The Power of Suggestion

The Power of Suggestion

“And how does that make you feel?”

Tony didn’t have to think about it much. He had been thinking about it for the past several weeks, ever since he noticed the change in her behavior. “It makes me angry, of course. And hurt.”

“Angry,” the man sitting in the leather recliner repeated, ignoring the word hurt. “Why?”

“The cues are obvious. The sudden showers after being out ‘with the girls,’ the sexy underwear she would never wear for me, even when I begged her. I’m not blind…or stupid.”

“Stupid, you feel stupid,” the man repeated back. “And angry,” he added. “How angry? Enough to divorce her?”

“Angry enough to divorce her,” he repeated.

“Angry enough to kill her” Tony spoke, more of a statement than a question.

“Angry enough to kill her,” the man in the chair affirmed matter-of-factly.

“Cheating on you like that is wrong, after all you have given her. When you see the underwear on the bureau, you picture her with her lover, don’t you?”

“I picture her with her lover.”

“When you see it, it makes you angry. Angry enough to kill her.”

“Angry enough to kill her,” Tony repeated back.

The man in the leather chair pushed himself to a standing position. “When you see the sexy underwear, you will see the woman nearest to them as a stuffed animal. It will be safe to choke the animal, because it isn’t a living person. You can take out all of your anger on that object. Do you understand?”


“When I snap my fingers, you won’t remember this conversation. You will feel relaxed and calm. UNTIL you see the sexy underwear. Then you will get very angry and see a stuffed animal and choke it as hard as you can. Now, wake up,” and Dr. Tom snapped his fingers. Tony opened his eyes.  “How do you feel, Tony” Dr. Tom asked?

“Relaxed. Good. I always feel better after these sessions,” he replied.

“Good. I understand that the wives have arranged for us getting together tonight.” Dr. Tom told him. “So I will see you around 7.”

“Great. I have to run and finish the office work. See you then.” He took Dr. Tom’s smaller hand in his and shook it closely.

Some people, like Tony, were easy to put under. Others are more difficult. Dr. Tom was glad that Tony was one of the easy ones, given the affair he was having with Tony’s wife Linda. He valued the friendship but he loved Tony’s wife more.

The window overlooking the parking lot was convenient. As soon as Dr. Tom saw Tony exit the building, he pressed the speed dial to Tony’s home. “OK Linda, the trigger is set. It’s the underwear. When he sees it, he’ll get angry and the suggestion I implanted will drive him to choke the female closest to him, thinking she is a stuffed animal. That needs to be Mary. He’ll see my wife but picture her as the stuffed animal and choke her to death. Then you and I can end all this hiding nonsense.” There was silence on the other end. “Linda, are you there?”

“Yes. It’s perfect, Love. My brother Chris will be here tonight. He’ll be in uniform, just coming off duty. It’s soooo perfect.”

“YOU are so perfect, Love”

“No, you. Gotta go. See you in a few hours.” The dial tone returned.

Gary Zenker

Gary's work has appeared online at Smashed,Everyday and multiple stories on His flash fiction has also appeared in the Sheeps Head Review, and in the 2017 and 2018 Running Wild Anthologies. His essay on The Super Power I Want Most earned a first prize from the Oxford University Press. 

Gary runs two writers groups in southeastern PA, now in operation for ten years each. His party game/writers tool, Writers Bloxx, offers individual writers and groups a fun way to challenge themselves in the craft of flash fiction.

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