by Eric Brach
For years, Billy refused to share his magic with me. He got better and his tricks became more complex and difficult to intuit, but he continued to forswear himself the short pleasure of revealing their secret workings. His knowledge - hard-won from dog-eared mail order pamphlets, or from tattered library books that he would check out, then destroy or hide - was his alone. The neighborhood kids loved him. He bathed in praise, and I hated him for it. It was not until I grew breasts and volunteered to become his assistant - twin sister to the genius - that he cracked a window open and let the light shine out even a little bit.
Eric Brach is a freelancer from Austin, Texas who writes for the Statesman, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and The Onion, among others. He's expanding into travel writing, so, if you've got paying work...