Travelogue: Magic

Years ago, Mike Oliveri (writer and longtime friend) posted a picture of a Magic sign, of this Magic sign, with the caption that it felt like walking into one of my Midnight stories. I loved it.

My Odyssey this past week took me to the very sign.

(For the record, it hangs from a brick building off one of the main thoroughfares in a tiny town called Galena, Illinois.)

Mike told me it was never open whenever he’d gone by. But this night, as I passed it with a new friend who was hosting me for the night, the sign said Open.


So we parked, and I opened the door.

Inside, there could have been anything. Magic supplies. Costumes. Toys. Books. Prophetic dancing girls offering to read palms. Anything.

I didn’t expect to find, inside, a man called P.T. Murphy, Galena’s Master Magician himself.

We talked magic. We talked stories. The big Taschen book on magic he had displayed in the front lobby is also in my library. We both have their big circus book, as well. In addition to all of that, it was only five minutes till showtime.

The magic was good. The show was great. He interacted with each of the thirty or so people packed into that small theater. He made a fifty dollar bill appear inside an orange. Did the needle swallowing trick. And was very nearly upstage by four young women from Iowa, one of whom was soon getting married, one of whom was extraordinarily happily unmarried, all of whom insisted they hadn’t been drinking.

I believe the show will stand up even without the ladies from Iowa.

These are the types of surprises that have found me as I make my Odyssey across these United States. The very next day, I found myself behind the scenes and in all the backmost hidden rooms and crevices of an old theater in Iowa.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply