MAKE THAT A DOUBLE • by Gloria Garfunkel

The greatest hypnotist who ever lived was Shelly Shneerson. It was said of Shelly that you could be having a conversation with him in his living room one minute and the next minute you look up and it’s twenty-four hours later and you’ve just driven your mother-in-law and three cousins you detest back and forth to a bar mitzvah in New Jersey and you didn’t feel a thing. He is that amazing. He makes such trips completely painless, the Novocaine of emotional trauma.

My friend Sal has been going to him for years — he has a lot of unpleasant family obligations — but I always thought it was a little cuckoo until out of desperation I called upon his services recently.

“Shelly, I’ve got this problem.”

“Good. That’s what I’m here for. Problems.”

“My sister is getting married in Israel to a Hassidic Jew and I haven’t been on a plane since 9/11. I am terrified of car bombs in Israel. I feel totally oppressed as a woman by Hassidic dress codes. The thought of the whole thing makes me sick. Can you get me to and from this event unconscious?”

“Well, that is not how I work. Maybe you don’t want to go and shouldn’t go. Is there an alternative? Can you just send a nice gift? Or perhaps a double? Can you send a double?”

“A double? What do you mean a double? I don’t have a double.”

“We all have a double.”

“But that makes no sense.”

“It doesn’t have to make sense to be true. Send your double, the one who doesn’t care about these things and you, you stay here and feel comfortable and safe and relaxed at home.”

“It makes no sense. It makes no sense.”

“It doesn’t have to make sense.”

Back and forth. I became confused. And sleepy. I couldn’t think straight. Then I looked outside. There was snow on the ground! A minute before it had been sunny!

“Welcome back!” said Shelly. “You’re back from your trip. How did it go?”

“How did it go?” I repeated.

“Here. Let’s look at your pictures.” And he pulled out my laptop and found the file of photos and sure enough, there’s me, all modestly covered up, looking perfectly happy, a little dazed, dancing the hora at the wedding, a little drunk on the plane, looking like the person I wished I could be. My double. Apparently she had a very good time.

“Tell your friends,” said Shelly. “I do doctoral dissertation defenses as well.”

Gloria Garfunkel is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has published short stories, flash and micro fiction and memoir in Natural Bridge, Eclectica, Six Sentences and a collection called A Perilous Calling. She currently posts stories at the online writing community Fictionaut.

Rate this story:
 average 3 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this
  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Delightful. Five stars.

  • Nice one – interesting story, if a little abrupt. But perhaps appropriate given the nature of the denoument

  • Helen Francesca

    Well written with great dialogue. The ending arrived too suddenly , but very original & intriguing.

  • I’m afraid this story didn’t do much for me. It felt more like a half-told joke with an obscure punchline than a story.

  • SarahT

    Reminds me of the movie with Adam Sandler and the remote control.

    I think this story would have been stronger if it had carried on for a little bit… Maybe showing some unintended consequenses. Maybe the MC came home with a husband or something…

  • Didn’t really pull me in due to its abruptness, but the concept is really interesting.

    Perhaps diving a tad deeper into the story would involve the reader more.

  • Paul Friesen

    I agree that the abruptness of end was a bit off-putting, and that an unintended consequence would have made the story that much more interesting. Unless the long passage of time, ie. it’s snowing now, was that unintended consequence.

  • JenM

    Ha ha! I need this guy!

  • Marisa Samuels

    That was hilarious. It’s nice to have a good funny story in amongst all the sci-fi.

    PS Novocaine is spelled wrong. No big deal but easily fixed.

  • Very nice and worthy of 5 stars not just for the economy of the writing but also for the ‘very nearly’ clinical accuracy. Cognitive substitution is a valid technique, usually people know what they did though. Apart from the ones roosting on chairs at stage hypnotist shows, obviously!

  • Rob

    Interesting, but really didn’t do anything for me. Seemed like it told ‘about’ the story. Kind of a ‘Here, look at the pictures of what happened.’
    Good idea but the author needed to put the reader into the story.


    I have to agree with some of the other readers. This felt more like a borsch-belt joke than a story.

  • Mariev Finnegan

    OK OK Doubled. Loved it twice.


    Lastly, I think more story development would have helped, just as others commented too.

  • Can’t say it did much for me. Good concept, loved Sarah’s idea of the MC coming home with a husband, but overall this story came across as a good idea that was never fully formed into something interesting.

  • vondrakker

    five BIG Stars

  • Luis Manuel

    Awesome! This was very fun to read and I like the description. Great Job 🙂