08-30-2011, 07:27 PM
"Could I see what's going on inside?" I asked Criss. I began thinking of him by his stage name at this point.
"Mmmmmmm, you'd better not," he answered hesitantly. "There's still a lot of construction going on, and I don't want you to get hurt or anything. Besides," he added mischeviously, "I don't want to spoil the surprise."
I didn't want to spoil the surprise, either. Surprises in Boren are as rare as Halley's comet. "Okay, I'll wait," I said.
"So," he said, trying to start a conversation, "what's there to do around here? Any nightclubs, any bars to hang out in? I mean, what do you do for fun around here?"
It was all I could do to keep from laughing in his face. Fun? In Boren? He had to be kidding, right? Boy! What planet was this guy from, anyway?
"Well," I replied, struggling to keep a straight face, "Boren is just what the name implies---it's borin'. I mean, really, really dull. Work or school, that's pretty much it. As for night life, unless you like listening to a couple of cats fighting in your backyard, there's none to speak of. The only bar here is pretty much a workingman's bar; nothing special. In fact, you are the only interesting thing in this town right now."
"Well, what do you do for fun?" Criss asked.
"I go to the movies a lot," I answered. "And I mean, a lot! It's my only escape from this berg. I want to study film and filmmaking, but my folks insist I go into a more 'sensible' career, like nursing or teaching. I don't want to be stuck in this one-horse town for the rest of my life. I want to make something of myself. I want to live! I want to fulfill my dreams! I want excitement in my life, you understand?"
"Oh, I understand, all right," Criss said. "If you have a dream, and your actions speak louder than words, then your dreams will come true. I'm living my dream right now, owning a magic club."
"But why here in Boren, of all places? Wouldn't you want to open one in one of the bigger cities, say Chicago or New York?"
"I couldn't find a place I could afford in the bigger cities. When I saw this place on the Website, I felt a psychic bond for it. I knew this was the place to build my Magic Castle. Of course, finding it was a real pain, but it just felt right for me. And now you tell me that this town needs some excitement. Maybe that's why I felt the way I did. It was calling me to bring the sense of magic and wonder here to Boren, to bring back something that was lost somehow."
"You already did, at least for me," I said. "I saw you with the Century 21 realtor and some guy in a grey suit--"
"Dave Baron," he told me, "my manager."
"Well, when I saw you three when you closed the deal on the castle, you...well, you intrigued me. You were so different from anyone I had ever met, and not just your hair and clothes, either. For one thing, I never saw a man who wore earrings before."
"Never?" Criss seemed surprised. "Lots of guys wear earrings."
"Not around here, they don't. People here are really conservative. In fact, we all have to wear uniforms to school, and no jewlery except a watch. Some people might think you're, you know..."
"Yeah." I guiltily admitted, blushing.
"You don't think that, do you?"
"No, not at all," I protested. "I find you very interesting, really. I'm glad you came here. We need some excitement in this town, and you are the man to do it. And I'll help you any way I can."
"Thanks, Jane." He was suddenly struck by a thought. "Say, how'd you like to work here? You know, part time? We'll only be open in the evenings, and if it won't interfere with your schoolwork..."
My heart leapt up so high it broke all Olympic high-jump records. "Would I?! I'd love to! When do I start?" I replied eagerly.
"Whoa, there! Take it easy!" he laughed. "You have my card, right?" I nodded. "Well, just log onto my website and fill out the application form, okay?"
"You bet I will! And thanks for everything!" I almost hugged him before I left, waving goodbye with the biggest smile on my face I can remember up to that point.
I walked home as if floating on clouds. Working at the Magic Castle! What a deal! I'd get to see all the magic acts and get paid for it! I'd get to see faces other than the same ones I saw around Boren. After sixteen years, my life was finally beginning.