Page 35 Spring 1995
sun glinted off the sharp blade, as it landed with a slap in Jay's
hand. He held
three machetes high over his head.
was a smattering of applause and the people standing in front of the
Great Hall turned and left, shaking their heads.
brought his arms down and sighed deeply. He bit his lip and put his
machetes in the black trunk beside him. He motioned for a robot to
come over. The robot rolled over and stood quietly at Jay's side.
that the trunk gets to my address," Jay said, sliding a card into
the robot's open slot. The robot digested the data, blinked green and
picked up the trunk, rolling away. Jay stepped onto the people mover
and put his hand on the hand print imbedded into the side.
he said, and the people mover started to move.
jumped off the people mover at a large apartment complex. The door
opened after the eye scan verified Jay's identity. Entering the
elevator, Jay leaned against the wall.
"Below 7," he said.
elevator started to quickly drop seven floors
below the ground. The elevator doors opened and Jay walked into his
his wife, looked up from the holomovie she was watching and smiled.
Jay dodged a holomonster and flopped into a chair that quickly molded
to his shape.
off," he said and the monsters and screaming victims disappeared
from the room.
was watching that," Tory said.
sighed. "Sorry, I just
couldn't listen to that screaming," he said.
didn't go as expected, I gather," Tory said.
don't understand. I have some talent. I do exactly as I've seen on the
history disks. I start juggling with small balls, then move to larger
balls. I move from juggling three objects to five objects. Then I
juggle a bowling pin, an orange and a knife, just to show diversity.
As my final act, I juggle three razor sharp machetes. I don't really
expect much, but I know I don't get any respect from the audience. I
have practiced and worked hard for many years to perfect my art and I
can't understand why no one is even a bit impressed. It's not like
there are jugglers all over the place now.
should be respected, just for the sake of the practice and time it
takes to perfect talent. I just can't understand it. I've studied the
history of juggling, learned all the techniques... I must have missed
something," Jay said.
you're relying on history too much," Tory mused, staring at him.
are you talking about?" Jay asked, confused.
up," Tory demanded. Jay
stood, looking puzzled.
put a finger to her lips, then stood and went
to the food processor. "Three
apples," she said and took three apples
out of the wall. She tossed them to Jay.
started to juggle the apples. "Well?"
see what you're doing and it's impressive, but
I keep wondering where you're hiding the anti-grav tool. It's so easy
to fool the eye today. Today's technology doesn't let me believe what
I'm seeing. I know there has to be a trick, somehow. I just think
you're directing a beam," Tory said.
stopped juggling and the apples dropped to the floor. He looked
do not use any type of tool. I juggle with only my hands and my brain.
It takes rhythm, talent, timing and practice to juggle this well. It's
a lost performing art. I just wanted to show others how great it
was," Jay said, a bit disgusted.
know this is important to you, but technology changed how people
think. The costume you're wearing, the puffed sleeves, brilliant sash
and baggy pants were perfect in the 20th century for jugglers, just as
the history disks showed us, there were no antigrav tools then. Now,
people wonder how they're being tricked," Tory said.
I have to prove to people that my juggling is an art, not a
trick?" Jay asked.
think it would help," Tory said. "It seems to me that people
have lost the ability to be amazed by human ability and talent. The
loss in the belief in juggling is just another casualty. The old
saying that seeing is believing just isn't true anymore. Sometimes, we
have to bow to change and accept it, though we may lose something in
the process, like juggling."
looked at her. "Perhaps the opposite of seeing would have
the desired effect," Jay mused.
looked confused. "And that means?" she asked.
just a thought, but if people aren't impressed with juggling because
they don't believe what they see, what do you think would happen if
people could see that there was no way I used an anti-grav tool?"
Jay asked. "What if I wore a blindfold?
then you couldn't see," Tory said.
Jay said, triumphantly, "And if you
can't see there's no way to direct an antigrav beam."
nodded. "It's also timing and
talent. The objects become an
extension of the juggler's arm. Before, the best jugglers, after a lot
of practice, could juggle without looking. Besides, I'd only have to
do it once. After I proved I juggle without the tool, I could juggle
without the blindfold," Jay said. He thought for a second, then
added, "To make it more interesting, I'll use the machetes for
the blindfold act!"
just hope you know what you're doing, and why!" Tory said.
I believe people need to know that humans can do amazing feats without
technology. Perhaps I need to prove it to myself too," Jay said.
never get rid of technology, Jay," Tory said.
right, and I wouldn't want to. I enjoy the conveniences that
technology provides, but it's important to demonstrate to people that
humans have the potential to develop incredible physical skill using
nothing more than their bodies and
can I do to help?" Tory asked. "I'd like you to market me as
'A free show
the lost art of juggling with no technology," Jay said,
"Find me a place and an audience, with media to impress and I'll
give a show that will end all shows in six months."
months later, Jay paced backstage, taking deep breaths. Tory had done
a great job of promoting this show and Jay hoped that he'd be able to
keep up his end of the bargain. He felt this was the one chance to
bring serious juggling back to society.
Jay straightened when he heard his name being announced on stage.
Jay straightened when he heard his name being announced on stage.
walked out on stage and bowed to the crowd. Tory placed a heavy black
bag over his head, tied it loosely around his neck and handed him
three machetes. Then she crossed her fingers and held her breath.
months of practice made perfect enough, and the crowd gasped in
amazement as the blades whirled through the air in front of the hooded
crowd roared as the last machete slapped into Jay's hand. He whipped
off the dark hood, grinning broadly, and threw the hood into the applauding
Hughes lives in Unity, Maine. She
has published several poems and short stories, and her
first science fiction novel, "Illusion of Choice" was
published in February by Bibliobytes.