["]You don't have any feeling for what makes a chump a chump. A real magician can make the marks open their mouths by picking a quarter out of the air. That levitation you do—I've never seen it done before, but the marks don't warm to it. No psychology. Now take me, I can't even pick a quarter out of the air. I got no act—except the one that counts. I know marks. I know what he hungers for, even if he don't. That's showmanship, son, whether you're a politician, a preacher pounding a pulpit—or a magician. Find out what the chumps want and you can leave half your props in your trunk."
This speech from the carnival owner who employs Mike and Jill as magicians comes in Chapter XXVI as he explains why he is firing them. Mike, as "Dr. Apollo" (Apollo is the Greek word for Mars), has been using his telekinetic powers to perform genuine feats of levitation and disappearance, but, in spite of the fact that his tricks are real, the audience has been unimpressed. The carnival owner here gives Mike a lesson in human psychology. The public, whom he refers to derisively as "chumps" and "marks," are not interested in what one has to sell, but rather how one chooses to sell it. This lesson becomes be a cornerstone of Mike's strategy in organizing the Church of All Worlds. Mike keeps in mind that the profound truths that he has to offer, just like his magic tricks, will not sell themselves to the public. The carnival owner foreshadows Mike's future career as a religious guru by mentioning that politicians and preachers require the same sales skills as carnies.