The magus reaches into her hat. One rabbit, one gun. One water moccasin. One blunt. “It feels like fighting home,” she says. One stone, one button. “Finding home?” a cast member in the audience asks. The magus does not like that question. The audience member is encouraged to exit. The magus assembles her found objects on stage. “Like a farmer’s market,” she says. “Like a graveyard.” She places prices next to each item and waits for interested buyers that never arrive. “Alakazam,” the magus says, defeated. Her rabbit catches fire. The light guy dies.
Sunflowers and Debt
On stage, the business man is in a cafe. He tries to pay his bill with a bouquet of daisies. The magus is the waitress behind the counter. She is still wearing her tuxedo, but she has a hairnet instead of a top hat. “We do not want a bouquet of daisies,” says the magus. “We want money.” The business man does not have money. The business man is struggling. “I don’t have money,” the business man says. “I’m struggling.” The magus behind the counter walks over and hugs him. Then she stands back and with her wand she lifts the man and shakes him from his ankles. From his pockets there falls but lint and whimpers and dust. The daisies are to the side, thriving in a puddle. “I hate flowers,” says the magus. “I hate money,” says the business man. “The sun above has been above forever,” says the magus. “And yet no one knows its birthday,” says the business man.
Cake vs. Pie
On stage, the business man runs around the kitchen, waiting for his cake to finish. Bereft in mittens he walks in circles. He looks at his watch and he looks at the clock and he continues to walk in circles. “Any second now,” he says. His suit is covered in flour and batter and dough. A cast member in the audience stands and throws a pie. It hits the business man’s face. “A pie?” he says, licking his fingers. “Blueberry.” He smiles, then cries. He opens the oven and blue balloons fill the room. The audience is encouraged to be in awe. “It’s perfect,” he whispers, looking into the oven and climbing inside.
It’s All So Very Polite
On stage, Death knits dinner. Her utensils are yarn and so is her carpet. The pie she provides is made of yarn. She knits plates and napkins. She knits the table. She knits it all. When she is finished knitting a bib for her black cat, a door is brought down through the cardboard clouds. There is a knock from the other side. Death stands in front of the door. Again, there’s a knock on the other side. She sits and hums and knits a gun. It’s all so very polite.
On stage, the business man and the magus are on a roller coaster, hanging on to the harnesses. They hold hands. They try to kiss but they’re too far apart so they laugh it off. It appears to be a fifth or sixth date. From the sound of the consistent click, the audience knows the ride is climbing. Their feet dangle. “I can see my house,” she says. From the speakers, sitcom laughter is heard. “I don’t like how this feels,” he says. Sitcom laughter. “Maybe we can go to the water park to hide your tears,” she says. Sitcom oohs. “Every day feels like fighting life,” he says. Sitcom awws. “What if I dropped my shoes?” she says. Sitcom laughter. The coaster reaches the top and stops. She looks down and screams. He closes his eyes and prays. The cart behind them is empty. The sun, it sets. The moon arrives. The magus’ confidence and humor fades into fear. “Is this what it means to die?” she asks. “It only makes sense,” he says. Sitcom laughter. A cardboard cloud passes by with seat belts and supplies but the two can’t reach no matter how far their arms extend. “I don’t have my wand,” the magus says. She brings her legs up to her chest and looks afraid. The business man’s feet continue to swing.
Benjamin Niespodziany is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Best Microfiction nominee, and Best of the Net nominee. His writing has appeared in Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions, as well as in Cheap Pop, Maudlin House, Pithead Chapel, Tiny Molecules, and various other places. His debut, full-length poetry collection, NO FARTHER THAN THE END OF THE STREET, was released by Okay Donkey Press in 2022.