To Ascanio

When I first heard of you, they told me: «It's incredible! He puts a white penknife into his hand and it comes out red, then green, then..., the Ultimate!» I remained in suspense. 1 tried to imagine you— does he have wings on his back, or perhaps a third eye in his forehead? 1 continued with my magic, taken from P. Ciuró and Bernat (standard magic books on the young Spanish magician's bookshelf— Tran.), those marvellous books... Two years later I met you at a meeting of the Sociedad Española de Ilusión ismo. 1 told you of my admiration, which grew from my fervent reading of your book «Penknives and Daltonism», a key book in my formation, my first «theoretical» book. 1 still remember your smile of satisfaction when that little big-nosed 17 year old kid recited to you a whole page from your book. And I saw you do a trick for the first time: The Mystic Nine by Hamman. Boinngg!!! It wasn't better or worse, it was «something else». I saw you very little in those first months. A couple of times, perhaps... but your sense of magic, that brilliant sense of magic of yours, was being transmitted to me in spurts and gushes, through your disciple, and my master, Juanito Antón. So, every meeting with you, short in hours, was dense and fruitful in results. You gave me several «key» words of advice in my magical development... so clearly explained that each of them was worth hours of thought, days of practice, months of study, and years of use. These were some of them: «You move your arms too much»; «Don't cross your hands»; «Do it slowly, calmly, with tranquility, without making a fuss, without hurrying unneccessarily»; «Psychology is 90 % of it»; «But you don't know who Paul Curry is? A magician must know from whom he has inherited his art...» and so many others. That is, you brought me to, and led me down the path of «psychology», clear «presentation», of the art of tranquility, of the «love for the history of magic...».

And then, on top of it all, as if this wasn't enough, sleights, the Asca-nio Spread, the Paul Curry Turnover Change, the Au Temps Top Change, the Kaps Unload, and tricks, The Kings through the Table by Kaps and Hamman, Oil and Water by Pollock and Kaps, The Queens by Bill Simon, and your love for penknives, your passion for cards... and... and... and...

Lectures of mine have come from your teachings, and tricks and routines like The Figures, Cards Through the Table from my Paris number, and...

That's why, when these routines won prizes and honors (Grenoble, 1971; Paris, 1973; San Sebastian, 1972...) I felt such gratitude towards the Father, towards you. And that's why, after getting over those inevitable moments of wanting to be more independent, 1 went as soon as I returned from Paris from the FISM, I went to your office and said to you, «Thank you, Arturo, for this prize, which 1 owe to you», and you smiled again.

Then, your personal instruction continued, more and more directly; and our voyages and tape recorder chats (which we must continue), Amsterdam (your coronation), Canary Islands, those unforgettable days in Las Vegas (your super coronation), in the Magic Castle, even in Disneyland, which we visited for a whole day with a deck of cards in our hands, and Sevilla and Cádiz, and Sitges... and so many working days in El Escorial (in the 1984 meeting, your «session» which made me reach ecstatic), and... and... and...

Your books, which I know almost by heart, your lectures (the best I have ever heard), your performances, your thoughts, your comments, your unparallelled way of doing magic...!

Today I know that you don't have a third eye in your forehead, or wings on your back. You have a third eye in your prodigious brain, in your deep, deep, mind, and wings, magic wings, on your hands.

Gracias, Arturo, Maestro!

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