Roaring 20s – America
It was a Golden Age for magic in America, thanks to escape artist and magician Harry Houdini, and his contemporaries.
The competition among magic acts was fierce with performers like George The Supreme Master of Magic, Chang and Fak-Hong, Thurston The World Famous Magician, Alexander, The Man Who Knows, and the Black Houdini.
Some may argue that it was a time of naivety and gullibility. One thing was for sure, people were always looking for the next great trick, or escape. This story is about one of those magicians.
Pima, Arizona – The Valley of the Gila River
It was just breaking light when the Martian space ship crashed into a copse of trees near the Gila River. Two, of the crew of three, were killed on impact. The survivor was still inside an escape pod that was never launched.
When Malgog woke up hours later, he felt like every bone in his body was broken. His head ached and his vision was blurred. Somehow he got out of the pod that was partially pinned down by a massive bank of computers that shifted on impact.
Instinct told him to get clear of the crippled craft. Once outside he looked around at his surroundings. No cities. No people. That was a good. He crawled back inside of the ship and gathered some supplies.
While inside, he activated two plasma bombs. He was almost a mile away when they went off, disintegrating the ship. The glow competed with the rising sun.
Malgog was stranded. Marooned on Earth. He knew full well he’d never see the underground oceans of Mars again. If nothing else, Malgog was logical. He was also thankful that he could live in Earth’s environment.
The tunnels and caverns of Mars provided an atmosphere much like Earth’s.
As he walked through the rough countryside, he began mentally preparing himself for contact with earthlings. He had a language app on his wristband that sent translations directly into the receiver implanted in the back of his skull.
He reviewed what he learned in the Galaxy Guide To The Planets. There was a summary of mankind’s evolution and history that left off somewhere after the Civil War in America.
Malgog had two very positive things going for him; like all Martians he could read minds, and his strength was that of five men.
When he reached the little town of Pima, founded by the Mormons in 1879, he walked down the wooden sidewalk peering inside of windows. He passed the bat doors of the town saloon, and approached a man sitting on a wooden chair precariously balanced on two legs.
He had a bottle of whiskey in one hand and was mumbling to himself when Malgog said “Hello.”
It startled him enough to bring his chair down on all fours as the man looked up at the speaker. He was a tall man with a good tan and a bald head. He was also wearing an outfit like the drunk had never seen before.
It was a black one-piece affair that fit like a second skin. He wore a belt with metal pouches. The drunk, whose name was Arron, looked at the wall near where Malgog was standing and the poster on it.
The poster featured a colorfully clad magician waving a wand and wearing a cape.
“Hello, right back at you,” he replied. “Who are you? A magician? The next Whodini?” he laughed heartedly at his own joke.
An inspiration came to Malgog, and he said “Yes. I’m the Great Malgog!”
That seemed to sober Arron up a bit and he took a long look at him.
“Where’s you cape?” he demanded.
“Lost. I could use your help. I’m stranded here without any means due to unfortunate circumstances.”
“I like the name Whodini better,” he mused. “All right then friend, follow me. You can sleep on the floor in my rented room. I might even have an extra blanket. Been getting cold at night. It’s almost winter.”
Two Year’s Later.
Arron still couldn’t believe his luck. Malgog turned out to be an instant hit on the magic circuit, and he was his manager. No more Podunk towns like Pima. They had a grand house in Boulder, Colorado. Servants and all.
Malgog was so popular in the Midwest that he and Arron only picked the best venues. Their partnership was solid, and served them both well. In the main room of their elegant house there were photographs of him lifting impossibly heavy objects.
Theatre posters with examples of The Great Malgog’s magic tricks also adorned the lavishly decorated room.
His success did not rob him of his logic. He purposely stayed away from the West and East coast magic circuits. The one thing he didn’t want to do was to become so famous that people demanded to know about his background.
He could invent one, but it could eventually be debunked. Instead he preferred to be a man of mystery in real life. He never granted interviews with the press and always left by back exits after his performances.
Arron was his connection to the world. After six years Malgog retired, and they bought a ranch near Billings, Montana. Before Malgog died 15 years later of natural causes, he confessed his true identity to Arron…his one friend on Earth. He creamated the stranded Martian and threw his personal things into a lake.
But, Arron couldn’t just let Malgog’s story go untold. When he went to the press he was greeted with skepticism and laughter. Finally, his brother appeared and put the now frail old man in a home.
So, now you know the story of the greatest magician there ever was – and it wasn’t Harry Houdini.
As It Stands, this tale of a marooned Martian was a fun way to revive the Golden Age of magic.