RIIIIING. The class bells ring to signal the end of the school day for Timmy and his classmates. Mrs. Clark, the boys’ sixth grade teacher, is in the middle of a vocabulary lesson, but as soon as the bell rings everyone rushes out the door. She sets her chalk down on the desk and waves goodbye to everyone as they head home. Timmy and his best friend, Ben, hop on their bikes and start their ride home.
Every day, the boys drive past Merlin’s Magic Shop on the way back from school. Today when Timmy and Ben ride past the store, Timmy sees something new in the window. It appears to be an old box. Wooden, a little worn in, but it still looks like something special.
The boys go inside to ask someone about the box. Towards the back of the store there is an older gentleman stocking the shelves. The gentleman sees the boys looking his way and he begins to head towards Timmy and Ben.
“How do you do?” the man asks. He can tell they are stealing glances at the box, too nervous to ask about it. He points towards the object in the window and says, “You know, that was my old magic box when I was a boy. I thought it looked like it might need a new home.”
Timmy thinks for a moment. The man seems a bit odd—could this really be magic or is he tricking us? By the way he talks, it’s as if he already knows what people are thinking. He knew right away that we wanted that box. He can be standing in the middle of an aisle and in the blink of an eye, he’s gone! Is he magic himself? The store is odd too. You won’t find more than two of an item in there. The store is full of wands and hats and capes, but none of them look the same. Nothing comes in packages or pretty boxes—everything comes as it is, as if it has been used before.