, like, a typical witch thing where they rhyme and then their magic explodes and all that.
White sparkles dance over my bag, no explosions to be found. I take a box out of the bag, and those cursed words are still written on the front, “Sugar-Free.”
“Damn it! Come on magic, be magical!” These white sparkles are so stupid! Why can’t I make walls into pounds of sugar, turn floors into snakes, or whatever. Just focus Dreda, just focus…
“No sugar, no sugar, no sugar, no sugar!” In a wonderous poof of white sparkles, the entire aisle blows up with stars. I blind myself with my own magic, but it’s not harmful so I don’t care, I just want sugar in my god damn cereal. I wave the sparkles away, the entire aisle still littered with them. And low and behold, “Sugar-Free.”
I start to hear the idle chatter of people in the corner store, probably wondering why there are random white sparkles in the air.
I don’t get it. How am I supposed to learn as a magician? I can’t talk to those hack frauds that make it look like they’re doing tricks, because they can’t help me! They’re just professional liars, losers, lame as hell.
I try to think about what I want and that doesn’t work. If I want to attract a larger act, I’m going to need to learn more than some sparkly pretty magic, it’s not enough to get me where I want. I need that cartoon magic, but how the hell do I learn it? Where can I learn it? Can I even learn it?
The sparkles clear from the aisle, my cereal still without sugar. To be fair, I can just mix sugar into it on my own, instead of trying to replace its atoms with an entirely different box on another side of the planet. Maybe I got a tad bit out of hand. Maybe… Perhaps… Probably… Technic—
“Did you do this!?” The voice of an old woman burns into my ears. I turn around and see an old woman, just being a woman that is old.
“And what the hell are you wearing!?”
“Why are you wearing all that, aren’t you embarrassed of yourself!?”
And that’s my cue to leave. The classic crazy old woman, hating on today’s youth. She seemed extra livid than the average old woman though. Maybe she’s the owner of this corner store, and she’s pissed because magic baby powder blew up in her store, and some weird girl with a bunny hat is pissed at sugar-free cereal.
I sprint to the next aisle and dart out the exit as fast as I can. Yeah, the sparkles can be annoying, they aren’t going to harm anyone. My magic isn’t all that much, to be honest…
Sometimes I think my bed has too many pillows on it, but the whole point of a bed is to be soft, so can you really put too many pillows on a bed? I can discuss that with myself another day. For now, I need to practice.
All of my brainpower is channeled to create a vivid image of what I want. A small, shiny, red ball. Simple to envision with eye-catching color. My imagination surges like electricity in the water, conducting up a tropical storm! If that makes sense…
I shut my eyes, the shiny red ball appearing on my eyelids. With confidence, I dunk my hand into my cap. I rummage inside of the void, making sure not to fall too deep inside. The image of the red ball is becoming stained into my consciousness, but I still don’t feel anything.
Of course, I’m not feeling anything, I never tried this before. I have to keep trying new things and hopefully, I’ll learn something new.
Red ball, red ball, red ball, red ball. Something solid grazes across my fingertips. I open my palm and clamp down, dragging my hand out to see…! Nothing! Awesome!
My entire body can fit into this thing, so there’s gotta be more inside of here, right? I can’t even find the cereal boxes I put in here years ago, not even crumbs either. I have so little knowledge of my own abilities, that I’m reduced to carrying around groceries in a plastic bag. Which is, like, a normal thing actually…
“This infinite cap of stupidity. It’s endless but cramped at the same time. Man, whatever. There are more important things than stupid caps. How’s my little Button doing?” I turn to the side of my bed, my wondrous rabbit hutch sitting beside it.
It’s Button’s home inside of a home. I could never see myself putting my pet into a heartless cage like other people do. I don’t even consider her a pet, she’s one of my closest friends.
“I’m sorry for leaving you in there for so long, you must’ve gotten so bored today.” Her hutch is built like a cute little house. I’d love to say that I built it myself, but I’m not crafty enough to build something this sturdy.
I open the hutch and the ball of fluffiness climbs into my hands. The mix of black and white on her fur makes her look like a walking piece of ice cream cake. It makes me love her even more! I’d love her no matter the color of her fur though, but it’s an added bonus.
She starts to crawl into the nook of my palms, not afraid to get comfortable. I carry her over to the bed, placing her in the center of my little pillow fortress.
“How’ve you been today? Did you like the grass that I left for you?” Button rushes into my lap without any hesitation. “Wow, you really liked it, huh? I’m glad, I made sure to get the freshest grass in front of the apartment complex. I made sure to do it at night too, so no one could yell at me about messing up the lawn. I’m not gonna make the same mistake for the fourth time,” I cheer, as pet Button’s back.
“What’s up with you being so high class anyways? You don’t like eating fruits, but you love eating your grass and hay? You’re like a kid that would rather eat vegetables over cake. N—Not to say that you’re a child. I know how seriously you take yourself.”
Button jostles her ears. That’s the equivalent of a hair flip for a rabbit.
“Oh, don’t do that! You know I respect your maturity. I always try to be more like you, but it’s hard balancing my act and the real me. I have to be so exaggerated to keep the audience’s attention, but sometimes, it feels like I have to do that all the time.”
Button faces forward, twitching her ears slightly.
“Yeah, I know, I have to separate my act from me, but I only really talk to Edel and you. Edel always listens, so I don’t exaggerate myself to her, but whenever I’m in front of strangers, I’m always pulling an act, so that’s what I’m comfortable with.”
Button doesn’t react, she remains still.
“I was at the park yesterday with Edel, advertising for next week’s show. There were a lot of people there, so it was perfect, and I was doing really good. At least I feel I was, but I was feel odd when the people passing by give me those side glances. They look at me like I’m stupid cause of how I dress, writing me off a freak in society. They don’t have to say anything, I can see the look in their eye.”
My petting eases up on Button.
“Even the people that like watching me, they see me as this wacky girl that they love to see be… wacky, throwing sparkles in the air. That is what I am during a performance, but I’m more than that as a person, but no one views me separate from my performance, so I guess… I guess I don’t either…”
Button twitches her ears quickly.
“I understand what you’re saying. Ultimately, I need to change how I view myself if I want to be perceived differently by others. It’s hard not to assume people have something against me, especially with how I dress, but I like the way I dress, and it’s not hurting anybody, so why would I ever change that?”
Button hops out of my lap and turns to me, standing up on her legs, ears swaying back and forth.
“Yeah, exactly! I don’t need to change everything about myself, but a new outlook wouldn’t hurt at all. Thanks for talking to me, Button. You always know exactly what to say.”
Button stops standing and stares me down.
“Wait, really? You still want me to read that for you? Aren’t you a little too old for that book?”
Button doesn’t move an inch.
“Alright, relax! I’m not judging. I just thought you’ve moved past the days of storytime, but I’ll do anything for a friend like you.”
I’ve always loved the energy of a bustling café. It’s not dead or crowded, it’s in that perfect sweet spot that makes me feel all cozy. It’s nice seeing people talk and just live on a normal day. There’s something about it that relaxes me. But I know what I’m here to do today.
In order to maximize my chances of having a normal conversation with a stranger, I had to make changes to my appearance. I feel like I look normal, but I can’t really tell.
It wouldn’t hurt to do one final check.
I hop out of my seat at the counter and walk into the bathroom. With no one inside, I take a good look at what I’ve chosen to do with myself.
Jeez, I feel so exposed without my bunny hat. It’s been a while since I let my braids hang out without it. Not that the hat makes a huge difference, my braids are great with or without it.
I don’t know how Edel would feel about my clothes though, she might think I’m a bit… out there, but I think it’ll make me blend in with the crowd.
I dug through my closet and found a bunch of stuff, but these pants stuck out to me the most. They’re so black that they manage to glow somehow, and even though they’re super baggy, they fit on me just right. It’s got a bunch of pockets too, so I don’t even need to carry a bag around, it’s such a relief!
The most I can find to go with it is a plain white hoodie with baby blue sleeves. Others might disagree, but I think it all comes together well. Now, I need to remember to lead into conversations without the mention of magic, just get one, normal, basic human conversation. If I do well enough, I might even make a friend!
I exit the bathroom feeling motivated, and I walk back to the counter, to see that all the seats have been taken. Guess I was admiring my fashion for a bit too long. It’s whatever, I can find another seat.
I scan the café, and the only seat available is a seat by the window. It looks comfy enough though, so it’s fine. I walk over to it, remaining as magicless as possible, keeping my hands well-hidden in my pockets. I get to the seat and get comfy, getting a broad view of the entire café.
Men and women dressed in casual attire, or in suits and ties in front of their laptops. All sorts of people spend their time here. There’s gotta be one person that’s approachable, right? Everyone that’s in front of me is seated at tables, knee-deep in conversations with their friends, or a phone call. It’d be so awkward to interrupt them.
I look to my left and right, there’s one woman who’s scouring her phone screen, to my right, there are two friends talking to each other. My best bet is the woman on the left, but suddenly it hits me.
I have no idea what to talk about! I was too busy focusing on not bringing up magic that I forgot what I should be bringing up, but what would be the use of thinking of something ahead of time? I need to relax.
There are all sorts of people in here, all I need to do is use some good ol’ fashioned social skills.
“U—Uh excuse me, do you have the time?” Perfect! Everyone knows about time.
She keeps swiping away at her phone, the bustle of the café getting louder. I turn my head to the window, realizing how long I was staring.
She didn’t even look at me, not that it really matters. I’m just some stranger after all. She’s not obligated to look at me, but it would’ve been nice. She’s too focused on her phone anyways.
I scan the café again, seeing everyone tuned into their own lives. Who am I to walk in and interrupt them? I think this place is more than bustling, I should’ve chosen a less active café.
I can try asking again but thinking about it now feels so awkward. Am I gonna raise my voice at a stranger? That would make me come off as a weirdo. I’m weird enough as it is with my magic, now I’m yelling at her for the time. It’d be a lot easier if I wore a watch around.
Wait, no. I’m asking her as a conversation starter…
I don’t think I want to start it anymore; I think… I think I should change my approach. Instead of going to others, I should make others come to me! That way, the work of approaching people isn’t my job anymore.
Let me think… What would make me more approachable?
I think people like it when someone isn’t what they expect them to be, but it in a good way, not in a crazy or murderer way. I’ve got to be casual with it too, and I think I have a perfect plan for it.
I take out my phone, plugging in my earbuds with an undeserved grin on my face.
“Okay, what would someone like me never listen to… Oh, I know!” I type in “Best death metal hits” on a Cooltube and click on the first video I see, plugging in my earbuds. I set my phone on the window sill, facing up, brightness as high as possible, music loud enough to leak out of my earbuds.
As soon as the music starts, my head starts throbbing in pain. Guitars are being played so hard, that it shreds my brain cell activity in half. Drums berating my confidence out of my soul. Vocals strong enough to make me regret life decisions.
I can’t blast this music straight out of my phone, then people will know I’m doing it for attention. I’ll only look cool if people happen to catch what I’m listening to. The key to attention is to not try and get it at all, that’s when you get the most of it. It’s the basics of reverse psychology.
It’s so reversed that my eardrums ripping apart means that I like the music, not hate it. No, no! I love it! I love it so much. It’s not killing me to keep this disaster in my ears at full blast. No. No sir. Nope!
No pain, no gain as they say. Not that anyone ever asks who “they” is. Of course, no one knows, why would you actually give credit to someone when you can take what they say and apply to your own life, reaping the potential benefits? That’s why no one—
The woman that I tried speaking to walks past me, the end of her coat brushing against my sneakers. Did she leave because the music was too loud? Oh no, no, no! What was I thinking!? Nobody in a coffee shop would like death metal. Why would anyone like death metal!? It’s just painful sound waves.
I turn off my phone, yanking my earbuds out, but the damage has been done. My head is aching, and the café has somehow gotten louder. Everyone has become death metal and it’s killing my head.
Slapping my hands over my ears, I hop out of my seat and maneuver around everyone, quickly but carefully. I need to get out of here before this gets any worse. I’ll never be able to talk to anyone if I go deaf!
Hi! I post on this website for a chance to share my stories with the world. I’ve been writing for the past 6 years, learning more about creative writing to better my writing skills. My hope is to make a lot of friends here and grow as a writer. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like.