There are masks lying everywhere. All over your black and white tiled floor. Happy ones, sad ones, vacant ones, angry ones, desperate ones, ecstatic ones. Still all there from last night, where you threw them in a raging fit.
If you weren’t so upset, you’d probably be able to see how artistic they look, strewn out. The bright slightly gaudy expressions of the masks in contrast to the Neapolitan black and white.
What are you going to do? Your act is just not working anymore and to spice it up, the one thing that you thought would save it, the clown masks, is working less and less each show.
You thought the concept of a magician with themed feelings for the day would spice up your act, but instead, it’s just not working at all. Some people even got up and left right in the middle of last nights performance. You could have understood it, if that was the night you were wearing the sad clown face, but last night was the ecstatic one.
You’ve tried 12 masks already, 12 more to go. Should you abandon or continue with your experiment you wonder? Just 12 days you’ve done this and so far it’s not working at all. Numbers are down, the customers are confused and you feel zero joy.
You used to love your job. That’s all you had ever wanted to do was to be a magician. It worked so well for such a long time, but then the theatre owner wanted to modernize the show to keep up with “trends” he said.
He even put the word trends in inverted commas he made with his hands. That actually made you want to punch him, but you managed to keep quiet, albeit with a pretend coughing fit so you could leave the room. He asked you to come up with some new concepts, so after much pondering, you came up with the idea of merging your magician concept, with that of a clown.
Everyone is so depressed these days you thought, with their heads constantly in their phones. Perhaps what they need is some humor. So I’ll give them a 2 in 1 with my magic show.
Why do people hate the masks so much you wonder? Why are they not connecting with them? The idea made so much sense. And they are so much more fun than my aged magician face. You feel so powerless and deeply sad.
There’s a scratching at the door. Gosh is that the time, you think. Tiger must be wanting his breakfast, it must be after 9. I must pull myself together. He can’t see me like this. I know it upsets him.
You pull yourself up off your mattress. I really must get round to buying a bed frame, you chuckle. Tiger is waiting for you patiently outside the door, yellow eyes looking expectantly up at you.
You okay, old boy you ask? He says nothing of course. Isn’t that the beauty of having a cat? They just always listen without answering back. Just like the best kind of therapist.
“Chicken or rabbit, Tiger?”
“I do wish you’d get me more upmarket food ?”. This really isn’t good enough for me. I don’t find the protein levels high enough to maintain my winter coat”.
You look around. You thought you hear someone talking about protein levels, but there is no one there. Just Tiger.
“Yes, I’m talking about this food. It’s really not good anymore. I am not sure why you switched to this. It’s not good at all. If this carries on, I’ll have to start hunting mice, and neither you nor I really want that, do we?”
Oh my god, you think. Someone must have slipped me something last night. Now I am imagining my cat talking. Or have I really lost the plot?
I need to go and lie down you say to yourself. It’s all getting too much.
You head to the living room, kick off your house shoes and lie on your beautiful jade sofa. It always makes you feel good when you look at this, as you bought it from the proceeds of that magician’s retreat you organized 15 years ago.
The door opens with such force it slams into the wall, taking a chunk out of the wall out with it. The shock is like being punched in the stomach. In front of you stands a Tiger. A huge Tiger. In your living room.
“You obviously weren’t listening when I was telling you about the quality of the meat in that brand, so I thought I’d best show you who I really am. Now you can see how big I am, you’ll understand why I need high-quality meat. Less than 10% protein just isn’t cutting it for me. Look at the state of my fur. It’s very dry and I’m very concerned about its pallor.”
You sink as far back in your sofa as you possibly can. Your stomach is somersaulting.
“Tiger”, you stutter. “Are you my cat?”
“You catch on quick”, he says sarcastically. “For a magician, that uses sleight of hand, you are a bit slow in matters of the brain it seems.”
“It’s time that I took matters into my own hands, as your apparent sadness, is having an impact on my dinner quality. So it’s time to sort this out.”, he says in an authoritative and majestic manner.
“And please, do not be so scared by my appearance, its all a matter of perception.”
“You are the mighty Zohar, master of Illusion, are you not?”
“Yes”, you answer still trembling.
“Use your master of illusion skillset to see through the illusions presented to you now, and watch out for yourself tricking yourself. Too much trickery extends to foolery. Illusions as masks are not the illusions you think they are, they are mere mockeries. At some point tomfoolery, is not foolery and it’s not funny for the fool being fooled. You are making a mockery of a mockery and the mockery for you is that two mockeries do not equal a grand illusion.
What is Tiger talking about you think, he’s talking in riddles. I think I’ve understood him, then he twists me together in knots. I need a nap. Perhaps my mind can unknot his rapturous riddles it in my dreams…