Anything Can Happen

I first saw the Orion count performed by Dan Garrett at lecture in Chicago. It’s a very pretty false count (think of a flourishy version of the flustration count) created by French magician Yves Dumerique which is explained by Reed McClintock on his video “The McClintock Twist” and in Dan Garrett’s lecture notes “2002 The Last Palindrome”. I saw this count during a time when I was thinking about setting children’s poems to magic and it seemed like a perfect fit for Shel Silverstein’s poem “Listen to the MUSTN’TS” published in his book “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. Here it is:

1: “Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
2: Listen to the DONT’S
3: Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
5: Listen to the NEVER HAVES
6: Then listen close to me–
7: Anything can happen, child,
8: ANYTHING can be.”

To prepare, you will need five blank faced playing cards. On the faces of these cards print…

“Mustn’ts” on the first,
“Don’ts” on the second,
“Shouldn’ts” on the third,
“Impossible”, “Won’ts”, and “Never Haves” on the fourth, and
“ANYTHING” on the fifth.

Arrange these cards in the above order with the “Mustn’ts” card at the top of the face up packet and you are ready to begin.

With the packet face up, perform the Orion count while reciting the poem, showing one card for each line. On line four, show the last two cards as one and turn the packet face down. On line five, slip the card from the bottom to a face up position on top, indicate the “Never haves”, then turn face down. It’s as if you turned the packet down a moment too soon and are simply reshowing the card. Raise a finger and deliver line six. As you deliver the last two lines perform another Orion count of four cards, two for each line, on the beats. Display the last “ANYTHING” card (a double) for a few moments after the poem ends.

I think the Orion count adds just the right amount graceful flourish for a poetic effect like this one. I hope you enjoy it.

Notes on making the cards
1. Use your computer and printer to print the words you need for each card, four to a sheet, one card’s worth in each quarter of the page. Use bright white paper, not too heavy. (I use brightness 90, weight 24, ink jet paper.) Allow ink to dry completely.
2. Apply spray mount adhesive to the back of the page.
3. Apply blank faced cards (printed cards will show through) over each word and allow to dry.
4. Trim the paper from each card.

Sometimes the corners can be a pain to trim. If you have a KornerShort device sitting around, this can be used to nicely trim all corners. If not, you can either order one from your favorite dealer OR go down to the local craft store, find the scrapbooking section, and pick up a round corner punch. Take some cards with you to test it out.

Of course, one side will be a little rougher than the other, but this will not matter since at no time during the routine are two rough surfaces together. (You can always rub some wax paper on the face for a little smoother feel if desired — a tip from David Parr.)

This is the simplest method I know of that will work for this effect. I hope it works for you as well.

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