“Miles the Magician,” Friend, Mar. 1981, 40
Miles practiced magic tricks at home. He did the toothpaste trick one hundred and twenty times. He did the pigeon trick one hundred and fifty times. And he practiced the newspaper trick two hundred times. He felt he was ready to perform in front of his friends.
Miles took his magic kit to school for the talent show. But when it was time for the show to start Miles was scared. He decided that he didn’t want to do his tricks in front of everyone after all, for Miles was afraid of making a mistake. He pulled his invisible magician’s hat down low over his eyes.
The first performer was a boy who played the piano.
I could never do that, Miles thought. I’d play the notes wrong with everyone watching me.
But what about Miles the Mighty? he wondered. Miles swirled his invisible cape onto his shoulders and pretended, I, Miles the Mighty, will be a piano player. Then Miles’s fingers raced along the pretended piano keys until the whole class danced on the ceiling.
Next came a girl dressed like a roly-poly clown. “HO! HO! HO! HA! HA! HA!” she laughed.
Miles shrank into his seat. I could never do that, he thought. I’d lose my stomach stuffing with everyone watching me.
But what about Miles the Mighty? he thought again. Then he waved his invisible magic wand and pretended, I, Miles the Mighty, will turn into a clown. Miles the clown performed a very funny show. The children rolled with laughter on the floor.
Miles took off his invisible hat and cape and set down his invisible wand. He was so worried that his hands were getting wet. And his feet were getting jumpy.
A boy and girl were on stage now. They did acrobatic stunts. Miles felt his stomach churn. I could never do that, he thought. I’d get all tangled up with everyone watching me.
But what about Miles the Mighty? he asked himself, thinking great magical words of encouragement, I, Miles the Mighty, will be an acrobat. He stretched himself into stupendous shapes.
Just then he heard the teacher say, “It’s your turn, Miles.” She smiled at him.
He got up slowly and picked up his magic kit. His legs were wobbling. On the way to the front of the room he got the creepy-crawly shivers. What if I do something wrong? he worried. What if everyone laughs at me? What if I left my balloon at home or my milk or pigeon or newspaper?
On stage Miles opened his magic kit. Everything was there, even his stuffed pigeon. But his legs were still wobbling.
He took out his magician’s cape and hat. When he put them on, Miles the Mighty, magically tall, looked around the room.
He showed them a toothpaste tube. He blew a whistle and out came the toothpaste all by itself. Everyone clapped.
Next he poured milk into a rolled-up newspaper. He started to spill it on the teacher. But she didn’t get wet because the milk disappeared. Everybody whistled.
For his very best trick Miles blew up a balloon. Then he popped it and there sat a pigeon. Everybody cheered.
Miles the Mighty Magician bowed in thanks to all the boys and girls, who had really enjoyed his magic tricks.