Isaac looked at his fingers in the mirror. Clean nails; wrinkles on his knuckles; a few freckles, and red hair below each knuckle.

He picked up a deck of cards in each hand. He held them…

Anything you can do with one hand, you can do with the other hand, or you ain’t worth shit, Sonny…

…Isaac shuffled each deck one handed.

A bead of sweat dropped from his eyelash into his eye. He put the decks of cards down, rubbed his eye, and pushed his chair away from the kitchen table and stood up, ducking his head from the bare bulb hanging on the cord.

Isaac went to the sink and moved some dishes, then he turned the faucet and waited for the water to flow free of rust. He put his head in the sink and let water fall over his head.

When he had finished he closed the faucet, and leaned up, looking at himself reflected in the dark from outside his kitchen window.

…they won’t care about you, kid. They won’t even care about the effects. They won’t care you’ve practiced for years, they won’t care you just broke up with your lover, they won’t give a damn about you. They want to be amazed, amused… Most of all they want to be lied to and know they are being lied to. People love the beautiful lie…

Isaac sat back down at the linoleum table. He picked up a roll of coins, making them perform calisthenics on the knuckles of both hands. He looked at placards on his walls held up with clear tape, now yellowed.

Isaac lit a cigarette with a wooden match. The match disappeared into a flash when he snapped his fingers…

Lie to them, Sonny Boy. Lie to the people and watch them smile…

Isaac blew smoke rings, each one smaller and fitting into the previous. He tapped the end of the cigarette and the ash fell three inches into an ashtray and became a small pile of sand. Isaac stood the cigarette upright into the sand and it bloomed into a rose.

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