The Perfect Birthday




    The presents were laid out, the stage was set, young Matthew Cooper's birthday party was perfectly laid out by his father.  All that remained was the evening entertainment.  Matthew's father had not yet called in the entertainer, but he ensured his son that it would be a day he wouldn't forget once the entertainer had arrived.  The children who came that day had all taken their seats and were eager for the arrival of that evening's entertainment.  The energy of everyone present was high, and everyone present had long awaited that evening's entertainment.  The Cooper household was a large mansion, with the festivities being held out in the courtyard and everyone was dressed accordingly.  Drink and dessert fountains had flowed with sweet liquid, fresh platters of the finest foods were available for all guests who were present, and the parents of the children present partook of the finest wine and champagne.  After all, Matthew was the only Cooper child to live to see his thirteenth birthday.  Many of the past children died young from family related diseases or natural causes, but Matthew proved to possess enough strength to make it to his young adolescence.

     The stage had been set and the performer had been scheduled.  Matthew's father carefully watched the outdoor clock as the hour quickly came to a close.  The clown would be late if he didn't arrive soon.  Matthew was growing impatient.  A young man should not be left waiting for his birthday performance to arrive.  Matthew's father took careful consideration in hiring one of the best clowns in the world to perform for his only son on his special birthday.  This would be the last time he would be treated as a child and would begin his days as a man.  The hour hand was about to strike eight when a puff of smoke appeared on the stage.  Lights began to show from all sides of the stage, and music began to play.  Ferdinand the Amazing had arrived.  It was time for the performance to begin.  

     A loud voice boomed from just beyond the smoke.  

     "No introductions are needed for this entertainer this evening, ladies and gentlemen.  Tonight with us, we have the one, the only, Ferdinand the Amazing!"

      The world renown performing clown was known to make anyone smile and performed magic tricks that almost no one could ever replicate.  Little about his style of performance had ever been revealed, and everyone who had ever worked with him was left baffled by his tricks.  He never revealed anything to anyone and critics who tried to debunk his tricks never found enough evidence to debunk some of the amazing feats he performed.  Ferdinand's performance was anything but ordinary.  Few words were spoken as he quickly pressed a button on two boxes that were wheeled in alongside him, one on each side.  Both unfolded out, revealing a landscape and assorted props and trick supplies.  The entire audience was in amazement.  They had never seen a stage set quite like this.  Even the mechanical details of the setup seemed remarkable to all who were present to witness the performance.  

     He first lifted up a bubble wand and opened up a cage with doves in it, only to quickly blow out a dozen bubbles that captured every one of the birds.  As they floated up above the children, they popped, showering them in golden glitter.  The children rejoiced and everyone applauded the clown.  He continued forward, he withdrew more props and began his next amazing act.  He took out a projector and turned on a light and projected out large animals and other actors through the light.  They appeared to be real, but he tossed a ball through the beam of light to prove they were not.  However, he then took a step in front of the elephant and put his hands up to stop it, and the elephant slowed as his hands made contact and slowed the entire line of moving characters.  The audience cheered in amazement at this display.  Everyone present was awestruck by the performance.  He continued to perform similar awe-inspiring tricks that mesmerized everyone in the crowd, all except for young Matthew.  As much as Matthew enjoyed the performance, he was rather impatient on fulfilling his family's coming of age ceremony.  It was supposed to be a private affair, but Matthew was far too impatient.

     The performance continued on for quite awhile, but Ferdinand dropped down a smoke bomb after a few more tricks and announced an intermission.  Matthew moved past the groups of children and parents and back inside the mansion.  He looked around through a couple of the halls and came across Ferdinand; privately taking a quick drink before making his way back out to the stage.  Matthew knew this would be his only chance to fulfill the ritual before it was too late.  Matthew pulled up his right pant leg and grabbed the hunting knife that his father gave to him the last time they were out hunting.  He slowly crept up behind Ferdinand, making sure not to reveal his presence to him, and quickly took the knife and plunged it into his neck.  Ferdinand released a slight squeak from his mouth before Matthew covered Ferdinand's mouth with his hand.  Matthew lashed out at Ferdinand, continuing to cut into his throat as Ferdinand struggled to escape Matthew's grip, but it was already too late.  Too much of Ferdinand's blood had been spilled across the floor and he was already feeling weak.  Matthew drove the blade deep into Ferdinand's neck once more and twisted the hilt, causing parts of Ferdinand's neck to snap, and forcing out the final breath that Ferdinand experienced.  Matthew wasted little time in preparing for the ritual.  

     Matthew pushed Ferdinand off of his lap and began to unbutton Ferdinand's shirt.  Once the chest had been exposed, Matthew drove his blade deep through Ferdinand's sternum, twisting the blade to crack the bone in half and split Ferdinand's chest open.  Blood began to pour out, but not enough to cause for concern.  Matthew checked outside a nearby window to see if anyone in the courtyard had noticed, but no one was the wiser.  Matthew continued on with his work and sliced through the main arteries that connected to the heart.  With a few careful slices and a quick yank, the heart came out smoothly, still slightly beating and very warm.  Matthew carefully placed the fresh heart down the belly of Ferdinand and cut the heart neatly in two.  The thought crossed his mind of how easy this was for him, and how he would become a true Cooper before even his father was aware.  As Matthew placed one-half of the heart to his lips, he heard the voice of his father calling him from down the hall.  He bit into the heart and licked his lips to hide the signs of blood and euphoria he experienced after taking his first bite out of Ferdinand's heart.  Matthew slightly shifted the body so that it was slightly concealed behind a statue.  He stepped out right as his father was about to pass him.  Matthew believed surprising his father would do better to conceal his crime.  

     "Boo!"  

     Matthew's father leaned back in surprise.  "Goodness!  Matthew!  You should know better than to surprise your father, even if it is your birthday."

     Matthew apologized for the surprise.  "I'm sorry, father.  I was just hoping to surprise you once during the party."

     Matthew's father pulled him into a large embrace and looked over his shoulder, only to be met with the gruesome scene of Ferdinand having been murdered and brutally carved open.  Matthew's father stepped away from him.  "Matthew....did you kill Ferdinand?"

     Matthew hung his head low and quietly replied.  "Yes, father.  I did."

     Matthew's father sighed at the sight of Ferdinand, then gave a chuckle at his son's actions.  "You couldn't wait to become a true Cooper, could you son?"

     "I'm sorry, father.  I just couldn't resist the temptation."

      Matthew's father laughed some more.  "Well, you did a fine job dispatching of him while guests were present.  I'll have to go and announce to everyone that Ferdinand had to leave early and could not stay.  Please go upstairs and clean up."

       Matthew began to make his way upstairs to go change his now bloodied clothes, carrying Ferdinand's heart in his left hand.  "Will there be more guests to feast on this evening father?"

       Matthew's father laughed again.  "But of course!  Just leave it to me this time to capture dinner.  Please go change your clothing, and tell the servants to burn that suit."

       "I'll be outside again soon father.  Thank you for giving me the perfect birthday!"  

       "You are very welcome, my son."


        Matthew's father reached into Ferdinand's coat pocket and removed a fine golden pocket watch that had been set back a minute too early.  He chuckled to himself as he thought of how his son was like the watch, just a bit too early for everyone else.  "My, oh my!  I am blessed to have a son like Matthew.  He's just like me and just like his grandfather, always too early because we never wanted to miss out on a perfect opportunity, like father, like son."

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