Out of tricks, Il Mago Merlino stared out across the booing crowd. Tears sprang to his eyes.
"They don't like me anymore. They aren't amazed."
The herd of rabbits he just conjured from a single top hat hopped awkwardly off stage to the dressing room.
His voluptuous assistant, Stella, used his real name...she never did that - not on stage.
"Jack, I think we're done."
Il Mago Merlino stared at the wood panels that composed the floor of the stage he stood on. As the blood left his face he thought back to his childhood, to the moment when he realized he wanted to be a magician in the first place, to surprise and inspire people. Done?
He grabbed his giant saw from his trunk of props.
"Jack, what --?"
"I AM NOT JACK!!!!" He yelled, threatening Stella with the saw as she made a move towards him. She stopped, horrified that he would do such a thing.
And in that moment, he saw in her eyes fear and anger. And incredulity. A sort of twisted awe, a terrified...amazement.
And he wanted more.
He pushed her off the stage, into the audience, and he saw that look in all of their eyes, the look that used to be caused by his magic, now caused by his desperation.
"IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?!" He paced around the stage, waving the saw. The audience was agitated and afraid.
At a loss of what to do next, he turned to his table, his beautiful table that he'd built himself so many years ago. He began to cut it in half, just to do something. And he laughed.
He sawed and sawed until the table was nothing more than a mountain of splinters under his feet. He threw his head back and his laugh grew into a roar. He was the king of destruction and the saw was his scepter.
"A king deserves better than a simple black suit," he thought.
He tore down the red curtain of the stage and tied it around his neck; the robes of a king; the uniform of a madman.
He looked over the crowd again.
They were screaming and afraid and horrified - not so much from what he had done, but from the obvious infinity of his recklessness, demonstrated by his shaking hands and sweaty face - but underneath it all was the awestruck disbelief that he loved so much.
And he couldn't stop.
He suddenly became aware of the pack of cigarettes and matches in his pocket, and he wanted to smoke. He did, and as he breathed out that last drag of nicotine and tobacco, he kept lighting matches. He gathered his "cape" around him and gently arranged the burning sticks on it.
He stood in a nest of crimson velvet and broken dreams and wasted years.
As his train on fire, he spoke his last words.
"Aren't you amazed?"
And he stood laughing, in this deadly spotlight fashioned by his own inadequacy, as the flames swallowed his body.
Inspired by the result of a Mad Lib game.