When people do magic tricks, that’s all they do. It’s just a trick. Card tricks, quick changes, impalement… They’re all just tricks. You can quickly find out how they’re done by doing a quick Google search. Everything you could want to know about how stage magic is done is out there. Some tricks are kept to the trickers, of course. They wouldn’t want to give away the secrets to their success. It’s the old tricks that are out there, but even the new tricks are just tricks.
I don’t blame them, of course. How can you blame someone for having dexterity, showmanship, and intellect? I don’t look down on them, either. That’s important for you to understand as I continue. They are not lesser for being mimics. It is a difficult task to impersonate so convincingly. As I’m sure you can guess, however, there is a ‘but’ coming.
But they are not magicians. I am.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and everything in between and beyond! My name is Jack, and this is my spade.” I held up a shovel. It was of the long and thin variety. “In fact, I quite like spades.” I spun the shovel around for the audience. “They’re useful for getting rid of the bodies. Did I say that out loud?”
The audience laughed. They were fifteen-hundred strong, and regulars of magic shows. You see, I had made a name for myself by putting videos of my magic tricks on YouTube. Everyone had thought me a fake, but I claimed I could do magic just as outrageous live in Vegas, so here I was.
“Now, there’s a problem with this spade.” I stopped spinning it, letting its head sway back and forth above the ground like a pendulum. “It’s the wrong shape,”—I tossed it behind me—“because, as you all know by what it said on your ticket, I am the Jack of Spades, and a Jack of Spades’ spade is not that spade.”
I danced my fingers around for a moment, getting a feel for the shovel. It was lying on the floor behind me for the moment, but I aimed to change that. It sprung up to stand straight up on its point when I raised my hand. Then I spread my fingers in one quick motion, spreading out the shovel just so. “Now that’s a proper spade!” I said as I turned it right-side-up. And it was.
And the audience applauded.
My apparel of choice was a black tuxedo with a dark red vest beneath and black shirt under that. I also wore white gloves, making me a true magician, of course. I continued the bravado with a curly black mustache and proper top hat with which to pull rabbits out of.
“Now, would the lady in the third row with the white shirt please come to the stage.”
She complied, as predicted. I met her halfway and gave her a hand, helping her onto the stage because apparently we respect women more than men, though I can see why.
“Your name is Leah, correct?”
She covered her mouth and laughed. “Yes, it is.”
I smiled. “Do you want to know how I know? Magic.”
I then raised a table from the ground. Without touching it, of course. Then I pulled a deck of cards out of my coat pocket and placed it on the table.
“Leah, do you watch much magic?”
“Occasionally,” she said with a nod.
“Then you know that usually the magician goes through some process to get you to select a card?” She nodded. “And then they use some method of making that card appear somewhere else, and at some point in the process the magician gets their hands on the deck and thereby invalidates the entire trick.
“If a magician touches something, it may not be the same thing when you pick it up. That’s how they do these tricks, after all. Magic is nothing but sleight of hand most of the time, but I shall show you real magic. I will not lay a single hand on the deck from now to when I tell you the card you picked.”
I turned to the crowd and stood in front of the table. “So go on. Select a card, and do not tell me what it is.”
“Now place it face down on the table and put the deck face down next to it.”
“Good.” I turned around and walked around to her side of the table so I could face the audience. “Now you would agree I haven’t touched the deck since we began?”
“And I couldn’t possibly know what card you had selected?”
“Leah, please turn the deck face-up.”
She did, and was shocked to see that every card in the deck was now the four of hearts.
“And the card you picked, Leah? Turn it over for us.”
She did, revealing the four of hearts.
“The four of hearts, my fine audience! And why don’t you explain your shock to them, Leah?”
“Every card in the deck is the four of hearts.”
“Indeed.” I dropped a pen from my hand—of course, it wasn’t there until I dropped it—onto the table. “Please sign your name on the card.”
She did so. Then she dropped the card when she had finished, as she had noticed the deck of cards, all fours of hearts, all had her same signature.
“Tell the audience what has shocked you this time, Leah.”
She took a moment to recover from the shock. “All the cards have my signature on them.”
“Indeed they do, and, fine audience, you will find you now each have a card in one of your pockets, if you have a pocket.” As the audience began checking their pockets, I continued. “You shall find that the card is the same as every card up here.”
As the smoke began to curl around my feet, I said, “Feel free to check after I’m gone.” Then the smoke exploded upwards around me, and I disappeared from that Vegas stage. I had returned to my home in Maine.
You see, stage magic isn’t bad, but it has nothing on real magic. You can do every card trick in the book and even ones that won’t be written for thousands of years, but you can never outdo real magic. We real magicians will always be one step ahead of you.
Now I’ll disappear forever. ‘The Greatest Disappearing Act of All Time,’ they’ll call it. They’ll search for a time, and there will be imitators, but no Jack of Spades. I got the attention of who I wanted. He was in the crowd that day. The Ace of Spades. The last card in the deck of magicians. We’ve found you, laddy. Now find us.