The Miser's DreamIt’s Inventory day! Hooray! (I’m trying to start out with a good attitude).

  • Thumb Tips – 20 (that seems like a lot)
  • Dove Pans – 4 (when was the last time we sold a dove pan?)
  • Invisible Thread – 30 reels (how can you count ’em, they’re invisible? Ha!)

Clearly, the process of Inventory is scrambling my brain. And that good attitude didn’t last long, did it?

In my 30-odd years of hanging out in the Chicago Magic shop (near the corner of 48th and Chicago in South Minneapolis), I can count on one hand the number of times my Uncle Harry did a complete inventory of the store. And who can blame him? The place is packed to the gills with magic tricks, illusions and other sundry knick-knacks. Consequently, the process of organizing the disorganized jumble is daunting at best.

Yet, here I am, thrust into the midst of it, for reasons that are still not entirely clear to me.

  • Flash Paper – 40 packs. (Package says “Keep away from open flames.” Are they kidding?)
  • Chinese Linking Rings – 3 sets (still the most boring trick in the world, but I’m here to count, not editorialize)
  • Papercreme Fingertip Moistener – 6 tins

This last one produces an involuntary shudder, and it takes me a moment to remember why. It was a remnant of a conversation with the elusive and frightening Mr. Lime, who once threatened to stop by the store and pick up a tin. Mercifully, that has yet to happen.

Apparently, the process of inventorying the store’s stock can’t help but push one into a personal self-inventory. I think it goes with the territory.

Already in a groove, and wishing to avoid actual work for as long as possible, I continued with an inventory of myself–Eli Marks–in my current (disorganized) state:

  • Thirty-four but looks younger (could easily pass for 32, often mistaken for 36)
  • Making a handsome living as a professional magician (if handsome equals barely getting by)
  • Happily divorced
  • Semi-engaged to a fledgling psychic (nothing official, engagement-wise, but it’s sort of understood between us. Or not. Hmmm. I should check into this.)
  • Occasionally finds himself at crime scenes before they’ve officially been designated as crime scenes (this is a bad habit and I should stop doing it)
  • Currently in the early stages of an Inventory project at the store, without the help of Harry Marks, its longtime proprietor. And why is that? Why am I the one doing all the work? There’s a story behind that, believe you me.

To learn why Eli is stuck with the enormous task of store inventory, check out his latest adventure:The Miser’s Dream, the third book in the “Eli Marks” mystery series, coming from Henery Press on October 27th. The first two books in the series are The Ambitious Card and The Bullet Catch.

About The Miser’s Dream

A casual glance out his apartment window turns Magician Eli Marks’ life upside down. After spotting a dead body in the projection booth of the movie theater next door, Eli is pulled into the hunt for the killer. As he attempts to puzzle out a solution to this classic locked room mystery, he must deal with a crisis of a more personal nature: the appearance of a rival magician who threatens not only Eli’s faith in himself as a performer, but his relationship with his girlfriend.

But the killer won’t wait and starts taking homicidal steps to bring Eli’s investigation to a quick and decisive end. Things get even worse when his magician rival offers his own plausible solution to the mystery. With all the oddball suspects gathered together, Eli must unveil the secrets to this movie-geek whodunit or find himself at the wrong end of the trick.


GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Wednesday, November 4 for the chance to win a print copy of The Miser’s Dream. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films. His blog, “Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts” has been named “One of the 50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers” and “One of The 100 Best Blogs For Film and Theater Students.” He’s also written for TV and the stage. John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

Visit John Facebook and on Twitter.

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