1963-12-10 - It's A Kind of Magic
Summary: Alison wants to get a magic trick to perform in her shows, as a diversion to suggest her light shows are just another trick. She goes to Stephen Strange's shop in New York.
Related: None
Theme Song: "The Magical Mystery Tour" by The Beatles - https://youtu.be/kTOyVcs2jkI
dazzler strange 

During her last show, Alison had a few too many close for comfort questions about her unique light show. This inspired a wonderful idea, if she were to actually perform a few magic tricks during a show, maybe it'd be an easier sell that her light show was just that. Another trick, albeit a more involved one. So today she finds herself walking into the last place she ever imagined to set foot in, a magic shop! The bell rings as the door opens, and in walks Alison, dressed in a stripped black and white shirt, black jacket, and matching pants. Her shoes are flats, and look primarily for comfort, and clearly not style. Today she was out walking on foot. "Hello," she calls out as she steps inside, and from the way she looks about in wonderment, it's clear she's not been to a place such as this before.


Luckily enough for her, the proprietor of the shop was downstairs and not upstairs; otherwise, she would have had to wait minutes for him to disengage from whatever less-than-mundane task at hand and clomp down two flights of steps. The silvery wards, misty guardian spells of the Sanctum proper, have whisked to inform him of a potential customer.

Dressed in semi-formal daywear of white dress shirt and black slacks, the good Doctor emerges from behind the burgundy velvet curtains that separate sliding French doors from the shop proper. It takes him a moment to spot her around the displays, but the tall man gives her a professional smile before whisking the curtains shut and moving to stand behind the small counter located centrally-back in the shop.

"Good afternoon. How can I assist you?"

Interesting, this one. Not the standard window shopper. She seems to have some intent to being here, within the shop. The wards, invisible to those without Mystical senses, flit about her once more to report whatever they feel necessary to their master. Strange's smile deepens slightly, granting him that hint of cheek which seems to go over so well with customers here.


While of late Dazzler has been catching on a bit, her following was still for the most part more underground, so it's very likely Strange would really have no means to recognize she's Dazzler. Heck, does he even listen to that kind of music? She was pretty avant garde.

Utterly oblivious to wards, or rather, real magic as a whole. Alison naturally suspects nothing beyond the ordinary is happening, as she moves closer to Strange, "you could actually! I am something of a stage performer…music, to be precise, and I thought I might spice up my show with some magic tricks? Do you think you might have something worthy of a beginner like me?"


Indeed, the lean silver-templed man would have no idea who Dazzler is, considering his limited interest in the musics of the era and of America proper. His tastes ran towards older pieces that Dazzler's followers would no doubt term 'incredibly uncool'. If properly introduced, he'd certainly be able to remember name, stage or birth-given alike.

"Hmm, stage magic," he replies thoughtfully, drumming the fingertips of one hand lightly atop the dark-wood surface of the check-out counter. "I suppose you'll have to be more specific," Strange adds as he comes out from behind the counter and approaches her, a little twinkle in his eyes. "What type of show?"


"Exactly!" Alison smiles radiantly, "you do cater to rookies like me too, right? Or is this store just for professionals?" She knows from the music world some places don't spend time on beginners and only cater to pros, she wonders if she might have just run into a similar case of the magicians world. Than again, Strange does seem nice enough with her. "I actually do rock concerts," Alison admits, looking a little sheepish seeing how she's obviously in the wrong place for her art. "I just thought it could be fun for my audience if I can do something cool on stage besides my usual act. You know…maybe make a pigeon appear out of something and have her fly around? Mmmm…I once saw a magician turn a bouquet of flowers to a firecracker, got anything like that maybe? I mean, it's all pretty much tricks, and the key is how you pretend to do real magic, right? I'm pretty good at being on stage, I figure I can do it."


Strange nods and hums to himself as he glances from shelf to shelf within the shop.

Not the curio section, that's more for collectors — nothing that could be used there to make a statement on-stage. Not the book shelves either, though he can spot a title that she might be interested in by a certain Harry Blackstone, Sr. Walking over to said shelf, he tips the book out of its snugly-fitted place and offers it to her, cover-side up.

"This is his beginner's book on illusion tricks. Maybe flip through it and see if something appeals to you?" he asks. "The Great Blackstone entertained the USO during the war, he was something." The good Doctor grins. Clearly, he has a soft spot for the master stage magician. "I wonder though…you want something seen by the audience that has some presence…"

The Sorcerer lifts his other hand and shows her both back and front. Then, knuckles facing her, he thumbs up a playing card from seemingly nowhere and holds it up. "Just a simple card." Rotating his wrist to face palm up towards the ceiling, the card — the Jack of Spades — suddenly begins to rotate slowly above his lightly-curled fingers. He smirks, watching her reactions beyond the gravity-defying object. "This is a fairly easy one. Magnets or fine line will do. Unless you want something more dramatic still?"

Because he can definitely take the trick further.


"Oh, not to disrespect the Great Blackstone," Alison says with a slight wince of discomfort on her face, her cheeks coloring a slight crimson, "but how to put it…I haven't exactly done the school thing? I'm not sure if a book is the way to go…"

But then Strange steals her attention with his display of an example magic trick and Alison beams happily at the sight, "this looks perfect! If I can do that, I think it will serve just fine!" But because she is curious, she doesn't let the offer slip by, asking now in anticipation, "more dramatic still? What else can you do with it?"


Duly noted, her polite refusal of the book, and Strange carefully puts the title back into place on the shelf while never losing track of the idly-revolving card centered overtop his open and offered palm.

"There are quite a number things I can do, but I don't want to frustrate you by showing you something too advanced. I've been…playing with magic for a long time now," he hedges with a reserved smile, glancing over his shoulder for a moment at the glittering wards that hover in semi-sentient curiosity in regards to the young visitor. Begone, he commands mentally, and perhaps she can feel the air stir briefly as they depart back into the structure of the Sanctum.

Turning back to Alison, he flicks at the corner of the card to get it spinning even faster now until it's nearly a blur. "You could do the Hummingbird Card trick. I have a practice kit in the back somewhere." Another little flick and each of the four corners of the card light up until it leaves tracks of fading light in rings about its rotation.

This…this is true magic, the Sorcerer manipulating the energy in the environment around him to cause the sparkling. Alison would have to utilize her own powers, unknown to him, to mimic the concept.

"You might have seen or heard of it before?"


While Alison is for the most part mesmerized by Strange's magic trick, she does suddenly look back at nothing but thin air. She thought she felt something, but clearly, her mind is playing tricks on her in this shop. Or was that another trick? She grins to herself, feeling foolish for falling for simple tricks, as she looks back at Strange, "I can tell you have years of experience, you're really good! I can't even see the trick at all! It looks so real!" From the jovial expression on her face, she seems to appreciate Strange's level of talent. After all, performing arts is performing arts, regardless of what is being performed. She can respect and appreciate different forms of performance too.

When Strange completes the trick, which Alison is quite unaware is actual magic, she applauds enthusiastically, "bravo! The only place I've seen anywhere like it is when I perform on stage. But, well, it's nothing like what you do. Can I see that practice kit?"


Her enthusiasm is enough to garner a grin from Strange and a bow via the nod of his head. "Thank you, you're too kind. Of course you can see the kit," and the card's speed begins to slow until, with a dying of twinkle and hovering state, it settles back into his outstretched palm once more. "Allow me a moment, I'll go get it." He turns and takes half a step off before pausing. The young woman is given a pensive look before he sets the card down on a section of empty shelf nearest to her. "Hold on to this for me? Just for now."

With that, he disappears behind the burgundy velvet curtains once more. The sound emanating from beyond them and the cracked sliding doors give the impression of rifling around in a closet of sorts. There's the thump of cardboard on hollow wood followed by some scraping, some rattling of plastic, and the sound of paper ripping. All a trick in itself, of course — the Hummer Card illusion won't be invented for another forty-or-so years. However, the Sorcerer Supreme is well within the boundaries of his mantle to create such a kit for the enterprising performer. After all, no rules are being broken.

A final subtle flash of light from behind the curtains, like an overhead bulb being turned on and off, and he emerges once more with a small tin box. "Here you are then," he says as he walks over and stops before her. "The instructions are inside as to how to do it. You stage performers are creative sorts. I suspect you can spice it up with some creative efforts."


Alison looks rather pleased to hear she can look before she decides to buy, and when Strange sets the card down, she nods at his request and picks it up in her hand. She looks after Strange for a moment as he leaves, before her eyes start to wander around the store. It truly is a remarkable place, if she only knew Strange better she might have asked to come some time for a tour. But as it were, they were, alas, strangers.

When he does return, Alison reaches tentatively for the kit he holds out for her, "can I take a look inside? Oh, and should I still hold on to the card?" She's not too sure if her holding to the card had anything to do with the amazing sounds that happened while she waited, but there must be a reason he asked her to hold on to it, right?


The Sorcerer hands the tin box over before leaning against the nearby shelving, arms lightly folded, a pose of ease. "You should keep the card. It's part of the kit itself and it comes with a little extra touch of magic." He winks.

Is he joking? Maybe — maybe not. It could all just be a ploy to encourage her to practice the trick and provide a barrier against the feeling of quitting, in case she ever gets irritated enough to consider setting it all aside.

It could also be a charmed card, literally, one that plays along with her attempts.

"And sure, it's your kit now. Take it, on the house." Not a thing offered lightly, but he'd rather she succeeded at it and came back later in thanks than put down money in the moment and never touch the kit again in a fit of changed mind.


"Oh, right, magic…of course! I should have known," Alison laughs, appreciating how Strange doesn't seem to care how old she is, and just keeps to the act of making believe that magic is real. She probably should have expected as much at a magic shop. "Oh…fab, so, how much do I owe you for this trick? Never bought a magic trick before, I'm clueless about the prices," Alison offers apologetically as she fishes for her wallet in her purse.


Strange holds up a single finger, scars and all visible all over the digit and accompanying hand.

"Nope, don't worry about it. Here's what you'll owe me, instead of money: the time practicing the trick and — your story of success after you show it off on-stage during…whatever it is you do," he replies with a quiet laugh. "Come back once you've figured it out and tell me about it."

The lean man then disengages from his lazy lean and gestures around the shop. "Anything else you're interested in while you're here?" He has some time to kill; after all, the experiment upstairs can wait until he returns.


"I guess, the only thing I can ask, is if you have a business card?" Alison asks, "if I pull it off, at the very least I'd like to give your shop some advertisement. I'm sure some of my fans would stop by if I give an endorsement," Alison murmurs, not entirely positive about it, but she does want to do something kind in return for this kind man. She also takes note of the scars visible about his digit, and realizes how much hard work he must have put to make his magic appear so real. "I think other than that, I'll be on my. Have a wonderful day, by the way, my name's Alison for next time we meet." She winks playful, clearly signifying she assumes she'll manage to pull the trick off, as she turns to leave the store.


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