HumpDay Quickie #69

Posted: July 15, 2015 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

Bluebirds

by AV Laidlaw

The radio in the cafe plays “Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover”. Majestik hasn’t heard that song since Cairo under the blazing sun like a story from 1001 Nights. Maybe ten years ago. He isn’t certain. Time since the War seems like a relentless fog, grey streets and grey clothes and the grey faces of the bereaved. Even the children he performs parlour tricks for are preternaturally middle-aged.

A man comes in, trench coat and trilby wet from the rain. He sits at a corner table and unfolds a newspaper that he doesn’t read. He has the expression of a man who enjoys boredom. A government agent. Whitehall doesn’t trust Majestik.

Majestik drops a sugar a cube into the tea. During the War he existed on tea so sweet you could barely stir it. He needed the energy. The troops grumbled about losing half their ration, but they were soldiers and grumbling was part of soldiering as rifles and uniforms.

They stopped grumbling after El Alamein where Majestik summoned Djinn from the desert sands and set them against the Panzers. It was magnificent. The greatest display of esoteric power since the Reformation. Oh, they wanted a magician then, in Africa and Normandy and all the way to Berlin, to smash the reality of fascism and death and to win the war. But now they had peace and order and grey labyrinths of ministries and petty bureaucracies. The day after victory the ministry told him never to perform magic again.

Majestik watches the rain beat against the window. He glances at the agent too young to have served. The agent looks down at his newspaper, feigning an interest in the football results. Majestik tips half a dozen sugar cups into his tea and gulps it down.

A bird starts singing, a little blue bird fluttering around the ceiling. Then a second and a third, and then a flock fluttering around and splashing their electric blue against the grey walls. The agent watches the feathers float down with his eyes wide and his mouth open. He never notices Majestik tip his hat and walk out.

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