Bonus Episode 6 Transcript

Patient #4-A-5
by Gabriel Urbina

[sfx: click of recorder]

[sfx: Dr. Bright walking down hallway]

Dr. Bright: New patient, session one. Male, mid- thirties. Extensive history of psychological counseling. Patient seemed very... particular while making his appointment. Insisted that we hold our first session in his apartment, rather than my office. Even agreed to pay the higher rates. Apartment Twenty-Six A... Where is Apartment...? Ah-ha

[sfx: Dr. Bright knocks on the door]

Arthur (muffled through the door): Hmm? Ah fu - Sorry, sorry! One second. 

[sfx: door unlocking and opening]

Arthur: Sorry. I just - please, come in. Dr. Bright steps forward, coming into - 

[sfx: Dr. Bright entering apartment]

Dr. Bright: Thank you. You must be Arthur-

Arthur: Oh, one second, please. Just - one moment. 

[sfx: granite being chiseled, pencil writing on paper]

Arthur: Mmm... okay. I think that'll do. For now.  Okay. Sorry, sorry, thank you so much for bearing. Just needed to finish that thought. But now it's done. So: hi. Dr. Bright? 

Dr. Bright: That's right. Arthur Sacks? 

Arthur: The - once again - very apologetic and appreciative Arthur Sacks. Here, let me take your coat. 

Dr. Bright: Oh, no, that's all right, you don't need to get up to - 

[sfx: Dr. Bright’s coat flying off her]

Dr. Bright: Oh. Right. You really don't need to get up to do that. 

Arthur: Haven't done much work with psychokinetics before, have you? 

Dr. Bright: I've had some experience working with patients that have similar abilities to yours, yes. Though, many of them were still working on the basics of control; moving a marble across a table and what-not. You're... 

Arthur: ... a little further along, yeah. Please - 

[sfx: chair being dragged forward]

Arthur: -take a seat. 

Dr. Bright: Thank you. 

[sfx: tea kettle whistling]

Arthur: Oh, the water's ready. I, umm... I made you a cup of tea. A very nice Nil Noire. 

[sfx: tea being made]

Dr. Bright: Mr. Sacks... 

Arthur: Hmm? 

Dr. Bright: Not to... I just spent ten minutes buzzing your doorbell before you let me into the building. In the time it took me to find your apartment, you seemed to have forgotten I was coming. And yet you remembered to make me tea? 

Arthur: I made myself a nice cup of Nil Noire tea, which I would now very much like you to have. 

Dr. Bright: I see. Well, I appreciate the gesture. But this will be a lot easier if we can agree to speak plainly with one another. 

Arthur: Yeah, I'm starting to see that. So... just to speak plainly... Doctor Bright? Or is there another title that would be more...? 

Dr. Bright: Doctor Bright is fine. Or you can call me Joan, if you'd like.

Arthur: Great. Well, Joan, here is your cup of tea. 

[sfx: Dr. Bright taking tea cup]

Dr. Bright: Thank you. 

Arthur: Careful, it's very hot. 

Dr. Bright: Mr. Sacks, you've - 

Arthur: Please, call me Arthur. 

Dr. Bright: Arthur. You only touched that tea cup with your mind. 

Arthur: Yes? 

Dr. Bright: You can tell how hot it is? 

Arthur: I can. Yep. 

Dr. Bright: You get that level of feedback? 

Arthur: Not, uh, not quite. But I do have this... I guess you'd call it a secondary ability? It's called, um, eyes? Which let me see all the steam? That's coming off the tea cup?  You're not much for jokes, are you? 

Dr. Bright: Shall we get started? 

Arthur: Yes, God, please. Let's. Oh, hey, umm... thanks again for agreeing to do this in my apartment. 

Dr. Bright: It's all right. 

Arthur: That's nice of you to say, but...it's not. It's unusual, and a huge imposition on your schedule. But really, it's the only way I could do this. I'm in a huge time crunch right now. There's a gallery opening next week, and I'm still not done with the last piece. I need to be on it every second I can get. 

Dr. Bright: Really: it's all right. 

Arthur: Okay, okay. 

Dr. Bright: Is that what you're working on right now? 

Arthur: Yeah, that's it. That's the beast. 

Dr. Bright: Who is - is that Bellerophon? 

Arthur: Good eye. Big fan of the old myths? 

Dr. Bright: I had a phase in high school. You? 

Arthur: Every sculptor wants to work the classics. All the old bastards had their shot at Ares and Aphrodite, and all of them. You want to get your own, see what you do with them, you know? But Bellerophon... he's my favorite. He's got everything. Hero. Monster-slayer. Makes Heracles look like the whiny crybaby he is. 

Dr. Bright: What material are you working on? Is that... Limestone? Marble? 

Arthur: Granite. 

Dr. Bright: Granite? 

Arthur: Only medium I work on. For about two years, actually. 

Dr. Bright: Isn't granite particularly...challenging? 

Arthur: If you're asking if this rock is particularly hard, then - 

Dr. Bright: It's difficult, isn't it? 

Arthur: Yes. Very. And time consuming. It takes forever to dent it, never mind shape it. Although... 

[sfx: hammer and chisel coming up from their box]

Arthur: It does go a little faster when you can use three chisels at once. 

Dr. Bright: I'd imagine so, yes. And you can get the right level of control on all three? At once? 

Arthur: Only way I meet my deadlines. It's just a matter of concentration. 

Dr. Bright: And the end results are worth the trouble? 

Arthur: Granite is an absolute bitch. It makes you hate yourself, your life, and everything you've ever loved. But once you get it right? It's perfect. And it last forever. 

Dr. Bright: Alright, well, if you’re ready, I’d like to get started with the session. 

Arthur: Is there like... a secret oath I need to take or something? 

Dr. Bright: No, nothing quite so dramatic, but... since this is our first session together, there's a few formalities that we need to go through. Just for the record. 

Arthur: Such as...? 

Dr. Bright: Let's start with an easy one: first and last name. 

Arthur: You already know that. 

Dr. Bright: Indulge me for a second. First and last name. 

Arthur: Arthur Sacks.

[sfx: Dr. Bright taking notes throughout]

Dr. Bright: And you believe you have an atypical ability? 

Arthur: Yes. I do. Is this really necessary-

Dr. Bright: And what is the nature of your ability?

Arthur: I'm a psychokinetic. Level 5. Type rated at two hundred and forty-five pounds. 

Dr. Bright: Wonderful. And how long have you exhibited visual signs of your atypical ability, Arthur? 

Arthur: Fourteen years next December. 

Dr. Bright: And how long have you been working with The AM? 

Arthur: Fourteen years next February. 

Dr. Bright: And throughout that entire time Dr. Conte was your liaison, correct? 

Arthur: That's right. Have you... heard anything? About how he's doing? 

Dr. Bright: It's... complicated. Working with electropaths is always risky, but Richard was always very dedicated to his patients. They say he should recover the feeling on the left side of his body. Eventually. 

Arthur: And until then... 

Dr. Bright: I'll have the pleasure of taking over his duties as your official liaison. Let's see... any side effects from your abilities? 

Arthur: No. Well, actually there is one: insomnia.

Dr. Bright: Insomnia? 

Arthur: Yep.

Dr. Bright: Would you like to tell me more about that? 

Arthur: I don't sleep. Then I take a Xanax, and I do sleep. It's not complicated. 

Dr. Bright: Okay. So: Arthur. While we don’t think of therapy in terms of concrete goals I would like to talk about what exactly you’re hoping to- 

Arthur: I need you to give me the "all clear."

Dr. Bright: The “all clear"? 

Arthur: Yep. The “all clear”.

Dr. Bright: I’m not sure I follow.

Arthur: Oh, come on, Doc. I mean, look at me. I'm fully in control of my ability. I've lived with it for over a decade. I've mastered it, I love it, I use it for my livelihood. The only bad thing it's ever done is keep me up at night, and they make drugs for that. I. Am. Fine. So I don't see any reason why you can't file my quarterly report to The AM saying everything is just dandy. And that way? You liaise, I get liaised, The AM feels liaised to, and we all get back to our very busy lives. 

Dr. Bright: Ah. That "all clear." I see. 

Arthur: This is usually when the doctor goes to write the report saying “all clear”. So, are you going to-

Dr. Bright: No. No, I’m not.

Arthur: And why is that?

Dr. Bright: Well... For starters, I have this wacky notion that as a therapist, I should make decisions and file reports based on my observations, not my patients'. Eccentric I know. I'm going to ask you some more questions. 

Arthur: Why?

Dr. Bright: Because I have things I want to know, but which I currently don't. 

Arthur: I thought you didn't like jokes.

Dr. Bright: Even therapists have a sense of humor 

Arthur: You do have my file, right? Dr. Conte did give you that? 

Dr. Bright: Yes. 

Arthur: And have you read my file? 

Dr. Bright: I have.  

Arthur: Well, everything you need to know about my case is right there. 

Dr. Bright: The facts of your case are there. That’s not who you are. There are still things I’d like to know. For example - 

Arthur: Look, I've been evaluated by dozens of specialists and - 

Dr. Bright: Mr. Sacks. I am good at my job. If you’d like to pay my house call rates to have prolonged debates about the merits of independent informed observation, that’s your choice. But I think I can help you. And I’m not filing anything until I feel I have a full understanding of you and your situation. So I’d very much appreciate it if you let me do my job. Do you think you can do that? 

Arthur: Fine. Fine. We can... We can talk. Go ahead: ask your questions. 

Dr. Bright: Thank you. Now, has there been any change in - 

[sfx: chisel against granite]

Arthur: Sorry. Like I said: tight deadline. I really need to be working every second I can. Just... Doing my job. 

Dr. Bright: Of course. Now, as I was saying... 

[sfx: chisel strikes against granite throughout]

Dr. Bright: Tell me about your life these days. 

Arthur: What do you mean? 

Dr. Bright: What's a day in the life like for you? How's your routine? 

Arthur: Solid. As a rock. 

Dr. Bright: Arthur.

Arthur: It's fine. It's... I don't know. I work a lot. During gallery season, pretty much around the clock. When it's not, I have free time. I read. I watch Downton. Good enough? 

Dr. Bright: What about other people? Social connections? 

Arthur: Yeah, that's all good. Nobody in the history of the world has ever loved anyone as completely as my agent loves me. 

Dr. Bright: What about friends? 

Arthur: Yeah, I have those too. We hang out. Have beers. Talk. 

Dr. Bright: What do you talk about? 

Arthur: Work, and families, and TV, and movies, and whatever their kids did, and what's stressing us out, and... you know, life things. 

Dr. Bright: Do you consider yourself a particularly stressed out individual? 

Arthur: That's not - turn of phrase, Doc. I'm fine. 

Dr. Bright: Is there anything in particular that stresses-

Arthur: I'm sorry, could you speak up? Just a little- It's just hard to- 

Dr. Bright: I said - I was saying... Is there anything that is causing you more stress than usual? 

Arthur: Aside from my work deadlines, no. 

Dr. Bright: But you're still having trouble sleeping? How long has that been going on? 

Arthur: Long time. Pretty much since I first started moving things around with my mind. 

Dr. Bright: And you've been taking Xanax that entire time? 

Arthur: It gets the job done... 

Dr. Bright: What about other medications? Are you still taking Lexapro? 

Arthur: I- No. Not for a long time. 

Dr. Bright: How's your physical activity? Are you exercising regularly? 

Arthur: Of course I am. I'm a sculptor. Every day I lift enormous slabs of granite. 

Dr. Bright: No, I meant - physical exercise, Arthur. Like - 

Arthur: I know what you meant. It is physical exercise, Doc. Psychokinesis takes effort. It's actually really exhausting. 

Dr. Bright: But you're still doing it with your atypical ability. I meant bodily activity. For instance,do you ever go running anymore?

Arthur: No. I don't. 

Dr. Bright: Never? 

Arthur: No. That's not so unusual is it? Plenty of people don't run.

[sfx: Dr. Bright flipping through file]

Dr. Bright: Well, it's... a little unusual. You used to be an olympic track runner, so it's - 

Arthur: Used to be. Used to be. I was a runner. I ran. Now I'm a sculptor. I sculpt. Next question. 

Dr. Bright: I'd like to talk about how you've been feeling lately. Have you been experiencing any pain or any unusual physical - 

Arthur: Look, Doc, I know that - that a certain amount of physical blowback or whatever the literature calls it is common with psychokinetics, but really: I got this. 

Dr. Bright: Has there been any pain or unusual physical sensations lately? 

Arthur: What? You just - I said no. My ability hasn't had any - 

Dr. Bright: I am going to ask you this question as many times as it takes, Arthur. Have you experienced any pain or unusual physical sensations lately? 

Arthur: You're not asking about my ability, are you? 

Dr. Bright: No, Arthur. I'm asking about your left leg-

[sfx: chisel sharply hitting granite]

Arthur: My leg is fine. 

Dr. Bright: It is? Good. Good. Because reading up on the accident, it sounds like it was very serious. How many fractures was it? It was somewhere in your file...there were several if I remember correctly - 

Arthur: Seven! Seven. It was seven fractures. But that was more than a decade ago. It was hard, but the leg got better. I got better. 

Dr. Bright: I’d like to ask you a bit more about the accident, if that's okay?

Arthur: I got hit by a car. It sucked. Wouldn't not get hit by a car again. Anything else? 

Dr. Bright: And your abilities first manifested themselves shortly after the accident, correct? While you were - 

Arthur: In the hospital, yeah. While I was in traction. 

Dr. Bright: And how long was that? 

Arthur: Long. Months. Plus P.T. on the other side. 

Dr. Bright: And in the middle of all of that... 

Arthur: I could suddenly move things by thinking about them. Yeah. 

Dr. Bright: What was it like? When you first realized you could do it? 

Arthur: It was... well, part of it really sucked. I was in, um, pretty crippling amounts of pain. Just like... "the walls don't stand still" amounts of pain. And at first it was pretty scary. Unpredictable. Something would make a sudden noise in my room and my phone would go through the window. I hurt myself a couple of times. But, well, I had nothing to do. I was never going to run again, not professionally anyway. I was stuck in one place and my life was over. So I practiced. And practiced. And practiced. By the time I was discharged, I had a pretty good hang of it. Then The AM found me, and they got me the rest of the way there. They said I was... pretty good. Apparently I have a level of control and precision that most psychokinetics never really - 

Dr. Bright: What about the accident itself? Can we talk a bit about that? 

Arthur: I'd rather not. It isn’t relevant. It happened before my atypical abilities-

Dr. Bright: I understand if you don’t want to discuss it, but having the context for the events that triggered the initial onset has been - 

Arthur: I said I don't want to

Dr. Bright: What-

Arthur: Oh for God's - no, no, goddammit. 

[sfx: Arthur pushes himself out of his chair to check on the sculpture]

Dr. Bright: Is it all right? Is there - 

Arthur: I need you to be quiet for a moment. 

[sfx: Arthur sits back down] 

Arthur: Got lucky. It's a clean break. I'll be able to work around the crack. Do you have any idea how bad that could have been? 

Dr. Bright: Arthur, even if you have excellent control over your ability, controlling your emotions is not- 

Arthur: Hey. Don't. I'm in control. I've been tested. I did the lab rat thing. Everyone agreed. I have perfect control over my ability. That is a fact. 

Dr. Bright: Well... that we can test. Are you up for a quick exercise? 

[sfx: Dr. Bright pulls a deck of cards out of her bag]

Dr. Bright: You remember the Murray-Blackburn? 

Arthur: Yeah. I remember the Murray-Blackburn. But God, I haven't done it in ages... 

[sfx: Dr. Bright shuffling cards]

Dr. Bright: Well, then let me refresh you: Standard playing card deck. I shuffle it, like so... And then I toss it into the air. You catch them... All fifty-two. And you put them in order. I time you, and we see how long it takes you to sequence fifty-two independent variables. If any of them touch the floor, you lose. 

Arthur: Yeah, yeah. I got this. 

Dr. Bright: Okay. Ready? Three... Two... One... 

[sfx: Dr. Bright tosses cards into the air]

[sfx: start of a timer]

[sfx: cards being sorted] 

Arthur: Done.

Dr. Bright: That was... genuinely very impressive, Arthur. Well done. 

Arthur: Thank you, thank you. 

Dr. Bright: Feel like seeing how you do with two decks at once? 

Arthur: Come on. Let me show you how it's done. 

Dr. Bright: Okay, ready... three, two, one... 

[sfx: Dr. Bright tosses cards into the air]

[sfx: start of a timer]

[sfx: cards being sorted] 

Arthur: Done. One - And two!

Dr. Bright: Wow. That- that's-

Arthur: You got another one in there? 

Dr. Bright: You feel like going for all three? 

Arthur: Oh yeah. Let me show you how it's done. You know, I actually set the record for a three deck sort. 

Dr. Bright: Did you really? 

Arthur: Oh yeah. Fifty-six point two seconds. Wait, that’s still the top record, right? 

Dr. Bright: Well, I was actually looking at the records from The AM last night, and I think the record for a three deck sort was forty- nine point three. 

Arthur: What?

Dr. Bright: Someone must have broken your record since the last time you were tested. But your time is still excellent. 

Arthur: No. Come on. Let's do this. 

Dr. Bright: Arthur, this - 

Arthur: Let's go. 

Dr. Bright: All right... three... two... one... 

[sfx: Dr. Bright tosses cards into the air]

[sfx: start of a timer]

[sfx: cards being sorted] 

Dr. Bright: Arthur:, don't push your- 

Arthur: Just let me-

[sfx: Arthur losing control, the cards falling to the ground] 

Dr. Bright: Just so you know... When the other telekinetic broke your record last year, it was after almost three hours of warm-ups, practice runs, and conditioning. 

Arthur: What? 

Dr. Bright: I'm saying she didn't break your record all by herself. She had a lot of help. But you don't like help, do you?Why it is so important for you to be the best at this? Why do you need to win at being atypical? You were a world-class athlete. You came in fourth at the 1998 Olympics. You would have been a favorite for gold in 2002, except you got hit by a drunk driver. But you recovered from that, and you became a world-class sculptor. Most people would kill to have one of the two obscenely successful lives you've lived. But the mere idea that you might need to even talk to someone about your incredibly complicated, sensitive, possibly dangerous power... that you can't stand. That drives you crazy. Why do you have to be the best at this? 

Arthur: Because... I have to be. 

Dr. Bright: Why? Because you were in an accident? Or... Because you came in fourth at the Olympics? 

Arthur: What?

Dr. Bright: Well...I have this colleague. Not a therapist, but someone who works with atypicals. And she has this... deeply unscientific theory about people with physical abilities. She thinks they're always one of two types: one kind, their bodies use their new powers as a... survival tool. A way of coping with an extreme physical situation. 

Arthur: And what's the second type? 

Dr. Bright: For the second kind, the ability is almost like a- well, like a punishment. For some part of themselves. Or a way of divesting. Almost like they're telling their bodies, "See? I don't need you. I can get by just fine." What do you think my colleague would say about your, Arthur? 

Arthur: Well... I think it depends. If I'm the first type then I got my ability because I needed it. Because I'd been in an accident, and the thing that made my life make sense had just vanished, probably forever. And my body just knew, on some molecular level I had to change. I had to grow. But if I'm the second type, then it wasn't the accident that triggered it. The way that pretty much everyone has always assumed it was. I was already well on my way by the time that car hit me. And what actually set it off... the thing that got me going... it was... 

Dr. Bright: You're not made out of granite, Arthur:. None of us are. No one is a perfect statue every single day of their lives. And that's something we all have to come to grips with. Sooner or later. 

Arthur: So... Is that what you think? That I just never forgave myself for not getting a medal? That I've been punishing myself? Or my body? Is that actually why I can't sleep?

Dr. Bright: No. I happen to think my colleague is absolutely full of crap, as is anyone that would ever tell you that something as complicated as your atypical ability could be explained by something as simple as an either/or statement. I just thought that might help to... move some things around. 

Arthur: Oh.

Dr. Bright: Sorry. No easy answers here. But I am going to help you get some sleep. Some healthy, natural sleep. 

[sfx: Dr. Bright scribbling on paper]

Arthur: Yeah? What's that? 

Dr. Bright: This is your homework assignment. Forty minutes of aerobic exercise a day. If you're not up for running, get a rowing machine. I really don't care what you do, but you're going to stop relying on the Xanax and you're going to get moving again. 

Arthur: Wait, I thought you said this wasn't about - 

Dr. Bright: You want to know why you have trouble sleeping? Because you spend fifteen hours a day lifting three- hundred pounds of granite with your brain and you're not giving it any fuel. You're using it as a muscle, and you need to get oxygen-rich blood pumping in the veins that travel through it. So get out of this apartment, and give it some gasoline. 

Arthur: Forty minutes? 

Dr. Bright: Every day. And it'll feel like you're dying at first, but you're not. You're made out of tough stuff. Arthur, you need to remember that even when you're using your abilities, it's still your body doing it. And act like it. And - just for the record - you have amazing control over your ability. Some of the best I've ever seen. You don't need someone to help you control your ability, but…

Arthur: …but I really fucking need a therapist. Yeah. God. Jesus, you figured out all of this stuff just from talking to me for twenty minutes? 

Dr. Bright: As I said, I’m good at my job. Also, Dr. Conte took excellent notes. 

[sfx: Dr. Bright stands up]

Dr. Bright: I have a slot opening up in two weeks. I'd be delighted to see you - in my office - every Thursday. 

Arthur: Ugh, but The AM is so far out- 

Dr. Bright: I’m actually not- I left the facility a few months ago. I have my own office - it’s far more central so I don’t want to hear any excuses. You can come in and then we can talk about getting you that "all clear." All right? 

Arthur: Yeah, yeah. You got it. Thank you Doctor Bright. 

Dr. Bright: You're very welcome. And by the way, it's okay to just call it telekinesis. It doesn't make it any less cool, all right? 

Arthur: All right, all right... We'll go with that. 

Dr. Bright: Excellent. I'll see you in two weeks? 

Arthur: I'll see you in two weeks. 

Dr. Bright: Wonderful. Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Arthur Sacks. 

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions was created by me, Lauren Shippen. Julia Morizawa is the voice of Dr. Bright and Zach Valenti was the voice of Arthur. This episode was written by Gabriel Urbina, sound designed by Mischa Stanton, and edited and directed by myself. All our music is composed and performed by Evan Cunningham and our psychological consultant is Elizabeth Laird. Our next bonus episode will be coming out on January 21st. Until then, thanks for listening and stay strange.