Mildew's Ghost (Count)

I'd just settled in to watch the week's installment of "Masters of Illusion" when I heard a noise at the front door. The knob rattled back and forth and, after a short pause, issued a series of soft clicking noises. I walked over to investigate. As I approached, the door swung open and Flash Mildew walked in pocketing his well-used set of picks. Glancing at me, he turned toward the kitchen and said only, "Didn't want to disturb ya by ringin the bell."

I sighed, closed the door, and went beck to my chair in the living room. Assorted loud noises filtered in from the kitchen over the next half-hour. Amongst those I could identify were a quart of mayonnaise dropping from the counter to the floor and shattering, a cat having it's tail stepped on (which was odd as I have no cat), and at least five bottle caps bouncing off the cabinetry. Flash wandered into the living room carrying a bottle of my hidden reserve of Pilsner Urquell just as Franz came back from commercial to launch the second half of the show.

"Who's the Kraut?" asked Flash.

"Mega-illusionist Franz Harary. You must have seen him before. Remember when he made the Space Shuttle disappear? Or when he moved Diamond Head out to sea?"

"Ya mean they put crap like that on TV? Humph. Who woulda guessed?"

I could see that a discussion of the finer points of audience perception was not going to get very far this evening. I decided to turn the conversation toward something that was within Flash's sphere of knowledge. "Um, Flash… have you ever done the Bra Trick?"

Flash spun around on his heels, threw the pilsner bottle through the glass front of my stereo cabinet, and leapt to the front of my chair. He reached down, grabbed my collar with both hands and attempted to pull me up out of the chair (succeeding only in dragging himself down to my eye-level). Nose pressed against my face, he rasped, "So, you wanna know about the Bra Trick?"

I had been caught off-guard and the surprise knocked the wind from my lungs. I make it a point not to breathe when within arm's length of Flash, but now I had no real choice. My eyes watered. I took a shallow breath. My lungs burned and I had to fight off the opinion of my brain stem that it would be better to simply attempt to live without oxygen. I picked my words carefully, as certainly I couldn't risk a second breath. "Yes, please."

"HA!" Flash released his grip and sprang backward to the center of the room. "I've waited years for somebody to ask me about the Bra Trick!" He reached into the back pocket of his slacks and pulled out a stack of brassieres as I coughed and gasped for fresh air. The concept that Flash could pull so many brassieres from his pocket seemed quite natural to me. "Ya keep a pinky-break under the third bra. Pull the top bra off into your left hand and count 'one', and then steal it back to the bottom of the stack as ya push off the next two with your thumb and count 'two'…"

"No." I gasped. "Not the 'Ghost Bra'…"

"Huh? Oh, right!" He shoved the stack back into his back pocket, leaving a strap to dangle free. "The other one. Nothin' to it. Ya have an index in your jacket pocket, and ya force the selection of a 'D' cup. Now, say they ask for a 38…"

"No, no, no!" The room had stopped spinning and I now had two full lungs of air. "Not 'Any Bra Called For' either. You know the one." A brief wave of nausea flooded over me -- I didn't know if it was an after-effect of my close encounter with Flash, or the result of catching a glimpse of some escape artist struggling with chains on the TV screen.

"Bra on Ceiling? Ya put a big glob of Ammar's special wax…"


"Zig-zag Bra?"


"Bra Storm in China?"


"The Bra That Cannot Be Undone?"




"Seven Bras to Bald…"

"No, no, no! The plain and simple old 'Bra Trick'! You tie two silks together, stuff the knot down the bosom of a woman…"

"Do they charge ya to do that?"

"Not if you're fast. You stuff the knot down their bosom and then you pull on the free ends of the silks and her bra pops out knotted between the silks!"

Flash fell silent. His mouth dropped open and his complexion went a few shades lighter. "You're kiddin' me. Who the hell would pull a stunt like that?"