The Rookie (hypno)

Bernardo stood nervously in the corridor, trying his hardest to stay calm. He had wanted to be a fireman all this young life, and now here was his chance. The firehouse he was in was mainly volunteer, but here he was interviewing for one of the few full time positions offered. And since he was the only person who seemed to have shown, he was sure he was a shoe in.

A bored voice called him into the captains office, and Bernardo went in. “Bernardo Peron?” the man sitting behind the desk asked.

Bernardo was shaking as he replied. “Yes, sir.”

The captain looked up, and his face soured. “Listen rookie, I don’t need some nervous case behind me when things get hairy. There are alot of other applicants, and if you can’t cut it, say so now.”

Bernardo blinked. “No sir, I can cut it. But, if I might ask, if there are others, why aren’t they here?”

The captain scoffed. “Because I’m a busy man. I only have time for one interview a day.” Bernardo’s feelings must have showed on his face, as the captain. “Yeah, so it’s not going to be as easy as you thought.”

Resolving to try hard, Bernardo replied. “I would do my best either way, sir.”

"You would? Well, lets test that out. Doing this kind of work requires discipline and a cool head. So I want you to stand perfectly still and stare at the wall, and we’ll see how long you can hold it." Bernard did as he was told. "And you better also pay attention to me, so you better not zone out on me."

The captain stood up and started walking around as Bernardo stood there. “Yeah, I remember when I had to do something just like this. It was me and Michaels and another guy and the cap ordered it. So we stood there, staring in silence for minutes. And I could tell that Michaels was zoning out. He started to have that glazed look, you know, like when your mind begins to float. But I knew better than him. I started focusing really hard on a spot on the wall, and that focus would keep me going.”

The captain’s story, delivered in a dry monotone, was having an effect on Bernardo. He could feel his head getting fuzzy, so he took a page from the captain’s speech and started focusing on a spot on the wall. “And it did keep my focus for some time. I got to know that spot really well, as I stared at it. I got to know every detail, every bump and contour. I didn’t let my mind wander at all. The spot filled it. All the details were there, in my mind. To the exclusion of everything else. That way, I could keep at attention and totally in the moment, ready to follow any orders the captain would give.”

Bernardo understood, as his own mind was similarly focused. Not that it had helped against the fog. He found that he couldn’t really seem to think all that well. What few thoughts he had were sluggish and unfocused, trying to think of what he could do. But the spot was so fascinating. And the words were so important. They made the fog worse, but he had to listen to them. He had no choice. “All the orders that he gave were important, and I knew I had to keep perfect focus in order to carry them out. So that I could obey without hesitation. So that I could stay standing when he gave his next order.”

The captain spun, and suddenly Bernardo was staring into his eyes rather than at the spot. At that moment, the captain shouted “SLEEP!” and Bernardo’s conscious mind fell into darkness. His posture sagged, his mouth dropped open, and his eyes rolled back into his head. The captain smiled. “Excellent. You’re a very good subject, rookie. Sometimes it takes forever to get an applicant under, that’s why I schedule only one a day. Well, that’s one reason anyway.” The smile took on a wicked quality. “But you seem to be very susceptible, which will work perfectly, so you got the job. Why don’t you reach in and play with yourself.” Bernardo did so without hesitation. “Good and deep too.” the captain said, and then he began to systematically destroy Bernardo’s will, so he could become a new puppet for the firehouse stable…