“The Great Randini”
By Brandon Kidd
It was the Friday before Halloween at Sir John A. Public School in Millersville, Ontario and Mrs. Martin’s Grade Seven class was having a carnival that afternoon. Several different children had set up games and booths around the class where candies could be gambled at The Wheel of Fortune or traded for a guided tour through the Haunted Cloakroom. But Randy Jacobson, pardon me, The Great Randini, was quickly standing out as the main attraction.
Randy sat behind an upturned cardboard box covered with a black satin cloth wearing a polka-dot, plastic shower curtain over his shoulders and a bath towel wrapped turban-style around his head. He was raking in his classmates’ tootsie rolls and lollipops in exchange for glimpses into their futures. Randy was a short, wiry kid with freckles and curly black hair. Last year Randy was in the school musical and many had said his Dodger had stolen the show from Oliver. Things were going well, but the afternoon hadn’t started perfectly. Randy had forgotten his crystal ball at home. Actually, his mother had hidden it from him. It was a favourite flower vase of hers that she feared would not survive the day’s activities. For a fortune teller of less skill and magnificence this might have been an insurmountable problem. However, The Great Randini simply substituted his Ancient and Mystical Softball of Mystery and never missed a beat.
“Who dares to be next!?” Randy asked, pointing around the classroom. “Who dares to look into what their future holds?”
Mrs. Martin, playing the part of a clown on this occasion, was surprised that Randy could talk so well with his mouth half-full of candies.
Randy put his hand dramatically to his forehead and closed his eyes.
“Do not tell me!” he said. “I already know who will be the next to step forward —I am The Great Randini!”
Randy slowly swept his hand back and forth across his audience of other twelve-year-olds and suddenly pointed directly at one boy.
“You!” he exclaimed, opening his eyes wide. “You, Mikey Tollman! You will be the next brave soul to gaze into his future. I have forseen it!”
Mikey was game. He stepped forward and sat down at the black box across from Randy.
“I was right! He sits! Behold the power of The Great Randini!”
Randy sat down.
“Give me your hand, brave one,” said Randy as he grabbed a hold of Mikey’s hand across the box, placing his other hand to his forehead.
“Now, Mikey, place your offering on the Black Alter of Fate!”
“Whaddaya want?” asked Mikey.
“Today the sprits are demanding peanut M&Ms.”
“I only have plain ones.”
“I have consulted the spirits and they will also accept plain M&Ms.”
Mikey put his candies on the black box and Randy closed his eyes.
“Oh yes! Oh yes! I am beginning to see something now. The spirits are giving me a vision. They are showing me… a face! The face of… of… of your best friend!”
“Carl?” asked Mikey.
“No!” Randy corrected. “That is not the face the spirits have shown me.”
Carl was standing in the audience watching. He’d been Mikey’s best friend since kindergarten. Carl’s full name was Carlos. His parents were from Peru and had emigrated to Southern Ontario when Carl was very young. Carl was quite a bit shorter than Mikey, but they looked remarkably similar with the same pale, grey eyes and thick dark hair, Mikey’s was long and Carl’s buzzed almost military-style. Carl and Mikey did everything together.
“Well… if it isn’t Carl, who is it then?” Mikey asked. This was getting good.
“I see… I see a bright smile. But the picture is very faint. Perhaps if the spirits were given an additional offering…”
Mikey put down another package of M&Ms.
“Oh yes! I can see it more clearly now. This smiling face is moving toward you. Closer… closer… and… Oh! Oh no!”
Randy threw his head back and forth. “It is too awful, Mikey. I do not have the words.”
“I’ll give ya my Oh Henry! bar.”
“Oh yes! The words are coming to me now.”
Now not only Mikey was listening, but half the class was watching the performance as well, Carl more closely than anyone.
“The face of your best friend is moving toward you. Closer… and closer… and closer! And your best friend is… is… is…”
“Your best friend is kissing you!”
The audience started laughing and twittering.
“Is it a girl?” Mikey asked. “Who is it?”
“Yeah! — Who is it? — Who?” asked the other students in the class.
Other boys might have been embarrassed at this point, but not Mikey. If Randy was the school’s perfect Dodger, Mikey was definitely the Casanova. Having hit puberty a bit early, Mikey was the tallest kid in the class and when Gym class rolled around, Mikey was the one everyone wanted on their team. When there was a dance, Mikey never needed prodding to get him on the dance floor. He’d outgrown his cutie stage long ago and was already enjoying the attention of several girls in the class, each of them now turning their heads to give this performance their undivided attention as well.
“The spirits are not revealing a name to me,” said Randy. “But! She is very beautiful. And! I can see the colour of her hair!”
“Her hair is… is… is…”
Orange? Mikey looked over his shoulder at the girls who were all looking around at each other. Not a one of them had orange coloured hair.
“C’mon, Randini,” said Mikey. “Who is it really?”
“Oh!” Randy breathed, letting go of Mikey’s hand and pressing both his own hands to the sides of his head, “I can tell you no more! The spirits have exhausted me. I will accept these delicious offerings on their behalf and replenish my strength. The Great Randini must now ask for the bathroom pass.”
Exit The Great Randini, stage left.
“What didja make of that?” Mikey asked Carl. “Do you think Randy actually knows something I don’t, or was he just pretending?”
Carl shrugged his shoulders.
“Beats me, Mikey. I may not have orange hair, but I am your best friend and I know this for sure: there’s no kissing in our future.”