Category Archives: Butch and the Illusionist

Butch and the Illusionist (Part 2)


Butch and the Illusionist (Part 2)

“A disguise?” Paisley queried. “You planning another job? Not this train, I hope.”

“Relax, nothing worth taking on this one,” Cassidy said as he turned to his sidekick and gestured for them to leave.

The Sundance Kid stood up, “Come on Etta, let’s get a drink while the boss talks.”

Butch and Paisley watched as Longabaugh and Place passed a drunk entering from the next car. He stumbled down the aisle, a flask of whiskey in hand. As the man got closer Paisley recognized him. Arlo Arbuckle, an old magician who’d been on the circuit for years before Paisley had arrived in the new world. Rumour had it he was once a highly regarded wizard.

Arbuckle raised his flask when he recognized Paisley. Jamison nodded back.

“He with you?” Butch asked as he watched the man drop into a seat three rows away.

“Coincidence, just an old wizard I know. He’s more about the drink than magic these days.”

Butch turned back to Paisley, “You know, I’ve done some things but I’m not getting any younger. Harry and I are looking to head south, like South America south. maybe Argentina or somewhere no one will find us. Etta’s getting tired of the fugitive life and Harry promised to settle down, maybe do some ranching.”

“So why the disguise?”

“You know, Harry will be fine but out there but the Pinkerton Detective Agency won’t let me rest.”

“So you want a new identity? Leave Robert Parker behind in America?”

“Something like that but I need to be dead or they will keep hunting. Even now they are getting ready to meet us when we disembark in New York.”

“I’m sure I can conjure up something crude to get you through the crowd undetected. Once we are somewhere I can work we can do something a little more permanent. You’ll be a new man by the time you board passage to Buenos Aries.”

“No Jamison, I need something permanent. America needs to believe that Butch Cassidy of the notorious Wild Bunch is dead or in prison. I want my end posted on the front page of every ink-stained rag in the Union.

“What did you have in mind, Butch?”

“I want you to conjure up a perfect copy of me, identical in every way. The slightest irregularity will sow a seed of doubt. When I, well my doppelganger, gets off this train the Pinkertons need to believe it’s me and the minute that unsuspecting sod flinches… well you can figure the rest out for yourself.”

“You are asking me to sacrifice another passenger? I’ve done some messed up shit Butch but even if it were possible, which it is not, I’d be sentencing someone to death out on that platform.”

“…and I’d slip out the back a changed man, free, never to rob another train or take another life again.” He placed a satchel full of enough money to take me back to Europe, or across the world to Australia on the seat across from him. I’d be able to escape the restrictive laws America places on witches and warlocks. Go somewhere I could use all of my talents. I’d be free.

To be continued…

Butch and the Illusionist

Part 3 Coming Soon >>

Credits and Additional Information

Butch and the Illusionist (Part 1)

Butch and the Illusionist (Part 1)

The colours of fall blurred across the cabin window as the endless landscape streaked past. Jamison Paisley held a whiskey, poured neat of course, in his right hand. Sitting quietly in the last coach as it swayed gently from side to side, the tail of an iron dragon belching smoke and steam into an endless country sky. The rhythmic click of truck-on-rail soothing his frayed nerves as he drifted back and forth from consciousness to meditative trance.

Earlier in the day Paisley had received a telegram with instructions to catch the 9:47 am to New York. This was not a request, the ticket was waiting at the station. Paisley threw together an overnight bag and headed to Union Depot. Hard to believe Cleveland was once home to the largest railway station in the Union before Grand Central opened in New York.

Paisley was a tall man, six-one, six-six including top hat, with longish black hair and a well-manicured beard. He’d considered shaving it clean off; it seemed every run-of-the-mill magician was sporting one these days and if he was anything it wasn’t a conformist. Sure, he’d played the grandest of venues in his time, entertaining kings and queens, and dining with emperors and czars for almost nine centuries. An accomplished mage, he also plied his trade along the fringes, sometimes working with those skirting, or outright ignoring the law. He’d learned long ago that these types were not a patient lot.

Jamison noted the number “22” emblazoned on the coach’s exterior as he boarded. He perambulated the aisle and carefully examined each row before arriving at the last. Sitting in the aisle seat facing the front of the train was a deliberate choice, It gave him a full view of the cabin and anyone entering through the gangway door at the far end. A whoosh of cold air blew in from behind and a moment later a man in a long black coat and cowboy hat dropped into the rear-facing seat across the aisle.

“Robert Leroy Parker.” Paisley glanced at the antique pocket watch he’d received as a gift from King Leopold I, it read 13:00, matching exactly the telegram he’d received earlier. Well actually, 1:00pm but the telegraph utilized a 24-hour clock.

“Shhh, keep that under your hat, you and my Mama are the only ones who know who that is.”

“I see you are right on time, Butch.”

“You know, when you rob trains punctuality is important. I’m kind of a stickler for that sorta thing.”

“I guess so, what can….” Paisley stopped mid-sentence to watch a tall well groomed man with a cool drink of water on his arm make their way down the aisle and into the seat across from Cassidy.

“Jamison, you know Harry Longabaugh…” the Sundance Kid tipped his hat as Cassidy continued, “and this is his girl Etta.”

Paisley smiled, tipping his hat to the lady and then turning back to Butch, “What can I do for you Robert?”

“I need you to cook up a disguise,” he said.

To be continued…

Butch and the Illusionist

Part 2 Coming Soon >

Credits and Additional Information