I usually order Vodka Collins when I go to bar. But when I got tickets to The Magic Castle in Hollywood, I thought I'd go for something fancier -- the Singapore Sling.
If you've never been to The Magic Castle, it is a private club for magicians and their friends that is nestled in the hills of Hollywood. Inside is a multi-story mansion with gothic décor and a bar around every corner. They have a few showrooms where you can see magic shows, and you have to dress up and bring a lot of cash because everything is over-priced. I especially like going because -- for some reason -- I'm always picked as the magician's unwitting volunteer to assist in a trick or two.
I get a group of five of us to go and after saying "Open Sesame!" a wall slides open and we're in the club. We head directly for the piano lounge and get the waitress' attention. The cocktail waitress shortly returns with our drinks.
Drink #1: In the piano lounge, there's a grand piano placed in the corner with an empty chair in front of it. If you talk to the general area, the piano keys come alive and play a song in response to your request, supposedly played by the ghostly pianist Irma. For example, when my friend Jonah walks in carrying two drinks, Irma plays "How Dry I Am." If you put money in the tip jar she plays "We're in the Money." While Irma plays on we decide which magic shows we're going to hit; we definitely want to finish the night with the big show in the main showroom. But we have time to hit a smaller show now, so we walk over to one of the small galleries. I make sure to stop off at the bar on the way to get another drink.
Drink #2: We're seated in a small gallery near the front. It's a cheesy act of a George-Hamilton-type man and his typical floozy showgirl sidekick. He is holding an ashtray in his hand and then lets it go, apparently to appear as if it disappears. But I see the cord attached to his coat that helps the ashtray whip back into the folds of his jacket, and I spontaneously yell out, "Strings!" My friend next to me shushes me. "But I saw the string," I tell her. She snaps, "You've finished your second cocktail. How can you see anything right now?" Good point.
Drink #3: We go to the main showroom. After a couple less-amazing acts, the main 'illusionist' comes on. He's really good. At one point he looks for a volunteer and of course he picks me. I get up on stage and he asks me to close my hands into fists and put my arms across my chest. Then he proceeds to do some kind of lead-up to a trick, using pieces of paper shaped like hands. He lights the paper and it goes up into a fantastic ring of smoke with a popping noise. Then he looks at me. He has not touched me the entire time I've been at the castle. And he has not spoken to me since bringing me onstage and telling me to cross my arms across my chest.
But now he asks me to take my arms and hold them straight out. I do. Then he tells me to open my hands up to the audience. I do, and the audience gasps. Their faces are wide-eyed, jaw-dropping, and surprised. I'm confused, and finally I look at my hands. There's an ashen burn mark on my palms. How did they get there? I think, as applause is ringing in my ears. I go back to my seat, my head spinning. The show ends and I make my way with my friends out of the showroom. We all head to the bar.
Drink #4 & 5: Several people stop me and ask how he did it. "I don't know," I tell them. "I've never met him before and he didn't touch me the whole time." An old man with his wife buy me another drink, saying the expression on my face was priceless. My friends all question me if I felt anything, if I remember him touching my hands in any way. No, I tell them. But it freaks me out, even when I make it home.
Final total: 5
Major after effects: One hell of a hangover, and I still don't know how I got that shit on my hands. Now I think my hands are cursed. Does anyone know of a good exorcist?