Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

Next To The Cash

I’m back at Shazaam’s Parlor of Magic and Splendor, writing this at the front counter next to the cash register. Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine is closed today. We used to see patients on Saturdays until one o’clock, because people had jobs and could only make it to the acupuncturist on weekends. But ever since the Apocalypse, time concerns aren’t such a problem for our patients, and besides, Dad needed me to mind the store today. He has a new girlfriend he wants to spend time with.

When people come in to Shazaam’s, they expect magic. So I have to do a few tricks with the Svengali deck or pull out the zig-zag rope trick, where you push a red shoelace through a little plastic box, make it magically break in two, and then restore it to wholeness.

I was never the world’s best at this. (Though I’m better than the average citizen.) The real magicians that frequented our shop in the old days would roll their eyes at my forcing of cards or false card cuts. I do the lazy kind, the sort magicians learn in their first few weeks of practice.

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.