We were going to the performance of a stage hypnotist. My roommate, Leslie, had been given two tickets -- for free -- by some guy she met in a mall. He told her he was a 'front man' for the hypnotist and that giving away the tickets was some kind of media thing. A lot of folks would have simply accepted that. I was skeptical.
"You're always suspicious of everything, Rhonda," my roomie said with a pout. "I suppose it keeps you out of trouble, but it also keeps you from having any fun."
It was possible I suppose that giving away tickets was a way of attracting customers to a new act. If the performance was any good it might create a lot of word-of-mouth publicity. But knowing Leslie, I wondered if the guy was just hitting up on her. My roommate was really beautiful. And everyone knew it except for Leslie herself. She really had no idea how attractive she was and always thought of herself as rather plain.
Then again, I suppose you could say the same for me. I've never thought of myself as particularly good looking either. I don't see anything special when I see myself in a mirror. But I've been favorably compared to Leslie on more than one occasion. And we both get hit on often enough. So it could be.
And maybe the ticket thing was legitimate as well. But if Leslie was determined to go, I sure has hell wasn't going to let her go by herself. So there we were. Dressed up, looking good, and off to the theater.
The tickets turned out to be real. We even had great seats, right up front. And the show was surprisingly good. The opening act was this magic guy who also told jokes. He was very talented and really funny. And he also did some juggling. So I figured that even if the Hypnotist was a flop, the evening was worth it. But the Hypnotist turned out to be even better than the opener.
He asked for and got a bunch of volunteers from the audience. Leslie wanted to volunteer us both, but I said, 'no way.' So we just watched. He started to hypnotize about twenty audience members all at once. Pretty soon he had a half dozen of them in a trance and sent the rest back to their seats. He said he could have hypnotized them all if he were willing to spend enough time, but for the sake of the show, he'd limit himself to the best subjects who went under most quickly. Could be. I was skeptical about that, too. I was wondering if these were real volunteers of if they were plants. But Leslie said she knew one of the guys who was still up on stage and she was sure he was no fake.
The hypnotist also said he couldn't make the subjects do anything they wouldn't do normally. I'd heard that somewhere before. But he said that he could trick them into doing all kinds of ridiculous things that wouldn't physically hurt them. And he was right. That was the act. He spent the next hour running those poor slobs through all kinds of silly stunts. He had them howling like wolves and pretending to be other animals. He had the guy Leslie knew eat a raw onion and think it was an apple. That's when I was really convinced. To be honest, it scared me a little. He had them dancing, and singing, and acting just like they thought they had talent. But they were terrible, so it was really funny. And no one got hurt at all, unless you consider severe onion breath to be an injury.
When it was over, he gave the volunteers a whole bunch of free gifts. And that made me think that maybe we should have gone up after all. Some of the stuff he handed out was really nice. He also gave them lots of free passes to come back and bring friends to one of the later shows that week. And that really had me convinced the free ticket thing was legitimate, too. Then he said that everyone who had volunteered, whether he had hypnotized them or not, and everyone who had received a free pass to the performance was invited back stage to the Green Room for a party after the show.
When it was over he got this huge standing ovation. As folks were filing out, Leslie and I debated whether or not to go to the party. Well, it wasn't really much of a debate. Leslie really wanted to go and I was only a little hesitant. So we went.
And it turned out to be a lot of fun. There was plenty of good food. And no booze at all which made me relax. I got to meet the magic guy and he was real nice. He was also quite a looker close up. He had a great ass and, if his costume were any indication, he was pretty well hung. Of course, I pretended not to notice.
Leslie called me over and introduced me to the guy who had given her the tickets. He seemed a little shifty to me. I'm not sure why, there was just something about him. She also introduced me to her friend who'd been in the act. He couldn't remember anything about it at all. He just said he felt great. In fact he'd never felt better in his life. But I didn't talk to him very long. He really stank of onion. But he didn't know that either.
Later, I introduced Leslie to the Magic man. And while we were talking I noticed the shifty guy talking to the Hypnotist. I might not have paid any attention, except the two of them kept glancing over at us. I supposed they were talking about Mr. Magic, but it still gave me the creeps.
It was a nice party, but broke up fairly quickly. I glanced at my watch and figured it was time to leave. It was just late enough that I could have gone home and to bed without another thought. But it was just early enough that I could have gone out with Leslie to a coffee shop to spend a while chatting. I wondered what she wanted to do. Where was she? I finally spotted her talking with the Hypnotist. She waved me over. For reasons which I couldn't explain, I started getting that creepy feeling again.
We were being invited to an after party-party up in the Hypnotist's Penthouse Suite at the Plaza Hotel. My first thought was, 'Bullshit!' I wasn't going to be some kind of sexual groupie. But before I could embarrass myself by expressing that thought, Leslie assured me that this was a real party with at least a dozen people. She told me Mr. Hypnotist traveled with a small troupe of supporting personnel and that they always celebrated a good opening night with a party in his room. Leslie said a couple of other girls and the two of us were being invited because the supporting crew were two-thirds men. They liked to invite some local girls in to even out the numbers. I could believe that. Men always like lots of women at parties. They need to think there's at least an outside chance they might get laid.
Leslie said we were being invited because we'd made such a good impression on Mr. Magic. Humph. I was still doubtful, but the shine in her eyes was so bright, I just knew she wanted to go. And I didn't have the heart to disappoint her. I suppose I could have begged off and let her go alone. But that would have put a damper on the party for her. And besides, I felt I needed to be there to keep an eye on things. Leslie was far too trusting.
So we found ourselves at the penthouse party. It was a nice room. Well, a nice set of rooms actually. It was huge. And I really liked the crew members. In addition to Mr. Magic there were some stage hands, a prop guy, an accountant and a couple of other guys who I never did figure out what they did. They all seemed like good people. The only one who still gave me the willies was the ticket guy but he kept pretty much to himself, so he didn't bother me much. And there were also a few women. There was an assistant to the Hypnotist and another for Mr. Magic. There was a P.R. liaison -- whatever that was.
There was also a rather intense looking woman named Della who was introduced to me as the Road Manager. She was a tall, dark haired woman with very pale skin. She looked as if she'd once been cast in the roll of Mrs. Dracula. But she was very friendly and we ended up talking for a long time. She told me a little about the show, but a whole lot about the practical uses of hypnosis. She was really big on hypnosis as a medical tool and for self-improvement. At first it was all very interesting, but after a while I began to feel like maybe she was hitting on me. There was just something in her manner and the way she looked at me.
I was about to excuse myself and find someone else to talk to when Leslie came walking up with the Hypnotist. She was all excited again. He had been telling her about how she could use hypnosis to make controlling her diet easy. Leslie was hardly fat. In fact she had a fabulous shape. But it was a constant battle for her and the hypnotist told her he could make it easy. And she said I could use hypnosis to improve my concentration for my studies. I had been taking night classes and was having troubles of my own. The Hypnotist said it would make study easy and automatic and guarantee me better grades.
While we were talking he put his arm around Mrs. Dracula. It turned out she was his live-in girlfriend as well as being the Road Manager. That made me feel a lot more comfortable about both of them. I mean if they were committed to each other, neither one would be hitting on Leslie or me, right?
I guess the promise of making my studying easier was just what it took to get me to agree. Leslie of course was already hyped. I don't know what the Hypnotist promised the other two girls, but whatever it was, they were as excited as Leslie.
.... There is more of this story ...