Ben:Do you have a piece of string I can borrow?
Female:Fresh out of string.
Ben:I actually brought some of my own right here. How about a drinking straw?
Ben:No? Okay. I got one of those, too.
Female:Of course you do.
Ben:I'm going to show you something really neat. Watch this. All I do . . . and this is actually the hardest part, is I put the string all the way through to the end of the drinking straw. This just takes a second. Bear with me. I assure you the buildup to payoff ratio will be just fine.
Female:Good to know.
Ben:There we are. You don't have a pair of scissors with you, do you?
Female:No. You have them, too?
Ben:I brought one of those, too. Here's what you do: You just fold the straw in half. Can you take these scissors for me?
Ben:I want you to do is slip them right through the middle here and cut the straw in half.
Ben:Watch your fingers and my fingers there. Yep. There you go. You can see it's clearly in tow pieces. Then I put it back into my hand, snap my fingers, string goes right back.
Female:But I just cut it.
Female:How'd you do it?
Ben:I'll never tell.
Ben:Okay, but you have to keep it a secret.
Ben:There's a little secret setup that you do before the trick begins. You take the straw, and it can either be in the wrapper or out of the wrapper. I like to start with it in the wrapper because it really disguises the fact that you did some secret preparations with it beforehand. You take a pair of scissors and you cut the straw just about halfway to the middle point, right here. You'll notice that's maybe 1 inch or 2 down. You can even do it about here. It doesn't have to be exact. You notice it doesn't go all the way through. Then you take a pair of scissors and you cut along the middle of the straw for about 4 inches. Just like that. Now you have a straw with a slit in the middle.
Then you can put this back in the wrapper. You can do this while that's still in the wrapper. The neat thing is even with a slit in the straw, you can handle it, you can show it; you don't need to be super-secretive of the fact, because you can't see the slit. In fact, it's very hard for me to see it even when I'm holding it. Then you take the string, and this is the part that takes a little while depending on the string and the straw, and you bring it all the way down to the bottom of the straw.
Female:This is the part I saw?
Ben:This is the part you saw, yeah. This part is fine. It's okay if they watch this part. You pull it down so it's hanging down from each side. You keep it nice and symmetrical. This is the secret move: When you fold the straw in half, under the misdirection of putting the straw from one hand to the other or handing somebody a pair of scissors, you take these two ends and you pull the string down, and then the string is actually right there between the two pieces of straw, but it's covered by this hand. When I hand you the scissors, you're not paying a lot of attention, and you can't really see what's happening here anyway because it's covered by my hand. I pulled the string down in a quick moment so it's really right here. When you're cutting . . .
Female:You're not cutting.
Ben:. . . you're missing the string, but nobody can tell because I'm holding it in my hand and I'm pulling these down. Then I have you cut through there. There you go, and you display the two pieces. You can even separate them into two hands as long as you're not showing the string that's going between. Then you put them back together like this, and really, nothing's happened; it's still connected. Then you have to do a magic moment. You wave your hand. You snap your fingers and you pull it straight back out.
Female:There you go, full string.
Ben:That's how you do the Cutting a String in a Straw trick.