Joe Safuto

One final thing: You will require a quarter length of a third cigarette taken from the open pack. The rest of the pack may be discarded.

When ready to perform, secretly get the quarter piece of cigarette into the right hand, clipped betwen the first and second fingers near the tips as shown in Figure 2.

You introduce the routine with a speech along these lines: "I am going to demonstrate a true illusion. It is a true illusion in that nothing that you will see in the next few moments will actually happen. That sounds a bit confusing - but let me show you what I mean."

Remove the gimmicked pack of cigarettes from your breast pocket with your right hand. In doing this, the Finger-Clipped cigarette piece and the cigarette on the back of the pack must not be exposed. Apparently open the cigarettes by pulling off the extra cellophane top from the pack. Tilt the top of the pack slightly toward you as you do this. Of course, no great importance is given to this action of opening the pack. Do it casually as you talk, paying no attention to the task. Only after the false cellophane top has been removed do you look at it. Glance around for a place to discard it and, seeing nothing convenient, place it to one side on the table.

Casually take the pack in the left hand, seem to look into it and remove a cigarette. In reality, it is the cigarette stuck to the back of the pack that is drawn forth, as if coming from the pack. The back of the right hand screens this action as the right thumb clips the cigarette and pulls it up as in Figure 3. This whole set of actions, opening the pack and withdrawing a cigarette, are performed very casually. No importance should be placed on them. Your acting ability must be exercised here.

Place the pack to the side of the table with the left hand. Casually position it with the top of the pack angled away from the audience so that the unbroken seal cannot be seen.

It is now that you bring full attention to your actions. Carefully break the filter from the cigarette you hold and place it at the near (lower) right corner of your imaginary performance square on the table. For convenience, this corner will be called Corner D. Break the remaining body of the cigarette into three equal pieces and place them at Corners A, B and C of your square; i.e., upper right, upper left and lower left. See Figure 4.

Now begins a brisk visual assembly of the four pieces. The left hand covers the lower left piece of cigarette while the right hand covers the filter at the lower right. The left hand im

mediately clips its bit of cigarette between the tips of the first and second fingers, just as the right fingers have been doing all along with their extra piece. At the same time the right fingers release their clipped piece to join the filter. (If you have dry hands, you may experience a bit of difficulty in quickly clipping the pieces between the fingers. If so, the hands should be lightly moistened with a hand cream or on the side of an iced drink.) The left hand smoothly moves away from Corner C to reveal that the piece has vanished. Then the right hand moves from Corner D to show a piece arrived with the filter.

The left hand now covers the filter and piece at Corner D while the right hand moves to Corner B (Figure 5). The right fingers cover and clip the piece of cigarette there and the left fingers release their piece to join the two already at Corner D. The right hand moves away to show its piece vanished; the left hand lifts to display the three pieces below it.

The right hand now travels to cover the three pieces at Corner D while the left hand covers the final piece at Corner A. This piece is Finger Clipped in the left hand as the right hand drops its clipped piece with the other three. Then the left hand moves away to show its piece gone...and the right hand rises to reveal all four pieces together at Corner D.

As the impact of this fast visual assembly is being absorbed, the extra piece in the left hand is discarded while the whole cigarette is Thumb Palmed in the right hand. If you are standing, the hands go casually to the pockets to accomplish these tasks. If seated, they drop briefly to the lap as you move into Rest Position. Some performers may prefer to Finger Palm the cigarette in the right hand, rather than Thumb Palm it. Either is fine.

Things are now set for the instant restoration of the cigarette. The right hand covers the four pieces at Corner D and seems to scoop them up. Actually, they are drawn to the edge of the table and allowed to fall off it. If you are sitting, they go to the lap. If standing, they fall to the floor. (This latter condition will be discussed further at the end of the routine.)

There is no hesitation as the right hand secretly drops the pieces. It closes into a fist, as if holding them, and moves forward away from the table's edge. Then the right thumb enters the fist and pushes the whole cigarette from it, as shown in Figure 6.

Openly display the restored cigarette and your empty hands as you say, "You see, everything you have seen is an illusion. The cigarette was never broken. In fact, it was never here..." On this line you vanish the cigarette. Any of the many good methods for cigarette vanishes may be used here: passes, Lapping, Cigarette Pull, etc. Just make it clean and convincing.

Pause a beat for the vanish to register; then continue, "...because it was never removed from the pack!" Pick up the cellophane top from the table and vanish it (again, any clean method you are comfortable with can be used). Or simply place it in your pocket. Pick up the cigarette pack on the table, make a magical gesture over it and display its unopened top.

As mentioned, if you are performing standing, the pieces of cigarette are secretly dropped to the floor during the restoration phase of the routine. It is obvious that various measures may have to be taken to clean up, these being governed by the performing conditions. If you are working behind a bar, nothing need be done. If working for an intimate group seated around a table, the pieces may be left to lie until later when some unobvious time arises in which the pieces may be surreptitiously gathered up. If conditions are such that people may easily see under the table, other measures may be used. The back of the tablecloth may be pinned up to form an impromptu servante. Or your close-up case may be left open on the floor to catch the pieces as they fall. Performers, knowing their performing conditions, will quickly see how this problem can be handled conveniently. There is therefore no reason to stop you from performing this excellent routine.

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