I remember when I was a magician. I took a volunteer from the audience and asked him to lie in a box. Then I sawed him in two. I divided the box into two halves with his feet poking out one end and his head sticking out the other. The audience gasped. Then I realised that I had forgotten how to do the rest of the trick. I had forgotten how to put him back together.
Medical science was at a loss. Nothing could be done. I tried to return the man to his wife. She said he wasn’t half the man he used to be. She decided she only wanted the lower portion so I had to take the top half home to live with me. He is still here, his head peeking out of the box as he lies in my sitting room. Sometimes he weeps. He lies there gently sobbing. It can be quite depressing so I push him out the front door into the corridor. ‘It’s cold out here’, he complains but I say nothing. I just close the door and go off to watch television. He’ll be OK for a while. I did return once to find a cat sitting on his face. He almost suffocated. I shooed the cat away. I doubt it will happen again.
Sometimes I take him to the pub. I get him a drink with a little straw and put it on a table by his head. We might even meet up with some of his friends. Well, they are more my friends now. He complains so much his friends have started to ignore him. They talk to me instead. We laugh and sing. We rest our pints on his box.
It’s hard to know what to do with him. It’s hard to know what to do with dependents in general. Even when you mean the best, things can so easily go wrong. I remember a friend of mine, a beautiful woman with a fantastic laugh. She was very popular. Very, very popular. So much so that when she was temporarily immobilised and taken to hospital everyone sent her flowers. The flowers just kept arriving from all those who wished her well. Her hospital room filled up with flowers and soon it got to the stage where we could no longer find her. When you opened the door, all you could see was a wall of flowers. We called out for her but our voices must have been smothered by the compact thicket of stems and petals. We never saw her alive again. She starved. At least she passed on knowing that she was well loved.
Maybe I should get my half man flowers. A lot of flowers. An awful lot of flowers. It would be for the best. I would be free of him. He would no longer suffer. He would be released and, at the very least, it would be a fragrant death.