A card is torn in pieces and one piece is held by the spectator. The other pieces vanish. The restored card is now found in a sealed envelope.
Yeah, I know, it doesn't sound like much, but there's more going on here than it might first appear.
The first thing you need to do is take a duplicate card, tear a corner off the card, then put the playing card inside a birthday (or upcoming holiday) card and mail it to you friend. The next time you speak to them tell them you sent them something in the mail but that they shouldn't open it until you two get together this coming weekend (for example).
Put the torn corner somewhere where you won't lose it before the weekend.
My Baby, She Wrote Me A Letter
I've always liked the structure of a headline prediction where you mail it days ahead and ask someone to hold onto it for you. I wanted to incorporate that into a magic trick because I think it's inherently intriguing -- at least mildly intriguing. For a couple days your spectator will see the envelope sitting on their kitchen counter and wonder what that's going to be about. Anything that extends a trick out from the few moments it takes to perform is good in my book. Using the mail makes the effect bigger and test-conditions-y, in a way. Not only that, but receiving a card or letter in the mail is a less and less common phenomenon. So just the act of getting something interesting in the mail that isn't a bill or junk mail is a small treat for most people.
On the day of your performance, bring a deck of cards and the torn corner to your friend's place. The torn corner should be in your left pocket.
Tell your friend, "I want to do something special for you, because it's your special day." Tell her to get the birthday card you sent.
Have her shuffle the deck in preparation for the Reverse Psychology Force. Force the duplicate of the card in the envelope on her.
"You're sure that's the one you want?" you ask. "Okay. Great. Well... there you go. Now you've got your own personal card. And actually the 7 of hearts -- if you look into the meaning of playing cards and fortune telling-- the 7 of hearts means the coming year will be an extremely happy one for you." You look at the card. "I know it's not much of a gift, but it's unique to you, because you chose it. I mean, I guess I could have gone to the mall and gotten you some store-bought bullshit, but what kind of present would that be? This [you point to the card] is at least something unique and personal. Of course society will say it's not a great gift because it's just a playing card. Some people just don't understand what's really valuable in this day and age. Okay... see you later," you say and start walking out. You stop and turn back.
"Okay, I admit, it's kind of a weak gift. I'm sorry. Things have been pretty tight down at the Chevron station."
"You don't work at a Chevron station," your friend says.
"Well, I certainly won't be if things continue the way they're going." You point to the playing card. "I'm sorry. I should have gotten you more. Wait... I know what to do." You ask your friend to tear it into 8ths and give it back to you. When she does you toss all 8 pieces in the air. "Hooray!" you say. "Whew! A shower of confetti. What an amazing experience that must have been for you. I hope you enjoyed my gift. What better experience than to stand there as 1000s of pieces of confetti fall down all around you."
"8 pieces," she says.
"What an amazing moment that must have been. Confetti... it's nature's rainstorm."
"Wouldn't a regular rainstorm be nature's rainstorm?" she asks.
"We should clean this up," you say, and pick up the pieces. "Actually," you say, "I want to try something legitimately special for your birthday."
You now go into The Jerx Torn-Corner Handling.
The Jerx Torn-Corner Handling
I will describe this in the context of this trick but you can figure out how to use it with other tricks. I came across this method a few years ago and it's the only one I've used since. It's the simplest and most convincing vanish of the pieces as far as I'm concerned. And it's fun because the spectator essentially switches in the matching corner and assists in the vanish of the pieces.
Here's how it's done. You ask your spectator to grab the birthday card for you. As she does you take the matching piece out of your left pocket and hold it in your curled left fingers at your side. All the other pieces are in your right hand at the base of your fingers in a relatively tidy little pile. When she goes to hand you the birthday card, you are going to do a shuttle pass action and pretend to place the pieces from your right hand into your left, but actually retain them in your right. You're holding back all the pieces in a clump like they're one object. Then with your palm down right-hand, and the pieces in Ramsay Subtlety, you will take the envelope from your friend. Simultaneously you will cup your left hand and jiggle it a little like you're trying to get the pieces to settle in some way. Your fingers should be slight spread so the piece that's in your hand can be seen. This piece is masquerading as all the torn pieces, so you don't want to show too much, but just a flash of it. Close your left hand into a fist, and place the envelope on top of your left fist. You put all your attention on your left hand and tell her to concentrate on it as your right hand ditches the pieces.
Now you act as if you changed your mind about how you want to proceed. You lift the envelope off of your left hand and tell the person to reach into your left fist and remove one of the pieces. You keep your left fist fairly tightly closed. Just loose enough for her to barely reach in. You say, "If you get more than one piece, just put the others back." Of course, they can't get more than one piece. There's only one piece to get. And as they remove this one piece as a "receipt" they have just switched in your torn corner, removed the only trace of a card, and reinforced the idea that the hand is full of pieces.
Look at this vanish from the spectator's perspective. The shuttle pass is a very natural action which is immediately reinforced when they see an empty right hand, and apparently pieces of card in your left hand. At this point suspicion should be low to non-existent. They then clean up the situation for you when they remove the piece from your hand. Only after that do the pieces vanish. In this case I would place the envelope back on top of my left fist, then with my right hand I would press down on it as I opened my left hand, so the envelope was sandwich between my palms, as if I was pushing the pieces into it.
I would then hand them the envelope to open and find -- inside a birthday card -- their "freely" chosen card restored except for their "freely" chosen piece.