Magic has been my livelihood for many years now. Every so often I find practical applications for it outside of entertaining audiences.
Let me cite one interesting example…
There’s this posh party venue in Metro Manila. It seems to be the favorite place of society’s high and mighty to celebrate elaborate birthday parties for their children.
Big enough to hold over 300 guests, the place is a medium-size auditorium. It boasts a large stage with ample holding areas off both wings and backstage. It has even an elevated director’s booth hanging over by the auditorium’s entrance from where lights and sounds are centrally controlled. It is a dream place to perform—if only the security checks were more forgiving.
The first time I performed at the place, I had no trouble bringing in my animals through the security checks. The guard station had a long table manned by several stern looking, burly guys. They made going through the check look formidable with the use of the proper props—security cordons, beeping doors, body search, radios, uniforms that shout “I’m a security guard!”, and hand-held metal detectors.
I made friends with the guards the first time I was there. While waiting for my part of the show, I went outside the auditorium and entertained them with money and card tricks in the lobby. I remember that when it’s time for me to perform on the stage, they left their posts and watched the show by the swinging doors of the auditorium.
The second time I was there, they barred me from bringing animals inside. New policy, they said.
Since animals were the highlights of my show, I begged them to let at least the rabbit pass through. Perhaps because I had befriended them, they let the rabbit in, hinting that they were doing it as a favor of me. They said they never gave other magicians the same privilege.
I know the guards were just doing their jobs. Unfortunately, the more faithfully they discharge their duties, the more efficiently they prevented me from doing mine.
So the next time I was there, I decided to play a cat-and-mouse game with them. Since they were using security devices and physical inspections, I set out to use my magic props and my skills at deception to dodge those checks. I was determined to smuggle my animals in.
While still in the van, I already instructed my assistants to load the rabbit in the rabbit vanisher and the duck in the Transpo (it switches two animals much like a Change Bag switches two different objects) in the “empty” position.
I hid three doves in my body and one in my sleeves.
My entourage and me then marched toward the security table. I flashed the three guards a friendly smile and they smiled widely back. The door did not bleep.
The guards subjected us to metal detector check, which of course did not squawk. One of the guards frisked me. I raised my hands (and my loaded sleeves) as he started groping the side of my body, my waist, thighs and legs. He failed, however, to touch my chest and sleeves where the smuggled doves were hidden.
“Sir, are you bringing animals with you?” he asked me routinely as if he is reading his words off a script.
“No,” I said. A barefaced lie, of course. I was not bitten by conscience in any way, as I have been lying all my performing life. “I place the coin in my left,” I would often say even though I palm it in my right hand. That sort of lie.
He peered into the Transpo and convinced himself it was empty. My assistant opened the two front doors of the rabbit vanisher, and the guard didn’t see the rabbit inside.
The guards let us in. I love these props!
My assistants and I celebrated backstage our “victory over security.” We gave each other high-fives and exchanged smiles, laughing out loud.
When time came for us to perform, alas, the security guards left their posts. They positioned themselves at the auditorium entrance and watched the show.
I saw three pairs of eyes bulge in their sockets when the doves appeared one after another. Later, when one of the doves turned into a duck, three pairs of eyes shone brighter than all the lights inside the auditorium. When the rabbit appeared toward the end of the show, disbelief (or was it fury?) was written in the faces of the security guards.
How we left the auditorium after the party without being mauled by the guards could be a blockbuster story. Wait for the book. It is going to be an Amazon.com bestseller, as soon as I finish writing it.
Its tentative title is “How I Escaped from Security Guards by Running a Hundred Meter Dash Like an Olympic Athlete.”