“Holy fuck I need a drink,” said Massy, collapsing back in her plastic chair. She had arrived early that morning to set up their table outside the grocery store with the other volunteers. Deb, their group leader, had sewn a huge “World Hypnotism Day: Hypnotist Community Service!” banner that hung in front of them. (There was even Deb’s favorite large, ostentatious eagle decal sewn onto the side.) Now the sun was slowly setting and only she and Theo were left.
“One more hour,” replied Theo. “Then we can go home.” They took a long drag off their cigarette.
“That last guy was really hard, T. I must have talked to him for 30 minutes. I showed him the fake ‘Trump Supports Wearing Masks to Cuck the Libs’ flyer. I told him about pro-mask Bible passages. I even described his mother getting sick and dying as vividly as I could! Nothing.”
“What finally worked?” asked Theo.
“I had to convince him he was too important to do his own grocery shopping. I helped him sign up for deliveries from his phone.” She took a swig from her water bottle. “This would be a lot easier if we didn’t have to stay 6 feet apart from them.”
Theo chuckled. “That’s a good tactic, though. You should have done that one first.”
“Yeah, wish I had thought about it this morning. At least I’m getting really good at my quick inductions. I’ve never really used those in my practice but- they’re kind of fun once you get the hang of them! It reminds me of when we were kids, playing around with hypnosis and figuring out new things. I’m definitely a better street hypnotist than I thought I’d be. How about you? How have your last few people been?”
Theo smiled. “You know Ms. Wilshire, our old school librarian?”
“The one who almost got us banned when she caught us making out in the library after school? Yeah I remember her.” She wrinkled her nose.
“She came by earlier while you were dealing with that wiry guy. She was completely maskless. She even had a little bullshit card that said she had a religious exemption to wearing one.”
“Oh, Those are the WORST.” groaned Massy.
“Anyway, I was going to try something else but then I had a hunch. One I’ve had since school, really. I told her that the free mask we gave her smelled just like pussy.”
Massy laughed. “WHAT?! You didn’t!”“
Theo nodded, also laughing. "I might have implied it smelled like Ms. Smith’s pussy. Not so directly but- her brain seemed to get the hint. She turned beet red I was afraid she would collapse! But- she wore the mask all through the store.”
“This is why we’re friends,” said Massy.
“Even better,” said Theo. “ She dropped her receipt when she left. It looks like she bought a ‘back massager’ in there too.” They smiled widely.
"Bless her cold, withered heart!” exclaimed Massy, still laughing. “Hopefully it will do her some good.”
“Here’s hoping,” said Theo.
Massy scanned the parking lot. Everyone had masks on. Good. She needed a break. “So has this new girl Heather discovered what a good hypnotist you are? Shown her any tricks?” She waggled her eyebrows.
Theo smiled. "She’s been begging me for stories about when we were dating. She’s WAAAAY into it. She was reluctant to try being hypnotized for a while and I didn’t want to pressure her into anything but- remember the first week of senior year? I showed her that one two months ago. She couldn’t stop talking about it for WEEKS. ”
Massy remembered it particularly well. “Mmm that was good. l’m glad she’s appreciating you.” She was glad Theo had someone she connected with, even if they hadn’t really worked out as a couple.
Theo must have noticed something in her gaze. (”Hypnotists,”Massy thought later.) "You know, I’ve been telling her ALL about us and how we both learned hypnosis together and all the things we would do. Heather mentioned she’d be interested in seeing some of your tricks too. She also told me something about having two voices in her ears” Their hand was just lightly tracing Massy’s.
“Oh,” Massy blushed. “I don’t want to make things awkward for either of you…”
“She might have given me explicit permission to ask. If, y’know, it was something you’d be into. Want me to tell her you’re coming over for dinner tonight? It would make us both really happy.”
Massy looked at Theo and felt her words spill out. “Well, absolutely, Heather’s beautiful. I..uhh.. wonder if after we co-topped her she might be interested in bottoming with someone else too? Because it’s been a WHILE and…”
"That can be arranged,” Theo said confidently. Then she started slowly leaning in to Massy, her eyes shining. “In fact, I wonder what it’s like for you to know that all of those old triggers still work and you can drop for me any moment no..”
And with the kiss, Massy felt herself drop. and sink. and let go. There were words in her ear reminding her how good this felt and how well she was responding and she just drifted on those words until she heard a SNAP
And she came back to herself.
Theo was smirking at her, entirely self-satisfied. “Happy World Hypnotism Day, babe.”
Massy struggled to collect her thoughts when they both saw a maskless man in a MAGA hat across the parking lot. “Don’t worry, I’ll get this one,” Theo said, walking off. “You should recover. We’ll talk more.” They winked.
Massy checked her watch.
Only 45 minutes left.