While performing at my restaurant gig last Saturday evening (Lula Cocina Mexicana in Santa Monica, Calif.), I ran into a fascinating situation. I wonder how you would have reacted.
Three stunning thirtysomething women were sitting at a table in the bar. After an hour, they beckoned me over, and asked for some magic.
They turned out to be quite nice, not bimbos, and fairly intelligent, but clearly, out for a good time. After a couple of pieces of magic, I went into my center tear. When I got it right, they went crazy, and everyone in the cantina noticed it. They asked for a repeat, but I begged off.
"I've got something even better," I said.
I bent a signed coin and they loved it. Then I made it magically appear in a Sweet & Low packet. But then they asked for the center tear again.
"Oh, I've got something even better," I said again.
I performed a variation on Voodoo and they loved it. But they were still insistent that I read their minds again. So I thought: Okay, change the method.
So I brought out some billets and performed my own three-billet switching routine, using a one-ahead glimpse instead of a center tear, with three thoughts. They loved it, screaming and whooping and having a great time.
And after that, they had an even greater hunger for mindreading.
"Do one to me," one of the sisters said, quickly grabbing a billet from a small stack that I had left on the table and writing something on it.
My mind started racing through all the billet methods I knew, wondering how I could improvise. There was a beer bottle on the table, and I considered switching the billet and slipping it into the bottle, then glimpsing the stolen billet at some other moment.
But then the woman popped the billet into her mouth and started chewing. Everybody at the table broke into hilarious laughter because she was obviously out of control, but I was stunned, not knowing what I would do now.
"Actually, I'm not sure I can do it, because I'm kind of depleted," I said. "If I read minds over and over again, it starts giving me a headache, and everything gets fuzzy. Let me do one last one, a grand finale."
So I performed a silverware bend, got a great reaction, and started to walk away.
"Oh, we are SO not done with you!" the chewing sister said, grabbing my wrist and pulling me back. Then she wrote another thought on a piece of paper and popped it into her mouth and started chewing.
One of the sisters saw how her sister was getting out of control, and pressed a $20 bill into my hand.
"Show us one last grand finale," she said.
So I showed her--what's it called?--Card Jumps Out of Deck by Invisible Thread. I killed one last time and they let me go.
But I wonder: What, in your opinions, can be done under those circumstances, when the audience takes control of the situation? Obviously, these are impossible conditions, for the magician must always have control for his magic to work. I pulled it out, I think, with happy customers who tipped me nicely and let me beg off. And they weren't mean. But what do you do in such situations?