Marla; The Power Of Suggestion

Julie was ecstatic when she got home from classes. Her psychology professor had accepted her proposal for her PhD dissertation paper. Now all Sis had to do was research it and then write the probably three hundred page plus paper, then face a panel of professors to quiz her about it and her research. Sis had just two months ago got her Master’s degree, a proud moment for her and the family.

I was her older brother, separated in age by three years. Our family was not the richest, only able to send one of us through the college system at a time. Julie had worked while I was in college, both for funding her time in college and if I needed any more financial help. Her income came in handy many times, when Mom and Dad weren’t able to keep up with the spiraling costs of higher education. After getting my bachelor’s degree I decided that was enough higher education for me. Now it was my tune to find a job and help her get her college degrees.

It turns out she was much smarter than me, graduating in just two and a half years with her bachelor’s degree. Nine months later she turned in her Master’s thesis and it was accepted immediately. Her professor almost demanded that she get her PhD, since they thought so much of her. I was jealous in a way, where I had to struggle to get my degree, she blows it away in less than seven semesters.

It turns out even with her spending less time in getting her degrees it was all our parents and I could do to cover her expenses. The last semester she worked a part-time job also to help make ends meet. During our college years we both lived at home, even resorted to taking our lunches most of the time to keep expenses reasonable. Our parents insisted that we do everything in our power to get our degrees, so that we would not have to face what they did. Dad never made it above a manufacturing job, Mom a secretary for an insurance agent in town.

The job I had found was alright, but a relatively smart high school graduate could have performed the duties just as well as me. I did progress some, but just like most jobs these days I hit the glass ceiling where any further advancement is impossible. This was about the time of EEOC and companies were looking for minorities or females to meet their quotas. Because if this I constantly was on the lookout for something better, but it never materialized.

Mom and Dad were proud of Julie, in fact they were proud of both of us. But they could tell she was a step above of most people, her accomplishments so far pointing that out. Thankfully the financial draw was winding down some, for her getting her PhD there was not the expense involved as in other years. All involved were very grateful.

Julie talked about her dissertation subject, it pretty much went over our parents heads, I understood some of it, but couldn’t see what she had picked as even being possible. That night we set in her room discussing the subject and her take on it. She has always leaned more toward the behavioral aspect of Psychology, than other approaches. She was certain she could take any individual and through suggestions and recurring reinforcement change them in most any way she desired.

For her Master’s thesis she did that with some lab rats, quite successfully using various foods as rewards when they did as she wanted. In her PhD paper she wanted to see if she could use visual suggestions and rewards to get the same effect. I thought she was heading down the wrong path and I told her so. She told me to think about it, maybe do a little research myself on the subject and tomorrow after she came home from school we could talk some more. I just blew her off, none of her hocus pocus could possibly work, just her wild idea that she was trying to push on others. I forgot about it, watched some TV then headed to bed.

Another horrible day at work, the feds coming in to do some spot checking on employees and get a gender count, something they have done twice recently. The employees think the company is manipulating the figures some to stay out of trouble, and the feds are on to them. I know I was moved twice during the day, to another department, not sure for the reason but I knew I had very little choice in the matter. At the end of the day, I had accomplished very little, now even further behind in my work.

When I got home Julie wanted me to come to her room, she had something she wanted to show me. She closed the door as I entered, turned on some soft music and had me get comfortable in one of her chairs. This particular chair is very comfortable, Julie usually the one to hog it when we were in her room together.

She offered me some blueberries mixed with assorted nuts in a bowl. I took a handful to snack on as she wanted to do a little experiment with me. I was handed a pad and a pen. On the top was a phrase that she had already written across the top of the page. I was to take my time and rewrite that phrase until the page was full, then sign my name on the bottom. I gave her a funny look, are you sure you are still sane, luckily I just thought it and did not vocalize it. But I performed as she wished, it was a simple request. Exactly twenty-six times I wrote the phrase; long blonde hair is quite appealing. That was all the lines available to write on, my signature soon followed.

She placed the sheet in a folder and then we talked some more. The snack she had furnished tasted good, before long I had eaten the whole bowl of blueberries and nuts. The conversation continued, her mentioning about some females that were in the news, even about our local weather girl, who had just signed a big contract to be on a network program. She was a blonde, I always fantasied about her when I watched the late night news and weather. I was showing signs of fatigue, the yawns and me almost falling asleep, telltale signs. The mess at work had taken its toll on me, adding to my weary and tired feeling. I gave her a hug and headed off to bed.

I thought about what she had me do, to me it was a waste of time, me writing something is not going to make me believe it. Sleep soon consumed me, I was up early, planning on getting to work a little early to get caught up some on my duties. I did think about what I wrote last night several times, it just seemed to be there in my mind, but not front and center. Three times I got an email from her, all pictures of attractive females with long blonde hair. I looked at them carefully, but then got back to work. Later after lunch the EEOC returned this time with lawyers and injunctions. More than a few of our supervisors were removed from the building, new people were put in their place and we tried to resume normal operations. Well it was a thought, but chaos resulted, the new people in charge decided to shorten work days and sent everyone home two hours earlier. I had no idea what the reasoning was, I was already nearly a week behind in my work, now this.

I always took a bus to and from work, so I made my way to the stop and boarded. Part way home I decided to visit the mall before heading home. I needed to think about my future, it was not looking bright at the moment, and the likelihood of it getting better was very dismal. I walked around the mall some, even the small satellite center behind the mall. I ran into a beauty salon midway in the center. I suddenly felt an attraction to go there, no reason per se, just a feeling that they could help. I had to wait in line, several people ahead of me. As I was waiting one of the customers that had some work done came up to check out and pay.

She looked very nice, but when she spoke her voice was similar to mine in tone. I watched as she paid, her clothes and hairstyle looked feminine, although her voice might be otherwise. She left as one of the technicians came up to me wanting to know how she could help. I pointed to the departing customer, and told her hair like that. I was taken by the hand and led back to the back, already my mind was trying to figure out why I had said that. I was male and didn’t want a head of feminine hair, especially that blonde color. The technician explained what she could do for me along the lines I had mentioned. She stood there waiting for an answer from me.

I simply replied long blonde hair, that sounded familiar to me but I could not connect where and when. Since I said no more, she gave me a possibility and I agreed. She would dye my hair a medium blonde, then trim it into a nice style that would be easy to upkeep. For some reason that sounded good, and I missed what that might entail regarding my looks. I laid back in the chair as my hair was washed and conditioned, then the dye was applied. A few thoughts were crisscrossing in my mind, one of the most prominent was long blonde hair is appealing. I wonder where I remembered that from.

Two hours later and a stint under the dryer to dry my curls, she finished my style and applied some hair spray. She turned me to face the mirror and I smiled, a face very similar to the local female broadcaster smiled back, so appealing. I paid up front and resumed my trip home. As I entered the house my Mother was the first to see me, quickly holding her hands over her mouth and running off to get sis. I presume she likes my new look and wants sis to see it to.

When Sis emerged a few minutes later, she was all smiles. She complimented me on my hair, the color and the curls. Mom just stood back and watched what was going on. We all helped finish dinner and I washed and cleared the dishes afterwards. I had a lot of thinking to do so I made my way to my room. I slipped my shoes off, undid my belt and got comfortable. I laid on my bed, staring at the ceiling as if the answers to my problems are written there.

Sis and I did talk some that night, mainly about my job and what was happening there. I gave up and went to bed after the third yawn in less than ten minutes. I brushed my hair a little pinning it in a curly bun like the stylist at the salon had instructed. Then slipped on a t-shirt and climbed under the covers.

The morning came all too soon, I did get a shower in being careful to keep my new hairstyle dry. When I got back to the bedroom some clothes were laid out on my bed. A pants blouse combo similar to what the news anchor wore on TV. Also some underwear to go with the outfit. I hesitated at the underwear, but after trying my boxers with the pants, I removed the pants, the boxers and slipped on the underwear. I did the same with the blouse, not realizing it was a blouse and cut differently to fit better with a female’s breasts. Blouse back off and I struggled to get the bra on, the clasp at the back quite a problem for me. When I slipped the blouse back on it looked and fit a lot better.

I played with my hair like the stylist showed me yesterday, getting it somewhat like it was when I left the salon yesterday. I picked up my keys and wallet looking for a pocket to put them in. Since the pants had none, I saw a small purse on the bed, that matched my clothing, so I put my items in it and headed for the kitchen. Again an astonished look from Mom, a smirk from Sis and with a piece of toast in my hand I hurried out the door to catch my bus. I was still a block away when I saw the bus pull up. I hurried, the shoes I had slipped on that morning a little harder to walk in. To my amazement the bus driver waited for me, I thanked him profusely, while he muttered anything for a pretty lady.

When I got to work, the EEOC were already there, interviewing every employee, my time with them coming up. When my new supervisor introduced me to the group I was referred to as Marla. The name sounded pleasant, much better than my previous name of Mark. I was asked a lot of questions, but only had answers for a few that were asked me. Quite often I lost focus on what was being asked, playing with my hair and thinking of my next time at the salon more important at the time. I just sighed, what did they expect I was a natural blonde.

They finished with my interview and by lunch they were gone. The employee that had introduced me as Marla thanked me profusely for me showing up female. They still were in trouble but my apparent female presence helped to lessen the overall impact of their actions against the company. I was told my personnel records had been changed to reflect my gender change and that I was now a female employee of the company. To reward me for my action I am being promoted to a supervisory position effective tomorrow morning. I was thrilled at the promotion but something deep in my memory still bothered me. I did manage to catch up some on my work, and left the office for the ride home with a small smile on my face. The ride home seemed quicker than usual then I walked the block to our house.

Sis met me at the door wanting to know how things went today. I told her about my promotion and that they finally recognized my worth as a female employee of the company. She swallowed hard, then led me to her room. She sat me down and explained what all she done to me to cause the changes in my mind. She played a video of out first meeting with me writing out the phrase and her numerous mentions of females with blonde hair. The she showed me the emails she had sent me, to finish setting the idea in my head. She had nothing to do with me going into the salon, but she was sure I was acting on her suggestions that she had implanted in my mind. She explained about the blueberries and nuts, how they help imprint things spoken or written on the mind when eaten during the suggestions. She had detailed all of this so she could use it for her Phd dissertation.

She was sorry for trying her experiment on me without my full knowledge, but wanted to see if her ideas might work in the real world. She told me that since things have changed at my work I might have to stay in the role for quite some time. The federal government does not take lightly to being lied to, and since I had been interviewed as a female employee known as Marla if I changed now I would essentially be caught in a lie to them.

I had no idea of what to do, this was all so foreign to me, even though she showed me proof of it happening, I was still dubious of the fact.

Story Incomplete At Present

© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker

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