Good evening! Welcome! Prepare to be——Gesundheit!
Here, have a handkerchief. Just take it from my breast pocket. Keep pulling! So many handkerchiefs! How did they all fit in one small pocket! Magic!
Hm? Well, pull harder! That? That’s my pacemaker! No, you can keep it. I don’t have the heart to take it back from you. It’s yours! Souvenir!
A round of applause for the woman who sneezed! And now I need a volunteer... you, sir. Yes, you. Come on up here. A plant? No, I’ve never seen this man before. He’s no plant! Now, sir, I hope you’re not too shy, because I need you to unbutton your shirt... yes, just like th——Gah! What is—— You are a plant! Sir, I think you need to go to a hospital, and you should (ahem) leave right now. But all kidding aside, that looks serious. My assistant will drive you. Judith? Thanks.
Never mind that trick. Enjoy this one instead. Think of a number. Any number, but no decimals or fractions. Think of a whole number. Multiply it by two. Double it. What? No, those are the same thing. Don’t do it twice. I mean, do the number twice, but do the step just once. Got it? Okay, now add ten to your result. Now divide that sum by 2. If you’re lost at this point, just sit this one out and you can rejoin us when we’re done. Maybe order another drink... or stop drinking, if simple arithmetic is tripping you up! Finally, from the number you have now subtract the number you originally picked. And your answer is five. Not bad, right? My kid taught me that one. She’s also five.
And now I need a standard deck of cards. Does anyone have a deck of cards? No? Seriously? Fifty businessmen in a room for an after-conference magic show and not one of you brought a deck of cards? I guess we’ve got no Boy Scouts here tonight, because this is the opposite of being prepared. What about a pinochle deck? I could probably... No, I’ve got a better idea! Everyone drop a business card into this hat. I’ll come around. That’s it. Just drop in one of your own cards... thank you... thank you....
Now we’re going to do the same thing, but with dollar bills. I’m going to come around again, and everyone must put a dollar bill into the hat. No, I’m not kidding. If I don’t see a hat full of money, this show is over....
Great. Okay. Let me just make these disappear... and now I’ll saw a woman in half! Judith? Sweetie...? Oh, that’s right: Judith took the plant guy to the hospital. That’s okay! I don’t need her, because there’s another woman in the box already! I just... I just told you how the trick works, didn’t I. Damn it!
How about a joke? You want to hear a joke? Miss? In the red blazer. Do you like jokes? You do? Do you know any? No? Well, then, I guess we’re not going to hear a joke.
Wait! I’ve got one: Knock, knock. ... Interrupting doctor. ...—You have cancer.
Oh, stop. It’s a joke! My kid told it to me. What? No, I’m a magician... and that’s the show, ladies and gentlemen! Have a good night!
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.