I read this in Canterbury Waterstones on the 26th January 2017. Video to follow.
The elevator dinged and the magician emerged. A pointy red hat with silvery moons and stars sat atop his head. A wizened wrinkly face held his goofy toothless smile.
“Good night boys and girls. You have left your bodies behind for this evening and you are welcome to my magical realm.”
The children stared at him with their mouths agape and fidgeting around in excitement.
“You meet me every night. Some of you meet me in the day. But that’s enough explanation for now. Who wants to go on an adventure?”
“Meeee!!!” screamed a girl at the front.
“Alright then let’s get in the lift”
The elevator shut behind the pair. Uplifting smooth jazz music was piped in. “This is one of my favourite tracks on this CD” said the magician”
“Ok – where shall we go young madam?”
“The Dinosaurs it shall be then”
The magician adjusted the fourth-dimensional dial to 100 million years ago and the fifth dimensional dial to somewhere not too far from the building.
The elevator whistled down the double-helix shaped shaft and through the loop-the-loop and landed in the prehistoric age.
The doors pinged open again and Madeline was confronted with the sight of a 20 foot tall Diplodocus munching leaves.
“Don’t be afraid they don’t eat humans”. The girl calmed down and looked up at the scaly poo-coloured creature.
“It looks like my mummy”
“Yes that’s what having children and too many chocolate bars does to you” sighed the magician
“I’ll pick you up later, but beware of the T-Rex”
“Which one’s that?” said the bemused girl.
“The one that looks like your Dad on a bad day. Toodle pip!”
The magician popped back in the elevator and pressed the Home button. It whooshed back through the loops and the double-helix. The magician did some groovy disco dancing and then put his serious face on for the children.
“Who’s next?” he said slyly.
A chunky boy pushed past the others. He was sour-faced and in a posh school uniform.
“OK, Henry where would you like to go today?”
“When I’m rich. I want to meet me when I’m rich”
“Alrighty” said the elderly magician. He twisted the fourth dimension dial 30 years forward and fifth dimensional dial to the spaceship colony of New Zork.
The elevator pinged through the stratosphere, grew rockets, wings and propellers and jumped through the hyper space portal. The ride was a little rickety, but then the elevator landed on the rocket dock of future Henry’s dome.
The elevator doors opened to future Henry’s bedroom. There were wide panoramic views of the galaxy. A large circular white bed stood in the centre.
“Wow!!!” exclaimed Henry
“New Zork is fantastic isn’t it. A little too hectic for someone of my age but you’d be right in your element.”
“Oh, your lady friends will come in a moment”
“What?!?!?! Girls!!!?!?!” said Henry
“Oh yes! You’ll like them by this point”
“Urrghghgh! Girls smell!”
“Well little Henry. You should be careful what you wish for in this life because you might just get it. See you later!”
With that the elevator got back in the elevator and pushed home. He hummed to the glorious bossa nova, track 12 if he was right. This was divine!
He arrived back to the children so engrossed in his singing he didn’t hear the door open. The children saw the old man gyrating and humming to the silly song and all started laughing.
“Pretend you didn’t see that” said the magician, straightening up. But the children kept giggling.
“Now I’m going to choose someone who isn’t a bossypants.” He looked towards the back.
A shy boy was sucking his thumb.
“Dexter, today is your lucky day” The little man stood up and toddled over innocently with pure trust in his eyes.
As soon as the lift doors shut the poor boy started crying.
“Oh come here.” he lifted the boy up.
“It’s OK. You’re OK now. The boy wailed and wailed and wailed until no more tears came out and no more sound could be made.”
“You’re safe now. You’re here with me. It was probably a little too early for you to go to Earth with those savages.”
“Where shall we take you?”
“Home” said the boy without hesitation. Using one of the few words he knew.
The magician held down the button with a picture of a house and the doors opened at a woodland scene. The deer were prancing about, the dappled sunlight was shining through the trees and a few woodland faeries were playing around.
The boy toddled towards them with a big grin on his face.
“See you soon” said the magician.
His work continued throughout the night. He took everyone to a dreamworld before taking them back again to their sleepy 3D bodies.
“Remember you can come here any time you want.” he’d whisper. The people would wake up in child and adult bodies, sighing warmly and happily in their beds.