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So far the plastic puddle is just an experiment, but it is already a successful one. Mr. Hahn thinks he can perfect a kit which would enable a hunter to make any stretch of dry pasture into a pond in 15 minutes flat.
Don Newcombe the pitcher sat one cold evening last week in his Newark, N.J. cocktail lounge, large and brooding in a leather sports jacket the color of white clover honey and a polka-dot tie. His jukebox played 100 songs relating love's old fevers.
"Let me tell you something, young fella," Newcombe said to his visitor. "I am going to fly or I am going to quit baseball. And I am not going to quit baseball. This year I really thought I would quit because I am a big man and a big eater and I have to work harder than any man in baseball. But I sat down in a chair one day and wrote my life story by telling it to myself and I knew, being also a grown man 32 years old next June, that I could not quit.
"The last time I flew was when the Brooklyn ball club forced me to go to Japan in 1956. They gave me sleeping pills, I drank whisky, but it didn't do any good. After that I swore on my little girl that I wouldn't ever go on another airplane.
"But then I got interested in hypnotism. I want to impress one thing on you, young fella. This is no farce. If children can be born and the mother feels no pain, hypnotism is not a joke, and if Don Newcombe can fly again, it is also not a joke. And $25 a session is no joke. This hypnotist I am going to is not a quack.
"I have had three sessions with him—one a week for the last three weeks. Each session lasts an hour. The man says, 'Sit down and look into my right eye, Don.' Then he starts talking to me the way I am talking to you now. He is so nice, it's pitiful. He tells me I will not be afraid when I get on the plane and that the plane will not crash; that I will be able to fly again. We talk about how I am a Negro pitcher and people sometimes call me names and about how I get nervous so my palms are sweating before a game. It's all right to get nervous before a game but you shouldn't bring it in with you. We talk about when people say I choke up and the time I was so pent up, I hit that man.
"My eyes are closed when he is talking to me but I am fully conscious. He says I am an excellent subject because I want so much to be one. I can hear the buses going by, the horns blowing, people passing in the street. I am not in his power. I can always get up and walk away. He cannot make me jump out the window.
"This man is doing me a favor, young fella, and I am doing me a favor. He does not need me. He lived before he met Don Newcombe and he will live after he met him.
"Also," Newcombe continued, "three times a day for five minutes I have a relaxation session with myself. I count from 5 to 1 over and over again. 5-4-3-2-1. 5-4-3-2-1. I get so relaxed, it's pitiful.