The Wannabe Hypnotist (Finished? 7/23)

Author’s note - this was something I just sort of stumbled over. So many folk have done the hypnotism trope, but it’s all been of the easy, downloadable, sneak onto someone’s iPod when they go to sleep variety. So I thought about doing it “the old fashioned way”, and out came this… Enjoy, as I’m able to update it. :slight_smile:

1

I don’t know what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the rush of power. Maybe it was revenge for all the times she got away with shit that Ma never let me do. Or all the social life I missed out on in high school because I had to babysit her. Anyway, I did it, and while it was a hell of a thrill for a while, I took it way too far, and I’ve been regretting it ever since.


“Alright ladies and gentlemen,” Professor Price announced, snapping me out of my daydreaming, “I assume you are all prepared with your subject declaration for your final paper due next month. Please turn them in before you leave today.”

Shit! I thought morosely as he launched immediately into a lecture on some guy named Dement and his “important research about sleep”, which made me chuckle a bit. Wonder if that’s where “demented” comes from… Normally I’d just tune out and let my little portable tape recorder Mom bought me do the listening, but something the professor said caught my ear. I listened intently, my eyes widening with every word, my little old brain spinning with possibilities. I started scribbling in my notebook, putting together the declaration old Price wanted as fast as I could. I swear, for the first time since kindergarten, I was gonna have some FUN with a dumb old school project!

Handing my paper to Price on the way out the door, I scampered to the parking lot. I piled into my beat-up old Brat and turned the key, silently praying it’d start, which thankfully it did. Ma bought me that old car when I got my license back in 10th grade. It was only five years old at that point, and still kind of okay. Now, two years later, I hated it, but the idea of working at the Piggly Wiggly or Big Boy on top of my classes and having to babysit my bratty little sister just to afford a new car just didn’t seem worth it. My best friend Jessica’s parents bought her a brand new '86 Trans Am when she graduated last summer, and even paid for her to go to some big fancy college all the way down in Miami. I get letters from her like every other week telling me how she’s partying and living it up, while I’m still stuck here in Abbeville, which might as well be the middle of nowhere, going to community college.

I drove home as fast as I dared, what with all the local cops having nothing better to do but pull people over. I swear, the biggest crime this stupid little town has ever had was when some black guy from Greenville tried to rob Jesse’s Corner Grocery, only old Jesse put two barrels of birdshot right in his chest when he pulled his little knife. City folk can be right stupid at times.

Anyway, no sooner did I get home and dump my books on the kitchen table than Gabby’s bus come rolling up the street. You could hear that beat up old thing from half a mile away, I swear, with all the brake squealing and backfiring and all the other noise. I grabbed the mail out of the box while the bus pulled up in front of the house. No letter from Jessica today, just a bunch of bills and stuff for Ma to sort through when she got home. Gabby came bouncing off the bus, all three sets of ruffles on her little pink dress flopping up and down as she skipped across the road, showing off her little stretch tights. I just rolled my eyes. I spent my entire childhood in my cousins’ raggedy old hand-me-downs, but she gets new clothes every other week! So unfair! Ever since Pa skipped town when Gabby was a baby, Ma had to go to work at the mill, and now she’s a big-shot foreman, so she gets first pick at overruns and irregulars, which means Gabby always has something new to wear to school. Sure, I get new clothes a lot too, but still!

“You got homework?” I asked as I opened the screen door.

“Nope!” she said confidently, skipping through the door and dumping her school bag on the floor next to Ma’s rocker.

“You know that bag don’t belong there!” I shouted after her as she made a dash down the hallway toward our bedroom. That was the worst part of living at home, having to share a room with my little sister her entire life. Ma kept saying she’d get an addition built onto the trailer so I could have my own room, but it never did happen. Now, every time I complained about it, she’d just invite me to get a job and go get my own place. So I was stuck putting up with my slob sister taking over the whole room with her mess and leaving me hardly any space for my stuff at all.

She ran back out and grabbed her bag. “Hey, Skipper and Mary-Sue are goin’ down to the crick to swim! Can I go too?” she asked.

“I got schoolwork to do, and Ma said you can’t go down there without me to watch you!” I huffed.

“You never let me do NUTHIN!” she snapped, her eyes squinting up like she was gonna start crying. “I HATE you!”

“Quit bein’ such a baby!” I sneered back as I walked over to the sink.

“I’m not a baby!” she yelled. “I’m tellin’ Mama!”

“Go ahead!” I hollered back. “And I’ll tell her you lied about not havin’ homework, ‘cause Mrs. Beane already told Ma you’re supposed to be studyin’ every night since you’re damn near failin’ math! You know she’ll whip your tail if you have to go to summer school again this year!”

She shrank back at that and ran down the hall, slamming the bedroom door behind her. “Little brat think she can get over on me,” I huffed as I set about washing the breakfast dishes. The words from our exchange rattled around in the back of my mind, and I started thinking about how much cuter she was when she was little, how she copied everything I did, and hardly ever sassed me or fussed at me when I told her to do stuff. An idea bubbled up somewhere, and I smiled a little.

2

“Come on, Ma! I gotta go to the library on Saturday for my Psych project!”

“Beverly Jean, I can’t help it, it’s mandatory overtime. You’ll just have to take Gabby with you.”

“I don’t wanna go the dumb old library! Why can’t I just go down to the crick with my friends?!”

“Sweet pea, you know darned well you can’t go off by yourself like that!”

“Mama, I’m nine years old! I’m not a BABY anymore!”

“Young lady, don’t you dare sass me like that again! Now we are DONE with this conversation! If BJ’s gotta go to the library, then you’re goin’ with her, and that’s THAT!”

Gabby and I humphed in unison, but neither of us dared protest any further. I glared at her, she glared back at me, and we both picked up our forks and resumed eating. There was a lull, then Ma spoke back up. “Now tell me about this project you’re doin’, BJ.”

I paused for a minute, choosing my words carefully, both to impress Ma and confuse Gabby. “Well, it’s about the effects of auditory stimuli on delta wave sleep. That’s why I gotta get to the library and check out some papers that were published a couple years ago. Apparently it was some real breakthrough stuff.”

Gabby didn’t even lift her eyes from her plate, and even Ma had a little glazed look to her. “Well, that’s lovely, BJ, I’m sure you’ll do a great job. Gabby, you make sure and behave yourself on Saturday so Sissy can get her work done.”

“Yes, Mama.” Gabby grumbled back. I wasn’t looking forward to having her tagging along with me all day on Saturday, but I couldn’t help but smile as Ma scolded her. That sword cut both ways, really. Ever since Gabby nearly drowned at the lake one summer when she was 6 and spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia afterward, Ma wouldn’t let her go anywhere by herself. Of course, that meant most of the time that I had to tote her around and, more often than not, go suffer through whatever little get-togethers her little friends had going on. Thank God Ma hadn’t made me attend a sleepover, but I swear it was coming sooner or later.

I finished the dinner dishes and headed out to the living room to watch Dial MTV, just like I did every night at six. Not surprisingly, Gabby had the TV on Nickelodeon, watchin’ that stupid cartoon she liked so much with the blond kid that talked to a rose all the time.

“Gimme the clicker, Gabby,” I demanded.

“No! I’m watchin’ The Little Prince! Mama said I could watch this show!” she yelled.

“I ALWAYS watch Dial MTV after dinner, Gabby! Now gimme the damned remote!” I reached over to snatch it from her, but she twisted away.

“No!” she screamed. “MAMA! I’M TRYIN’ TO WATCH MY SHOW AND SISSY’S BEIN’ MEAN!”

“BJ! Let your sister watch her show!” Ma called out from her bedroom.

“But MA!” I yelled back. “I…”

“I don’t want to hear it, BJ! You can watch whatever you want when she goes and takes her shower! Let her watch her show!”

I flopped onto the couch and growled in disgust. Gabby stuck her tongue out at me, and it was all I could do not to slap it right out of her mouth. “God, you’re such a baby!” I muttered under my breath. She either didn’t hear me or decided to ignore me, but either way I was over watchin’ stupid baby cartoons, so I stormed off to the bedroom and got my notes back out. I decided to skip the next day’s English Comp class and spend the day in the library getting my research done, so I wouldn’t have to try and do it with Gabby harassing me the whole time on Saturday. Didn’t mean I wasn’t gonna take her to the library, just that my work would already be done, so I could have a little fun torturing her instead.

After an hour or so of my brooding and scheming, Gabby wandered in. I ignored her completely as she grabbed her nighty and stuck her tongue out at me again before heading to the bathroom, but as soon as she was gone, I put my books up and went to reclaim control of the TV. Stupid little brat made me miss my face time with Richard Page, and Don Johnson was another hour away, so I glumly sat through a barrage of David Lee Roth and Madonna and a bunch of other noise I didn’t care about. Gabby reappeared shortly with her hair wrapped in a towel and sat down on the opposite side of the couch.

“Don’t even think it,” I growled.

“What?” she asked innocently.

“You got your show. TV’s mine now.”

“Aw, but You Can’t Do That On Television is on!” she whined.

“Tough luck. You made me miss Dial MTV.”

Another huge tongue in response. I just rolled my eyes and started flipping.

“You ain’t even watchin’ nothin’ right now!” she pouted.

“Ain’t you supposed to be in bed already?” I snapped. I knew it wasn’t her bedtime, but needling her about it always got a rise out of her.

“It ain’t but seven thirty! I ain’t gotta go to bed until nine!”

Ma surfaced from the bedroom at this point, so I bit my tongue instead of commenting further. “Can’t you girls go five minutes without fussin’ at each other? I swear, I oughtta call the cable man and tell him to shut the damned thing off,” she announced as she sat down in her lazy boy rocker. “And you know darned well your bedtime on school nights is eight o’clock, missy,” she added.

“Aw, Mama!” Gabby protested.

“Don’t ‘Mama’ me! I’m not the one who’s failin’ math! And you’d better believe it’ll get even earlier if you end up in summer school over it!”

“I got a 85 on my last test, Mama! You said…”

“I said you could go back to nine o’clock when I see a progress report says you’re passin’ again. I ain’t seen nothin’ of the sort yet, only that you got a fightin’ chance of makin’ it happen between now and the end of the school year!”

“It’s not fair,” Gabby said as she crossed her arms and pouted in the general direction of the TV. Ma and I exchanged knowing glances and shared a quiet chuckle as she brought out her knitting and I locked back in on the TV.

Next morning, after Ma was off to work and Gabby was on the bus to school, I headed for the campus library and set to digging. It didn’t take long to find what I was after; the studies were in some recent issues of Psychology Today. It was all right there; they demonstrated that people could be hypnotized during sleep using traditional hypnosis techniques, though without the need for visual points of focus, obviously. I made my own notes, but also photocopied the pages to keep with me.

Now it was just a matter of learning how to do it. I started digging, scanning through book after book on hypnosis, looking for methods and techniques, but also paying attention to limitations. Wouldn’t be much point in going through all this trouble if I couldn’t get her to do what I wanted, after all. I filled up damn near an entire notebook before I looked up at the clock and realized it was near time to get home and get Gabby off the bus. Scanning over my work, I was quite satisfied that I had everything I needed not only to ace the report, but get into my little sister’s head and scramble her little eggs around a bit.

I drove home with a head full of possibilities, sorting out what I’d read and what people had done. The idea of getting Gabby to bark like a dog on command or even make her say a cuss word in front of Mama was pretty funny, but then I started thinking about the previous night, and how much I missed the quiet Gabby who just thought I was the greatest thing in the world. Maybe I could get that Gabby back with a few of these tricks, or at least take her down a peg or two, so she wouldn’t be quite so sassy with me. A simple little idea started to take shape, and I chuckled to myself as the images flashed through my mind.

1 Like

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist

So far this seems to be an interesting angle to the hypnotic trope and I can’t wait to see how this plays out. The accent was done well, I think. It’ll be important to keep it consistent throughout the story. The only critic I have, or well it’s mostly just an advice so far, is to convince us that BJ wants to hypnotize her sister as a baby rather than something else, so it won’t seem too forced.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist

Trust me, the angle will stay divergent from the usual hypnosis trope stories. It’s a slow burn, as usual for me. :wink:

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist

I’m intrigued, and thanks for posting. If it’s not the usual hypnosis trope, them I’m curious to see how diapers and/or regression will fit in - but I can be patient.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist

Well, “slow burn” doesn’t mean “no burn”, if you know what I mean. I’ve got two basic concepts that set this apart from the typical hypnosis story - first of all, BJ’s motivation isn’t necessarily hateful, intentionally destructive, or even vindictive. Secondly, she can’t just download an MP3 and stick a pair of earbuds in Gabby’s ears, because none of that technology exists circa 1986.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist

3

I got back to the house and went straight to work on my special little project. I decided I could just work on the report for class the next day when I had Gabby tagging along, so it wouldn’t be a huge deal if I didn’t get much work done. Besides, if everything went right tonight, Gabby wouldn’t be so much annoying as entertaining tomorrow.

I nearly jumped off the couch when Gabby burst through the front door, I’d been so engrossed in my work prior to that point. “Hey Sissy!” she shouted. “Teacher didn’t give us no homework other than study for our vocabulary test! Can’t I just do that at the library tomorrow? Please?”

I gathered myself and closed my notebook hurriedly. “I dunno, Gabby… Ma said you’re s’posed to study your math every night,” I said, aiming to bait her a bit.

“I’ll do that tomorrow too! I promise! PLEASE can I just go outside and play 'til Mama gets home? PLEASE?!” she begged.

I was a bit surprised she didn’t want to camp out in front of the TV watching stupid cartoons all afternoon. This could actually work in my favor, because I could get more work done if she was outside and not in my hair. “Alright, but you’d better keep your nose in those schoolbooks tomorrow while I’m doin’ my project! Promise?!”

“Cross my heart and hope to die!” she affirmed, making an “X” across her chest.

I chuckled a bit and said, “Fine, but stay in the yard and don’t get in no trouble!”

“Thank you Sissy! Bye!” And with the slam of the door, she was gone, and I was alone to continue working.

I hadn’t really realized what a challenge this was gonna be until I sat down to write my script. All the books said that a good script with good visuals was the key to successful hypnosis, and the articles I read about sleep hypnosis said that, when done right, the hypnotist was actually taking control of the subject’s dreams themselves, guiding them through what the hypnotist wanted them to see and hear. It was hard, trying to remember all the things that Gabby liked and made her happy, and all the things that upset her, and trying to balance them all out to find a pathway that would teach her the behaviors I wanted her to learn without stressing her into waking up. I wrote and rewrote passages, alternating between frustration and happiness as I inched forward.

Once again, the door flying open nearly scared me out of my skin. Gabby came flashing past in a blur. “Gotta go pee!” she yelled from the hall, the bathroom door slamming behind her.

“Damn you!” I muttered. I took a look at the clock; it was already five-fifteen. “Oh shit!” I said. “I gotta get dinner on!” Guess it was a good thing Miss Tiny Bladder broke my concentration after all. Last time I forgot to make dinner before Ma got home I wound up grounded for the weekend.

I looked over what I’d accomplished with a satisfied chuckle. I could finish this thing up in a couple hours after dinner and be able to test it out tonight! I packed everything back up into my knapsack and set it beside the couch, then grabbed a couple of pizzas out of the freezer and turned on the oven. Gabby went flying past and back out the door as I started washing the breakfast dishes, and I just laughed, shaking my head.

Around quarter 'til six I poked my head out the door and hollered, “Gabby, ya need to come in and wash up!”

“Just a few more minutes?!” she hollered back from the sand pit.

“Ma’s gonna be here in half an hour, Gabby! You need to come get cleaned up before dinner!”

“I’m ALMOST DONE!” she yelled.

“NOW, Gabby!” I growled.

“IN A MINUTE!”

“Don’t make me come out there and snatch you up, Gabriella! I swear I will!”

“Fine!” she snapped, standing up and kicking over the elaborate little sand castle she’d obviously spent some time building. She stomped toward the house, her face one big angry pout. “Big sisters suck!” she said as she walked by.

“What did you just say to me, Gabriella Josephine Martin?!” I gasped, grabbing her collar.

“I said big sisters SUCK!” she shouted, staring straight in my face as though daring me to do something about it.

I could feel the blood rising up into my face, but I took a deep breath and let her shirt go. “So that’s what I get for lettin’ you go play instead of studying, huh?”

“It only takes like two minutes to wash up! I was almost done with my castle, but NO, I gotta come in RIGHT NOW! Big stupid MEANIE!”

I bit my lip, reminding myself that payback later was better than more yelling now. “Whatever, Gabby. When you decide you’re done with your little temper tantrum, you can go on and wash up. Now get in the house.” I turned her around and swatted her bottom just enough to stagger her toward the door.

She stomped off to the bathroom, yelling, “I don’t HAVE temper tantrums! I’m NOT a baby!”

“We’ll see about that,” I whispered. I walked back into the kitchen, threw the pizzas into the oven on cookie sheets, then sat down at the table to wait for Ma to get home. About five minutes later, I heard Gabby rush straight from the bathroom to our bedroom and slam the door behind her. “Good,” I muttered. “Stay in there, you little brat.”

Ma came home just as I was taking the pizzas out of the oven. “Oh good,” she said as she walked in. “I’m starved! How was school today?”

“Actually I managed to get some of my research done today, so I won’t have to keep Gabby cooped up ALL day tomorrow,” I said as I cut up slices and doled them out onto paper plates.

“Well that’s good. I had a feeling you’d figure something out if I left you to it. Where’s Gabby?”

“She’s pouting in the room because I told her to come in and wash up.”

“Well, that figures. Gabby! Come on and eat!” she shouted.

Gabby surfaced and sat down, obviously avoiding looking at me. “Hey Mama,” she said, picking up a slice of pizza. “OW! That’s hot!”

“Well of course it is; just came out the oven!” Ma said, laughing. “How was school?”

“Fine.” Gabby replied disinterestedly.

“Get your homework done before you went outside?” Ma followed.

“Didn’t have none, ‘cept for studyin’ for a vocab test,” said Gabby. “Sissy said I could do that tomorrow at the library,” she quickly added.

“Is that what you said?” Ma queried, looking over at me as I sat down.

“Yeah, I tried to be nice and let her go play. Course all it got me was cussed out,” I said, staring at Gabby, who glared at me in response.

“Cussed out?! What’d she say to you, BJ?”

“I called her in to wash up, and she told me I suck,” I said casually.

“Gabriella Josephine, what have I told you about that mouth of yours?!” Ma snapped, staring down the now fearful kid at the end of the table.

“All I wanted was five more minutes so I could finish my castle, but she said she was gonna snatch me if I didn’t come!” Gabby protested.

“First of all, that don’t excuse you cussin’ at your sister, and second I’ve told you that when I’m not here, she is in charge! Is that not right?”

“Yes Mama,” Gabby’s head dropped.

“You can go to bed at eight o’clock tonight,” Ma declared.

“That’s not FAIR! It’s Friday! I’m s’posed to stay up 'til ten!” Gabby whined.

“You just be thankful I don’t take you in the bathroom and wash your mouth out with soap, young lady!”

“Big TATTLE TALE!” Gabby shouted in my direction.

“One more word outta you and you’ll be takin’ your shower and goin’ to bed straight after dinner!” Ma snapped. Gabby fell silent and pouted at her pizza.

I grabbed my napkin and pretended to wipe my mouth to hide my grin. “Alright now, BJ,” Ma said with a knowing glance.

“It don’t help me none, Mama. I figured I’d be spendin’ my evenin’ workin’ on my report while she watched TV. Now I’m gonna hafta pack up and move everything when she goes to bed.”

“Well, you got the whole weekend to work on it, BJ, and you said it won’t due for three weeks anyway, right?”

“Yeah, but I need to really nail this one. It counts a third of our final grade, and I wanna keep my average above three-point-oh.”

“See, Gabby, your sister understands how important school is and that she needs to put the work in to get good grades,” Ma said. Gabby’s frown deepened further, and she folded her arms but said nothing.

“Anyway, how 'bout I take care of the dishes for you, BJ, so you can get a little more work done before she goes to bed?” Ma suggested.

“That’s sweet of you, Ma, but it’s no big deal – just a couple pans and our drinkin’ glasses.”

“It’s alright, you go work on your project,” she insisted.

“Thanks, Ma, I appreciate it,” I conceded. I finished up and put my dishes in the sink, then gathered up my bag and headed into the bedroom. Out came the notebook, and I was quickly immersed in my work.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 3 up)

4

I was nearly finished when Gabby stormed into the bedroom to grab her pajamas. I pretended not to notice her, even though I could feel her glaring at me the whole time, and it was hard not to smile at her half-pint fury. She stomped back out, slamming the door behind her, which elicited a yell from Mama, “Someone’s lookin’ to get her little bottom tanned before bed!”

The bathroom door closed much quieter, and as the water began to run I whispered, “You have no idea, you little twerp. No idea at all.” I took a long look over my script. It was good. Damned good. And it was just about tailored perfectly to my bratty little sister and all the things she likes and hates. I grabbed a flashlight from my bedstand and slipped it and the notebook under my blanket and straightened up my bed, then strutted confidently out into the living room, where Ma was sipping a bottle of Bud on the couch, watching TV.

“I swear, that girl ain’t gonna live to see her sweet sixteen at this rate,” she huffed. “What in the world is wrong with her?!”

“Aw, Mama, I’m sure I was the same way at her age. It’s the tweenie thing, that’s all.”

“No, BJ, you weren’t nearly like this. Of course, I reckon you were prob’ly too busy helpin’ me out with her at the time. Is that the trouble here? Did I spoil her?”

“Don’t worry about it, Mama,” I said, putting an arm around her. “She’ll grow out of it soon enough.”

“I hope so, 'cause I’m about ready to stunt her growth permanently. Every single day, I swear!” She finished off her bottle, stood up, and asked, “You want one?”

“Sure, thanks Mama.” I didn’t really care for the taste of beer, but it felt good to just sit on the couch and drink with Mama. Like a reminder that I really was a grown-up now. She returned from the kitchen and handed me one.

“How’s the project goin’?” she asked as she sat back down.

“Great, actually. I got a lot done tonight. I prob’ly won’t need to spend but an hour or two at the library tomorrow.”

“Wow, you work fast!” Ma said with a chuckle.

“Oh, there’s a lot more work to do, but with all the research I got done today and gettin’ it all organized tonight, I realized there ain’t but a few holes left to fill before I can just start puttin’ it all together.”

“Well good. Truth be told, I’d almost rather see you keep her there long enough to get some good study time in. From the notes I’ve been gettin’ from school, she needs it!”

“I’m sure I can drag it out some if you want, Ma. I figured I could get plenty of work done here at the house while she’s outside raisin’ Cain.”

“Well, it’s your call BJ, you know I won’t be home 'til supper again.”

“I wish you didn’t have to put so much overtime in, Mama. You need a break!”

“We all should be grateful for the extra money. And I’ve got a lot of vacation time built up, so maybe once this latest rush calms down a bit, I might could take a break. Even my boss is gettin’ fussy about me not takin’ time off.”

The water stopped in the bathroom, and shortly afterward Gabby surfaced. As soon as she saw me she scowled and went straight over to Mama. “Night, Mama,” she said, putting her head in Ma’s lap. Ma pulled her up and gave her a squeeze. “Good night, sweet pea. Maybe tomorrow you can behave yourself a little better for Sissy and not have to go to bed so early, huh?”

“Yes Mama,” Gabby grumbled, slipping off Mama’s lap and trudging back down the hall.

“Night, squirt,” I said, taking a sip off my beer. Not surprisingly, I got no response. Mama and I just rolled our eyes at each other and chuckled before re-focusing on the TV.

It wasn’t much later when Ma finished off her beer and said, “Well, six o’clock’s comin’ pretty quick. Have a good night, sweetie. I’ll try not to wake y’all on my way out.”

“I know you will, Mama. Good night.” She disappeared down the hall as well. I flipped channels for a while, waiting patiently. I wanted to make sure Gabby was dead to the world before I went to work; the studies had both said induction was much easier in full REM, as subjects were much more suggestible in that sleep phase. Something about Delta waves and such; I didn’t remember all of it, just the important parts, the parts that mattered about how best to put my little plan in motion.

It was a bit after 11 when I turned off the TV and went to check on Gabby. Her breathing was very even, very deep. I stood over top of her, as her back was to the room, and through the dim glow of the night light next to her bed, I could see the one thing I was looking for; twitching under her eyelids. My timing was perfect! I flipped my cover back and grabbed my notebook and flashlight, then sat down cross-legged next to her bed. I took a deep breath and began to whisper slowly and evenly:

“Gabriella, can you hear me?”

No response. Was she too deeply asleep?

“Gabriella?”

“Mmmm…”

It was enough. Any noise was an acknowledgement, and the less articulate it was, the better chance the sleep pattern hadn’t been disturbed.

“Yes, you are very relaxed right now. Very relaxed. But right now we’re going to help you become even more relaxed, more relaxed than you’ve ever felt in your life.” I realized I was supposed to be pausing as often as possible. I took another quiet breath and continued.

“Focus on your breathing, Gabriella, as the air moves in,” I listened for her inhale, "and out. That’s it, in… and out. Imagine you are breathing in happy… and breathing out sad.

"All the good feelings you breathe in fill your body with a warm sensation, and replace all the bad feelings, which rush out your nose and off into the night. You’re so happy, and warm, and content.

"Now I want you to imagine you are lying in the middle of a huge field of grass. The sun is high overhead, with only little wisps of clouds floating lazily by. The warm sun feels good on your face, and the grass underneath is like a soft cushion.

“It’s so warm and comfortable here. This is a safe place, where nothing bad can ever happen to you.” Gabriella rolled over onto her back, a sleepy smile on her face. It was working! I continued, even slower this time.

"You look down at your hand, and a butterfly lands on your thumb, then floats away on the breeze. But your thumb – it’s glowing now, with a special glow.

“The butterfly has given your thumb a magical power. Your thumb is now a special, magic key. When you put it into your mouth and suck on it, it will transport you to this wonderful place, so you can feel this happy and content any time you like. Try it now.” I waited and watched, and slowly her thumb made its way into her mouth, and she began to suckle just like she did when she was tiny, still smiling, maybe even bigger now. A contended-sounding sigh escaped her nose. It was such an adorable moment, it was hard not to giggle.

I managed to compose myself and continued, "That’s it. Feels good, doesn’t it? Laying in the warm sun, in the soft grass, your magic key filling you up with its warm glow.

"Whenever you feel sad, or angry, or any other bad feelings, you can use your magic key to take you to your secret, safe place, where nothing can harm you. And you’ll want to. You’ll want to come here to this secret place. You’ll want to stay here all the time. You’re going to find it very, very hard not to use your magic key any time bad feelings come.

"But this is a special place, one you should only come when you’re with Mama or Sissy, because only Mama and Sissy will understand your magic key and the special place it takes you. Then you can spend as much time as you wish in your secret place, and you can use your magic key whenever you like.

“And you’ll want to use it every chance you get. Because nothing will ever make you happier than when you use your special, magic key to take you to this beautiful place.”

Now came the close. I wrestled when I was writing it whether to bring her back myself and risk waking her up or just let her be. I decided for the latter, figuring she’d wake up in a much better mood. "Now, you just go ahead and relax for as long as you like, Gabriella. Enjoy your secret place.

"And when you’re ready, you can just pop that key right out of your mouth and be right back in the real world, and you’ll feel relaxed, and refreshed, and happy.

“Sleep well, Gabriella. Enjoy your beautiful dream.”

Another contented sigh, but her thumb remained locked in place. I wondered if she’d take it out before she woke in the morning. Either way, I was dog tired. I looked at the clock; it was after two in the morning! I couldn’t believe it’d taken this much time. But, as near as I could tell, it had been worth the effort. The first time that thumb found her mouth in front of Mama would be absolutely priceless! I quietly crawled into bed and dozed off thinking my own set of happy thoughts.

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Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 4 up)

I really like how this slow regression is taking place. Keep going.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 4 up)

Ahh WB… What really needs to be said that you don’t already know? Masterful pace? complete commander of the written word? Excellent world building?

To be fair, the only thing I found strangely unsettling was the fact that you emphasized that a black guy was robbing something… That felt a little off to me… I don’t want to make it too political but yea… that made me really uncomfortable. No two ways around it.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 4 up)

Small SC town, mid-80’s, still pretty rampantly racist. Trying to stay in character.

The implication was that the nearly all-white little town’s collective memory would feature something like that as the “crime of the century” even if other, worse crimes had happened.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 4 up)

Fair enough I guess. It’s in character.

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Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 4 up)

5

“C’mon Sissy! Wake up! Wake up! We gotta go to the library, remember?!”

Bright light blistered my eyes, but two tiny hands locked onto my arm shaking me were much more disturbing. “Wha… Gabby?! What time is it?!” I groaned.

“It’s eight o’clock, Sissy! We gotta get ready and go!”

She wasn’t this excited the first time I took her to the state fair. “Why are you up so early? I thought you didn’t wanna go to the library with me!” I opened my eyes to a squint. She was grinning ear to ear. “And what made you so happy this mornin’?”

“I dunno, Sissy,” she said. “I jus’ felt happy when I woke up, that’s all.” I looked down at her thumb – it was wet and wrinkled like she’d just been swimming. Suddenly, I felt a bit more energetic myself. “‘Sides, faster we get done, faster we can go do somethin’ fun, like swimmin’ at the crick or shoppin’ or somethin’!”

I sat up and smiled at her, though my eyes were still bleary. “Well alright! Let’s get some breakfast and go on and do some studyin’, then!”

“Yay!” she shouted, dashing out of the bedroom in a blur. I certainly didn’t expect the relaxation techniques to work that good. I wondered how long it’d been since she had a decent night’s sleep, what with how bright and chipper she was this morning. That led me to thinking about what I’d told her about wanting to do it all the time, and what I could do to keep her waking mind occupied and see how far that went.

I started to slip on some jeans, then I had a little epiphany about the matter. I flipped through the tiny section of the closet that was still my clothes and found one of my “date” dresses. It was a navy blue number with brass buttons down the front and a skirt that fell just to my mid-thigh. Quickly I dressed and put on a fresh pair of panties, then strutted out into the kitchen. Gabby was already shoveling cereal into her face when I walked in, and her eyes bulged a bit when she saw me.

“Wha’re you aw’ ‘reffed u’ for?” she mumbled through a mouthful of Cheerios.

“We’re goin’ to the public library. That means we’re goin’ downtown, which means we need to look our best for the gentlemen,” I said with a grin as I poured myself some coffee.

“Aw, do I have to get all dressy too?” she moaned. “What do I care what icky boys think of what I’m wearin?”

“Yeah, you have to get all dressy too,” I said. “Unless you’re happy lookin’ like the baby sister just taggin’ along, instead of a fine young lady what deserves her own attention.” I knew that’d motivate her.

“Ooh, does that mean I get to wear makeup?” she squealed. Damn, I should’ve expected that one. Oh well, I could probably do a little touch-up on her without spoiling the effect.

“Alright, but I’m pickin’ your outfit, and no fussin’ about what I choose, you hear me?” I said sternly.

“I won’t fuss, I promise!” she said. I thought for sure she was gonna explode into a big puff of sparkles.

“Good, then finish your breakfast and we’ll get started.” I smiled as I sipped my coffee and watched her dive into her cereal with even more enthusiasm.

Once she’d finished up, I took her back into the room and rifled through her clothes, acting like I was considering each of her dresses while in the back of my head knowing exactly which one I wanted. When I found it, I took a long look at it, stealing a glance or two at her out of the corner of my eye to see her reaction.

“Perfect!” I declared, pulling the black-on-white polka dot number with the big red ribbon demarcating its empire waist.

Her face fell. “That’s not a grownup dress! I’ll look like a baby in that!”

“What’d I tell you about fussin’?” I warned her. “Trust me, this is a perfect spring dress, and once we get some makeup on you and get your hair done up, you’ll look like a fine young lady.”

“Okay,” she replied without much conviction, flopping onto her bed with a cute little pout.

“Well don’t just sit there, silly!” I scolded. “Get those jammies off so we can get you dolled up proper!”

She stripped while I fished a pair of panties and her sheer white knee-stockings out of her drawer and handed them to her. After she put them on, I helped her with the dress, zipping it up in the back and tying the ribbon into a huge bow. I turned her around and smiled at the pout still plastered on her face. “There. A little makeup and a nice grownup hairstyle and you’ll be the talk of the town!” I said. She didn’t look convinced, but I knew I had her over a barrel with the promise of wearing makeup, something Ma never allowed.

I took her into the bathroom, made her brush her teeth, then went at it with a brush, pulling her straight blonde locks into a ponytail on top of her head so it would cascade out in all directions. She brightened up a bit at that touch; she’d seen me wear my hair just like that before. Of course, on my tall frame with my brown curls and my much longer bangs lifted up with some hairspray, it was a very adult hairstyle. On her little face with her little bangs that Ma kept trimmed above her eyebrows, with the little red bow I attached in front, I couldn’t have made her look more childish short of giving her pigtails with beads.

I squatted down next to her and said, “Now hold still and face me, or you’ll make me muss this up.” She froze in place, and I went to work, first on her cheeks with a little touch of red blush, then some very muted pink lipstick, finishing with a tiny bit of eye shadow. I turned her toward the mirror and said, “There, what do you think?”

She grinned broadly, which just exaggerated the Kewpie doll look I’d given her. Clearly all she cared about was getting to wear makeup at all, not realizing I’d make her look five years younger, not the five years older she saw. “Thank you, Sissy!” she gushed.

“Now, go get your shiny black shoes out of the closet and then go watch TV for a minute while I get myself fixed up, okay?” I said, gently shooing her toward the door.

I took my time doing my hair and face, then went back to the bedroom to get my blue heels and my notebooks. I sauntered out to the living room and just smiled when I saw Gabby sitting on the couch, her eyes locked on the TV and her little legs just kicking away. I was a bit disappointed to see that the TV hadn’t been enough of a distraction for my little suggestion to take hold.

Clearly I had more work to do. I made a mental note to stop at the video store and let Gabby pick out a movie to watch tonight. Whenever we rented a video, Gabby would always pick out the scariest looking thing she could find, and it’d scare her half to death, and she’d wind up having nightmares three nights in a row. Normally I dreaded those moments, so I’d try and talk her out of it, because I’d be the one who wound up staying up with her all night, but I had a feeling it’d be much easier to reinforce the thumb-sucking if she started having the terrors again.

“You about ready to go, Gabby?” I asked.

She bounced off the couch and said, “Yep!” with a toothy grin.

“I don’t see your book bag anywhere,” I scolded. “Not gonna get much studyin’ done without it!”

“Oops,” she said sheepishly, then dashed into the bedroom. When she resurfaced with her little pink Strawberry Shortcake knapsack, it was yet another struggle not to burst into giggles. If it weren’t for her being just a bit too tall, she’d look like she was off to her first day of kindergarten.

I put a hand on her shoulder and walked her out the door. “Now Gabby, if we run into any boys your age, they’ll prob’ly make fun of you, but that’s just 'cause they’re jealous of how grown-up you look.” The lie came surprisingly easy, and she swallowed it with a huge grin. Truth be told, I’d rather we run into some of her girl friends; they’d REALLY be jealous seeing her in makeup. I casually walked out to the car as she skipped ahead, and before long we were off.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 5 up)

Like the concept, although this chapter didn’t really move the plot along much, or at all to be honest, it seems to just cut off abruptly. Otherwise you’re looking good so far.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 5 up)

Yeah, it’s pretty much a setup for a much, much broader series of plot moves in the next chapter. The timing of the cutoff coincides directly with where things start to move forward.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 4 up)

I did want to raise one more point about this, even though it’s not really a central plot point. Notice how she explained the incident? Black guy ended up dead. Official story is he tried to rob the place. Full of all sorts of implications…

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 5 up)

Ok well maybe you could give more little details or more description or something else near the end so the cutoff isn’t as jarring. But that sense may just come from reading it in serialized form

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 5 up)

Well, maybe try reading it contiguously with chapter 6? :slight_smile:


6

It was remarkably quiet for a Saturday in April, even for tiny little Abbeville. I almost wondered if a state fair was happening somewhere and no one clued us in on it. I deliberately parked the car a couple blocks from the library, insisting to Gabby that it was silly to get all dressed up for no one to see us. I tried to get Gabby to hold my hand as we walked, but she wasn’t having any of it.

“Aw, is big grown-up Gabby embarrassed to be seen with her sister now?” I queried.

“No, but I ain’t no kindergartner. I don’t need you to hold my hand while we cross the street!” she huffed.

I chuckled. If only she knew what she really looked like. To my surprise, the elderly couple who lived across the street from us, Mr. and Mrs. Everson, came strolling around the corner. What a lucky opportunity!

“Well my goodness!” Mrs. Everson declared. “What are y’all all dressed up about?”

“Good morning, Mrs. Everson, Mr. Everson,” I said cherrily, giving a slight curtsy. Gabby looked a bit flustered and did likewise, though hers was a LOT more pronounced. I was counting on that, actually. “We just decided it was about time to give this fine young debutante a little comin’ out party!”

Mr. Everson laughed, reaching down and holding out his hand for Gabby, who looked baffled. “When a gentleman offers you his hand, you’re s’posed to take it, Gabriella,” I scolded. She reached out and put her hand on top of his.

“Well it is quite a pleasure to make your acquaintence, Miss,” he said with a grin and a broad, old-southern-gentleman accent. “May I have this dance?”

“Why Mr. Everson, I believe you’re a married man!” I said, feigning my best Scarlet O’Hara. The Eversons and I just laughed, while Gabby still looked completely mystified by what was going on.

“Well I’m quite certain she’ll be breakin’ a whole lot more hearts before the day is over,” Mrs. Everson declared. “Harold, we should get on to our appointment and let these young ladies go and meet their waitin’ public.”

“By all means,” he replied. “You ladies enjoy yourselves at whatever suare you’re off to now.”

“Thank you kindly,” I said, still chuckling. Gabby was positively beaming as we parted ways. Thankfully she didn’t seem to hear Mrs. Everson’s last comment, “Oh my lord, wasn’t she just adorable?” Once again I had to fight off a laugh.

The rest of our little walk, Gabby was doing her best little curtsies at everyone who passed, which brought broad smiles from passing strangers and an occasional tip of the hat from a gentleman or two. By the time we reached the library, I thought Gabby might float away from all the attention she got, despite it being for reasons opposite what she thought they were. I guided her to a table in the back and whispered, “Now we need to be quiet, and you need to keep your nose in them books, you hear?”

It was as though all the air got let out of her little balloon. “I know, I know,” she grumped, slumping down into a chair and digging her spelling book out of her little backpack. I sat down across from her and started working on my actual Psych project, which wasn’t nearly as much fun as I had writing the hypnosis scripts. I watched Gabby like a hawk as she glared at her books, hoping to see some kind of results from my little experiment. Nothing. No matter how hard she seemed to be concentrating or how flustered or bored she looked, the closest I got to seeing my suggestion take hold was her chewing on an eraser. Frustrated but still determined, I dug back into the books I’d skimmed over the day before, looking for clues as to what I might have done wrong last night.

“Gabby, you about done?” I finally whispered after a couple of hours of watching her fidget.

“I was waitin’ for you!” she replied. “Can we go now?”

“Yeah, I’m done with my stuff,” I said. “Let’s go.”

Distractible as she was, Gabby forgot all about the pretending to be a lady stuff on the way back to the car, skipping and twirling and generally acting a lot closer to the age her little outfit represented, until we ran into Skipper, one of her friends from school, walking with her mother. Gabby straightened herself up and grinned broadly. “Hey Skipper!” she drawled.

“Are you wearin’ makeup?” the bewildered girl asked.

“Uh-huh! Sissy let me use hers!” Gabby beamed.

“See, Mama!” Skipper moaned. “I told you all my friends get to wear makeup! Why can’t I have it?!”

Her mom stiffened up. “If all your little friends were jumpin’ off a bridge to their deaths, would you wanna join 'em then too?”

“No.”

Gabby looked perplexed. Skipper’s mom continued, “You are nine years old, young lady, and I’ll not have you dollin’ yourself up like a tramp at this young age.” Gabby’s jaw dropped, and I saw her hand start to reach toward her mouth. Please, God, not here!

“Now just a darned minute!” I cut in. “Ain’t no need for no one to be callin’ no one else no tramp!” I quickly snatched Gabby’s hand before she had a chance to get it to her face and quietly prayed she wouldn’t use the other one instead.

“You should be ashamed of yourself, Beverly Jean Martin! Paintin’ up your sister’s face like a little whore! I reckon your mama’d have a thing or two to say about that!”

I wanted so bad to slap her, and if Skipper wasn’t standing there I probably would have. “How DARE you call my sister a whore?! What when your daughter ain’t even MET her Daddy on account of you ain’t even sure who he is!”

Time for her jaw to drop. “You nasty little harlot! You just wait! Your mama gonna hear about this! Come on, Skipper! We ain’t got time for no foul mouthed heathens like that!” She grabbed Skipper’s hand and stormed off, dragging the poor girl behind. Skipper waved pitifully to Gabby as she stumbled along, who just stood there in shock.

“Why’d she say all those horrible things?” Gabby finally managed, her voice trembling. Poor kid was clearly rattled by the entire exchange.

“Because she thinks she’s all holier-than-thou ever since she started goin’ to church,” I spat. “She’s lucky I didn’t slap the taste outta her mouth! The NERVE!”

As we walked back to the car, I began to review the situation and what Skipper’s mom was likely to tell my mother when she called. I decided in advance that I needed to get to Mama first and give her our side of the story before that bitch got to her. I checked my watch; it was already quarter to one. Too late to call Mom during her lunch. Damn! I was going to have to catch her the minute she got home, or I’d be screwed.

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 6 up)

Well that does fix it :slight_smile: Like the makeup incident, it was perhaps a bit melodramatic. But that’s an authentic small town attitude

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 6 up)

Well, I’m glad it came together.

And yes, totally melodramatic, but also totally small-town attitude, especially circa 30 years ago. :smiley:

Re: The Wannabe Hypnotist (Ch 6 up)

7

If we hadn’t been driving directly past the video store, I likely would have forgotten completely about my plan for Gabby. Seeing her behavior during the altercation with Skipper’s Mom convinced me that I was on the right track, that at least the suggestions fired as intended when she was under stress. I definitely wanted to at least try to push her buttons a little more to see if she’d override her natural rejection of such babyish behavior.

“What’re we doin’ here?” she asked as I pulled into the parking lot.

“Well you were so good at the library, I decided a treat was in order!” I said, grinning broadly. “You can pick whatever movie you want.”

“Oh, thank you, Sissy!” she squealed, ripping her seatbelt off and practically flying out the car door and into the rental place. I caught up to her quicker than I expected; she was stopped dead in front of a huge display in the front. Apparently they’d just gotten Nightmare on Elm Street 2 in. Her eyes were bulging, and she nearly jumped when I touched her shoulder.

“Oh, Sissy! Can we get it?!” she begged.

She was nothing if not predictable. “I don’ know, Gabby. You know Mama don’t like you watchin’ them scary flicks…”

“Aw, come on, BJ! Please?!?!” I hadn’t seen her grovel like this since the Cabbage Patch Kids first came out.

“You sure you’re not gonna have nightmares?” I quizzed.

“I’m too big for nightmares,” she insisted. “Ol’ Freddy don’t scare me!”

“I suppose…” I trailed off.

“You’re the best big sister ever!” she gushed, wrapping her arms around my hips and burying her head in my chest.

“My god, Gabby, ya ain’t gotta knock me over, now!” I laughed, reaching for a tape while the cashier just chuckled from behind the counter. I paid for it while Gabby just about floated out of the store.

We got back on the road, and I asked, “You wanna watch it when we get home or wait until tonight?”

“Why can’t I do both?” she said very matter-of-factly.

I rolled my eyes. Should’ve seen that coming. “You’d better not keep me up all night for the next week. I swear…” She stuck her tongue out at me indignantly. Normally I’d have something to say about that, but I just chuckled and shook my head.

Sure enough, she had that tape in the VHS and was parked on the couch by the time I walked through the door at the house. The picture was hysterical, her still all dolled up, head resting on her little fists, eyes fixed on the TV. “Okay, you go ahead, I’ll fix us some lunch,” I laughed, heading into the kitchen.

Apparently, this one started off fast, because no sooner had I gotten the water boiling for some box mac ‘n’ cheese that I heard screaming from the TV. I peeked out into the living room, and sure enough, she had curled herself nearly into a ball on the arm of the couch, and her thumb was firmly lodged in her mouth, her eyes big as saucers. I finished preparing the meal and nonchalantly sat down next to her, placing a bowl and a spoon in front of her without making eye contact. Out came the thumb, and she looked at it rather strangely before picking up her spoon.

“How’s the movie?” I asked as I tucked into my own bowl.

“Oh, it’s okay,” she offered, clearly trying to act casual. “It ain’t scary at all.”

“That’s a shame,” I chuckled. “As excited as you was at the video place, seems like a big disappointment.”

She didn’t reply, and I was content to quietly observe. We finished our lunch, and as I was taking the bowls back to the kitchen to was them, the boy turned back into Freddy and started chasing his girlfriend around. Lo and behold, Gabby’s thumb was back in her mouth as she let out a squeal, and it pretty much stayed there for the rest of the movie.

While this was certainly entertaining, it wasn’t like Gabby was going to get scared out of her wits very often in front of Mama, especially considering I was probably going to get a good chewing later tonight for even renting that movie for her in the first place. I had to figure out how to reinforce the behavior when she wasn’t freaked out. As I washed the dishes, my gears ground on how to adjust my script for tonight’s session. I buried myself in my notebook as soon as I was done, writing and erasing and thinking and darn near chewing the eraser off my pencil. It came as a bit of a shock to me when I heard the front door open and realized it was Ma getting home. It was only then I realized I’d burned out the entire afternoon without making dinner or even getting Gabby out of her dressy clothes… or her makeup.

“Hey girls, I’m… what in the hell?!” I dashed out of the bedroom to see Mama with her hands on her hips. “What is Gabby doin’ in her church dress?” she asked. “And I know she didn’t put that makeup on her face; it’s too good a job!”

“We played a little dress-up, that’s all,” I protested. “I thought it was a nice day to get a little done up for goin’ out in public!”

“Yeah, Mr. Everson asked me to dance, Mama!” Gabby agreed.

Mama chuckled a bit at that. I was worried she’d go off about the makeup. “I suppose it didn’t hurt nothin’,” she said. “So how did y’all’s day go?”

“It was fine,” I said. “Gabby was a peach at the library; we both got a lot of work done.”

“Yeah, and afterwards Sissy took me to the video store and got Nightmare on Elm Street Two and I wasn’t even scared!” Gabby chimed in. Dammit! Had to go and tattle on me, you little brat!

Mama dropped into a frown. “You know what, BJ? This time it’s all on you. I don’ even wanna hear you fuss when she keeps you up every night this week, you hear?”

“Yes Mama,” I said quietly. At least all I got was scolded. I was feeling pretty lucky at that point, until the phone rang.

Mama walked over and answered it, and it suddenly dawned on me who it probably was. “Hello?” she said as my eyes bulged. “Oh, hi Kathy… Now slow down a second, what happened?” her face turned to surprise, then her eyes fixed on me. I’d completely forgotten that entire mess. “Well I’m quite… Now just hold on… Excuse me, but… She said what?! No, I completely understand, Kathy, and I’ll deal with it.”

Mama slammed the phone down. “Beverly Jean Martin! What in tarnation possessed you to say such a scandalous thing?!”

“But it’s true!” I said.

“I don’t give a damn if it was etched in stone by the finger of God!” she shouted.

“But she called…”

“I raised you to have RESPECT for your elders, young lady! If you weren’t a legal adult, I’d take you right over my knee and wear your ass out! Get out of my sight!” She pointed down the hall.

“But Mama,” I protested.

“Not another word!” she said, and pointed once again. “You’re grounded until further notice!”

“Fine!” I said, and stormed toward my room. No point in arguing once she got like that.

“And since Sissy didn’t bother making dinner, how 'bout Mama take you out after we take this movie back, sweet pea?” I heard her say before I slammed my door. Great, I try to take up for my bratty little sister and do nice things for her, but she gets the special treatment from Mama, and I get punished. I flopped out onto my bed, disgusted, as I listened to Mama fish the keys out of my purse and then the two of them leave. Furious, I pulled out my notebook and started scanning the work I’d done earlier. There was definitely more work to be done. I needed to reinforce the thumb-sucking if I wanted to take Gabby down a few notches AND be certain to get the heat off me for a while. By the time Ma and Gabby got home, I was pretty well satisfied with my work and, hungry or not, I couldn’t wait for ten o’clock to roll around again.