the folly of N

Image of Juliet Berto, credit Jonathan Rosenbaum

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

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 riffled through the N’s and landed my fingertip randomly on a page. And when Juliet removed the blindfold, my fingertip was squarely on “nonce,” which induced Shakespeare fear (not)!

And while Juliet was offstage conjuring the banner you see at the top of this post, I wildly jotted down the ditty below in the Moment Of Meant To Be.** Now, the rest of this trick is up to you, Ladies and Gents!

If it pleases you, merely read the ditty below and record what predominant meaning the sum of those words strikes in your heart. And for every trick after this, from O 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.



‘A Fractured Shakespearian Tale’

Larry paced before Claude. He stopped short. “I’ll slit Hamel’s throat in church this Easter, the murdering swine!”
“Don’t be daft, man!” Claude said. “How would you conceal the deed? You know how attendance soars at Easter! Come here and accept your wallop!”
Larry hung his head in acknowledgement and sidled over to Claude, eyes squinted and teeth gritted, and Claude slapped him upside the head.
Larry staggered, his hand sprung to the boxed ear and he sniffed. “That was a tad brutal don’t you think?”
“Not at all, you boob!” Claude said. “My blow was commensurate with the idiocy of your idea, which would make Hamel look the innocent and you the iniquitous monster! True, the death of your father at Hamel’s hand must be avenged, but not willy-nilly!”
Claude paced the room from side to side and corner to corner, one hand to his chin, when at once he realized the marked absence of thought-waves from Larry. He stopped and yelled at him, “Well, have you no ideas? Must I be the sole spark of brilliance, the singular mastermind of a mutual scheme?”
Larry fidgeted. “Truth is, I don’t quite dare come up with another bad idea, lest you box my ears yet again!”
“Coward!” Claude shouted.
“Nay, Self-preservationist!” Larry countered.
Claude accepted the retort and began again to pace, but not for long. “I’ve got it! At the Easter feast we shall have prepared him a chalice for the nonce, whereupon but sipping, he shall keel over straightaway!”
“Oh most excellent,” Larry said. Then his face clouded. “But what if somehow the act is traced to us?”
“Oh you naysayer, you pooh-pooher of— I’ve got it!” Claude said. “We’ll set Ophelia up to take the fall if need be!”
“But she’s my sister, you callous beast, you—“ Larry clapped his hands over his mouth.
“With all due respect, Larry,” Claude said, “Your sister is as crazy as a coot and won’t know the difference if she’s free or imprisoned, alive or dead.”
Larry considered these words. “Indeed, she seeks rest from her madness…”
“There you see?” Claude said.
“Alrighty then,” Claude said. “We shall— What’s that sound?”
Gertie stumbled in tripping over her skirts, her breast heaving unduly. “M’Lords! It’s Ophelia! She fell from a tree into the brook and hath drowned!”
Larry clutched his head. “Oh poor Ophelia! In death at last she finds amity…”
And Claude thought to himself, “… and we must needs find another patsy…”

Thusly does the curtain fall on this warped scene from Hamlet. And to spare you from further poncing about, I’ll give you the play in a nutshell: madness is feigned and madness is realized and the blood flows and the curtain ultimately falls on a stage filled with dead bodies.



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
Trick C – Claw – 3 April 2014
Trick D – Docket – 4 April 2014
Trick E – Endanger – 5 April 2014
Trick F – Finicky – 7 April 2014
Trick G – Grave – 8 April 2014
Trick H – Harvester – 9 April 2014
Trick I – Inevitable – 10 April 2014
Trick J – Jukebox – 11 April 2014
Trick K – Keyhole – 12 April 2014
Trick L – Liberal Arts – 14 April 2014
Trick M – Masking Tape – 15 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.

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