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The ventriloquist had finally arrived in our gray city. We had all been waiting for the lavishly advertised performance, imagining the most scintillating scenarios. The outrageous posters, made by a skillful artist known only by his Arabesque initials “B.W.”, wrapped the city in colors we had never seen before. Gathered at The Puyallup Public Library we were all ready to be carried away by the power of literacy and imagination.

On that eagerly awaited day The Great Mancini and his actors introduced the congregation to the mysteries of the Orient in a way that was not to be forgotten by the generations to come. The program glittered with a spectacular array of stunts, such as snake charming, swallowing swords (made from real Damascus steel), or fire breathing which left the audience at the edge of their seats. However amazed we all seemed, the anticipation of the climactic stunt- The Resurrection of Dead Matter- was slowly devouring us from the inside.

The lights were suddenly switched off, and after an impatient moment of questions and quarries, we all saw The Great Mancini and his puppet in the deadly pale spotlight. It took him over an hour to build up a questionable and uneven performance, in which we still managed to discern vestiges of a long gone talent. Most of the jokes, however, were too vulgar for our tastes, and their punch lines were irrevocably lost in what seemed to be a simultaneous translation from Italian.

The sole technique of bringing the puppet to life, however, was impeccable. Mesmerized, trying to figure out Mancini’s legerdemain, we found it impossible to leave the library hall, despite our overall disillusionment. The ventriloquist was slouching in his chair, as if in a trance, his mouth slightly open.

A few observant journalists noticed a thin almost invisible line of greenish liquid that was patiently flowing from his mouth and dripping on the tastelessly yellow shirt. The disgusting blotches of phlegm were not the most disturbing aspect of the performance, though.

A few of the ventriloquist’s relatives, who were present in the audience, knew that The Great Mancini had died two weeks before the show, hit by a horse drawn carriage.


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