THIRD PLACE: Magician Man That Works at Kroger in J-Town

By Mackenzie Nall

Jan 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm

The magician at Kroger was different.

He lived in the apartments across the street

with the cheap stained glass windows and a door

rotting off the screws.

He knew how to bag up groceries,

meats on the bottom

and breads on the top.

He knew how to be kind and friendly

and greet each customer with one

of those million-dollar smiles.

And he knew how to do magic.

I watched him pull quarters from behind his ear

and make scarves appear

out of nowhere, then thrust them back

into his hand and make them

disappear again.

He caught me watching him,

peeking my five-year-old eyes

from behind my mother’s back

(she didn’t even notice I was there).

I inhaled her perfume and squeezed

her warm, wide hips that swayed

with every move she made.

He gestured for me to go to him

so I carefully stepped around Mom

and tiptoed up to him.

His chin was covered in a dark, curly mass and

his teeth were yellow.

His fingernails ended in a point with

little crumbles of dirt shoved deep in them.

But there was something enchanting

about him that

l was curious

to figure out.

He placed

my hands on an invisible table,

facing up towards his dark brown eyes.

He went over them in a mystical manner

as if his hands were fish swimming in a bowl.


told me,

"”I know who you are

going to be

but I can’t tell you.”

I left with my mom

without saying a word.

I think I had a dream that night

about him. I went back

the next day to tell him.

I walked around for hours,

but he wasn’t there.