by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
"It's national talk-like-a-pirate day," you announce, "so in the spirit of the occasion, here's some pirate treasure." You open a small, wooden chest to display the contents within, over a hundreds items of 'booty' ('doubloons', shiny trinkets, costume jewelry, etc.) and some drawstring Swag Bags in a perfect size to contain any of the items. The chest is placed on a table or chair so the lid, when opened, will prevent you or the audience from seeing inside.
"To make things even more difficult, I'll blindfold myself," you claim, "...well, sort of." Whereupon you slip on a black eye patch and pick up a plastic pirate's sword and never get within a yard of the chest again.
Approaching the audience, you point with the cutlass to one of them and say, "Aye, matey, you've been dragooned as part of my crew, so you get a share of the loot - call it a signing bonus. Open the chest, take the bauble of your choice, put it in a bag and pull the strings to close it. Hide what you've picked from the rest of these lubbers - they don't look very trustworthy. Once you're done, stand to one side while the next swabbie selects and bags a treasure."
After the fifth person from the audience closes the chest and everyone has a bag in hand, you continue, "My stout crew may not be superior fighters, navigators, or thieves, but they're the best liars on the planet. So to ship out with me, you'll have to tell believable bullsh.., er, perfect prevarications Otherwise, you'll stay ashore, empty-handed. For now, pass your swag bags to the bos'uns mate here (pointing to the person nearest the chest). He'll hide them behind the chest so nobody knows which bag belongs to which shipmate."
When that's accomplished and without so much as looking at the five bags, you request, "Hand one of those bags over to me, bos'un. Take yer pick."
You remove the item from within the bag, hold it in front of each of the five, instructing, "Each of you say, nice and loud - I didn't take that, Cap'n - and not a word more. If the one who took it can hoodwink me, you'll get extra loot and a promotion to first mate."
After testing all five, you say, "A good liar doesn't give himself away with shifty eyes ...", pointing with the cutlass to one of them, "... like you did." The person agrees. "Matey, shove off. Yer too honest for me. And here's a special tasty doubloon (a chocolate coin, wrapped in gold foil) for your trouble." You repeat with three more persons - using variations on the same theme - identifying which among them took each succeeding item.
Hooking the last remaining bag from behind the chest on the end of the cutlass (obviously never touching the bag) you hold it in front of the your final participant and observe, "There's no point in asking for a lie - we know you chose this bit o' swag. But no one has a clue what it is you picked - ya can't see through the bag (holding it at his eye level on the tip of the cutlass to verify) and there was plenty of other baubles you could'a took, right swabbie?" He affirms.
"I'm a good judge of bad character. You're the kind of plank walkin', rum-guzzlin', binnacle-bustin' deckhand who'd take a liking to a fancy jeweled brooch in return for the privilege of sailing for adventure and plunder. Don't even try to fib - admit it!" He agrees and you show the audience the bag's contents - a 'diamond' brooch.
The objects selected will, obviously, be different every time. There are no forces of any sort, no electronics, no stooges, no cueing, no angles, no switches, no magnets, no threads, and no pre-show. For obvious reasons - spoilage, melting, etc. - we provide only the source for the chocolate coins. The chest comes packed with five bags, an eye patch, the plastic cutlass, plus the selection of hand picked plunder that would make Blackbeard envious.
Buccanner Booty is a fun and memorable routine that leaves 'em hanging from the yardarms.