Money For The Circus 10
Marcus crouches to look at the pangolin. His cage is one of those things people put a dog in, if they don’t really want one. It probably does the job. There is no scat - another Gran word- on the metalled floor. Nor is there any straw. Not even an old towel or blanket. There’s something odd about the beast though: Marcus thinks it could be that the pangolin is moving, breathing – something that things never do in books, no matter how good the drawing or the writing is. Yes, it could be that. The animal stands upright. Marcus hadn’t realised they could do that. He turns to look at The Prof, who hides his hands behind his back, like Marcus does, if Gran catches him hunting for money in the sideboard. There never is any. He found an old medal once, but Gran wouldn’t talk about it.
He turns back to the pangolin. It’s dancing, sort of. Like his Gran did at that wedding they went to, a few years ago. Yes, not very well. The best man had said ‘like a dog on its hind legs, surprising she did it at all.’ They went home after Marcus kicked him in the shin. Gran kept touching Marcus’s hair all the way home. There’s a light in the pangolin’s eyes, maybe it’s the sun.
‘Is he really dancing?’ Marcus says to The Prof, whose hands fly to his cheeks.
‘Vot do you sink? Are you not too cleffer to believe in such things?’
Marcus steps back from the doggie den. The pangolin is standing, leaning against the thin metal bars. The Prof’s hands are in his safari jacket pockets.
‘Seeing is believing, Gran says.’
‘For some. For others, believing is believing, whatever the contrary proofs.’
Marcus has noticed The Prof’s accent is less of a comedy act. He’s not going to mention it.
The Prof goes on, a pack of cards is in his hands, Marcus has NEVER seen anyone move the cards so fast. Not even on the Television. Gran watches any magic on television. Mostly Dynamo as that’s about all there is now. She says it’s cheating, trick photography. Why learn magic when you can cheat?
‘Do you believe in magic?’ The Prof asks, with the cards still moving so incredibly fast.
‘Sometimes. Gran says it’s all trickery.’
‘Is it? Is it though?’ The cards are now flying in a circle, The Prof’s hands are a foot apart.
‘Pick a card.’ he says.
‘Queen of Spades,’ Marcus says, quick as the flashing of The Prof’s hands.
In less time than it takes to think it, the cards are a pack once more with one card face up on the top. The Prof holds the pack out to Marcus. There it is, the Queen of Spades. Only... There’s something different. The Queen of Spades looks like his gran. There’s a sound of quiet clapping from behind him. Marcus doesn’t turn back, just in case pangolins clapping is something else they missed out of the encyclopedia.