Chapter One: Slow Acting Magic
Tuesday April 22nd, 5.30pm
I’m Louis – full name, Louis the Laugh.
I’ve only one talent – making people laugh. And I’ve dreamt of being a comedian since I was an amoeba.
Right now I’m at school of course - yawn yawn – but on Sunday afternoons I’ve been appearing on a vlog. You’ll never guess which one! Prepare to be impressed.
Noah and Lily’s vlog.
They’re huge, aren’t they? I mean, over three million teenagers have watched them cleaning their teeth.
Well, I’ve popped up at the end of some of their vlogs. You might even have seen me. I’m the cheeky-looking boy with a head shaped like an onion who helps kids with their problems and tells jokes.
Recently Noah and Lily even let me join in one of their pranks. I was slapped across the face with a wet fish. I can’t tell you how proud I felt. Shortly afterwards they skyped me...
‘You’re so funny Louis and we really, really, like you,’ said Lily.
I beamed and quipped, ‘I can understand that.’ (I’m one of those people who has to make a joke about everything) ‘So we’re going to miss you so much,’ said Noah.
I stopped beaming. Miss me! But I wasn’t going anywhere. Only they were. They were leaping off to do a whole series of special interviews and pranks right across America.
‘I’ve got a passport,’ I laughed (Hint, hint). Noah and Lily chortled merrily. ‘And a good friend of mine – Poppy, who’s an ace conjurer – is in America right now with her granddad doing some shows. I’m sure I could stay with them. So you needn’t worry about my accommodation or my meals, or my washing...’
Noah and Lily laughed and laughed, then said they really had to go now...
‘Well, it’s a brilliant chance for you both,’ I croaked. ‘How long will you be away?’ They didn’t know. Months and months anyway.
Keep watching our show, won’t you?’ called Noah, just before they vanished out of my life.
Afterwards I sat there for ages in a kind of shocked daze.
Finally I told Maddy, my agent – and girlfriend. She was dead stunned too, but then she said. ‘Louis, I’ll never forget the way you looked when Noah and Lily slapped that wet fish into your face. You were hilarious. And I’m so not letting a talent like that go to waste.’
Two days later Maddy found out about ‘Make me Laugh,’ a new talent show for young comedians. The producer, Marcus Capel was doing auditions all over the country (‘I could be in your town next week,’) But he also invited kids to send in three minute audition tapes to give him a ‘flavour of your personality.’
Maddy and I spent a whole weekend capturing my flavour and then we waited eagerly for Marcus Capel to reply. One massive week crashed by. And another … NOTHING.
There was, of course, only one explanation. My tape must have got lost in the post. So Maddy and I made another one and sent this off, by recorded delivery (ingenious or what? )
Here I’m going to briefly interrupt my story to let you in on a secret which no one – not even Maddy knows about. I was so desperate for Marcus Capel to reply. I made a wish.
I wished very quietly. ‘If there’s any magic out there in the world, let me hear from Marcus Capel.’
I don’t actually believe in magic but there were so many books about wizards and all that carry on, I figured it was worth a go, just in case. Anyway, absolutely nothing happened.
UNTIL THIS AFTERNOON.
It was the last day of the Easter holidays and Maddy and I had been to London where we’d met up with her two older sisters, Vicky and Zoe. They’d taken us out for a truly epic meal. We’d caught the train back and were slowly trudging out of the station – we’d both eaten far too much – when a loud, confident voice said to us.
‘Will you excuse me folks?’ A guy with a hipster beard and wearing an open necked white shirt and a velvet jacked bounced past us – while lugging two hefty suitcases. A woman and a boy about my brother, Elliot’s age (seven) trailed after him.
‘What do you bet, that man’s an actor?’ said Maddy.
‘He even looks a bit familiar,’ I said.
We watched him stride purposefully over to a car parked next to the taxis.
‘I believe you are expecting me,’ he said.
‘That’s class,’ I murmured to Maddy, ‘having a car waiting just for you.’
Then his name swept across the station. ‘I’m Marcus Capel.’
That was so incredible it felt like well... magic. Slow acting magic. I’d put my request in weeks ago.
But just think, if Maddy and I had caught an earlier or later train, we would have missed Marcus Capel. Instead, our timing was magically perfect.
‘He must be doing auditions,’ I spluttered. ‘We’ve got to find out where.’
Maddy didn’t answer. She just stood there with her mouth slightly open, looking exactly as if someone had cast a spell over her. Then all at once she shook herself and said. ‘We mustn’t lose him.’
The next thing I knew Maddy was charging after Marcus Capel. For a crazy moment I actually thought she was going to dive into his car with him. But instead she jumped into the back of the taxi next to Marcus Capel’s car.
I hurtled after her. The driver twisted his head round and stared at us curiously.
‘Follow that car,’ said Maddy.
‘I’ve always wanted to say that,’ I murmured.
As as we took off, I asked, ‘Maddy, what exactly are we doing?’
‘Following Marcus Capel of course,’ she added, ‘What do you bet he’s going to a hotel. Probably the Belle Vue, that’s the poshest hotel around here.’
So then what do we do?’ I persisted.
Maddy was indignant. ‘How do I know. I can’t think of everything at once, can I?’
What will Louis and Maddy do next?
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