Roll Ides Roll



Fifteen March, Two-Thousand Nineteen


Over the years there have been many Million M_____ Marches through Washington D.C.and other great cities o’er the land, starting with the famous Million Man March, followed by the Million Mom March, which seemed to open the floodgates. 

There was the Million Machete March - boy, they cut a swath right through town! Then there was the Millionaire March, although that event fizzled once it turned out they couldn’t ride in their SUV’s or hire rickshaw drivers to ferry them through the thoroughfare. 

There was the  Million Math March - although I’m positive they multiplied their numbers; the Million Mean March, which, to be honest, was only average; the Million Median March, which was peculiar, as they marched single-file right down the exact middle of the road.

(There were even stories of a Million Myth March, although who really knows if you can believe the tales heard around the campfire about that one!)

I mention all this as a partial defense (admittedly feeble) of my unskeptical stance when told of a Million Magicians March. A million Magicians?

A million Magicians!

Even if it was only a thousand magicians using - what else? Illusion! - to each seem a thousandfold, that would still be a thousand magicians! Who doesn’t love a magician? Other than claustrophobic rabbits: NO ONE, that’s who!

Our group was met by a guide roughly the size and general shape of Danny DeVito after a three-month bender. The fellow had a long, grizzled grey beard filled with the remnants of what looked like a week of Taco Tuesdays, which was too preposterous to be anything other than a cheap stage-prop, except that I very much feared it was real. 

He was wearing a gloriously rumpled purple robe with stars, rainbows, and unicorns glittering festively all over. It appeared to be a young girl’s Halloween costume. The kind of costume you buy a child you don’t love all that much. Perhaps you only have the kid one weekend a month, and you’ve missed a couple of turns, and this time it’s your bad luck that your weekend falls on Halloween, and your daughter forgot her costume, which you half-suspect her mom set up on purpose to punish you for missing other weekends, and all the good costumes are taken, and you end up at some skeevy pop-up Halloween store and just grab the first thing you see. 

He was also wearing a conical hat.

Our docent, as he referred to himself a little high-falutinarily, although if he’s a Magician’s apprentice, I guess it would be allowed, explained to us that the Million Magician March was not happening on the main roads, as their magic would enthrall the town, cause accidents, untold carnage, and so forth. I rather thought that a lack of permits might be the more proximate cause (what city manager wants to okay a cadre of David Blaines?), but said nothing, as I was still at this point hopeful for a positive outcome. Even a hundred Magicians would be a treat. 

Well, I’ll skip over some of the details, (less that said details are uninteresting, and more that there is only so much of an idiot I can reveal myself to be before you will stop reading), briefly mentioning how we were herded into black, windowless vans, driven around for the Light only knows how long, then told that our location was secret and made to wear sacks over our heads.

(And not nice sacks, either - kidnapping standards have really dropped recently (I blame Social Media), but sacks that, I’m almost positive, were recently used for fast food, which, I suppose is better than burlap, but I got one which smelled like Taco Bell, and while the inside of a Taco Bell sack may seem like a Calvin Klein fragrance waiting to happen, I can pretty much guarantee you that the market research would not come back positively.)

Several other things happened then, too depressing to relate, although I, ever the Pollyanna, kept hope alive that at some point Magicians would appear. Maybe just fifty. Or perhaps twenty-five. Soon this upper-bound of optimism was lowered to ten. Ten Magicians would still be great.

And my hope swelled when our docent informed us that he had been a little bit tricksome (yathink‽), but in fact there were Magicians, nine of them, because nine was a holy magic number (sure, why not?), and the reason for the secrecy was that some of the magic they were doing was so dangerous that it was illegal. 

In a day filled with red flags, you’d think this would be one of biggest, but when faced with disappointment after disappointment, the mind sometimes latches on to even the flimsiest of reasons to remain hopeful. 

It’s either that or what I later found out were the mild pesticides they had sprayed into the bags we put over our heads. Six of one, I suppose. 

Thus it was without a hint of human-preservation instinct that we all willingly climbed into the back of a giant tractor-trailer, a double-wide, which was where we were told the private show would take place, and also help lower the chances that local law enforcement would catch the Magicians in the middle of their act. 

(I know, I know, when you write it all down, it really does seem dumb. All I can tell you is, at the time… was also dumb.)

As were, clearly, we. 

In the double-wide truck, we were met by a colossal man, also wearing robes, these a deep blood red. (You gotta hand it to their sense of staging, although at this point what choice did we have? Also, the robe color should have been another, hee hee, red flag. (Don’t you roll your eyes at me! After everything I went through, you’re darn right I’ll make puns!))

The man claimed to be a Keltic albino, which seemed unlikely given that a) we could see the stubble growing back on his recently-shaved head and eyebrows, and b) his skin was a clear dye-job. Seriously: the peroxide was coming off him in waves. Also, and I don’t mean this to be racial or anything, but he was very obviously Bolivian or Argentinian. (Let’s split the difference and call it Argenlivian, to be safe.) 

However, in a cognitive dissonance that continued to rule the day, and led to all the other...unpleasantness to come, we thought that perhaps Keltic Albino was his chosen character for the show, and rather than be suspicious, as any normal group of people abducted in windowless vans, forced to wear (albeit unknowingly) pesticide-infused fast food bags over their heads, and then herded onto literally-moving double-wide prisons, we were instead charmed by his commitment to the role. 

It went downhill from there. 

I will spare you the gory details. (There were no cards or wands, rabbits or hats, although there was a box and a saw and a lady who….actually, never mind.)

Suffice it to say, a little over forty-eight hours later we found ourselves sold into a French-Canadian brothel, and not one of the friendly brothels they show you in the brochures; rather, one of the ones where Eli Roth-inspired super-freaks pay big money to take a nozzle of fluoride and go straight up….actually, never mind. The less said the better. 

It was only with the help of a blind Bulgarian guard named Atanas Rachkov that we, well, some of us, were able to escape, and eventually, after hiding out in an empty shipping container on the dock at the Port of Newark, New Jersey for nearly eight days, were able to make our way back to (somewhat) civilian life. 

Well, it was a lesson learned, I’ll tell you what. And it all could have been avoided if I had only heeded the advice of the Gypsy trapeze artist I met that time in the waiting room of a local tiger dentist:

“Beware the guides, pesticides, double-wides, peroxides, and fluorides up the backsides of the March!” 

March 15, 2019

In 2017, I shared three quick tales of how March 15 got me!

The year before that, I started the tradition, relating a harrowing adventure on a roller coaster on 03/15. 

That's prestidigitation, holmes!

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