They had to watch him for an hour to be positive. The patter, sleights of hand with handkerchiefs, songs (thankfully pitch perfect) and juggling were all allowed under his licence. Then he did it twice; the walking stick grew flowers and leaves, then those flowers and leaves became butterflies before flying off. The inspectors pounced.
“Hullo, sir.” The long, black-coated uniform enhanced Inspector Horace’s intimidation. His partner, Inspector Pate, was simply long and thin. “May we see your licence, please?”
“Oh,” the skinny man in the bad coat looked like a frightened rabbit, “of course, Inspector.” As he produced the laminated card his crowd dispersed, only a few leaving coins in his battered hat.
“This says, sir,” said Horace after checking it, “that you’re licensed to perform tricks and amusements.”
“Well, I was.” The busker almost stammered. “Everyone was amused,” he looked for his lost audience, “until you wanted my licence.”
“But we saw you performing actual magic, sir. Didn’t we, Pate?” He threw the conversation to his partner.
“Oh, most definitely, Horace,” Inspector Pate agreed. “Now, I’d expect someone that capable to be enlisted, contributing to our war effort wouldn’t you?”
“Yes,” agreed Horace, “yes, I would Pate.”
“I’ve tried,” the busker apologised, “but I can’t do what’s wanted. I have a letter.” He removed a paper within a protective plastic sleeve from his pocket and handed it to Horace.
The Inspector read, noting phrases like “tested thirteen times under five names,” checked the magical watermark by holding it to the light, finally returning it, saying, “Sorry to trouble you, sir.”
“That’s alright, Inspector.” Letter and licence were put safely away again. “You’ve a job to do.”
Later that night he marked his day’s happiness workings on his map, charting the slow build of his shield protecting the city.