The Crying Game

The following routine was created after seeing Bob Jardine perform a 'Card in Lemon' many years ago in the Magic Castle bar.

This routine is incredibly easy to perform but, to do it justice, you may need to take acting lessons!


An onion, a knife to cut the onion in half, a deck of cards plus one duplicate card and a cloth handkerchief.


With the knife, make a slit in the base of the onion. Fold the duplicate card into a face down quarter sized packet and push it into the slit until you think the card occupies a central position in the onion. Place the card that matches the duplicate on top of your deck and place the cased deck in your left jacket pocket. Place the onion in your right jacket pocket with the handkerchief and the knife.


Remove the cased deck, take out the cards and replace the card case in your left side jacket pocket. False shuffle (if you wish) then remove the handkerchief and drape it over the face down deck. However, as soon as the handkerchief covers the deck, flip the face down deck face up in your left hand.

You are now about to force the duplicate of the card in the onion using an ancient (and self-working) card force. As you hold the covered deck out toward someone, ask them to grip the cards (through the handkerchief) and cut some off. They can cut off as few or as many cards as they wish. As soon as you feel that they have cut off some cards... flip the remaining cards in your hand face down again.

As they move their cut off section away from those in your hand (taking the handkerchief with them) the cards in your hand come into view and are seen to be, as they should be, face down. Remove and show the top card of those in your hand and it will be your force card! Take back the handkerchief, reach underneath, remove the other playing cards and add them to the deck.

If you wish, you can now hand the deck out for shuffling. Place the handkerchief back into your right side jacket pocket. So... the card has been forced and is now lost somewhere in the deck. Take back the cards and make sure that the force card is not one of the bottom two cards. You can do this openly or by any 'glimpse' or 'peek' technique that you know of.

With the deck face down in your left hand, take a little finger break above the lower two cards. You are now about to dump all the cards above the break into your left side jacket pocket.

You do this by removing the handkerchief again and, as you do so, you turn your body to the left and direct your gaze at your right side jacket pocket. It is an easy matter to tip all the cards above the break off and into your left jacket pocket as all attention is focussed on the handkerchief being removed from your other pocket.

Hold onto the remaining two cards as if they were the entire deck. You now simply cover the two cards, in your left hand, with the handkerchief. The above series of actions should flow smoothly. There is no need to panic and rush things! The covered deck is assumed to be in your left hand beneath the handkerchief.

Reach under the handkerchief with your right hand and remove one of the cards, which exits and shows the card. Ask if it is their card. It isn't so you try again. Place the card just shown away into your right side jacket pocket and...steal the onion. You now reach under the handkerchief with your right hand and the onion (the left hand covered by the handkerchief gives you plenty of cover for this).

Once the right hand is beneath the handkerchief, you remove the final card with your left hand and leave the handkerchief draped over your right hand and the onion. Show the card and ask if this is their card. It isn't so you say, "Third time lucky."

Pocket the card in your left side jacket pocket. You now ask, "Was your card an onion?" As you ask this, you whip the handkerchief away from your right hand to reveal that all the other cards...have changed into an onion! The line,

"Was your card an onion?" is such a bizarre thing to say that... it always gets a laugh.

Toss the handkerchief over your left shoulder and remove the knife from your right side jacket pocket. Use it to cut around the centre of the onion until you can pull the two halves apart. I find that 90% of the time the card ends up sticking out of the ungimmicked half of the onion. If it does, hand it to them for the removal of the card. If it doesn't, remove the card yourself and hand it to them. They unfold the card and find that it is their selection!


Earlier I mentioned that you may need to take acting lessons. This is because, when I perform the routine, I start to CRY as I cut open the onion. I sniffle continuously and even use the handkerchief (or my sleeve) to wipe away imaginary tears etc. I keep this up for about a minute before I show the folded card inside the onion is theirs. It's the only card revelation I know of where the performer looks sad at the finale! It should be obvious that this routine could be titled CARD IN ANYTHING. Have fun trying out different vegetables, fruits etc. However, I doubt if you'll ever discover anything quite as funny as the onion.

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