the audacity of C

Image of Juliet Berto, credit Jonathan Rosenbaum

Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the third of twenty-six interactive magic tricks that will lead you to your fortune as you determine it.

Onward, then!

a-to-z_directionsAs per the 21 March intro to this magic act, my assistant, Juliet Berto, handed me the Collins Concise* and blindfold me, whereupon I randomly riffled through the C’s and landed my fingertip randomly on a page. And when Juliet removed the blindfold, there was no doubt: my fingertip was squarely on “Claw,” a startling curtain-slasher dividing “Albanian” from “Black Forest,” a tension-builder that sets us back in our seats! Clearly, some sort of message, not yet apparent—the waiting for the finding—and that is exciting!

Claw n. 1. a curved pointed horny process on the end of each digit in birds/ some reptiles, and certain mammals. 2. a corresponding structure in some invertebrates, such as the pincer of a crab. 3. a part or member like a claw in function or appearance. ~vb. 4. to scrape, tear, or dig (something or someone) with claws, etc. 5. (tr.) to create by scratching as with claws: to claw an opening.

And while Juliet was offstage conjuring the banner you see at the top of this post, I wildly jotted down the paragraph below in the Moment Of Meant To Be** which turned out to be a very long moment…  And I think the cause of that is Damyanti’s outstanding flash fiction, dangerously infectious, so beware! Now then, the rest of this trick is up to you, Ladies and Gents!

If it pleases you, merely read the paragraph and record what predominant meaning the sum of those words strikes in your heart. And for every trick after this, from C to Z, you may do the same. And when I have pulled from the hat the essence of the random word of Z, and you have pondered its significance, you may allow the accumulative magic of all tricks A-Z to reveal to you your fortune.



On the corner of Bourbon and St Peter, there was a stranger up on a soapbox right where ol’ Moody usually preaches his hellfire. The stranger looked to be in his sixties, had on a baggy linen suit and a panama hat, and unlike Moody, he was holding a crowd rapt. He hollered, “First ya gotta find yourself, then ya gotta know yourself, then ya gotta start out goin’ for it, yes, start out sharpenin’ your fingernails, you heard me right, you gotta sharpen ‘em every day ‘til the points are like pins, then ya got to do it every day to keep ‘em like that! That’s what ya gotta do to stay on top, ‘cause you can’t get anywhere without the claw!” Then his eyes swept the crowd and he singled out a pretty young thing on the arm of money. He pointed and hollered at her, “Girl, you can pad and paw and purr inside your sugar daddy’s furs and watch ever’body watch you, that’s right, they think you’re gonna keep your promises, your smile and your wink, and you say you don’t know, but in the end you will: you got to have the cat claw to get where you want to go!” Then he pointed to a high and mighty fraternity man. “Boy!” he bellowed. “You can leave your boxers on the bathroom floor, squirt your testosterone ‘round every dive bar, that’s right, watch them all watch your big cigar bob on your lip as you talk, yes, they think you got stature, but you’re just blocking light: you got to have the dog claw to do it right!” I saw ol’ Moody come ‘round the corner with his bible in one hand, his soapbox in the other, and I saw the look of surprise in his eyes and I got the hell out of there.


Share your predominant thought with the audience or keep it a secret. As always, it’s entirely up to you.

Until next time, look for the magic and you will find it!




The Grand Reveal – 21 March 2014
Trick A – Albanian – 1 April 2014
Trick B – Black Forest – 2 April 2014


* The Collins Concise Dictionary Of The English Language, Second Edition 1988, Collins – London and Glasgow

**the Moment Of Meant To Be is the instant of lucidness that arises from the contemplation of any given thing and subsequently reveals the essence of it. These Moments will be dashed off in paragraphs of 200 words or less and may be dark or shining, delirious or rational, but each paragraph will stir thoughts and feelings that lead to a meaning unique to you.

13 responses to “the audacity of C

  1. I want to read more! Who is the “I”, I wonder, and what is Ol’ Moody’s relationship to the stranger on the soapbox? You’re good at the voice, which makes me think of those traveling medicine men who sold patent medicines and had powerful sales pitches.
    I’m behind on my commenting since I’ve been in transit, but hope to catch up. Still pondering the mysteries of your Black Forest post, and trusting the the cumulative magic of them all will reveal something fantastic to me!

    • Thanks for this, Josna – as you can see I’m further behind it all than you are! Never mind. I’m glad you enjoyed the little turquoise ditty – I agree it’s busting at the seams with potentiality – maybe for later. The voice just comes from 18 years down south – God, I miss the south… Anyway, I’m working my way to your place. See you then : )

  2. Is ol’ Moody’s bible a match for the claw? People love to hear the talk but walking the walk? They love something to believe in. Preferably something to believe in that makes all the effort for them. All that claw sharpening sounds tiring. Better to follow the Ten. So much easier when you’re told what to do, even if you don’t do it.

    • All that you said is the Claw’s honest truth! With option 2, token efforts are all that’s required since there’s a built-in excuse and safety net! :-D

  3. I like the stranger and he is so right that we must sharpen our claws! The end has left me wanting more…What did Moody see??

    • Ah, Aditi, good catch – thank you! As soon as I saw your question I tweaked the first sentence of the C-paragraph so that doubt as to what Moody saw would be removed (I hope). ‘Twas a daring thing, tampering with the Moment of Meant To Be, but I’ve not been hit by a bolt of lightning or anything…yet…knock on wood.

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