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Tsunami Wedding Wizardry

March 18th, 2005

Stephanie and Ian were getting married on the beach. They had rented out rooms for their guests at a lovely seaside resort, all white, with a beautiful colonial facade and a steeple. And in the most far-fetched and unreasonable of wedding decisions, then had chosen me as their decorator. I got up the morning of the wedding full of big ideas but with no idea how to bring any of them to fruition. I sat in a lounge chair by the pool and stared at the ocean and tried to figure out how and where I could get several miles of pink streamers and a small mountain of pink confetti grenades. I had grandiose dreams of constructing a huge arched causeway leading straight from the beach to the doors of the church, decorated in vaguely pagan mayday-ish style with climbing vines and the aforementioned miles of streamers. Realistically I had neither the time nor the budget to achieve any such thing, but for some reason I still held out hope. At no point did it occur to me that the decorative theme I was considering might not be the most tasteful or indeed at all appreciated by the bride and groom.

So I sat there in my gloom, brooding and sipping my spiked lemonade, concocting mad schemes of party-supply ship piracy, when a pair of vacationers unaffiliated with the wedding passed by on their way to the pool, chatting about the famous illusionist and magician, Mr. Q, who happened to be in town for a show. Sparklers burst in my head. Mr. Q! The greatest magician of the age, here! Surely such auspicious circumstances couldn’t occur merely by chance. I must find this Mr. Q, and beg his aid!

I heard the sound of an engine overhead, and glanced up into the pure blue seashore sky to see a strange silver contraption appearing over the hotel rooftop. It was a pontoon houseboat, like the one the Wagner family uses to putter about their remote South Dakota lake, which had somehow contrived to fly through the air on the power of its tiny inboard propeller alone.

“How the hell is that thing staying up?” I asked, astounded. Before my eyes the houseboat performed several loop-the-loops in the air, and at the tail end of the last landed with a gentle splash in the pool. And lo and behold, who should be sitting at the wheel but Mr. Q himself!

I threw aside my lemonade and dove into the pool. Swimming out to the houseboat, I begged to shake the master’s hand. “That was amazing,” I told him. “I didn’t know you could do really things like that when you weren’t on TV.” He thanked me, and assured me his powers were more than mere deception. “Please, sir,” I entreated him obsequiously, “would you mind if I asked your aid in the tiniest of favors?”

I told him of my predicament. Anyone who could make a houseboat fly would surely have no trouble at all doing the same for a few bits of crepe-paper. He agreed. “But first,” he said, “I must complete a greater undertaking.” He bade me goodbye for the moment, and the houseboat lifted off and flew away over the sea.

I splashed about in the pool in gleeful relief. My troubles were over — or so it seemed.

In fact it turned out that Mr. Q was an evil mastermind bent on destruction, and never had any intention of helping with my wedding decorations. Within minutes the sky darkened with clouds. A gale sprang up from seaward, and behind it roared ever-rising waves. The entire bay was flooding. Ships capsized. Wedding guests were dragged out to sea by the dozens. In a panic I ran down onto the beach, and found Stephanie lying on the sand dangerously close to the rising water, her gown covered in sand. Ian in his tuxedo and Erin in her purple bridesmaid’s dress were bending over her in a state of great agitation. I ran up to them. “We’ve got to get her out of here!” I shouted over the wind. “We can’t!” said Erin. “Every time we try to move her she starts laughing like a maniac!”

I tried to help them, but they were right. She was utterly hysterical, flailing her arms and howling madly. From what I gathered it appeared she had become convinced she was an SUV, and thus impossible for three mere people to move anywhere. The water kept rising. It lapped at our feet, dragging at the train of her gown. Thunder rumbled over the water.

Then I stood up straight and looked around. Wait a minute, thought I. This isn’t TV. It isn’t real either. This is a dream. Which means I can do magic just as well as Mr. Q.

I bent my will against the waves, and slowly they fell back. Sandbars and islands appeared beneath the receding flood. Ships righted themselves. Drowning wedding guests washed up on dry land. The sky changed color back to blue. Finally Stephanie sat up normally and gazed across the suddenly calm sea in astonishment. Ian helped her to her feet.

“There. Now we can have the wedding,” I said. “And I don’t need to go shopping for fireworks either.” I turned to look back at the church and the hotel. They looked rather a mess, but my powers could fix that too! The vine-and-streamer-decked colonnade I had envisioned grew up from the steps of the church ten times more elaborate than I’d imagined, now that I wasn’t limited by sanity or reality. Pink boxes of roses grew from the windowsills, and the air was filled with confetti. Stephanie and Ian, unfazed, or too shell-shocked from what had already occurred to care, led the procession across the gleaming sand and into the church.

My work was done. I woke.

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