First, let me acknowledge how highly of Richards character it speaks that Cued was published not long after a particularly scathing email communication. Much appreciated, and extraordinarily professional on his part. As to the description, Id like to clarify a few critical points that significantly strengthen Cueds impact. For something as small and up close as this, the devil lies in the minutia.
First, the finger palming position allows exceedingly open handling. Whereas the illustrations tend to show the fingers in closed or grouped positions, they can actually be spread or open (to a natural extent) in a manner dispelling the very notion of hiding anything.
Second, just before reaching the position in illustration 4, the whole pick will actually be pushing the half pick into view. A minor point, but this tiny movement enhances the illusion of a single object.
Third, by tilting the hands a bit forward and slightly spreading the third and fourth fingers of each during the display in illustration 6, the bottom half of the whole pick can be hidden in a manner that doesnt seem to allow for complete coverage.
Fourth, when transferring the whole pick to the right hand (illustration 7), the right fingers actually remain in the position described above. The left forefinger lifts off its pick (now held between the thumb and 2nd finger) as the right forefinger and thumb grasp it in the same location. During this transfer, the left 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers momentarily slide behind the same partially extended fingers of the right hand.
Finally, illustration 9 is a bit misleading - the left *second* finger and thumb approach from the left, grasping both picks just above the right fingers and pulling the half pick behind and to the left of the whole pick. Several small movements then occur almost simultaneously:
* The right hand rotates palm-up (clockwise).
* The right thumb and forefinger tips help kick the half pick, now held at its broken end between the left thumb and second finger, to a position flush with the palm-side of the left second finger.
* The left thumb presses the half pick into a left second-finger palm identical to that originally executed by the right forefinger.
* The bottom end of the whole pick ceases rotation as soon as hidden by the left second finger.
Yes, the prop is a problem toothpicks carry ZERO charisma. The impact therefore relies a bit more heavily on super-clean, open handling than normally desirable. That said, this piece has fooled some pretty savvy folks. Enjoy!