PRESTO THE GREAT was his stage name. His real name was Jetzel Putz. He was a king Midas in reverse. Everything he touched turned to mold. He was both a shlemiel and a shlimazel.
The difference between the two being a schlemiel spills his soup all over and the shlimazel is the one he spills it on.
He quickly reached the depths of his chosen profession, magic. Within the first five minutes of his act, entire audiences would disappear. His current wife has two wooden legs, the result of his famous, but failed trick of sawing a woman in half. Jetzel’s ex-wife has a nasty scar on the back of her neck, the result of his also famous but failed guillotine trick.
He always included the “pick any card trick” in his act. It regularly took him 52 guesses before getting the chosen card. Once a thief stole Jetzel’s identity, but out of pity returned it the next day.
Prior to choosing a career path in magic, he gave other professions a shot. He tried being a gardener and landscaper, it turned out he had a “brown thumb” and the only thing he could grow successfully was weeds. He attended a seminary to be a rabbi, but was expelled for insisting that commandment number seven was “Thou shalt commit adultery.” He also tried psychiatry but was booted out of the profession for charging a schizophrenic patient a separate fee for each personality.
An epiphany led him to magic. While attending a Jewish educational seminar on Guidelines for Imposing Guilt, Jetzel knew he had finally found his calling when a fake fakir knew exactly what number between one and three Jetzel had chosen.
As Jetzel’s career moved backwards, attendance at his performances spiraled downwards.
Jetzel decided the problem stemmed from his appearance and that he needed to boost his act with new material. He had limited funds so he went to a second hand clothing store and purchased what he thought was a tuxedo, perfect dress for a magician What he really got was a shiny, threadbare black suit that once belonged to a mortician and was covered with formaldehyde stains.
For new material he hit upon the show stopping idea of waving his wand and changing a bowl of live fish into a beautiful cloud of butterflies. At a used pet shop he purchased what he thought was a tank of goldfish and a nest of butterflies. What he really got was a school of piranha and a cluster of moths. The piranha devoured half of the moth supply and the balance of the moths chewed up every piece of clothing in his wardrobe including the stained new suit.
He had no choice except to perform buck naked.
He now performs regularly throughout southern California at nudist colonies.