"The thing with intelligence is that it's actually very hard to measure."
We were lounging on the couch on the porch, watching the sunset. I stared at her as she spoke, fascinated by her bright eyes. I could listen to her speak for hours on end.
"IQ tests measure a very specific set of exercises that you can become better at if you just practice them hard enough."
I nodded in agreement and stroked her cheek in admiration. She smiled, enjoying the soft shiver that ran over her skin as my fingernails brushed her jawline.
"So with practice," she continued to reason, "you can perform better at IQ tests, making it seem like you are improving your intelligence. But isn't intelligence more than just IQ?"
"I certainly think so," I whispered, interrupting her with that voice that always caught her attention when I used it. "It has nothing to do with IQ that you are so good at focusing on my voice whenever I implicitly ask you to. Like you're doing right now…"
Her eyes glazed over, staring off towards the pink clouds on the horizon as her jaw sagged open so that there was a hint of teeth visible behind her lips.
"Good girl. You are so good at understanding exactly when I want you to let your mind go blank and sink into this deep, thoughtless, eyes open trance that you are in now. But I'll make it even easier on you. Whenever I snap my fingers, you can instantly let your eyes stare just like this, your thoughts and whatever you were saying just goes on pause until I wake you up again with another snap of my fingers. There is no need to remember what happens while you're in trance, actually forgetting what happens in trance makes it easier to remember exactly what you were saying before I snapped my fingers. You know exactly how to do that, so why don't we try that now?" I snapped my fingers, and said in a light, upbeat voice: "So what is intelligence, really?"
Life returned to her face as she resumed her monologue. With a smile, she said: "Certainly, IQ is a factor of intelligence, it measures…"
I snapped my fingers and she froze, her mouth still open mid-sentence. Her eyes opened wider without blinking at all. Her cheeks flushed but her face was blank, devoid of thoughts or emotion.
"Every time I do this again and again..." My voice was husky and raw with anticipation. "And you drop into this mindless space you won't remember, this empty-headed trance, it will go easier, faster, more automatic and outside of your control." I snapped my fingers.
Her eyes blinked and then she continued without missing a beat: "...reasoning, language and arithmetic skills, and those are important to intelligence, that's true, but you'd think there is more to being intelligent than just that."
"Like what?" I gave her an adoring look, excited by every little change in her facial expression.
She started to count on her fingers. "Well, for example being well-read, especially when it comes to philosophy, is a sign of intelligence. And debating…"
When I snapped this time, her gesturing hands dropped limply down into her lap and her eyes crossed as they widened. I shuddered with arousal at the blank look on her face, and I had to take a few deep breaths before I woke her with a snap again.
Her hands veered up to continue gesturing along as she spoke, and the intelligence returned to her eyes. "...is often seen as an important skill as well, which I guess leads back to reasoning, but coupled with public speaking and critical thinking."
I stared at her, in awe of her ability to keep going, despite my silly tricks. I didn't have anything to add, but luckily, she didn't need me to.
"And that is unfair and inaccurate when you think about it. Many people who have difficulties with public speaking are still very intelligent." She touched her chin, too lost in thought to notice the way I idolised her. "When we talk about artificial…"
I snapped and she slumped. Her eyes rolled up and stayed there, barely visible under her drooping eyelids. Her lips were parted and looked so delicious, I couldn't resist touching them with the tips of my fingers, feeling how soft and numb they were. With a sigh, I sat back with my hands in my lap again, and then snapped her awake.
The change was miraculous again, especially in her eyes. But there also wasn't even a hint of trance in her voice. "...intelligence, we mean a programme that can learn things quickly, so perhaps intelligence is really about the ability to learn."
"In that case, you are very intelligent, my dear." I grinned at her.
She frowned. "Why would…"
Snap! Her eyes unfocused and stared straight through me, into oblivion. Her frown softened into a vacant expression. It was more than I could bear, so I quickly snapped her out of it.
"...you say that?" The frown was back. She was beginning to suspect something was going on. "This is not just your usual complimenting me."
I blushed as I smiled. "No, I'm talking about how quickly you can learn to respond to new triggers and commands."
She laughed and shook her head. "I should have noticed that you were playing with my head. The colour of your cheeks always gives it away."
I clutched my illusory pearls in mock shock. "Me? Play with your head? I would never!"
"Not that I mind at all…" She gave me a flirty grin.
I chuckled. "You don't mind that I play with your mind?"
She stuck out her tongue at me, and I seized the opportunity to snap my fingers. She froze in place, her mouth falling open further, showing more tongue. A surge of arousal rushed through me as I looked at what I had done. I reached out to touch her cheek, and I even brushed her tongue with my finger, but there was no reaction, not even a blink. Just that vacant, cross-eyed look, her mouth open, her tongue out.
"You are amazing…" I muttered as I tried to calm myself. But my heart kept on pounding as she remained perfectly still and utterly oblivious. I raised my trembling fingers in the air and finally managed to snap her awake.
As the life returned to her face, she shook her head, grinning. "My mind is yours to play with, Nath. My pleasure."
I lunged forward to grab her and kiss her. It was unexpected, she startled but only for an instant. Then her hands ran up my arms to hold me as we kissed.
"You're amazing…" I whispered, my lips still on her mouth.
She bumped her nose against mine. "So are you…"
I took a deep breath to make sure I got my hypnotist voice right. "Remember, my sweet. You can allow the memories to come back, of all the moments you're forgotten for me just now. Remember all of it." And I pulled her close into a hug, knowing that she'd want to hide her face. She squirmed in my arms, and made that high-pitched noise she always made when I gave her too much compliments.
"Oh Nath…" She gratefully buried her face in my chest.
I slowly rocked her in my arms, and mumbled: "You are brilliant, my dear."