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Topic: The Kid
Message: Posted by: Butterfly Man (May 5, 2010 11:38AM)
I have a friend. His name is ******* *******. Like the rest of us, ******* has a birth certificate, a social security number, a driver's license and a passport. But, unlike you or me, ******* doesn’t exist. Oh, his documentation is real enough, but he isn’t. A magician created him.

Allow me to explain.

In the late '70's, I worked on the street at Pier 39 in San Francisco. These were the "golden days" of street performing. A guy who also worked the wharf went by the name of "Fast Eddie". Fast Eddie did quick sleights and sight gags for passerby’s. He had taken this new young magician* under his wing, but couldn’t give the kid a place to crash, so he asked if I could help. I had an extra room in my place in the Haight, so I said "OK".

I must admit I didn't pay much attention to this particular kid when we first met. He hustled outside the Anchorage Shopping Center in San Francisco on Jefferson St. His appearance was nondescript, his manner unassuming.

Like I said, I never paid any attention to this kid even though he lived in my place for quite awhile. He just came and went from my place, most of the time I didn't even notice if he was there or not.

Then one day when three famous magicians showed up at my house to visit, Pat Hazell, Jeff McBride and coin magic wizard, David Roth.

This kid walks into my front room while we were talking and starts doing card tricks!!!

"OMG!” I thought to myself, "this kid is going to embarrass himself once he finds out who these guys are. "Card tricks????", I thought, "this is gonna be ugly".

But, surprise, surprise, the three professionals were paying rapt attention to what this kid was doing. They seemed to be amazed at his every move. I had no idea what was going on but all of them were going ga ga over his tricks.

After they left, I asked this kid what he had done and he said he knew exactly who those three magicians were. He said he did tricks that only magicians would be able understand … sort of magic for magicians. I didn't see any difference but apparently Pat, Jeff and David had, they were amazed at his technique. From that moment, I started to notice this kid.

The following day the kid asked me if I would like to go to Adam Fleisher’s 1st New York symposium of Magic in Los Angeles. I said, "Yes", when he said he'd pay for the gas.

We drove all the way down in my high top VW van … he told me to bring along a tuxedo, but didn't tell me why.

When we arrived, he said he'd wait in the van until I registered and then he'd buy me breakfast. I was curious, but I did what he asked.

When I returned, he took me to Denny's where he ordered me the cheapest breakfast on the menu. He asked to see all the badges and passes I had gotten when I registered. I gave them to him and he opened his briefcase and duplicated everything I had before they came back with my breakfast. Every badge, pass, wristband and every show ticket was just like mine. The convention package had cost me about $250 and he'd gotten the whole shebang for the $2.99 breakfast special at Denny's. This kid was good, real good.

After breakfast we drove back to the convention site and I booked a room in the hotel next-door. The kid asked me my room number and I gave it to him expecting him to ask if he could crash there, but he never did.

When I returned to my room that evening, the kid followed me back. But instead of asking for floor space, he asked me to stand guard at the end of the hall. Then the kid knelt down in front of the room adjoining mine, pulled out a lock picking kit and proceeded to deftly use a "rake and a torsion bar" to pick the lock … it took him all of 11 seconds. "Whoa", I thought, "who is this kid?"

The kid later told me he had called that particular room number periodically during the day (from the house phone) and made sure there was no one there. He said if no one had answered that phone all day then by 11pm the chances were about 90% the room was going to be vacant that evening. "Genius", I thought, "pure genius"!

I kind of lost track of the kid for the next couple of days until the final day of the convention. There was a big finale show with Pat Hazell emceeing and Jeff McBride closing.

I got the show a little late and as I looked throughout the crowd for an open seat I spied the kid. No lie... he was in the VIP section, sitting between DiVernon and Slydini. I humbly stood in the back for the entire show shaking my head in wonderment.

When the show finished, the kid found me and asked me if I wanted to go see Ricky Dunn, the famous pickpocket, perform at The Magic Castle. I nodded, though I knew it was a "members only" place and you had to dress well to get in.

As I drove, the kid pulls a beautiful Italian silk suit out of a garment bag and puts it on. Then as he drove I put on my shabby two-bit tuxedo (sigh).

As we pull up the kid tells me where to park (somewhere in the back of the Castle) and we hop over a small brick wall, weave through some cars and come to a back door. The kid instructs me, “Don't look to the right, don't look to the left, just go straight to the top of the stairs, push open the door and walk in. I did as I was told, except I did look to the side as I was going up the stairs and I saw some guys washing dishes. I didn't stop. The dishwashers never even looked my way.

I was shocked as I walked through the door to see all the people. All of a sudden I'm on the third floor of the Magic Castle with well-dressed people all around me.

I freak a bit when I spy a cocktail waitress staring at me with her mouth open. I turn around for a second and see the kid right behind me but there is no door behind him. The waitress had just seen the two of us walk through a blank wall.

I walk straight up to the waitress and boldly ask, “Could you please tell me where Ricky Dunn is performing, please?”

She looks me and then up at my black beret and then back at the kid and asks, “Are you the police?”

My heat beating audibly, I say, “Ma'am, just tell us where he is.”

She answers, “He'll be performing in there (pointing) in about 10 minutes.”

Then the kid and I make our way to the bar and sit on some stools. The same waitress walks back over to us and says, “Can I get you gentlemen anything?”

I say, “Just coffee for me, thanks.”

After she leaves, the kid leans over and whispers in my ear, “You did that very well.”

I beam with pride.

After one of the most amazing pick pocketing shows I've ever seen, the kid somehow gets us both backstage to meet Ricky Dunn.

For the next 2 hours the kid cajoles, coerces and manipulates Ricky into revealing his patented “5 finger Spandex watch steal”.

I watch amazed as the elderly gentleman gets sweet-talked, coaxed and flattered as the kid wheedles the information out of him. I was both astonished and appalled, in equal measure.

Years later, the kid moved out of my pad and away from San Francisco. However, we stay in touch to this day (30 years later) because he somehow kept a SF address and phone number even though he hasn't lived there for years.

Over time, I started to find out more and more about him.

This story is only just the beginning.
Message: Posted by: SeasideShowman (May 6, 2010 10:20AM)
Nice post, Butterfly. I look forward to your next submission with the rest of the story !!

Cap'n Mike - Seaside Showman
Alfresco Fettucini, The Fettucini Brothers

Message: Posted by: magicFreak2 (May 14, 2010 03:41PM)
Sounds great butterfly!
Message: Posted by: Magic1 (Jan 8, 2011 01:29AM)
Robert- I hope you're feeling good.