Fandango’s Provocative Question #39

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

For this week’s provocative question, I am wondering about “magic.” I wrote a post earlier this week about a Catholic school in Tennessee that banned the “Harry Potter” series of books, and I noted that “a number of Christian critics believe the Bible makes it clear that magic stems from demonic sources.

Religious historian Henrik Bogdan wrote, “The term magic has typically been used to describe non-mainstream beliefs and practices — non-Christians, heretics, non-Westerners, indigenous, ancient or ‘primitive’ cultures — any that might be considered ‘Other.’” Bogdan went on to say that “defining magic as something alien, exotic, primitive, evil, deviant or even ridiculous” enables western society to make a tacit statement about its self-perceptions.

So my question for this week is simply this:

Do you believe in magic? Define magic any way you wish and explain your belief about magic.

(No extra credit for embedding the song “Do You Believe in Magic” by the Lovin’ Spoonful in your response.)

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

Finish The Story — Tailoring a New You

2DE5AB34-0A4D-4E28-891B-20592C0F96C0I have been tagged by Paula Light to “Finish the Story,” which is exactly what I’m going to do, since this thread is already over 2,000 words!

Here’s How Teresa (aka The Haunted Wordsmith) got things started.

The small shop sat on the corner of Houston and Parker for more than a century. Any piece of clothing a person ever needed could be found there. They even sold hand stitched underwear. The Frederickson family owned the shop from the day it opened, and everyone loved the family.

It wasn’t just the customer service, low prices, and great quality that brought customers back for generations — it was the other things the Fredericksons offered. They say a new pair of clothes can change a person, and at A New You, they meant it. One had to be careful when requesting a custom suit – you didn’t want to get your specifications wrong. Why, even one misplaced check mark could have dire consequences on a person’s future.

Take Emilio for example, he …

And here’s how Rory (aka A Guy Called Bloke) added part 2

Take Emilio for example, he … had listened to his Father Fausto for years, since indeed when he had been kneehigh to a grasshopper crediting and hailing the Fredericksons or as his Father pronounced it the Frederickshons for their exquisitery and finery in being able to produce something absolutely remarkable from sometimes the most staidest of cloth and if not that then there was this magical element to the garments, you didn’t just wear the suit, the suit wore you!

Fausto, had been a young man when he had first ventured into the German tailors at the bequest of his own Father Gregorio, Emilio’s Grandfather only armed with the words — ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover Fausto, this family are from a long line of magical tailors. They enthuse the garments with not just love and beauty, nor experience and wisdom but if l didn’t know better, l would say with their very souls and blood, indeed it is almost like wearing another person’s skin, but in suit form. For the best suit anywhere in this world, this is the only place to be.”

“The moment you slip inside the fabric, it’s almost like you are a different person. My last bit of advice is you must know what you and who you want and where you want to be in life? Then the master tailor Gunther he will make you a masterpiece of craftsmanship. There will never be anything like it ever again, it will be your one and only suit from the time you start your professional life to the day you stop working, then you MUST take off that suit and return it to the family of the Frederickshons, so that they can destroy it, do you understand what l am saying to Fausto?”
“I think so Father, yes.” Fausto answered rather confusedly.

When Fausto had gone to the family tailors he had been made a suit so fine, so fitting that he never needed another suit ever again in his life, he had wanted to be rich and successful and within a very short time Fausto had become one of the cities most sought out grocers. No one had fruits or vegetables of the quality that Fausto had. No one could ever outsell him, outbid him, outsmart or outfool him. After 50 years he had built up an empire of grocery stalls that was the best in all of the Americas! Fausto had wanted his favourite and only Son Emilio to take on the family business, but Emilio needed his own power suit, his own successful three-piece so he could follow in his Father’s footsteps ………

.….except Fausto hadn’t actually asked his Son what and if he wanted to follow in his Father’s shadow, or if he wanted to lead his own life?
Of course the truth had he been asked was indeed different — Emilio wanted his sister Alessandra to take on her Father’s business. His sister had always been keenly astute on that side of the business, she was very taken with fruits and vegetables and herbs, she was a fabulous cook, who knew all the right ingredients to make each dish spectacular – she was in her own rights their families best chef! You see Emilio, well he had other interests, and they didn’t involve cucumbers, broccoli or marrows. He used to play with bananas and pretend they were guns. And even more recently he had made friends with Alphonse who had even bigger dreams.

Alphonse had at one time been a Five Points Gang member and was shrewd, he was also closely associated with the notorious Johnny Torrio. Alphonse himself was a right ‘snorky’, and also used the Frederickshons for his own suits, but he had many made and needed more than one, for his many shades of personality and success. Snorky was the terms for ‘sharp dresser’ and Emilio wanted to be like Alphonse too!

The year was 1923, the location was Chicago and Emilio and Alphonse walked into the Frederickshons Tailors where Gunther upon seeing them, greeting them both, “Emilio, your Papa Fausto said you would be stopping by with your new friend, but l never knew, this was the type of suit you wanted!” Turning to Alphonse, “Mr Capone it is so good to see you again, a new suit is it?”

“Gunther, not at all, I want you to outfit my new boy here, Emilio, tell the man what you want?”

Emilio, smiled a big proud toothy grin and said …..

Here’s how Kristian (aka Tales From the Mind of Kristian) added part 3

“I want to look drop dead gorgeous” Emilio said. He liked the ladies, but so far in his life, they seemed to realise he was a low life scumbag who liked gangs and violence and so stayed well away.

Unfortunately the Magical Tailor, Gunther, was become a trifle deaf. He was coming up to two hundred years old and was way past retirement age. Being slightly deaf, he failed to hear Emilio’s last word. You would have thought that it would have occurred to him that Emilio’s request was rather strange and therefore he must have misheard, but senility was creeping in, so he crafted the suit according to the very request he had heard.

Within a week of wearing it, Emilio had dropped dead.

The consequences of Gunther’s auditory and mental deterioration were even more drastically displayed when poor Tristram Van De Gould went in for a fitting.

He asked for a waistcoat that would make him appear slimmer, what he ended up with was a straightjacket that prevented him from eating at all. He died of an empty stomach.

If you thought things couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong because next……..

And then Paula (aka Light Moriffs II) added her Part 4

The taxicab stopped in front of the shop and a disparate group of Americans piled out. “Hey!” yelled the driver. “Someone needs to pay me!”

“Someone pay the poor guy, for Pete’s sake,” Bernie said. “What’s the matter with you people?” And he walked into the shop, bumping his head on the door. “Owww.”

“I’d love to pay him,” Kamala said, “but I gave all my money to that sweet little girl at the airport who said she was homeless.” She went into the shop too. Amy and Beto and Liz ran after her. “Wait for us!” they shouted.

Joe rolled his eyes. “Geez, I’ll pay him. I always get stuck with the check when I go out with those guys,” he said to the cabbie. “It’s just the weirdest thing!”

“I sympathize, buddy,” the cabbie said. “My in-laws are exactly the same. Have fun shopping.”

Trailing after the others into the shop, Joe found them already arguing with the suit maker, who was nearly deaf, apparently. Everyone was yelling. “CALM DOWN!” Joe shouted.

“I was here first,” Bernie insisted. “I should get to order my suit first.”

“Fine.” Amy plopped down in a chair. “I’ll just sit here and have some of their free juice. Can I drink it out of one of these shoes, Gunther?”

The ancient tailor heard his name and turned in her direction. “Ehh, no one here named Sue, honey. We have a Lucy, but she’s off today.”

“‘Scuse me!” Beto said. “But we don’t call women honey anymore. I got in trouble for making some jokes earlier, so now I intend to be an annoying sourpuss wherever I go. I think my suit should reflect my new personality of a serious man who has meditated deeply upon–”

Bernie waggled a finger in his face. “MY TURN MY TURN MY TURN!”

“Ahem,” Kamala said. “This is a perfect example of why we need a woman in charge. Men just feel so entitled to everything. It’s definitely time for women to show how things can be done in a more orderly and peaceful manner.”

“You hussy!” Liz cried. “You winked at my husband at the rally last month.”

“What are you talking about?” Kamala said. “Have you gone off the reservation again?”

“LOL!” Amy laughed, coughing on her shoe juice.

Beto tried so hard not to laugh he waved his arms around madly and knocked over a rack of ties. Joe picked them all up.

Liz showed Kamala a video on her phone. “See? There you are winking at my sweetie.”

“I was crying,” Kamala told her. “I have hay fever. I had to take a Benadryl.”

Gunther hobbled over and said, “Alrighty then, dearies. Who’s next? I’ve measured the men.”

Kamala went next. Liz said to Amy, “I don’t even know why we’re here. It seems so silly, but I didn’t want to be at a disadvantage when you all said you were getting these special suits made.”

“I know, right?” Amy shrugged. “They’re supposed to be magical, or something.”

“Hillary had a suit made here,” Joe said. “But then she didn’t wear it. I’m not sure why. I’d ask her, but she won’t talk to me anymore. Who can even understand women, am I right?”

They just glared at him. “Oopsy,” Beto said. “Uncle Joe needs to go for retraining. Perhaps some yoga.”

“What?” Joe looked around, bewildered. “What did I do?”

“This shop needs to unionize,” Bernie announced. “Who’s with me on that?”

Liz frowned. “I don’t see any employees, Bern. Plus, it’s another country. They don’t need your help.”

“Everyone needs my help!” Bernie waggled his finger at her.

Gunther finished up with Liz and Kamala, and now all six Americans had been measured and fitted for their custom suits. They had told Gunther exactly what their hopes were for the coming year and he would take that into account when designing their apparel. He tallied up the final bill and brought it back out to the front.

“All the suits should be ready in three weeks,” he said to the group. “I can have them air mailed for an additional fee, since I know everyone has to zip back across the pond to his and her busy lives. Now did you want separate cheques?”

Everyone looked at Joe. He sighed and took out his Amex. “No, I’ll put it on my card for the travel points. We’ll settle up later.”

“Thanks, Joe!” everyone said. “You’re the best! We’ll PayPal you!”

The suits did arrive three weeks later, as promised. But…

And now for my part last

But none of the suits fit. They were not only ill-fitting, but threads were ripping and the materials appeared to be cheap and frayed. And most disconcerting, there was no magic whatsoever.

Each of the customers complained to the Better Business Bureau, which immediately opened up a comprehensive investigation. After months of hearings and interviews, the BBB uncovered a vast conspiracy to undermine the manufacturing on the suits.

It turned out that that the tailor had, long ago, constructed a technicolor dream coat for a Russian autocrat named Vlad. And when Vlad found out about these new suits the magical tailor had been asked to make, he contacted an American mob boss who went by the name of “Tiny Hands,” who sent his son-in-law, Jared (aka, “The Kush”), to get his friend in high places, MBS, to lure the tailor to his country’s embassy, where he was dismembered and replaced with a body double imposter.

And the rest, as they say, is future history.

The End.

The [Food] Court of the Queen of Questions

Teresa, The Hidden Wordsmith and the Queen of Questions, wants to know a little about our grocery shopping habits and our dietary preferences. Well, since they say that you are what you eat, here’s everything you need to know about me.

  1. What is your favorite chocolate dessert? My wife makes this great chocolate mousse cake. It’s to die for.55a85a3c-7091-4441-b933-c2566ce47c0d

  2. Where do you go first in the grocery store? The fruits and veggies aisles. It’s the first thing you come to when you walk through the door.

  3. You win three minutes of free shopping in the grocery store with an empty cart…what do you fill it with? Groceries, duh!

  4. What is your favorite fruit and how do you like to eat it? Bananas sliced and tossed into a bowl of cold cereal.fecd43b3-e4d9-419b-955e-d085f2c1ae92

  5. You go to a magic cafe where plates fill with whatever you request…what do you get? Magic spells?

  6. How do you like your fish? Filleted and sautéed.

  7. Do you eat jello (what is your favorite flavor)? Not since Bill Cosby was arrested.414a8d43-0acf-4d07-8812-d5d1b57be3d4

  8. What is the most, ahem, “adult” food you can think of? Prunes?

  9. What food do you eat that might put you in the “old” age? Prunes?

  10. Mall food courts…yes, no, where do you eat? I can’t remember the last time I went to a mall, much less ate at a mall food court.

Let It Bleed — The Down Side of Magic

9424D891-551E-4F48-BDA7-09EB45860D0FKyle was a skeptic when his best buddy told him about the spellcaster. “I’m a stock broker, right? But truth be told, I didn’t know what I was doing and my clients weren’t at all happy with me,” his friend told Kyle. “I was probably days away from getting canned so I asked her if she could help.  She recited some sort of incantation over me and within a few days I became a wizard at my job. Now I’m taking in the boatloads of cash and have a stable full of wealthy clients. It was like a freakin’ miracle.”

After hearing this tale, Kyle, who was unlucky in love, decided to see if there might be a spell to help him be attractive to beautiful woman. So he went to see the same spellcaster, told her what he was looking for, and asked if she had a magic spell that could work for him. She said she did.

And boy did it work! Suddenly Kyle was in demand and he could pretty much take his pick of the most beautiful women around. And then he found the woman of his dreams and Kyle still couldn’t believe that he was actually dating her.

When they first started going out, every time he looked at her, that old song by America, “Sister Golden Hair,” came to mind. Especially the verse that goes “Well, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout you, sister golden hair surprise / And I just can’t live without you, can’t you see it in my eyes?”

But after a while Kyle began to feel that there was trouble in paradise. Sister Golden Hair was a jealous bitch. Despite her incredible beauty, her jealousy was driving Kyle crazy.

Kyle decided to pay another visit to the spellcaster to see if she could do anything to rectify the situation. She told Kyle that all she could do was reverse the original spell, and while he was reluctant to lose his sway over the most beautiful women, he asked the spellcaster to remove her spell.

The next time Kyle saw Sister Golden Hair, things between them got awkward quickly. After a few moments together, she reached out and held both of his hands and, with tears streaming down her cheeks, said, “Kyle, we need to stop seeing one another. Suddenly the magic is gone.”

“Yes, I feel that way, too,” he said, barely able to hide the look of relief on his face.


Written for this week’s Let It Bleed Challenge, where the prompt is the word “magic.”

And in case you’re not familiar with the song I referenced in this tale, here it is:

A Jiffy or Two

girl-putting-on-makeup

“I’ll be down in a jiffy,” Angie called down to her husband.

Stan looked at his watch and just shook his head. “Yeah, right,” he mumbled under his breath. “In a jiffy. She doesn’t know the meaning of the word.” He picked up the latest issue of a magazine from the coffee table and started absently leafing through it.

Five minutes later he called up to his wife. “Angie, how are you doing up there?”

“If you stop interrupting me, I’ll be down soon,” she yelled back. Men, she thought. How lucky they are that they don’t have to go through this process just to make themselves presentable.

Another five minutes passed and Stan was getting worried that they’d be late for the dinner his new boss had invited them to. He wanted to make a good impression. “Angie?” he called up to her.

“Almost,” she responded.

Now Stan was pacing back and forth in the foyer until he couldn’t take it anymore. He bounded up the steps, walked swiftly to the master bedroom and saw his wife standing just inside the doorway.

“I’m ready,” she said.

“Wow!” Stan looked her over. “You look amazing.”

“See what magic I can do in a jiffy or two?” she said. She smiled at Stan, inserted her arm into his, and they walked the short hallway toward the stairs. “Now let’s go impress the hell out of that new boss of yours.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “jiffy.