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Posts Tagged ‘1792’

The Regency Timeline

My previous posts I’ve explained that I was working on the Regency timeline. I posted my entries for 1788 thru 1797.

Now I have the 1792 Timeline again. I went back added a significant amount of graphics. I will be doing this with all the years I previously posted and then ensuring that the new years have a lot of graphics as well.        

I have uploaded all these years to the Regency Assembly Press website. You can see a little preview of this below in the picture. I especially like how the Duchess of Alba by Goya looks a lot like Cher.

My sources which include the Internet and The Timetables of History by Grun and Stein1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-06-10-11-56.jpg as well as the Chronology of CULTURE y Paxton and Fairfield should cover a lot of events. There are now over 5000 listed for the period between 1788 and 1837 when Victoria comes to the Throne. I have also just found a third book I own with timelines in it, very USA centric though. 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-06-10-11-56.jpg What Happened When by Carruth. I also have added a Dorling Kindersley book PastedGraphic-2012-06-10-11-56.jpg, History of the World.

I may post a year at time every so often in between scanning through all these to find something that will be a good article for this blog and the blog at English Historical Fiction Authors. I will also have the full listing up shortly at Regency Assembly Press.

Those who have feedback, it is appreciated or if someone would like a specific year in a future post. The very first entry is to show who was Prime Minister of Great Britain, later it was the United Kingdom, during the period of the chronology. In choosing our dates, 1788 is the first sign of madness in George the III, it is the beginning of the end of the French Monarchy with the riots in Paris, it is the time when the mama’s of the girls during the true Regency would be girls going to London for their own season, and when our heroes are young lads or babes as well.

We need to know of the events that occurred when they were children, as well as what happens when they are on stage in our stories.

Click on the link below or the picture to go to the entry. More years coming. The list is now over 5000 event entries long and growing.

After the Regency Timeline, I plan to do a short addition on Regency Prime Ministers. They always come up in my research and I think we need a page where we can find out all about them in one place. Then, the Edwardian Timeline. I am thinking the years 1890 to 1918 (The end of WWI)

Regency Assembly Press 1792 Tineline

iWeb-2012-06-10-11-56.jpg

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The Regency Timeline

My previous posts I’ve explained that I was working on the Regency timeline. I posted my entries for 1788 thru 1792. Now I have the entrees for 1793 and have uploaded all these years to the Regency Assembly Press website. You can see a little preview of this below in the picture. (It also seems that some of our regular followers may have missed my putting up 1792 when the post for the first part of the Impeachment of Warren Hastings, went up)

My sources which include the Internet and The Timetables of History by Grun and Stein1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-05-28-12-07.jpg as well as the Chronology of CULTURE by Paxton and Fairfield should cover a lot of events. There are now over 5000 listed for the period between 1788 and 1837 when Victoria comes to the Throne. I have also just found a third book I own with timelines in it, very USA centric though. 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-05-28-12-07.jpg What Happened When by Carruth.

I may post a year at time every so often in between scanning through all these to find something that will be a good article for this blog and the blog at English Historical Fiction Authors. I will also have the full listing up shortly at Regency Assembly Press.

Those who have feedback, it is appreciated or if someone would like a specific year in a future post. The very first entry is to show who was Prime Minister of Great Britain, later it was the United Kingdom, during the period of the chronology. In choosing our dates, 1788 is the first sign of madness in George the III, it is the beginning of the end of the French Monarchy with the riots in Paris, it is the time when the mama’s of the girls during the true Regency would be girls going to London for their own season, and when our heroes are young lads or babes as well.

We need to know of the events that occurred when they were children, as well as what happens when they are on stage in our stories.

Click on the link below or the picture to go to the entry. More years coming. The list is now over 5000 event entries long and growing.

Regency Assembly Press 1793 Tineline

TheRegencyEraTimeline-2012-05-28-12-07.jpg

The Writing LIfe

I am now 160+ pages (over 50,000 words) on A Magician Murder Mystery. A had a good idea for a mystery, with a twist. What if the sleuth is a magician. I am looking for readers for this. Thirty years ago I wrote a mystery. And this is now my second. The first I know needs help. This though is working well. But then, a mystery needs a little more care I think then my regencies, etc. I could use other eyes if anyone is interested to be sure that I am hiding the clues well enough. That, the plot flows, and that the reader can put the entire thing together by the end.

I enclose a few more paragraphs from the first draft and first chapter for perusal.

Chapter 1 continue

Eric spoke before Lance could say anymore about his new trick. “I have something important to discuss as well.” That was all he could say before Lance added to his own story.

“That’s great, but let me tell you about these new gimmicks. It is going to change everything, and there’s even work for you in all this. I need someone who can handle the tricky stuff backstage. Not just some klutz of a stage manager. I need actually six people and myself to pull this off. Jenny of course, and Sheila.”

“Ohhh.” Jenny said. “Sorry. But she just is so…” She quickly added but then did not finish her thought.

Lance did, “Dumb? But under the wig, and from twenty feet away, no one can tell the difference between the two of you, and she can do your voice pretty well. That is important also. Come on Jenny, You know I looked at over five hundred girls to find Sheila. Anyway we need her.”

Eric knew that Jenny had no reason to be jealous. Lance didn’t look at another woman in a way that would get a woman jealous. Lance didn’t care. Lance liked men. Jenny though may not have known that. Another trait that Lance looked for when hiring his assistants. If they had a little heat with him in the performance, that spark carried out into the audience.

“Look, Eric boy, this is great news. I’m going to get four, maybe five gigs in Vegas out of this. I figure your cut is going to be twenty each time. That’s eighty to a hundred, and sorry Jenny, but I got to pay Eric more, because he’s going to be helping on the illusion and will do all the tough bits.” Lance turned his attention to Eric, ignoring Jenny as if she was not even there in the booth with them, “The talent makes bug bucks, but you know, the girls are there to look pretty and support you.”

Eric didn’t roll his eyes, or kick Lance. He just didn’t know when Lance was so crude that he could still be friends with him. Then he remembered that the thousands of dollars Lance had lent him throughout the years made up for that. Eric patted Jenny on the arm.

“Lance, as good as a trick is, you can’t sell it without help, and a talented woman makes the sale. Especially in a place like Las Vegas. Jenny and your other girl, will be helping to make the trick work and they will be working hard to do so. They’ll earn every dime, I’m sure.”

Lance shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah sure. Course. You know me Jenny didn’t mean anything. And we need four girls. I need to find two more Jenny’s because I have this duplication thing going on. It is so slick. Here let me show you…” Lance went to pull a pen from his jacket pocket.

Jenny chose that moment to stand up. “I’m going to the little girls room. I’ll be right back.” She said. She didn’t sound broken up, by Lance treating her the way he did. But she also sounded just a little bit different than when she had arrived. She looked at Lance as if he should say something, but Lance was busy opening a notebook to share. It was labelled ‘Ideas May 2011 to’. When Jenny did not get any response she looked at Eric.

He raised his head, nodded quick and smiled. A classic go on, we’ll be hear when you get back, with a what are you going to do, that’s the way this guy is. Jenny actually smiled back, teeth and all. Very white. From stage it would be dazzling, under the lights. It caused Eric to respond showing his own teeth, the grin getting wider.

She walked away and a Eric turned to follow her with his eyes. “Hey, kiddo, over here. She’ll be back. And you just broke up with someone, remember.” Lance said.

“That was more than a year ago, Lance. And I wasn’t thinking like that. Why are you treating her so hard?”

Lance said, “Like the others, she’s got a thing for me. And she’s too good for me to lose if she finds out, you know.”

“That you’re gay? This is the twenty-first century. She’s in showbiz. Half of the men are gay, and the other half are dirty dogs cheating on their girlfriends. Any girl here for two years knows that. Besides, if I can tell you got lucky last night, and I bet it was with that bartender you’ve been dreaming over, don’t you think Jenny can tell you scored as well. Wouldn’t you rather she know it was with a man, then think you are cheating on her with another woman?” Eric said.

“I really can’t figure how you always know when I’ve been sleeping with someone. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to fool you. And Jenny, well I don’t know how she’ll react, so I try and treat her the way I’ve done since the day I met her. At least that way her responses should be the same.”

Eric snorted in his smile. “I can tell when you’ve been with a guy from my great powers of observation. I think you should let Jenny know about your being gay. From what I can tell she wants to be a friend, not just a pawn in the Lance Silverton climb to the top.”

Lance looked like Eric had struck him, his head flinging back a bit. “Hey. And speaking of the climb to the top, look at this will you. I think this is going to get us there, or almost there. And I’m taking you with me, like I’ve always said.” Lance pushed the notebook over to Eric, and starting pointing with his pen.

Eric had carried a notebook like the one Lance had at one time. He still had a few in his apartment, collecting dust somewhere in the bookcase that held the forty or so books on magic he had. The ideas that a magician thought up could make or break him. If they were good illusions, looking complex and able to be done quickly and simply, all the better. The more illusions you fit into your show, the better you were going to do.

Four complex illusions that took an hour to perform might make an audience ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ but then they would remember, they had spent an hour to see just 4 tricks. In that same hour, 20 illusions, all seemingly complex, a few audience participations, and they would talk about you for days. And a shorter illusion would fit in between commercials on Lettermen or Conan.

Lance had trusted Eric with his notebooks before. He even had Eric take them and study them until the next breakfast meeting, or their hooking up at the Palace of Magic when Eric got one of the rare gigs there in the lounge. Eric was the one who would tell Lance whether the trick had all the elements to make it great. Theatrics, drama, disbelief, and suspense. Those seemed to be what a great trick needed, and though A lot of what Lance had thought of was great, sometimes they just could not be done. Not by people. Maybe by Hollywood where you could fake the laws of physics. You could use the camera to cut away so that time was not linear. So that the impossible was made possible. A man really could not turn invisible, or transport from the front of the theater to the back in a second.

Jenny returned and he and Lance were still looking over the notes. Eric then closed the book and Lance gave him a crossed look. “We can talk about it after breakfast. It’s rude.”

Eric didn’t need to say more and now Jenny gave him a tentative smile as she sat down. It had been over a year since he had dated. Anna had been nice at first. She didn’t mind that as he neared the end of his twenties, there was a slight paunch forming, or that he worked at Wal-Mart and didn’t make all that much. She worked at Wal-Mart also. Thank god that after they broke up she only worked there for another two months.

Running into Anna during his shifts was never great. At the end she thought magic was all a joke and that he was a fool for still pursuing it. Now, if Lance pulled off getting them gigs in Vegas and other things, he might be able to make real money. And he would be working alongside Jenny. Much prettier than Anna. Not that pretty was the best thing about a girl. It was nice. But talking to someone and laughing at each other’s jokes was pretty important. Being able to watch the same things on television so you didn’t have to fight for the remote. That actually might be true happiness.

“Thanks,” Jenny said. Betsy was right behind Jenny with her tray and the breakfasts. Eric had thought earlier, because of the hangover that he was going to have to force the food down, but he seemed to be able to eat. They started talking about things other than their own business. Eric asked Jenny to tell him about the funniest commercial shoot she had ever made. It was a humorous story, and she actually could spin a tale. Something that not everyone could do.

Some people were like the guy on Dragnet, “Just the facts man.” Sergeant Friday. Others were like Garrison Keillor, who spun out a tale and mesmerized you right into it. Didn’t everyone feel like they lived in Lake Woebegone when they heard Keillor talk about the men being good-looking and the women all strong. Jenny threw her voice and changed her accent, like one did when reading a children’s book. Eric did not have to force his laughter at the funny parts.

Lance though looked annoyed since the attention was not on him. But he too laughed at the most humorous parts of the story. He obviously had never heard it. He may not ever of heard his assistant tell a story. Sometimes Eric had to think if Lance really was human under all the walls he had been building around himself.

After she was finished, Jenny actually asked, “What about you, Mr. Wise, what’s your most funny show business moment?”

“Hey, what is this? A date? Are you two just going to talk about each other all day? Eric, let me show you this trick.” Lance said.

“In a bit. I have something I want to talk to you about as well.” Eric remembered he had to talk to Lance about his performance of the day before. His hangover and drinking might have been playing tricks with him. The hangover though, that seemed to have faded a great deal. The aspirin must have been helping as well.

“Okay, okay. So talk already. Sheesh, all morning all you want to do is talk about something but you haven’t said one word. You see Jenny what I put up with every couple weeks. It’s why I needed you here to today.” Lance said. He didn’t have the malicious tone of voice that he sometimes got, so Eric knew it was all joking.

Jenny though, didn’t quite, “That’s not true. I’m sorry Mr. Wise. I sort of invited myself. Lance said he wanted to talk to you about the new routine and that I should learn about it too soon. I kind of said we could kill two birds…” she made a face. Eric supposed she was thinking of the visual of that cliche.

“I need to study your notes Lance, before I can tell you what you want to know.” Eric wasn’t going to embarrass Lance and say how he checked with Eric on all the routines he started that were not standard.

A new routine, a trick had to be worked at a great deal. First you had to structure the trick. An opening, draw the audience in to whatever baloney story you were going to spin. That of course was just words. The mechanics was going to be the middle of the trick, and the close was more folderol.

The mechanics started with an idea, that then had parts often designed for the trick to work. Cutting the girl in half with the two boxes separating. That needed a space built into it that the girl could lie fold herself up in. One girl in one half, another in the second half. The audience, with an optical illusion thought the bottom was an inch think. No one could fit in that. So you would drop the sides and show that there was no one in the box.

The illusion was that the box wasn’t an inch thick. It was a lot thicker and the girl in the lower half box was very thin. Even just out of high school, so not developed. Jennifer, Eric mused, had too large a chest for most of the boxes that a girl supplying the feet for the act would fit in.

When the mechanics were worked out, then props had to be built. Crude at first. Mockups that would work. Timing and refinement would come later. First the trick had to be proved and shown that they could do it without hurting someone. The old days, sawing someone in half wasn’t so bad. You would show the audience one real blade, that actually cut a piece of wood, but used only fake ones that the blade disappeared, or when a sharp blade was pushed through the top of the box, again, trick blade, or enough room for the girl to squirm aside. Either would convince the Marks that the blade actually proved no one was in the bottom of the box.

With time, you worked out the trick and safety. Then, you sped it up. Practiced the gab. That part Lance was good at. He wasn’t good at making props, or the mechanics. That was what Eric was good at. Every trick Lance was doing that was one of ‘his’, not some other famous trick, Eric had helped Lance polish the mechanics. Perhaps that was why all the loans. Why Lance was sure Eric had a bone or two each year.

The yin and yang of their existence. They needed each other.

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Warren Hastings’ Impeachment

Part 1-The Road of Politics has a lot of Potholes and certainly no true friends

PastedGraphic-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg

As mentioned a couple posts ago Warren Hastings, who was the first Governor of India, is a fascinating Regency Era study since many believe him to be the natural father of Eliza de Feuillide, PastedGraphic5-2012-05-25-07-58.jpgwho married Henry Thomas AustenPastedGraphic7-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg, the brother of Jane AustenPastedGraphic6-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg.

That connection, provides many of those who love novels of the Regency, and Jane Austen, a connection. Real history, interacting with our literary giantess.

As with the OJ Simpson trial, a few years ago, this trial between 1788 and 1795 was the big court case of the times.

What we see is that the door to a greater discussion of what was happening in India and what the East India Company was doing came about.

Hastings became Governor General of India in 1773, after 23 years with “The Company”. Appointed by Prime Minister North PastedGraphic1-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg whose government was also those party in charge when the British lost the American colonies.

A great deal of the foundation of the impeachment trial was based on the governing Calcutta Council that Hastings led as Governor General. He had one man who was in opposition to nearly all that he did. Sir Phillip Francis PastedGraphic2-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg and he disagreed so much that they even fought a duel, which Francis was wounded in. Francis then returned to England and began to raise questions about Hastings conduct. He found support in the Whigs who were in opposition to Lord North’s government.

After this, the Second Mysore War came, when Mysore thought to take on the British while they were heavily involved in the American colonies. The war ended with the status quo from when it started. However, back in England much was made of the company’s mismanagement, and thus Hasting’s position.

The many wealthy nabobs who returned to England were quite unpopular, and Francis’ attacks did not make Hastings any better received. Then after the Fox government fell, Charles James Fox PastedGraphic3-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg attacked Hastings as well. Pitt PastedGraphic4-2012-05-25-07-58.jpgmade no mention of Hastings in introducing a new India Act in 1784 and this was seen as the government not supporting the Governor General.

Hastings returned to England in June of 1785. On the return journey, he wrote The State of Bengal the defense of his conduct. He expected to be attacked by Parliament and the press when he returned but it to be short lived.. King George III 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic5-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg gave him an audience and he received a unanimous vote of thanks by the East India Company when he returned. He even thought he might get an Irish peerage. Edmund Burke1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic6-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg who is regarded as the father of Anglo-Conservatism, supporter of American Independence and opposed to allowing the French such rights, though, had other plans for Hastings.

In reviewing the material of what the politicians were up to, it seems that Hastings was a nice little scapegoat for the opposition party to embarrass Prime Minister Pitt’s government. Francis (and one can only surmise that he hated that he lost to Hastings in India, and then was wounded by him as well in their duel) made eleven specific charges against Hastings.

William Pitt finally said, after defending Hastings against all charges, that perhaps one action, the punishment of the Rajah of Benares, was excessive. Hastings was arrested on May 21, 1787 and taken to the House of Lords to hear the charges against him. Not often had the house of Lords had an Impeachment trial.

The Regency Timeline

My previous posts I’ve explained that I was working on the Regency timeline. I posted my entries for 1788 thru 1791. Now I have the entrees for 1792 and have uploaded all these years to the Regency Assembly Press website. You can see a little preview of this below in the picture.

My sources which include the Internet and The Timetables of History by Grun and Stein1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg as well as the Chronology of CULTURE by Paxton and Fairfield should cover a lot of events. There are now over 5000 listed for the period between 1788 and 1837 when Victoria comes to the Throne. I have also just found a third book I own with timelines in it, very USA centric though. 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg What Happened When by Carruth.

I may post a year at time every so often in between scanning through all these to find something that will be a good article for this blog and the blog at English Historical Fiction Authors. I will also have the full listing up shortly at Regency Assembly Press.

Those who have feedback, it is appreciated or if someone would like a specific year in a future post. The very first entry is to show who was Prime Minister of Great Britain, later it was the United Kingdom, during the period of the chronology. In choosing our dates, 1788 is the first sign of madness in George the III, it is the beginning of the end of the French Monarchy with the riots in Paris, it is the time when the mama’s of the girls during the true Regency would be girls going to London for their own season, and when our heroes are young lads or babes as well.

We need to know of the events that occurred when they were children, as well as what happens when they are on stage in our stories.

Click on the link below or the picture to go to the entry. More years coming. The list is now over 5000 event entries long and growing.

Regency Assembly Press 1792 Tineline

TheRegencyEraTimeline-2012-05-25-07-58.jpg

The Writing LIfe

I am now 130+ pages (over 40,000 words) on A Magician Murder Mystery. A had a good idea for a mystery, with a twist. What if the sleuth is a magician. I am looking for readers for this. Thirty years ago I wrote a mystery. And this is now my second. The first I know needs help. This though is working well. But then, a mystery needs a little more care I think then my regencies, etc. I could use other eyes if anyone is interested to be sure that I am hiding the clues well enough. That, the plot flows, and that the reader can put the entire thing together by the end.

I enclose a few more paragraphs from the first draft and first chapter for perusal.

Chapter 1 continued

He then started his coin tricks. He went amongst the kids and palmed and hid coins about them all. Bertlestein had gotten him fifty coin dollars. That was just the number for the kids that the Bar Mitzvah boy had invited. Bertlestein forgot that he had nephews and nieces, kids of friends. There were closer to eighty, then fifty. Yet as Eric went about placing dollars about, he did not seem to rub out. He put coins in pockets, in little handbags. He performed card tricks and found that he had decks of cards with all 52 cards, rather than the select few he would need to force the hand.

Shame that the alcohol infused memory was not for a crowd of adult women. Then he could have slipped some of those dollars into bras, down dresses. With thirteen year old girls, he had to be creative with the placement of the dollars. Nothing that would make their parents think he was some kind of pervert. He loved playing for fraternities where he could palm a coin provocatively, and he got college gigs twice a year or so. There were a lot of colleges in Los Angeles, and they all wanted the woman sawn in half.

That old standby was a trick he couldn’t do, but when one frat had hired him, he told the brother in charge of entertainment that such a trick would add a two thousand to his fee. He had to hire the assistants. That they couldn’t be sorority girls from the crowd. And the marks didn’t know that there had to be two of them, and that they had to be short, thin and bendable. If he let the man boy who was in charge of entertainment know that, then it was like giving away the secret. Eric had always kept the price beyond the budget for the event.

Only once had anyone ever taken him up on it, and three days after he had booked that gig, he made up an excuse and cancelled so he did not have to perform the trick. He knew how. He had done it twice. But he had the habit of getting flustered with the big tricks. At least he had gotten so once.

That was why he and Lance were friends. They both had their shot at the Palace of Magic on the same day. Lance’s show had done great. Eric had ended up tongue tied.

A surprise that with what he had drank at the Bertlestein party, he hadn’t ended up tongue tied. He went on to do other tricks, but they were expected, and he had all his props and gimmicks for them. They came out correct. They came out the way he was sure they would.

He switched to coffee for the rest of the afternoon and night. He had to be sober enough to drive. A DUI and his car and driving privileges would be gone, and in Los Angeles, getting around without a car was not easily done. A DUI also would not look good at Wal-Mart. He pretty much believed that if he was booked for that, he would be let go. The big corporate giant didn’t seen to have much patience for screw-ups, and what Eric did at Wal-Mart wasn’t something that ten thousand other people couldn’t do with ten minutes of training.

Playing with the deck of cards, Eric stopped thinking about the Bar Mitzvah and focused on his practice. Or rather, doing his best to manipulate the cards without watching them. His peripheral vision coming into play. Not that he could concentrate on his surroundings while working the trick.

He felt the presence of Lance sliding into the seat across from him in the diner’s booth, rather than saw it. When Eric looked up, he saw that Lance looked harried.

“What, bad night?”

“Sort of. You know, Sunday night.” The Palace of Magic was dark on Monday, so Lance had the night off. Then he worked Tuesday, off Wednesday, and Thursday thru Sunday. Two performances on Saturday, two on Sunday, when he was in town. But Sunday was brunch and early birds. Never packed out.

Eric knew that even though he had only performed there once, for a Sunday brunch performance. That was when the new acts were tried out. The marks always seemed to appreciate it. Almost always. You had to be a truly bad act to be booed. Something Eric had remembered well.

“Yeah, I know that feeling.” Eric said, thinking that maybe he sounded successful.

Lance looked at him, sweeping a hand up to try and straighten out his hair. That was different since his hair was generally perfected, as if he had seen his own stylist before coming to breakfast.

“Look, Jenny’s coming. She still doesn’t get it so be cool, will ya. Nothing dirty.” Lance said. He then pointed at Eric and motioned for him to move over. “Make some room, okay?”

Eric looked at his coffee for a second. Lance did that sometimes. Invited others to come to breakfast. Jenny, if Eric remembered, was the new assistant. One of them, because you always needed two, if you were going to do some of the big illusions.

“Jenny! Over hear!” Lance looked up and called. Eric glanced at his watch. 9:30.

“What did you tell here, be here at 10?” He asked.

“Yeah, now scoot over.” Lance ran his hands through his hair again. Then let out a smile. Mussed hair, a girl who was there early.

Eric shoved his buttocks over, and then mouthed, “You scored.” Lance must have had sex the night before. He probably came from leaving his lover to breakfast.

Lance smiled wider and nodded, then motioned with his hands that Jenny was to sit down next to Eric. “Yeah. Hey there Jenny, you remember me telling you about my best friend in LA, Eric? This is the man. I was just telling him how shitty things were at yesterday’s performances.”

Eric said, “Hi Jenny. Nice to meet you. Lance said you were the star of last month’s Vegas show. Told me that you had the audience eating out of your hand.” They had been friends seven years and change. He owed Lance. He owed Lance alot. More than once he had been short in the rent, and somehow Lance knew and covered him until he could repay a loan.

No interest, no questions, and no pressure. Lance even had brought Ephron Calman to breakfast twice, trying to get the man to give Eric another chance at the Palace of Magic. Ephron knew he had to play nice with Lance, his star attraction. Eric did get a yearly gig at the Palace. Two weeks during the christmas season he had a table doing sleight of hand in the downstairs lounge. The watering hole for the cheap marks.

But it was a gig, and it was professional. That counted for something.

It was at the Palace of Magic.

That counted for a great deal more than something.

Eric owed Lance. And he wasn’t trying to keep score. When he was younger, when he had hope and ambition he might have been a score keeper. He might have known how many favors he was ahead of Lance, or actually how many favors Lance might have been ahead of him. But he gave up trying to keep track of that. Maybe when he started drinking more, he gave up keeping track.

“You’re the magician Lance is always talking about. His ‘inspiration.’ ” She was pretty. Blonde, and natural since she was out in the day. Eric had done a study of magicians assistants from when he first started to training and kept his tally on this subject. On stage, 4 out of 5, like the toothpaste commercial, were blondes. Or the wigs they wore made them blondes. To use the second assistant in the act, the one the marks didn’t know about, there were a lot of women who wore blonde wigs in the business. Something then didn’t have to do when not performing.

It was all part of the illusion.

“I don’t know if I inspire Lance all that much,” she said. Soft voice, Eric noted. That helped with the assistant the audience saw for most of the show. You could give them speaking lines. Some of the girls could speak two words together and not sound like cutting glass. They were the ones who might also have careers with the number signs at boxing matches. Great bodies in skintight clothes.

Not a lot of clothing, though in the Magic game, they often had sequins and trains on their dresses, depending on the trick. Lance, Eric knew, had his girls do four changes in an hour’s act.

“Hey buddy, you are a great inspiration to me. I got lucky, thats what the TV and Vegas deals are all about. You are in the trenches working hard and honest for every dollar you make. Ask anyone at the Palace and they’ll tell you there is more nobility in the money you earn than in what Calman pays us.” Lance said.

Eric knew that was a lot of smoke. Lance worked hard for his money too. They all started with the same repertoire. The floating man, the rabbit in the hat, the sawing a girl in two. It was how they put the act together, what they said, how they looked for a magician had to be pleasant to an audience as well as the girls. Then, to make your act break out, that was where a magician shown. New illusions. If you could come up with good ones, and not just the Houdini escape pieces, you could headline at the Palace, or get gigs on the late night shows. Get weeks in Vegas.

Siegfried and Roy like wealth and fame. Copperfield, Henning, Burton, Penn and Teller. Not that they were idols for Eric. They were good mostly. Well Penn and Teller made him laugh, and it was Henning’s act when he was younger that gave him the bug.

“Some days I would trade being an inspiration for some more cash.” Eric said with a lopsided grin.

Jenny turned and looked at him, probably seeing if he was joking like friends did with each other. “You shouldn’t say that. Either of you. I think magicians are some of the hardest working performers in the business. I was doing commercials before this. This is much harder.”

Eric did not have a comeback for that. He would have thought commercials were hard. She was a pretty young woman. Eric knew he was cynical from the hard years out in the cold that he endured. For a young woman like Jenny, not having caught a big break, she could be doing everything and anything to pay the bills. Working conventions and trade shows, which so many girls did. A booth babe. She had the looks that would make her some money doing that.

“You are such a dear,” Lance said. “You see Eric, didn’t I tell you. Jennifer is earnest about all this. Not jaded like you and me. Shhh. I am teasing. Well a bit. I guess I am a little jaded, but have I got something to tell you! I’ve thought up some new ideas for not just one trick, but a series of connected tricks.” Betsy came just then with a little serving tray. It had the carafe of coffee and two cups.

“Mr. Silverton, what can we get you today. Eric’s already ordered his usual. And the lady, would you like coffee too?” She took one of the cups and placed it before Lance. Betsy had been their waitress for two years or so. She knew they both drank coffee, and those other times that there was someone else, coffee was the safe bet.

“Oh, yes. A coffee and just some toast, please.” Jenny said. Still sounded pretty. Like soft syrup. Assistants came from the many girls trying to break into show biz. Jenny may have been the best thing at whatever high school she had come from. Then, perhaps going to one of the theater and stage programs at the local universities. Could she sing with that voice? Did she not get any nibbles from agents and representations? Eric bet she must have gotten something. Commercials and then someone hooked her up with Lance for his Vegas gig. She must have known someone somewhere. Lance hired out of Los Angeles so he could train with the girls before taking them to Sin City. Eric had no true knowledge of the life of pretty girls in Vegas, but he expected that they worked the shows for as long as they could, then had to resort to the life of the escort, which the yellow pages of Vegas was filled with ads for.

Lance egged Jenny to order more than toast, and she relented. She ordered a fruit bowl as well. Not nearly as much food as Lance had tried to get her to eat. But sensing no way to get her to order more, he placed his own order and Betsy left.

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