"I have cured baldness," the bald magician proclaimed.
"I don't believe you," shouted a woman, the only audience member.
"A natural reaction, madam," the magician admitted to his sole spectator. "But there's no need to take my word for it. Let your eyes tell you the truth."
"Please don't call me madam, Geoffrey," the woman said.
"Please don't call me Geoffrey, madam," he replied. "It's taken me nearly 40 years to perfect this trick.”
"You're 42, Geoffr—“
"Voilà!" he interrupted, producing a top hat from behind his back.
The woman regarded it dubiously. "You can't wear that all the time, you know. You'll ruin it," she said.
"You mistake me, my good madam! This hat does not conceal baldness, but cures it! I shall not wear it all the time, but only once, and forever if I must."
"That's the same thing, dear," she said, shifting her focus toward the couch’s throw pillows, which she began to rearrange absentmindedly.
The magician held the velveteen top hat above his head, gazing into its dark, mysterious depths. He tilted his chin back down to stare at the woman. "Behold, madam!"
"Okay," she said, not looking up, unable to decide whether to swap the red and blue pillows or leave them alone.
"Ahem! Madam, behold!" he commanded again.
She still stared at the cushions.
He sighed in exasperation. "Mom, look!" he cried.
"What is it, honey?" she said, finally sitting up and facing him.
Afraid she might look away again, he plopped the top hat down on his head without flourish or aplomb. Almost instantly, he felt an itching sensation all over his scalp. His face convulsed through a series of mad expressions.
As the hat atop the magician’s head began to twist and turn, rollicking upwards as the rapidly growing hair erupted from long-dormant follicles, his mother once again began fluffing the cushions. Curtains of hair descended from beneath the hat's brim, obscuring his eyes, dangling over his nose, and even brushing his shoulders. Finally, with a triumphant cry, he removed the hat, suffering a minor coughing fit as he inhaled a lock of hair.
"Pretty good trick, huh, Mom?"
“What now, Geoffrey?” his mother asked as she casually glanced up at her now behaired son. "Oh my. I'll call Darla at the salon immediately. She'll neaten you right up."
“But what about the trick, Mom?”
“What about it, dear?”