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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How To Be A Thief - Chapter 7.5

"What can go wrong, will go wrong." Over the years, this simple adage has come to be recognized as a law, and even more than just a law, but as Murphy's Law. It has proven itself time and time again, as countless magicians, engineers, cat burglars, performers and explorers can attest to. People have even come to add variations, corollaries and addenda to the law. A common magician's corollary says that any spell which seems to be a dud will inevitably go off at your mother-in-law's at the most inopportune time. Likewise, a famous cat burglar was quoted as saying, "The one trap you didn't plan for will always be the one you run into 20 feet from your mark."

Few people realize that Murphy himself had nothing to do with all of this. However, even though he did not make the law, there is a simplicity to it that he always found charming. If Murphy had a law at all, it would be, "That which Fate wants to do, Fate will do." Either that, or "Never bet against the blind man at 6-card flop."

One of the best examples of Murphy's Law was unfolding along the busy streets of Kell, right before the eyes of Miss Ruby. Ruby was known far and wide as the friendliest tavern wench above the age of 30 in the kingdom (though no one would ever admit this to her face). She had been sitting outside The Saucy Saucer for half an hour, waiting for the tavern owner to come around so they could discuss her pay. Ruby always made it a point to be fashionably late, but her boss always made it a point to promptly forget any important meetings until an hour after he should have been there. Strangely enough, it always worked out for them. They often had meetings to discuss her pay, but this time, as her boss approached, a rotund man with a permanent blush, something was different. Ruby was watching some scaffolding folding in on itself a block up with intense interest.

"Well Rube, what is it this time? Another pay raise? You know that coffee isn't going to pour itself." the round man said.

"What? Oh.. yeah… say, Mr. Goldberg, what do you suppose that is?" Ruby pointed up the street as a ladder teetered on two legs and fell over, hitting a fruit cart and causing the large melons to go flying every which way. One of the melons, a rather large, green thing with a rough rind, rolled down the middle of the street in front of the two onlookers.

"That's a watermelon," Mr. Goldberg replied.

"Yeah, yeah, but I mean.. this whole thing…" As the watermelon rolled down the street, it collided with a small boy on a bicycle, causing him to veer off course and run into a wall. The resulting collision knocked a potted plant off a window sill several feet up. As the pot shattered on the ground, a single shard of pottery launched itself with incredible precision, hitting a young man squarely in the back of the head, which made him stumble and run into a nearby barrel. Water poured out of the barrel and down the street, washing several rat-like clumps of dirt towards a group of young women. The screams which followed made a carpenter lose his footing and knock over an entirely new set of scaffolding a block down the street from the two onlookers.

"That? I'd say it's one o' them things we just don't get involved with, Rube," Goldberg said. Off in the distance, the sound of clattering wood, screams, and even an explosion or two could be heard as the city-wide domino effect snaked its way throughout the town. Murphy was rather proud of his work.

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