I swear to you that I had this exact dream the other night. It was weird, as I don’t normally remember my dreams. But when I woke up, I sat up in bed and thought to myself, “that was ridiculous.” I’ve been thinking of it every day since. I even wrote it down and published it in the May 2022 of The Hermit. It's relevant to the #hermitmagicchallenge for the month.
I appeared to be at some sort of magic convention, though the setting felt more like a museum than the usual convention rooms in a hotel. I think it might have been the Art Gallery of Ontario, as there was a lot of natural light. Anyways, I was seated at a large, round table with about ten random unknown magicians, all in the midst of showing each other magic tricks, and just generally jamming. I was sitting, staring off into the middle distance, not interacting. Because I had a secret.
I was a magician, at a magic convention, who could do real magic. I had just acquired this gift in that moment, and I knew it.
I was in the midst of a major dilemma. Do I reveal to the hundreds of congregated magicians at the convention that I could do real magic? If I did, what would it mean for all of these people who spend countless hours trying to replicate what I could naturally do? Would it crush their spirits? Would I be ruining magic for all of these conjurors by showing them real magic? What would be the point of them, if someone like me was walking about?
I was also fighting my own internal battle within. Yes, the dream was that vivid. The question was, had I ruined magic for myself? I had practiced card and coin magic for almost two decades, and now I could simply do whatever I wanted. Had I wasted a fifth of my life? It was a depressing thought.
If I was to continue with the convention, and jam with fellow magicians using sleight of hand skills that replicate magic, I’d be the equivalent of Clark Kent playing high school football, pulling his tackles and never using his full potential. I’d be lying to myself, as no sleight that I could perform would be as effective as the real magic I could do.
If I was to use real magic in the guise of a trick, I know I’d be hounded by magicians for the next few days, demanding to know how my double lift was that perfect, or how that coin completely, actually vanished. How would I respond to that?
The dream continued. As I pondered my dilemma, a dream version of Mike Caveney wandered by. I think he was working in both the museum and the convention, as he was dressed rather scholarly. He looked around the table at all the magicians jamming and proudly nodded, like a content father whose children had done great things. His eyes fell on me, just sitting there, and he leaned in.
“A real magician doesn’t have to set up,” he chided me.
I looked down at my hands in shame to see that I was in the midst of returning a deck of cards into Si Stebbins order, one card at a time. I furiously dropped all the cards, stood up, kicking my chair over, and reached into the center of the table, where there was a whole chocolate cake. I tore a chunk of cake out of the center with my bare hand.
Everyone stopped to stare at us. I turned back to Mike, holding up the fistful of cake:
“Name a cake.”
He looked back at me, and his eyes narrowed slightly. I knew the moment that he figured it out. He hesitated, but then named his cake, as if to challenge me.
I waved my free hand over the hand clutching the dripping, crumbling mess. In an instant, the cake changed.
“How about orange? Tangerines are out of season,” I declared, setting the chunk of cake on the table. The sponge cake was a distinctly citrus and white colour, and tasted of oranges. It fit perfectly in the gap made in the still-chocolate cake.
Mike Caveney nodded at me, and strolled away slowly, laughing quietly to himself like a content monk in an abbey who had just found out that his life’s work had been realized. I sat down, looked around at the faces gawking at me, and promptly woke up.
“That was ridiculous.”
Your challenge for the month is to come up with a method for this cake effect that could work and potentially be used in the real world. Either write up your method or film yourself doing it, and get in touch by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting to social media with the hashtag #hermitmagicchallenge.
You have until June 1st!