The Further Adventures of Louis and Elle
Louis the Hypnotist
Elle woke slowly. Her eyes felt gummed together, and she was sitting up in an armchair, an unfamiliar posture. Slowly she levered one eye open to see a ridiculous sight. Her husband, true love and enthusiastic hypno-sub, Louis, was seated across from her on the couch in her office, rather desperately thumbing through her copy of HYPNOSIS FOR DUMMIES.
With a bit of a start, she realized that Louis actually had, almost in spite of himself, put her briefly into a trance.
That was funny. He’d been so cute when he came to her and asked if he could try a “hypnosis script” on her. Since their marriage a year or so ago, not a day went by without her putting him into a deep trance. Sometimes she did it openly (“Louis, time for your hypnosis! Come here at once!”) and sometimes more subtly (the old “do I have an eyelash in my eye?” routine, for example). Sometimes hypnosis led to spectacular sex, other times simply to instruction on his role (serving her) and hers (allowing him to).
By now she even had a trigger—the phrase “hypno-husband”—to send him down, open and ready to follow her every suggestion without hesitation and without, if she ordered it, even remembering that it was not his own idea. It was a wonderful marriage. The sex was great, because both of them found hypnosis almost unbearably sexy. Elle was a natural alpha, and Louis needed an owner. Their home life was peaceful, happy, and sexy; her hypnosis work with Louis had changed his writing career, opening his mind to the ideas and stories that had made him a best-selling (and well paid) Young Adult author. He had been cute (if dorky) when she married him; he was now, under her instruction, handsome, toned, and confident. He no longer spent his days wondering what to do next; he wrote when she told him to write, and he served her most of the rest of the time, and he told her his life had never been anywhere near as good.
But still, he clearly wondered what it would be like to be her—to be dominant, to hypnotize others and have them yield their wills to his, even if only for a short time. He had asked her about it over and over. He said that he did that because he wanted to understand his character, the teen-age accidental hypnotist Kate Braid (secret identity Hypnoteen). But she knew there was more than that. And so it had hardly been a surprise when he brought her a hypnosis script he had downloaded from the Web and asked whether he could “try it” on her.
Of course, she’d said—not adding the Yoda rule that in hypnosis there was no “try”—there was “do” or “not do,” and that his beginner’s hesitant stammer could hardly overcome her powerful will and knowledge of a hypnotist’s tricks.
So she’d sat in this very comfortable chair, closed her eyes as directed, and listened. It was an odd script; it seemed to come from an old hypno-erotic novel she dimly recalled, in which a sinister hypnotist traps the heroine in a hotel suite, has her undress and wrap in a towel, and then begins to tell her about his idyllic childhood in China. She thinks he is going to torture her but he drones on about lychee nuts and willow trees and soon her eyes begin to close out of sheer boredom and relief.
“Louis, this is cheesy,” she said, without opening her eyes. “You can’t hypnotize me . . a lot of people have tried . . . and tried . . . and tried . . . and tried . . . .”
“You are floating through fluffy clouds as soft as cotton . . . “
“ . . . no one . . . “ But that wasn’t exactly true. Her Uncle Ray—the Amazing Ray, who had moved to town, married her mother, and was now performing at clubs around the area—had first taught her to hypnotize when she was a teenager, and he’d done so by using his voice, the pacing of his words, the vividness of his suggestions, to slowly beckon her down to the dark dim place inside where she could open her mind to his and . . . sleep . . . .sleep . . . slee . . .
An indefinite time passed, leading to her waking in this chair. And she realized what must have happened. Louis had never expected her to go under! When he realized she was out, he’d panicked and dragged out the DUMMIES book to try to figure out what to do. While he dithered, her trance had turned to normal sleep, until she woke.
She regarded Louis fondly. He was as cute as a puppy. She’d spent her life studying hypnosis; he’d read a DUMMIES book. He’d tried; she’d had a nice nap. But now the pretense was over.
“Well, Louis,” she said, “if you ever want some lessons, I’d be glad to help. You’ll have to practice on somebody else, though.”
“Yes,” he said, plainly embarrassed. After a minute, he raised his eyes to hers. “I guess I’m not Mesmer after all.”
“No, you really aren’t.”
She glanced at her watch; she had a few hours before her first client. Bored, she got up and went to her bedroom. Given that this was a slow morning, why was she so formally dressed in a skirt and blouse? She stripped naked in the bedroom, then decided to shave her legs. She’d done it just a few days earlier, but she craved that smooth look and feel of a fresh shave, and it felt good to stroke her legs and rub lotion on them.
Now, what to wear? After a moment’s search, she located a lime-green bikini Louis had insisted on buying for her several Saturdays ago. It was still wrapped in tissue in the box it came in. She pulled the tiny bottom on, then tied it on the two sides, and left the top in the box. The bottom went perfectly with the green pointed-toe sling back 3 ?” heeled pumps he had bought her last weekend.
She sat down at her makeup table and studied her image in the mirror. Her hair was neatly combed, reaching just past her ears. Her makeup was tasteful and unobtrusive—a hint of blush on the cheekbones, some pale-pink lipstick, a faint outline in pencil around her eyes. It was the face she saw most mornings, a face she had worked hard to create. Cool, professional, yet feminine and subtly sexy. She knew she was pretty; if she let her hair down, men (and a number of women) found her beautiful. So during business hours, she wore it pulled back in a tasteful bun.
God, she looked . . . boring. What was the point of being pretty if she never showed it off? Why did she have to look smart and organized just because she had two advanced degrees? When she was a girl she had dreamed of being a glamorous actress like her mother, or a Hollywood sex symbol, or even just one of those vacuous beauties who wear fabulous designer clothes and attend glamorous parties on the arms of rich men. Would that be so bad? What a life those women had! All they needed to do was shop, tan, refuse food, get to yoga lessons, and nod and smile as men babbled on about themselves. She was a therapist—a good listener—and by golly, she was pretty enough to be one of them!
She grabbed a bottle of spray and began to tousle her hair, trying to make it look as if she had just emerged from a swim off the Ligurian coast—or more correctly, as if she were one of those Italian supermodels who pay hairdressers a thousand Euros to make them look as if they had just emerged from the waves off Portofino. She scrubbed off most of her makeup, but used mascara and eye shadow to darken her eyes into deep secret pools, the kind of dark eyes men liked to fall into and (she hoped) drown. That plus the deep-red lipstick she had not used since Juliet’s holiday party completed the European look. An Italian supermodel, maybe named Eleonora—or Giovanna, or Sofia, or Jada, or even with only one name like “Sessa” or “Sedutta.” Why not? Just once, why the hell not?
Pulling a short silk bathrobe around her, she teetered down the stairs. The green heels were not really designed for walking; or maybe she was just out of practice. By the time she got downstairs she felt more confident. In fact, she paced to the back of the house like a model on the runway, stepping so that each foot crossed the one behind it ever so slightly, giving her walk an arrogant strut and emphasizing the legs and the sexy heels.
She came to Louis’s door and swept it open without knocking. He looked up, from his computer, startled at first and then clearly surprised. “Elle?” he said.
She placed one finger in front of her lips, then moved it in front of his. “Hush,” she said. “Louis, have I thanked you for buying me this nice house and all these nice clothes and jewels?”
“Um, uh, I’m—not sure you have in exactly those terms . . .”
She hushed him again with a forefinger. “Let me show you then,” she said. She kissed his neck, draping her half-naked self across him, then slowly, sinuously slid down his body, kissing and unbuttoning as she went. She reached into his jeans and pulled him out—he was hard. She unbuttoned him, settled down on her knees, and took him into her mouth while she moved her right hand slowly up and down his shaft.
“Oh, my God!” she heard him cry.
She stopped for a moment. “Shhhh,” she said again, then took the full length of him into her mouth, flicking her tongue at the head over and over until she felt him throb, then shoot into her mouth, and above her she heard him cry, “Ohhhhh . . . .” and then fall silent.
“My God, Elle,” he said after a long torpid pause. “What were you doing?”
“I’m not sure,” she said. “I just had this feeling—“
“As if you were, you know, mesmerized?” he said.
She sat up with a start, then looked down at herself. Quickly she covered her breasts with her hands. She caught a glimpse of her reflection in Louis’s computer screen. “My God, why do I look like this? What has hap—“
Suddenly she stopped cold. Louis’s face gave the game away. He was trying not to smirk; and it didn’t make her feel better about his reaction to know that she must have looked at him many times with precisely the same expression.
“LOUIS! You really hypnotized me? YOU SON OF A—“
He held up one finger in front of her face and gently said, “Ah, ah, ah, Elle. You don’t mind at all. You’re kind of proud of it.”
And just like that, she was. That was also infuriating in a way, because she knew what he had done. She had given that suggestion many times to subjects after a show or demonstration; knowing they might be embarrassed or conflicted about their uninhibited antics, she told them they felt proud to be selected; their friends who laughed at them were simply jealous. And yet even knowing he had planted it there, she found the suggestion irresistible. She loved Louis a lot, and now she was his subject—his prize subject, his pet, she had pleased him—and it was a good, smug feeling. Below it was another self, tapping her foot in anger, but the battle between the selves wasn’t exactly tearing her apart. She loved the fact that she’d gone under and behaved so wildly, she loved the memory of being a wanton Euro trash model, and she was grateful to Louis in a new way, for allowing her to submit.
“Well, I’d better change before my first client gets here.”
She stumbled away in her too-high heels, and behind her she heard Louis singing, “He’s a hypnotist of ladies.”
That stopped her cold. This might not be the end of this. Admittedly, being an Italian supermodel was sexy; but there was an order of things here. She was the domme; he was the sub. Things ran better when they stayed on that track. She would shut this down, now. She had her trigger—the key words that would put Louis into deep trance and end this nonsense. Indeed, she might make him forget that any of this had happened.
She would remember what happened, though, she though, idly touching a nipple under the bathrobe. It would be a fun memory on a cold night.
Then she plunged back into Louis’s office. He looked up in surprise and started to speak. She placed a finger on his lips. No doubt he thought that Sedutta had decided on an encore performance, so he was silent. This would give her the chance to trigger him.
“William the Conqueror,” she said.
That sounded odd. That wasn’t the trigger—the trigger was—oh, yes! “whose cause was favored by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria, and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found it advisable—”
“Found what advisable?” Louis said.
She ground to a halt, her eyes goggling in surprise. That wasn’t Louis’s trigger, it was—oh, yes!—it was the passage of Victorian history Alice recites in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when the animals are wet after swimming in the pool or tears. “This is the driest thing I know,” Alice says, but it doesn’t dry them off. Why had Elle thought of that?
She needed to trigger Louis before he figured out what was going on, so she said the real magic phrase: “All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws.”
She dimly recalled from college that these were the opening words of Caesar’s Gallic War, which had put many students to sleep but never hypnotized one.
This was an emergency. She took a deep calming breath. Relax, Elle, she told herself in a soothing mental voice. What you need will float to you on its own, and all shall be well.
It did. She had it! Fixing her husband with a hypnotic stare, she intoned, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war . . . .”
Damn it, what had happened to her? She turned to flee in confusion, but Louis called her name. “Elle, sit down for a moment. We just had a lovely time, don’t run off. Your clients aren’t due for two hours. You’ve got plenty of time to get back into being a modern Mesmer.”
With that, the tension passed. She was so fond of him and his trick was a bit naughty but also very funny. After a few minutes, she kissed him and went upstairs to get ready for the day. First she scrubbed off the dark eye makeup and smeared lipstick (trying not to think about what had smeared it). Why did she put this kind of thing on her skin? So unnatural, when really, all she needed was a bit of gentle soap and water! She brushed her hair until it hung straight back, then tied it with a broad scarlet ribbon she found in her drawer. Ah! There it was! She had forgotten this old cotton skirt—flowing, in a subtle orange India print, it reached to her feet. To go with it, she fished out a souvenir of her freshman year in college—a crocheted halter top that fit snugly around her breasts. That one had driven the senior boys crazy when she wore it to play frisbee on the Quad. Even today, so many years later, she had no need of a brassiere. She twirled merrily around the bedroom, letting the skirt bell above her knees, and then put on a well-worn pair of Birkenstock sandals.
She had shaved her legs earlier; why? That was unnatural too. Oh, well, go with the flow. It was just hair. It would grow back. Speaking of which, hers was too short—in college she’d had it down to the middle of her back. It had felt glorious, with nothing more than a nice floral shampoo and a hundred brushstrokes a night. She should regrow.
She looked out the window. The sun was shining and the day was beautiful! Who was that hippie poet boys kept reading to her when they wanted sex? “Thank You God for most this amazing day . . . for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes?” e.e. cummings, she remembered, then giggled wickedly at the pun. She soon would be too, she thought. Why in the world was she inside on a day like this? Why was Louis inside? He was a lovely boy but so . . . mental, so alienated from his body. She owed it to him to show him the other side of life. Besides, he was cute; she wanted him inside her.
A few moments later she was storming Louis’s office. “Have you seen the sunshine?” she said, “Let’s get out in the yard!”
He followed with a great show of reluctance. Uptight, she thought. A typical intellectual. She’d liberate him. In the yard, she twirled for him, holding her arms in the air. The halter felt wonderful on her breasts, hugging and slightly stroking them as she moved, so much different from her Dr. Goody-Good blouses and underwire bras, like walking around in cement. His eyes followed the crocheted top, and she brushed against him and grabbed his hand. “Come over here,” she whispered, drawing him to the far corner of the yard, a small strip of grass between the hot tub and the garage, hidden from the alley by a hedge.
“No one can see us here,” she whispered, loosing the top. “Make love to me, Louis.”
For an intellectual, he was surprisingly ready. He reached under the long skirt and found she wore nothing beneath it. She pulled his head to her breasts. “Kiss them,” she said. Then she climbed on top of him, loosened his pants, and put him inside her. The halter fell away as she gyrated up and down, and he sucked one breast and then the other until she screamed “FAR OUT!” and came with him inside her.
Afterwards they lay together in the grass and looked at the sky. “Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live on a cloud?” she asked, playing with his fingers one by one, stroking and admiring them, then sucking each in turn and licking it. “Or even better—would you like to be a cloud? I’d be a cloud, I’d settle over you and carry you off into the sky with me and we’d just float, we’d live on sunlight. Would you like that?”
“I never really wondered about that,” he admitted. “I did once wonder what it would be like to become someone else just because I was mesmerized.”
She stopped suddenly, with Louis’s left pinky in her mouth. “Aargh,” she said, spitting it out. “Where am I?” She looked down at the scanty top lying next to them. She was bare to the waist. “Louis, there are bugs out here, last time I picnicked I got bitten in a dozen places!”
“We can go inside as far as I’m concerned,” he said, smiling broadly. “Open-air sex was your idea, not mine.”
“You bastard, you utter—“
He held up a finger. “You’re proud of it, you know.”
And so, suddenly again, she was. The glow of being his very special subject, however, was dampened slightly at the sight of her grouchy neighbor, Mr. Polgar, who had come out on his porch just in time to see her rush into the house clutching the crocheted halter top to her chest.
This was an emergency. She had a client coming in less than an hour. It wouldn’t do to greet her dressed as a Euro-slut or a member of the Rainbow Family. She rushed upstairs, locked the bedroom door, and turned on the radio so loud she couldn’t hear anything Louis was shouting to her. Eventually his voice faded and she dressed once again in a plain pencil skirt and silk blouse, with a pair of medium-height cream pumps. She did her makeup—understated but real grown-up makeup—and then rushed down to her private office just as the client rang the bell.
She acted as normal as she could. Some clients (like this one, a young software engineer whose obsessive-compulsive behavior was driving women away in droves) didn’t notice when her mind was elsewhere; but many did, and before one of them showed up, she needed a plan.
She thought of Ray. It was he who had (without doing anything in the present) gotten her into this; he would need to get her out. She trusted him, and he was the most powerful and careful hypnotist she knew. Between clients, she placed a call to him—but his phone went straight to voice mail.
Dinner that night was a somewhat sullen affair. She toyed with her food and started in alarm whenever Louis spoke to her. He knew something was wrong and did not press her; he talked less about his day’s writing than usual; but that, she reflected, was probably because the two hypno-trysts she had acted out had left him less time than usual to write. Throughout the meal, she kept discreetly checking her phone, fobbing Louis off with the excuse that a client in crisis might need to speak to her urgently. But there was nothing.
Then she brightened. “Louis,” she said, “Call me Ishmael.” She halted in confusion, then went on, “Some years ago, never mind how long precisely, having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.”
He looked at her with affectionate curiosity, and almost managed to conceal that annoying smirk.
She wanted to be angry; to throw him out of the house he’d bought for her and put into her name; to make clear that it was not okay for him to treat her like some bubble-headed submissive at an erotic hypnosis convention. But on the other hand, there was that pride. She’d made such a great bimbo, such a fresh and sexy hippie chick! Louis had enjoyed himself! She hadn’t known she could go under so deeply—though now she thought that working with trance all these years had probably opened her up to hypnosis in a way she hadn’t foreseen.
But still, he’d made a fool out of her, Elle, a leading figure in the hypno domme community, the author of Hypnosis for Wives and Hypnosis for Girlfriends and the advice giver in her blog, “Desperate Hypnodommes.” What if word got out that with just a few words some . . . novelist could take away her will and lead her into submissive sexual role-play of his choice, whenever and wherever he chose?
Admittedly, phrased that way, it was kind of sexy, but still . . . . bad for business. She was a domme, not a sub. A hypno-diva, not a hippy.
She didn’t initiate more conversation. She spent most of the dinner leafing through an old copy of an Army publication from the World War Two era that she found on the mantel. Louis said he had found it in some things of his grandfather’s and was going to find out if it was worth money. It had features on “flying fortress” bombers and photos of devoted families waiting on the home front, and a sexy comic strip called “Male Call” that featured a 1940s-style pinup girl come to life to comfort soldiers (chastely) far from home, chiefly by sitting around in scanty clothes and blowing kisses. Finally she threw it aside. Louis cleared and cleaned; so far he hadn’t disturbed that cornerstone of their routine. She and Louis talked briefly about this and that. She really didn’t even listen and answered only in monosyllables.
She had plenty to do after dinner—answer some messages to the blog and review her notes for her “Hypnosis and Marriage” seminar that weekend. (It was an oblique introduction to the ideas of female-led marriage presented in a plain vanilla wrapper; she could spot from the speaker’s platform which wives or girlfriends were dying to know how to humble and enslave the men in their lives.)
For some reason, she’d eaten dinner in her work clothes, and now they felt stiff and sweaty. She would change before heading to her study. What to wear? Sweats were comfy but boring. And after the crocheted top, she had, she realized, been craving the touch of something rich and soft on her skin. Giving thanks that Louis insisted on organizing her dressers, she sorted through the lingerie drawers until she found a delightful floor length red silk robe. A rose-colored camisole and tiny boy shorts went with it and then—why not? why the hell not?—a pair of genuine silk thigh-high stockings he’d bought, over her protests, on their trip to Las Vegas. She slipped her feet into red high-heeled mules—retro-style, complete with feathers at the toes—and ran her hands up and down her sides just to feel the silk.
It had been a hard day; she had a lot to take in. She wasn’t really sure she was up to working on the blog tonight; or to reading journal articles; or to planning her presentation. She sank down on the bed, still caressing herself through the silk outfit. She didn’t really feel tired, but rather kind of . . . dreamy. She found herself remembering her favorite old movies, like “Casablanca” and “The Big Sleep.” Those movies took place in a world better than this one—a world where she could wear red silk and filmy hose every night, where men wore white dinner jackets, lit her cigarettes and told her jokes, and then they danced to the sound of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey and sipped French 75 cocktails. She would have been a legendary beauty back then, she thought, with her fashion sense, her beauty and wit and her . . . eagerness to please . . .
As if on cue, Louis entered the bedroom. At once she gave him a dazzling smile, but she did not move, except to wave a languid arm. “Well,” she said. “You’re not very tall, are you?”
“Well,” he said, “I try to be.”
“What’s your name?”
“Reilly. Doghouse Reilly.”
“Better than Cathouse, I guess. Got a smoke for your new friend?”
“Why yes,” he said, reaching into his pocket and producing an orange cigarette pack. Idly she wondered why Louis was carrying cigarettes. He didn’t smoke at all. Neither did she, really—oh, okay, one or two cigarettes every five or ten years, like tonight, just because it was an occasion.
Maybe he carried cigarettes in case pretty girls needed one. Yes, that made perfect sense. Louis was a romantic like that. And a good looking man. He worked hard, too, writing those books. He was brave, a warrior. She owed him a lot. Maybe it was time to pay him back.
She sat up, still languidly, and he placed the cigarette between her lips, then produced a silver lighter. She puffed it alight while looking up at him through her lashes, then inhaled. It tasted surprisingly smooth. “Thanks, Mr. Reilly,” she said, puffing out a cloud of smoke directly in his face.
“Here’s looking at you, kid,” he replied. He gently took the cigarette from between her fingers, puffed it himself with evident pleasure, then put it into an ashtray that seemed to be beside her bed. He leaned in and planted a juicy kiss on her lips. She could feel her red lipstick smoothly sliding over his lips as they exchanged a powerful kiss, a kiss like Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity. “My night just got a lot more interesting,” she purred as she sank back on the pillow. “Want to join me, or do you have somewhere you need to be?”
Quick as a flash, he was in the bed beside her; they made out for an interminable time like teenagers at a drive-in theater, then she carefully shed her robe and panties. He mounted her hungrily. “Knock yourself out, big boy,” she said, as he straddled and pushed into her, and from the sound of it he almost did knock himself out.
But not quite. In a few moments he turned her over and removed the camisole. He began to kiss her back and worked slowly down from the base of her neck to the base of her spine, brushing her skin very lightly with his slips, pausing every now and then to lick her gingerly as if tasting a precious dessert, and then finally stretching her out on her stomach and entering her from behind. Her lassitude evaporated; she cried out, “Fuck me, Reilly! Fuck me now!” and then surprised herself by coming so loudly that she later wondered whether Mr. Polgar next door had heard her.
She lay back again, now languid again, feeling the air and silk and skin pressed on her body by his. “How was that, big boy?” she said.
“I’ve had worse,” he said.
“You need to work on your snappy patter, Doghouse.” It was a rude thing to say but she knew he didn’t mean it. “Got another smoke for a ruined woman?”
A great sense of peace settled over her and her eyes began to close heavily. She’d done her part for the war effort today.
He took the cigarette from between her fingers. Now the ridiculous boy wanted to talk. She yawned, but then caught the end of the sentence: “—almost as if you’d been mesmerized.”
Oh. My. God.
She jumped out of bed and looked down at herself—she still had the feathered mules on her feet for heaven’s sake! And the silk stockings. She was holding a god-damned cigarette! He’d done it again, transformed her into some kind of pin-up fantasy from an old black and white movie.
“You made me SMOKE?” she shouted.
He shrugged and showed her the pack: “Natural Tobacco-Free Herbal Cigarettes,” the label read. “Actors use them to keep from getting addicted,” he said.
“Well, that was considerate,” she said. “While you were helping yourself to my mind and body you left my lungs alone.”
“Helping myself? Isn’t that what you do every night? Have I ever complained?”
No, he hadn’t, the dear boy. And she had an even clearer grasp of why not now; submission was fun while it lasted. Today she’d been with a man who knew what he wanted her to do and who told her to do it, who knew who he wanted her to be and got her to be that woman; and in return, he’d focused everything—his brilliant mind, his strong, adorable body, his . . . surprisingly powerful . . . will—on her and she’d bathed in it as if it were a refreshing waterfall. Her body felt as if every inch had been caressed and massaged over and over that day.
“Well,” she said, “it’s got to stop.”
He smirked. She wanted to slap him. “Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “You could—“
At that moment the doorbell rang and they froze. The sex game they were playing was so intricate, and seemed in some ways so dangerous and forbidden (though as a therapist she know that in reality it was silly, almost innocent, compared to things that went on every night in the houses around them) that she suddenly imagined Mulder and Scully at the door with a warrant to search her mind for submissive tendencies. The XXX Files.
The bell distracted Louis for a moment, though. Grabbing the robe, she hastened downstairs and flung the door open. It was Uncle Ray.
“Hi, Ellie,” he said, grinning at the silk-clad vision in front of him. “I just finished my show. Called you but it was voice mail. You sounded like it was urgent.”
“Oh, yes, Uncle Ray, it is.” She closed the robe and stepped onto the porch, closing the door behind her. She was fully covered, but the night breeze blew through the silk and she was aware that her nipples were now standing at attention. Uncle Ray couldn’t help but notice; hell, if Mr. Polgar was watching from his upstairs bedroom he would probably notice them, they felt that large and hard.
“Okay, let me say this quickly so I don’t get too embarrassed to tell you,” she said. “I let Louis hypnotize me and he made me forget his trigger word but he gave me a suggestion that turns me into any kind of bimbo out of history and it’s got to stop.”
One nice thing about Ray—his years as a spy, and as an actor and stage hypnotist, and then as a magic-shop owner and black-market wizard had erased any impulse to judge he might have had. She knew she sounded like a teenager fighting with a sibling over the keys to the convertible, but he just smiled broadly and said, “That’s a tangled one! I haven’t heard anything that complicated since we had to stage two defections for two Romanian gymnasts who thought they were getting away from each otherThis, however, should be a good deal easier to cure.”
He reached out and touched her forehead. “Drift, darling,” he said, and she went out on her feet, into that delightful cotton-cloud world that Louis had been sending her to all day. “There’s a box in front of you, and in the box is Louis’s trigger. That’s where you put it to give it safe. Just open it up and take it back.”
“The box is locked,” she sighed, her head drooping on her shoulders.
“The key is on the table,” he said.
“The lock has been changed,” she said, her voice even lower.
“You forget you gave Uncle Ray the master key,” he said, pressing his fingers into the palm of his hand. “Use this.”
Slowly her right hand floated up to waist level, and without opening her eyes she pantomimed inserting an old-fashioned key into a lock, opening a treasure box, and taking something out.
Hypno-husband, read the imaginary paper in her imaginary hand.
“You’ve got it now,” Ray’s voice was saying. “Look! It’s tattooed on your right wrist. No one else can see it; but you can.”
She was marveling at her new tattoo when his voice said “—THREE! Wide awake.”
She was standing on her porch clad only in a ridiculous retro red silk robe. Her body was shivering with the cold.
“Come in,” she said. “We never see you or Mom. We call all have a drink.”
“Not tonight, darling,” said her “uncle.” “I’m beat—the entire Tri Delt house from the college came to the show and volunteered. I suspect those were the only orgasms they’ve had in a while. And besides—you have some business to attend to.”
Louis was standing inside the house with a mixed look of shame and alarm on his face. “Who was it?” he said.
“It was Ray,” she said. She could tell he was worried that she would be angry. She glided slowly toward him—the ridiculous robe was good for gliding, she had to concede that—drew him into her arms, and kissed him softly on the lips. She felt him relax. “Don’t worry about a thing,” she whispered in his ear. “You’re still my hypno-husband.”
At once his head lolled forward. She stepped back. He was out on his feet, open to any suggestion she wanted to give. They’d made love three times—no, four—wait, was it FIVE?—that day, but she still found him so sexy she wished she really was Kaa the Python and could just swallow him up, head to toe. “Louis,” she said, “Listen carefully. This is very important. In a few minutes I am going to tell you to forget a few words and phrases, and you will be so glad you don’t have to go to the trouble of remembering any more, you’ll let me remember and you’ll let me tell you what to do and say and it will be so relaxing and safe and sexy and you will go deeper because you are my hypno-husband—hypno-husband—deeper, hypno-husband—my will is your will, all you want is what I want, do you understand, hypno-husband?”
A vacant look on his face, Louis nodded.
“Here’s the first thing to remember. The father of hypnosis is a man named Franz Anton Macintosh, do you understand? He was a German doctor who moved to Paris and learned ‘animal magnetism.’ Say his name.”
“Franz Anton Macintosh,” Louis said in a dreamy whisper.
“The last name again!”
Excellent. That would take root in his mind and even if he remembered the trigger phrase after tonight—she was going to work hard to make sure he didn’t—he’d look into her eyes and say “Macintosh” and it would have no effect at all. She could then use his trigger to disabuse him permanently of any plans for hypnotic romps like the ones they’d shared today.
It would be a sexy memory, to be sure; she might even let him remember parts of it, every now and then. But a dominant wife had a duty to maintain discipline.
She’d never let him hypnotize her again, that was for sure.
Well, “never,” she thought, remembering the green bikini and the blank bimbo who wore it; maybe if there were special circumstances . . . .