As I mentioned in my last post, the main event of Daisy's 9th birthday party this weekend was a performance by a magician.
The magician, who regularly performs at kid birthday parties, had one weird little quirk. She was kind of freaked out by children.
The magician showed up the night before to set up her props and equipment. She gave us explicit instructions to keep everyone away from her things before the show, which made sense, since a magic show is less impressive if people have already let the bunny out of the hat. Then, she made what I thought was an odd request for a party that was going to be almost entirely populated by 9 year-old girls. She asked that a parent be stationed between her and the kids during the party.
Apparently, during one of her previous performances, a group of boys had orchestrated some sort of sneak attack on her while all the parents were out of the room. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it left her scarred and fearful to the point where she now required a bodyguard. I was that man.
Before the show began, I carefully explained the boundaries to the kids. Then I sat my butt down on the magician's last line of defense. Another (bigger) parent sat alongside me.
The show went pretty well. One kid in particular was unable to keep himself from yelling "HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!?!" after every minor illusion. When she'd ask for a volunteer, he'd bounce out of his chair and scream, "PICK ME! I'M WEARING JEANS!"
(Incidentally, that's my favorite new line in real life. Any time I now want to do something, I add the compelling argument, "But I'm wearing jeans!")
My favorite magic trick was one where she'd very briefly hide herself behind some sort of contraption and then emerge seconds later in a different outfit. This was accomplished by peeling off successive layers of costume.
"I know how this trick ends," I whispered to the dad next to me, "I saw this one at the Mitchell Brothers Theater one time."
Sadly she did not conclude the trick by emerging naked. Stupid kids show :(
When the show ended, a few kids came up to gawk at her.
"Please stand back!" she squawked!
I jumped up and inserted myself between her and the curious children. Hank announced that the show was over and began herding the kids out of the room. The magician relaxed.
I stayed with her for a bit, asking if she needed any help packing up her equipment. She didn't, but she looked pensive for a moment and then made this speech.
"You know, I don't have any children*, but when I came into your house last night to set up, and saw your family having dinner, it seemed so peaceful. You were having such a simple meal and it seemed like such a wonderful environment. It made me wonder if I've made the right choices in my life."
She smiled at me, wistfully.
I blinked at her, awkwardly.
"Oh, well, ha ha, I guess you just caught us on a good night... I better go see what those little monsters have damagednowbyebye...." and I hustled out of the room.
Odd. An odd ending to an exhausting, weird, messy, disturbing, action-packed, and odd party.
Happy goddamn birthday, Daisy. Let's go bowling for your 10th.
* This did not surprise me.