Apart from kids’ talent shows and TV viewing ranging from the Ed Sullivan Show way back in the mid-sixties to last season’s America’s Got Talent I had never seen a magician so my expectations were pretty low. The Great Douhini’s act, Douhini is an anagram of Houdini for those of you like me who missed the obvious, was a mix of comedy, sleight of hand and making his beautifully curvy assistant, The Bountiful Bess, appear and disappear in greater or lesser stages of undress. The show was fun and I’m sticking to my story that I did not fall asleep despite the unquestionable single snore bleat I produced as my head fell forward; an ungentle reminder that I was in a chair in a nightclub not at home in my bed.
At the bleat Joe looked at me, smiled, shook his head and went back to watching Douhini and Bess while Jodi picked up my hand, brought it to her lips, kissed it and rewarded me with her million watt smile. Emily sat so enraptured throughout the show that I think shots could have been fired without disturbing her concentration.
“Wow!” Emily declared, standing and applauding frenetically as the lights went up. “Wow!”
I look at Jodi who smiles, raises her eyebrows, nods and claps politely from her seat. Joe, watching Emily clap, shrugs his shoulders, stands and joins her in ovation. Catching his eye my brother tilts his head, raises his eyebrows and the corners of his mouth, flips his hands palm upward at the wrist for a moment and redoubles his over-the-top applause. I shake my head, roll my eyes and clap with enthusiasm greater than Jodi’s but a distant cry from Emily’s or Joe’s.
As the applause dies down and Douhini and Bess exit Emily turns to Joe, brings him to her, pulls his head to hers and delivers a kiss I would be disinclined to share with the public. “Wow!” she says again, “That was great! I just loved it.”
“Good!” Joe replies, wrapping his arms around the diminutive blonde and patting her fanny. “That’s great. It’s great to see someone enjoy themselves so much.”
“Herself,” I whisper under my breath, shrugging my shoulders at Jodi and adding, “That was good. Sorry if I nodded off for a second but two late nights in a time zone two hours later than what I’m used to is killer. Good show though. I’ve never seen a magic act up close before.”
“Ah,” Jodi replied, “it was fine. Sorry if we’re keeping you up,” she smirked, softening the words with a wink.
“Two time zones?” Emily asks. “Where is that? Chicago?”
“No, but close. Due west about two hundred miles. Rapida Cedro. Little town in Iowa.”
“Oh. So you don’t live in California?” Emily asked. “Joseph, didn’t you tell me you have a brother who lives close to you?”
“I did and I do. That would be Mike. John is the old man of the group and the one who lives closest to the old homestead. I’m so glad you liked the show,” he adds drawing Emily closer to him.
“Liked it? Loved it! See, John! There is magic you just have to look for it.”
“Well,” I say, “you know that was-”
“Really great!” Jodi interrupts before emitting an exasperated sigh. “Thank you, Joseph, this was terrific,” she adds, checking her watch. “Wow. It’s after 11:30, John. No wonder you’re tired that’s 1:30 to you and I know you were out late last night. You holding up?”
I look at Jodi and raise my eyebrows before replying. “Uh, probably about done. Joe-seph,” I barely remember to use his preferred name, “what are you and the fabulous MS M planning? I’m probably going to head back to the Hilton.”
“The night’s still young if you are and we are,” Joe says to me. “Emily? Ready for round number two?”
“Sure. I just need to be home by two or so. I have to work in the morning. Winter break means more work since I’m not in school. Are you sure you don’t want to come, John?”
“Not this time. Maybe next? Jodi? You finished or are you going to accompany the other youngsters and par-tay into the night?”
“No, it’ll be after pumpkin hour before I get home and it has been a long day. I’ll walk you home, big boy.”
“That’s Andre 3000 to you,” I reply. “Emily? Thanks for sharing your magic. Joe, I’ll see you mañana.”
“You two aren’t really going to walk are you?” Emily asks. “Joseph has a car here.”
I manage not to laugh but can’t hide my smile. “No, no. We’ll take the monorail. You kids have fun,” I add as Jodi makes her goodnights and we head into the moonlit Vegas night.