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May I say right at the outset that a common failing in almost any profession and most certainly any art is a student's eagerness to propel himself forward at a rate of speed that is injurious to his ultimate advancement. I realize that many people have purchased this book with no other intent than to receive the tumultuous applause and jubilant congratulations of the multitudes after neatly severing the cigarette in a loved one's mouth or some other equally spectacular feat. However, I must hasten to warn that such things do not happen easily. There is nothing wrong in picturing yourself being carried off on the shoulders of a wildly cheering crowd after setting a new world's distance mark. Indeed, it is thoughts like these which inspire greatness, but let me add that in any sport there can be only one champion. It took me a long time to get there. Nevertheless, considering such things with a sense of the art and tremendous personal sacrifice, it no longer seems sporting of me to keep all the ammunition in my arsenal exclusively to myself. In a profession as hazardous as mine, there is no telling when or where tragedy may strike. To compound the tragedy of my own death with the death of an art I have worked a lifetime to advance would be more than anyone could reasonably be expected to bear.

Consequently, I am willing to release some of my pet secrets, some of the miraculous, original stunts that have been responsible for my international fame and personal fortune.

Reader, though many of these remarkable achievements will seem impossible, do not be discouraged. I assure you that with diligent practice each and every one of them may be

fay throws a card over Hollywood's world-famous Magic Castle for a prestigious panel of prestidigitators.

(Right) Receiving the plaudits of the panel

fay throws a card over Hollywood's world-famous Magic Castle for a prestigious panel of prestidigitators.

(Right) Receiving the plaudits of the panel realized. This will not happen in weeks, perhaps not in months, possibly not in years, but with the proper work and attitude, it can and will happen.

Needless to say, this chapter is not for the tyro or dilettante: and if they are wise, they will read it no longer. Such dabblers may skip over to a chapter stippled with funny pictures, and be amused. I hope I have not been unsuccessful in my attempt to give a little something for everyone. Serious students, are you with me? Good! Then I shall begin.

Almost all of the effects in this chapter are based on the acquisition of one particular skill: to toss a playing card with incredible accuracy. This may best be acquired with a daily routine of physical exercise and practice. I have outlined much of this ritual in the chapter How To Practice and Stay Fit. I suggest that if you have only glossed over its contents you return to and reread it at once.

Ricky Jay and Mr. X, shown practicing at an early age

Ricky Jay and Mr. X, shown practicing at an early age

The specific technique for accuracy can, in its most mundane sense, be labeled target practice. I shall assume by now you have become proficient in the general areas outlined in the above-mentioned chapter and can successfully hurl cards through a swinging inner tube and toss cards into the designated cut of beef in the mock-up Jersey heifer.

The two new practice tricks which I am about to divulge for the first time should spur the student on to the mastery of some of the most difficult accomplishments in the art. Both of these techniques should be practiced with a trusted confidant or partner. For years the author practiced with a now-famous political figure noted for his blind ambition, who must unfortunately remain anonymous, but this is the perfect opportunity for the author to express publicly his heartfelt gratitude and thanks for the many unselfish hours that "Mr. X" gave of himself for the advancement of the art.

These two new practice drills can be divided into the areas of stationary and moving targets.

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