Coup de Grace

This emendation was suggested by Derek Dingle on February 2, 1974. He offered no method. Mine, which follows, will be found no more difficult than the previous three but is, if you have the opportunity to set up for it, considerably more effective. As I was working on this text, I realized that the handling I've most often used in my hospitality-suite work differs significantly from my earlier notes. The method described next reflects the handling that has seen the most real-world performances.

EFFECT: Same as above, but with the addition of a color-segregation kicker.

SET-UP: Secretly arrange all the red cards above all the blacks. The first black card, at the twenty-seventh position, should be in-jogged slightly less than the width of a white border.

Spread the deck in your hands and have a card selected.

While the card is being noted, close the spread while maintaining the in-jogged card. When you're ready to proceed, cut off the cards above the in-jog and have the selection returned directly onto the in-jogged card. Catch a break below the selection and replace the cut-off portion, burying the card. A bit of time delay is helpful here, so a little patter would be wise. Before you move to table the deck, however, start a Side Steal of the selection but stop with the edge of the card protruding to the right about the width of half a border.

Set the deck onto the table, in position for a riffle shuffle, with the jogged card protruding slightly from the near edge and the coin hidden beneath the deck. It is easy to form a break above this jogged card, which you now do.

NOTE: While the sequence just suggested is quite workable, I have often used others. Frequently I convert the in-jog of the twenty-seventh card to a fourth-finger flesh break below the in-jogged card. I then execute a Riffle Peek Force of this first black card while concealing the coin in the hand that holds the deck. Often I do not even know the identity of this card; it is the position that is important. Once the card has been peeked at by the spectator, I start the Side Steal, stopping when the card slightly protrudes from the side, as described. I then table the deck, loading the coin beneath it, and form a break above the side-jogged card.

Having become lazy over the years, with increasing frequency I use a pencil-dotted Joker (or, in a pinch, a corner crimp) as the divider between the colors. This spares me the effort of having to maintain control of the twenty-seventh card in-jog until after the selection has been removed from the deck, and allows me to set up long in advance.

Cut the cards above the break to the right, without moving the lower packet to the left. Turn the right-hand packet face up and begin a riffle shuffle by releasing about five cards from the left-hand packet, then completing a light interweave of the remaining cards. Hold back the top card, the selection, on the left, so it falls last. Using the Zarrow dynamic, slip the right hand's packet into the left's, under the single cover card. Dingle's touch not withstanding, this requires that your Zarrow technique be very good, as you have only a single cover card.

NOTE: I originally used an odd display sequence at this point, in an effort to convincingly convey the face-up and face-down condition. I now use the well-known and clever Daryl Martinez "Puerto Rican" Cutting Display (Secrets of a "Puerto Rican Gambler," 1980, page 61). This display is not essential to the routine but it is a strong convincer. If you know it, use it.

The condition of the deck at this point, from the top down, is the face-down selection-all the face-up red cards-all the face-down black cards. Break the deck above the face-down black stock and cut this block to the right. Openly reverse these black cards And begin a second Zarrow Shuffle by releasing about five cards from the left-hand packet before completing a light interweave of the cards of both packets. Hold back the top card, the selection, on the left, so it falls last. Zarrow the right hand's packet into the left's, under the single cover card, and form a break below the black cards.

With an Undercut or a Double Cut, bring the red cards to the top and form a break above the face-down card, the selection, that is just below the red stock.

Load the hidden coin into this break, using the technique taught in Method 1, Step 8 (page 300).

NOTE: If you prefer the simultaneous revelation of the coin and face-up selection, you must form the break made in Step 6 below the selection.

Then, as the coin is loaded, push a bit harder, driving the coin deeper into the deck. You can now rotate the deck face down. This allows the double-impact finish and a further alteration in the multi-climax sequence, which I'll discuss shortly.

Conclude by revealing the coin, turning up the selection, then displaying the righting of the deck (Method 1, Steps 9-12). However, before you spread the packets say, "I thought it would look nicer if I put the selection right in the middle of the deck, so I did. You may wonder how I know that this is the exact center of the deck. It's simple—all the black cards are on this side and all the red cards are on this side." Obviously the line should be timed to the appropriate actions.

NOTES: If you turn the deck face down, as suggested in the Note following Step 7, you will be able to delay revealing the final color segregation. First, reveal the coin and the face-up selection; then ribbon spread the two packets to display the righting of the face-up and face-down cards; finally, perform simultaneous Ribbon Turnovers or pick up the spreads and respread them face up to expose the color segregation. I generally use the sequence described in the text but I have used this alternate sequence as well. I believe performance conditions dictate which will play best. Only experience will teach you the proper circumstances in which each ending should be used.

It has been suggested that the appearance of the coin is something of a non sequitur in this routine. I don't believe this is any more true than many other surprise productions. Nevertheless, one could, using two coins, introduce one coin, vanish it, then cause it to reappear in the deck. It might even be possible to perform Method 3 without a duplicate coin. I will leave such explorations to those who are troubled by the unforeshadowed appearance of the coin.

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