The Great Occam Cobb – Chapter 3

Jonathan sat across the building with his knees to his chest, resting his head atop. He listened as an orchestra could be heard blaring their instruments from inside followed by a thunderous applause. For every long pause of silence, the orchestra would intervene followed by another round of clapping. He was ready to return home until he was startled by a man exiting the side of the building. He was carrying a box and tossed it to the side before reentering.

Jonathan bit his lip, thinking for a second. This was his chance and it might be his only one. He nodded his head and quickly made his way to the door. After waiting a few seconds, he attempted to turn the knob; it twisted open without effort. He carefully glanced around before entering, shutting the door behind him.

Inside, he found himself to be in a poorly lit storage room. Stacks of old wooden crates towered around, some entangled in long dusty cobwebs like fish caught in nets. The air itself smelled of oil fluid and musty loafs of bread. The amount of dust in the air managed tickled the back of his throat.

Jonathan continued through the room, being cautious to not draw attention to his presence. The faint light seeping in the room emanated through the cracks of a set of large wooden double doors. Sneaking to the doors, he placed his ear up against it to listen. He heard a few voices on the other side before they grew faint in the distance.

Carefully, he gave the knob a twist all the while pulling the door open to take a peek inside. Immediately, his face met with a calm air-stream flooding his nose with an aroma of rich, sweet fragrances he couldn’t describe.

His eyes regarded a massive candle lit hallway decorated with walls of gold and white. Golden columns permeated from the walls expanding to the ceiling, running along both sides of the hallway. Exquisite portraits draped the walls amid the spaces of the columns each depicting a man or woman posing in a manner of prominence. A radiant red carpet accompanied the hallway gracefully stretching down its wide corridors.

Jonathan’s eyes widened, taking in the glorious sight before him. He had never known such a beautiful configuration existed. Another loud applause from further within drew his attention back the sights that captivated him. He frantically looked around attempting to find some manner of entrance that could grant him an audience to the show.

Making his way down the hallway, he came to a large circular room. The room was similar to that of the hallway, containing identical golden columns hugging the walls with more portraits just the same. However, a few sets of furniture were present, including a few chairs and tables that could entertain many people. Another hallway could be seen to right where he heard the applause erupt louder.

Jonathan was ready to head towards it, but began to hear voices from within approaching his direction. Panicking, he quickly looked around the room to locate a place to conceal his presence. Finding nothing, his heart began to race frantically until he noticed a wooden staircase to the left. Without hesitation, he bolted up the stairs which led to a stiff door. It took several pushes with his shoulder, but he was able to finally budge it a second before the voices arrived in the room below.

The new area he had entered appeared to be an attic of the sort, housing similar stacks of crates like below, entangled in cobwebs. A few rats scampered across the floor before disappearing into the darkness. The attic itself was hard to see in with minuscule strands of light escaping up through the cracks of the floorboard.

While he stood there letting his eyes adjust to the dark, a voice startled him; it sounded muffled but spoke as if addressing many people. It sounded near so he began making his way through the attic, using the voice as a guide. He held his hands up to prevent himself from walking into any of the stacks. Even so, he tripped a few times.

He finally came across a window frame with a set of old curtains drawn across. Behind the curtains, he could hear the applause even louder. His heart began to beat faster with anticipation. He reached for the curtains, pulling them to the side. Immediately, a cloud of dust was released into the air. He coughed a little while fanning the smog of particles away.

When he gazed back at the window, his heart dropped. Below him, he could see countless rows filled with people down in the Theatre. All of them were at the edge of their seat, admiring the prospect before them. Jonathan’s eyes surveyed through the rows, guiding them to where the rows met the stage. Before he could view the man upon it, he heard his voice echo throughout the air:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for being the lovely audience that you have been all night!”

Jonathan’s eyes grew wide while a smile formed into a full blown grin. It was him, The Great Occam Cobb. With all his luck in the world, his eyes were able to gaze upon the greatest magician of all time, and without a ticket.

The stage was massive with tall velvet curtains to its side looming to meet the height of the immense ceiling. Occam Cobb himself appeared trivial upon it, but confident with his arms extended out, radiating from the illumination focused on him.

“It is with my greatest pleasure that I introduce to you, the final and most intricate spectacle in my hat to conclude this miraculous evening!” he continued on.

Two women appeared from opposite sides of the stage, each rolling a tall, thin black box that stood vertically. Each box had golden letters engraved upon them, the first displayed, Witnesswhile the second, Greatness. They placed the boxes at opposite ends of the stage.

At that moment, the orchestra erupted in a loud ambitious melody.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! What you are about to witness, is an act so simple, so mind blowing that it must be viewed twice to believe it!” the magician’s voice echoed. “Imagine for a second, the idea of being in two places at once all under a single second, to be in one location and then a next in a blink of an eye!”

The orchestra increased its tempo to further amplify the moment. It was working; Jonathan was leaning closer eager to see what impossible feat he was describing. Below, the audience could be seen doing the same.

“I am proud to present, The Occam Transporter!”

The audience rendered another loud wave of applause before immediately dying down, eager to hear how the trick would work.

“Behold! Behind me, you see my two lovely assistants have brought forth onto you, two boxes!” he exclaimed, holding up two gloved fingers.

“To your left!” He gestured to the box labeled Witness. “I will step inside and enclose myself within that box.” He turned his attention to the one on the right. “I will attempt to transport myself from the first box into the next in just one second!”

The crowd began to murmur among themselves in dissatisfaction. He paused, before curling his fingers onto his chin, similar to that of the newspaper photo.

“Hmm… I can tell that some of you have your doubts, in fact, I think some of you think that I, The Great Occam Cobb, can do better! Well you’re right!”

A long chain emerged from the ceiling hovering above the left Witness box.

“What if I told you, that I can ante up the stakes and lift the box containing me and drop it?! That’s right Ladies and Gentlemen, I will plummet to my doom, if I cannot indeed transport myself from that container to the next!”

Jonathan bit his lip in discontent, he did not like the sound of this act. The audience seemed to feel the same way, issuing a light clap all the while murmuring among themselves.

“And if that wasn’t enough, the box I will be contained in will be secured with a lock!”

One of his assistants gracefully paraded the lock in the air. At this moment, the audience grew even more rowdy. The magician extended his arms outward.

“Without further delay…!” he exclaimed and immediately turned around, facing the left box. His smiling assistant opened the door for him. He walked inside the tight box facing the audience inside. His assistant shut the door. His voice although muffled could still be heard within.

“Now, my lovely assistant will apply the lock to the box!”

At his cue, she applied the large padlock to the box’s door.

“She will now attach the chain to my case!”

Again, she moved on cue, climbing a small ladder brought out. At the top, she attached the chain to the box’s top ring. When she climbed down, she removed the ladder. The chain began to hoist the box high into the air. Everyone at the moment was dead silent, including Jonathan. A series of knocks could be heard coming from within the case.

“I assure everyone that I am still within the box!” a muffled voice yelled out. “Please ensure that you do not pull eyes away, not even for a second or you dare to miss the opportunity to…” he continued before pausing. “Witness…!”

At that last mutter of the word, the chain released, plunging the box swiftly to the ground. Everyone gasped out in fear as it fell shattering into many pieces. However, the moment the box touched the ground, the door to the second box swung open.

“…Greatness!” the magician exclaimed, finishing his sentence from before without delay.

It took a second for the audience to register what had happened. Yet when they did, they quickly erupted in a thunderous applause louder than ever conceived that night. Many of them rose to their feet clapping and cheering as they did. Jonathan clapped as well from his position, filled with a mixture of reverence and angst.

He had done it, performed the impossible and amazed with true wonder. The magician smiled gracefully taking the hand of his assistants, rendering both a light kiss. Afterwards, he issued a bow. The curtains began to gracefully descend, but stopped when he held up a hand.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! I informed you earlier that the trick would happen so quick that you would need to see it twice! So how about it, would you?!”

The applause died with the crowd murmuring among themselves, before sitting down quietly.

“I thought as much! However, I being, The Great Occam Cobb, couldn’t simply lull you into watching the same trick exactly! Oh no, as always the stakes must be raised! So that’s why I am giving one of you the lucky opportunity to be the one transported!” he exclaimed, extending his arms outward again.

A slight delay occurred before the audience issued a light clap, continuing to murmur amongst each other.

“Who dares to leave this world in a second and return in another?!” he asked, pointing his finger among the seating.

One of his assistants rolled another case in, setting it in front of the broken shards of the last box. The new box had the same word Witness engraved across it. Again Jonathan bit his lip; what he would do to be part of that act.

“I assure you, Ladies and Gentlemen that the box will not be suspended like the other, so there is no cause for alarm! So who will dare the trip?! Who will venture into the unknown?!”

There was a long pause until a man abruptly stood up from the back. “I say, sir! We have a beautiful woman back here who would love to volunteer!” he announced.

The woman sitting next to him shook her head in dismay, playfully hitting the man to stop. However, he pressed on jokingly urging her to do so.

“Ah yes, come along milady!” the magician replied out.

Jonathan could see her crossing her arms in discontent, firmly glaring at the man still standing aside her.

“It looks to me, the lady is shy.”

The crowd released a chortle. Jonathan could see the woman sinking into her seat from embarrassment.

“Perhaps,” Occam continued, “a round of applause will grant her the courage she needs!” he requested, clapping his hands together.

The audience followed suit applauding. The woman began to blush before finally conceding. She stood up making her way to the stage. The magician helped her up the small set of stairs, planting a kiss upon her hand once she was safely up.

She was beautiful with short locks of blond hair. Her white dress glimmered in comparison to the jewelry athwart her neck. Her thin figure was very much apparent from the firm press of the dress.

“And what, do I have the pleasure of calling you?” he asked.

“Carol,” she responded, blushing.

“Well, Carol. It is truly a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he said, issuing another small kiss to her hand.

She blushed harder at this notion.

“Now Carol,” he said guiding her over to the first box. “You saw here, how the trick works. I am going to place you into this box, ‘wave my hands’, and in a mere a second, you will get to experience firsthand: The Occam Transporter!” he said, gesturing to the box on the right.

The woman swallowed a little. She spoke rather soft, her voice barely carrying across the stage. “What do I have to do?”

The man smiled, turning his attention to the audience.

“Carol, here asked a very important question. She asked, ‘what will she have to do?’ And I tell her as I tell you, nothing! Nothing my dear! All you have to do is enter that box and I will do the rest. Are you ready?”

She swallowed again before giving a light nod with a sheepish smile.

“Okay then!” he responded, guiding her closer to the left box.

The orchestra began playing their aspiring music once again. Once the woman was in front of the door, he opened it and helped her in. Immediately, he shut the door and began knocking against the box with his fist while addressing the audience. This struck Jonathan rather odd; it was possible it was just a coincidence, but the knocks almost sounded identical to the ones earlier. He quickly shook it off though ready to see if the great magician could fulfill his promise.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Witness…!” he yelled, pointing to his assistance to open the other box’s door. “…Greatness!”

She opened the door and as promised, the woman appeared on the other end. The assistant helped her out of the box and the audience erupted into another thunderous applause. Strangely though, the woman held her hand up to the air as if everything around was too bright. She almost appeared dazed. The magician briskly walked over to her, taking her hand.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Carol!” he exclaimed.

The audience continued to applaud. He took a bow while still holding her hand. The woman smiled weakly before being guided back down the stairs. Jonathan curiously watched as she continued to appear dazed before finally being guided back to the gentlemen she was seated with. With that, the magician took one final bow with the echoing of applause still roaring. The curtains made their decent soon after fully concealing the stage.

The audience below began making their way to the exit of the Theatre. Jonathan leaned back from the window, contemplating the last few moments he has seen; he felt a smile slowly form across his lips.