Recruitment Drive – Part 1

Part 1: Involuntary Volunteer

“That’ll be twelve dollars.”

Karen looked over at the cashier, wishing that there was some way the amount would be lower.  She knew that the girl was just telling her the price, but somehow, she blamed her, and for a moment, she even thought that the other girl was taking some vendetta out against her.

She sighed, knowing that wasn’t the case.  She was just broke, and that was that.  She debated looking around for somewhere cheaper to eat, but she knew that wouldn’t matter, everywhere was expensive.  Businesses near the university knew that they had a captive market, and could charge whatever they wanted.  Karen had put herself into years of debt just to come to school, but that hadn’t been the end of people looking for a piece of her.

Still, you had to go to college, or you’d never have a future.  At least, that’s what all the ads told her.

Reaching down to dig out her wallet, she found that her day had gone from bad to even worse.  Her pocket was completely empty.

“Oh.  Um.  I guess not.”  She looked at the sandwich and her mouth started to water.  Most days, all she ate were noodles, or other dirt cheap food, but sometimes it got to be too much, and she had to eat something fresh.  This had been her nice meal for the week, and even that wasn’t going to happen.

The cashier rolled her eyes at Karen, annoyed at the thought of this irresponsible girl causing waste.

“Here, Miss, I think I can cover her.”

Karen turned to see a young gentleman, probably in his late twenties, reaching out with a small stack of bills which he deposited on the counter.

Before Karen could even protest, the cashier had scooped them up and slid the tray across the counter.  “Next.”

“Wait.  I can’t.  I can’t accept.”  Karen tried to protest, but the man simply smiled and moved to pay for his own order.  She stood, agape, as he finished his transaction.

“There’s ten people behind me, we can argue over what you will and won’t accept later.  For now, let’s get out of these nice people’s way.”

Karen still wasn’t quite sure what had happened, but the man was right about the line.  There were a number of people giving her angry looks, wondering what the hold-up was.

The man led the way into the dining room, which was surprisingly empty given the time of day.  It made some sense, since most of the patrons would be taking their food to class, or back to dorm rooms.  Karen would have been cooking in the dorm kitchen, to at least get something fresh, except that there were always guys taking advantage of the fact that she couldn’t leave to leer at her, and if she did leave for some privacy, whatever she was cooking would always disappear.

Karen knew she was pretty, and blamed it mostly on her face.  She had a vulnerable quality that just seemed to tempt people to take advantage of her.  Her meek attitude probably didn’t help, she was rarely able to stand up for herself.

In fact, when the man pointed to a table in the corner, she found herself walking over to it before she even really thought about what she was doing.

She sat, trying to get a feel for the man who’d joined her.  It wasn’t entirely unreasonable for him to offer to pay for her meal, but she really did need to tell him that he shouldn’t have.  She’d been raised to believe that she should rely on her own hard work to get by in the world, and not be a burden on others.

When the man sat down across from her, she opened her mouth to object, but he distracted her by gingerly tossing a stack of napkins across the table.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I should ask.  Any problems paying me back for the meal with some conversation?”  Her companion raised his eyebrows, but had already picked up his own meal and was starting to take a bite.

Karen thought about that for a moment.  It seemed reasonable enough.  He did just pay for her meal without any prompting, the least she could do was talk to the guy.  Plus, even though the dining room was pretty empty, it wasn’t like there weren’t a bunch of people just on the other side of the wall, if he tried anything, she’d have lots of help.

She finally nodded, not saying anything as she picked up her lunch.  She still wasn’t happy that he paid, but it wasn’t exactly like she could pay him back, and just throwing out the food would be a terrible idea.

The two focused on their meals for a while, getting through their respective sandwiches, before the man tried to strike up conversation.

“So, what’s eating you?”

Karen looked up, startled.  “Huh?”

He smiled at her, his face disarming.  Even though she wanted to be suspicious, she found the look he gave her reassuring.

“It’s pretty clear there’s something on your mind.  I have it on pretty good authority that a number of people feel better about such things after they talk with me about them.”

Karen looked around, nervously.  She wanted to just leave, she wasn’t good around strangers.  Eventually, the silence got so long it would be rude not to say anything, so she decided she might as well try and talk to the guy.  Her mother’s voice, telling her to make an effort to be friendly to people, echoed in the back of her mind.

“Um.  Well, I’m broke.”

“Ah.”  He nodded in understanding.  “Couldn’t even afford this?”

She shook her head.  “No, I have enough.  Today I just forgot my wallet.”

He laughed.  “Well that’s just poetic.”  He continued to chuckle, and it had an infectious quality to it, so Karen couldn’t help but join in.

“I guess so.”

“So let me guess, the stress of worrying about it is just eating you up, and you’re having a hard time focusing on much of anything else?”

She nodded, looking down at her tray, her stomach wringing itself into knots.

“You try getting a job?”

She looked up.  “Yeah, that was of course my first thought.  But all the local kids already took everything, there’s nothing left.”

He nodded again.  “Well, I may not be able to help you with that particular problem, but I think I might be able to help you take your mind off things.”

Karen’s frustration got the better of her.  “How?  Do you have some magic wand that’ll turn my brain off and let me get some peace and quiet?”  She gave him a hard look.

She wasn’t expecting him to laugh so fully in response.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, and started to fish around.

She held up her hands.  “Wait.  No, I can’t take anything more from you.”

He smiled, and finally pulled out what he was looking for.  It was a simple white business card, which he flicked across the table to her.

Karen looked down at it, slightly stunned, before reaching down and picking it up.

“Doctor Goodman.”  She read aloud.  “Board Certified Psychotherapist and Licensed Hypnotist.”  She looked up at him.  “You want me to see a shrink? I can’t afford that.”  She threw the card down in front of him, angry.

He sighed, and slid the card back across the table to place it once again in front of her.  “Technically, yes, I think you should see a ‘shrink.’  Or rather, you should take advantage of the one you’re already seeing.”

Karen scrunched her face, confused, before it finally clicked.  “You’re Doctor Goodman?”  She felt her face start to redden, embarrassed at the conclusion she’d jumped to.

“Doctor Oswald Goodman, at your service, my lady.”  He made a theatric gesture and gave a half bow.  “And, I have suddenly realized, I haven’t yet made your proper acquaintance.  To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”

“Um, Karen.  My name’s Karen.  I can’t believe we’ve been talking and hadn’t told each other our names.”

He smiled at her.  “Like you mentioned, you have a lot on your mind.  And, for free, I’m offering to help you deal with it.  How about this, you CAN pay me, if you end up feeling better, by maybe spreading around the word that I’m opening a practice in the area.”

Karen thought about this.  He was offering to help her, and she really would like to get her mind off her problems, if only for a while.  She reached down and picked up the card.  The guy seemed legit.  Mentioning him to anybody who was talking about their problems was a small price to pay.

She thought again about how her money problems had been plaguing her lately.  Almost every day, it crept into her thoughts, like a cancer that was slowly spreading, first through her mind, and then through her soul.  Some days, trying to figure out ways to make the money last left her feeling almost like she was going to rip herself apart.  She hadn’t even been able to buy all of her books, instead having to beg and plead with her classmates to borrow their copies.

Even now, she was finding herself focusing on it.  Just thinking about thinking about her problems brought them bubbling to the surface.  Finally, she decided that she’d give anything just to have some quiet in her own head.

“Ok.”  She finally broke the long silence.  “Fine, sure.  Yeah.  If you can help me, I’m all for it.”

He smiled over at her.  “Well, are you done with your lunch?”

She looked down at the empty tray, and nodded.  “Yeah.”

“Well then, how about I clear the table for us, and you just try and settle down and relax.”

“Try is about all I can manage.”

He gave her a stern look, and she shrank under it, taking a deep breath to try and steady herself.

When he returned from the trash can, she had her arms out in front of her on the table, and was shifting her legs to get comfortable.  He slid back into the booth across from her.

“Ok, for starters, I actually want you to focus on your money problems.  I know it sounds kind of strange, since the point is to get rid of them, but just like how you can’t conquer your fears until you face them, you need to face this problem head on.  When your problems are at their worst, how do you envision them?”

Karen shrugged.  “I dunno.  It’s just this great weight.  I feel like the world is pressing in on me from all sides.”

Doctor Goodman nodded.  “Well, I want you to get physically comfortable, you can let your arms just lie there, that’s good, and get comfortable in that booth.  You can close your eyes, or leave them open, whichever you think will help you, but most people close them.  Remember that the goal is to focus on my voice, so that I can help talk you through your problems.  Can you do that, Karen, can you focus on my voice?”

Karen nodded and closed her eyes.  She was pretty sure she’d be much better able to focus with them closed.  Now, she could push out everything else and just listen to him.

“Good Karen, very good.  Now, like I mentioned before, I want you to focus on your money problems.  I want you to feel the pressure, feel the world closing in around you.  At times it feels almost unbearable, doesn’t it?”

Karen nodded.  “Yeah.”  She didn’t have a hard time at all remembering what the worry felt like.

“Ok, but the point isn’t to make you feel bad, it’s to help you feel better, isn’t it.  So I want you to imagine yourself, sitting here in this booth, sitting across from me, in this café, having just finished lunch.  I want you to imagine yourself looking around, seeing everything exactly as it was when your eyes are open, even though I don’t’ want you to move at all.  Can you do that, Karen?  Can you see me, sitting across from you?”

She focused her attention as he directed, and imagined herself looking up, seeing him sitting across from her.

“Yeah.”

“Good, I want you to take a moment to look around, and imagine the way things looked while you were eating your lunch.”

She looked around at her surroundings, building them from memory as well.  She remembered that the walls were green, the booths a light orange-tan.  She filled in as many details of the scene as she could.

“Just try and remember all the details of the room, but it’s getting harder to focus, because the weight of your problems is growing stronger, and you can feel it pressing in against you.  Now, you can even see it, it’s a black haze around you.  It’s growing thicker, and now it’s hard to see me, it’s hard to see the room, because that black haze is getting in the way.  It’s so heavy, you can feel it pressing down on you, like it’s going to crush you.  It grows stronger and stronger, until it’s all you can see, and you’d give anything to get away from it.”

He looked over at her, her brow twitching, her shoulders slumping from the weight.

“Now Karen, I want you to imagine a bubble, like a thin layer of glass, which is forming over your skin.  It’s extremely thin, so thin you can barely tell it’s there, but it’s all over your body, almost like a second skin of thin, transparent glass.  Can you feel this second skin?”

Karen nodded.  “Yeah.”

“Good, now I want you to focus on it, I want you to put your energy into making it thicker, stronger, better.  It’s able to fight off some of the pressure, to push it back, to help you deal with your problems.  The pressure is still so great, but it’s slightly more bearable now, you no longer have to take the entire pressure on your own.  You can just let this bubble, this barrier, take some of the weight.”

“Now, I want you to take a deep breath, and relax.  Karen, every time I tell you to take a deep breath and relax, you’ll feel more comfortable, more relaxed.  Take a deep breath, and relax.”

Karen did as instructed, breathing in deeply.

“Good.  Now in a moment, I want you to take another deep breath, but this time, when you breathe out, you’ll notice the bubble expanding.  It’ll only expand a little, but with each deep breath, it will expand, getting slightly bigger, until it forms into a dome.  The dome will eventually be big enough to cover you, me, and the booth we’re sitting in, forming a protective layer that will keep out your problems.”

“Go ahead, Karen, and take that first deep breath, and feel your bubble pushing out, feel it pushing back against your problems.  It feels good, doesn’t it?”

Karen finished exhaling, and took a small breath in to reply, “Yes.”  She was actually starting to smile, feeling relief.

“Good, go ahead and take another, and feel your bubble expand again as you exhale.”

Karen breathed in deep, forcing her lungs to take in as much air as possible, wanting to have as much force as possible to expand her bubble.  She imagined that was how it expanded, as she breathed out, she actually pushed the material away from her.  She felt it expand another few inches, and could even see it in front of her face, pushing away the inky black weight of her problems.

Doctor Goodman saw the corners of her lips turn up, and knew that he was on the right track.  He’d been nervous about whether or not he’d be able to talk her into this.  She was attractive, and exactly what he’d needed.  It had been a huge stroke of luck, running into her here, with her in a circumstance that was the perfect opening for suggesting his trade.  Getting her to agree to be hypnotized had been the one kink in his plan, and it hadn’t even been a bump.  He chocked it up to fate, and kept going.

“Good, Karen, I want you to keep breathing.  Deep breath in, as deep as possible, holding it for just a moment, before you breathe out, using it to push out your bubble, forming it into that dome.  Just keep taking those deep, relaxing breaths, pushing out your dome.  Let me know when the dome is done, Karen.  Let me know when you’ve pushed the weight back so far that the dome is big enough to hold, you, me, and the booth.”

Karen focused on her breathing, imagining the bubble continuing to expand.  It pressed against Doctor Goodman for a moment, so she took an even deeper breath and focused her efforts on expanding it around him, not wanting to leave him outside, given how much he was helping her.  It was nice to imagine the dome as being small, just big enough to contain her and him, and pushing out everything else.

She took one last breath, and finished forming the bubble into a dome around their booth.

“I’m done.”

“Good, very good.  Take a couple breaths for yourself, and relax from the effort.  Now that your problems are pushed away, you can finally breathe, and relax completely.  I want you to focus on the fact that you no longer have that great weight pushing into you, and you can just relax and feel so calm, so relaxed, like you don’t have a care in the world.  Can you do that for me?”

Karen nodded.

“Just relax completely.  You don’t have a care in the world, you’re safe here in your little bubble, with just you, and me, and nothing else.  You like that, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“It feels wonderful, doesn’t it, so calm and relaxing, you can’t help but smile, can you?”

Karen’s face broke into a wide, friendly smile almost immediately at his statement.  He was right, she really did feel wonderful, especially in contrast to how she’d been feeling a moment ago.

“Good, very good.  Karen, would you like to feel even better?  You feel good now, but you can feel so much better, if you want to.  Do you want to?”

“Yeah.”  She still had the smile on her face.

“Ok, Karen.  You feel so good because you listened to the sound of my voice, and imagined what I told you to, right?”

She nodded.

“So to feel even better, you just need to continue listening to my voice, to focus on my voice, and to imagine what I tell you to.  You will listen to my voice, you will imagine what I tell you, won’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“I want you to say it, Karen.  Say you will listen to the sound of my voice.”

She paused a moment, taking in another deep breath, before she repeated the line back to him.  “I will listen to the sound of your voice.”

“Good.  I want you to say it again, and this time, you mean it even more.”

“I will listen to the sound of your voice.”

“Good, very good.  And you will also imagine what I tell you to, won’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Good, I want you to repeat both of those lines back to me.”

“I will listen to the sound of your voice, and I will imagine what you tell me to.”

“Good, very good.  Now Karen, your bubble is holding away all your cares and worries, but you still have to see it out there, waiting for you.  It would be so much better if you didn’t have to see it at all, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Ok.  I want you to imagine your dome sinking into the floor, taking you and me with it.  We’re just sinking down, into the ground, slowly at first, then picking up speed, until we’re completely underground, your problems left behind you, it’s just you and me here now, safe and secure in your dome, where your problems can’t get to either of us.  Continue to feel your bubble sink, going down, taking you deeper and deeper, sinking, sinking, further and further, and as you do you also realize that you’re feeling more and more relaxed, feeling more and more comfortable.”

“Just listen to the sound of my voice, Karen.  Focus out everything else but the sound of my voice.  You’re completely safe and secure here, there’s nothing to worry about, and nothing can hurt or disturb you.  There’s nothing here but you, and me.  I want you to focus on my voice, and focus out everything else.  Just push everything else from your mind, and just leave the sound of my voice.  Push out everything, all your worries, all your cares, even all your thoughts.  There’s nothing left but the sound of my voice.”

“Listen to my voice, and let it relax you completely.  Let it push away everything else from your mind, leaving just calm, relaxing emptiness.  It feels good, doesn’t it, Karen?”

“Yeah.”  She smiled again, this time it was only a slight gesture, a sign of happy contentment at how relaxed she was.

“Good.  Karen, I want you to count down from one hundred.  You don’t need to count aloud, but if moving your lips will help you, that’s ok.  Start at one hundred, and just count down, and the further down you count, the more relaxed you are.  The further down you count, the more your cares aren’t able to trouble you.  The further down you count, the more your thoughts just drift out of your mind, until when you finally hit zero, you’re completely relaxed, completely calm, without a thought in your mind, completely at peace.”

“I’ll start to count with you.  One hundred, ninety nine, ninety eight, ninety seven.”  He watched as her lips started to move, counting along with him.  He stopped counting, but her lips continued to move, as she counted down.

“Good, Karen, just keep counting down, all the way to zero, and just let me know when you’re done.  No worry, no rush, take all the time you need to just count down until you’re completely relaxed, completely without thought.”

He watched her, looking for the signs of how deep she was.  The fact that she was cooperating readily was a good sign.  Her lips continued to move, and he looked at her shoulders, noticing that they were slumped and loose.  Her eyes fluttered slightly as well.

He’d had her focus on her problems in order to establish a greater contrast when she relaxed.  If she’d already been relaxed when they started, she wouldn’t feel as great a difference, and he needed to get her very deep.  His plan hinged on her being able to accept any suggestions he gave her.  Once he managed to get her under his power, he’d be able to use her to get others.

He smiled to himself as he realized that his plan was coming together so perfectly.

“I’m done.”  Karen’s voice was quiet, and small.

Oswald Goodman looked over at his first volunteer, and smiled.  Now he just needed to lay the last of the groundwork.

“Good, very good Karen.  Do you feel good?”

She nodded.

“Do you like how you’re feeling, would you like to be able to feel this way again?”

“Yeah.”

“Ok.  I’m going to give you a way to feel this way again.  Whenever I tell you to ‘take a deep breath and relax’ you’ll feel yourself do so, you’ll take a deep breath, and when you breath out you’ll be back inside your bubble, with the world pushed away from you, everything held away, and you’ll be completely and totally relaxed, just like you are now.  In fact, you’ll feel even more relaxed next time, since you already know the way, won’t you?”

Karen nodded.

“Karen, tell me what will happen when I tell you to take a deep breath and relax.”

Her voice was barely above a mutter.  “I’ll breathe in, and when I breathe out, I’ll be back inside my bubble.”

“Good, very good.  You’ll be back inside your bubble, completely safe, completely relaxed, without any thoughts at all.  Tell me you will have no thoughts at all.”

“I will have no thoughts at all.”

“And you will listen to my voice.”

“I will listen to your voice.”

“And you will do everything I tell you.”

She hesitated a moment, but then finally spoke.  “I will do everything you tell me to.”

“Karen, you want to do what I tell you, because I can make you feel so good and relaxed.  Doing what I told you to is why you feel this good isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Good, so you want to do what I tell you, because then I can make you feel even better.  Tell me you will do what I tell you to, but this time, I want you to really mean it.”

“I will do everything you tell me to.”  She said it with more force to her voice.

“You will follow my suggestions, without hesitation, without thought?”

“Yes.”

“Good.  Very good.  Now Karen, when I tell you to take a deep breathe and relax, you’ll imagine you’re back in your bubble, right?”

She nodded.  “Yeah.”

“And sometimes, I’ll need to tell you to do that when you’re not comfortably relaxed like you are now.  Sometimes, I’ll need to tell you that when you’re worried, or nervous, or angry.  It wouldn’t be very helpful if it didn’t work when you weren’t relaxed, so even if you’re not relaxed, you’ll still take a deep breath, relax, and you’ll be back in your bubble, right?”

“Yes.”

“You’ll be back in your bubble, no matter what?”

“Yes.  No matter what.”

“Good.  Karen, I’m going to count up to three, and when I do, you’ll wake up, coming out of your bubble, feeling good, and refreshed, and like everything in the world is perfectly right.”

He wasn’t planning on leaving her out of her trance for long, but he couldn’t exactly test the trigger if she was already under.

“Ok, one, starting to wake up, feeling more alert, more awake, two, getting ready to wake up, almost there, and three, wide awake, refreshed, feeling like everything is great.”

Karen’s eyes fluttered open, and she looked over at Oswald.

“Wow.  That was.  Wow.”

“It was good, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s one way of putting it.”

He smiled over at her.  “Hey Karen?”

“Yeah?”

“I want you to take a deep breath and relax.”

Her lungs started to fill with air before she even realized what he’d said, and her eyes closed as her body went limp with her exhale.  A moment later, she was slumped in her seat once again.

“Good, Karen, are you back in your bubble?”

“Yes.”  Her voice was back to being slow and slurred.

“Good, and you can feel you’re even deeper than before, aren’t you?”

She nodded.  “Yes.”

“Good, and each time you come here, you’ll be even deeper and deeper, ten times, a hundred times, you want nothing more than to be as relaxed as possible while you’re here, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Good.  I’m going to wake you up again, just so you can practice coming back here.  You want that.  You want to be able to come back here at any time, don’t you?”

She nodded.

“It would be great if you could come back no matter what.  Even if you feel like your problems are about to rip you apart, you want to be able to come back here instantly.  Even if you’re upset, or worried, or scared, or angry, no matter what, you’ll always come back here when I tell you to take a deep breath and relax, won’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Say it.  Say you will always come back here, no matter what.”

“I will always come back here, no matter what.”

He smirked.  That was something he really wanted to hear.

“Ok, I’m going to count up to three again.  One, waking up, two, even better, and three, wide awake once more.”

She straightened again, and opened her eyes to look over at him.

“That felt even better.”

He smiled at her, and she returned the gesture.

“I’m glad.  It’s good to know that I can help somebody.  Do you have anything you need to be doing right now?”

Karen shook her head, clearly still groggy, and took a moment to think.  “Nah, I don’t have class this afternoon.”

“Oh good, then you have time to just take a deep breath and relax some more, don’t you?”

Her eyes closed and she went back under without hesitation.

“Good, now Karen, you’re back in your bubble, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“And nothing can disturb you here.  Say it, nothing can disturb you here.”

“Nothing can disturb me here.”

“No matter what, nothing will disturb you until I wake you up.  Nothing will disturb you at all, until I wake you up.  No matter what, you won’t wake up until I tell you to, will you?”

“No.”

“Good, very good.  And since nothing can disturb you, you don’t need to have your eyes closed, do you.  You can have your eyes wide open, and see the world around you, but you’ll still be inside your bubble, relaxed, listening to my voice, listening to my instructions.  The light won’t bother you, nothing you see will bother you, and you will just be completely relaxed, without any thought.”

“Karen, go ahead and open your eyes, but stay completely relaxed, completely mindless, without a care or thought in the world.  Open your eyes, and sit up straight.”

Her eyes slowly fluttered open, but they were unfocused and glazed.  She moved into a full sitting position, no longer slumped over, but otherwise unresponsive to the world.

He reached into his backpack and pulled out a folded piece of cloth, setting it on the table between them.  She didn’t move her eyes to acknowledge it, her mind still completely blank and unresponsive.  He spent a moment just looking at her, that blank, mindless expression on her face.  He loved the way she looked, so open, so empty, and so vulnerable.  He could put whatever he wanted into her mind, and she’d be helpless to resist.

He wanted to remake her completely, but he knew that would have to wait.  He’d have to start slow, and he had the perfect opportunity, the perfect way to start her down the path.

“Karen, I want you to look at what I’ve put on the table.”

Her eyes finally moved and focused on the object.

“Karen, what are you looking at?”

“A shirt.”

Oswald nodded, even though nobody was around to see the gesture.

“Very good.  More specifically, it’s a uniform shirt, isn’t it?  Like the kind somebody would have their employees wear, right?”

“Right.”

“Karen, I want you to imagine yourself wearing that shirt.  Feel it on your body, feel it clinging to you, wrapped around you.  Can you do that, can you imagine yourself wearing it?”

She nodded, her eyes still focused on the garment in front of her.  “Yes.”

“Good.  You feel so comfortable wearing it, don’t you?  You want to be wearing it, don’t you?  You need to be wearing it, don’t you?”

She hesitated a moment.  “Yes.”

“In fact, right now, you feel terribly uncomfortable.  What you’re wearing right now, it doesn’t feel good at all, does it.  Tell me what you are wearing feels uncomfortable.”

“What I am wearing right now feels uncomfortable.”

“Good.  Very good.  Would you like to go put it on?  You’d feel so comfortable and good if you were wearing it, wouldn’t you?  It would feel so right to be wearing it, wouldn’t it?  Everything would feel right if you were wearing it, wouldn’t it?”

Karen was nodding along to each of his statement, since he wasn’t giving her a chance to respond.  When he finally stopped talking, she responded.

“Yes.”

“Good.  Karen, I want you to pick it up, and go to the ladies room to change.  When you’re done, you’ll come back here, and sit down right where you’re sitting, and the whole time you’ll stay in your bubble, without a care or thought in the world beyond following my instructions.  Tell me you will follow my instructions.”

“I will follow your instructions.”  There was no hesitation this time.

“And that you will go change into the shirt in front of you.”

“I will go and change.”

“And then you will come straight back.”

“And then I will come straight back.”

“Good, very good.  Now go, go ahead and get changed.”

Karen reached forward and grabbed the shirt that he’d placed on the table, before sliding out of the booth, making her way over to the restroom.  Oswald took the chance to stand up himself, stretching out his legs and working out the kinks that had built up while sitting in the small booth.

He looked around the wall at the entryway, noticing that the lunch crowd was gone.  There were two employees talking behind the counter, clearly not caring about what was going on since there were no customers in eyesight.  He’d been worried that somebody might disturb them, but apparently those worries had been unfounded.

Grabbing his drink, he walked up to the soda machine, getting himself something more  His mouth and throat were dry from talking so constantly for the last few minutes.  Still, everything was coming along swimmingly.

He saw Karen out of the corner of his eye, returning to the booth, and he saw her sitting down.  The shirt she was wearing now was a bright pink, and easy to distinguish from her earlier outfit.  He replaced the lid on his cup before returning to sit again across from her.

“Karen, sit up nice and straight.  You love the way that uniform feels, and you want to show it off.”

The girl responded by sitting upright, her chest puffing out.  She’d closed her eyes upon returning to her seat, but that wasn’t important.  Oswald mostly wanted to be able to get a good look at her, to see if it was as he’d imagined when he was ordering them.

He’d found the uniform supply store online, while he was looking into what he’d need to open his practice.  He had originally thought that having his employees wear uniforms wouldn’t be necessary, but then he’d seen the model wearing this shirt, and he knew he wanted it.  He’d spent many nights imagining an office full of entranced college girls, all dressed identically, and he licked his lips in anticipation of his fantasy becoming a reality.

The shirt was made of a tight, stretchy material, and it hugged Karen’s breasts and stomach snugly.  Every curve of her body was easily defined, and the movement of her chest rising and falling as she breathed was equally discernable.  She’d buttoned three of the polo’s five buttons, the shirt in that girly style that kept the fastening from splitting because of the strain from her breasts.

All in all, she looked deliciously sexy to him, without looking overly slutty.  Perfect for his office.

“Karen, how does it feel?”

“It feels good.”

“You like the way it feels.  You love the way it feels.  It feels nice and soft against your skin, and you can easily see yourself wearing this every day, couldn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“In fact, right now, you’re feeling really, really good, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me you are feeling really good.”

“I am feeling really good.”

Oswald smiled.  He wanted to push, just a little bit more.

“In fact, Karen, you feel a little bit horny right now, don’t you?  You look good, and sexy, so it’s only natural to feel a little bit horny.  Do you feel a little bit horny, Karen?”

“Yes.”  She shrank slightly in her chair.

“It’s ok, Karen, it’s perfectly ok to feel a little horny.  Everybody feels horny from time to time, and just because you feel a little horny right now, that’s ok.  Tell me you feel a little horny right now, and tell me that it is ok.”

She hesitated a moment, but finally gave in.  “I feel a little horny right now, and it is ok.”

“Good.  Sit up straight, nice and straight, very proud of your outfit that makes you feel good, and sexy, and just a little bit horny.”

She moved to sit up again, and he noticed that her nipples were standing out a little against her shirt.  He didn’t’ want to risk giving her any more sexual ideas, but having some small undercurrents of arousal would pave the way for later.

“Good.  Now, of course, you’re wearing a uniform shirt, aren’t you?  It’s the kind of thing somebody would have their employees wear, isn’t it?  Doesn’t that mean that you’re an employee of the person who gave it to you?  Isn’t that the only reason that you’d be wearing a uniform?”

She furrowed her eyebrows.  The statement made sense, but there was something off about it, and she was trying to sort through it.

“I guess?”  Her response wasn’t so confident.

“Nonsense, Karen.  I gave you that shirt, it’s a work shirt, so you’re my employee.  Wouldn’t that be nice, to have a job?  You mentioned before that you wanted a job, so it only makes sense that you’d get one, doesn’t it?  It only makes sense that you’d be wearing a uniform because you accepted a job.  Say it, you want a job.”

“I want a job.”  His assault of commands was relentless, so she latched onto the command.  Her voice was small, but that statement was easy, since it was true.

“Good, I’ll help you work through this, don’t worry.  And you’re wearing the uniform that my employees wear.  Say you are wearing the uniform my employees wear.”

“I am wearing the uniform that your employees wear.”

“That makes you my employee.  Say it.”

“That makes me your employee.”

“Again.”

“That makes me your employee.”

“Good, very good Karen.  I want you to tie it all together.  You want a job, you are wearing the uniform that my employees wear, and that makes you my employee.”

She took a breath before starting to speak.  “I want a job.  I am wearing the uniform that your employees wear.  That makes me your employee.”

“Good, very good.  Now Karen, I want you to imagine a television screen in front of you, can you do that?”

“Yes.”

“Good, and I want you to see images on the screen.  It’s the scene of when we first met, not all that long ago.  You can clearly see the scene of when we first met, how you didn’t have enough money to pay for your meal, and I offered to pay.  Can you see it?”

She nodded.

“Good, but you’re going to notice something.  Suddenly the scene is fading.  It’s not so clear, and it’s getting harder and harder to see the details.  This screen leads into your memory, Karen, and it’s getting harder and harder to see that memory.  It’s slowly fading, bits and pieces being erased, until there’s nothing left.  The screen is completely blank, the memory is gone from your mind, and nothing can every get it back.”

She started to look nervous, so he continued.

“But it’s ok, there’s nothing to be worried about, because nothing can hurt you here, you have no thoughts or worries here.  Even though the memory is gone, that’s ok, because nothing can hurt you here.  The memory is gone, and it’s gone so completely, you don’t even know it’s missing, and that’s ok, because nothing can hurt you here.”

Her shoulders relaxed.

“Good.  Now, Karen, do you remember how we met?”

“No.”

“Well, I want you to focus on the screen, and it’s going to show you how we met.  You came into my office yesterday, in response to an ad I’d put in the paper.  You saw that I was hiring receptionists, and you came to me to get a job, and I decided to hire you.  You were so happy and grateful.  You spent a little while helping me get things straightened, and I gave you that uniform shirt, since you were now my employee.  Can you see the scene in front of you, clearly and completely?”

“Yes.”

“Good, and since this screen shows your memories, that’s what happened, isn’t it?  You came into my office and I gave you the job.”

“Yes.”

“Good.  How did we meet, Karen?”

“I came into your office, and you gave me a job.”

“Good.  And we haven’t met outside of that time, have we?”

“No.”

“Good.  After you went home, you thought about your new job, and how happy it made you.  Are you happy to have a job, Karen?”

She smiled.  “Yes.  Very happy.”

“Good.  And you’re going to be a very diligent, hard worker, aren’t you?”

She nodded.  “Yes.”

“Tell me you’ll be a hard worker.”

“I’ll be a very hard worker.”

“And that you look forward to working for me a long time.”

“I look forward to working for you a long time.”

“Good, you will be a perfect, model employee, won’t you?”

“Yes, be a perfect employee.”

“Good.  Very good.  I think that’s enough for now, Karen.  Can you come in to work tomorrow?”

She paused a moment, her mind working through her schedule.  “Yes.  In the morning.”

“Good.  Is seven thirty too early?”  He wanted to test her limits.

She hesitated.  “I guess.  I have class in the afternoon.”

“Now Karen, you want to be a diligent, hard worker, don’t you?  And that means you’ll gladly come in that early, if I ask you to, doesn’t it?”

“I guess.  Yes.”

“Karen, say you are a diligent, hard worker.”

“I am a diligent, hard worker.”

“Again.”

“I am a diligent, hard worker.”

“Keep repeating it until it’s one hundred percent true.  You’ll be such a hard worker that any hours I ask you to work, you will happily accommodate.”

“I am a diligent, hard worker.  I am a diligent, hard worker.  I am a diligent, hard worker.”  With each repetition, her voice got a little more confident, and the statement got a little stronger.

After a dozen repetitions, she said it one more time, and then fell silent.

“Good.  Karen, I want you to come in at seven thirty tomorrow, will this be a problem?”

“No.”  She didn’t hesitate at all.

“Good.  Now, I’ll come up with a full uniform policy soon, but do you have a black skirt you can wear with that top tomorrow?”  He knew black and pink would be a good combination.

“Yes.”  The answer was also strong and confident, since it related to work.

“Good.  Very good.  I’m looking forward to working with you.  Are you looking forward to working with me, Karen?”

“Yes.  I am looking forward to working with you.”

“Good.  Ok, in a moment, I’m going to tell you to count down, slowly, from ten.  When you reach zero, you will awaken, not remembering anything involving me today.  You will simply think you came here to eat your lunch, like you originally planned. While you don’t have your wallet, you’ll remember that you brought enough money to pay for your meal.  You haven’t seen me since yesterday, when I hired you.”

He took a deep breath.  This was pretty much make or break time.  If the commands he’d just given her were going to be rejected, it would be when she next woke up.  He stood up out of the booth, getting ready to walk into the restroom.  He planned to ‘bump into’ her randomly.

“Ok, Karen, go ahead and start counting down from ten, and when you hit zero, you will wake up, and not remember being in a trance at all.”

He saw her lips start to move, and grabbed his bag to head to the restroom.  He left the door cracked slightly, looking out at her, seeing her suddenly shake herself awake, before she looked around the room, trying to take in her surroundings.  To her, she’d just zoned out, and had shaken herself back to full attention.

He took another breath, before walking out of the restroom and heading over to her.

“Hey, Karen, fancy meeting you here.”

She turned and looked up at him, before her face lit up with a smile.

“Doctor Goodman.  Small world.”

“I’ll say, I just stopped in for a bite to eat, but I can’t believe I ran into you here.”

Karen nodded.  “Yeah, I stop in here every now and again.  How’s the office?”

“A disaster still.  Going to be a lot of work getting everything set up.  You still coming in tomorrow?”

She nodded.  “Yeah, seven thirty.  I’ll need to leave after lunch though, since I have class at one thirty.”

“That’s fine.  Oh, I almost forgot.”  He reached into his bag and pulled out a pen and checkbook.  “There’s a signing bonus.  Sort of a thank-you for being willing to give me a shot despite not being known in the area.”

She smiled.  Normally, she’d refuse such things, but she really needed the money, and it made sense to get a bonus when you started a new job, especially one that was going to have some rough hours.  She was glad she was such a natural hard worker, or she might have a problem.  Still, that was probably why there weren’t that many people knocking down the doctor’s door.

“Ok, there we go, five hundred dollars.  That should help you breathe a little easier, eh?”  He winked over at her.

The signing bonus hadn’t been part of his original plan.  He was going to just find a cute college girl to entrance and program into being his new receptionist, but after hearing her story, he felt sorry for her enough to give her a little help.  It wasn’t like he had a lot of money himself, after the loan to get the office space, and his own school loans to pay off.  He was basically giving her half of his liquid money for the foreseeable future.

As he handed the check to her, Karen’s smile was enormous.  “Are you kidding?  That’s huge.  That’ll really help me get things in order.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll pay it back and more with all the work you’ll be doing.”

Karen laughed.  “Are you trying to talk me into quitting, Doctor Goodman?”

“Not in the slightest.”

He was serious though, he fully planned to work her very hard.  That was actually something that was good about her being so broke, she wouldn’t be desperate to go out partying with friends.  Plus, he wasn’t planning on paying her anything after this initial seed money.  Once he got a couple more employees, he’d encourage them to help her out, since she seemed to have enough to get by.  A little breathing room, and some more hypnotic commands, and her money problems wouldn’t be bothering her too much.

Besides, he had some different plans regarding employee compensation.

He took one last look over her, noticing that her nipples were still a little pronounced in the shirt she was wearing, before smiling and leaving.  He wanted to go over things for tomorrow, after all.