I am nervous as J. C. Wagner and I step through the Magic Castle’s secret sliding bookcase and quietly slip into the Castle’s Library. There are only two people inside, Dai Vernon and, at another table, Tony Giorgio. (Giorgio played Bruno Tattaglia in the classic film, The Godfather. If you are familiar with the film, Bruno was the mobster who slammed a knife through Vito Corleone’s toughest henchman’s hand, pinning it to a bar top.)
We step up to Vernon’s table; Wagner makes the introductions; and then pushes me forward into a seat saying, “Richard, show Vernon your false deals.”
So, I deal a few bottoms, and Vernon says, “That’s nice…that’s nice.”
However, I can tell by the tone in his voice what he really wants to say is “That’s nice…now go away!”
With the hint of a sneer Giorgio yells from the other table, “Won’t get the money! Won’t get the money!”
As soon as I hear Giorgio bellow out at me – a total stranger – I pick up on the vibe behind his nasty snarl; it is clear that he recognizes his ample ego and doesn’t care what people think of him.