My friend Jon had the annoying ability to do anything he put his mind to.
He wasn't a great student academically, but he was definitely a natural athlete, and he could do stuff easily, the kind of stuff that's hard to explain or hard to tell someone how to do.
For instance, he could do all the usual stuff that's hard for some people, and he could do it naturally, without thinking. He could whistle, including whistling through his teeth. He could juggle stuff; he could bounce a basketball or a tennis ball on his knees for hours if needed. He could ride a bike sitting backwards on the handlebars. He never seemed to get hurt because he naturally knew how to take a stumble or a fall. He would find stuff, cool stuff that no one else could find like rare Indian head nickels, lost rings, you name it.
It made me mad that he could do anything, but he was so nice about it that you had to like him. He was like this big muscular puppy, always smiling, easy going, loose-limbed, and too friendly to envy. But I envied him anyway.
He'd figured out a barefoot levitation trick we both saw on TV. The magician, naked save for a white towel around his waist, sat cross-legged and slapped his thighs sharply twice. When he lifted the towel up a bit, you could see he was sitting on air, just above the platform so the camera could show you there was nothing under him.
So Jon had gotten a white towel, taken his clothes and shoes and socks off and wrapped the towel around himself, slapped his thighs sharply twice and lifted the towel up a bit; he did the levitation trick perfectly. How on earth he did it I don't know, but he couldn't explain it. “I just got how to do it,” he said with a shrug, sitting cross-legged, not really in mid-air, but not really touching the floor. I rolled a marble under him, and it came out from under him on the other side.
“Come on, how do you do it?” I almost whined.
He looked at me not with annoyance but with a kind of patient impatience, and tried to find words for how he did it, as he sat there cross-legged.
“I think the guy on TV explained it when he said it was like sitting in your own lap, only your lap was invisible. Anyway, I just picture myself sitting in my own lap, like I have an invisible lap I'm sitting on.”
That seemed to make sense to me. That would be cool. Leave it to Jon to figure out the unfigurable and then just do it.
I thought how he would be even cooler.
“So, can you make your invisible lap visible?” I asked, almost a challenge. It would be like there would be something he actually couldn't do, if he couldn't do it, I thought.
“If I did that, I wouldn't be doing the levitation trick,” he said, “because the levitation is from the invisible part.”
“I know,” I said, “But could you do it anyway?”
“Sure,” he said. “But it wouldn't look like I'm levitating, and you couldn't like roll a marble under me because it would be solid, not invisible.”
“So how do you make it visible.”
“I dunno,” Jon said. “Let me try.”
So he draped the towel back over his legs so you couldn't see them, except where he left his thighs bare on top. He closed his eyes and slapped his thighs sharply three times, not two; He opened his eyes and lifted the white towel up. Sure enough, he was seated on his own lap, because there was another pair of crossed legs under him, the feet barefoot just like his first pair.
“I thought that would be the way to do it,” he said with a satisfied little smile. “Cool, huh?”
Cool wasn't the word for it. I tried not to gape at the second pair of legs. They were perfect, just like his originals. I envied him his second pair of legs, and I envied his four feet; they were so handsome.
“Uh, can you walk and everything with them?” I asked.
“No reason I couldn't, I'm pretty sure,” he said, and he dropped the towel and unfolded all four of his legs and without even struggling he leaned forward on his hands and got the four legs on their knees and stood up on all four of them. He quickly checked them all out, examining the soles of all four feet one by one.
“Hi-Yah!” he said to me, making a pretend karate move, and side-kicking me gently with both left legs, one after the other. I made a point of not looking, but he clearly had an extra penis with his extra pair of legs, I noticed.
He went down on his hands and kicked his four legs into the air, walking on his hands, using the four waving legs for balance. I forgot to mention that he could walk on his hands, another thing to hate him for. But it was amazing seeing him do it with four legs like that. He bent all four knees and arched his back and came over in a reverse somersault, landing on his four feet and standing upright on them again.
He looked so good with four of them I had to try again, I thought to myself.
“Can you still do the levitation trick with four legs?” I asked.
“I think so,” Jon said. “I just need a bigger towel.” He turned and walked his four legs over to the towel closet, stopped and picked out a large white bath towel, and came back and got into a crossed leg position again, crossing his back legs first and then sitting on them and crossing his front legs. He draped the towel over all four of his legs and reached behind his back and tied it together, then pulled it forward a bit off his four knees, exposing his top thighs, and tucked the rest of it around so it hid his lower legs. He gave his thighs the two quick sharp slaps, and lifted up the towel.
“See, I'm levitating,” he said, smiling that he could do it.
“OK, so try making the invisible lap visible like you did the first one,” I said.
“OK,” Jon said. He readjusted the towel so that it covered everything but his top thighs, and he gave them the three quick sharp slaps.
“Presto!” he said for effect, pulling the towel away and revealing six crossed legs. It was awesome. The six legs were perfect, and he had six perfect bare feet, all as handsome as the originals.
He got up and did an enormous six-legged cartwheel, the hindmost legs touching ground first, then the middle, then the first pair of legs as he landed on them, spreading his arms for balance and a flourish.
He gave me a playful look, and turned on one of his front feet, spinning his hind legs around and catching me in them!
“The leg-monster's got you!” he said, harmlessly pulling himself and I down, leaning back on his elbows as his six legs held me in their strong grasp. “There's no escape from the leg-monster!”
He was rolling his back, his six legs carrying me from side to side in their long grip on me, rolling me from side to side like a captured bug, back and forth, back and forth. I found two of his hind feet and started tickling them. Then I found another pair among the six legs locked around me, and tickled them instead.
“Stop, stop” he pretended to beg, but he squeezed me tighter in his six legs.
I laughed, but I came, too, because I was caught in the grip of his six legs, and it was really sexy!
“I really like you this way!” I said.
“Good, then I'll stay this way,” he said. I was so glad!