The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

The Coffee Shop III: The Good, The Bad, And The Hypnotized

Disclaimer. The following story, is a work of fiction. The characters portrayed within are a work of fiction as well, and any resemblance to any person, living or dead is a coincidence and unintentional.

Copyright © 1999. This story is the property of the author, Canadian Cowboy. Any duplication, in whole or in part, is forbidden without the express written consent of the author, Canadian Cowboy.

Chapter 5. A Call For Help.

Hospitals. How I hate hospitals. Oh, sure the occasional male doctor or intern might be cute, but I don’t like the look or the smell of hospitals. They make me uncomfortable, to say the least. If it were not for the call from Officer Ken Potter, a current hypnosis subject of mine, I would not be here. I didn’t WANT to be here, but sometimes you have to do unpleasant things. I was really uncomfortable because Ken refused to tell me any details about what he wanted to see me about. The only positive thing was that the mystery of why Ken wanted to see me took my mind off more troubling thoughts of the past few days.

I took the elevator up to the 7th floor and headed for the intensive care waiting area, all the while looking for Ken Potter. I noticed a feeling of dread and discomfort scurrying around the edges of my mind. It was not pain per say, more like a warning of some kind. As the elevator moved up I noticed the feeling move from the top of my head and down to about eye level and off to my left. It was such an eerily feeling, almost like something was crawling over my skin. I wasn’t able to find Ken Potter, so I went up to the nurses station hoping to get some help in locating Ken. I knew Ken was not a patient here, but for some reason he wanted to meet me here. The nurse on duty was busy talking on the phone to someone, so while I waited for her to finish, I looked around. Curious I turned my head to the left to line up my eyes with the creepy feeling on my forehead. To this day I have no idea why I did that, only that it felt like the right thing to do.

Suddenly the blood drained from my face and my knees almost buckled. Mrs. Stokes! Sitting there with her husband, daughters and other son, was Steven’s mother! Suddenly I knew what Ken’s call was about, and I nearly fainted. At the same time, I noticed the creepy feeling fade away from my mind. Steven Stokes another of my former hypnosis subjects was here, somewhere. From the anguish on Mrs. Stokes’ face, Steven had been seriously injured. It was too much to take in all at once. I staggered away from the nurses station and tried to make it to a nearby chair. Before I had taken more than a step or two I felt a strong arm on mine helping me. I looked up into the face of Jason Stokes, Steven’s older brother. I muttered a ‘thank you’ as he helped me to a chair. Once I was seated and told him I was okay, he turned and walked back to his family. I had met Steven’s family a few times, at some police picnics and other events. I was always introduced as an old friend, and no one really paid me much mind. Still the shock of seeing them all here was overwhelming. I could not think straight, other than to silently wish that Ken had warned me about this. Speaking of which, where was he anyway? I didn’t see him anywhere. Before I could ponder that for more than a few minutes, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up to see Jason Stokes looking down at me.

“You’re Paul Walton, aren’t you?” He asked.

“Yes, I am. It has been a while since I’ve talked with any of your family. I sorry that we had to meet again under circumstances like this, though,” I told him softly. (I was surprised that I was even able to speak much less speak coherently.)

“Yes, I know,” he replied quietly. “You know about Steve then?”

“, actually,” I replied. “Someone else asked me to come here, and I didn’t know anything about Steve getting hurt. This has been somewhat of a surprise. I’m not even sure why I was asked to come here. I don’t know that I can do anything.”

“Strange,” Jason replied thoughtfully. “Who asked you to come here, then?”

“Officer Ken Potter phoned me and asked me to meet him here,” I replied dully. “He said he needed my help. I still not sure why, though.”

“Yes, it does seem strange to me too,” Jason agreed as he turned his head about at the sound of someone walking. “I think you’re about to find out why in a moment. Here comes Ken.”

Ken Potter, as I said before, is one of my current hypnosis subjects. He’s a very good looking man, a real hunk, but that is not important right now. The look on his face, sadness and pain, seemed to lighten a bit as he saw me and walked over to talk with me.

“Paul, please come with me into a private room and I’ll explain everything, okay?” he nearly pleaded with me, as he murmured softly to me. I wanted answers, badly, so I nodded my head and followed him silently into a private room a few doors down the hall. It was a small meeting room of some kind with a table and a few chairs. I sat down and waited while Ken paced nervously about the room trying to figure out what to say to me.

“Okay, well, it’s like this,’ he began awkwardly. “Steven’s been shot several times. He is out of danger and will recover. In the meantime, though, he is in a lot of pain. But the doctors can’t give him anything stronger than aspirin for it because he is allergic to every strong pain medication that they have available. Steve’s been like this for several days and although his condition is listed as stable, he’s in agony. I thought about what you did with me over the past few years and remembered that Steve was once a subject of yours.” He paused.

“And?” I queried him. “Go on.”

“Well, after talking with Steve, I came up with the idea that maybe hypnosis could help him with the pain. I know it’s probably a long shot, but Steve’s willing to try nearly anything. Will you do it?”

It was an easy choice. “Yes,” I replied immediately. " Of course I’ll do it, but I can’t make any promises. And Steve and I have to be alone when I try the hypnosis on him. It has been a while, and I don’t want his family there distracting him.” (“It won’t be a problem at all with my stronger powers,” I thought to myself. “It looks like some good has come from that fight with Lyle.")

“Okay, I’ll try to arrange that, but his mother might not like it. Please wait here,” Ken said as he got up and turned to go.

“Ken, stop.” I said to him quietly. “I should be doing this. It might be your and Steve’s idea, but I should be the one to tell his family. I won’t lie to them or hide in here while you tell them.” I took a long slow deep breath and then followed Ken out into the waiting area to talk with Steve’s family. This was not going to be easy, or pleasant.

There they were, still gathered there almost like statues. Mr. Stokes’ hand was clasped in his wife’s and you could almost see the love and compassion pouring out of him towards her. An air of helplessness hung over the entire group. Mrs. Stokes eyes were puffy and red from recent crying, but she was calm and quiet as she waited with her family.

I could see where Steve got his good looks and his build from. From Steve’s age I would have guessed that Mr. Stokes was in his early fifties, but he certainly did not look it. He was build like a bull, hard muscular and lean, and he was a large man, at least six feet six inches tall. His face was lined with wrinkles around the eyes but they only seemed to add character and strength to a face that was stern and foreboding. Yet, within I sensed a warm and deep caring love. A man not afraid to show his emotions, but who did keep control of them. His brown hair was still thickly covering his head, with more than a few threads of silver in it, and it was short cropped, as one might expect. His eyes were clear steel gray, filled with sadness and helplessness. A very handsome man, in every sense of the word, but this was not the time to be thinking about that.

Steve’s mother was magnificent, even in this hour of anguish and pain. She was beautiful with the beauty that comes from maturity and love. Her chestnut brown hair was shoulder length yet neatly brushed even now. Her age I would guess to be close to her husband’s but her body would have made a 35 year old woman jealous. She wasn’t fat or chunky or even plump, not even after having given birth to four children. She had a grace and presence that reminded me of Queen Elizabeth II of England. She was firm and in control of herself, even now. Her dark green eyes reminded me of Steven’s, although hers were full of worry and concern. No mother ever stops worrying about her child.

One of her daughters, sitting next to Mrs. Stokes was holding her gently and muttering something soothing. The other daughter sat next to Steven’s father and held his hand, resting her head on his shoulder. Both of these ladies took after their mother in beauty and grace, even though they did not move about much. It took me a few moments to recall that the older sister, sitting next to Steve’s mother was Brenda, and the other sister sitting next to Steve’s father was Jill.

Jason, a somewhat older version of Steven but not as muscular, stood behind his parents with one of his hands on each of their shoulders. He said nothing, but stood there with his head bowed. I was loathed to interrupt the scene with what would sound like poppycock and wishful thinking to Steve’s family.

I looked around hesitantly, trying to avoid talking to them. A few paces away I saw Jack Jones leaning against the wall, lost in his own world of anguish and torment. It had been a while since I’d seen Jack, but he was still as good looking as ever. His hair was a sun bleached blond, neatly combed and clean. He had a strong and firm face, but not rugged. His nose was in perfect proportion to the rest of his face. His lips were pressed firmly together, in a set expression of concern and worry, hiding what I knew to be dazzling white teeth. The small and neatly trimmed, mustache between his lips and his nose was almost invisible since it was same color as his hair. His ears were unremarkable, but then again I’ve never really noticed ears. Who has? His eyes, though, they were the color of an afternoon spring sky. A beautiful piercing and penetrating blue, very beautiful but overflowing with worry and concern. He was about five feet ten inches in height, maybe 170 pounds with a slim build, a swimmer’s build.

I wanted to walk over to him and comfort him, but I couldn’t. We were in public and both Steve and Jack were in the closet. Just like me. Neither man’s family had any idea that these men were homosexual, nor even that they had been partners for the last few years. Partners...that makes it sound like they were both on the police force. Jack is a fireman. Ken Potter and Steven Stokes had been partnered on the police force a few years back, though which is how Ken came to know about me. Jack Jones and Steven Stokes were lovers, in every sense of the word. It must have been hard for Jack to hold back the tears. Here, all he could be was one of Steve’s best buddies. Jack could not turn to anyone for comfort, at least not here. I made a mental note to phone him and ask him if he needed my shoulder to cry on. My admiration for Jack Jones increased a great deal as I looked at him for a few more moments. Jack was here for Steven, in the only way that Jack could be. In spite of the personal cost and effort, he was going to be nearby, even if it was only in the role of a concerned buddy. I wondered to myself if I would have been able to play that role if I had been in Jack’s place.

Taking a deep breath, and then letting it out slowly, I made myself relax a moment before I approached Steve’s family. I glanced behind me for a moment and confirmed that Ken Potter was a few steps behind me. He tried to give me a small smile to offer me encouragement, but it failed miserably. A smile in this place and time was as out of place as a three piece business suit would have been at a nudist colony. I cleared my throat, rather noisily, as I approached Steve’s family. His mother raised her head to look up at me.

“Yes?” She asked quietly.

“You probably don’t remember me, Mrs. Stokes,” I began awkwardly. “But I am an old friend of Steven’s. I’ve known him for several years. My name is Paul Walton, and I’m sorry to have to meet you again under circumstances like these.”

“I do remember you, Paul,” she said to me. “It has been awhile, but thank you for coming and I’m sure that Steven will appreciate it when we tell him that you came by.”

She was being very polite in such difficult circumstances, and it was hard for me to continue, but I knew that I had to. “Actually, I’ve been asked by Ken Potter to try and help Steven.” (“Yeah that’s right shift the blame to Ken, you gutless chicken,” I thought to myself.) “I might be able to help Steven deal with the pain that he is experiencing, but I need your permission to try. You are his family, and I need your help.”

“To do what, exactly?” Jason interrupted. “As I recall you’re not a doctor or anything like that. What good can you do?” The tone of his voice told me that Jason was already against any help that I could offer, or at least very suspicious of it.

“Very true,” I acknowledged. “But I have helped Steven before, and I think I can help him again. I won’t make you any promises of success, but I am willing to try.”

“What exactly do you intend to do?” Jason demanded before anyone else could speak. “Stop beating about the bush and just say what you mean.” He glared at me.

“I would like to hypnotize Steven, to help him reduce his perception of pain,” I said slowly. “It will not eliminate the pain, but he should be better able to deal with it. And then...”

“Bullshit!” Jason roared at me, and rushed around the chairs occupied by his family to stand next to me. He shoved his face in front of mine as he continued. “My BROTHER is lying in there suffering God knows what torment and you want to mess with his mind? Are you nuts? How can you have the GALL to even suggest that idea to us?!!!”

I wasn’t sure, but I thought I could see steam coming out of Jason’s nostrils as he stood there with his face inches from mine. I should have been scared shitless, but I felt an inner calm descend on me. I don’t know where it came from exactly, or why, but I did not feel threatened by Jason nor anyone else. Everything just felt right as I thought about the help I could and would give Steven. Jason did not feel like a threat to me. I felt that creepy feeling, that warning again, but it lasted only a second or two before it faded away.

“The ideas was Steven’s not Paul’s,” said Ken Potter as he put his arm on Jason’s shoulder to calm Jason down. “Steven asked me to contact Paul and ask him to do this. Paul insisted that we talk to you all before hand so that you would know what we were going to try to do. As well, Paul said he would need some time alone with Steven, without any family present, to try this.”

“I don’t care what Steven said,” Jason began. “He’s not in his right mind to listen to this quackery. Both of you get out of here before I have the hospital staff remove you. If they won’t do it, I WILL!” The last two words were delivered in a voice so cold that a arctic blizzard would have seemed like a warm and sunny spring day by comparison.

“Hush, Jason,” said Mrs. Stokes as she stood up and let go of her husband’s hand. Her husband looked at her with confusion and concern on his face. She smiled a weak smile back at him as she said to him, “Simon, don’t worry dear. If this is something that Steven wants to try, then we have to let him. You know that as well as I do.”

Then this woman turned to look me square in the eye, and suddenly I felt naked and exposed, as if she was reading my mind, even though I knew that she wasn’t. “Do all mothers have this natural ability to make you feel like a little boy?” I wondered silently to myself.

“We’ll try this, Paul,” she said to me. “I don’t see how it can do any harm and it might do some good, but you won’t be alone in that room with Steven. I’m going to be with you and so is Jack Jones.”

Jason looked at his mother and started to open his mouth but she reached up with her hand, and put her fingers on his lips. “Son,” she said quietly. “Let Paul try. For the sake of your brother, and because you love him, let Paul try. The doctors cannot offer us anything more.” Jason looked at his mother for a few moments, and then nodded silently. There were tears in his eyes and I could see that his throat was too tight to speak. He looked at me, still not trusting me, but at the same time hoping against reason and logic that I could help Steven.

“Jack,” Mrs. Stokes called out to Jack Jones as he leaned against the wall. “Come with me dear, to visit Steven.”

“I’m not family, Mrs. Stokes,” Jack said as he walked up to her. “Are you sure you want me there?”

“Yes, dear,” she said simply as she smiled at him. “You need to be there, for this.”

“Ken, please guard the door and don’t let anyone in. Not family nor even the doctors or nurses until we are done. Can you do that for me, please?”

Ken, looked down at this small and frail seeming woman. Mrs. Stokes looked back up at him with all the calm and serenity of some unnamed saint. Her inner strength and iron will came to the surface and for a moment I thought of the iceberg that had caused the Titanic to sink. She was like that, unyielding, irresistible, a force of nature that was not to be trifled with. Ken blinked his eyes and silently nodded his head. Mrs. Stokes smiled at Ken, and kissed his cheek briefly in silent thanks. Ken couldn’t speak either. He walked over to the door to Steven’s room and stood beside it, looking like one of the guards at Buckingham Palace. From the grime and set expression on his face, I don’t think a platoon of Marines could have made their way past that door. I followed Mrs. Stokes and Jack into Steven’s room. Ken closed the door behind us.

I knew that Steven had been hurt, but I was not prepared for what I saw. I felt as if I’d been punched deep in the gut by some unseen assailant, and had the wind knocked out of me. I could barely breath as I stood there dumfounded. It wasn’t the hospital bed nor the maze of tubes and wires that shocked me. It was the open agony on Steven’s face as he lay there. Tears streamed out of his eyes as he cried, and whimpered. I almost started crying myself as I felt my heart break at the sight of him. I never knew that the sight of a loved one in pain could affect you so deeply. I’d never stopped loving Steven. Not as a lover, since we had never been that, but as the close and intimate friend that he had once been to me, and still was. But why was it only NOW that I acknowledged that to myself?

I couldn’t move for a minute or so, but finally I glanced over at Jack and saw the horror and pain on his face. If I was shocked and upset by this, it must have been tearing him apart inside. I knew how much Jack and Steven loved each other, and I was amazed that Jack managed to hold himself back. I had expected Jack to rush to Steven’s side and start comforting him. I do not know how Jack managed to control himself, but I know it was a near thing. I saw Jack take a short step towards the bed before he stopped himself.

Mrs. Stokes paused a moment before she started walking towards Steven’s bed. I thought that rather odd, but I was too upset to really pay it much mind.

“Ma, it hurts so much,” Steven cried out, in a voice overflowing with pain, as he saw his mother walking over to him. “Please Ma, help me. Please, Ma, make it stop. Please, make it go awayyyyyyyyyy!” He wailed. I could barely see my eyes were so full of tears. I blinked frequently in a futile attempt to clear my vision as I watched Mrs. Stokes arrive at her son’s bed, and reach out and stroke his hair, as she tried to comfort him.

“I’m here son,” she said in smooth soothing tones. “I know you hurt. I know.” Tears rolled silently down her face as Mrs. Stokes cried for her son. I can only dimly imagine the pain, frustration and agony that tortured her soul as she watched her son suffer, while she stood by helplessly. I could not for the life of me understand why she had insisted on coming into to this room with us. It is one thing to say that a parent suffers all the torments of hell itself when they see their child in pain, and can do nothing to help that child. Seeing it for myself, was almost too much. I almost bolted from the room. It was a tidal wave of emotions that poured over me as I watched Mrs. Stokes with her son. Somehow, from somewhere deep inside of me, I found the strength to rise up above that wave. I stayed in the room. And I waited. I didn’t know if I could stand much more, I only knew that I had to, for Steven’s sake. After a few more moments Mrs. Stokes spoke again. “Steven, maybe all of us here can help you. You know these men don’t you?” She asked as she drew his attention to us.

“Yes, I do.” Steven said as he stopped sobbing long enough to speak in tortured gasps. “Thanks for coming, Jack and you too Paul. I don’t see how they can help, Ma.”

“Steven, listen to me dear, and don’t interrupt,” his mother said, as she shushed him. She took a deep breath and composed herself. “Steven, I know, and I don’t care. No one told me. I saw it on Jack’s face and also on Paul’s, just now when they first looked at you. I’ve seen that look a thousand times on the faces of family members of the patients I had to take care of, back when I was working on the wards. No one else in our family is going to come in here so your secret is safe. Steven, I’ve suspected for a long time, but now I know for sure. I thought that if you wanted me to know, you’d tell me. All that matters is that I love you, son, and so do both of these two men. Let them help you.”

“ know? Know what?” Steve said with difficulty. Even now he was not going to say it. He was not going to openly admit it to his mother. I understood how he felt, and why he was so reluctant to admit that he was gay to his mother. It is a huge step to come out to one’s parents. No matter how well you think you might know them, there is always the fear in the pit of your stomach, that lies there like a ball of ice. The fear that they will not understand. The possibility of being rejected by your parents, for what and who you are, is something that every gay man (and every lesbian woman) has to deal with at one time or another, but it is never easy. I wondered when I’d have the courage to tell my parents. I wrenched my attention back to Mrs. Stokes as she started speaking again.

“Why that you are gay, dear,” his mother said as she kissed his forehead and patted his hand. “One of these men is your ‘partner’ I think is the term. I’m not sure which, but I think it is Jack. As for Paul, I think he’s a very special friend of yours and has offered you comfort in the past. It doesn’t matter, son. I love you, and right now, you need more than a mother’s love. You need your partner’s love, and to feel the touch of his hand.”

The room was silent. No one said a word. I was shocked with amazement. I looked at Jack, and saw his mouth had dropped open. He was as dumbfounded as I was.

“It’’s not like that, Mrs. Stokes, really,” Jack said in a weak voice, after a few seconds. “I’m just a good buddy of Steve’s.”

Mrs. Stokes looked at Jack calmly and walked over to him. She sighed softly, and shook her head sadly. Jack remained frozen in place like a statue. He had no idea what to do, and looked over at me helplessly. I shrugged my shoulders at him as if to say, “Don’t look at me, I didn’t tell her. I have no idea what to do.” And I didn’t.

She reached over and grabbed Jack’s right hand and dragged him to the side of Steven’s bed. Jack did not protest or try to resist. I’m sure he was still in shock. She let go of Jack’s hand and left him standing there. When Jack failed to do anything, she took hold of his right hand again, and placed it firmly on Steven’s left hand. Jack snatched his hand away as if it had been burned, and looked at Steven with confusion and fear. Steven’s face mirrored Jack’s, but neither of them said anything.

Mrs. Stokes, angrily muttered ““Men!” She firmly placed Jack’s hand back on top of Steven’s. Holding Jack’s hand firmly on top of Steven’s, she reached up with her other hand and turned Jack’s head so that he was looking directly at her face. “Just tell Steven that you love him, Jack. That’s what he needs to hear right now, and he needs to feel your touch too. You both have my blessing, dear.”

That did it. The dam burst and both Steven and Jack broke out in tears of pain and relief. Somehow Jack’s arms found a path past the maze of wires and tubes, and managed to hold Steven close as Jack bent over Steven’s head and kissed him on the forehead. It was the best Jack could do since an oxygen tube snaked around and into Steven’s nose. I stayed where I was and waited. Jack and Steven talked very softly, as they tried to comfort each other. I felt an elbow jab me in the ribs, and looked down to see Mrs. Stokes standing beside me. She motioned her head towards Steven’s bed. Now was the time. I moved next to Steven, squeezing in beside Jack, and reached out my hand to touch his forehead. “Write me up a ticket for hypnotizing a cop, Steve” I muttered to him. He looked at me, puzzled for a moment, and then his eyelids fluttered closed, and his entire body when limp.

For the second time that day I nearly fainted as I felt the pain in Steven’s mind flood into mine as my fingers remained in contact with his forehead. If it had not been for Jack standing next to me, I would have collapsed on the floor. It took a second or two for me to adjust to the intensity of the feelings pouring out of Steven’s mind, and for me to block them effectively. Once I had accomplished that, which took much less effort than ever before, I was able to focus on the task at hand.

“Deeper Steve, with each and every breath. Just going a bit deeper. How are you feeling now?” I ask him.

“A bit better,” he answered quickly. “But I still hurt. It hurts so much.”

“I know, Steve, I know,” I said to him. “Now in your mind I would like you to imagine, to picture that the nerves in your body are like a riverbed, in a very deep ravine. When you have that image, let me know.”

“Yes, Paul,” he said. “I see it.”

“When your nerves send pain signals from your body to your mind, it is like a fast moving river of water traveling down that river bed. The more intense the pain, the more water flows in the riverbed. As I am saying these words to you now, you can see a big strong dam, as big and strong as Hoover Dam, being constructed in that ravine. A dam that cannot break or leak, Can you see it?” I asked him.

“Yes, Paul,” he said quietly. “I see the dam.”

“The dam is complete now, Steve,” I told him. “The dam holds back about 90% of the water, and the remaining 10% flows through the dam by way of the floodgates. The water the dam is holding back is the pain, and as the water fills up behind the dam, you can feel the pain in your body start to fade away. Slowly, fading until it is a dull throb, and nothing more. Let me know when you feel this happen, Steven.”

Even before he spoke I knew the suggestions had taken root in his mind. Steven’s face became peaceful, and his body relaxed even more as I looked at him. “I can feel it,” he whispered. “The pain.....almost all of it is gone. Only a dull ache...a gentle throbbing left.....” Steven sighed once or twice as he lay there content, and at peace for the first time since I’d seen him.

“Steven,” I said to him quickly. “The dam you and I have built is a nerve block. It will stay there for five days, and during that entire time your body will feel just a bit numb, similar to when you feel a foot or leg or arm ‘falls asleep’. You know that the pain is there, but you can feel only 10 percent of it in your body. As your body heals, the pain will get less and so there will be less water behind the dam, but always only 10 percent of the water, of the pain, makes it past the dam. That is all the pain that you will be able to feel in your body, until I remove the dam in five days time. All the other sensations of your body, pressure, heat, cold and touch, you will be able to feel normally. Only the sensation of pain will be affected by this nerve block..”

“When you understand all this, Steven, open your eyes and look at me, and tell me how you feel.”

Steven’s eyes blinked open a few seconds later and he looked up at me. “I feel a lot better,” he said quietly. “Most of the pain is gone. The rest of it is still there, and I know it, but I can’t feel it anymore.”

“Good, Steve,” I said to him, and had him close his eyes again. I had no doubts that with my improved powers I would be able to alter Steve’s perception of pain, and I did so while my fingers were touching his forehead. I cared too much for Steven to rely on just ordinary hypnotic suggestions to help him. I counted him out a few minutes later.

Steven’s eyes blinked a few times after he opened them, and then he looked at me, at Jack and then at his mother. But he didn’t say anything.

“How do you feel son?” His mother asked worriedly.

“A lot better, Ma,” he replied cautiously. “I still hurt, but most of the pain is gone. Are you sure you are okay with ‘it’?” Steven spoke easily and without any ragged gasps for breath. He no longer sounded like a man being tortured, but rather like any other patient trying to deal with post operative pain.

Before his mother could say a word, though a nurse and doctor barged their way into the room despite Ken Potter’s attempts to prevent them. Ken looked crestfallen and started to open his mouth to apologize to Mrs. Stokes, but she silently waved him silent, and smiled at him to show him that it was okay. Dejectedly, Ken turned and left the room to resume his post outside.

“What’s going on here?” the doctor thundered, of everyone in the room.

“I told you Doctor, his vital signs suddenly dropped down to near normal levels,” the nurse said as she continued a conversation that had obviously been started outside. “We did not give him any other medication. His chart says that he is allergic to all the pain medicines that we have in stock.”

“Did one of you give him something?” The doctor glared at us each in turned as he asked the question.

“Doctor Simpson, my son and his friends were discussing some rather delicate private family matters when you came in here,” said Mrs. Stokes. The doctor whirled around to look at her as she continued. “If you would be good enough to leave and let us finish up, in say the next ten or fifteen minutes, I’m sure Mr. Walton here would be good enough to stop by your office and fill you in on the details.” She beamed at the doctor warmly with a look that could have melted ice cream fresh from the freezer. He looked at her for a moment, and the stormed out of the room muttering darkly, with the nurse in tow. I hid my face behind my hand as I suppressed a snicker.

I looked at this amazing woman and didn’t say a word. I turned back to look at Steven and Jack and they had the same dumb expression that must have been on my face only moments ago.

“You’ve only got about ten minutes, dears,” Steven’s mother said to us. “Don’t waste time now. And ‘it’ is fine with me, son. I love you.” She elbowed her way between Jack and I to stand next to Steven’s bed, and then leaned over and kissed him gently on the forehead. That seemed to unfreeze all of us. Jack leaned over Steven’s bed and placed his hands on each side of Steven’s face as Jack kissed Steven on the forehead. I stepped a few paces away from the bed. I wanted to give these two men as much privacy as I could. I looked at them, as they talked quietly and quickly, trying to say so many important things to each other, in the little time that remained to them.

“Come sit with me, dear,” Mrs. Stokes said to me as she lead me to the foot of the bed. “I want to say ‘thank you’ for what you’ve done for my son. I don’t really care how you managed it. If you say it was hypnosis, that’s fine with me. Your secret is safe with me too, dear. Steven could never trust you as much as he obviously does, if you and he had not been close, maybe intimate, at some time in the past. This means that you are probably gay too, like Jack and Steven. My, this has been a day of surprises.”

“Uhm....thank you, Mrs. Stokes,” I stuttered. I was more surprised by her reaction to all this than anything else. She was accepting it as calmly as if she had just been told that the water was ready for tea. Surely she had to suspect more than that. I was actually starting to get worried that I might have to ‘adjust’ her.

“Paul,” she said to me after looking at my face for a while. “I may not know much about hypnosis, but I do know that some amazing things can be done with it. I’ve seen the TV shows about suppressing pain, and people putting needles through their tongues. It seems to me that you’ve been hypnotizing Steven for a long time, and probably for something like stress relief. I have some ideas as to how difficult a police officers’ life can get. I’m just very thankful to the Lord for having brought you into my son’s life. Your talent with hypnosis has turned out to be a true blessing for my son. Don’t worry about the rest of the family. If they see me accept this minor miracle, so will they. They love Steven too much to really question what when on in here.”

She paused for a moment before continuing. " Doctor Simpson, you will have to deal with yourself, I’m afraid. He won’t get any information from anyone in this room, nor from my family, since I’m not going to tell them anything other than you hypnotized Steven. But somehow you will have to give Doctor Simpson an answer he will accept I fear that you’ll find it difficult to explain this to him. He’s not known for being an understanding man.”

I smiled at this wonderful lady. I looked at her a moment longer, and then bent over and kissed her on the cheek softly. “Thank you for understanding, Mrs. Stokes,” I said to her. “You’re one in a million.”

“Thank you, Paul,” she said quietly. “You’d better go now, though, dear. Time’s nearly up, and Doctor Simpson is not known for being a patient man, either.”

“Not before I get a chance to thank you too, Paul,” said Jack as he reached out and took me in his arms, and hugged me for all he was worth. His eyes were filled with tears of joy, and his voice cracked as he spoke to me. “You dear sweet kind man, thank you for helping us....Steven and I. Please come by and visit with us some night...maybe we can go out and celebrate when Steven is out of the hospital and things have returned to normal. I don’t know how to thank you, but I’ll think of something.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled at Jack and nodded my head.

“Paul,” Steven called out to me when Jack finally let go of me. “I’ll never forget this, or you.” He winced in pain as he moved around in the bed.

“Does it still hurt?” I asked him a bit concerned.

“Only when I laugh,” He replied with a weak grin and a wink. Then he looked at me sternly for a moment. “I mean it. I won’t forget what you’ve done for me this day. If ever you need a favor, you call me. I know that sounds lame, but I really mean it. And don’t be such a stranger to Jack and I. Visit us sometime, and soon too.”

“I will,” I said to him as I looked at him, and unashamedly brushed the last few tears from my eyes. Old thoughts of our times together, Jack, Steven and I, passed through my mind, and I silently promised myself that I would see these two men again. Good friends such as these are rare. Maybe we might not be intimate any more, but we could still have a good time. That’s what friends are for, isn’t it? But why does it take something like this to make us realize it?

I waved goodbye as I headed out the door. I had an appointment to keep with Doctor Simpson. That was one loose end I would have to tie up myself.