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Lessons from a Street Performer

Should you ever find yourself watching a street performer’s act, and you end up volunteering, either willingly or unwillingly, to be a part of said act, here’s a piece of advice: don’t run away when the performer’s not looking. If you do, you might find out later that you’re missing something that might be important to you. This is what happened to Emily, a rather skittish young German woman who happens to be visiting Brisbane this week, and is now missing her watch.

While I was walking back to the Kookaburra this afternoon, I passed through the Queen Street Mall and stopped to view a street magician. Shortly after I started watching, he approached a girl in the audience to act as his second “assistant.” The girl didn’t look particularly happy to have been chosen, but rather than protest she joined the performer in front of the audience. Soon she was introduced s Emily from Germany, to much enthusiastic adulation from the crowd.

The performer continued on with his act, which primarily involved his first assistant, another young woman named Charlie. While he turned to face Charlie and continued on, Emily turned and left, running swiftly into the swelling crowd at the mall. It took a few seconds for both the audience and the performer to figure out what was happening. The crowd started laughing at her departure, but the performer yelled after her, “Wait! You’re missing something!” With that, he pulled a hand watch from his pocket and waved it above his head. Alas, Emily ran on, and was soon lost in the crowd. The performer looked a bit baffled, jokingly offered the watch to anyone who would buy it, then continued on with his act (with a new second assistant).

My first thought was that Emily was in on it, but after the act a few people approached the performer and asked if it was scripted. He explained that it wasn’t. He had removed her watch surreptitiously as part of his act and was planning to reveal it to her later on. His intention was by no means to steal her watch, but when she ran off so unexpectedly he didn’t know what to do.

So people, if you wind up in a street performer’s act, please just be good-natured about it and participate. It’s really not that hard.