I felt confident that I could pull off this one trick that I had been the assistant for my dad on countless times. I easily convinced Kathy to be my assistant, grabbed a few napkins from the table, and went into the TV living room area to show her what we were going to do. We have been close friends for years, yet she’s never seen any of the magic, so this was new for her. All she ever saw was the hand drawn sign my parents frequently hung over the doorbell of our house that read in big block letters, “DO NOT DISTURB, REHERSAL IN PROGRESS.” All too often, my friends came by when the sign wasn’t yet out, to ask if I could come out to play; from inside, I heard my parents answer for me, “No, Joey has to practice.” Kathy certainly saw all the costumes, magic props, doves and bizarre stuff all over the house, but never saw any tricks performed.
Everyone was still eating in the dining room, except one guy who was sprawled out on the couch half-asleep. I introduced myself and asked if I could practice a magic trick on him. Nico, my guinea pig, seemed unusually worn out considering the time of day, but he was friendly, and happy to oblige. I pulled Kathy aside privately to explain what to do, and we practiced on Nico before returning to the dining area.
Lou stood and quickly got everyone’s attention and introduced me as a girl named Jo who was a magician. I said I needed a volunteer, and it was no surprise that Lou eagerly raised his hand first. I had him sit in a chair in front of me, and said I was going to hypnotize him. First, I held a napkin high in front of him, and confirmed that he, and everyone else could see it. However, I explained, once I had him under my spell, everyone else in the audience would be able to see the napkin, but it would be invisible to him. For my special type of hypnosis, he had to look deeply into my eyes. I held his gaze for awhile, and then dramatically buckled my knees as if I was going to faint, catching myself from falling by reaching out hold myself up by his shoulders, and gasped, “that’s long enough,” as if the eye contact with him had an effect on me. Next, I showed him the napkin again, crumpled it into a ball into my fist, tapped three times, and then opened my upturned hand and pulled out and held up the ball of napkin that was invisible to him, but the entire group confirmed with a laugh that they could clearly see, then I tossed the invisible napkin to someone near the front. I repeated this same effect a couple times, and then said I could give him the power to make the next napkin disappear. I had him hold his short sleeved right arm straight out, and again established eye contact while I ran my hand down the length of his arm, not touching, but close enough that I knew it would create a sensation both of heat and chills, and asked, “Can you feel it? Can you feel the power?” He enthusiastically agreed that he could feel it. After I balled up the next napkin, and closed it in my fist, I had him use his now empowered magic limb to tap the back of my hand and once again, it became invisible to him. Of course you can’t leave someone in a hypnotized state, so I said that at the count of three, everyone who held the napkins should throw them back to me and the spell would be broken so all the invisible napkins would suddenly reappear as they landed. I held my open hands cupped out right in front of his face, asked the entire audience to count to three with me, and the pile of napkin balls magically were once again visible to him. Lou looked mystified, and kept looking to his fraternity brothers for answers, but they only laughed. Kathy and I had fun talking about it on the bus ride home.