Elijah had small hands. Not just short; thin, spindly little fingers were mounted on palms hardly wider than his wrist.
It was this physical quirk that, in absence of any other skill or will to learn one, prompted his career as an escapist.
Like Houdini, Elijah toured the haunts of the rich and sold them on performances of his escapism. He invited anyone and everyone to bring their personal handcuffs, which were surprising in number.
When holding out his hands for restraint, he would spread his fingers as wide as possible to maintain the illusion that this would be difficult. He would immediately slide free, however, when the people were distracted.
He grew confident in his abilities, and began adding further tricks. While some card and coin sleight of hand was enjoyable, he wasn’t particularly good at it from the audience’s perspective.
Elijah’s over-confidence proved fatal when he added a locked box to his handcuff escape routine. In a fit of stubbornness, he refused to allow anyone to remove him from the box. The people waited. Every day, they waited. The top of the box would jiggle, but he would not escape. He sought a way to slip his tiny hands out, to use the key he had hidden in his jacket, but the lock on the box did not allow the lid to be lifted more than a few millimeters.
By the time he gave in, it was too late. His voice was weak with hunger, and no one heard him say, at two in the morning, “I give up. Please let me out.”
It was only when the smell that caused the box to be opened, and the funeral was conducted shortly thereafter. Elijah became known as the Worst Magician Ever, his audience never realizing the greatest trick he had pulled.