After lunch, the teacher asks: “Children, is it possible to make something invisible and, if so, how might you achieve that?”
This, for once, interests him. His current life goal is to be a close-up conjuror at weddings.
“Invisibility cloak?” suggests Ollie, who is stupid.
The teacher’s smile flickers. Quite rightly, she rarely has time for Ollie’s nonsense.
Briony, an aspiring physicist, says, “You could project a live feed of what’s behind you onto the front of you?”
The teacher nods: very good.
Simon doesn’t think that would work; we don’t have the technology. Lag. He considers raising his arm in challenge, but no. He’s not sure he knows more than Briony about this.
“Any other ideas?”
He decides against any contribution. He’s aware, as Ollie wasn’t, that this question about magic is unlikely to be a question about magic: it’s a ruse, to get them interested in something that will end up being boring. The back of Ollie’s head is within smacking distance. Instead, he picks at the button on his sleeve; yanks the thread gently until the button drops with an inconsequential clatter.
He looks out of the window at the playground and the two crows outside on the playground, who don’t know he’s watching them: one next to football goalposts, the other by the bins. He knows they’re crows, not blackbirds or ravens, because of the beak and the size. Crows are predators and scavengers, which means they will eat anything.
Nobody offers any more suggestions. The discussion moves on to light beams. As he suspected, this is all just going to be about science.
Shielding with his arm, he gouges a line into the desk with his pencil.
He does know the answer, though: to make something invisible, you simply remove everybody’s eyes except your own.
Michael Conley is a poet and prose writer from Manchester, UK. His first prose collection, Flare and Falter, was published by Splice and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize.