XFC: The Amazing Maleeni

At the Santa Monica Pier amusement park, a magician, The Amazing Maleeni, puts on a
sideshow but does fairly basic tricks and talks a lot. A heckler complains that the tricks are 100 years old and
demands something big. Maleeni announces a trick to reattach a severed head and rotates his head 360 degrees.
Later, when the park employee comes to his van to pay him, he finds Maleeni sitting in his van and his head rolls
off his body and onto the pavement.

Mulder & Scully are at the park looking at the van. Scully is not intrigued. She thinks the trick is unrelated to the
subsequent murder. Mulder thinks it is a magic trick gone wrong. A tourist videotaped the performance. On the
tape the agents see the heckler. They find a soda cup seen thrown away on the tape and track him down from
finger prints. His name is Billy Labonge and he has a criminal record for pick pocketing. He also does sleight of
hand and claims that Maleeni was a bad magician. Labonge demonstrates a similar trick, rotating his hand 360
degrees, and says Maleeni had little originality or style. He also says Maleeni racked up some big gambling debts.
As they leave, Labonge returns both of their badge holders, which he has pick pocketed. Scully does an autopsy
on Maleeni, identified as Herman Pinchbeck, and is bewildered. His head was carefully sawed off and reattached
with spirit gum. But he apparently died of a heart attack and had been dead for over a month and refrigerated.
Labonge goes to a North Hollywood pool hall and talks to a man named Cissy Alvarez, whose body is covered
with tattoos. They were in prison together. Labonge asks if he wants to get back the money Maleeni owed him and
Alvarez is intrigued.

At the Cradok Marine Bank, Mulder and Scully talk to a banker who looks just like Pinchbeck - with a cervical
collar around his neck. He is Herman's twin brother, named Albert Pinchbeck. He does a card trick for Mulder and
explains that years ago he and his brother worked as a magic act. He was in a recent car accident but Mulder
wonders if he was the magician who appeared at Santa Monica Pier as one last act for which his brother would
always been remembered. It is revealed that Pinchback is in a wheelchair with no legs as a result of the accident.
The agents go back to Labonge for advice. He looks through Maleeni's van but does not find where the body might
have been hidden. Mulder finds a gambling marker in the van. Meanwhile, Pinchbeck visits the bank vault and
asks the guard about his gun, examining it briefly. Alvarez walks in and threatens Pinchbeck, saying he wants him
to pay his brother's gambling debt. An armored car stops along the street when the guards hear a noise. They
open the back and a masked and tattooed man is there. The guard shoots but the man disappears. It was Labonge
- he had fake tattoos on his hands and cleans them off.

The agents question Alvarez about the marker and he denies being involved with the murder. Mulder tells Scully
he thinks they are subject to a case of misdirection. Labonge watches them as they drive off. He places an
emergency call to police then enters the pool hall where Alvarez threatens him. Labonge runs out, police arrive
and arrest him. Mulder and Scully return to talk to Pinchbeck. Mulder pushes him out of the wheelchair - and it
turns out that he does have legs. He is Herman and was afraid for his life because he owes a lot of money. He
went to his brother, the banker, for a loan and found him dead. He saw it as an opportunity to become someone
else. He faked the car accident and his loss of legs. He is arrested but Mulder doesn't believe his explanation
about why. The bank president is concerned that Herman may have accessed the Electronic Funds Transfer
system, but he has not. The president comments that for Mulder to investigate the EFT system in more detail would
take his badge number, thumbprint and possibly a court order. Scully learns about the armored car robbery
attempt - Pinchbeck was the authorizing signature that signed out the truck. In the jail cell at the North Hollywood
police station, Labonge is next door to Pinchbeck - they are obviously in league with each other and everything is
going perfectly.

At the bank the next morning the vault is found empty. The security footage is blank, but from a couple of days
earlier they find footage of Alvarez in the bank and the guard recognizes his tattoos as the guy who attempted to
rob the armored car. At the pool hall, the money is found and Alverez is arrested, but he claims it's a frame-up by
Labonge. Mulder and Scully suspect that Labonge and Pinchbeck may be working together. As they are to be
released on bail the agents question them. They think that Labonge was Maleeni's protegee and it was a setup
from the beginning. It was Albert, the banker, who died and Herman, the magician, who took his place. He
switched the bullets in the guard's gun clip to be blanks. They used escape artist techniques to get out of jail, stole
the money, planted it to frame Alvarez, and got back into jail. But Mulder says they will go free, because it can't
be proven. Pinchbeck says, "The great ones always know when to leave the stage." It turns out, though, that
Mulder has Pinchbeck's wallet, taken from the evidence room. Why have so elaborate a con game? Mulder says it
was really about Electronic Funds Transfers, and an FBI agent has the authority to get into the bank EFT system.
The magicians had Mulder's badge number from when Labonge pick pocketed it and thumb print from
Pinchbeck's card trick, but the playing card is in the wallet, so they will not be able to steal via EFT. The final
question is how did Maleeni turn his head all the way around. Scully demonstrates how she can turn her arm all
the way around, as Labonge did. Mulder is left wondering how she did it. Magic, she replies. Note: Date taken
from armored car log.

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