2 rare days off in a row, the last 2 days off in a row until Christmas, but I console myself that I won't be there at Christmas, still it weighs heavily on my mind.

And I'm tracked down by old friends in the city, old friends from out of town who are feeling somewhat neglected, and it's not them, it's my schedule I explain and I explain as well that I'll be quitting soon, but they don't share my enthusiasm.

He's a magician, I've known him over 20 years. And so we meet for a bite to eat, catch up, discuss mutual acquaintances, then he invites himself over for a bottle of wine.

The place, it's nowhere near ready for guests but what can I do? And so he comes by and we chat.

He's publishing books. He's got movie scripts and his magic show to work on. He's down here meeting people, doing things, traveling about many countries. He protests the policies of government that forbid animals in shows, with the argument that they're treated poorly, and I remember living with him and going to the dimly lit basement where the rabbits sat in cages between shows, where the parrots and doves spent interminable days, years of boredom, doing nothing, often dieing and going undiscovered until the smell filled the house.

"They loved performing" he tells me, and I think that maybe they did, loved for a few moments the hopes of escape or the too brief sunlight that might stream through the roof of a shopping mall. 

Odd. As long as I've known him I've never seen him perform a magic trick, never known him to put on a show, although he talks about it all the time. I know he's a magician, I've seen the dove pans, the stacking and separating trunks, the collapsible swords, met his assistants, but never once seen him perform a trick.

So he begins to organize my cupboards - the herb chest, the drawers aren't in properly, it was a quick move and I didn't number them, it would take me a minute to find the place for them but he's doing it for me now, I watch and he spends an hour, an hour and a half slotting drawers in and out. It shouldn't take that long, but he swaps drawers, swaps them back, then does it again, repeating the same mistakes over and over.

His books, they're for kids and he's got a publisher and things are looking pretty good, there's really no text in them, no text to speak of but they rely heavily on illustrations so he's hoping the publisher will put him in touch with someone that can properly illustrate them, he's written them, dozens by the sounds of it, there's no text to speak of but there will be great, lavishly detailed illustrations, when he can find an illustrator. 

He's a magician, he has his secrets. He talks of women, lovers, yet never have I met a lover of his that confessed to being his lover, they all deny it, we know, it used to be a joke but he's never come out about it and he asks, solicitously, if I've a lover and I know where this is going, he's tried this before and this secret of his isn't such a secret and I explain that of course, yes I have and look off into the distance with fond recollection.

We get back on track. He's been meeting with other magicians, names I dimly recognize, possibly from conversations with him, possibly from handbills seen about town.  He spends entire nights up with them talking about magic, nights he doesn't come home - "We talk about magic" he explains..."He talks about it, I talk about it, we stay up all night and we magiss....".