“I am a very serious journalist,” I said again, to emphasize the point. The man smiled, the golden pocket watch travelling along its repetitive arc back and forth. I added, “I uncovered union corruption in my last big story. People went to jail, so it’s a little bit frustrating that I have to do this puff piece on a local stage hypnotist.”

“Because hypnosis isn’t real,” he said, repeating what I had said a few minutes ago.

I nod. At least he was getting it, even if he insisted that he could prove it was real. He’d offered to hypnotize one of his assistants, but I knew they would just play along and pretend. The only one I trusted on this was myself. Sure if might not be saving union members millions of dollars, but proving this man was a fraud would at least be satisfying.

The gold watch swung again.

Back and forth he had said.

I rolled my eyes, but he rebuked me.

“Keep your eyes on the watch, that was the deal. You just watch the watch, and prove that you’re not relaxing and sinking. Deeply,” he said. Likely he was trying to bore me to sleep. Would it count if I fell asleep because he was dull?

I figured at least I could learn a few things, so I paid particular attention to his language. He liked working in words like ‘relaxing’ and ‘sinking’ even if used in the negative. As a writer I know how language works, you don’t read or hear things in the negative quite as well as you do in the affirmative so when he was telling me that I would prove that I wasn’t getting sleepy and sinking more deeply, he was counting on me only focusing on the getting sleepy and sinking more deeply.

I watch the watch swing. The way the light is setup causes it to reflect into my eyes, tiring them out. Clever too, it makes them heavy which confirms his words. 

My eyes grow heavy, he tells me my eyes are growing heavy and then he’s proven the authority of his words. Typical rhetorical technique. He may be a fraud but he’s clever.

My eyes blink, heavier now that I’ve admired that to myself. His voice is droning on and on. Low and steady, like white noise. I realize that like white noise I haven’t been paying attention to what he’s saying. It’s only when I hear my own voice say something that I realize I’ve zoned out. 

“Yes,” I said.

I wonder what I said yes to. I focus my attention again, wanting to make sure I don’t accidentally agree to anything else.

“And you can sink so much more deeply now,” he was saying, “All you need to do is ask to become more deeply hypnotized. You want to ask now.”

More deeply hypnotized, hardly I’m not hypnotized at all. So it must be… I find myself losing track of that thought.

“I want to be more deeply hypnotized,” I hear someone say. I thought we were alone. Who?

“Close your eyes and sink now,” he says. 

Whomever he’s talking to must… mind… my eyes close.

“I’m a very serious journalist,” I say for a third time as I finish undressing. That means I’ll only fuck him a few times. Just when he asks nicely, or shows me that pretty watch. As nice and handsome as he is the man is still a fraud pretending that hypnosis is real.