“Anne, you haven’t moved at all since we’ve started. Aren’t you uncomfortable?” Sam said.
“A little, but tolerably so,” Anne said. She implied a shrug, without the actual movement.
“My turn to listen. I’ve been blathering for a while. Why did you come here to the campus?” Sam said.
“What did you do then?” Sam said.
“I went home and started looking things up online, or in the library. All without leaving a trail or history. My poor mother would have flayed me alive, and not in the fun way,” Anne said.
“I hear the food trolley. Here is where I get fed, and you must watch,” Sam said.
“I expected as much. May I inquire as to how long this test has been in the past?” Anne said.
“The longest I’ve seen someone last is a day and a half,” Sam said.
Anne nodded. She knew it would be more than a few hours.
“The good news is you get two 5 minute breaks a day, and privacy in the bathroom for those 5 minutes. You are encouraged to drink water during that time, as it is the only intake permitted during the test, besides the cherry. i don’t imagine you would like to take a nibble?” Sam said.
The food trolly entered with a student attendant. She was very pretty, and silently served Sam his meal. She never looked up, and never made eye contact. Anne thought she was an excellent example of service.
“This tastes so good, oh I love peaches,” Sam said in a mock surprised tone.
“It won’t work,” Anne said.
“It might, and I have to try. I can be just as stubborn as you,” Sam said.
“No, I don’t think so,” Anne said.
“What makes you say that?” Sam said.
Anne thought of many reasons, but she said, “I just have a hunch.”
“You sound pretty sure of yourself,” Sam said. He drank some orange juice and sent the trolley away. “It’s break time, follow me please.”
They left through a different door than the trolly. Sam walked backward, and still held the cherry infront of her mouth. He allowed it to tap her lip a few times as they moved down the hall. She did not react.
They reached a door clearly marked ‘Private bathroom’ and an attendant stood next to it. As they approached, the attendant took a small white plate from behind his back, and held it at his chest. Sam placed the cherry on the plate, opened the door to the bathroom and aloowed Anne to enter.
“It will be locked from the outside, and you are welcome to lock it from the inside. I will come back in about 5 minutes. This is my only break as well,” Sam smiled at her, and closed the door between them.
Anne closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She had a plan she wanted to try, but she didn’t know if she could pull it off.
They walked back to the same room, Sam backwards. Anne had to work to keep her grin hidden.
“Do you believe in the placebo effect?” Anne said.
“What an odd topic, but okay, I’ll play. Yes, I believe it exists and is real,” Sam said.
They both settled back into the center of the room, Anne in a new position, which resembled a yoga position.
“Do you believe the mind can control physical things in ways science can’t explain yet?” Anne said.
“Yes, I guess. I haven’t spent much time thinking about it,” Sam said.
“Did you know cherries were aphrodisiacs?” Anne said.
“I know some cultures consider them helpful in that way,” Sam said.
Anne grinned, she may be able to persuade Sam to eat the cherry after all.