A Passing Thought
published September 25, 2020
Thomas invites his professor and mentor to check out his handiwork with Ashton
Thomas straightened out his appearance in the full length mirror. He smoothed out the wrinkles in his shirt, making sure it was tucked in all around. The doorbell rang as he was folding back the cuffs of his shirt. Thomas gave himself one more glance up and down before confirming his satisfaction.
He opened the door to greet his former professor. “Professor Watkins, come in.” Thomas eagerly gestured for him to enter his family’s estate.
“I think ‘Charles’ will do outside of class,” Charles Watkins suggested cordially. He was a young professor, only a few years older than Thomas himself. Thomas choked back excitement at being on a first name basis with the man he admired so greatly, and a nickname no less.
“Ok… Charles, did you find the place ok?” The two walked to the sun room where Thomas had arranged for tea to be ready for them.
“I did. This is a lovely home. I don’t often find myself in the Hills but the view is simply stunning.” Thomas poured Charles a cup of tea as Charles continued. “I couldn’t dream of living in a place like this. You’re a lucky guy.”
“In more ways than one,” Thomas said, sipping his own cup.
“Is he here?” Charles asked. “I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation on the drive over.”
“Yeah, he’s here. Shall I call him in?”
“Please. Don’t keep me in suspense,” he said with the expectant eyes of a child on Christmas morning.
Thomas smiled and rang a small bell on the table. Charlie darted between either entrance to the room, unsure which direction he should be looking. Thomas nonchalantly sipped his tea while waiting. A man about Thomas’s age entered. He walked purposefully, arms at his side, looking serious. Once he was within a few feet of the two gentlemen, he stopped, bringing his feet together and standing up straight. He was naked.
“You rang?” Ashton asked, with audible venom in his tone.
“Fascinating,” Charles said, leaning forward as if to inspect Ashton. “Is all of this your influence?”
“The nudity and posture are mine,” Thomas clarified. “The Addams Family reference is all him.”
“Who’s this?” Ashton asked, with a skeptical eye towards Thomas’s guest.
“Fascinating,” Charles repeated. “The level of autonomy he still possesses is concerning, though.”
“I don’t know if I’d call it ‘autonomy’,” Ashton pointed out, still standing straight, arms at his side.
“Ash, this is Profe— er, Charles. He taught at the University. He’s the head of the Psychology department and a bit of a mentor. He helped me perfect my hypnosis technique.”
Ashton looked back at the professor with fury. “You son of a bitch. This is your fault?” His eyes looked like they wanted to wring his neck, but his body stayed still. “I’m gonna fucking kill you.”
“Now now,” Thomas said. “It’s not his fault. He just gave me the tools. I’m the one who used them. Could you pour us another cup of tea?” Ashton’s body unfroze to reach for the tea pot. He picked up each man’s cup and filled it to the brim.
“It’s risky to have him acting with such a low level of acceptance. You may need to work on your reinforcement techniques,” Charles criticized.
Thomas shrugged. “He’s under deep. He can bitch all he wants, but he won’t ignore a direct order or question. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes,” Ashton answered. With both cups filled, Ashton’s body relaxed. He stood in place, but no longer at attention like before. “So what, are you a pervert like Thomas here? Do you have a man servant of your own that you get your rocks off on torturing?”
“Me? No,” Charles responded. “Not that the thought never passed my mind,” he said, reaching out to caress Ashton’s naked torso. Just as Charles’s fingers grazed Ashton’s abs, Ashton grabbed him by the wrist and squeezed tightly. Charles winced in pain and looked back to Thomas. He casually rang the bell again and Ashton’s body tightened up. He released Charles’s wrist, his arms pinning to his sides and his eyes pointing straight ahead. He scowled as his body responded without his approval.
“Ashton, let Charles here touch you wherever he wants.” Ashton’s body relaxed again. Charles looked to Thomas, who nodded his approval. Charles reached out again, but this time when his fingers made contact, Ashton didn’t stop him. His eyes never broke from Charles’s eyeline, but otherwise did nothing to impede the older man from feeling the former student’s six pack.
“Fascinating,” Charles repeated.
“Are you gonna keep saying that?” Ashton asked, annoyed.
“Only when I’m fascinated,” Charles responded, now with two hands on Ashton’s body, testing the limits of how far he could go. He rubbed up and down his chest and stomach, and reached around to feel his pert ass. Despite being visibly uncomfortable, Ashton allowed the man to explore freely. “Could you describe how it feels when you’re given an order or a suggestion?” he asked Ashton. Ashton looked past Charles to Thomas who nodded his approval.
“It’s like… when Thomas tells me to do something, the words bounce around in my head. But they don’t go anywhere, they just keep bouncing around forever. Like, he’ll tell me something and I know it’s not true or that I shouldn’t do it, but the words are so loud I can’t help but believe them. And with so many bouncing around at once, it’s hard to think about anything else.”
Charles separated himself from Ashton. “It’s really remarkable. The level of sophistication you’ve employed is admirable for a second year student. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but your potential is clear in your work.”
“Thank you,” Thomas said. “That means a lot coming from you. I’d love to discuss my process with you.”
“I think we’ll do far more than discuss it,” Charles commented, still observing Ashton from a distance like a fine work of art. “There’s still quite a bit I’d like to learn from… Ashton, was it? There’s more I’d like to learn by studying Ashton here, testing his limits and so on. I would want to make sure we glean as much information from him as possible before we release him.”
“Release him?” Thomas asked, confused.
“Release me?!” Ashton asked, shocked.
Charles looked between the two men. “Of course. You know we can’t leave him like this. It would be highly unethical. What’s done is done, and we shouldn’t pass up an educational opportunity, but I couldn’t in good conscious allow you to continue like this.”
Ashton smiled. “Would you like some more tea?” Ashton offered, pouring a cup for the professor and handing it to him.
“Thank you,” Charles accepted with a smile. He took a sip and continued, “Don’t get me wrong, you’ve done a good job employing my techniques, and I’m eager to give you some pointers, but you’re not quite to the caliber where you can use your hypnotic skills recklessly like you have. Maybe when you’ve reached my level and you have a little more experience…”
Thomas furrowed his brow, sitting and watching quietly. Charles paced around Ashton, as though to glean more about the man’s mind by watching his movements. Thomas was motionless, the gears of his own mind grinding rapidly. The gears slowed to normal, and Thomas painted a smile on his face.
“Of course,” Thomas said, “I agree 100%. This was always intended as an exhibition of my skills. Once you had a chance to see him, I planned to remove his conditioning and have him forget this entirely.”
“Seriously?” Ashton asked with a skeptical eye. “Then what was with all those videos you had me make. And last night when you made me—“
“Professor Watkins,” Thomas ignored Ashton and continued, “I would be happy to demonstrate my technique for you. I could recruit a new subject and show you the process from the very beginning.”
“Ahh,” Charles said, “it might not be a good idea to involve another subject. We’re already dancing a pretty thin ethical line here.”
Thomas nodded. “I see. Gosh, if only there were some way we could ethically demonstrate the technique so you could see how it works first hand. If only we had an intelligent subject with advanced experience with hypnosis, who would be mentally equipped to resist if things went to far.” Thomas pondered who a subject like that might be, but Charles had an idea of his own.
“I would be happy to offer myself as a subject,” Charles suggested.
“Wait, what?” Ashton asked. “You can’t be serious.”
“Yeah,” Thomas said, “I agree. I mean, obviously you’re smart enough and more than qualified to handle yourself if I put you under. But is that really the best idea? You know, ethically?”
“I know, I know,” Charles explained. “It’s a bit risky, but if nothing else it would give me a deeper insight into the mistakes you’re making and where you need to focus your practice. That kind of first hand observation is invaluable.”
“Oh my god, I hadn’t even thought of that. What a great idea, professor.”
“Are you fucking serious?” Ashton interjected. “Look at me. You’re gonna let him do to you what he’s done to me? What if he doesn’t let you go?”
“I would never,” Thomas responded. “Besides, even if I did, the professor here is way to smart to fall so deep that he couldn’t get himself out.”
“Not to mention I have years of experience as a hypnotic subject.”
“That’s right. I completely forgot that getting hypnotized is one of your passions and you actively seek out new and exciting ways to go under. So you’re probably overprepared for me to put you under, then. Gosh, I hope you aren’t too strong for me.”
“Dear god, do you not see what he’s doing?” Ashton asked Charles. “He’s—“
“Be quiet, Ashton. The grown-ups are talking.” Ashton’s mouth closed, and he couldn’t open it again to form words. He huffed through his nose, and stood watching the two men continue to discuss.
“But he makes a good point,” Thomas went on. “I might be too afraid to give you the full impact of my method for fear we might cross into unethical territory. If only there were a way to make sure you were safe the entire time. I know,” Thomas said, not waiting for a response, “what if I told you the secret of how to lift yourself from the conditioning beforehand. That way even if things go too far, you can just wake yourself up. Plus you’d know how to release Ashton when we’re done.”
Ashton pleaded with his eyes, but Charles dismissed his concern. “I don’t know that I need it, but if it would put you at ease, then by all means,” Charles said. “Is it really something that you could explain so easily?”
“It is,” Thomas said encouragingly. “Here, let me tell you. Ashton, look away.” Ashton’s head craned to the left, and with all of his strength he couldn’t move it to face the two men. He could hear Thomas whispering to Charles, and heard him snap his fingers once, but otherwise couldn’t make out what he was explaining.
“Ok, we’re done,” Thomas said. The tension in Ashton’s neck released and he looked back at the two men. Charles seemed satisfied. “Shall we begin?” Thomas asked. Charles pulled a chair from the table and positioned it a couple feet in front of another chair so the two could sit across from each other.
“You know the drill: go ahead and make yourself comfortable.” Charles sat down and relaxed his body. They were about to begin when Ashton stepped between them and crossed his arms. “Everything will be fine, Ashton.” Ashton held his position. “Get out of our way,” Thomas ordered.
Ashton couldn’t help but step to the side so as not to obstruct Thomas’s view. “Ashton,” Thomas said. The two made eye contact. “Go watch from over there. And watch closely. I don’t want you to miss this,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. Ashton was unsettled but placed himself a few feet away and focused all his attention on the two men.
“You ready?” Charles asked, his eyes already closed.
“I’m supposed to ask that,” Thomas said playfully. Charles smiled. Thomas’s expression was flat, showing no excitement or concern. “Let’s begin by taking a deep breath in, holding it for a few seconds and then releasing that breath,” Thomas began. Charles followed his directions. Thomas guided him through a relaxing meditation, focusing on his breathing and his own state of mind. Ashton recognized it from when Thomas did it to him. He could feel his skin get prickly just listening to it.
“Good,” Thomas said, feeling assured that Professor Watkins was in a relaxed state. “Charlie, I want you to picture something for me. Use your imagination to form the image of a container in your mind. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It could be a box, or a jar. It’s a very important container, so it should be strong like a safe. Maybe the box is metal. Maybe it’s made of titanium with thick metal beams in the door that locks it shut. There’s a handle, and right now it’s open. Go ahead and move the door open and shut. Feel the weight of it as you push it back and forth, not quite closing it. It takes all your strength to stop it momentum so it doesn’t shut completely, and when you pull you have to press back as hard as you can to keep from swinging all the way open. Keep going in this way, back and forth, pushing and pulling, inhaling,” he took a pause, “and exhaling. When you’re ready, next time you push the safe closed, let it close all the way until you hear it snap shut.” Charles’s deep breaths slowed to a halt, and he sat motionlessly, only taking slow easy breaths through his nose.
Ashton didn’t recognize this part. He had a clear memory of the induction Thomas led him through a few days ago, but this was new.
“Now, the safe is very strong and very durable, so it can’t be broken. At every side of it, feel it, knock on it. It’s solid, nothing can penetrate its walls. Be sure to check all sides, including the top and bottom. Inspect the door. It’s as strong as the walls, maybe stronger. Pull on the handle. Pull as hard as you can, try to open the door. Pull harder.” Ashton could see Charles’ face scrunching up with effort as he mentally tried to open the safe. “You can let go. The door is sealed tight. It can’t be opened without the combination, which you don’t know. Any time the door to the safe is shut, it’s impossible to open. It’s too heavy and you’re not strong enough to open it yourself.
“Only I know the combination. I want you to watch as I easily open the safe. You can’t see the combination as I dial it in, it moves too quickly. It’s effortless for me to unlock the safe. I’m the only one who can open it, and I can only open it while you are in this trance. Watch as I close the safe door and lock it tight. Try opening it again yourself.” Charles’ face tightened up once more. “You can’t. You’re too weak. Without the combination, you aren’t strong enough to open it yourself. You need my help to open the safe. Watch once more as I unlock it. When I pull the door, it’s as light as a feather.
“Now the safe is open. I want you to look inside. There is nothing inside. You can put whatever you like inside of the safe. There’s nothing too big that it won’t fit inside, and no matter how much you put in, it will never fill to capacity. Because this safe exists in your mind, you can store anything, including thoughts. Any thought you‘ve ever had, we can place inside. Let’s try that. I want you to think of a memory, something that causes you a great deal of pain. Something from your past that burdens you. I want you to picture that clearly in your mind.”
Charles began to frown as he dredged up the memory. “This memory is very painful to you. Whenever you think of it, you feel terrible. It makes sense that you would want to forget this memory. Take that memory and place it inside of the safe. Make sure that all of it goes into the safe, that not even one detail exists anywhere but inside the safe. Now that you’ve placed it there, I’m going to shut the door and close it tightly. Try once more to pull the handle.” Charles’ face contorted again like before.
“The safe is shut tightly and you can’t open it. Now that it’s closed, Try and remember that memory, the one that caused you such great pain. Recall the memory exactly as you did moments ago.” Charles face remained flat. It did not reveal the same pain as before. “You can’t recall it. That’s because the memory is locked away. You can’t open the safe, so you can’t access anything placed inside. I’m opening the door to the safe. Look inside and you’ll see your memory is still there. Pull the memory out. Try and recall that memory again.” Charles frowned exactly like before.
“That’s right. Now that it’s open and you’ve taken back the memory, you can recall it as clearly as before. Remember how relieved you felt when that memory was locked away, when the burden of that pain was gone. If you want to feel that way again, you may choose to place the memory back in the safe.” Thomas waited. Charles’s face didn’t change, but Ashton could detect his shoulders dropping. “I’m closing the safe now. Savor this feeling, of your painful memory locked away where it can’t hurry you anymore. The safe freed you from that pain.” Charles smiled peacefully.
“It feels good to unburden yourself like that, but you’re still holding onto fear that it won’t work, that the pain will return.” The smile on Charles’s face vanished. “It will work if you believe it will. I can help you trust in this process more fully, in me more fully. If you get rid of your doubt, then you can be free of that pain forever. Would you like that?” Charles’s head lifted slowly before dipping back down to his chest to form one complete nod.
“Excellent. If that’s what you want, gather up any doubt, fear, skepticism you have about this process. All the reservations we instinctively form to protect ourselves, form them into a ball in your mind. All of that doubt you have about hypnosis, about me, about giving up control, concentrate it in the palm of your hand. I’ve opened the safe door once more. You can see your bad memory in there. Before it has a chance to escape, throw your doubt into the safe and I’ll close the door to lock it away.” Another motionless pause happened, but Thomas felt confident in the result. “Good. All that unwanted doubt is sealed away, along with that bad memory.”
“I’m going to ask you to recall something else. Before you went under, I told you a very important secret. Recall that secret for me. That secret is crystal clear in your mind. I’m going to open the safe once more and I’d like for you to place that secret inside, between the bad memory and your doubt. Place it inside, and I’m going to shut the safe. Now, recall that secret again. You can’t. Everything inside the safe is inaccessible. You can’t open the safe without the combination, and no one knows the combination but me. I’m opening the safe now. You can see your secret is safe and sound inside the safe, along with the memory and your doubt. If you ever need any of them, they’ll be waiting for you here. I’m closing the door. That secret was a crutch, a safety line that kept you from being vulnerable to the process. It has to stay out of reach so you aren’t tempted by doubt. Trusting fully is what’s keeping the memory from hurting you.
“In a moment, I’m going to ask you to open your eyes. You will feel like you’re awake, but you‘ll still be in trance, like you are now. I’ll continue to guide you with my words, but you will be able to move and speak like you would if you were awake. When I snap my fingers, your eyes will be open and you’ll remain deeply in a trance.” Thomas snapped his fingers, and Charles perked up.
“So, what do you think? So far so good?” Thomas asked. Charles had to blink a few times. He looked down at himself, checking both sides of his hands for a sign of abnormality.
“Wow, how long was I out for?” Charles asked.
“It’s only been about ten minutes. Isn’t that right, Ashton?” Thomas looked to Ashton who was compelled to nod his agreement. The knot in Ashton’s stomach kept getting tighter as he felt helpless to stop Thomas. “But we’re only getting started. You’re still in a trance.”
“I don’t think so,” Charles said.
“That’s what they all say, Charlie. Do you remember anything up to this point?”
“Uh, well let’s see… No, I guess not. It’s strange, but it’s uncommon for me to experience memory loss when I go under.”
“That must mean it’s working. You must really trust me if you let go enough to forget what happened,” Thomas pointed out.
“Yeah,” Charles said, a smile came across his face.
“It’s exciting, isn’t it? You’ve mentioned your disappointment with struggling to find a new experience with hypnosis, even though it’s a passion of yours. Studying it as thoroughly as you have stripped some of the magic away, I guess. This must be pretty thrilling, huh?” Thomas adjusted his posture.
“Yeah, it is,” Charles said, grinning at the notion.
“I’m glad to hear it. And you certainly have studied it for a long time, haven’t you? You must be pretty smart, seeing how educated you are.”
“Do you agree that you’re a smart man?” Thomas asked.
“I, I do,” Charles answered, off guard. “Yes, I’m quite intelligent.”
“Charlie,” Thomas leaned in, “you once confided in me a terrible secret from your past. Something that you’re quite ashamed of, that causes you a great deal of pain. Can you recall that for me now?” Thomas was acting more as a psychiatrist than as a student.
“I’m not sure why you would… I… that’s odd,” Charles said, furrowing his brow. His eyes darted back and forth has he struggled to remember.
“Is something wrong?” Thomas asked.
“I’m, um, I’m not sure. I know there’s something, but… nothing’s coming up.”
“Think harder, Charlie. It involves your father. You were nine. It was at a cabin. You must remember.”
“I— I can’t.” Charles clutched his head, his eyes pinched tight. He dropped his hands. “No, nothing.”
“How strange. For such an educated man, it’s hard to imagine you couldn’t remember the reason your father was in prison,” Thomas insinuated casually.
“Prison? That can’t— Why don’t I—“
“Charlie,” Thomas interrupted, “before I put you under, do you recall me telling you a secret?”
“A secret? Yes, that’s right. You told me how to reverse your hypnosis.”
“That’s right. Could you tell me that secret?”
“Right now? Are you sure?” Charles looked at a very panicked Ashton, standing naked off to the side. Ashton was wringing his hands, unable to do anything else except watch in distress.
“It’s all right,” Thomas said confidently. “Repeat it out loud for all of us to hear.”
“Very well,” Charles said. He went to continue to speak, but no words came out. “Um.”
“I said it was ok. You don’t have to be shy.”
“No, it’s not that. I, um, I can’t seem to recall what you told me.”
“At all? My my, for a self-proclaimed academic, it’s hard to believe you could be as smart as you say if you can’t remember basic information from only a few minutes ago. Particularly when those details relate to your area of expertise.”
“I can’t explain it. I feel very strange,” Charles said, rocking gently back and forth.
“Yes, you seem to be stressed. If we continue with the hypnosis, I can perhaps—“
“No,” Charles interrupted. “I think we should stop. This isn’t right.”
Thomas steeled his resolve. “Charlie, you said this was what you wanted. You do enjoy being under hypnosis, right?”
“I do, but—“
“Are you saying you have doubts about my hypnotizing you?” Thomas asked.
Charles thought about his answer. “No, I can’t say I do,” Charles conceded. Ashton practically was grinding his teeth, his hopes of the professor escaping intact having been dashed.
“If you’re having anxiety, I can guide you through a stress-reducing exercise.” Charles nodded in response, so Thomas continued. “If you will, I’d like you to picture a large safe in your mind. Picture it clearly. Describe it to me, every detail.”
“Well, it’s a safe. It’s square, and metal. It looks heavy. There’s a door with a handle and a combination dial.”
“Very good. Now let’s pretend that safe is all of your anxiety bottled up, and that opening it will release that anxiety. Go ahead and open that safe and let the stress wash away.”
Charles welcomed the opportunity, but his encouraged smile quickly turned into a perplexed frown. He wasn’t moving, his arms hanging in his lap, and yet his face seemed to show him struggling.
“I asked you to open the safe, Charlie,” Thomas repeated in a disappointed tone.
“I— I can’t. It won’t open.”
“It’s an imaginary safe. All you have to do is imagine that it’s open, and it will.”
“I know,” Charles said, flustered. “I’m trying but it just… won’t. I’m turning the dial, pulling on the handle, and nothing.”
“The safe isn’t real. Use whatever combination you like and just let the door fly open.”
“I can’t!” Charles yelled. He quickly sunk back into his chair, realizing how out of place that tone was. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”
“It’s ok,” Thomas said warmly. “But clearly you have a lot of stress, and you’re resisting this process. Would you like me to make it easier to follow my instructions?” Charles nodded, his eyes balefully wide as he hung on Thomas’s words.
“I want you to picture a thought in your mind, specifically your ability to say ‘no’ to me. Hold that thought in your head and clearly envision it. It should be clear to you, is it?” Charles nodded wordlessly. “Good. Now I’m going to open the safe. When it’s open, you need to place that thought, the ability to tell me ‘no’, inside of the safe. Can you do that?” Charles paused at first, but nodded again.
“I’m opening the safe now.” Charles’s blinked and was caught by surprise, as though he were having a profound realization. “Quickly, Charlie, throw it in while the safe is open.” Charles was caught off guard. He didn’t move from his seat, but mentally followed Thomas’s guidance. “Very good. I’m shutting the door again.” Thomas took a satisfied breath. His tone became much more casual. “Now how do you feel, smart guy?”
“Um, the same, I guess. Sorry, I don’t feel any more relaxed.”
“I wasn’t clear, I meant a stress-reducing exercise for me,” Thomas’s posture relaxed. “Whoo, you were starting to get under my skin, but now I can finally get to work.”
“What are you talking about? Listen, this has gone on far enough. I’ll be going now, and I think I should take your friend here with me.” Charles stood from his chair.
“Would you knock it off? You lost. Stay seated until the session is over.” Charles lifted his hand to disagree, but froze as he tried to force the words out. Thomas leaned in closer as though to hear better, but there as no sound to be heard.
Charles at last gasped out a restrained “yes” and took his seat. He surprised himself with his response, but remained in his seat. “What’s happening to me?” he asked.
“Nothing that I can’t handle.” Thomas continued to stand, towering over the now sheepish professor. “Let’s continue where we left off, shall we Charlie? Now, to recap, you claim to be a professor and a prestigious university, but in our short conversation you’ve forgotten vital details about your life and failed to retain new information regarding your area of expertise. Is that correct?”
Even though Charles did agree with his statement, it was something else in him that compelled him to respond “Yes,” to Thomas’s questioning.
“Professors are intelligent, generally experts in their fields. Charlie, how would you define intelligence?”
“Well, there are a number of compelling definitions. The simplest way is that intelligence is a measure of an individual’s knowledge across many spectrums, including academic, occupational, and emotional.”
“I see,” Thomas said. “And to achieve any reasonable level of intelligence, to your point, you must have a great deal of knowledge, which requires a certain degree of memory. Do you concur?”
“Yes,” the response came automatically. “But there’s more to it than—“
“So, someone with a poor memory would likely not be able to achieve a level of intelligence as you claim to have achieved. Is that accurate, professor?” Thomas was now standing behind Charles, leaning over and speaking directly into his ear.
“Yes, I suppose,” he reluctantly agreed.
Thomas perked up and continued circling the professor. “In that case, I would contend that given how you’ve demonstrated how poor your memory is, that you couldn’t have acquired the knowledge to become a professor of Psychology as you so claim,” Thomas accused, pointing a finger in Charles’s face.
Charles was speechless. He couldn’t refute Thomas. At best all he could do was side-step his claim. “I know quite a lot about Psychology.”
“Do you? Since it’s impossible for you to have learned as much as you claim to, the only reasonable conclusion one can draw is that much of your knowledge is false. Considering how dangerous misinformation can be, it would be unwise for you to continue acting on potentially faulty knowledge. I believe it’s best you set it aside, until we can figure out what’s true and what isn’t.”
Thomas took his seat in front of Charles again and pulled his chair closer. “Charlie, in your mind, I want you to gather up everything you’ve learned about Psychology: every fact, detail, and statistic you know about the subject. Gather it into a ball small enough to fit inside the palm of your hand. Make sure you get all of it. Don’t leave out a single piece of information.”
Despite his reservations, he did exactly what Thomas advised, and could picture a bright orb in his mind that he knew contained the sum of all his knowledge of Psychology.
“That’s good,” Thomas said. “Now I’m going to open the safe once more, and as I do, you’re going to place that knowledge inside of the safe so we can lock it away. The safe is open. Put the knowledge in.” Like a scene in a movie, Charlie imagined himself putting the shining ball into the safe. He even saw it closing without Thomas saying so. He watched the heavy doors shut, and the moment it did, everything he know about behavioral sciences was suddenly gone.
“H-how are you doing this to me?” Charlie asked.
“I’d explain, but you wouldn’t understand,” Thomas said, standing again and going through Charles’s bag. He pulled out a document and handed it to Charles. “Be a doll and read the first couple lines for me.”
Charles held the document with both hands, squinting at it. “Be-behavi, behavioral changes in trance-like indu-induc-inductions through—“
“You can barely read it. And you call yourself a professor?” Thomas asked.
“I don’t recognize half of these words. Is this even in English?”
“Oh dear. It seems like perhaps your knowledge of the written language is faulty as well. We should sequester that for safety, too. Go ahead and picture your entire knowledge of reading and writing in any language and ball it up in your mind, just like before.”
“Please…” Charles pleaded. He meant to say “Please no,” but couldn’t find the word.
“I’ve opened the safe. Toss it in there. … Good, I’m shutting it. You wanna try that page again?”
Charles looked back down at it. “I, I can’t. This looks meaningless to me.” He scanned over every letter on the page, but not one grain of clarity could be found on the paper.
“I see. Such a shame,” Thomas said, pulling it from his hand and tossing it behind him. “You know, all this knowledge is still in your head. It’s just locked away for safekeeping. If you open the safe, it would all come right back, including the secret of how to lift yourself out of my hypnotic trance.”
“I don’t know how to open the safe,” Charles argued, defeated.
“Try anyway. Picture the safe and try turning the dial.” The image appeared in Charles’s mind as clear as day. He imagined twisting it left and right, but it was no use.
“I’m turning it, but can’t get anywhere. I need the combination.”
“Oh dear. That must be frustrating, to know that you could fix your problem yourself but not be able to. If you wanted, you could probably brute force the combination and try every possible one until you got it.” As Thomas spoke, Charles had already begun doing just that. He confirmed 0-0-0 and 0-0-1 were wrong, and he was close to 0-0-2 when Thomas stopped him.
“Having that knowledge must be a burden. Let’s set aside everything you know about numbers and put it in the safe with the rest. Numbers, math, counting, anything like that, just gather it up to the size of a golf ball and toss it in to the safe.” Charles saw the safe in his mind opening as the streams of light coalesced into a small orb. It was astounding to think all of his knowledge of mathematics could fit into such a small space, even an imaginary one, but he could not appreciate it’s beauty for long before it too flew into the safe. The door slammed forcefully behind it.
“How’s that feel?” Thomas asked. Charles just shook his head instead of answering. “Very well,” Thomas said. “Look at your hand. How many fingers are there?” Charles looked down at his open palm, studied each of his outstretched fingers, but shook his head again. “I see,” a mock-concerned Thomas responded. “That oughta do it.”
“I feel strange,” Charles said distantly.
“I know,” Thomas comforted, crouching down to eye level. “Listen, I just want you to know that you were without a doubt the best teacher I ever had. It’s a shame that it had to come to this, but it is what it is. Am I right?”
“Are you gonna leave me like this?” Charles asked.
“Of course not, Charlie. I mean, to hypnotize someone and keep them in that state permanently, that wouldn’t be ethical, now would it. No no, I think I’ve made my point. I’m gonna count down from five, and when I reach one, you’re going to return to a dormant state of mind. You’ll still be in a hypnotic trance, just like you are now, but it’ll be like you’re asleep. You ready?”
“What’s a ‘hypnotic trance’? What’s ‘five’?”
“I’ll take that as a yes. Five… four… three… two… and one.” Charles’s eyes closed and his head slumped over.
Thomas took his seat across from Charles and resumed his therapeutic posture. “And take a deep breath in… and out again.” Charles’s chest rose and sunk at Thomas’s direction. “Good, now picture for me, if you will, once more, that safe that has all of your knowledge sealed away. I’m opening the door one last time, but you aren’t to touch anything inside of the safe that you’ve placed in there. Instead, you’re going to pull out one specific thought, one that you hadn’t noticed before but has been there all along. Hold it in your hands, feel its heat. Do you know what that thought it?” Charles shook his head no.
“That is a fetish that you never knew that you had. Specifically, it’s that you become horny any time you have the thought ‘I don’t know’. Any time you experience ignorance or an inability to understand, you will become increasingly aroused until you satisfy your sexual appetite. Each time you orgasm, it only further reinforces how exciting being dumb makes you and discourages you from trying to learn anything other than sex and pleasuring men. Do you understand?” Charles might not have fully comprehended, but the tenting in his pants indicated enough must have gotten through for it to have worked.
“I’m closing the safe for the last time. As the safe shuts, you’ll notice that not only has the door closed, but the handle has separated from the rest of the safe and has vanished. The combination dial has fallen off as well. The door to the safe is completely smooth with no mechanism to open. Look closer, and you’ll see the separation between the door and the rest of the safe is fusing together. The crack is becoming thinner. You have to get closer and closer to see that it’s even there, but even right next to it, you can see that it’s gone. The safe is completely smooth on every side. There is no door, there is no lock. No one, not even me, can open this safe now. Everything that’s inside of that safe is sealed away forever.” A tight breath exhausted through Charles’s nose, the last bit of resistance he could muster.
Thomas stood up and stretched his back. “Alright, time to finish you off.” Thomas rotated around to stretch his spine when he noticed Ashton still standing on the opposite side of the room. A layer of sweat coated his forehead and he was seething with anger.
“I totally forgot you were standing there,” Thomas said, still stretching, “You can talk if you want.”
“What the actual fuck!” were the first words out of his mouth.
“You’re in a bit of a mood.”
“How could you do that to him?”
“You heard him,” Thomas said. “If I let him go, he’d have taken you and blown the whistle on this whole thing.”
“Then make him forget and leave. Why did you have to do all that other stuff?”
“It may seem cruel, mostly because it is, but my method only works by fully breaking down the participant. If I didn’t ingrain that conditioning as deeply as I did, it’d have worn off in a matter of hours and we’d be right back here.”
“So you had to rob him off all of his knowledge?” Ashton asked.
“Just the psych stuff, so he wouldn’t get any ideas about fixing himself or you.”
“His ability to read?”
“I can’t have him relearning what he’s forgotten,” Thomas explained.
“If he managed to open that safe, all of this is for naught. In retrospect, that’s probably not an issue now that I removed the door… I’ll admit I was playing it by ear towards the end.”
“Then why did you make him constantly horny?” Ashton asked.
Thomas looked at the still unconscious Charles then back at Ashton. “He’s really hot.”
“You’re sick, man.”
“Well, it’s too late now anyway, so you might as well enjoy it.”
“Enjoy it?” Ashton asked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Thomas crouched down next to Charles. “When I snap my fingers, you will wake from this trance, completely leaving this hypnotic state.” After a brief dramatic pause, Thomas snapped his fingers. Charles sprung to life, blinking his bleary eyes.
“Wow, how long was I out for?” Charles asked.
“Not long,” Thomas said.
“That was intense. I barely remember— whoa.”
“Something wrong?” Thomas asked, giving a knowing glance to Ashton.
“Uh, no, I just— fu-uck. Did you do anything while I was out? I… I…” Charles’ eyes widened as he came to multiple realizations at once. “No, this isn’t right. Why can’t I think of… anything?” He looked up at Thomas fearfully.
“I made a few changes. You like?”
“No,” Charles said, his hand brushing against his sensitive groin. “Change me back. God, why am I so horny?” Charles stuck his hand down his pants. His breathing sped up.
“Well, if I told you then it would ruin the magic. You better get used to jerking off in front of me cause you’re gonna be doing it a lot from now on.”
“No. No way,” Charles shook his head, but even saying that he undid the fly on his pants and fished his cock out from his underwear. He braced his hands against the seat of the chair to keep him from touching himself. “I can’t let you do this to me.”
“Charlie, what’s done is done,” Thomas said. Charles’s face went red as his entire being fought the urges building up inside of him. Thomas rolled his eyes. “Ashton, come over here and take care of Charlie. Do whatever you have to to make him cum.”
“Fuck off,” Ashton shouted as his legs carried him in front of Charles, panting and squirming in the chair. Ashton wasted no time dropping to his knees and sucking down the length of Charles twitching cock. Charles tried to fight, but the head Ashton was giving him was too pleasurable to resist. His hand grabbed the back of his head to control the rhythm Ashton bobbed on his dick.
It didn’t take long before he shot his load down Ashton’s throat, who automatically swallowed it up before removing himself from Charles’s cock.
“Good job,” Thomas said. “Ashton, go clean yourself up. Don’t dawdle. Make sure you bring a bottle of lube when you return. And a sandwich, I’m starved.”
Ashton mumbled obscenities under his breath as he rushed out of the room. Charles was still reeling from his climax.
“How did that feel?” Thomas asked. “Be honest.”
Charles betrayed himself and answered, “Good. That was the best orgasm I’ve ever had.”
“And it’ll only get better. The dumber you feel, the hornier you’ll be. Never forget that.”
“I won’t let you get away with this. I’ll figure out a way to stop you.”
“Is that so?” Thomas asked. “Tell me, how will you do that?”
“I don’t kn— FUCK!” Charles said, squirming again in his seat as his tired cock came back to life. “Again?”
“Get used to it. You might actually enjoy it if you embrace it.”
Ashton rushed back into the room with a plate and a clear plastic bottle. He set the both down before collapsing into a near by chair.
“That was fast,” Thomas said.
“You told me I couldn’t dawdle,” Ashton responded between breaths.
“What is this,” Thomas asked, thumbing over the sandwich, “Just cheese on bread? It’s not even toasted.”
“Next time ask for a good sandwich.”
Thomas smiled. “You see, Charles, if I had broken down his spirit I wouldn’t get to enjoy that biting wit. I think you’ve earned a reward. You both have. Charles,” he said toward the former professor slumped in his seat, “from now on, anytime you feel horny, assuming he’s not busy with me, you are to use Ashton to satisfy your needs in whatever way will give you the most satisfaction.”
“Oh fuck off,” Ashton said.
“Aaaashton,” Thomas said, swinging his head around, “from now on, any time you assist another man in achieving an orgasm, you will experience your own orgasm ten times as powerful as you’ve ever had up to this point.”
“Hey, you guys earned it. I may be demanding, but I can also be generous. I’d hate for either of you think that I was being, oh I don’t know, unethical.” Thomas shot Charles a coy smile, who stared daggers back at him. “Let’s try it out, shall we? Charlie, could you name the psychological phenomenon for when one begins identifying with one’s captor?”
“I don’t know, mmph,” he responded, blood rushing to his dick.
“I see. Could you give us a brief run down of the characteristics of operant conditioning?”
“No, oh god.” Charles’s squeezed his legs together as all of his attention drew into his groin.
“What’s twenty-three times three?”
“Fuck me!” Charles shouted as he sprang up from his seat. He pulled off his pants and practically ripped off his shirt. “Bend me over the table and fuck me hard,” he ordered Ashton, who surprised himself by complying. Charles squirted a dollop of lube onto his finger and coated the inside of his ass. Ashton applied the same lube to his cock. Ashton’s body was on autopilot and his pressed Charles’s back onto the table while lining up his cock with the professor’s hole.
“Call me a slut. Ask me how badly I want your huge cock,” Charles ordered as Ashton pounded mercilessly into his ass.
Ashton complied, “Yeah, you like that, slut? How’s it feel having my big dick up your ass?”
“Fuck, fuck me harder. Fuck my tight ass with your huge cock,” Charles pleaded.
“Wow,” Thomas comment with a mouth full of bread and cheese, “didn’t take you for the submissive-type, but good to know.” Charles ignored him as he pressed back into Ashton. His cock was still depleted from cumming minutes earlier, but he could feel it bouncing between his legs as his whole body shifted back and forth from Ashton’s thrusting.
Charles pulled out so Ashton could fuck him on his back. “Fuck, don’t stop. Make me feel worthless like the faggot I am.”
“Jesus,” Thomas said, nearly choking on his sandwich.
“I’m gonna cum in your tight faggot ass. It’s all you’re good for, isn’t it?” Ashton asked with a lack of enthusiasm, only saying the words as instructed.
“Yeah, fuck my ass. I’m a worthless piece of shit. I need your cum inside me,” Charles said, his boundless enthusiasm visible to Thomas as he turned his head to the side. Ashton looked over to Thomas as well but immediately turned his head the opposite way, his body robotically pounding Thomas.
“I’m gonna, I’m gonna, fu-u-u—“ Charles couldn’t finish the words when he came again. His fingers dug into the edge of the table as the college student’s pelvis pressed deeply into his ass cheeks. Streams of cum coated his stomach. His orgasm felt good, but was nothing compared to what Ashton was feeling. Ashton arched his back as the feeling took over his entire body. His fingers dug into Charles’s hips as shot after shot of cum filled Charles as an impossibly long orgasm overtook him. He couldn’t move or speak while it was happening, but when it subsided, he was still left speechless, soaking in the euphoria. Both men shivered on top of the table, unable to move without Thomas’s direction.
“Great job guys,” Thomas congratulated with a big mouthful. “This is gonna be fun. Ashton, could you make me another sandwich? Make it a good one this time.”