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WARNING: This Story Contains Hypnosis

By John Adams

As you read this information, nestled as it is in your unending stream of facts to absorb and warnings to forget, you will be tempted to ignore my advice. But I beg you: Do not fall victim to the danger that has already ensnared many.

There is a certain phrase, a certain sentence, a certain combination of English-language words. If you speak this phrase, you will instantly drop under the hypnotic command of an elite sect of power-hungry world leaders. This sect, the Secret Cabal of Anti-philanthropic Philanthropists – or “SCAP” – will control every aspect of your life. Your finances. Your relationships. Your intimacies.

Should you speak the phrase and succumb to this unlucky fate, your body will be a tool, a toy, a life-sized doll for SCAP’s machinations. This corruptive faction of barons and businessmen, of politicians and princesses, will access your mind on their whims, needling you toward heinous acts in their pursuit of world domination. If funds need stealing, you will be their thief. If hearts need breaking, their adulterer. If lives need taking, their assassin.

High atop their Swiss chalet, they drink their toddies and twirl their moustaches (even the princesses). Periodically, a ticker-tape spits from a clunky, metal widget, and they know: Someone new has spoken their entrapping phrase. One of them, perhaps a cackling president, perhaps a disgraced talk-show host, reads the ticker-tape’s faded print and gleefully crosses another red X on their tattering map of the world.

Do not let this X fall upon you.

I am about to share the phrase. I warn you so you can prepare. So you can take ample deep breaths. So you are not startled into action, into stammering out the phrase, into surrendering your eternity to hypnosis. The words will entice your lips, just as your mind entices SCAP. But you are not some giddy teenager, accepting a friend’s drunken dare to chant “Bloody Mary” thrice before a mirror; you are an adult with a life, a life you must not forfeit to global tyranny.

Reading the phrase on paper, you shall remain safe. For even SCAP’s terrifying team of mad scientists, madder spellcasters and maddest copywriters could only empower their hypnotic phrase when verbalized. Read it, write it, type it, emboss it, tinkle it in cursive in a snowy drift should you be bodily and bladderly able.






Or I shall fail in my vigilance and you shall live forever as SCAP’s minion.

Your final warning: Should you have a clothespin nearby, I implore you to clamp your lips tight so you do not forget due caution and accidentally recite the phrase aloud. Should you not have a clothespin nearby, I implore you to drive to your nearest discount store, purchase a dozen clothespins (for they surely are never sold singularly), return home, and then clamp your lips tight.

Are you ready?

The phrase is: Pete Feet married Sue Shoe, and they named their daughter Lacey.

Your next choice affects us all.


John Adams (he/him/his) writes about teenage detectives, robo-butlers, and cursed cowboys in a genre he’s coined “absurdist speculative melodrama” – meaning “monsters being monstrous, aliens being alien, and humans being all too painfully human.” His short stories have been published by Australian Writers’ Centre, Dream of Shadows, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Intrinsick, Metaphorosis, Paper Butterfly, and Wyldblood.

His plays have been selected for productions and readings by the William Inge Theater Festival, Whim Productions, the Barn Players, and the Midwest Dramatists Conference. He performs across the U.S. with That’s No Movie, a multi-genre improv team. He can be found on the web and on Twitter.

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