We feel like we know Liu Chien from our magic marathon sessions watching our fellow artists on YouTube. He probably does not know us, though. It is funny how you feel you know someone because you see them on television or YouTube but when you finally meet them, they stare blankly at you without a hint of recognition. As we wrote in that essay we had to hand into the judge, “we must remember, seeing them is not the same thing as them seeing you.”
There are days when we will actually stop playing Trisk™ to open our laptop and watch YouTube magicians. Some are good, most are not. Liu Chien is one of the very good ones.
As we have admitted on these pages before and have thusly testified before certain international tribunals that the United States may or may not recognize as having jurisdiction over its putative citizens, we do not speak Chinese.
It is not that we speak it sort of good but our syntax is not the best. We know about three things in Chinese and one of them is actually Vietnamese but is apparently a comment that is accepted with the same meaning in China, Japan and South Korea. And even then, we can say it (but we wouldn’t if there there is a chance that anyone from the Asian Rim is within earshot) but we have no idea how to write it.
Trisk™, by the way, is a favorite winter game here in Mystic Hollow. It is essentially Risk® but instead of conquering armies taking over the world in long drawn-out fashion and endless turn-taking; you have a small cadre of well-connected magicians who have access to armies they can summon to do their conquering if necessary. Some have suggested it is the strategy game Risk® but with fewer pieces and twenty or so pewter top hats taken from Monopoly® sets.
They’re probably right. While we don’t know the game’s origins, it has been an essential part of our lives since we were Little Shavers.
Thanks to do-gooders and socially aware voting blocks, Mystic Hollow no longer permits children under the age of seven to shave with a straight-razor or any disposable shaving system. As a consequence, the next generation of young magicians growing up in this hamlet of magic will not learn Trisk™ or Risk®. Their parents won’t have a need to distract their curious attention and less coordinated hands away from sharp blades and mature smelling shaving cream.
Some blame our close proximity to the Straight-Razor Capital of the World, New Finito, Michigan. Kids start out as unofficial “Little Shavers” even before they attend pre-school and get their first box of second blades. Most of the blades are dull — quality control at the factory usually culls the bad blades before they get to the sharpening section — but kids can still find a way to carelessly handle the products and someone always ends up getting hurt.
There are few in Mystic Hollow without a good scar or two on their hands, upper thighs, or cheeks (of their face). Your first scar is a rite of passage; and if not properly handled can require Last Rites. “What does not kill us makes us less attractive,” is the unofficial motto.
We suppose this quirk is similar to other towns adjacent to some factory or service center. The young magicians of Deerfield, Illinois take tremendous pride in their first episode of hypoglycemic shock fostered by the cubic yards of Sara Lee Bakery Seconds and Rejects.
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