For a synopsis of the book and corroborating documents, please start here:Setting the Stage
I am going to spoil things up front by telling you that this entire story is actually about a very cheap magic trick, one that is so chintzy and so simplistic that perhaps only a five year old would be truly impressed with it. The fact that the magician had the gall to perform it on a world stage with an international audience of adults, is itself the most amazing part of the story.
Although the performance was basic, the tall tales that have sprung from it, told around campfires till this day…makes that performance a complete and utter masterpiece of the magical deception arts. After all, it is every magician’s dream that their magic be remembered long after the curtain has fallen.
Equally amazing is that the magician only cared to really impress one particular audience member. Now realize this was a very important audience member, one whose name you would readily recognize if you have achieved any education above the sixth grade. His name was Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, known to the world as the infamous Soviet leader – Joseph Stalin. For the remainder of this story, I will simply call him Uncle Joe.
Now coincidentally, I have a real Uncle Joe in my family, and I apologize to him a millions time over that I am using his dear name as the shortened label for a brutal dictator, but real Uncle Joe is from Chicago, a retired cop and tough as nails with a thick Chicago beat skin. I pray to God his service revolver retired with him, at least before our next family get together.
Oh yes, let me not forget to tell you who the magician is. Well, actually that is going to be kind of tricky, because in fact there were many magicians who were part of the performance. From a distance they appeared as one crisp starched white shirt and one silk black top hat and cape, but in reality a multitude of performers took the stage.
These many magicians did have one commonality – they belonged to the same magician’s guild – a very special guild - international in its nature, and funded by the citizens of its charter member countries. Unlike the egocentric super magi one would encounter today in Las Vegas with slicked back hair and chiseled chins gracing super billboards on the strip, this guild of magicians preferred to hide behind a mask of anonymity, preferring their audience be focused on the performance and not on the performer. For the purpose of this story I will simply call that magician’s guild - Rosetta.