I saw a magician on ocean city boardwalk last night. There were just a few of us watching at first, but within minutes he had built up an impressive crowd of people fighting for a view of what he was doing. By the time he was on his final trick, he had every one of us hanging on his every word. He was in the zone.
Just as he was about to climax his final “death balls” trick, a horse cop clicked over and hissed at the magician to move – so that an ambulance could pass through. It was a completely reasonable request and no one blamed the cop for doing his job.
But it wasn’t the request that bothered me so much as it was the way the exchange made it clear they had met before. The cop’s glare and the magician’s slump were so familiar that I wondered if the interruption hadn’t been expertly timed. For only half the crowd – and half of magician’s pay – was left by the time the law had passed through it.