John has been doing magic for 45 years, ever since he bought out a retiring magician. That’s more than half of his life. He has watched others do tricks and gotten a few pointers, but pretty much he has taught himself. Sometimes he gets something new, and has to practice over and over again so his arthritic fingers don’t betray him. Other tricks have been put on the shelf because, although they are cool, he can’t quite maneuver them well enough for a public show.
Like a pianist who has a “go-to” piece that they can play at the slightest provocation, a magician has a trick. His is a pick-a-card, any-card. . . with the seven of clubs silk cloth popping out of a metal candle at the conclusion of the trick. I have seen him do this trick four billion times. It’s a never fail, do-in-his-sleep trick that always produces ooos and ahhhs. Until yesterday.
I’m going to break the magician’s rule of not letting people know how the tricks work. I’m no magician so I don’t count anyway. He asks a person to picka-card, any-card. It is supposed to be the seven of clubs. How do I know this? Because ALL but two of the cards in that deck are the seven of clubs, only the top and bottom card are different.
Magic John shows the top and bottom card, then fans the deck in front of a man who picks-a-card. John asks him to show it to the other audience members. He does.
The king of spades. What? I’m standing at the back of the audience in complete shock. Did he get a different silk for the candle? Am I not paying attention? Is this a different trick? Did he pick up the wrong deck of cards? Are we both losing it? John prattles along in the trick, unscrews the candle, pulls out the silk with the seven of clubs on it, expecting the brilliant response. “Is this the card he picked?” he asks.
“No!” the audience says in unison. I am in a dead faint state of the vapors on the floor next to the steppers. . .a position I’m familiar with in an exercise room. Still having no clue what just happened, Magic John prattles on with the rest of the show. I am having apoplectic fits.
The show was still great. . .but for sure people noticed. There is no confusion between a king of spades and a seven of clubs. When it was over, I gave my comments, as I am known to do. You can only imagine how much he enjoys this little critique moment.
“Would you please show me the seven of clubs deck?” I ask him. He looks confused, but hands it to me. Together we riffle through the deck until the king of spades appears, right in the middle of 49 seven of clubs! “What?!!! Who in the world put THAT in there?”
“Out of 49 cards, THIS is the one the man pulled out,” I said.
“Pick-a-card, any-card. . .just not the king of spades!” he laughed! We’re still laughing about it. He might have screwed up the trick, but the story will live on. . .and on. . .and on. . .just like magic.