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Invisibility Hat

Now you see it, Now you don’t … Your money that is
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Disclaimer: This is really long and somewhat silly. If you are looking for ideas about how to cure cancer or world peace, then what are you doing on the halfbakery? ... I mean, um ... please don’t waste your time reading this…

Lloyd was a smooth talker with an even smoother silk suit. His gaudy jewelry and plastic smile should have been enough of a warning for Frank not to trust him, but curiosity got a hold of him before logic could set in. It had been Frank’s lifelong secret dream to be invisible, so when he saw the ad in the paper offering to try out the new system for free, he drove down to see it right away.

The back room, or “Experiment Room”, as Lloyd called it, was very brightly lit but virtually empty. The walls were white, the floor was white, and the ceiling was white. Frank squinted as he entered, but his pupils soon adjusted and he took a look around. A large mirror hung on the wall, and in each of the corners sat a small black metallic box. In the center of the room was a cheap folding table and on top of that sat a beautiful red felt hat.

“We keep it so bright back here so that you won’t think we are pulling some trick in the darkness. You’ll be able to clearly watch yourself disappear in that mirror on the wall” claimed Lloyd. “I guarantee that you have never seen such a stunning display of technology! You won’t be disappointed with our ClearAway 3000 system. The company has never received even a single complaint from a disgruntled mark…. Uh, marketing agent I mean…” as he trailed off.

“But how does it work?”

“Well, of course it’s extremely complex, but it's basically a five piece system. You got four of your fully functional Model-Z9-Triangulator-Dissipation-Illusionator boxes here in the corners, and then you got your Model-4.8-Personal-Location-Broadcast-Headgear” said the slippery salesman as he pointed to the black boxes and then the hat. “Everyone is always interested in the 4.8, but the Z9’s are what really make the system go. The can be positioned in virtually any room and cover a range of 1000 square feet! They do have to be permanently hardwired into the building's electrical system, and the headgear will only work when it is surrounded by all four Z9 units, so pick their position wisely. It will be expensive for us to come in and rearrange.”

“So as soon as I put on the hat, I will be invisible?” asked Frank, giddy with excitement.

“Pretty much. It actually starts working as soon as you touch the 4.8 unit and you kind of fade out. It takes a few seconds to reach full power. I should tell you though, that you will still be able to see yourself if you look down, but to everyone else, you have disappeared! That’s why we have the mirror. It provides you with a different vantage point, so you can, or I should say CAN’T see yourself” said Lloyd. Then with a hearty laugh, he added, “I mean, people would think we are just running a scam if we only TOLD them they were invisible! Go ahead and give it a try.”

So Frank took a step towards the table, and with his eyes on the mirror, picked up the hat. “Bye Bye Baby!” yelled Lloyd. Frank didn’t feel any different, but he was in complete awe as he watched himself slowly fade out of the mirror until he was gone! He could still see the table, Lloyd, and the rest of the room in the mirror, but he was really invisible!

“Oh my God! This is fantastic! How much does it cost?” cried Frank as he placed the hat back on the tale and watched himself slowly reappear in the mirror.

“Well, it’s the newest system out on the market, and the price tag on it is supposed to be $20,000, but I really like you, so I think I can probably give it to you for 18 if you promise refer some friends to us.”

“It's a deal. How soon can I have it, and where do I sign?”

“Well, it’s company policy to wait for you check to clear first, but I promise that I will personally come out and install the system myself the very next day. Just sign here, here… and here, and leave your address at the bottom of the page. Thank you so much, Frank. I promise you’ll love having your very own system.”

Frank finished the paperwork and practically ran out of the building with a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. “Poor sucker” mumbled Lloyd as he walked back towards a door next to the one for the Experiment Room. “He’s gone, Floyd. You can come on out.”

And with that, the door flew open to reveal a room designed and decorated exactly like the Experiment Room, only with everything in reverse, or mirror image. And standing there in the doorway with a wicked grin on his face was a man who’s only difference in appearance from Lloyd was a very slight height advantage. The silk suit was the same, the gold chains and pinky rings were the same, and the crocodile skin boots were the same. Even the face, down to the evil twinkle in their eyes, was the exact same.

“The Towarski twins have done it again!” exclaimed one of the two indistinguishable men as they high-fived each other.

“So how did you like the dimmer switch?”

“It’s perfect. When you bring up the lights in your room, even I can hardly tell at all that I’m looking through a window rather than a mirror. And the added delay it takes to make the transition easily gets rid of those problems with people who like to pick up and drop the hat quickly with no warning. I think we have finally perfected the con!”

“Great! Well, lets start packing up all this crap. The check will clear in a few days and then we have got to be out of here. Good luck finding us to file that complaint with the marketing agent, Frank! Ha Ha Ha!”

“So, what city do you want to hit up next?” …

luecke, Dec 10 2003


       Nothing new here. This is an old medium's trick for making "ghosts" appear.
phoenix, Dec 10 2003

       Wow!!! just like when The Phantom "magically appears" In phantom of the opera. I was in a haunted house where they did this to make it appear that the kids had disappeared.
pungfu, Dec 10 2003

       Suddenly two inextinguishable men high five each other ... and burst into flame.   

       Other than that, I don't understand why it's here. It's been done so often, you see. And not just to me, but to many.
k_sra, Dec 10 2003

       [jutta] - I agree with your first and second points. I actually thought of these as I was proofreading, but by that time I was pretty tired of writing, so I left them out. Also, I think you have a better chance of getting caught the longer you stick around. Perhaps they should just charge more for the system.   

       As for the red felt, it was a pretty random choice. I suppose that it does have the added bonus of being able to be worn out in public without attracting too much attention. Not that the customer actually ever gets it… but it’s still a nice selling point?   

       [k_sra] – I’m sorry to hear that you were robbed by identical twins who were able to convince you that you could disappear by wearing a piece of special clothing while standing in a certain area. Would you be interested in investing in my pyramid scam… err, I mean my “Save the Pyramids” foundation?
luecke, Dec 10 2003


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