MemberMarch 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm
“Heh heh, funny you should bring that up.” Al produced a bandana from one pocket and a deck of cards from another. His sighted companions could see they were not adorned with the characteristic porn stars or vintage cars. “Last time I done magic for ya – an’ ever’ other time – felt kinda like I was punchin’ down, you not bein’ able ta see an’ all. Sure, ya got all yer sensors an’ shit. But none o’ them let’s ya see the card face. Always need Grace or some other innocent bystander ta keep ol’ Al honest. Well, I done fixed these up a while back.”
He fanned the cards out face up on the crate where his boots had been. And Alyce could see them. “Checked the specs on some o’ yer ware – the stuff that ain’t custom anyhoo. Marked these cards with isotope markers. Weak enough. Safe as houses. Thought a bit ironic, given our recent opposition. But jist like yer sensors let ya make out the shape an’ movement o’ the cards, those isotopes’ll let ya read ’em.” He grinned. “An’ weep,” he added.
He folded them back into a neat deck and did a one-handed shuffle at eye level. “Fact is, ya tweak yer settin’s, you’ll be able ta track a given card on ‘er journey through the deck. An’ meanwhile,” he tossed the bandana to Rick, “Ol’ Al’s gon’ be as blind as you.”
Once the blindfold was in place, he shuffled some more and asked her to pick a card….
MemberMarch 17, 2019 at 12:51 am
Alyce grins. “So, do you want me to do my best?”
She picks a card at random and sure enough, the isotopes let her “see” the card. “You are right about me being able to note the position of the card in the deck, but I can avoid doing that if you want me to.”
MemberMarch 21, 2019 at 10:53 am
“Nothin’ to avoid, toots. Watch it all day long. Point is, I can’t,” Al said from behind his blindfold. “This here magic ain’t about what y’all can see, but what ol’ Al can do. Now show the rest o’ these boon companions yer card so ever’ one knows what it is – well, ever’one but yours truly, that is – then shuffle ‘er back into the deck ta yer satisfaction. I won’t touch the deck until yer good an’ ready.”
When she was done, the blindfolded Al reached out and felt around the top of the crate for the shuffled deck, picked up the shuffled deck, and performed three one-handed shuffles with his left hand while using his right to light the cigarette that had materialized between his lips. “Keep track o’ that card, toots. Follow it’s journey. Ain’t no secrets here. It’s where ya sense it, and that’s where it’ll keep on bein’.” He continued to execute one-handed shuffles, hand held up and out so that Alyce’s sensors would have a clear view. Then, without fanfare, he held the deck a foot above the crate, bent it in his right hand, and executed a high-speed drop, the cards rapid-firing downward one-by-one. It took about a second and a half to release all 52 cards, and in the midst ot the drop his left hand shot out, snatching a single card from the blurred flow.
Holding it up to face his passengers, Al asked, “That the card?” It was. “So yer wonderin’ how ol’ Al knew which card it was. Simple – process of elimination. He reached down with his free hand, straightened the fallen cards into a neat deck, flipped it, and fanned it out across the surface, revealing them perfectly ordered, ace to king, spade to diamond, all except, of course, for the card Alyce had chosen.
MemberMarch 21, 2019 at 7:56 pm
Alyce claps her hands and laughs out loud. “Very well done, Al, very bloody well done indeed. You are good. I cannot even begin to know how you did that.” She taps out her cigarette and leans a bit closer to where Al is sitting. “It would appear that you might just have too much time on your hands. You could donate some of that to staying with me after this is over, you know. Just saying.”
MemberMarch 22, 2019 at 4:08 pm
“Time on my hands? Woman, ya know how many hours o’ practice that takes a normal cardist? Even fer ol’ Al, represents a prodigious investment o’ time. But busy as I am, reckon I can pencil ya into the diary somewhere – when yer not fiddlin’ or booksellin’ or doctorin’ or what-have ya, that is.”
MemberMarch 22, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Alyce shakes her head. “I am sorry, Al. I did not mean to demean your time with your cards. I know that it must take many long hours to do what you can do. I would like to extend an invitation to all of us to visit me in my London home. I have been away from the book shop for far too long. I will go there as soon as Silk says that we have completed this run for her. I can contact Stephanie and have her run up to the City to get the place aired out and ready for habitation. Please, all of you, give the invitation some thought.”
MemberMarch 22, 2019 at 7:16 pm
Al figured he’d already as much as accepted, so he found his way to the head at the rear of the plane, then ended up back in the pilot’s seat. He did hope they heard from Silky soon – right now he was flying high and illegal over the Olympic Peninsula for no reason but to shake pursuit and kill time. He’d have felt a lot better with a destination, if not for himself than for their passenger….
MemberMarch 25, 2019 at 2:57 am
Alyce smiles to herself as she stretches out on the seat and plumps up one of the skinny pillows. “You need better pillows, too, you cheapskate. What is all of our ticket money paying for, anyway?” She chuckles as she tries to get some sleep. Her last thoughts were of the young girl they were transporting and hoping, again, that they had not done the wrong thing. If so, there was a lot of death involved in this for nothing.
MemberMarch 25, 2019 at 8:32 am
“Bird’s part your’n,” Al called back. “Ya wanna prettify ‘er, knock yerself out. Jist keep yer frills an’ froo-frahs out’n my cockpit.”
AdministratorMarch 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm
Isaint had watched the performance and nodded impressed. Part of the trick he had figured out – keeping track of the card while blindfolded wasn’t that hard. The one-handed sorting on the other hand, was a lot more difficult to explain.
He knew how he’d done it: E-ink cards that changed their faces on mental command, but he seriously doubted that Al would have gone the technological trick way.
Now that silence reigned again in the machine, he settled back and began meditating to lighten his need for sleep again.
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