12 September 2014

Published September 10, 2014 by rochellewisoff

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Below is the PHOTO PROMPT. Take time to think and reflect. How does it make you feel? What do you see? 

Copyright - Janet Webb

Copyright – Janet Webb

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Genre: Smoke and Mirrors

Word count: 100


            “Things were supposed to be better in America,” said Rabbi Weiss. “’Too old fashioned’ the congregation I built says, and just like that, I’m a pauper with nine mouths to feed.”

            “It’s because you don’t speak English, Papa.” Ehrich looked up from his book.

            “What’s this you’re reading?”

            “The Book of the Sacred Magic.

            “Better you should study the Torah.”

            “That didn’t do you much good, did it?”

            “Impudence! To your room!”

            Half an hour later Ehrich strolled into the parlor smiling triumphantly.

            “How?” Rabbi Weiss gasped. “I locked you in.”  

            “My brain is the key that sets me free.”     




Click link for more info- Harry Houdini 1899

Houdini quote

130 comments on “12 September 2014

    • Dear Sandra,

      Why write literally for the prompt? Actually I started out in a more literal vein but it didn’t work. Somehow this is where the research trail took me. Thank you for your affirming words.




  • I love that, and the clip. At first I thought it was from Now You See Me as Michael Caine is in that as well. If you get the chance to see it, it’s awesome and it shows you how the tricks are done.


  • Someone has been watching the Houdini special on the History Channel…Mmm? I thought it was awesome!!! He was truly a remarkable man. Isn’t it interesting how he died? I also loved The Prestige. Did you happen to see The Illusionist? It was in theaters at the same time. I liked it a little better because it wasn’t as dark. That stuff fascinates me… I have seen David Copperfield 3 times! 🙂
    Your story was awesome and well done…. loved your subject!! Courtney~


  • I don’t have a blog yet so I’m placing my story here:
    Title: Not In The Frame
    Word Count: 100

    What’s missing in this reflection? Me, of course. It’s always me. The angle is never right. I am always out of the picture. Georgia, sweet Georgia. Your burnt golden hair waltzes in the breeze as those intense green eyes gaze upon me. Something thickens in my throat. My breath shortens. My pulse pounds in my ears. Then, awareness. Behind me, Blake. He’s the focus of your attention. I am but an obstacle. I bury my face in my hands.

    Kojo, I love your musical accent. I long to touch your smooth, ebony cheek. Why will you never hold my stare.



    • Dear John,

      Lovely writing although I was a little confused by the switch at the end to Kojo. I must be missing something.

      Two things…three actually. First, welcome to Friday Fictioneers. Second, you won’t get too many reads or comments posting your story in my comment section and third, I’d really prefer you didn’t post here.

      It appears you have a WordPress site. Please post your next story there.

      Thank you.




    • Dear Alicia,

      No I haven’t had a chance to watch Houdini yet. I wrote this before I knew of the program. Can’t wait to watch it, though. I’ve recorded it and am waiting for the right time. Timing is everything, isn’t it?

      Thank you.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    I maintain that if you had taught history to me in school, I would have loved it much earlier in my life than I did. Love the story, what I learned from it, and the visit with you and your friends.

    I have a book recommendation for you: “He, She, and It” by Marge Piercy. It was published in 1991. I think you would enjoy the story of the Maharal in 1600’s and the way it unfolds into a dystopian future. It is not a gloomy read, though the subject matter can suggest that. I personally wouldn’t have found the book without the book club I belong to on Goodreads.


  • Great story! I tried my hand at this, but always seem to go right over 100 words. Hopefully one day and with more practice, I’ll be able to successfully keep it at the 100 word limit. Thanks for the great photo prompt!


  • I love where these prompts take you… even if I can’t begin to figure out how it happened! How? How did this photo take you to this wonderful story? The links were the kind of bonus I’ve come to really appreciate with you. 🙂 Shabbat Shalom, Rochelle.


    • Dear Dawn,

      You just asked my favorite question to be asked. Great sentence that, eh?

      When I chose this photo I first went to ‘history of glass–boring. My next thought was ‘smoke and mirrors’ so I went to magicians in history. I came up with Alexander Herrmann and his wife Adelaide. Both interesting illusionists and started to look for a story there. They did do an act where he made her disappear and reappear in a mirror. I just couldn’t find a real story there.

      Then I went to the most famous of all (to me anyway) Harry Houdini. When I found out he was the son of an Eastern European rabbi it was a done deal. Hence you’ll note my ‘genre.’ 😉

      As always I learn a lot. It was only after I wrote this story that I was made aware of the Adrian Brody mini series on the history channel. I’ve recorded it but haven’t watched it yet.

      And there you have it…that’s how this Yiddishe Kopf works. Aren’t you glad you asked?

      Shabbat Shalom,



  • Dear Clara (deer slayer) Barton,
    I’ve always been fascinated by Houdini. I remember reading a biography about him when in Jr. High. (Harry was still a kid then himself). He would have loved this piece.


  • Hi Rochelle,

    This was entirely too much fun! I’ve always enjoyed watching magic shows and studying up on Houdini. Very interesting guy. Great take on the prompt, too!

    Take care,


    • Dear Jackie,

      My favorite bits of history are the most obscure. 😉 I really did write this flash before I knew anything of the recent History Channel movie. I felt so validated when I watched it yesterday.

      Again…Welcome back!!!!!



      Liked by 1 person

  • Houdini’s life is fascinating. It seems he was born to be a magician. It’s so interesting that religion competed with magic, and that he came from such a strong religious background. I would never have guessed that. Such a refreshing and creative take, Rochelle. Truly magical!


    • Dear Amy,

      Houdini’s life was fascinating. Not much is said in the articles I found about his religious upbringing although we can certainly imagine, being a rabbi’s son, that there was plenty of religion to go around. 😉

      Thank you.




    • Dear Margirene,

      We all begin as children don’t we? I wonder things like that. What makes some of us grow up to be monsters and others creative and loving? And sometimes within the same families.

      Thank you.




  • Dear Rochelle (History Mistress)

    I loved this story, as I do all your historical fiction.
    We have a tv programme about Houdini on at the moment, so it was great to get his early life that wasn’t covered by the programme.


    Well done as always

    Take care



  • Every time I read something of yours, I learn something new. I guessed it was Houdini right away, but didn’t know his real name, and that led me to look him up and find out more about him.
    I really liked your story, and the last line is perfect. (I also enjoyed the Yiddish-flavored grammar of the old rabbi when he says, “Better you should…”)


    • Dear Hilary,

      Claire’s one of the top writers in this group. She was part of it before I came aboard.

      I’ll warn you, though, this is highly addictive. Once you start it’s hard to stop. 😉

      Thank you.




      • Thank you for the encouragement. Re the addiction, I feared as much. Each time a read one, I think – when I have this or that project out of the way… I shall probably continue to dangle my feet in the water for a while yet, but will eventually jump in.


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