Performance

Ask for the assistance of someone in your audience who is facile at addition or who has a pocket calculator. Jot this person's initials in the lower right corner of the pad; that is, on the exposed corner of the second sheet.2 Then have several others in the audience write numbers on the top sheet of the pad (the one with the cut corner). I generally draw three

This clipped corner idea dates back to the 1800s, when it was used with slates and flaps. See "The Interrupted Flap" in William Robinson's Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena (1898), p. 47-48.

or four lines on the page to guide the positioning of the numbers. (This, of course, is also done on the force page.)

Once the numbers have been written down, lay your thumb on the exposed corner of the second sheet and tear the force page swiftly and casually from the pad. Simultaneously, use the fingers of your other hand to flip the front cover closed on the pad and pocket it. This looks (or it should look, if you do it correctly) perfectly natural and unsuspicious. Especially, if you don't look at the pad as you remove the page. It is a simple idea—deceptively simple. If you pass it by, you will be denying yourself a wonderful utility prop.

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