With the flick of his wand, Hugh signalled Nie, his Pidove assistant, to spotlight a guest. It landed on a dark Kecleon seated in between a prim Persian and a fidgety Jumpluff. He was kind of slouched against the red velvet, and Hugh wasn’t sure if the fellow was awake at all at first. A nudge from the Persian to the side and the Kecleon spasmed straight up, looking mildly alarmed. Or at least, that’s what it seemed from this distance. Hugh had pretty good eyes, but the Pokemon on which Nie had rested the spotlight was a few rows back. This wouldn’t do for his trick! No, not at all.
“Come on up, won’t you? I need your help for this next amazing, wonderful, fantastic
feat, sir! If you would be so kind!” Hugh called out. Lots of ladies fell for his stage persona and stage voice, and even some of the gents. He figured that the Kecleon would be delighted, as all the other participants always were, once he got on stage. There was a pause though.
The Kecleon shifted around uncomfortably, and the Persian took this as a chance to whisper something to his squirming friend. Hugh imagined they were friends anyway. Maybe more? The Persian’s body language said as much, even if the other’s didn’t. The pause lasted too long.
“Sir?” Hugh asked, keeping his fantastic composure, “won’t you help me out with my feat?” As long as the silence didn’t last too long, Hugh knew how to turn it all around. He was good at that, as he was good at many things involving psychology and trickery. Conversation, directed
conversation, was certainly a strong point of his.
The Kecleon fumbled with the arms of the seat a little, listening to the Persian. He then looked straight up at Hugh from his seat and spoke clearly, “I’m not a sir.”
Hugh was absolutely dumbstruck. He blinked his big, confused eyes a couple of times, smacking his lips once in an attempt to recapture lost words. How could he have made such a novice mistake? It had to be that Dee was out and had been ill for the past couple of weeks... oh, and Dee would find his mistake so terrible! To accidentally confuse a gender! It shook him up quite badly, and he was nearly unable to regain himself. Perhaps if he hadn’t been as experienced in working these situations out, he’d have frozen up and the show would’ve been a bust. Not now, not this time!
“Of course you aren’t, but you looked nearly asleep! I had to test if you were awake enough to perform somehow
, didn’t I?” he asked, giving a theatric wink in her direction. “Now what’s your name, Miss? And won’t you please join me for this next trick?”
What a color for a girl Kecleon though... Hugh wasn’t quite sure if his slip up was due to the lack of Dee’s presence, or that he only expected girls of this species to come in yellow. Regardless...
He watched her stumble past the other audience members. Was she drunk, or... or just really tired? Either way, this was looking to be a pretty poor selection on Nie’s part. Hugh made a note to later speak to his fine feathered friend about this choice in temporary stage helper. She’d forgotten or didn’t care enough to give up her name before coming to the stage. Scanning the audience, Hugh caught briefly the discomfort everyone started to display with Nie’s choice. Fantastic. The pointed looks, the whispers in the Kecleon’s direction... It was going to require even more work to keep the audience in good cheer all the way through the end of the trick.
Part 2 of "The Dates"