During the day, he is disguised as a salesman of typewriter ribbons, word processors and printed forms. His elaborate deceptions include the name Michael Russell, a three-piece suit of dark blue, a house in Fort Washington and a wife who keeps track of the orders he brings home.
Then ... 811 4 poof! ... 810 4 he is transmogrified into Myklar The Ordinary! "Everything important in life," says the 39- year-old Myklar, "is magic."
For nearly two years, dressed in black satin pants, silver sash and tuxedo shirt, Myklar performed two nights a week at LBJ, a Washington restaurant. He still appears there occasionally.
Since his graduation 17 years ago from Howard University with a BA in political science, he has sold pharmaceuticals, encyclopedias and real estate.
"I know how to talk to people and I enjoy selling," he says. "But give me enough rope and I'll show you a trick. I am a magic addict. I do a little bit of everything--escapes, card tricks, mind reading, comedy and dove magic. I go from minor mysteries to major illusions."
His wife, Priscilla, doesn't share her husband's fascination with deception. "I don't like tricks and trickery," she says.
Myklar The Ordinary ("Everybody else calls himself extraordinary and marvelous," he explains, "but I am just a plain ordinary magician") came upon magic eight years ago when he stumbled into a now-defunct magic shop in Springfield Mall, the Magic Hat.
Today, he practices magic at least a few hours a day and performs in restaurants and clubs and at birthday parties. He also uses magic as part of his sales demonstration at trade shows. Between 1978 and 1981, he did about 200 shows, many of them in District schools, earning between $250 and $750 a show. In 1979, he appeared in a children's program for the Kennedy Center and was the featured entertainer at the Miss Black D.C. competition.
"My friends are all sane people, with one job," Myklar says. "I am the only person I know who is insane, with two jobs. I am heading for the grave early. But at least I'll head there happily."
Adds Myklar, "Every grown-up wants to be a kid-- to be silly, even if it is for a short time. But society won't let that happen. Watching magic lets you become a kid again. And to be a magician is to be a kid."