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Charles the Clown Story Time

By Charles Kraus @ 2001

It was kind of dumb idea, changing every kid's name to Andy. Just think about it. Mothers in parks would call out, "Andy," and all the kids in the park would come running. The dentist would announce that the next patient was going to be Andy, and all the kids in the waiting room would run away. But according to the newspaper, Anthony The Magician had recited some magic words and, bam!, every child's name had been changed to Andy.

Andy Anderhoffel's first name had always been Andy. He was not very pleased to learn that all of his friends were going to be Andys, too. He liked being the only Andy in his class. He liked being the only Andy on the soccer team. He especially appreciated being the only Andy in his house. Since Anthony The Magician had changed everyone's name to Andy, living at home had become complicated. He had two brothers and one sister -- all named Andy. There was this box in his room with a sign on the lid that read, ANDY'S CANDY. It was his candy, only now, his brothers and sister helped themselves whenever they wanted. The only thing remaining in the box was a wrapper someone had left after eating the last chocolate bar.

When Andy Anderhoffel could take no more of this, he decided to go see Anthony The Magician and demand that all the kids, all over the world, get back their old names. Andy checked the phone book. He found a list of magicians, but Anthony was not on it. Then he saw this name:

It was a strange phone number, but magicians are strange. He called, asking to speak with Anthony The Magician.

"I'm sorry, Sir, we have 314 members. I have no idea which of them is Anthony. You'll have to come here and find him yourself. We are located at 704 Mystery Lane, right next door to the Turtle factory."

And that is exactly what Andy Anderhoffel set out to do. He borrowed a winter coat from his brother, Andy, and $11 for the taxi fare from his sister, Andy.

The Magicians Clubhouse was an old, rather large, brick building. The bricks had been painted blue. The front door was red. When Andy knocked on it, a puff of smoke floated out from the keyhole. Dressed in one of those fancy black suits worn by people who are either magicians or who are getting married, the doorman let Andy into the lobby.

"I'm here to see Anthony The Magician," Andy explained.

"This is a busy place and I am a busy doorman. You'll have to find him yourself. Why don't you start at one end of the clubhouse. Go into every room and ask for Anthony. If he's not there, go to the next room. He's bound to be somewhere."

Andy thought that was a good idea. He went from room to room. At each doorway, he clapped his hands to get everyone's attention. Then he announced, "I'm Andy Anderhoffel, and I am here to see Anthony The Magician. Anthony, are you in this room?"

Anthony did not seem to be in any of the rooms. As magicians do from time to time, he had disappeared. It was getting late and Andy had to get home to help Andy wash the dog. They would wash him while Andy and Andy cleaned the dog house.

As he walked down the hallway towards the front door, Andy Anderhoffel spotted a photograph of the Magician club members, all 311 of them. Directly under each magician was a tiny box with the person's name printed in it. Andy decided he might as well look for Anthony The Magician's picture. The photograph contained magicians with bowties, magicians wearing flowers in their lapels, magicians dressed in top hats and in turbans. Finally, he spotted Anthony, who was wearing a tea shirt that said, "MTV." The second Andy saw this, he ran back to the very first room he had visited.

At the door, Andy Anderhoffel clapped his hands. When the magicians looked up, he said to them, "I'm here to see .... Andy The Magician!" For, as it turned out, Anthony The Magician was the only child member of the Magicians Club, and if he was a child ... then his name had changed to Andy when the names of all the other kids changed.

"I'm Andy The Magician," a boy of 14 said.

"And I'm Andy Anderhoffel. I have come to ask that you give everyone back the names they had before you did your trick."
"Why should I do that?"

"You've made things very confusing. When I'm at school and the teacher says, "Andy, please take this note to Mr. Sonata," everyone stands up, walks to her desk and grabs for the note. When my father says, "Andy, take out the garbage," my younger brother takes it out. When my mother says, "Andy, wash the dishes," my older brother washes them.
"That's not so bad," Andy The Magician said to Andy Anderhoffel.

"How about when my father says, "Andy, here is your allowance," and my sister gets it?"

"How about if I change everyone's name to Franklin?"

Andy shook his head no.

"What if I change their names to Cassandra?"

"I don't think that will solve the problem."

Andy The Magician agreed.

"OK, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to change almost everybody's name back to what it used to be. But I'll keep my new name."

"Andy The Magician?"

"No," the magician said. "My newest new name is Sonata The Magician."

He said the magic words, and puff, almost everyone got back their old name. The magician did make a tiny mistake, and so when the kids got back their names, all the names of all the dogs in the entire world, were changed to Mr. Cheeseburger.

This is a true story that happened on a Thursday. Maybe.