Alchemical Cahoots

There are, the wizard explained, contracts with the invisible world. There are binding contracts. And ones that can be dissolved.

How can I tell the difference between one and another?


Listen for what?



Listen for listening. Listen to listening. Listen to listen.

Do wizards always have to act daft and talk in riddles?

No. But it’s much more fun. And closer to the truth. The truth, you see, is a magnetic bone.

A magnetic bone?

A lightning rod.

A lightning rod?

You repeat a lot—

I re—oh, yes, yes, I see what you mean.

It is easy to get lulled into repetitive speaking when confronted by the abstract. It’s only natural.

So now what?

So, now, this.

Nowhere is now here—

A slight shift in perception

can change anything.

Where is the spellbook I was promised?

A) You were never promised a spellbook, nor a rose garden, and B) The spellbook exists inside of you. Every single spell you ever wanted to know, you already possess.

I’d like to believe that but—

Good, then clip that sentence and believe that. That is all. Do you believe you would be wiser if you had my beard?

Well, it is a very becoming a beard for a wizard.

I think so… (the wizard lovingly fondled his beard)

And I used to think … when I grow a real wizard’s beard, a long snowy winter forest of a beard, a sanctuary of a beard where small animals and birds could take refuge, a beard with some genuine magisterial and sagacious oomph, then, oh then, I will become a real wizard.


And . . . my beard is many things. It is a magic carpet. It is a forest. It is winter’s mystique. It is a teller of tales. It speaks seventeen hundred languages fluently, and is also a mute. I glory in my beard, I do. And feel bonded to it. I benefit from its beardy wisdom, yet it is not me, it is not my wisdom. The beard and I . . . we’re friends, we’re partners. You could say we’re in alchemical cahoots.

You’re in alchemical cahoots…

You know, when someone says you could say . . . and then says something you could say . . . as in how I just said . . . You could say we’re in alchemical cahoots . . . you don’t have to say the thing that someone says you should say . . . capisce?

Uh, okay. I’m not familiar with, uhm, with these types of phrases, or, rules, or whatever.

Whatever, indeed! Okay, back to my story. Where was I?

You could say we were in alchemical cahoots.

Ah yes, me and my beard, in alchemical cahoots. The point I am trying to make, if I were trying to make a point—

Which you’re not—

Which I’m not, right . . . you don’t need a wizard’s beard. Same as you don’t need a spellbook. You don’t need any of these things. They are but tangible imprints of the legitimate metaphysical. What manifests is not the reality, not the real-reality, that is the echo, that is the . . . the emissary, the symbol, the totem, the whatever….

Whatever, indeed!

Hah-hah, now you’re getting it boy! But the real deal, the magnetic bone if you will, remember that? That exists in you fully and completely and is yours for the basking. And asking. Basking and asking. A rhymical one-two combo, eh? How come you’re not responding?

Oh, I thought that was one of those things . . . you know, like—You could say we’re in alchemical cahoots—when you told me not to say—You could say we’re in alchemical cahoots… I thought that question you asked, with eh at the end, was meant to be left alone, that further participation from me wasn’t required.

The wizard laughed. It was a round bowl of jellybeans topped with chocolate lava sauce, that was his laugh….

It made me feel happy inside. And kind of full.  

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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