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Prompt Fiction: The Famulus - Dr. Magiko & the Shark

"You're a what?" The officer asked arching an eyebrow.

"I'm the Famulus to Dr. Magiko." She replied.

The officer blinked. “…And that’s a what?”

She sighed dropping her shoulders. “I’m the magician’s assistant.” She spread her arms out to bring attention to her sequined leotard and abundance of colorful feathers attached to her lower back.

“Ahh, ok. Why not just say that?”

He let her arms drop heavily to her sides in frustration. “Because Dr. Magiko prefers the title, famulus.”

The officer snorted, “Well, since he’s dead, I don’t think you have to use it anymore if you don’t want.”

She thought for a second then nodded, “Fair enough.”

“So, how about you tell me what happened.”

“Isn’t it obvious? He died trying to escape from the water tank.”

“Yeah, that part seems obvious. But I’m more curious about the shark.”

“The shark?”

“Yeah, the shark the whole audience says was in the tank when the curtain went up. Before it disappeared.”

She arched her eyebrow and stared at the officer as if he’d just said jackalopes are real and are great at singing bass around a campfire. She looked over her shoulder at the small tank. She turned back to the officer, “Does that look big enough for a shark?” She asked sarcastically.

“No, it does not.” The officer replied, “but he does look like he was eaten by a shark.” He indicated the body bag being wheeled away. It was obvious from the way the bag laid and bulged that there wasn’t much left of the body inside.

She shrugged, “I don’t remember a shark. And I would know. I’m the famulus.”

“How does the whole escape trick work?” He pressed.

“Pretty standard, he gets in the tank handcuffed. Tank gets chained and locked, tank fills with water, the curtain comes down, the curtain goes up, Dr. Magiko is standing next to the tank unharmed. Only this time the curtain goes up and he’s still in the tank. Granted he’s in a few pieces, but he’s still in the tank.”

“With a shark?”

“I don’t remember a shark.” She dismissed. “As I said, the tank wouldn’t be big enough for a shark.”

“Hmmm….” The officer studied her for what seemed a long time. She never blinked or gave anything away. Finally, he nodded. “Ok, we’ll be in touch. Call me if you think of anything useful.” He handed her his business card.

The officer walked away leaving the famulus to go get changed out of the ridiculous uniform Magiko insisted she wore. Dr. Magiko was what would be charitably called an ass. He never believed her capable of magic and never wanted her to be anything other than his famulus. Famulus didn’t mean assis

tant to Dr. Magiko. It was just a synonym for slave and punching bag. He told her she’d never make it in magical showbusiness. That she would always belong to him. She smiled to herself. She proved him wrong. After all, he never managed to conjure a mini shark before.

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