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Halloween night, Anderson Place, Buffalo NY. My partner is out in front of the audience, introducing me. I strip off my hoodie, drop it on the side of the pickup - there's no time to be cold, not now - and snatch up two torches from the tailgate. One of them has moved, and it takes a moment to find it. A quick dip into the fuel, shake off the excess, and then I'm walking out into the circle to brush one of the torches through the flame from the firepot (it's a jack-o'-lantern, of course, with a fuel-soaked rag in the bottom).

I press the lit torch into the palm of my empty hand, the first and oldest fire trick I know, transferring flame onto skin. There's too much wind, though; it blows out before it's even visible. Ok. No transfers, no vapour tricks. I can still do what I came here to do. I light the second torch off the first, drop my head and shoulders back, raise one torch and bring it down into my mouth, closing my lips around it to extinguish the flame.

"How is that even possible?" I hear from my left. Sounds like a kid's voice.

I'm shaking, but only a little, and my hands are still steady. The audience is in a wide circle around this section of street, and I'd like to be able to turn to face different arcs, but with the wind blowing from there, I have to face that way. Right at the end, the air stills enough that I can get one brief vapour trick to work, flame dancing in the air over my mouth, before I eat the fire off my last torch and run back to the truck.

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