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Mere Suggestion

Fernando Sorrentino
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My friends say I am very suggestible. I think they’re right. As evidence of this, they bring up a little incident that I was involved in last Thursday.

That morning I was reading a horror novel and, although it was broad daylight, I fell victim to the power of suggestion. This suggestion implanted in me the idea that there was a bloodthirsty murderer in the kitchen; and this bloodthirsty murderer, brandishing an enormous dagger, was waiting for me to enter the kitchen so he could leap upon me aid plunge the knife into my back. So, in spite of my being seated directly across from the kitchen door, in spite of the fact that no one could have gone into the kitchen without my having seen him, and that there was no other access to the kitchen but that door; in spite of all these facts, I, nonetheless, was fully convinced that the murderer lurked behind the closed door.

So I fell victim to the power of suggestion and did not have the courage to enter the kitchen. This worried me, because lunch time was approaching and it would be indispensable for me to go into the kitchen. Then the doorbell rang.

“Come in!” I yelled without standing up. “It’s not locked.”

The building superintendent came in, with two or three letters.

“My leg fell asleep,” I said. “Could you go to the kitchen and bring me a glass of water?”

The super said, “Of course,” opened the kitchen door and went in. I heard a cry of pain and the sound of a body that, in collapsing, dragged with it dishes or bottles. Then I leaped from my chair and ran to the kitchen. The super, half his body on the table and an enormous dagger plunged into his back, lay dead. Now, calmed down, I was able to determine that, of course, there was no murderer in the kitchen.

As is logical, it was a case of mere suggestion.

Translation: Clark M. Zlotchew
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Copyright ©Fernando Sorrentino, 1976
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Date of publicationJuly 2000
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