“Our next guest is someone very special indeed, because she claims she can manipulate the physical world with just her mind. Please welcome, Ms. Sasha Leone.”
The audience clapped dutifully as Sasha appeared on stage and waved to them, just as she had been instructed, while making her way to Eddie’s desk. “Now, Ms. Leone, you claim to be able to make objects float, and even change their appearance, using just your mind.”
“That’s right,” Sasha said, smiling broadly. She had been told the most important thing was to smile, so she smiled with all her might.
“So, you can take this pen, right here,” Eddie held up a pen for the audience. “And make it float in midair, without touching it?”
Eddie showed the pen to the audience. “I want you all to get a good look at this pen. Come in close,” he said to the cameramen, gesturing them to zoom in on the pen. “There are no wires attached to it. Nothing at all. It’s just an ordinary pen, you see?”
No one nodded, but Eddie continued as if everyone had agreed there was nothing special about the pen. Then he placed the pen on his desk and gestured to it with both hands while looking at Sasha.
Sasha took that as her cue and focused all her energy on lifting the pen into the air.
Except she couldn’t. She couldn’t help but think of Eddie, sitting just a few feet away from her, staring her down, willing her to fail. The audience sitting on just the other side of the bright TV lights, watching her every move. The millions of people on the other side of those cameras, watching from home.
It only got worse from there. She started to think of YouTube videos of her failure going viral, people at school laughing at her, and then, no matter how hard she tried to shove those thoughts from her mind, it was all she could think about. She couldn’t concentrate on the pen.
“Any minute now, Ms. Leone.” Eddie was growing impatient and it wasn’t helping. Sasha could almost feel his triumph at her failure, and anger surged inside her in response. She tried again to concentrate on the pen, but her mind was too full of Eddie’s smug face.
“Well, thanks for coming, Ms. Leone.” Eddie reached across his desk to shake her hand and the dismissal was so final she had no chance to come back from it. “Sorry, folks. You know, I keep telling my producers they need to vet these people before putting them on the air, but they insist that everyone loves to watch a so-called psychic fail. So what do you think? Are you not entertained?”
The crowd laughed and applauded as Sasha exited stage right, burning with shame and disappointment.