Casually without saying anything, show left hand empty and spread handkerchief over it with right hand.
Show right hand with end of thumb to audience. This exposes the whole inside of hand. Seeing nothing concealed, the audience takes it for granted that performer is not palming or hiding anything.
And right here, let me give you a big point in Magic that you must never forget.
SHOW YOUR HANDS EMPTY AT VARIOUS TIMES BUT DO NOT CALL ATTENTION TO THE FACT. MAKE IT A NATURAL MOVEMENT. The audience can see for themselves that nothing is concealed in hand. DO NOT SAY IN WORDS, "MY HANDS ARE EMPTY." The suggestion of showing the hands is enough. An ounce of DEMONSTRATION is worth a pound of talk.
"I spread the handkerchief over my left hand and make a little well in it, so--."
Now swing right hand over towards handkerchief, the four fingers hiding the thumb tip. Push right thumb into handkerchief and left hand which has closed around tip. When tip is well concealed raise fingers of right hand high in air. This shows audience that well is being made with the right thumb. Draw thumb out (but leave thumb tip in handkerchief) and push back again. This extra tucking is done for a psychological reason. When thumb is drawn out, it shows a natural thumb, and the second tucking with a natural thumb leads people to think that the first was made in exactly the same way.
"Next I want to borrow a lighted cigarette, or rather a piece of one."
(If someone is smoking, ask for that particular cigarette. If not, ask to have one lighted. In case of emergency, have a cigarette of your own with you. After cigarette is lighted, have spectator break cigarette in half and give you lighted part.)
"That's it—give me the front half, light and all."
(Take piece of cigarette between thumb and forefinger of right hand.)
"Now watch. I'll just drop this burning cigarette into the handkerchief, burning end down."
You show well in handkerchief and drop cigarette slowly into the handkerchief. Much depends upon the fact that you CONVINCE audience that you have actually dropped the cigarette into the handkerchief. Show right hand open towards audience with fingers wide apart after cigarette has been dropped.
"Yes, there it is smoking away peacefully."
Audience can see smoke curling up from the handkerchief.
"There is a way that chemists condense smoke. They squeeze it together this way."
Push right thumb into well and into thumb tip. This shuts off air, which immediately puts the fire in cigarette out.
Bring hand away with thumb tip on right thumb, casually showing hand again to audience, and of thumb facing them.
"Sometimes I weight it down with a little Magic "Woofle Dust."
Reach into vest pocket, apparently to get a pinch of "woof Ie dust," but in reality to leave thumb tip there. Leave thumb tip in vest pocket. Pretend to sprinkle dust into handkerchief. Then take handkerchief by one corner and pull slowly off of left hand, so that audience can see that cigarette has disappeared and handkerchief is undamaged. Hold handkerchief again by two corners, one in each hand.
"Yes, it's magic woofle dust. It not only condenses the smoke, but it dissolves the cigarette and is a wonderful restorative for a burned handkerchief."
Return the handkerchief to the loaner.
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