They gave him a new lease of life before the old one had quite run out. With every conquest his legend grew. Only someone with his popular touch and ebullience could’ve elicited so little envy and so much admiration for his constant success. It’s hard to say where the Magic began and ended in Demetrio’s life. Were his muscles Magic since he developed them hauling in one huge marlin after another? Were his sexual feats down to Magic because chicks liked the look of him? Was his continuing popularity in the village the result of Magic as being such an unfailing hit with the ladies gave him a unique kind of generous outlook on things?

In Aurelia’s life, on the other hand, the Magic didn’t even begin. Her coffers were full to the brim.                        

 

 My parents stayed in the village another year, during which I was born. The first thing mom did was that she tested me, as per the procedure outlined in her book. When a candle lit in another room after I sneezed on being tickled in the nose with a merlin feather, she was happy. Well, not right away. She repeated the whole thing another couple times just to make sure, ’cause she had to keep on running back and forth and trusted dad neither with the tickling nor the candle-watching. I reckon this might’ve been when I took against Magic.

One thing she did do right was put her foot down when it came to naming me. All first-born sons in dad’s family had always been given their father’s name.

All of that year mom and her long-subdued sister in spirit and law got up to high jinxes in town. Once Aurelia had shaken off her amazement at the world that had come knocking with Juno she opened the door wide, and caught up pretty quick. The tormenting of men became the overriding theme in her tricks. More flapping tail fins hit groins, wrestlers’ knees slipped and bowls of hot chowder tipped over with a neat aim in those twelve months than in the preceding ten decades since the village’s foundation. The birth rate would fall by half in the next two years.

Things came to a head with the abandoning of work on a new lighthouse, a revolutionary structure for its day in the village, made from nothing but that newfangled concrete. The men folk’s pride and joy. Thing was, though, the stuff wasn’t all it had been cracked up to be. Sometimes it ran like the rum that was on tap at the building site, sometimes it wouldn’t even pour. And when the walls were finally up they started to move. Twist. Wriggle. Make funny shapes. Some guy swore the second-level floor stuck a tongue out at him. After it kicked him in the cojones. You get the idea. It was easier to go back to waiting for the sardines to grow.

The ball-busting floor was a stunt too far, though. It brought back Rolf.