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Memoirs of a Sword Swallower Excerpt: Lock-picking & Escapism; Aunt Matty

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“Now I read your mind like it was an open book; never having seen you, never having met you before.” He intoned it like a chant. “You been thinking of something, right? Now I read your mind and tell you what you been thinking of. You been thinking I haven’t got no real powers, that I can’t read minds. Am I right, quick, tell me.”

“No,” I told him. “I didn’t have much chance to think, but I was thinking about a certain fish dinner.”

“You mean you never doubted my powers?”

“Possibly I did.”

“That’s the thought he picked up,” explained Madam Moyer while her husband nodded wisely. “That was your main thought, so that’s what he picked up.”

I began to realize they had a system here and became more interested.

“You want to take in our performance tonight,” urged Mr. Moyer. “It’s wonderful how I can take a crowd of people and lay bare everything they’re thinking. I don’t use no hooks, wires, gimmicks, or other devices. I just work with my hands and this.” He tapped his forehead.

The Moyers weren’t exactly my idea of magicians, but I knew they were probably the closest thing to real magicians I was likely to meet. At last I was going to work with someone who claimed supernatural powers. With a light heart I started setting up their living top for them, looking forward to a very interesting acquaintanceship.

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