‭The stage was less than a block from the royal palace.  Peasants, merchants, and nobles alike gathered to watch Peter Michael defy natural laws for his audience.  Three little boys, inhabitants of the apartment next to Peter's, walked through the crowd with hats, collecting money.  Peter payed them five pounds each, a large sum for a small amount of work.
‭    "You are so generous!" their mother would say.
‭    "Please don't insult me," Peter would reply.
‭    The crowd jammed themselves into the courtyard around the stage, packed in so tightly that police were required just to quell muggers.  The Duke's balcony rose across the courtyard from the stage, and, during performances, was always full of upper class ladies and gentlemen.  Even those of higher standing couldn't turn down the Duke's invitation to see his favorite performer.
‭    Peter had become famous throughout London as the "perfect" magician, sometimes known as Peter the Infallible.  Cult-like followers began to follow him after shows, but he ignored them.  Women had even began to bring their sick children to him, hoping for a healer.  He often told them to save their money and get a better doctor.  The women never gave up hope, however, and Peter Michael became one of the most popular figures in London gossip.
‭    A group of middle class girls followed Peter almost every day, hoping to marry into notoriety.  They soon concluded that Peter only inhabited three locations.  The first was his small apartment, which was located nearly two blocks south of his performance stage.  The second was the Duke's courtyard, where he performed.  The third was a small restaurant, attached to a pub near his apartment.  He spent up to three hours every day eating lunch in the restaurant, speaking to the old men who sat around in the restaurant and pub telling stories.  He performed on Tuesdays and Fridays, scheduled by the Duke, and he spent the rest of his time locked away in his apartment.
‭    One of the young girls who followed Peter once said to him before a show, "Mr. Michael, I heard some ladies discussing that you are a Saint of Heaven."
‭    "Do Saints saw men in half?" Peter replied.  "Because that's what I'm about to do onstage."  And saw he did.  Though of course the man ended up in one piece by the time the show ended.
‭    In one show, following a particularly miraculous trick, a woman jumped onto the stage and wildly proclaimed, "this man is Jesus!"  Two of the men hired by Peter to carry props quickly escorted the woman offstage.  He called out to the woman, "Jesus?  Haven't seen him in a while.  But maybe you should ask Cardinal Blackwell," pointing to the Cardinal seated on the Duke's balcony, "he sees Him quite frequently."
‭    Peter then produced the woman's purse from beneath his coat.  "Don't forget this, ma'am."  The crowd roared.

The End

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