Fleapeople generally don’t like interacting with humans, which is why fleapeople evolved to be invisible. Humans would always step on them, so the unseen ones lived. Eventually, they could camouflage into anything. Even today, a long history of instinct leads fleapeople to avoid humans, despite the eventual enlightenment and increased empathy of human beings, particularly for small things. But sometimes the two species become friends. Rarely for comradery, but rather for profit.

The Great Erasmus waved his wand and magically moved a series of cups around a table. He could have moved them by hand, of course, but sleight of hand is more impressive when you never touch a thing.

“Now choose,” he said, as the cups came to a standstill.

The couple looked at each other. The man smiled sardonically. The woman pointed to the second cup. The man to the first. The woman deferred.

Erasmus lifted the cup, and there was nothing beneath.

“Bullshit,” said the husband, whose face fell. “I was watching.”

“How do you do the moving cups without touching them?” the girl asked. She grabbed a cup and looked closely at it. It had regular weight and shape. Nothing strange about it at all.

The man lifted the third cup. Underneath was the red ball. He grabbed the ball and tested it. It, too, seemed regular, if a little weirdly wet. Erasmus waited as the couple patted down the table and looked underneath and felt for trap doors or buttons. The magician simply yawned and stepped out of the way during their investigation. A crowd had formed.

Eventually the couple wore themselves down. “I don’t know how you did it,” said the woman.

“That’s the point,” said Erasmus with a smile.

They left, befuddled and disgruntled and impressed all at once.

Erasmus placed the cups back down carefully, noting where the fleapeople had now arranged themselves onto particular patterns in the table’s wood grain. Each of the three fleapeople had a ball, and could mask it with their camouflage by stuffing it in their cheeks. They’d hop off the table when someone wanted to pat it down.

It was a profitable system.




324’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Prestidigitation,” “Fleapeople,” and, “Magician.”

Well, I wrote it.

– H.

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