Magic Tricks by Patrick Grace
Before he disappeared, Julian was all grins. Shit-eating grins. Payday: new wool toque, vest, chinos. A weeks’ worth of stubble on his upper lip. Friday was his busiest night but I liked to play dumb, lay the guilt trips. We perched on couch cushions, TV dark, and he watched me eat forkfuls of congealed pork and egg rolls. I could tell he wanted compliments on his new get-up.
“Cash up front this time?” I asked. His vest smelled of leather and metal, like blood.
“They sure as hell don’t give cheques.”
A car pulled up outside and the driver revved the engine—Julian’s signal to head out.
“It’s Friday,” I said. “Can’t you take the weekend off?”
“Money’s best tonight. Sorry. Kiss?”
“Trash.” I pointed to a knotted bag on the kitchen floor. Minutes later I heard the dumpster lid crash down. You could see the carport from the living room window, and after midnight you might catch drug dealers trading product for cash beside the parked cars. I etched a sad face on the glass that faded as soon as I thumbed it to life. Julian never looked up, just hopped in the back seat of the car and disappeared. That word, disappear—all weekend, I heard it pop in the air like a magic trick gone wrong. On the statements and forms I struck out disappeared and penciled in missing. I could handle that word. It lacked magic…
Read the rest on the NUB app, its free!