A Fan of The Classics

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Where: A lounge somewhere.

When: May 2nd, 2012

What: Kai gets a job offer that he hasn't had in a long time.

The night is far from young, but not so old that the strip is still packed with people. But inside, where walls buffer the noise of cars, tourists, locals alike, where music more fit for those of an older age, or at least those who appreciate cool jazz coming from the wide lips of some lounge singer who's doing her dues till she gets discovered. Where the servers are in white button downs, black ties, and don't use a pad to write down your order but the sheer willpower of their memory.

Here, it's hushed, the occasional laugh piercing the atmosphere but not obnoxiously so. Drinks are moderately priced and someone, had asked that Kai be present at an appointed hour. Who? He doesn't know.

When you hit the bottom of the barrel, mysterious phone calls from strangers wanting to meet in public places become decidedly less strange. Kai knows the bar, so he's at least isn't going to get turned away from the door for looking like a vagrant. He's wearing a gray button-up dress shirt, slightly darker slacks and a vintage-looking suit jacket that's cut in a slightly Victorian style. He even combed his hair, though he could still use a shave. He makes a cursory inspection of the club as he searches for familiar faces. Then, spotting none immediately, he heads for the bar to order an Old Fashioned.

No faces indeed, either his blind date hasn't come, or they're there and haven't noticed him yet. The bartender serves, drink poured, passed over and as money goes to change hands, in steps a younger man, mid twenties, respectable scruff, who gets his money in first. "Kai Goldberg" Not a question, but a statement. He offers his hand to the other man with a bit of a grin. Most people here in Vegas know who he is. Aaron Benedict. The golden child of illusion in his little Corinthian Casino theatre. Tickets almost outrageous and camera and video's banned from his show. What few that have managed to make it in have captured nothing but the man on the stage.

But what an Act. Illusion, at it's finest and most secret. "Aaron Benedict"

It takes Kai a second or two to place the man in front of him, which means a delay in the hand-shaking pleasantries. Eventually, he lifts his for a shake. "I know who you are. The guy whose career I'd like to have. Is this a coincidence, or are you the reason I'm here?" He picks up his drink as it arrives and takes a testing sip.

"I don't believe in co-incidence's. I believe that things happen for a reason. A purpose. But yeah, that was me" A little sheepish but it soon passes as he orders the exact same of Kai's - which tastes perfectly fine - and focuses his attention back on the older man.

"I saw your shows. You were good. Classicist is what you are"

"Thankfully, magic has retro cachet. People want to see the big, elaborate tricks, but the little things still amaze them. Especially in the days of CG. A little presto-changeo close-up magic or a clever escape still entertains." Kai pulls out a cigarette and lights it with a silver zippo. "So. You're not young enough to be a fanboy of mine. What's this about?"

"You can be a fanboy at any age. But I prefer to be called an admirer of the more classic skills. David Blane, Chris Angel" He shakes his head. "Fads. They won't have the lasting power of David Copperfield or Houdini. But you" Aaron turns, looking out over the tables of people gathered to listen to the pale blonde in the gold sequined and bugle beaded dress crooning. "You make take it as an insult but… " He lifts his drink to take a sip. "I want you" He lifts a hand to ward off any jokes that may come from that. "I want you to be my opening act"

"They may not go down in the history books, but they get to retire with a shit-ton of money. Can't say there's anything wrong with that. I'm a Vegas native, though. I learned from an old master, so he hammered in respect for the craft." Kai exhales his cigarette, politely away from Aaron. "And here I am, with no act, a lotta debt and a pack a day habit. So much for purity of craft." He quirks a wry little smile.

As for the offer? Well, he opens his mouth like he's going to get a dig in through that open door, but refrains. From the cheeky smile, he had something prepared, though. He doesn't respond right away, instead he takes another drag. "It's risky. Magic with magic. There's a reason comics open for magicians and vice versa. Not that I'm trying to talk myself out of a potential gig. I don't have a lot of pride left. It's been a lousy last few years for me."

"You do magic. I do illusion. Besides, the act that I had warming up the stage for me decided they were far better than I was and struck off on their own. I hear they're over in the palms with seats half the size of mine" He winks at Kai. "Maybe I want to learn from someone who's still relevant" Not that Kai is… relevant. "You can say no. I won't hold it against you, but I'm hoping you'll say yes. The pay will be shit, but the perks are nice"

"I've seen your ticket prices. The only reason I've ever even seen your show is because I still have some friends in this town. Why would the pay be shit?" Kai leans forward on the bar. He snubs out his cigarette and picks up his drink. "Second fiddle in a big house is still second fiddle. My mentor kept a contract at a small casino for fifteen years. He coulda moved up to open for someone else, but he had his own show."

"Because they pay the new people shit. But if you agree to open, I can be swayed to negotiate a better than shit, not bad pay" Aaron reaches into his suit, pulling out a business card, sliding it across the counter. Blank, thick stock, it seems to have nothing on it, until words shimmer into being on it and come into focus. The card of the stage manager for his show. "Who knows though. Might make you more relevant these days"

Kai hisses air between his teeth, chuckles and shakes his head. "Twist the knife." He puts a hand to his gut. "Hey, I filled houses once upon a time. Maybe not ones your size, but escapology doesn't bring in the tourists the same way a big flashy show does." Dig and counter-dig. He picks up the card and chuckles. "Kitschy. Look, you said you saw my show, right? Or at least know of it? Then you know that I am pretty stripped-down. What I do is more real than illusion. There's tricks to make it more dramatic and it's usually less dangerous than it looks, but I'm not flashy. If you want me to put on a sequined suit, I will. I just won't wear it on stage."

"Sequins is Agatha's shit. Next theatre over. Talk to her" The woman on the card and not Agatha. The burlesque dancer next door. "Get through the formalities. I liked the stripped down Kai. Stripped down is not what I do. And that, my soon to be friend, is why I want you. Now, if you excuse me, I have other places to be and a show in an hour. Stop in if you like, I'll make sure your name is on a list" Somewhere. If he wants to.

Not that any lock on a door could keep Kai out if he really wanted in. He smiles a little secret smile and tips back the contents of his glass. "That's me. No sequins, but a lot of stripping." He chuckles softly at his own joke. "Hey. Like I said, I don't have a lot of pride and I miss the stage. Not entirely convinced that we'd be a good fit for each other, but if you're paying, I can play."

"That's my man" Aaron slides his glass back to the bartender, no request for a second. "I'll see you around Kai. Have fun, till we slap you on the work wagon" He slaps his hand on Kai's shoulder, adjusts his tie, and heads away from the bar. He does have a show to do after all.


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