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The Scratch: Showmanship Ch1

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Jul 10th, 2013
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  1. They say that a magician's secret is always in the art of preparation, and intelligence. To fool others into believing you have power over them is the same as having power itself. The best magicians are also the best manipulators, and if they truly tried, could be very, very dangerous individuals.
  2.  
  3. I was one of those people. Emphasizing 'was.'
  4.  
  5. I have humble beginnings. I was a young boy with a magician's kit. I'd do card tricks for my parents. They enjoyed it, humoring my attempts. I was a kid after all, I was simply experimenting with the could be, what my life could lead to. But what my parents didn't expect was that I'd actually improve.
  6.  
  7. The instructional videos, the books, the kits, I used them all to better my craft. Eventually I would go to high school talent shows, playing the audience like a flute as I did acts no one believed. I bent spoons with my mind, I made people float, I guessed cards, I hypnotized, and I escaped handcuffs with ease. I was a teenage wonder, getting so much attention and praise. Of course, no one expected me to try doing it professionally.
  8.  
  9. I admit, my parents not supporting me and kicking me out was difficult to deal with, but I learned to roll with the punches. I moved to Vegas, where the magic happened. I worked my way up, I did minor gigs. But overtime I managed to get more, play more, show more. I got to casinos, hotels. I was at the top of the world. I felt like I had the world in my hand.
  10.  
  11. I felt great. Powerful.
  12.  
  13. But I lost it all rather quickly.
  14.  
  15. =====
  16.  
  17.  
  18. It all started when I learned that my act was being replaced. By a DJ. Some jackoff called Vinyl. My boss forced it on me like a load of potatoes. I was asked to pack up my act, I was no longer needed.
  19.  
  20. "It ain't personal champ, but Magic ain't filling the seats like we hoped. This gal can get entire stadiums moving. She has the real magic there."
  21.  
  22. I didn't understand. How could I suddenly be at the bottom again after I clawed my way to the top? I went back to my old gigs. Surely someone would hire me. No one did. No one say money in my act anymore. It was like I was cursed now.
  23.  
  24. It was all Vinyl's fault. The bitch. She stole everything from me. I didn't care who she was, or how she was some rising star. I was going to give her a piece of my mind.
  25.  
  26. I found a flyer for her show. Her first one was tonight. Perfect chance to sneak in and tell that motherfucker off for ruining me. Ruining my dreams.
  27.  
  28. She was going to pay.
  29.  
  30. =====
  31.  
  32.  
  33. The show was packed. Overflowing even. I had no way of being able to reach her before the show, with all of this publicity. I'd have to wait, bide my time and confront her backstage.
  34.  
  35. "Hey dude, have I seen you from somewhere?"
  36.  
  37. I looked to the man to my right. He was in his mid twenties. Short brown hair. Well built. Polo shirt.
  38.  
  39. "Yeaaah, yer that one magician. I saw your acts here before!" He deduced, stroking his goatee with a smile.
  40.  
  41. I sheepishly nod. "Well... Yes I am. I wanted to see this performance."
  42.  
  43. "Oooohoho man dude, yer in for a wild ride." He chuckled, before looking back to the stage. I did the same, unsure of what I was about to witness.
  44.  
  45. Fog billowed from the stage, seeping down into the audience as a machine began to rise. Speakers on each end. A turntable at the center. And the famed Vinyl at the center, her violet sunglasses peircing the darkness with their glow.
  46.  
  47. Laser lights began to beam through the fog and into the crowd. They cheered. They chanted their name, and finally, a stage light shined on her, and she smirked.
  48.  
  49. She was a short woman. Wore a suit akin to a white horse. Made her look like some cartoon character or something. Guess it was some show gimmick. Like Daft Punk's suits or Deadmau5's helmet. I was not impressed. More creeped out than anything else.
  50.  
  51. But the crowed loved it, they roared as she raised her hooves into the air. "YOU READY TO PARTY LAS VEGAS!?" She called out, they replie in kind. "THEN LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED."
  52.  
  53. And with one flick of a switch, the music began.
  54.  
  55. And my world began to blur.
  56.  
  57. =====
  58.  
  59. I didn't remember too much of the next two hours. I remember the sweat, the dancing, the suffocating body heat of the crowd as they danced with little inhibition.
  60.  
  61. But I remembered the music. Oh did I remember it. I never heard anything like the bass filled melody that entered my mind that evening. It was a symphony of sound that seemed to touch the very base desires of my mind. And for the first time in my life, caused me to dance.
  62.  
  63. I believed I made out with a woman that night. Perhaps a man. But I do remember a tongue entangling with mine. But when the finale ended, and the final cheers began to die down, I left my haze, and remembered my mission.
  64.  
  65. I parted through the crowd, muscling through the masses as I reached the backstage. Oddly enough, security let me inside. I thought I would have had to run past them, but they seemed more than welcome to allow me in. Curious.
  66.  
  67. I reached her dressing room. I banged on the door. "Open up!" I called to her.
  68.  
  69. "It's open."
  70.  
  71. I blink. What, no security? No one to stand guard? Nothing at all? Was she that confidant that no crazy fan would attempt to stab her? Well, she invited me in. I open the door.
  72.  
  73. The dressing room is just as I remembered it: Shitty. The peeled paint, the musty smell in the air (Now mixing with feminine musk.) the cracked mirror some rock star punched a few years back. And there, at the mirror, pulling off her glasses and sipping on a bottle of honey whiskey, was Vinyl. Her red eyes looked to mine, and she smiled.
  74.  
  75. She was no human.
  76.  
  77. "Been expecting you, kid."
  78.  
  79. =====
  80.  
  81.  
  82. This freak of nature offered me her bottle.
  83.  
  84. "Drink?"
  85.  
  86. I was backing towards the door. No way this was fucking real. It was just a suit, right? Some well staged act. An illusion for the audience. But then why the fuck was she doing it here?
  87. I had to get out of here. Had to go and just pretend I never saw this. Just...
  88.  
  89. "Just sit down and have a drink." She said.
  90.  
  91. >Just sit down and have a drink.
  92.  
  93. I sat down. I took the offered bottle, taking a swig as I looked at her.
  94.  
  95. "What... What are you?" I asked, the alcohol helping to dull this mindfuck of a reality.
  96.  
  97. She shrugged. "Just a preformer like you kid. Nothing special about it." She took the bottle back, tipping it down and letting the golden liquid pour down her throat.
  98.  
  99. >This is normal.
  100.  
  101. I guess I overreacted. She did seem normal enough. Even if she was... Eccentric.
  102.  
  103. "So you said you were expecting me..." I ask. "What exactly were you expecting me for?"
  104.  
  105. She laughs a bit, wiping her lips with a hoof to get rid of some excess alcohol. "Well I DID kinda steal your spotlight. Only natural for you to get all uppity about it. But no worries kid. I think I can help you get back into showbusiness."
  106.  
  107. Now that caught my attention. Still, I was skeptical.
  108.  
  109. "What, do you want me to be part of your opening act or something?"
  110.  
  111. She laughs. "No no, nothing like that dude. Here, just listen to this."
  112.  
  113. She hands me this CD, it's jewel case clear and clean. I open up the case, and written in permenant marker was the label "Binaural Beats."
  114.  
  115. I never really knew much about them, but if I recalled correctly, binaural beats were meant to stimluate the mind through synth sound files of various tones. Some people even consider it a drug of sorts. Of course, your mileage tended to vary with gimmicks like this. It's like those 'all natural remedies' or other pointless crap like that.
  116.  
  117. "Made them myself." She told me. "And they work too, you can trust me on that much."
  118.  
  119. I look up to her, that egging feeling in the back of my mind was telling me something was wrong with this scenario, but I could not really put my finger on it.
  120.  
  121. >Accept the gift.
  122.  
  123. "Well uh, thanks. I guess. But how is this going to help me?"
  124.  
  125. "Oh you'll see." She says with a wink, before swigging more of the alchohol. "When it comes to performance, all it takes is confidance and charisma. Just listen to them all, in order, before you go to bed, daily. And you'll have plenty of both, you got me?"
  126.  
  127. "I see..." I say with a bit of uncertianty. But it was a free disc, so I didn't see any harm for it.
  128.  
  129. "Anywho champ, I got a skype call with a friend I got to make. Why don't you come back next week and you can tell me how it went."
  130.  
  131. And with that, I was shoo'd away by the small horse, with the door slamming shut behind me. I looked back to the disc. I blink and realize that she probably tricked me: Gave me a blank disk just so that she could keep me out of her hair. Fuck, and I actually bought into it. Stupid, stupid!
  132.  
  133. I walked back home, defeated and irritated at myself. How could I be so blind? If I had a goddamn spine, I could have taken this stupid CD and shoved it up her...
  134.  
  135. Wait, that's right, the CD.
  136.  
  137. As I came home, kicking off my shoes and heading to my computer, I put the CD inside. Reguardless if the CD is bullshit or not, it would be better if I at least gave it a shot.
  138.  
  139. I burn the mp3s onto my iPod. There were seven tracks in all. No titles to them, just numbers. Whatever these were, Vinyl certianly slapped these together quickly. It was made even weirder when I noticed that every song was at least ten minutes long. Jeeze.
  140.  
  141. I put the iPod onto my nightstand, leaving to take a shower. I felt like I was covered in a film of sweat as I stepped in. It made me feel uncomfterble. Unclean. I could remember that concert. How it felt like my inhibitions just... Flew off. And I was filled with something so much more. Confidence I guess? It was hard to remember.
  142.  
  143. I let the hot water wash off my doubts. Whatever it was, Vinyl's music seems to have that affect on people with her music.
  144.  
  145. I clean myself, wiping away the sweat and grime of the day. Turning off the shower, I wipe off my body with my tower and go back to my room. A fresh set of underwear later, I go to bed.
  146.  
  147. I look back to the iPod, reaching to cup it in my hands. I put Vinyl's album on repeat, but pause. Should I really listen to them? If her music got me to do what I did on the dance floor, was it really safe for me to do this?
  148.  
  149. >It's worth a shot, right?
  150.  
  151. I guess it's worth a shot, right? I put the earbuds on, and press play, laying down into the comfort of my bed.
  152.  
  153. It's difficult to describe what I hear. The sounds sorta sounded like music, but sure as hell didn't feel like such. It was just... Noise. Bass that was being played into different keys. At first I felt like I should just rip the earbuds out with how annoying it sounded, but...
  154.  
  155. >Sleep.
  156.  
  157. Something...
  158.  
  159. >Sleep.
  160.  
  161. Was...
  162.  
  163. >Sleep.
  164.  
  165. Zzz...
  166.  
  167. =====
  168.  
  169.  
  170. I dreamt that night of colorful ponies. They were all looking at me, on a brightly lit stage covered in stars and velvet curtains of violet. They glimmered in the light. Made me feel happy. Confident.
  171.  
  172. I was doing something. Something spectacular. With just a wave of my hoof, I could make fireworks launch into the sky. With a stomp, sparks erupted like flames around me. All slight of hand, all fake. But if the audience thought it to be real, then it was as real as anything else.
  173.  
  174. I felt great. Powerful, even. Yes I remember this feeling.
  175.  
  176. "And now...!" An unfamiliar female voice called out. My voice. "The GREAT and POWERFUL Trrrixie will do what was once thought impossible! I will preform the mighty feat of HYPNOSIS! No magic here, no spells. It will all be through the power of the mind. MY mind! I require volunteers!"
  177.  
  178. They all raised hooves, so eager to join me on the stage. I pick three. One of which is someone I planted in the crowd earlier. The other two being little more than mere patsies.
  179.  
  180. It didn't take much for me. The planted audience member played along. It is enough to make the hypnosis convincing. And that is all one needs. All that was nessicary to cement the false reality of hypnosis.
  181.  
  182. Hypnosis is all about suggestion. All there is to it. All you need to do is thock them on the heck once, give them the suggestion, and they are all yours. So long as they believe, they are in your power.
  183.  
  184. And they are in your power.
  185.  
  186. They are ALL in your power.
  187.  
  188. TAKE THEM!
  189.  
  190. I wake up. Sweating. Panting.
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