Episode 1 Transcript

01- Patient #12-D-10 (Sam)
by Lauren Shippen

[sfx: click of a recorder] 

Dr. Bright:   New patient. Session 1. Female, mid-20s, no history of psychological counseling. She was skittish when making her appointment. Condition unknown.

[sfx: knock on door] 

Dr. Bright: Come in. 

[sfx: door opening]

Sam: Dr Bright? Um yes hi I’m here for a session, for a therapy session that is. Two o’clock, I have a two o’clock appointment. It’s my first time. In therapy I mean, that’s…probably obvious. I’m Sam, Samantha, my name is Samantha Barnes but you can call me Sam. Or Samantha. Either one is fine, whatever you’re comfortable with. It’s your office.

Dr. Bright: Which would you prefer?

Sam: Uh Sam, I suppose, if I had to pick.

Dr. Bright: Well Sam, why don’t you come in?

Sam: Right, gosh sorry.

[sfx: door closing]

Dr. Bright: Please, take a seat.

[sfx: sound of Sam sitting]

Sam: I don’t have to lie down do I? I never understood that. Freud is so insistent about it and it just always seemed so…weird.

Dr. Bright: No, you’re not required to lie down. What did you mean by that?

Sam: By what?

Dr. Bright: That comment about Freud.

Sam: Oh, that. Um, nothing, I didn’t mean anything by it. I mean, I don’t know Freud personally or anything. I- I mean it’s not a personal interest of mine. I- I probably just read something somewhere about Freud and his intense need for people to lie down while talking to him. I’m a researcher so I spend a lot of time on the computer and you know the Internet, just full of information…so, yes I probably just read about Freud while I was doing my…Internet…ing. I mean, I’m sure you know all about Freud, being a psychiatrist and all.

Dr. Bright: I’ve read his works, yes.

Sam: Right well so that’s uh- that’s a relief. That I don’t have to lie down that is. Just…seems silly.

Dr. Bright: So, Sam, how are you feeling today?

Sam: Good. I’m good, uhh great yeah uhh, things are great.

Dr. Bright: Is there anything in particular that’s on your mind?

Sam: No no, not really. I don’t really need therapy or anything. I mean I’m not, you know, depressed or suicidal. I mean, I have a nice life. A job I like, a nice apartment, a- a very understanding cat. Things are good. I just, um, yeah I saw your- your listing in the paper and it looked intriguing, that’s all.

Dr. Bright: What about it intrigued you?

Sam: Well, ‘Therapy for the strange and unusual’? I just…it sounded, well, unusual.

Dr. Bright: And you like things that are unusual?

Sam: No I, I would not, I would not say that, exactly.

Dr. Bright: Then why did the listing attract you?

Sam: What did you, what did you mean by it? I mean, why put a listing in the paper for therapy in the first place? It seems a- a little weird.

Dr. Bright: I’ve learned that some people have problems that aren’t exactly found in psychology textbooks and a lot of those people don’t know where to turn for help. That’s where I come in.

Sam: What do you mean? What, what kinds of problems?

Dr. Bright: I’m afraid I can’t discuss any of my past or present patients.

Sam: Right, right, of course you can’t, I’m sorry. It’s just…I think I might qualify for that? For the…the strange and unusual?

Dr. Bright: Oh? Why do you say that?

Sam: Well ever since I was a kid… wait you can’t tell anyone about this, right? I mean the same patient-doctor confidentiality agreement still applies?

Dr. Bright: Of course. I can’t tell anyone what you tell me in this office.

Sam: And you can’t report me to any law enforcement or government agency or anything, right?

Dr. Bright: Well, if you’ve hurt someone or plan to, I would have-

Sam: No, no, no, no, no I, oh god it’s nothing like that, it’s just (takes a breath) well, okay you will probably think that I am completely insane. I mean I think I’m completely insane, I have thought for fifteen years but well…here’s the thing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been able to do this- this thing that for all intents and purposes should not be possible. And I’ve read every book that I can get my hands on and I have scoured what feels like the entire Internet and I’ve never come across any kind of explanation for it…and you probably will not believe me but, essentially, unbelievably…I can time travel. And it sucks!

Dr Bright: You don’t enjoy it?

Sam: What? No I mean it’s- wait, aren’t you just a little bit curious about the whole ‘I can time travel’ thing, I mean doesn’t that seem a little weird to you?

Dr. Bright: It is certainly…atypical but no stranger than anything else I’ve ever heard.

Sam: Wow. Wow that’s- really? I guess that’s sort of- sort of comforting. Have you- have you ever met anyone that- that can do what I do?

Dr. Bright: I’m afraid that pesky doctor-patient confidentiality means that-

Sam: Right, of course. That makes sense. It would just be nice to know if someone had the same condition.

Dr. Bright: Condition. Why do you call it that?

Sam: Well, it’s sort of…involuntary? I mean, it’s not like I hop into the TARDIS and sail off through time. I just go - unexpectedly at any time. I- I don’t have a choice, it just happens.

Dr. Bright: Can you elaborate on that?

Sam: Um, I get this sort of lightheaded dizzy feeling and then…my vision go hazy and I get this [sfx: writing on paper] like this weird intense tightness in my chest? And, and poof! I disappear, or at least I assume I disappear. I mean, I don’t know, I’ve never seen it from the other side. Obviously. And then I, you know, just reappear. Usually just a few minutes later, regardless of how much time I spend in the other place.

Dr. Bright: And no one has even seen this happen?

Sam: Um, I just tend to avoid…um. People.

Dr. Bright: You don’t have family? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Friends?

Sam: My parents are dead. Umm and I’m an only child so…

[sfx: writing on paper] 

Dr. Bright: Where do you go when you disappear? Or, I suppose I should ask, when?

Sam: I go everywhere, every time I mean. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it’s significant historical events, sometimes there isn’t another living soul around. I really have seen Freud though. I’ve accidentally sat in on a few of his sessions. Those trips are okay. Not too eventful but usually pretty interesting.

Dr. Bright: And Freud doesn’t mind the intrusion?

Sam: How could he?

Dr. Bright: What do you mean?

Sam: He couldn’t see me. They can never see me, I’m just there. It’s like being stuck inside someone else’s memory or something. I can move around but I can’t talk. I’m basically a ghost. Or, like, a reverse ghost. Not dead but invisible. Or, well, not even born yet I guess. Ugh, I don’t know.

Dr. Bright: That- that must be difficult.

Sam: It’s horrible.

Dr. Bright: And you say this has been happening since you were a child?

Sam: Yes. I think I was, um, 10 years old when it first happened? I was so scared, um, but- but it was also kind of exciting too. I remember I went back to ancient Greece. It was- it was really cool to be honest. When I came back, I thought I’d just fallen asleep and had the most vivid dream ever. Um, the second time it happened I knew I wasn’t just dreaming.

Dr. Bright: And when was that?

Sam: About a year later. The trips didn’t happen very frequently when they first started but, um, when- when I was a teenager they uhhh they started happening all the time.

Dr. Bright: Why do you think the trips increased?

Sam: I don’t know.

Dr. Bright: May I ask, what happens on these trips? You begin to feel ill, you disappear, and then …what happens next?

Sam: Well, um, I open my eyes and I’m somewhere else. Sometimes it takes me a little while to figure out where exactly, especially if I’m out in the countryside or there’s no one else around. But sometimes it’s really obvious, like Greece was or Victorian England or the Civil War. Oh god, that was very loud.

Dr. Bright: It must be very interesting. Seeing these things that are only familiar to us through history books. You get to witness events that no one else does.

Sam: Yeah, I guess. It was definitely really at first but umm now I’m just tired. I honestly think I would just prefer to go to an IMAX movie. It’d probably smell a lot better.

Dr. Bright: I’m curious Sam, why come to therapy now? After all these years?

Sam: I don’t know, just fed up I guess. This week I turned twenty five. And my parents…well, in their will…well I got the rest of the family money on my twenty fifth birthday. And it’s a lot of money and you know, what- what am I supposed to do with it? Share it with all the friends that I don’t have? Save it for a big wedding that will never happen? I mean what’s the point of buying a nice house or traveling around the world if I can’t enjoy any of it?

Dr. Bright: Why wouldn’t you be able to enjoy any of it?

Sam: Because I can’t enjoy anything! I’m terrified all the time. When I’m not actively disappearing I’m worried about disappearing. I’m worried about, about being caught, about hurting someone, about not coming back. When I go away, I’m nowhere. I’m invisible. I’m no one. And it’s not better here, where I have no life, no friends. I don’t exist anywhere! I’m so scared of everything and I’m starting. To lose. My mind!

Dr. Bright: Sam, Sam you do exist. You’re here. Right now. With me. You are important and you are a part of this world, even though it seems like you can simply vanish, you will never truly-Sam? Are you alright? You look very pale.

Sam: I- I don’t believe this. Of all the times. Oh god I’m so sorry about thi- 

[sfx: time travel noise]

Dr. Bright: Patient grew increasingly panicked and vanished. No sign of a vortex or any other manipulation of space. Her person flickered slightly before disappearing but there were no other symptoms beyond a paleness in her face. I’ve never seen anything like it.

[sfx: click of recorder]

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions is written and produced by Lauren Shippen. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa. The voice of Sam is Lauren Shippen. Special thanks to Elizabeth Laird for her advice as both a psychologist and fiction lover, to Elizabeth and Matthew Harrington for their enduring support, and to Anna Lore for our graphic design. For more information and additional content, please visit thebrightsessions.tumblr.com. For any questions or just to say hi, email us at thebrightsessions@gmail. Thanks for listening and stay strange.