OIL-AND-WATER ROUTINE
Robin Robertson

Phase I: Oil-and-Water

I do this after my Follow-the-Leader routine, which uses all the 6's, 7's, 8's, and 9's. At this point, I've already laid aside 4 reds and 4 blacks.

1. I have 4 blacks in my right hand, 4 reds in my left and I drop first a black face-down, then a red face-down, assembling a single pile.

"Now let's use fewer cards and more imagination. Imagine that the black cards are oil and the reds are water. Let's mix the oil and water."

2. When I gather them up, I do so suspiciously, then pick a spectator and look at him or her.

"You're suspicious, I can tell." This always gets a laugh. "No, I mixed up reds and blacks. Here, I'll show you."

Then I hold the packet face-down in my left hand and take cards off one at a time to display in the right hand, then drop on the table again.

"Red, black, Red, Black."

Then I simply fan the remaining four cards, as I say "Red, Black, Red, Black," then drop them on the others. This sequence puts two blacks together in the middle.

3. I pick the cards up face-down, very honestly this time. Then I openly take the top card and put it on the bottom, asking:

"If I take the top card and put it on the bottom, what will that do?"

They get a little confused and agree nothing happens, the cards are still alternating. I say with a puzzled air:

"You'd think so, wouldn't you? But everybody knows that oil and water don't mix."

I fan off the top 4 cards and lay on my right, then turn the remaining 4 over and Elmsley Count to show 4 reds. The last card goes on the bottom, then I turn them face-down. I always do a little snap with my left forefinger on the last card, which makes it easy to put it on the bottom. I drop these face-down on my left.

Then I pick up the tabled cards on the right and Elmsley Count, almost as an afterthought to show 4 blacks. This time I use the snap on the last card then put it on the bottom, then immediately take the new top card, snap it and put it on the bottom, too. There's a little rhythm here that makes it all look very tasty. Then I drop these cards face-down on the others and pick up the packet.

Phase II: Anti-Oil-and-Water

4. I take the bottom card of the packet and slowly transfer it to the top of the packet.

"When I took the top card and put it on the bottom, the cards separated. What do you think happens if I take the bottom card and put it on the top?"

As I do this, I get another laugh, and the sharper ones start to mumble.

"That's right, the oil and water do mix."

There's a con at this point. I flip the top two cards face-up as one to show they alternate, then deal them face-up on the table one-at-a-time. This reverses their order. I can now openly deal the rest of the cards to show all 8 alternating black and red.

Alternate version of Phase II

Sometimes I don't do the top card to the bottom to un-mix, etc. Instead I use the top card to scoop up the cards before they un-mix. Then in the anti-oil-and-water part, I bottom-deal on the 2nd card. This is an easy bottom-deal as I'm turning the cards face-up and there are only a few.

Phase III: Color Transposition

5. Pick up the packet set aside at the end of "Follow the Leader." Turn face-up and spread, holding the 4 Red cards in one hand, the 4 Blacks in the other. Turn each face-down in their respective hand, then drop the right hand cards on the left. No one will remember which was which at this point. For our example, we'll assume that the Blacks are on top.

6. Fan face-down and turn the middle two cards over as a unit to show a face-up Red and a Black card. The turn-over will have reversed their positions, so that the Red will be on top. Take off the top 4 cards as a unit and lay on the table. I stop talking about oil and water at this point, with no explanation. The audience doesn't care.

"The Red cards."

7. Turn the face-up Black card face-down and place on the bottom. Fan, taking two cards in each hand. Brush them against each other, then place the right cards under the left. Have a spectator hold them for safe-keeping.

"Would you hold out a hand, please. I'll give you the Black cards. Put your other hand and hold them securely."

8. Pick up the Red (?) pile. As with the Blacks, turn the face-up Red face-down on the bottom, split the fan into two parts, brush and replace the right cards under the left cards.

"The Red cards."

9. Tap the Red cards against the spectator's hands, then turn up and Elmsley Count (last card to the bottom), showing 4 Black cards. Drop the cards face-down on the table.

"Did you feel them go? No, well now I've got your Blacks cards."

10. Take the cards from the spectator. Elmsley Count (last 2 cards to the bottom, as in the last count in Phase I), to show that these are now the 4 Red cards.

"And you've got the Reds."

Note: The basis for this Phase is Andi Glavin's very simple and straightforward "Color Transposition" (AllMagic Guide, Sept. 11, 2000). All I've done is substitute an Elmsley Count for a Jordan Count, and add spectator involvement.

Phase IV: More Alternating Colors

11. Transfer the Red cards to the left hand and turn face-down.

"The Red Cards."

Pick up the black pile from the table with your right hand, turn face-up to display a black card, then face-down again, and drop on top of the Red pile in your left hand.

"The Black cards."

12. Spread the pile and turn the 4th card from the top face-up in place.

"Remember the Blacks are on top."

Turn the next card face-up in place.

"And the Reds are on the bottom."

Display for a moment, splitting the fan briefly between the two face-up cards. Then bring both hands together again, flip both face-up cards, face-down as a unit (which reverses their position). Close the spread, and add:

"And both colors are separated."

13. Tap the spread of alternating color cards which has been on the table since the beginning. Turn the packet face-up and ribbon spread behind the first spread to show that these cards now alternate as well.

"But all we have to do is tap these cards. And now these alternate, too."