236/366 – The Mind Reader

Day 94 of 100 Word Prompts: Trick

“Do it again,” Gabby said, pushing Jeremy’s shoulder. “Show it to me again.”

Jeremy cocked his head to one side, lifted an eyebrow, and sighed.

“Ready?” He asked, holding the deck of cards in front of him in his right hand.

“Ready,” Gabby replied.

“Think of any card in the deck,” Jeremy said, closing his eyes.

With his eyes closed, he turned off his sense of hearing as well, leaving plenty of room in his mind to focus on her thoughts. Like tuning an old radio through the static of random frequencies, he found her station.

I’ve got him this time—the Joker. There’s only two in the deck. The red one. Red Joker.

Jeremy nodded to himself, bringing to the front of his mind the exact order of every card in the deck as he had memorized them with each shuffle. A common trick, but still a bit challenging to do when each cascade takes less than a second. Fifty-four cards and the Red Joker was twenty-second from the top.

Jeremy’s left hand moved on its own, moving slowly over the top of the deck to break Gabby’s line of sight. With each pass of his hand, he was able to move four cards from the top of the deck to the bottom. He counted silently in his head. Twenty, twenty-two, flip.

With the final movement of his left hand, the Red Joker was face-up on top of the deck as though it had materialized. Jeremy opened his eyes to see the screwed up face of one of the most interesting girls in the school analyzing his trick.

“There’s no way, man,” Gabby said, taking a step back. “Are you some kind of freak?”

“No,” Jeremy replied, monotone like a prerecorded answer. In his head, he thought yes. “I’m just a sleight of hand illusionist.”

“I don’t believe it, man. I’ve seen street magicians before. They make quick movements to draw your attention away from the trick. I see you move the cards from the top of the deck, the trick isn’t moving the cards, it’s always right,” Gabby continued.

“You could see me moving the cards to the bottom of the deck?” Jeremy asked.

“Well, yeah. I thought you wanted to show me that. I was hoping you could show me that you knew exactly where the card I was thinking of was. Your eyes are closed and everything, it makes it super freaky,” Gabby said.

“Hmm, you think so?” Jeremy asked, absent-mindedly shuffling the cards in his hands. “I practiced for months so that no one would see the cards move. I wanted it to look like your card just appeared at the top of the deck.”

“It does at the end,” Gabby said. “I assume you flip the top card. I don’t see that part. I catch you feeding cards to the bottom of the deck.”

“Okay,” Jeremy said, producing the case to the cards and putting them away.

“You should tell me how you do it,” Gabby said.

“Do what? You guessed it already. I push cards to the bottom of the deck until yours is on the top and easy for me to flip,” Jeremy said. “It’s not that complex of a trick.”

“Not that part, the other side of the trick. The part where you’re never wrong when you reveal the card on top of the deck,” Gabby said.

“Can’t tell you that one. That’s a trade secret I’m afraid,” Jeremy said, sliding the packed deck of cards into the breast pocket of his vest.

“I’ll get you to tell me one day,” Gabby said, her tone almost threatening as a cunning smile spread across her face.

Jeremy thought about it for a second. If he told her the truth, she would either believe him or not believe him. There would be no in-between for them. If she believed him, she would ask him to prove it, in which case he’d tell her the next few things that passed through her mind. If she didn’t believe him, she would probably give him hell for lying to her.

Fuck it. Jeremy thought, a matching smile to Gabby’s spreading across his face.

“You really want to know?” Jeremy asked, leaning forward, and looking both ways as though someone might be listening.

“I really do,” Gabby replied, equally as quiet.

“I can read your mind,” he whispered into her ear.

“Fuck off!” Gabby said, shoving him away from her again.

Gabby’s small size hid the fact that she worked at her family’s farm every day after school and on the weekends. She could easily throw hay bales into the trailers for hours, or muck that stalls all day. A hard day’s work was a day well spent, in her opinion.

Jeremy leaned backward, attempting to catch himself on anything stationary as he realized that he was going down. He had not expected the shove, and when his hands flew out in front of him, Gabby was equally as surprised by what he grabbed to steady himself.

“Excuse me!” Jeremy said, his face turning red, and the blush continuing straight through his hairline onto his scalp. “I didn’t mean to, I swear!”

“You grabbed my breasts, you asshole!” Gabby said, feigning a punch, to which Jeremy flinched.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to, I was going to fall over, I didn’t think you would shove me again, and you caught me off guard,” Jeremy blurted, tripping over half the words before he saw Gabby’s expression suddenly soften into a smile. “What’s happening?”

“I’m just fucking with you, man,” Gabby said. “I shoved you a bit harder than I wanted to, and clearly, you weren’t expecting it. I tried to reach out to grab your hands, but you’re a bit faster than me. Next time, aim for the shoulders, though, okay?”

“Next time?” Jeremy asked, feeling a small surge of fear.

“Well, I can forgive using my tits as tethers once, twice-that depends. I’d rather not have to figure out if I should pull your sack off, so let’s leave it at the once time, okay?” Gabby said.

“O-okay,” Jeremy said, nodding quickly. “Just once.”

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