True Story©… Prestidigitation


     Wife Person™ is still upset with Mr. Ssippi…
Not for anything he himself did, so much as how he was not the voice of reason when we decided to try our hand at making movies, which I would find after the fact that she was not exactly a fan of.  Since I live in this constant need for her to like or at least be cool with the friends I speak to on the most regularest of basis, I set out to salvage the relationship.

     Not long after we got back from GA in March, Ssip sent me a text that he would be passing through on 85 on his way to Virginia and would gladly make Greensboro his stopover point since his employer was footing the bill.  While in town, we could link up and enjoy a meal or something.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Ssippi would be home with Giant Nephew™ and Dante the puppydog and thus unable to join the fun.  The day he was to come in coincided with one whereupon I had an afternoon appointment so I would be free of work considerably earlier than normal.

Wife Person: “You never get to hang out with your friends as much anymore.  You should go and I’ll stay home, especially if his wife can’t come.”

Me: “Deal.”

     So it’s a Wednesday.  Ssip gets into town right about 3pm, not long after I got home from my doctor’s appointment.  He comes over to the house and meets the dogs and gets the grand tour of the house.  As his knowledge of Greensboro and our history has been mostly told through text messages about shit that has happened or come up in our conversations through the years, and we had time, I figured we could hop in the ol’ Subaru and have an informational look around the city.
There was the Old Magnolia House bed and breakfast, to the old Woolworth’s, then the old Cone Mill, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, the house of the person who allegedly came up with the ‘900 number’ and finally out the Guilford College way where the Quakers helped with the underground railroad.
After that it was back around to the otherwise boring shit that happened as I grew up.  We came to this little park some friends and I used to hang out in in our late teenage and early adult years.  Random as hell…

Ssip: “Hey, what’s that over there?”

Me: “Man…  Back when I was--…  wait, where did these white people come from?”

Ssip: “I take it that’s not a norm on this side?”

Me: “Nah, when the brown people came to this side, the others went north and west.”

Ssip: “Like where we were earlier?”

Me: “Bingo”

Ssip: “So whaddya think it is?”

Me: “Let’s find out.”

Ssip: “How?”

Me: “This little thing I used to do back when I needed a couple bucks”

     There was – still is – a deck of cards in my console and has been since we first got the car and went out of town.  I pulled the deck out and we went into the park.

Me: “You’re eleven feet tall, I need you to sit down so as not to scare anyone.”

Ssip: “Bet”

     We walked down into the park and I set up at one of the picnic tables and started shuffling the cards around.  I said nothing.  Once people noticed and got curious, they began to gather around us.
Way back when people used to actually hang out outside and I had time, I would come to this park and set up a gathered crowd to try their hand at Three Card Monte.  It was a hustle wherein I could leave my house with $15 in one-dollar bills and return with a couple hundred.  The psyche of a degenerate gambler is that they just KNOW they will win their money back eventually, but the house always wins.

     We weren’t gonna play Three Card Monte today – not yet at least – because it is 2023 and I didn’t have my pistol with me and I didn’t know if these were “sell em an 8th of literal grass for $65 without consequence” white people or “sundown town” white people.  We had to feel them out.
So as I was saying, the crowd is beginning to gather and I am feeling the crowd out with some silly-fuck slight-of-hand card tricks I found on YouTube one day several hours after Googling some ABSOLUTELY unrelated shit and sliding down into the rabbit hole.  Needless to say, I was holding court in no time flat.  The crowd around us began to grow as I kept pulling off the simplest of card tricks with no one even seeming to care to try and figure out how.

     “Aight cool, these are ‘$65-an-8th’ kind” I thought to myself as I split off three cards and pulled the little cash I had in my pocket out and began to set up a quick hustle.
Out loud, I began to say, “Okay, who thinks they can get luck--…” when I was interrupted by a man who was quite apparently in charge of the gathered group around me.  When asked what was going on, they began explaining to him how I had shown up seemingly out of nowhere and began performing fun magic tricks for them.  It is as I type this sentence to tell this story back to you, dear reader, that I realize how important the words ‘out of nowhere performing fun magic tricks’ truly was, as it was right then that I realized that this was a THIRD kind of white people – the “Church group whose big-ass bus over there had broken down and is now fixed” kind.

     “GET AWAY FROM HIM, HE’S A WITCH!!!” the man screamed as he reached for something in his jacket pocket.  2023 whitefolks religiousness considered in its entirety, I didn’t know if he was reaching for a gun or a bible.  Luckily for all parties involved, I had an until-now quiet friend sitting by just kinda watching the scenery, who has NOW decided to stand up, a full foot taller than nearly anyone else in the developing maelstrom.

     We will never know what was coming out of that man’s jacket, because when he ran off back to the now running bus, his entire charge ran off behind him.

It’s a hair after 7pm…


Me: “What a fuckin’ ordeal.  You ready to eat?”

Ssip: “Indeed”


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