Going Nowhere

By Luke Jermay - Friday, July 31, 2020

This is a trick I have never performed. I would like to imagine it being performed by someone, somewhere as I think it would be wonderful. It was developed in my imagination as a teenager and now all these years later, since I still have not contrived of a fitting situation to present it, it seems the best thing to do is share it in the hope someone will!


The performer meets a friend on the street and proposes a strange activity: “Lets go nowhere fast. I have a way to get nowhere fast!”

He removes a large collection of cards, about the size of playing cards but they are not playing cards. They are instead each inscribed with a simple direction such as ‘turn left’ or ‘walk 10 steps forward.’ Each of the 50 or so cards are shown to be different. The performer continues: “Lets see where fate brings us with 10 choices made at random.”

The spectators picks ten of the cards and then shuffles them, without seeing their faces. The performer places these 10 cards into an envelope which he hands to the spectator. He places the remaining cards away and then has the first of the 10 cards removed and read aloud. It says for example ‘take as many steps forward as there are letters in your full name.’ They follow the instructions. The next card is removed and it says, for example; ‘turn left and walk for the duration of the last song you played on your phone.’ The performer removes his phone and plays the song as they walk, when it ends they take the next card and follow its instructions.

This is repeated with all the cards until they end up standing in front of a store window which has its windows covered with newspaper, as if it is being renovated. The performer continues: “We tried to go nowhere but fate always has a way of bringing us exactly where we need to be…” The performer gestures to the address plaque on the building. It reads: ‘Nowhere. 0 Nowhere Street. Nowheresville.’

The performer knocks his fist on the window and from the inside the newspaper is torn away revealing a surprise party, with the friends of the participant waiting for them. A fun afternoon is had by all!


This is a wonderful concept that I really hope someone performs! The method is simple. Force 10 cards that have been constructed to bring you and your friend to the place you have set up for a surprise party, complete with an address plaque you have had made and posted on the door of the building. In the description, I have imagined a switching envelope being used to bring the prepared direction cards into play. However any method that controls which 10 cards are selected will work. The final suggestion is to make the directions seem random and beyond control; such as ‘walk the number of letters in your full name’ while of course this is totally controlled, since you are going to great lengths with this spectator in mind, in the moment it appears and feels to the participant that this would have been different for anyone else who picked it. These instructions will of course need to be made to fit the specific situation you create for the climax however some suggestions to get you started are included in the description above.

Revising this idea, all these years later, I am struck by how well suited this might be for use in a video format for social media.

Reader comments:


Sunday, 02 August 2020 22:02 PM - Reply to this comment

Great and quite similar to the Real Secrets effect City Walk they published in Genii in 2015 or 2017 Eugene Burger issue. Worth a look.

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