The Magician by Mary Irvine


The Magician looked down on his audience. All smoke and mirrors – that’s all my life has been. All smoke and mirrors. Still it has given me a good living. Brought up in such a progressive country, good education, lots of opportunities. The government there really knew how to manipulate people. A good learning curve, most beneficial. Lucky enough to be taught by the best around. Too much competition there, needed to be my own boss. That’s where that lot down there came in, gullible as all audiences are. Give ‘em what they want, what they think they need. Those natural events coming so quickly in sequence. That’s what did the trick. That’s when I knew I’d got them. They’d follow me anywhere. And they did. But I’m getting on in years. I owe them something. Something that will also ensure my name is remembered for a long time.

The audience followed the Magician, believing in him and the power he claimed came from one of the many deities proliferating at the time. Only the magician’s deity was bigger and better than all the others, more vicious too in many ways. They left comfortable homes and, regular jobs with life-long security because of the Magician’s promises. The Magician exploited the human desire – greed – for more, more land, more money, more land, telling them they were better and more deserving than anyone else. Their all-powerful deity would see them all right and the Magician would ensure the messages were passed on. Of course he’d also have to play on that other human characteristic – fear. Easy enough with his superior knowledge and powers of manipulation.

It was easier than I thought. Make rules, all about control, with severe penalties for non-compliance being invoked by the nasty bit of work I had invented. That volcano with its smoke, flames and lava flow was a stroke of luck. I had to step in quickly when some of them became enamoured of somebody else’s deity. Soon squashed that. A case of my deity’s bigger and better, i.e. more nasty, than yours. Now that area looks great, fertile, good for settling down. Pity about the people already living there but not really a problem. We’ll just get rid.

‘Joshua, a word. Our powerful deity has given us a gift. That land over there. You need to clear out the lot living there. I suggest you make a co-ordinated three pronged attack. Drive the people out. If they won’t go kill them all, men, women, children. Don’t worry about it, our deity says it’s OK.’

Mary Irvine's Blog: Open Mic Hits The Sticks
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This section: Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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