The Trick

“For my next trick, I need a volunteer.” I droned in a tired voice at the apathetic audience. As expected there weren’t any forthcoming. It was the usual mix of humanity you could find at any wedding: aunties talking in loud voices – indulging in gossip, comparing their jewels and matchmaking, uncles exchanging stock tips, flirting singles, teenagers exchanging shy glances and kids running around while screaming their heads off.

I sighed and placed the pack of cards back into my tattered briefcase. Wedding audiences are the worst – the family of the boy or girl are more than often obliged to book an entertainment act for the reception because of social conventions. Little do they realize that no one pays attention to the performer. To be fair to them, such occasions are opportunities to meet their family and friends but no one cares about the singer or dancers or in my case – a magician, who would dearly love an audience willing or at least pretend to be interested in our act.

You may ask me why do I accept such shows, where the guy serving coffee captures the crowd’s interest more than I do? Well, the short answer is I’m a poor magician with very little prospects. As they say, beggars cannot be choosers. So I accept all events, any event, even one such as today’s – the wedding reception of my ex-girlfriend.

I tried once again to get at least a few bored looking outliers in the crowd interested in my next trick – the lame one involving metal hoops and failed miserably. A couple of them went toward the dining hall, a sleepy looking teenager pulled out her smartphone and started texting and one guy just started picking his nose. I had been booked for a sixty-minute show, but I was ready to throw in the towel around the twenty-minute mark. None of the six tricks I had performed so far elicited even a pity applause. I tried, in vain, for the next five minutes to engage the crowd by mixing some comedy to the rabbit out of hat trick, but that one flew like a lead balloon as well.

I was begging the audience for some silence when She came in with her groom and took their places on the stage. She was radiant in a green and gold designer dress and he looked dapper in his custom made beige Armani suit. Damn Armani, making even beige look cool. I caught my reflection in the nearby window and could only sigh in defeat. Now that the couple was the only attraction in the hall, I gave up and started packing my things.

I looked at her and caught a sad smile on her lips. It could have meant anything – sorrow, disgust, pity or even an ‘I told you so’. Even though there was a gamut of emotions cascading through me, I performed my best trick of the evening – I smiled.



  1. That’s a sad reality and not just weddings, this happens even in the festive gatherings. Artists fly to different cities to perform, leaving behind their families and their festivals but the audience is not even bothered to clap. It’s insulting. Glad you wrote on this topic. Your last line made me smile 😊


  2. The narrator’s simultaneous boredom and resentment really comes through, but it’s balanced by enough detail to keep the piece from becoming monotonous.


    • This was inspired by a real life magic show in one of my relative kid’s birthday party. The magician was so frustrated at the lack of attention, he started performing without interest. I had a chat with him over the buffet dinner that night and the little details in my story were developed based on inputs from that Gentleman.

      Thanks for the comments, Cheers.


    • Yeah. Going to an ex’s wedding is in itself a tough task, let alone performing in one. And the beige Armani was what my friend wore for his wedding. All credit to him and obviously, Armani. Thanks for the kind words, Cheers.


  3. The details really allowed me to see this wedding as something than I am used to, and were just enough to help me picture it. And I loved the ending. It was perfect and I’m jealous! 🙂


  4. The details you added are very convincing, and you definitely know how to end a story. The bride and groom walking onto the stage while the magician is still doing his/her act seemed rude to me. Is that another reason wedding reception gigs are terrible? The couple always takes attention away from the act?


    • Thank you for the kind words. Believe me, this ending was nearly four years in the making. I had the plot in my mind but didn’t know what to do with it.

      Also, to your pondering over the wedding reception gigs, its not only the couple who steal the thunder (They are supposed to, right?) but the audience are simply not interested in a show. In India, weddings are social gatherings where people meet their relatives and extended families. So they do use the time to catch up. All this leads to the performer/ entertainer being completely ignored. I have been to many weddings where even popular artists have been ignored over talks about ear rings.


      Liked by 1 person

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