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In the mystic rite of an Indian fakir she found the answer to her frustration

"Rope Trick"

by Fredric Brown



Vol. 3 No. 5,  1959

    MR. AND MRS. GEORGE DARNELL were taking a honeymoon trip around the world. A second honey. moon, starting on the day of their twentieth anniversary. George had been in his thirties and Alice in her twenties on the occasion of their first honeymoon.
    Now in her dangerous forties (this phrase can be applied to a woman as well as to a man), Alice Darnell was very, very disappointed with what had been happening--or, more specifically, had not been happening--during the first three weeks of their second honeymoon. To be completely honest, nothing, absolutely nothing had happened.
    Until they reached Calcutta.
    They checked into a hotel there early one afternoon and, after freshening up a bit, decided to wander about and see as much of the town as could be seen in the one day and night they planned to spend there.
    They came to the bazaar.
    And they watched a Hindu fakir performing the Indian rope trick. Not the spectacular and complicated version in which a boy climbs the rope and--well, you know the story of how the full scale Indian rope trick is performed.
    This was a quite simplified version, The fakir, with a short length of rope coiled on the ground in front of him, played over and over a few simple notes on a flageolet--and gradually, as he played, the rope began to rise into the air and stand rigid.
    This gave Alice Darnell a wonderful idea--although she did not mention it to George. She returned with him to their room at the hotel and, after dinner, waited until he went to sleep--as always, at 9 o'clock.
    Then she quietly left the room and the hotel. She found a taxi driver and an interpreter and, with both of them, went back to the bazaar and found the fakir.
    Through the interpreter, she managed to buy from the fakir the flageolet which she had heard him play and paid him to teach her to play the few simple repetitious notes which had made the rope rise.
    Then she returned to the hotel and to their room. Her husband George was sleeping soundly--as he always did.
    Standing beside the bed, Alice very softly began to play the simple tune on the flageolet.
    Over and over.
    And as she played it, the sheet began to rise--gradually--over her sleeping husband.
    When it had risen to a sufficient height, she put down the flageolet and, with a joyful cry, threw back the sheet.
    And there, standing straight in the air, was the drawstring of his pajamas.

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