Melvyn was rapidly approaching the end of the second act of his show. Dora could always tell by the swell of oohing and aahing that inevitably accompanied the dancing card routine. It was a flourish that Mel did better than anyone else; Dora saw other magicians flick cards almost five feet up in the air and have it precisely boomerang back, but only Mel could practically juggle four or five them in perfect synchronicity. Dora dutifully counted to forty-six potatoes every time, but she didn’t need to anymore, really. She could tell by ear how the crowd’s appreciation rose and peaked in near audible gasps.
Forty-four…forty-five…gasp…and Dora slammed the large red button to her right to release the doves. In the instant transforming applause, she casually went back to dusting Ahab. In the next second, as always, the right phalanx of stage assistants brushed past, bitching–as always–at the frenzied rush of the dove release.
“Jesus, I swear I felt one of them let me have it”
“Well, he practically flings them out. Whaddaya expect?”
Ahab and Dora swiveled insouciantly around as the stage assistants rushed past in their high-feathered headdresses. Always the same complaints. Ahab went back to licking his paws as Dora gave him a final whisk.
“All right, Ahab. It’s showtime.”
Ahab whimpered and purred as Dora lifted the slate-grey tabby and placed him at the head of the chute. She reached for the catnip ball in her tote bag to the left and flung it past him.