Tallahasee, FL – Amateur magician Kenny Bartells successfully completed his first major disappearing act on Tuesday evening by making eHarmony date Lori Dentmore unexpectedly vanish from their table at TGI Friday’s a mere moments before the pair’s order of Tuscan Spinach Dip arrived at the table.
Bartells, who has been sporadically performing at children’s birthday parties and corporate retreats in the greater Tallahassee area since late 2010, was on his first date with Dentmore, whom he had met via the multi-million-member dating site eHarmony a week earlier.
Arriving in his customary black suit and red dress shirt, Bartells is said to have started performing tricks shortly after the novice online daters were seated.
“When I first came to their table, [Bartells] seemed really nervous about his date,” said waitress Valerie Jergensen. “But seconds after I told them about our specials, he pulled out a deck of cards and asked me to pick a card, remember it, and place it back in the deck. I think he was trying to impress his date, but it took him 13 guesses to get the card right. She didn’t seem all that blown away.”
Several diners at the restaurant also witnessed a number of Bartells’ attempts at illusion, all of which required multiple efforts to complete successfully. Among the tricks attempted were the 26-year-old’s “Endless Handkerchief,” a fiery trick he termed “Goodness Gracious, Golf Ball of Fire,” and an illusion he referred to as “The Tasty Nickel.”
“I was finishing my Jack Daniels Burger when I saw the magic guy try to take a bite out of a nickel or some crazy shit like that,” said Friday’s patron Daryl Reynolds. “He was waving his hands in front of his date’s face like a crazy man, and then he chomps down on the coin. Next thing you know, the guy lets out a yelp and spits out part of a tooth.”
Dentmore, a call center manager from suburban Arbor Hills, was said to be putting on a brave face throughout much of the dinner, at one point even applauding sympathetically after Bartells started to choke on a trick pencil he attempted to swallow length-wise. Shortly after regaining his composure, however, Bartells’ would unknowingly set into motion the first successful disappearance trick in his 13-month career.
After excusing himself to “make some pee-pee disappear,” Bartells reportedly returned to find an empty table with a $10 bill and a note saying “for my drink and half of the appetizer.”
Following Dentmore’s disappearance from the restaurant, Bartells was seen wandering from table to table asking customers if they had seen his date or would like to see him bend a butter knife with only his pinkie finger. Repeatedly, the answer to both questions was “no.”
While Dentmore has since professed to not knowing Bartells’ career choice prior to their date, a closer look at the aspiring entertainer’s eHarmony profile reveals several clues of his love of prestidigitation, including his desire to find “a relationship filled with magic” and his stated attraction to women who have “illusions of grandeur” when it comes to that special someone.
For his part, Bartells claims he will continue to search for love on the wildly popular dating website. When asked if Tuesday’s disappearing date was planned or simply a case of bad chemistry, he was heard saying, “A magician never reveals his secrets!” before disappearing into a plume of smoke and reemerging seconds later coughing uncontrollably.