Bobby walked slowly down the faded boardwalk. The long boards of the wooden walk way jutted up here and there making it a small challenge not to trip. The shops were long boarded up. Former neon signs now looked like dark broken tubes which helped to keep people away instead of bring them to the shop. The windows were long boarded up due to a hurricane which blew in years ago. No one turned the power back on. No one walked the rickety, broken floor. No one cared much for boardwalk anymore.
Bobby rounded the corner. An abandoned toy store stood sad and depressed. The plywood that held up the large picture window had fallen slightly and Bobby could see something strange. A red glow from something inside. The power had been cut for the whole board walk so to see anything but black and gray over here was weird. Bobby pulled on the plywood, which gave easily and walked into the building. The small red glow sat in a corner of the toy story. Bobby could not yet tell what was making it. The shelves of the small toy store sat empty. It’s shelves fallen face first onto the dusty ground. A few toys were scattered but most were covered and dust and unwanted by the looters years ago. Bobby had to climb over a couple shelves to get to the red object. It sat over a thin cover, dusty like everything else. Bobby covered his mouth and pulled.
Under the cover was a coin-operated magician. A partial man, hat, head and shoulders, stood staring away from Bobby. Inside his small square prison he looked like he just came off the manufacturer’s floor. His hat was a tall stove pipe with a brim. His face was painted on ceramic, wrinkles and all. The partial man wore a half tie and suit. The red light shone brightly from the top of the square glass case.
“Alfonso, the Great,” shouted the letters as it spelled out the name. Underneath the glass box was a steel slot and beside that a tin sign, bent slightly at the corner, that said 25 cents.
Bobby shook his pockets and found a quarter. He pushed the quarter into the slot and the magician came alive. First thing it did was straighten its gaze. It looked forward into Bobby’s chest for a moment then upward. It’s painted on eyes seemed to become real as it soon caught Bobby’s gaze. “Young man, how are you?” Said the magician his halved body moving back and forth as he continued to stare right at Bobby.
“I’m so sorry staring is rude,” he said as he adjusted his gaze to something less creepy. “You don’t understand it’s been years since I’ve seen a young boy your age.” The magician laughed. It’s voice was metallic, his accent slightly British. “I am Alfonso, the Great. Magician extraordinaire. I am here for your pleasure. “Would you like me to perform a trick for you?”
Bobby shifted uncomfortably. Fear doubled up in his legs and gut. “I think I’m just going to go,” he said but his legs would not move.
“Don’t be frightened, young man,” said the magician. “What am I going to do, I’m in a glass box for Christ’s sake and I have no legs.”
Bobby attempted a smile which peaked slightly at the edges.
“Let me get my small arms working so I can take off this old hat.” Two small wooden arms moved slowly, stuttering at first, then eventually pushing upward to remove the magician’s black hat. For a few seconds the magician’s gaze disappeared behind his hat. Bobby breathed in deeply till his gaze returned.
“Alright,” said the magician, “let me reach into my hat and pull out a trick.”
Bobby watched as the magician’s hands moved mechanically into the hat and pulled out a small card. The magician then turned, while still watching, and dropped the card into a large black pit area. The card dropped and the magician asked Bobby to remove the card. Bobby pushed himself forward. He reached carefully. Pushing the tin cover in. The card sat face down at the bottom of the pit. Bobby picked up the card. He watched the magician carefully for any sudden moves. The magician looked forward. The paint in its eyes chipped slightly. It’s two arms sat at the base of the glass case. Bobby stood. The light above the magician flickered then went out. The magician suddenly disappeared into the darkness of the abandoned toy store.
Bobby shook off the nerves and turned back toward the only light he could find. He stumbled over the fallen shelves and toys until he reached the front of the store. He stepped out into the salted air and onto the uneven boardwalk. He placed the card into his pocket and walked away.
Reaching home, just after midnight Bobby pulled the card from his pocket and sat on the bed. He stared at the neatly typed letters on a business card shaped magic trick. The only words displayed showed ‘Opposite Day’. Bobby huffed. Upset at the commotion this little incident caused him. The fear and the weird gaze only to get a card that says Opposite Day. He placed the card on his bedroom dresser and slipped into bed.
“Get out of bed, loser! The day has started.” Shouted Bobby’s roommate as he lay half asleep. A sudden kick swept the sleep from him and he fell between the bed and wall and then onto the floor. Seconds afterward his roommate tore the mattresses off his bed. His roommate, always the kidder, looked frightening as he held a bat in his left hand. His face was twisted into utmost hatred.
“It’s about time you pay for my grievances Bobby. The pot smoking, the woman… you are paying for all of it.” His roommate then swung the bat. He smacked the metal foundation of the bed making it ring loudly. Bobby scooted under the spring of the bed as his roommate swung over and over. Several forcing the spring into his chest and face.
“Stop! Stop!” Bobby shouted but his roommate just laughed and smack harder. He had no escape from the rage of his long time college friend. His roommate began to lift the bed when Bobby’s ex-girlfriend walked into the dorm room. She hated his guts and he was sure the problems would only start but they only got strange. Ashley, his ex, shoved Bobby’s roommate. The young man tripped and fell sideways. He hit his head hard upon a shelf of books and passed out. Ashley waited patiently as Bobby slid from under the bed. The steel spring would never be the same and he would likely have to call Mom and Dad for more money.
“How will I explain this to my parents?” He asked rhetorically as Ashley helped him up.
Ashley nodded and looked over at Bobby’s roommate. Bobby followed her gaze and noticed a pool of blood growing under his roommate.
“Oh, my God, is he dead?” Shouted Bobby as he rushed over to look him over. Ashley stopped him. “He just tried to kill you. I saved you. You should care about me more.”
“Are you crazy? You think I’m Satan’s brood. you told me. What is wrong with you?”
She laughed. “I said that. I don’t recall.”
“Doesn’t matter, we have to stop the bleeding or Derrick is going to die.” Ashley laughed again. “Die Smeye. He is going to a far better place.”
“That is heartless. What is wrong with you?”
“Do you love me?” She asked impatiently. “Yes,” Bobby answered impatiently, “can you get me a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in the student center?”
Ashley giggled with delight and bounced out of the room. Bobby stared in disbelief but quickly turned back to his roommate. He applied pressure to the side of his young head to stop the bleeding. He searched the room for anything he could use to tie it to his head. A woman’s scarf sat a stretch away so he grabbed it, wrapped the head and placed it down carefully.
Several moments to think gives you so many thoughts. Murder, police, jail, execution, escape… “Oh my God.”
Bobby’s roommate woke and stared.
Derrick woke slowly. His eyes slowly beat as he regained consciousness. Bobby came into focus slowly. The desperation within Derrick’s head slowly increased but he was slow to move. The blow to his head scrambled his normal functions.
“It’s opposite day, Derrick. You don’t have to suffer under the oppression of your past activities,” a quiet detached voice began to echo. “Your activities are unacceptable. Your pot smoking, women and violence needs to be paid for.”
Derrick felt the tips of his fingers tingle. He began to feel the ability to move.
“Bobby, is an innocent. He can carry your burden.”
Derrick thought about this for a moment. He recalled a couple parties the two friends attended. The beer, the girls…
“…but Bobby left,” the voice answered. “The opposite of sin is innocence, Derrick.”
Derrick sat up quickly, surprising Bobby. “I have something for you Bobby,” he said as he grasp Bobby by the throat. Bobby struggled and freed himself easily. Derrick had yet regained 100% of his strength.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Shouted Bobby as he backed away from his approaching roommate.
“Dude, it’s opposite day and you are innocent.”
“Ummm…” Bobby stammered illegibly. He recalled the magician and the card. It was hard to imagine something like this actually happening. What kind of magic is this?
“Innocent, my ass,” Bobby shouted.
“Don’t screw with me,” shouted Derrick, “you are a virgin and you know it. I’m not a virgin.”
“Count the woman on one hand, man,” Bobby insisted as he dodged a swipe from Derrick’s pocket knife.
Derrick growled as he approached but he slowed when he tried to recall his sexual conquest.
“Jen…” He began but Bobby interrupted him. “No, you lost her to Jeremy Song.”
“April, Mary, Ashley?”
Bobby dodged a swift punch. Derrick hit the wall with his hand. His face froze as several of the small bones in his fingers snapped. Bobby shoved Derrick backward causing him to fall. Bobby grabbed a broken table leg and stood beside him.
“Derrick, you are a loser like me!” Bobby pleaded. “That’s why we are roommates and friends. “Dude, you have to stop.”
Derrick wanted to stand but he was exhausted and sore.
Ashley walked slowly into the room and offered Bobby a bottle of whiskey. Shocked, Bobby accepted it and set it the floor.
“Listen guys, this is all because of some magic I ran into yesterday.”
“You are magical, Bobby,” Ashley cooed as she slowly ran her hands down his side. “Stop it,” Bobby shouted.
“We have to destroy the damn machine.”
“I have to destroy something,” Derrick said as he stared at Bobby. “Oh my God, man. I’m going to have to tie you up.”