Les Shore

This is a very unusual item. It's a superior visual illusion where a borrowed quarter appears to melt (and drip!) away into nothingness. It's completely standup, requires no sleeving or lapping, and can be done impromptu once you prepare the matchbook.

First, get some magician's wax and a silver Crayola brand crayon. You must melt both and mix them together so you get a silvery wax that is also sticky. Mix up a batch of the stuff so you'll have plenty enough to do the routine at least fifty times. Take a very small piece, less than half the size of a dime, and roll it into a ball.

Take any booklet of paper matches and open it. Tear off about five matches on the right side and place the ball of wax onto the inner right corner of the outer flap (fig. 890). Close the book and put it into your pocket and you're ready to perform.

Borrow a quarter, look at it for a moment, and then hand it back to the spectator. Bring out the book of matches and hold its inner left corner between your left thumb and fingers (fig. 891). Turn your right hand palm down and insert your thumb into the side of the book (fig. 892). Using just your thumb, pop the cover open. Your thumb should naturally fall into position covering the wax (fig. 893).

Bend two matches upward with your left first finger and, at the same time, your thumb pulls the wax loose (fig. 894). Slide the wax to the right until it's clear of the book, and then move it beneath the book. At the same time your left hand begins to close the book, bending the cover so that it goes beneath the two vertical matches (fig. 895). Once the book is closed your right fingers press the wax lightly beneath the book so it sticks there.

Tear off one of the matches with your left hand and turn your right hand over, your fingers concealing the wax (fig. 896). Light the match with a downward stroke.

You're going to have to move quickly now, so don't actually light the matches the first time you try this. Once the match is lit turn your right hand palm up again. Ask the spectator to grasp the sides of the matchbook as in figure 897. When you leave the book in his hand pull the wax off and conceal it in your right fingers as you turn your hand palm down. Immediately pick up the quarter with your right hand and stick the wax onto its back, near the lower edge (fig. 898).

Once the spectator has a firm grip on the book, your left hand lights the vertical match still attached to the book with the one already lit (fig, 899). Blow out the loose match and discard it.

Your palm-down right hand lowers the end of the quarter with the wax on it over the flame - the wax will begin to melt and in a second or two a small drop of silver will drip onto the matchbook (fig. 900).

Do a fingertip-to-fingertip Retention Pass (already taught in Roth's Portable Hole, Part Three) apparently taking the coin with your left fingertips. Your right hand immediately moves to the matchbook at its right end, thumb above and fingers beneath, and takes it from the spectator. Press the quarter beneath it and it'll stick because of the warm wax. Wave it in small circular motions and tell the spectator to take the matchbook back and do the same thing beneath (well beneath!) your left hand. Of course when he takes the matchbook back it should be the same way he gripped it before so he won't feel the quarter beneath it.

Once he's waved it beneath your left fingers a few times blow out the match and wait until some of the smoke rises and reaches your fingers. At that moment open them with a crumpling motion (fig. 901).

Tear off the burned match and stick the book in your pocket. Make sure you offer to reimburse the spectator!

900 901
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