Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
“A Cascade of Lies” by Steve Rasnic Tem
Card picked: Queen of Clubs
From: David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination
When Alan and his brother Billy were seven and eight the boys began touring with their father. … their mother had claimed the doctor told her they were too frail. It was the only trick she’d ever pull.
But she could not stall Max forever, and the day finally came when the boys were onstage, dressed as girls, midgets, animals, specters, until Max promoted them to victims: target of the bullet-catching trick, a neck for the Sword of Damocles.
This is a dark story. It begins with a son questioning his father’s lies (because aren’t all magic tricks lies). As he gets older, Alan backs out of performing, a decision which leaves him guilt-ridden when his brother dies during an accident. Alan loses touch with his father, marries, and has a daughter. Unfortunately, he hasn’t outrun his father’s grasp. When his daughter starts asking about her famous grandfather, Alan’s life falls apart. The last several pages of this story descend into a phantasmagoria as Alan seeks out Max. This whole story felt like it could be a much longer work instead of 15 pages in a mass market paperback.
About the Author: Though well-published in the realm of speculative fiction, I’m not sure I’d ever heard of Steve Rasnic Tem before.
Is This Your Card?
The description of Max’s show reminded me of magician Richiardi Jr. His act pulled from a Grand Guignol tradition. Introduced here by the great Vincent Price.