Side Order of Confusion
When someone is used to spending a lot of time near a lake during the summer months, having to spend time in the hot cities gets frustrating. We didn't have air conditioning. We had fans. Of course, all they did was move the hot air around, not cool the place. We either had to spend most of our time outside, in the shade of the neighbor's elm, or inside, in the basement, where it was not as hot. But today, I needed to head across the city to return my library books, and check out some other books. However, when I got to the library I decided that I would not check out anything, but just head back home. I went in, anyway, as I needed, to return the books. But, for some reason, I didn't leave right away, and found myself in the History section of the Library. I don't know why I was in that section. But I found myself gazing at books on Lincoln. That is when I glanced up, and looked down to the end of the aisle.
I caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a familiar face just passing by. I quickened my pace to the end of the aisle, in time to see a two tone blonde turn down an aisle containing books on Magic, as in the type performed by the magicians of today. I turned down the aisle. Could it be? "Diane?" I whispered.
She looked up at me, and her face lit up. "Mikey!" she said. "I guess you've found out my secret. I'm studying to be a magician. I've got a lot to learn, though. Let's go outside for a few minutes. We can't really talk in here!"
I agreed, and we walked out of the library, sitting on the bench in front of the building.
"What are you doing in Day Park?" I asked. "You were going to be at a funeral. And, even if it was yesterday, Ellers certainly has a library!"
"Actually, Mike, the funeral is tomorrow. We have to go 180 miles north to the service. I had some time today, and our own library was closed today." she said. "In fact, my dad is due to pick me up in about 30 minutes. I was looking through the Magic books, to help my study."
I made two mental notes: She hadn't called me "Mikey" this time. And I made a note to check out the story about the library being closed. I suspected that it was true, however. But it struck me as odd that Diane was a Magician.
"Do you also do hypnosis, Diane?" I asked. "It seems that hypnotism is used a great deal by Magicians today. And, interestingly enough-- I do a little magic myself. Cards, mainly, but a few vanishing acts. Coins, cards, handkerchiefs, you know...the standards."
"Do you want me to hypnotize you, Mikey?" she asked somewhat mischievously. "I'm quite good at that. I could make you do things you wouldn't believe. In fact, I could make you believe things that you wouldn't believe if you hadn't been!" At that, she took a "Hypnotist" coin out of her pocket, and began to twirl it, trying to draw me in.
"No, no...Not Necessary, Di," I stammered. I averted my eyes from the disk, and instead gazed into her eyes. Her eyes were as blue as the sky. Interestingly, I hadn't noticed that before. "I believe you. I suppose you better get back to your book search, as you've only got a few minutes. I'm planning on heading home, and practicing for the next band rehearsal."
"Oh, you'll have to tell me all about your band and your playing! I love a good song!"
"You may like one I wrote yesterday," I said. "I'll sing it for you sometime. When will you be back at the cabin?"
"Probably not until Sunday, Mikey. But feel free to call at any time. I'm looking forward to getting back. It's a beautiful area." At that, she got up, and went back into the library.
Diane, a magician and hypnotist? I went back into the library myself. Diane was already checking out the books. I went over to the magic section, and picked out a few magic books for myself. I also found a book on hypnosis. Maybe I could play this game on another level. If I couldn't learn how to hypnotize, maybe I could learn how to prevent myself from being hypnotized. After all, it seemed that Diane already had me under a spell, and I needed to free myself. What I would learn about hypnosis would be both comforting and unnerving, but it would be enough to keep me from falling deeper under her spell, I hoped. Of course, if I really felt like falling.... That thought was very unnerving. Did I really want to fall for her? I had to put that thought out of my mind, or I would go mad.
I went back outside, having checked out the books. I included another mystery. When I went out, Diane was still there, sitting on the bench. "How much time until your dad arrives?" I asked, cautiously. I checked my watch, which now read 11:10.
"About another 20 Minutes, honey." she said. Again, with the honey. It was very confusing for me when she said that. I wasn't her honey, no matter what she was saying. But I wasn't about to say that. Truth be told, I kind of enjoyed hearing it. Wayne's words came back to me "Sooner or later, she will crush you." I squelched the thought, for now. "Sit next to me for a while, Mikey...Please?" She said, with that same pleading tone she used a couple of days earlier. It was that same tone I wasn't able to resist. I sat next to her, and she put her head on my shoulder. Then she began to talk... droning on in a monotone. I had never had a girl put her head on my shoulder before. It was highly enjoyable. But something was telling me to move. Something was saying that this was a ploy, and that she was trying to hypnotize me.
"Diane," I began, and she straightened up. She looked at me and seemed amused. "Yes, Mike?" she said.
"Diane, I have to head home. I have to practice my guitar, get my voice in shape. After all, my group wants to make some records, and I need to have everything just so." Not the whole truth, but enough to get me off the hook.
"Remember, you've offered to sing for me. I expect to hear your song soon. And if you don't, I'll tell Karl what you've promised."
"What I've promised? You mean to sing for you? Don't worry, dear. I plan to sing for you, as I've said." Diane beamed at me. I watched Diane for a moment as she leaned closer to me. Then, whatever might have been was interrupted with a car horn.
"That's my Dad, Mike. Got to run. We've got a 4 hour trip ahead." I looked, waved to Karl, and turned, starting for home. I figured it would be a 20 minute walk, which meant I should be home around 11:50. When I checked my watch, however, I was stunned. It wasn't 11:30. It was 12:30! The clock in the library confirmed it: 12:30. After Noon! What happened to the time? I knew I came out of the library at 11:10, and sat next to Diane for just a few minutes, and her Dad had just arrived. She did say 11:30. No, wait, she said "20 minutes.” Could she have been in error on the time? Then, another thought came to me.
Could she have lied about the time her Dad was going to come by? Or, even more disturbing: Had she hypnotized me somehow and kept me under for over an hour? If she had, what suggestions had she planted in my mind?
I stopped for a few minutes, took out the book on hypnosis that I had borrowed from the library. Skimming through a few sections which I believed may have held a clue seemed to confirm my final theory. While a person could NOT be hypnotized against his will, there had to be distrust of the hypnotist. I trusted Diane. That was without a doubt. I barely knew her, but I trusted her. I had known that the "trance" wasn't sleep, but a higher state of awareness a state that made people a little easier to reach, more suggestion prone. But a person could not be made to do things that were illegal, or that he didn't really want to do. But the clincher for me was the statement that a practitioner would use a low, even voice, a voice free of inflection--a monotone, if you will--to bring a person under.
I really didn't have any proof. After all, I might have simply read my watch wrong. Diane was mischievous, sure. But I doubted that she was as devious as to hypnotize someone without his permission. It just didn't seem to me that she could have done that. She wasn't that treacherous, that evil. Or was she? No, I simply must have read my watch wrong. But the song I heard the other day came back to me: "She's got the devil in her heart."
I had promised to sing for her. That didn't bother me any. I thought back a little to my words just before I left. "What I've Promised? You mean to sing for you? Don't worry, Diane. I plan to sing for you, as I've said." And she had beamed at me, her face had lit up like a search light. WAIT. No, I hadn't said "Don't worry, Diane." I had said "Don't worry, dear." Oh, crap... Had I really said that? Or was I just imagining that I had? I stopped, thudded my head against a tree. Now, I was really confused. Did Diane hypnotize me without my knowledge? When I had said "dear" - if I did at all - was it in fact precisely what she had wanted me to say? Or was this my own doing? Then Diane's words "I'll tell Karl what you promised" came back to me. Did I make some other promise? In that hypno-state, perhaps? I started my walk, but in short order began to run. I had to get home: I had to call Wayne. Maybe he had dealt with something like this. He could tell me what was going on. At least I hoped so.
My house was a mile and a half from the library. Yet, I covered that distance in less time than I had ever run a mile and a half. I had a personal best, but when I reached home, I had to stop to catch my breath. It took me as long to wind down as it had to run the distance. I was the only one at home, Mom had gone to a doctor's appointment, just a short walk away. After a few minutes more, I grabbed the phone and dialed Wayne's number. Although I didn't expect him to be at home, I called anyway. Yet the phone was answered after 2 rings. "Wayne?" I asked. "This is Mike. Got a minute? I have a problem.”
Wayne listened for about 10 minutes as I told him what was going on. I told him my suspicions, that Diane had possibly hypnotized me, but I didn't reveal my "Dear" to him. Finally, I stopped, and asked "What am I going to do? I can't deal with this! Please, tell me how I can deal with this!"
Wayne, on the other end of the phone, was thoughtful for a moment. Then he said, "I wish I knew. Although I've got the experience with girls, this is not up my alley, Mike. I've never had this occur, and I've never even heard of it happening before. Do you have any real proof that you were hypnotized by her? Do you remember doing anything that makes no sense, such as clucking like a chicken? Have you behaved oddly?"
Then, I told him. "I told her I would sing for her. That doesn't bother me a bit. But... and this concerns me, Wayne, it really does... I said, 'What I've Promised? You mean to sing for you? Don't worry, dear. I plan to sing for you, as I've said.'" There was dead silence on the other end. I wondered for a moment if Wayne was picking his jaw up off the floor. Then he spoke, cautiously, as if he was afraid of being monitored.
"Mike, you said you picked up some books, same type of things that she got. Read that book on hypnosis. It's possible to hypnotize yourself and recall what happened. But, I suspect that you were brought under. Yet, that 'dear' may not have been a suggestion at all. I feel strongly that you may have said that accidentally, but that it wasn't a suggestion. Take my advice, Mike. You are playing a dangerous game. Back off for a bit. Give yourself some space. If you don't, you may find yourself in very hot water."
"Thanks, Wayne. I'll take your advice. In fact, I have an idea that you gave me, which I am going to follow. This whole thing is so confusing, that no matter what I do, I will be lost. But, I'll follow your advice. Space is what I need. And I have just the way to do it!"
I could "hear" Wayne grinning on the other end. Then, I heard his chuckle. "Yes, I think I know. What about another practice? Got any time tomorrow?" I agreed, and told him I had a couple of new songs for him. I'd play them tomorrow. He told me we'd try to record a tape. And maybe, we would discuss this other idea-- the "Back-off" plan of mine. Or maybe not. We would wait and see. I hung up, and went to read the hypnosis book. Then, I would attempt to learn via self-hypnosis what may have been put into my thoughts. Two could play at this game. Only two could play, in fact. But there could be room for an advisor. With my advisor in place, now I had an advantage. Or, perhaps I should say I hoped I one.