Mira Black delivered her audience an experience beyond the usual magic act. She gave them a combination of comedy and illusion while preparing them for the climax of her show that involved some of the most amazing escapes since Houdini graced the stage, She put her escapes near the end and it became the signature end to “Mira’a Night of Illusion.” Following a meteoric rise in popularity that included a successful tour, a spot on the Tonight Show, and an upcoming part in a Hollywood movie, she was returning to her home, the San Francisco Bay Area. Four other ladies were as excited as Mira for her homecoming. All five of the ladies had found success since their days at UC Berkeley, and this reunion was like getting five sisters together again.
The front and center table at Mira’s downtown show was like the sorority dinner table from college ten years before. Kyla and Lisa being inseparable and competitive, as they were both top notch athletes, and Natalie and Heather, equally as competitive in their respective fields. Mira had just flown in from LA and everyone met up at the show through the exchange of emails, message machines, and notes from secretaries.
Had someone from another table been watching the ladies she would have seen four very beautiful and confident friends getting reacquainted. She might have first noted the tallest, Lisa, who stood out with her blond hair and tanned swimmers body. She might have perceived the polite manners and well-bred charm of the banter between the equestrienne Natalie and her closest friend Heather. Finally, the group was completed by a local celebrity of sorts, Kyla Mirdad, who ran one of San Francisco’s premier climbing gyms and was recently in the local news for scaling El Capirtan fast enough to give the ladies record holder, Lynn Hill, a run for her money.
“Saw you on the news last week.” Lisa said.
“Everyone saw you, you looked great!” chimed in Heather.
Kyla gave a grin that both shy and confident as she looked up from her glass of white wine. Kyla’s short, dark hair was tousled, giving her the cute look of someone ten years younger than 31. Kyla did not have as much time as she would have liked to prepare for the evening and wore very nicely fitting black jeans with medium length heels. She’d spent most of the day in a climbing harness with a new client and changed quickly at the gym. On top she wore a white silk blouse that contrasted nicely with her jeans. Very subtle silk straps from her bra shared her toned shoulders with the straps from her blouse.
“Thanks.” Said Kyla, blushing. “Has anyone seen Mira yet?” she said quickly, shifting to focus of the conversation from her.
Everyone looked at each other and shook heads.
“Well,” said Kyla, “This performance should be fantastic, but I’m really looking forward to seeing your place afterwards.” Kyla said, gesturing her wine glass towards Natalie.
Natalie’s place in Sausalito was the chosen sight to spend the night after the show. A perfect place for five sorority sisters to catch up. The plan was to meet at the show, then catch the last ferry to spend the evening watching the lights of San Francisco from the comfort of Natalie’s beautiful home overlooking the bay.
An astute observer might have been able to make some accurate guesses about Natalie. Her love of horses and her equestrienne background showed in subtitles of her dress. Beginning with her black leather boots and continuing past the black, satin skirt she wore that was held by a lose fitting belt that had the symbol from her families ranch as the clasp. Natalie’s white button up blouse looked like one of her riding tops, but this was sleeveless and was covered by a sheer black sweater that had a small gold pin in the stylized shape of a horse with diamonds around the edges.
The lights finally dimmed and the observer from a table in the back would see the spotlight on Mira. Part of the appeal of her show was the magic and the humor, but the part the gentlemen in the audience really likes was the simply looking at her fantastic figure in black satin and lace as she commanded the stage. Her outfit was a form fitting black of her own creation. Her dark hair made her appear especially mysterious with the only color coming from her piercing green eyes and an equally brilliant green pendant that adorned her neck and teasingly hung down to her cleavage.
Mira gave a knowing look at her table of friends and lit up with a huge smile. Mira jumped into her act with the improv and illusions for which she had become known. She flirted and played with the audience the way a cat plays with a mouse that is under her control. As her act reached the crescendo she looked to the audience for volunteers.
“Now, what brave man or woman out there will help me with the final illusion of the night? I need someone strong!”
While almost every man in the place shot a hand into the air Mira knew who she would choose before she had ever walked on stage.
“Let’s have some applause for two of the ladies at this table up front.”
With that a spotlight flooded the four friend’s table with white. As Kyla, Heather, Natalie, and Lisa tried to both compose themselves and hide behind their drinks, Mira stepped from the stage and took Kyla and Natalie by their hands. As she returned up the two steps to the stage with her reluctant friends in tow, she turned to the audience.
“Some of you might have seen Kyla here in the news recently.”
Claps filled the auditorium as people in the audience did, indeed begin to recognize to local climber who just barely missed the “El Cap” record.
Natalie stood next to Kyla and Mira and tried to say out of the side of her mouth, “I’m gonna get you for this!” Mira’s friends squinted towards the crowd but saw only the bright white halo of the hot spotlight. So this was how it felt to be on this side of things?
As Kyla went to whisper to Mira, “What are you doing?” two of Mira’s stage assistants wheeled out tables with an amazing assortment of leather straps, handcuffs, ropes, and chains.
“As many of you know, Kyla here knows a thing or two about ropes. And, your name is?” Mira said with a lilt in her voice towards Natalie.
“Well, Nat Natalie …. Think you can tie a knot or two?”
“Natalie blushed and laughed, and finally said “Sure.”
This wasn’t so bad. Being on stage was getting easier as they both realized that it was difficult to even see the audience with all of the lights in their eyes.
Natalie, Mira, and Kyla took a few steps back to where Mira had some curtains on the stage.
“O.K., ladies and gentlemen. On these tables we have some things we picked up just this morning in the city from all over. Everything from rock climbing rope to handcuffs from the police department. Ladies, if you’d be so kind as to tie me with twice the amount you think it would take to hold me.”
Natalie and Kyla gave a smile to each other and laugh a little as they both remembered tying up pledges at their sorority in Berkeley ten years before. Natalie gathered all of the leather straps being familiar with the buckles and feel of them from her horseback riding. Kyla felt at home with several coils of rock climbing rope in her hands.
The sounds of claps and whistles sent the ladies to the task of tying their old friend. Clumsily and slowly at first Natalie sorted through the straps until she found a long leather belt with a silver buckle. This she wound around Mira’s arms, pinning them to her sides. It went twice around before the ends met again in the back where Natalie secured the buckle.
Now it was Kyla’s turn. Getting into her role she first took a pair of handcuffs and held them up. A man from the audience gave a loud whistle and then the handcuffs were closed around Mira's wrist from behind. First the right wrist, then the left.
”Not bad for a start.” Mira said to the audience.
“We’re just getting started.” Came the reply from Kyla.
Natalie and Kyla then helped Mira to sit down on the stage while they went to work on her legs. In the pile of leather restraints Natalie had found something that looked like leather handcuffs, These she used to secure Mira’s ankles together. Then another pair was used to secure her legs just below the knees. While Natalie went back to her table Kyla took over and would copious amounts of a very strong rock climbing rope around Mira’s thighs. At this point someone from the audience yelled out, “Hogtie!”
This was answered by applause while Mira sat on the stage smiling. “I said, ‘Give me your worst.”
Natalie hen returned from her table and helped Mira to roll over onto her tummy. With a handful of leather straps Natalie drew Mira’s now secure ankles up and ran on of the straps though the center of the anklecuffs. The other end went between the handcuffs and the end of the leather strap then found the buckle and was pulled tight.
“Is this O.K?” Natalie whispered to Mira.
“Keep it coming.” Mira whispered back.
Using another length of multicolored rock climbing rope, Kyla began to add rope around Mira’s wrists to compliment the handcuffs. First she wound it several times around Mira’s already cuffed wrists, then she went through Mira’s arms, wrapping the rope around the two links that separated the cuffs. When she finished she tied a climber’s figure eight knot and then took the remaining five feet of rope and wrapped Mira’s ankles around the cuffs. All of this was finished with a knot tied between the ankle cuffs, seemingly out of reach of Mira’s fingers, which pawed at the air.
“Is that the best you can do?” Mira challenged partly to her friends, and partly to the audience.
“Shouldn’t you keep you prisoner silent?” Mira added.
The guys in the audience clapped and whistled at this.
“Now, ladies and gentleman,” Mira said as she regarded her audience from her hogtied position on stage. “I will wager anyone out there that despite the obviously competent tie job done by Nat Natalie and Kyla, I’ll be out there with you in less than a minute.”
“I’ll take that bet!” Shouted someone from the audience. “Me too.” Came the chorus from others.
“O.K. ladies, now to silence me.”
With that Natalie had returned from her table with a leather strap that held at its center a red ball. Anyone who had seen “Pulp Fiction” knew that was a ball gag. Natalie let the red ball find Mira’s mouth and then reached behind her head where the straps were cinched tight behind her dark tresses. Not to be outdone, Kyla took a short length of climber’s rope and wound it several more time around finishing it off with a double knot.
As Kyla finished and stood up the assistants came from off stage and wheeled the tables back into the darkness. As Mira began a very gentle rocking back and forth as she tested the bonds tied by her friends the spotlights brightened a bit.
On queue there was a drum roll and dramatic music began building. In about five seconds, suddenly all of the lights went out. Not just the spotlights on the ladies but the candles on the tables and the dim lights around the perimeter of the auditorium as well. Before eyes could adjust and focus the drum roll and music reached a crescendo.
In no more than ten seconds all of the lights in the venue burst on at once.
There, on the stage, hoigtied side by side, were Natalie and Kyla. Natalie looked completely stunned as she lie on her tummy completely immobilized by the same leather straps she had used on Mira. Leather straps held her boots together at the ankles and her wrists were inseparable behind her back. Kyla was also bound hand and foot, struggling in her back jeans and white blouse against climbing ropes she had secured on her friend only moments ago. Natalie tried to say something, but was silenced by the same leather strap and red ball she had used on Mira, while Kyla was effectively silenced by the rope she had added to the gag.
In the front row, Mira Black sat in Kyla’s vacant chair with her legs casually crossed and resting on Natalie's empty seat. She was completely free and she took a sip of Kyla’s white wine as the audience, first stunned by the speed of events, erupted into applause. Everyone in the audience began to stand a clap, everyone except for one mysterious lady at a table in the back.