This scene opens at the Magic Dungeon. It is four o'clock in the morning. A single light shines down on a baize table. A distinguished, white-haired gentleman known as The Prefect sits in a chair. He is smoking a cigar and cutting "something" out of construction paper. Another gentleman, obviously introverted and intense, also smokes a cigar and is rapidly doing the fastest Backward Faro ever witnessed on an American stage. Following a fad initiated by playwright, Samuel Beckett, this character is referred to as M. Close associates call him Fast Eddie. Harry Inane enters center-stage, breathlessly.
HARRY: Man, did you guys miss it! The dinner was terrific! Hey, you guys. ..look at my stuff! I won the annual John Scarne Award for "the performer with the most chutzpah this year." John was there. Look, here's an autographed copy of The Odds Against Me, an 8 x 10 glossy of him doing the Curry Turnover with a card on top of a glass tumbler, and a personal copy of his suppressed treatise, How To Cheat At Teeko! Man, it's terrific!
PREFECT: Did you plug your Overnight Mental-Giant Trade School? HARRY: Yeah... In fact, in appreciation I'm sending a needy, New York slum kid through on a scholarship. Hey, guess who was there? Rabbi Rose and Father Friday. Rabbi Rose did his Old Testament Balloon Lecture and as a kicker threw in his Birth-Control Chalk Talk. It was a gas! Afterwards, I convinced Father Friday to show me the gaffed version of his "Christian Scientist vs. The Gambler," using the original patter. I got the notes in case you're interested! I'm gonna put it in my next book!
M: What are you going to call it, Deck-Sterility-Two?
M: Here! I'll show you something interesting.
HARRY: Is it a quickie?
HARRY: Forget it! I've seen that jazz already.
PREFECT: Go ahead, Harry. The effect's good, even though it's based on something I was doing in 1928...
M: Even though the Prefect is mistaken, this effect is an improvisation, "unfolding as it goes" and based on an eight-fold equivoque and a faked Pull Down Move. Besides the misdirection with the rubber band is brand new. If you want, you can check my notes of January 8, 1929, which are written in red crayon, plus a recent cryptogram to Neil Elias featuring the underlying premise in an effect called, "The Nihilistic Deck and other Nothing Effects."
HARRY: Hell, I've been doing the Pull Down move since I was a kid... for more years than I can remember. My uncle showed it to me and he was doing it since he was a kid and his kid's kid showed it to him.
PREFECT: (making a mystical flourish with the scissors) How do you know I didn't show the kid's kid the move?
M: Well, if you want to get "technical" about it, I have some correspondence that explains it was based on a neo-principle of Charles Jordan!
HARRY: That's it! That's the name of the kid's kid who showed my Uncle Phil!
M: We're talking about Charles T. Jordan! (pause) Anyway, just think of a card.
PREFECT: (almost to himself) There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile...ah... watch for the crimp...
HARRY: He said "watch for the crimp...
M: Crimp? Are you kidding? Look at these cards: no crimps, breaks, bends, bridges, daub, punches, nail nicks, scratches, gashes, scars, magnets, mirrors, wax, trap doors, scotch tape, pencil dots, spirit gum, day-glow paint, thread, wires, rope, sky-writing, pulls, double-backs, strangers. duplicates, extra Jokers, corner shorts, key rings... HARRY: What about the used Stik-Tack on your ring?
M: That's irrelevant. Do you remember your card? Well--take it out of the pack, tear off its corner-the corner with the bent index--and rip it to shreds. Now feed it to the Dungeon's mascot, "Pip." Note, however, that both the cards and dog are borrowed. Now initial the dog... HARRY: (almost whining) Can't we do something with the faro? M: Quiet! Just initial the dog!
PREFECT: (moving over to HARRY, smiling...) Did you catch the "move?"
HARRY: What move?
PREFECT: You know. The move!
HARRY: (whispering to M.) The guy's getting weird.
M: (also whispering) Cool it. He's got a scissors.
HARRY: Right...(now louder, with exasperation)...Oh, crap... the damn dog ate the whole deck!
PREFECT: That's part of the kicker!
M: Jeez! I can't believe it! A perfect effect! Blown!
PREFECT: Mexican Joe always said there would be days like this...
Harry Inane's adventures take him to many lands. He also is a prolific ghost-writer of new magic books and the related arts. In the interest of the collector, we cite a few of the lesser known titles:
More On The One-Hand Faro Shuffle As A Secret Sleight Dai And Night
Marlo On Spades And Spiks
Perky Penny Systems
One Hundred Quickies With Hat Coils
How To Make And Paint Your Own Thumb Tip
The Aleister Crowley Party Games Book
The Existential Linking Ring Routine Tricks With Crutches
How To Entertain Shut-Ins Over The Telephone
Super Black Art Stuff
Graffiti For Bathroom Strippers
50 Gags With A Fak-0 Card Case
New Math At The Card Table
Be sure to join us next time as we record the Further Adventures of Harry Inane!
This satire, if preliminary hearsay was any indication, made Lorayne go ballistic. Instead of ignoring a nonentity from an unlikely suburb named Metairie, he fired off a rebuttal, challenging me to print it...which I immediately did.
Continue reading here: David L Bendix
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