"It's a sad world," laments the Mentalist, "in which security concerns have become paramount in the hospitality trade. Thieves have been known to stay at a hotel, keep the room key, and then return at a later date to loot the same room while the current occupant is attending a conference session or enjoying the poolside buffet. When people forget to return their room keys, the locks must be rekeyed as a precaution. That's expensive!"
The performer goes on, "Lately, hotels have begun using electronic locks with keys like these." He shows a flat, credit card sized piece of plastic in the pocket of a small paper folder.
The Mentalist explains, "This key fits a computerized door lock. It is encoded to open your room's door only and operates just for the duration of your stay; after you check out, it will no longer function in the lock. In some hotels, if you persist in your attempt to use an expired key, you may find a brawny member of the hotel security staff tapping your shoulder.
"Neither specific hotel name," reminds the performer, "nor room number are printed on the card; another frustration for a would-be pickpocket. If an active card-key is stolen, the thief won't know which hotel it accesses, much less the room number. Instead, there is a space here on the folder where the reception clerk writes your room number by hand. Guests are advised to memorize the room number and carry only the card-key."
Smiling sheepishly, the Mentalist admits, "Of course if you have less than a perfect memory (or one too many adult beverages) that practice is problematic. It's not wise to walk down the hotel corridor in the early morning, repeatedly inserting one's key-card until a door lock flashes its green light. Surely, there's an easier way to recall the room number, perhaps through intuition or clairvoyance."
Addressing three persons in the audience, the performer asks, "Would each of you give me a single digit please? Just allow the numbers to appear on a hotel door in your imagination." The numbers given are 3, 8, and 1. "I'll write that room number right here in the space provided on the folder."
Returning the pen to his pocket, the Mentalist brings out a mechanical crayon marker and says, "I also carry one of these china markers. It's about the only thing which will not permanently deface the plastic. I use it to write the room number on the back of the card in bold black digits which I can see without my glasses. What was your guess at room number again? Three-five-seven?"
He withdraws the key-card from the folder and turns it over. On the back, next to the brown magnetic stripe, are the digits 357!
A piece of pencil carbon paper is taped inside the folder so you can transfer the digits to the key-card by writing with your thumbnail as you show the folder's printed side to the audience. Alternatively, a listo lead Swami Gimmick will do the trick.
Mentalism In New Directions • Out Of SYZYGY
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