Andrew Stevenson is a typical college kid, trying to work hard in his studies, while also looking for some wild fun and excitement. The problem is, so far, his college experience has turned out quite dull and boring. Having made no friends his first year and still living with his parents, he is about to consider this first year a complete disappointment.
Things begin to change dramatically when Andrew befriends notorious college prankster Johnny Platt, who is known for wild parties and unbelievable pranks. Johnny quickly takes Andrew under his wing and into his inner circle. Life seems to be going well until Andrew and Johnny cross paths with a local magician, Charles Chesterton, a man of mystery and wonder. He will captivate them and turn their lives upside down. Questions will arise and lives will hang in the balance.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.42(d)|
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Stealing the Magic
The Story of a Caged Magician
By Tony Myers
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2015 Tony Myers
All rights reserved.
Andrew Stevenson approached his car. He hoped his new friend would like it. It wasn't anything fancy, just a Ford Mustang, a couple years old. He kept it nice and clean, and he was sure to give it a good wax job every couple months. To him it looked just right; silver with a black racing stripe down the side. It took him two summers of work to save up the money to buy it. His parents had it detailed for him as a graduation present. He opened the driver's side door and slid in. Looking in the rearview mirror he adjusted his glasses, and then checked his light brown hair, making sure the part was perfect. Appearance was everything. He wanted these guys to approve of him. He didn't want anything going wrong with his first impression.
It was bad enough living at home his freshman year. Andrew wanted the experience of a typical college kid. He wanted the parties, the fun, and possibly a little drinking mixed in there too. He hated that his first year of college was just about over and he hadn't made many friends. Sure, he made good grades and was able to save a lot of money living at home, but he wanted more. Being nineteen and in his first year of college was supposed to be one of the best years of his life. So far, it was one Andrew was ready to forget.
Early in the semester things started to change when Andrew met Johnny Platt. He was known as the most popular student at Eastern Iowa University where they both attended. Located on the outskirts of Waterloo, Iowa, Eastern Iowa was known for its farming sciences. Most of the students who picked the school usually hoped to move back home and to continue working on their family farms.
Johnny Platt was not a typical student. Everyone on campus knew who he was. He was known for his wild parties and for pulling clever pranks on the faculty. All the professors knew he was behind them, but there was never any hard evidence to pin his name to any of the antics. His pranks ran the gamut from tame to outrageous. He occasionally broke into professors' cars and covered the interior with shaving cream, mud, or even frogs. His most recent prank included hacking into the school's main computer system and clearing most of his student debt off the books. Through his methods, he was able to get exams postponed and school days canceled. Anyone who was a friend of Johnny's had instant access to popularity and power on campus.
Andrew and Johnny were in the same Physics class this current semester. The professor had randomly assigned them to be lab partners. They started out purely as acquaintances, but quickly developed a friendship. Andrew, seizing the opportunity of befriending Johnny, did most of his work, even volunteering to do Johnny's homework for other classes. Andrew knew this was his big opportunity to harness some fame on campus.
Tonight Andrew was heading over to Johnny's dorm room. This was the first time he'd been invited to hang out outside of class. There was no organized party tonight on campus, but one could be assured that any social gathering Johnny attended could easily spring into a wild party at any moment. Andrew could only hope.
Pulling into campus, Andrew found an empty spot near Johnny's dorm room. He checked his hair one last time before exiting the car. As he reached for his door handle he could see that his hand was shaking with nerves. He couldn't believe he was actually going to hang out with Johnny Platt. Getting out of his car, he shut the door and pressed his electronic key to lock it.
Johnny lived on the third floor. The dorm building was commonly known as "Johnny's building" among the students. Andrew walked up the two flights of steps, trying to control his nerves. He wanted to be cool, calm, and ready for anything that might happen tonight. The hall was exceptionally clean for a college dormitory. He quickly found Johnny's door. Holding his breath, he lifted his arm and knocked a couple times on the door.
"Hey, who's there!" a voice said from the inside. It wasn't Johnny. Whoever it was had a strong New York accent, and at the moment seemed quite abrasive.
"Umm, hey, this is Andrew ... Andrew Stevenson. Johnny invited me. Is he here?" Andrew said tensely.
He could tell people in the room were talking about who he was and trying to decide if they should let him in or not. After a few seconds Andrew could hear the inside locks on the door unlocking.
When the door opened, Andrew could see that the New York accent came from a short Italian looking fellow, who could be no taller than 5'3. He was stocky. He had dark hair, including a mustache. He looked like he was acting as the bodyguard to Johnny's dorm room. Andrew had seen him around campus.
"Come on in ... I'm Frankie," said the short greeter.
"Thanks," Andrew said, walking into the room. It was filled with smoke. He stepped further into the living area.
"Hey, come on in, man!" the all too familiar voice said. Johnny was lounged on his couch with a beer in his hand and a cigarette in the other. He quickly brushed aside his blond shaggy hair to get a good fix on Andrew. "How's my favorite lab partner?"
"I'm doing great, Johnny, thanks for having me. I appreciate it." Andrew's eyes were fixed on the girl sitting closely beside Johnny. Her name was Angela and just like Johnny she was known by many on campus, but not for her pranks. She was known for her pure beauty. She was a very tall, tan, college senior. She sat in the front in Andrew's American history class. Guys were always coming up to her before and after class, trying to land a date with her. Andrew never bothered to try to talk to her as he knew she was way out of his league. He never imagined that he would actually get a chance to talk to her. At the present moment Johnny had his arm resting comfortably around her. She was dressed casually in jeans and an Eastern Iowa t-shirt.
"Andrew, have you met Angela?" Johnny asked.
"Umm, no I haven't actually. Hi, I'm Andrew," he answered, extending his hand.
Angela chuckled a little at the formality of it all. "Well, pleased to meet you, Andrew," she said reaching for his hand. Her hand felt soft.
Johnny spoke up, "Try to relax, Andrew. We're just here hanging out, having a good time. No need to be worried. Frankie and I just plan on kickin' back tonight, hittin' a few beers, maybe catchin' a flick later, nothing major, just takin' it easy, you know what I'm sayin'."
"Yeah, no problem, man, I just wanted to check out your place and see what was up." Andrew said, trying to sound casual.
"All right, cool ... you want a beer?" Johnny asked.
"Uhh, maybe ... sure, why not," Andrew said, stuttering over his words. Andrew had only tried alcohol once a few years ago, and it did not turn out well for him. His parents caught him sharing a bottle of wine in a back room at church. He was severely grounded.
"Frankie, go grab Andrew a beer, man."
"We're out of beer. Remember you sold a case to those high school kids yesterday," Frankie answered, sounding a little upset.
"All right, well, go check with Dax next door." Frankie got up and left the room on his hunt for more beer.
"So Andrew, what do you do? What are you studying?" Angela spoke, nuzzling up closer to Johnny. Even her voice was so pleasantly attractive. Andrew found it mesmerizing.
"Well, I'm a, actually, um ... I'm actually studying Mechanical Engineering,"
Angela's eyes got wide. "Oh, wow, it looks like Johnny finally found a friend who really studies," she said, patting her man gently on the chest.
"Don't be dissin' my man Andrew," Johnny spoke up with a smile, "he's got me out of a couple binds already. He's been a lifesaver in Lab." Johnny leaned forward to give Andrew a fist pound. It felt good being so readily accepted. With basically no friends at the university, Andrew was beginning to feel like he hit the jackpot with his new friendship.
Angela continued, "So, Andrew, is there any lucky lady in your life?"
Andrew looked at the ground, shaking his head and smiling, "No, not really, but you know, I'm always keeping my eyes open."
Johnny laughed a little, "That a boy! We'll help you catch one eventually, man."
After a few minutes Frankie arrived back, apparently with Dax. Walking in the room, Andrew had to take a second glance. Dax was tall. Andrew guessed he had to be at least 6'5. He was skinny with a shaved head. It was quite a sight seeing him with Frankie, who was more than a full foot shorter in height.
Dax was the first to speak, and it was clear he was upset, "Johnny, you drank all my beer, man! Remember? How am I ever supposed to keep it stocked at the rate you drink it? You're going to have to move up to Milwaukee someday with all the beer you drink." Andrew could tell right away that Dax was an Iowa farm boy. He thought he could recognize one anywhere.
"All right, quit your clowning, Dax, I'll make it up to you somehow," Johnny said, "Just let me figure out something."
"Dude, you never repay me, and you're always stealing my beer and taking stuff from my room. You owe me big, man, for all the stuff you've took." It surprised Andrew to hear another student talking to Johnny so boldly.
Johnny removed his arm from around Angela. He leaned forward slightly in his seat. "Well, name your price. I want to show you, Dax, that I mean it this time. What do you want?"
"I don't know man ... something big though ..."
Johnny breathed deeply under his breath. He ran his fingers through his shaggy hair, trying to think of something on the spot. He continued on, "How about this, I'll take you out tomorrow and we'll hit the casino. We'll throw back a couple drinks at the bar, play some cards, and maybe catch a show. What do you think?"
"All right, that's a good start, man," Dax said nodding his head in agreement, "but it'll have to be tomorrow. I'm going to hit the court tonight with some of the guys."
"Okay, so are we cool?" Johnny said, extending his hand out to Dax.
"Yeah, man," Dax answered, shaking hands with Johnny, "but why do you want to go a show? What's up with that?"
"Angela here wants to go see this new magician guy they got out there." Johnny reached toward a nearby coffee table and grabbed a glossy flyer. He held it up for everyone to see. "The Amazing Charles Chesterton's Show of Magic and Wonder," Johnny read from the flyer.
"I've heard it's a great show. I had a couple girlfriends go see him last week and they said it's definitely worth seeing," Angela said with excitement.
"Johnny, are you sure this is something you want to waste your time on? This sounds like kid tricks or something. I mean, Charles Chesterton? Even his name sounds lame," Dax said skeptically.
"Cm' on, man, it'll be fine. I scored a bunch of tickets with some inside connections. I'll take a few and then we'll scalp the rest. How bad can it be?" Johnny said. He then fixed his gaze on Andrew, "Listen, Drew, you think you can find a girl before tomorrow?"
Andrew was shocked. His eyes got a little wider. He wasn't used to being called Drew, and he was surprised and excited to be invited. "Yeah, um, maybe ... I'll see what I can do, you know, sometimes it's not easy finding someone on such short notice and ..."
"Who is this kid?" Dax interrupted. He had a confused look on his face.
"Oh, sorry, Dax. This is Andrew, or Drew, whatever. My lab partner," Johnny answered.
"Pleased to meet you," Andrew said, extending his hand to shake.
Dax looked to be both confused and disgusted at the same time. It was like he thought Johnny was too good to be entertaining nerds like Andrew. He just shook his head, leaving Andrew's hand out in front of him. Andrew felt very embarrassed. He quickly retreated from the shake. Even though Frankie and Angela quickly accepted Andrew, it appeared as though it would take some time to win over Dax.
Johnny spoke up, "All right, guys, we'll plan to meet here tomorrow at about six-thirty and go from there. Dax, I'll have all the money we need for a good time. You just show up, man, and be ready to party, and Drew, you work on finding that girl, man. It's going to be a good night."
* * *
Andrew drove home excited out of his mind. He didn't stay at the dorm very long. They mostly sat around and listened to Johnny tell the story of when he covered the Dean's floor with Crisco. He almost got caught until he paid off an underclassman to take the blame for him. It was a great story, and it was quite interesting to hear about how Johnny was able to obtain the key to the Dean's office and later maneuver his way past security into the office. It sounded like a story from a Navy Seal expedition. Andrew and Frankie held onto every word as it was told.
Andrew couldn't help but feel that he was accepted. He was now in with Johnny Platt. There was no telling how far this friendship would go. Never in his life had Andrew been a popular kid, and he was always looking for ways to impress people. He bought the best clothes and made sure his car was always in top shape, but in the end he felt like it had gotten him nowhere. Most weekends were spent at home with his family, or possibly attending some lame church event with his folks. Andrew knew this was the beginning of a new life for himself.
The one thing Andrew was worried about was the necessity of finding a girl, based on Johnny's comment. Andrew wasn't sure where to look. He didn't know any girls on campus, and there weren't any from his high school days that he was interested in. He wondered if Johnny would be upset if he showed up alone. Sure, it was just an offhand comment Johnny made, but Andrew didn't want to disappoint Johnny whatsoever.
Thinking through the list of possible girls, Andrew's mind kept going back to a girl at his church. Her name was Sophia. She was a home-schooled high school senior. Her parents were best friends with Andrew's. He had always found her somewhat attractive, but thought she was a little too plain for his taste. His parents would occasionally encourage him to ask her out. Andrew never seriously considered it until now. He needed a girl and he needed one fast. Even though he wasn't crazy about Sophia, he thought she would do for now.
He pulled into his home just past 10:00 p.m. He parked right beside his dad's truck. He turned the engine off and sat back in his seat, resting from all the excitement. Looking in the rearview mirror, he couldn't help but smile at himself as he fixed his hair.CHAPTER 2
Andrew slept in just a little. The April sun was peeking through the bedroom curtains. He felt well rested. He thought he ought to get started on the day. There were a couple of English papers that he had been putting off for a while that he needed to get started on. He also wanted to be sure he had plenty of time to get ready for tonight. It was going to be a good night.
He reached over to his dresser and grabbed his glasses. The world became clear. He quickly slid his feet out of bed onto the floor. Standing up, he stretched his arms out wide.
On the way to the bathroom, he passed his mom going into the kitchen. "Good morning, sunshine," she said sarcastically.
"Hey," he answered. The morning was the only time of day when Andrew's appearance was not 'perfect.' His hair was a mess, and he always wore an old pair of mesh shorts around the house, along with a Chicago Bulls t-shirt. He would never dare to leave the house or let anyone see him in his sleeping attire. He constantly thought about his appearance and the image he portrayed. He took a long shower and got himself ready for the day. His hair needed a little extra time this morning.
As he entered the kitchen, he noticed the house was quiet. He figured his dad had his usual errands he had to run, and was probably working at the church or visiting a widow in need. A few months back Andrew's dad, Jerry, was appointed as a new deacon at the church. He took the job very seriously and was usually gone early on Saturday mornings to help someone in need. Andrew never said anything, but he secretly admired his dad for his servant's attitude. He was always thinking of others before himself. It was a wonderful virtue.
Andrew sat down at the dining room table and poured himself a bowl of Lucky Charms. He dove his spoon deep into the cereal and started to eat when he noticed something in the driveway, or rather didn't notice something. His car was gone! Where could it be? His dad's truck was gone as well, so he knew his dad hadn't taken it. He worried about his car constantly and hoped it hadn't been stolen in the night.
Excerpted from Stealing the Magic by Tony Myers. Copyright © 2015 Tony Myers. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Stealing the Magic is a great read that will keep you enthralled and guessing from beginning to end. A bookmark is not needed, as I was reading into the night, unable to put it down. This book would make a great movie! Excellent.