tagMind ControlThe Gift of Trading

The Gift of Trading


For this story I had a different idea in mind than what I usually read and write. What if the main character struggles with his morals even after receiving his gift? What if it doesn't immediately corrupt him the way it does in most stories?

What if it's actually not him himself who crosses the line?

So for this to work out the way I want, it will be a slow build up with some twists and turns. Hopefully you will still like it.

As always, comments are much appreciated so I can learn and grow.


It was just a regular Tuesday afternoon. John was sitting on the couch with the laptop and checking his mailbox for replies from the latest batch of job applications. He was 24 years old and had been unemployed for several years now and the future didn't look all too bright. Well, not in that regard at least.

To be fair the rest of his life was pretty good. Sure he lived at home with his parents, Sarah and Geoffrey, who was always supportive and never pushed him more than needed. That was Nicole's job. Nicole was Sarah's best friend since childhood and spent almost every afternoon with John since she claimed that talking to him inspired her for her latest book.

They would often eat lunch together and then spend an hour or two with her writing and him looking for work before they both ended up on the couch watching a movie or just talking until Sarah got home and started dinner and most evenings Geoffrey made it home in time for all four of them to eat together.

Geoffrey worked as a nurse at the local hospital and because of his experience and knowledge he often had to work overtime since he was just as skilled as the doctors and was always their first choice for major operations.

Now you might wonder why John didn't spend more time with his own friends considering all the free time from being unemployed. Truth be told, he didn't really have any friends other than Nicole at the moment. After he finished school all his friends had moved away to find fortune in the bigger cities but John had stayed.

He enjoyed spending time with grown ups instead of people his own age. John was never one for partying and going to clubs, he would rather spend time at home with either good company or just a book.

But not having a job and no income of his own took its toll. Not only because he couldn't do much of anything by himself but because he wanted to be independent and prove that he could be an adult too.

He was sitting there and feeling the misery slowly crawl over him as the only reply he had gotten was a rejection. Sighing deeply he closed his laptop and sank back into the couch with his eyes closed. Was his luck never going to change?

Naturally Nicole chose this moment to all but fall into the couch next to him, making him jump up in shock.

"Oh my! I seem to have fallen. Is there any handsome young man around to help a lady out?" she giggled as he tried to get his breathing back under control.

"No I don't think so Nicole. You are probably going to be stuck here for the rest of your life." John shot back with a grin.

Nicole's playful personality never failed to make him smile. For a 44 year old woman with quite a bit of extra weight she could be surprisingly quiet when sneaking up on you.

"Oh well, lucky me then that there is no one around to take advantage of me lying here with no way of protecting myself."

Sighing and laughing at the same time John took her hands and helped her back up.

"You should be more careful Nicole, maybe I won't be so helpful next time."

"I'm not worried in the slightest! You are too good of a person to leave such a beautiful woman as myself to her own fate."

Pulling him in close for a warm hug she kept giggling.

"Besides, you know you love me just the way I am!"

Admitting defeat John simply sighed once more and hugged her back.

"That I do, Nicole."

This kind of playful banter and flirting was commonplace these days. Nicole was actually a bit worried about John's lack of friends and love life but didn't know how to help him so she simply did what she could to lift his spirits whenever he got too gloomy.

"Tell you what!" Nicole said. "You go for a walk and clear your head while I whip up something tasty to eat. Apple pie sound good?"

"Yeah that sounds like a good idea. Just don't make too much or mom will have a fit again!"

"Oh don't you worry about that sweetie. See you in a bit then."

John left the house with a smile. Yes, a walk would do him good and so he set off towards the park. It was a nice afternoon after all and he could use the distraction.

As he just strolled along with his head in the clouds he suddenly bumped into someone.

"I'm sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going." he apologized to the man who just looked at him confused.

"Oh, that is quite all right young man." the man said with a smile as he pulled out a card. "Lucas Morrisson is the name and I do believe you seem like the kind of guy who can appreciate the finer things in life."

Not sure how to respond John simply accepted the card.

"Lucas Morrisson, trader and dealer in dreams and gifts!" John read aloud. "What exactly does that mean?"

"Well if you are not busy how about I buy you a coffee and explain?" Lucas said as he all but dragged John by the arm, obviously not taking a no for an answer.

When they were seated at the nearby cafe with a cup of coffee each Lucas finally spoke again.

"You see, it's like this. Most people have something they want, it could be anything. A boat, a bigger house, that special one that never notices them or maybe just some happiness in life. I have made it my life's work to give people what they need to get there."

"How do you do that?" John asked with confusion and disbelief clear on his face.

"Let's not bother with the how, my dear boy. Let me instead ask you, isn't there something you want? Something that seems to be just out of reach."

"I suppose so." John said carefully, not sure where this was going but starting to fear that this man was crazy.

"I thought as much. You wouldn't be human if you didn't. So let me give you a gift. The gift of Trading."

Lucas suddenly grabbed John's hand and he felt awfully warm all of a sudden and pulled his hand back.

"What did you do?" John asked worried as he checked his hand.

"Oh don't worry. I just gave you a gift. It won't set in right away so just relax and go back home. I'm sure Nicole is finished making that pie by now."

But before John could ask how Lucas knew about Nicole, he was gone.

Naturally John rushed back home to check on Nicole, rubbing his hand all the way to make sure nothing was wrong. Nicole was in the kitchen and had just taken the pie out of the oven as she felt John suddenly hug her from behind.

"Wow, I should send you out on walks more often young man!" she laughed.

"I just had a really weird feeling and needed to know you were okay." John said.

"Well here I am! Good as can be, especially with you hugging me!" she said giggling.

John decided to keep the encounter to himself. There was no point worrying Nicole over nothing. He was just stressed out and had over reacted. Lucas probably didn't even say anything and he just imagined it all.

They took a big piece of pie each and sat on the couch watching a movie, which one John had no idea since he couldn't really focus on it at all.

The rest of the day passed by uneventfully and by the time he went to bed it all seemed like a crazy dream that he chose to ignore.


He was standing in the town square. It was sunset and most people had left. Someone was walking towards him, someone he had seen before. John was scratching his head trying to remember. Something with an L. They had met during the day and he had been given a weird card.

Lucas! That was the mans name and he had said he was a dealer of dreams or something. Was that what this was about? Lucas had done something to his hand. It had gotten very warm and then he said it was a gift.

"That's right young man!" Lucas said. "I'm here to explain it to you. Well some of it at least. I don't want you to be over whelmed since there is quite a few limitations and rules to this gift but used properly it can make dreams come true."

"What gift? You just touched my hand." John said slowly. Man it's hard to focus your mind when dreaming.

"The gift of Trading! The first thing you need to know is the phrase, I want to Trade with you. Anyone you say that too will immediately loose their inhibitions and be open for your negotiations. Now remember that what you Trade doesn't have to be of exactly equal but at least similar value, so to speak. For example if you want someone's sandwich you can trade it for a hug but you can't trade a hug for their house."

"But won't they get mad when they sit there with no sandwich?"

"That's the beauty of it. Anything agreed upon in the Trade will be remembered as normal, fair and consensual. They won't have any hard feelings afterwards. The only catch here is that if you already know what you want from someone like their sandwich, you can't decide what they get in return so even though a hug would be a fair trade it won't often come up like that."

"More than likely they will ask for something they have been wanting for a while that is about equal in value."

"This can't be true." John simply stated. "There is no way that would work."

"Believe it or not young man. The gift is yours either way. Just remember the phrase, I want to Trade with you. Have fun and I will see you next night again to explain further but this is enough for now."


John suddenly woke up. Sweating and breathing hard he remembered the dream in vivid detail. It couldn't be real. that kind of thing just didn't happen, especially not to him.

After a long cool shower John had finally calmed down and tried thinking about it rationally. It couldn't be real. And even if it was there was no way he could test it without making a fool out of himself. It would be better to just let it go as a crazy dream.

And so he decided to put it out of his mind by playing games and that is where Nicole found him when she arrived just before noon as per usual.

"Hi there, handsome. No hello for your beautiful lady?"

"Hello, Nicole! I'm sorry. I have been out of it most of the day. I had a really weird dream that I just can't seem to shake."

"Well why don't you tell me all about it while we make some lunch?"

Yeah, that might be a good idea John thought. Nicole would never make fun of him and it might help to talk about it.

"Sure, let's get in the kitchen then." he said as he started telling her about meeting Lucas and the dream.

"Well now. That does sound pretty alarming. I must admit I would be pretty shaken as well. What was the phrase you were supposed to say?"

"I want to Trade with you." John replied shaking his head. Saying it out loud made it sound even stupider.

But Nicole didn't laugh. In fact she didn't say anything at all. John looked up and gasped as he noticed Nicole had gone completely still and just looked at him, as if waiting for something.

"Nicole? Are you okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine!" she answered calmly.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm fine."

"This isn't happening, This can't be happening." John said. "What do I do now?"

"Is there something you want?" Nicole asked as if she was talking about the weather.

"I...I want... I want you to return to normal!"

"And I want a kiss. It's been so long since someone kissed me!" Nicole answered.

"A... a kiss?" John stammered but Nicole just stood there.

"Oh... okay." he finally said and as soon as he had, Nicole grabbed him close and kissed him deeply.

Maybe a minute went by as they were lost in each others arms. Eventually Nicole was satisfied and broke the kiss with a smile.

"Oh I needed that. It's been way too long."

John didn't know what to say. He was still fearing what would happen next. Would she get angry? Would she want this more often? Would she tell his mom? Oh my god, what would happen if his mom found out?

And more than that. The gift was real! Holy crap it was all real!

"Do you want your beef well done or medium?" Nicole suddenly asked.

"Medium is fine." John managed to mumble.

"Great! Then we are ready to eat. Grab a plate for me will you. Let's eat in the living room, there is a movie I'm dying to see."

John helped himself to some food and followed Nicole to the couch as she put on the movie. He once again didn't even notice which one it was as he couldn't stop thinking about what had happened and what he now could do.

But wait a minute. He couldn't just ask for anything from anybody. He had to be able to Trade something back. There went the dream of money. So how could he use this to his advantage? Looking over at Nicole he remembered that Lucas had said negotiations. Meaning he didn't have to settle for what they asked for, he could negotiate the price.

"Nicole. I want to Trade with you."

And just as before, Nicole went completely still and silent, just looking at him, waiting. Now then, what should he ask for? Damn it, he was getting too impatient and didn't think this through. But he had to come up with something or she would just sit there.

"I want you to focus on your book for today. No talking until mom gets home."

"And I want you to rub my shoulders for at least an hour afterwards." she replied.

"How about I rub your shoulders for 15 minutes after we are done eating and then another 15 minutes later while mom is making dinner?"

"No, that is not enough." she said matter of fact.

"So how about 15 minutes after lunch, 15 minutes later and a one minute kiss now?" John felt that since they had already kissed once it wouldn't be too bad to do it again and with her missing kisses so much it should be the tipping point.

"Yes, that is fine." Nicole said and put down her plate as she watched John expectantly.

"Okay, here goes." John thought and put down his plate as well and kissed her.

After the minute was up they were both a little flushed. John especially since he was also feeling the rush of having discovered that it was in fact possible to negotiate the Trade.

On a whim he tried to sneak off when they had finished eating but noticed that he in fact couldn't. So, he was bound to fulfil his part of the Trade as well. That was good to know before he tried Trading something he really didn't want to do.

After the massage was done Nicole went to the kitchen to work on her book and didn't say a single word for the rest of the afternoon.

When Sarah came home John felt a very compelling urge to join them in the kitchen, he had some shoulders to rub after all. He had a sudden thought though. What would happen if he asked for a Trade when there were two people present? Would they both be a part of the Trade? Would it only affect one of them and the other would see what he did? That could go very wrong!

John decided to avoid further experimentation and just ask Lucas about it during the coming nights dream. He felt surprised at himself at how easily he had accepted the coming dream visit but after the day he had had, a dream visit really wasn't that weird.


He was back in the town square. Lucas was walking towards him once again.

"Hello there young man! I must say that you handled your first day much better than most. Now before you ask, yes you can use the gift on several people at the same time. But as with Nicole earlier today it also means you must complete a trade with everyone that heard you start it. You can't just say, oops I didn't mean you too. It doesn't work that way!"

"So what else can I do? Or can't do? You said there were more to this gift that you would explain tonight!"

"Yes, aren't you good at paying attention. Well the thing is that so far you have only started by saying what you want then she replied with her price. You can turn it around. You can ask someone what they want and then state your price for making it happen."

"So if I had asked Nicole what she wanted and she said a kiss, I could have asked for anything?"

"No, not anything. Anything of about the same value."

"Oh, right. Value. But how is the value decided?"

"That is up to the person you are Trading with. Meaning it will be different every time you Trade."

"But what if they ask for something I can't or won't deliver? Then what do I do?"

"Well in that scenario you simply change back to the first way and state what you want and ask their price. However there is something here you aren't really seeing yet. You can take advantage of starting a Trade with several people for these scenarios. For example, let's say that Nicole wants a kiss but you don't want to kiss her then you simply start a Trade with someone else and ask what they want in return for kissing Nicole."

"So what I ask for in a Trade doesn't have to be for me?"

"Exactly! You can ask for anything as long as you can give them what they want!"

"Is there a limit to how many Trades I can have at the same time?"

"Well, not exactly. I mean you can technically Trade with as many as you want but the problem is that those waiting for you to finish their Trade will just stand there looking like dolls and will get noticed by others."

"Oh, right. I didn't think about that."

"It's interesting though that you thought to ask about that. Very interesting. I look forward to our next meeting."


John once again woke drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. "Oh well, time for a shower anyway." he thought.

Standing in the shower he was thinking about how to safely experiment with group Trades. He didn't want to risk anything with his family but he didn't know many others. Maybe the neighbours were home today? Mr and Mrs palmer lived next door and since Mr Palmer, Adam, worked from home and Mrs Palmer, Miranda, only worked part time it was worth a shot.

Besides, Miranda had been in John's fantasies for many years and he definitely knew some things he wanted to Trade with her.

After breakfast he went straight over and knocked on their door. Luckily Mrs Palmer was home and opened the door.

"Good morning John! It's good to see you. Come in, come in."

It wasn't common for John to come over to their house but since they had came over to his family for dinner many times they knew each other well.

"Good morning Miranda. I was hoping that I could speak with you and Adam about something but I don't want to intrude in case you are busy."

"Well Adam is working in his office as per usual but I'm sure he could use a break."

They went inside and Miranda went to get Adam as John sat down in the chair opposite the couch so he could see them both during the Trade.

"Hello there John. Miranda says you need to talk to us. I hope there is nothing wrong?" Adam said as they sat down.

"No, nothing is wrong. I want to Trade with you." John said as he watched them both go still.

"Okay then." John thought. "I know what I want but can I really ask for that? I know Miranda will be okay with anything we Trade but how will Adam feel about something I Trade with Miranda? Damn it. I should have asked Lucas."

"Miranda, I want to take you out on a date." John finally said, feeling it was the safer option to test out.

"And I want Adam to pay more attention to me. It's been ages since we did something like going out together."

"Adam, I take it you have been very busy with work lately?"

"Yes, I'm working on a very big project right now and need to dedicate my full attention to it."

"In that case, how about you give me enough money to take Miranda out on a full date where I will be the perfect gentleman and make sure she enjoys herself and in the process give you the peace and quiet you need to work?"

"Yes, that is fine." Adam agreed.

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