Nothing Up My Sleeve was the tenth story in the Bernice Summerfield anthology A Life Worth Living. It was written by Richard Salter.

Summary Edit

Jason and Benny are sorting through artefacts that have recently arrived on the Collection. They were given to Braxiatel by an old friend of his, Marlow, a magician who has died. As they sort through the artefacts, Brax introduces Brenda, Marlow's assistant, to them. Jason is interested in learning magic tricks, and Brenda helps him.

Robed members of the Brotherhood of Magicians, led by Malcolm Stewart, arrive to retrieve Marlow's effects because no outsider can know the secrets of their magic. Brenda informs Benny and Jason that they don't just want to take Marlow's belongings, but her as well.

Benny and Brax try to argue Stewart out of taking Brenda, but not only does he not agree, he also intends to question Jason as well, and if Jason knows any magic secrets, they will take him away as well. They head for Jason's quarters to find Brenda, but Jason says she has left. Unfortunately for him, in his room they find, in one half of the saw-a-woman-in-half box, Brenda's severed torso. The bottom half of her body is missing.

The Brotherhood accuse Jason of killing her. Brax appoints Benny to investigate. She and Jason attempt to do an autopsy on the half of Brenda's body, but has now gone missing. Stewart confronts Brax and gives him an ultimatum: if Benny hasn't found the answer by morning, the Brotherhood will leave with Jason. When the Brotherhood leave Brax's office, Benny notes that one of them is much shorter than the others. The short one notices Benny's scrutiny and makes a run for it. She loses her quarry, but the Brotherhood member collides with Hass and is grabbed by him. Benny reaches for the hood, and discovers that it is Brenda, alive.

Brenda tells Benny and Jason that she faked her death to get away from the Brotherhood. In addition, Marlow faked his death too, as they are in a relationship and Stewart, who turns out to be Brenda's father, does not approve. They intended to run away and let Jason take the fall for Brenda's supposed murder. Benny and Jason try to grab Brenda to take her to Stewart, but she disappears.

The Brotherhood are set to take Jason off planet when Benny approaches Stewart. She asks for an audition for membership in the Brotherhood. Stewart grants her request. At her audition, Benny does a few minor tricks, then she performs her final trick: she makes Marlow appear inside a large box, to Stewart's surprise.

Later, Benny and Jason pack up Marlow's things, including the dummy of Brenda's torso. Benny refuses to explain to Jason how she was able to make Marlow materialise on stage.

Characters Edit

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Notes Edit

to be added

Continuity Edit

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