Amanda looked around the room again, and behind her to the empty hallway. She turned back and put her head in her hands.
Solomon spoke again. “Amanda, I know you can do this. I’ll tell you what: you can test it out on me.”
She looked up, brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”
“You Push me to do something I don’t want to, and we’ll see if I know what happened.”
Amanda shook her head. “That won’t work. How will you know what you wanted to do after I’ve changed your mind?”
Solomon reached into the folder and took out a sheet of paper. He retrieved a pen from inside his jacket, wrote a few words on the back of the page, and showed it to her.
“I, Solomon, do not wish to clap my hands,” she read. “So you want me to make you clap?”
Solomon nodded. “I’ll try my best not to clap, and after I do you can show me this page. If you can’t make me clap, you die. If I know you Pushed me without looking at the paper, you die.”
Amanda pursed her lips, then nodded. “Okay,” she said, and folded the paper in half. She settled back in the uncomfortable chair and crossed her arms.
Agent Solomon stared at her impassively.
She concentrated on him, gently suggesting to his mind that he should clap for her. It had to be as natural as possible so that he couldn’t detect her manipulation. She needed to fit the changes into his own mindset.
He smiled and started to applaud her, mockingly. “Oh, well done, Amanda. I had such high hopes for you, but it looks like your skill can’t save you. You might as well start thinking about what you’d like for your last meal.”
She grinned at him suddenly, and he stopped clapping as she unfolded the page and handed it back to him. He read it silently, then looked up. “Okay.”