[This is from the upcoming book NOTAS]
Jay Sankey has come up with many good presentation ideas and variations on the “$100 Bill Switch”. It’s a shame that most people only ever show the transformation of a tenner into a hundred when there are so many excellent alternative presentations. Aside from the fact that I think it’s psychologically wrong (when the bill is “re-transformed”), the presentation for this wonderful move has become boring because everyone shows it that way. Jay had a nice idea that inspired me to this routine.
The effect is that a “blank cheque” signed by the audience and you, in a purse and the performer’s hand, swap places. Everything happens right under the spectator’s nose and is inexplicable.
Besides the thumb tip, one of the usual small purses and two different coloured felt-tip pens, you will need the “blank cheques”. In my case, these are white sheets of paper, cut to the size of a dollar bill. So the optimal size for the exchange. Axel Hecklau gave a very good tip in his lecture about which paper is best suited for the “$100 Bill Switch” and where you can get it.
I assume that you know and mastered this exchange. It is described in many books and also explained on DVDs (e.g. on the tapes of Michael Ammar), which you can get at your local dealer.
You will need three cheques for each demonstration. All of them are folded for the “Bill Switch”. On one of them, you write your signature with a felt pen (e.g. in blue colour). The cheque is folded and placed in your purse. The other two cheques are also added with the thumb tip. You need to know where the cheque you signed is located.
Put the two felt-tip pens on the table and open the purse. Take out the two blank checks and unfold them. The thumb tip and the labelled cheque remain in the purse unnoticed. The thumb tip stands upright, in preparation for the steal.
Through the “Magician’s Force” the viewer now has the “free” choice of pen colour. He “freely” chooses the red pen, so the blue one remains for you. He should now write his signature in large letters on the slip of paper, you do the same with your slip of paper, taking care that your signature looks as similar as possible to the one on the slip of paper.
Leave your piece of paper on the table while it is still open. Grasp the spectator’s note and fold it slowly and visibly. Now grab the purse and hold it so that the opening points upwards. Of course, the spectators must not be able to look into the purse. You now insert the folded piece of paper into the purse, in reality of course directly into the thumb tip, which you steal from it again as soon as you close the purse.
After stealing the note, you close the purse and place it on the table. Ask the viewer to place his hand flat on the purse. You are now in the perfect position to show the exchange with your note. After the exchange, the spectator can open the purse himself and take out and open the note inside—it is of course the note with your signature.
So much for the pure technique of the trick. As you can see, everything is very prepared for the exchange through the sequence of actions. No movement too much, and no movement too little.
But almost more important to me is the presentation. I do not want to give you a literal account of my presentation, but I would like to explain the key points. I am talking about how skilled pickpockets have to be to be successful in their profession. It is not the greatest difficulty for these people to “pull” a complete purse or purse out of the victim’s pocket. It is much more difficult to steal something from the purse, but to leave the purse in the pocket so that the victim does not even notice that it has been stolen, because the purse is still there. That’s the premise.
Since it is not about money, we use the “blank cheques” as an object of study. After the purse is under the hand of the spectator and the situation is clear, now comes the motivation for the exchange.
I say that good pickpockets always have to rely on two things for such a difficult task as stealing something from the container: the look and feel. Now I start to fold the cheque for the switch. After each individual fold I briefly touch the back of the spectator’s hand with the folded note and ask her if she has felt anything. She will answer in the affirmative. Then I ask her if she has also seen something and she will answer that she has seen the folding of the note. Then I will complete the exchange and unfold the note with her signature.
The rather unmotivated folding of the “$100 Bill Switch” is much better motivated than just folding a bill together and unfolding it again to show the transformation. Touching the back of the hand makes the presentation more exciting for the audience.
Try this presentation once and it will surprise you about the reactions.