The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 13


I was a member of the Cape of Good Hope Rotaract club, a group of people who organized and helped out with various charity events. There were two reasons that I had joined. The first was to make friends, and the second was an attempt to do some good in the world. It seemed like the right thing to do.

My Rotaract club had organised a rather exciting fund raiser; a hypnotist show. I had never been to a hypnotist show and didn’t know much about hypnosis, except of course what I had seen in movies where someone is hypnotised to commit a crime and then the real criminal gets away with it. I was quite sceptical about the idea of someone being able to control me, because it just didn’t seem possible.

Raymond and I entered the large town hall where everyone was seated, waiting for the show to begin. We looked around to find the rest of the club members. It was a little difficult to recognize them in the dim light. After a while we spotted them sitting in the front row and made our way down the aisle to join them. With all the buzzing it was as if everyone had an exciting story which they just had to tell to the person next to them. Raymond and Kevin, a member of the club, and I were also just as excited as everyone else and Kevin told us about the last time he was at a hypnotist show. He said that the hypnotist had asked for volunteers from the audience, so we all agreed to go up on stage if he did so that evening.

After a few minutes, the lights switched off, except for the spotlight on the stage, the ambient music started and everyone became quiet. After another minute of anticipation Andrew, ‘The Amazing’, as he calls himself, marched onto the stage, wearing a black cloak. He glared down at the audience as if he were a sadistic scientist, and we were lab rats waiting to be used in dangerous experiments, and he was deciding which one of us would be next.

‘Good evening’, came the deep, slow and calm voice over the speakers, ‘Welcome,’ he paused for a few seconds, ‘How many of you have seen a hypnotist show before?’ Nearly half of the audience raised their hands. He pointed to a teenage girl and asked her, ‘Who did you see?’

‘Harry, the Hypnotist’, she replied excitedly.

‘Yes, I’ve seen seen him too,’ Andrew said, nodding up and down with a smile, ‘he’s useless.’

‘Are there any other teenagers in the audience?’ He asked, smiling again.

Again, nearly half of the audience raised their hands.

‘You’re quite an eager bunch, aren’t you? I hate children.’

He paused and glared again. ‘I’m criticizing you so that when I call for volunteers only the dumb, and mindless members of the audience will bother to volunteer and then I won’t actually have to hypnotise them to get them to do what I want.’

‘How many of you would like to own a Ferrari?’ He asked, nodding and smiling. More than half of the audience raised their hands. ‘You’re the perfect bunch to be hypnotised. A Ferrari lacks space, the insurance premiums are ridiculous, you’re more likely to have an accident and you’re more likely to get hijacked, but you want the car because it’s pretty and costs a lot of money and goes ‘VROOOOOOOOM’! I can see you’ll do whatever I tell you and believe whatever I say.’

‘I’d like some volunteers to come up here on stage now,’ he announced as the music switched over to an orchestral piece that would be quite at home in an epic movie. My friends and I walked up the stairs on the side of the stage along with about ten others. Although I’m usually a bit shy, I felt comfortable because the audience was almost too dark to see. The epic music changed back to ambient music. Andrew lined us up in a row, facing the audience, then walked to each person, asked them their name and what they did for a living, made an insulting joke about either the way they answered, what they did for a living, or the way they dressed, got a few laughs and went onto the next person. I was last in the row and not looking forward to being insulted as he went down the line.

‘Couldn’t afford to dye your whole head?’ he asked someone in the row.

‘I was born like this,’ she responded.

With a sudden, exciting sense of déjà vu I leaned forward and peered in the direction of the girl he was talking to. The silver streak in her dark brown hair seemed brighter under the stage lighting than what I had remembered from the party many years back.

The hypnotist continued over to Kevin, standing next to me, and asked, ‘What do you do for a living?’

‘I’m a programmer,’ Kevin replied.

‘A nerd? I see, and your name?’ he looked at me.

‘Nathan Bauer,’ I replied.

‘Do you think you’re important because your initials are NB?’ he asked.

‘No,’ I replied.

‘Of course not. What do you do, Mr Important?’

‘I’m a programmer.’

‘I’m also a programmer. I program minds. They’re much easier than computers; I just speak English and they obey whatever I tell them to do.’

He took out a small metal ball attached to a piece of string, then dangled it and let it swing like a pendulum. ‘Watch the ball carefully,’ he said, ‘with every swing your eyes will become more and more tired. Your eyelids will start to become heavy, but you will struggle to keep them open and focused on the ball. The sound of my voice will make you sleepy, and you will find yourself becoming completely relaxed, and you will not be able to stay awake.’

He then tied the string to a stand in front of us and the ball kept on swinging. Starting at the other end of the queue he stood behind each person, told them a few times how sleepy they were becoming, then told them that they would fall asleep on the count of 3. He counted to 3, said ‘Sleep’, and when the person he was talking to fell backwards he caught them and laid them on the ground. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to just do what he said, or if we were supposed to be unable to control our ability to stand up at that point, but by the time he got to the third person in the queue and said ‘sleep’, the fifth person fell over backwards with a bit of a thud. ‘He’ll be okay’, Andrew assured us. Eventually he got to me and since my eyelids were feeling tired from staring at the swinging ball I welcomed the chance to close them and lie down on the ground.

While we lay on the ground on our backs with our eyes closed and our arms at our sides he started to explain to the audience what hypnosis is. I listened quite carefully, trying to figure out exactly what I was supposed to be feeling. Was I supposed to be awake? Was I supposed to try to do what he said, or try to do what I wanted to do? Was I supposed to be thinking this much, or did it not matter? Were the stage lights supposed to be this bright? Would the girl with the silver streak remember me?

Andrew spoke to the audience, explaining that in the state of hypnosis the conscious mind relaxes, so that he can talk directly to the subconscious mind, which believes whatever it hears and obeys whatever it’s told to do. ‘Normally one wouldn’t follow crazy instructions, because one’s conscious mind will decide against them and not let the subconscious follow them, but under hypnosis the mind will do whatever it’s told unless it has a strong objection to doing them.’ He continued to tell the audience that he wouldn’t be able to make us do anything against our morals, although, ‘Some people’s morals are quite flexible.’

After explaining, he walked to each of us and helped us up, and then took us to chairs, where we all sat down in a row, facing the audience. Once we were sitting on the chair he told us ‘Sleep’ again, so we were all sitting on chairs with our eyes closed and heads hanging forwards. He then told us that music would start and when it did we would all wake up and become washing machines.

The music started loudly. It was very vibrant music, and the other nine people started doing some crazy things. Kevin was turning his chair around almost as if it were an office chair with wheels. Raymond was moving his head around in circles, which is what most of the other people were doing. As for me, I just sat there, watching, trying to figure out why it hadn’t worked on me. The music died down and he told everyone to sleep, except for me. He helped me up from my chair and brought me to the front of the stage. ‘How are you feeling?’ he asked me.

‘I’m fine,’ I responded.

‘Why are you holding my hand?’ he asked.

I looked at my hand quickly, and sure enough, I was still holding his hand. I felt embarrassed and confused, and let go of his hand, putting my hand in my pocket.

‘You can go and sit down now,’ he said, and I went back into the audience and sat down where I could enjoy watching my friends being made into fools.

The most amazing part about the show was during the interval. The hypnotist had told my friends that when they were to hear the James Bond theme music being played they would become secret agents whose mission it would be to try and get back onto the stage without being seen. I was chatting to them about what it was like to be hypnotised and then suddenly the James Bond music started playing and they all crouched down behind chairs and sneaked back onto the stage.

At the end of the show, as we were walking towards the car I spotted the girl with the silver streak. I stopped and stared at it, trying to figure out if it was the same streak I had seen at the party. She noticed me staring and her dark eyes looked directly back into mine. ‘You like my hair?’ she asked.

‘No. I mean “yes”. No. I mean.’ I paused and took a breath. ‘Did you go to a party? No. I’m sorry, I’m not crazy. I’m just not very good at talking to girls.’

‘I have been to parties before,’ she replied, her face crinkling up exactly as I had remembered.

‘It is you,’ I confirmed. ‘Charlie’s party. Like, I don’t know, maybe seven years ago. I was wearing orange ear muffs and you asked me to dance.’

She let out a little squeal of delight and quickly placed her hand over her mouth as if it had been a mistake.

‘I do remember. You were copying everyone’s dancing. You were funny!’

‘What’s your name?’ I asked.

‘Kirsty Cooper. Yours?’

‘Nathan Bauer.’

The evening’s events had ignited a spark of excitement in me, not only about Kirsty Cooper, but from that day on I found myself very interested in psychology. I bought a few books and buried myself in them in an attempt to understand everything about the inner workings of the human mind. Imagine how cool it would be to be able to hypnotise people. Perhaps I could hypnotize a pretty girl to be attracted to me, or maybe I could hypnotize myself not to hate chores so much. Perhaps after learning enough about the human mind I could write a computer program to simulate it.


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