Bonus Episode 4 Transcript

The Bright Sides - Patient #7-B-3
by Eli Barraza

[sfx: click of recorder]

Dr. Bright: Patient#7-B-3. Session 36. Female, 15. Patient's desire to impress college prospects with a clean energy project has contributed greatly to improving control of her ability in addition to processing her grief. That said, I've asked Sarah to batten down the hatches as it were to ensure we don't lose data in the likelihood of another EMP event. Patient's faraday cage designs, while not a perfect solution, have helped enormously in the past and given we're near the anniversary, it's best not to take any chances. 

[sfx: knocking] 

Dr. Bright: Come in.

[sfx: door opening]

Lou: Sorry, Sarah! Hi Doctor Bright. 

Dr. Bright: Hi, Lou. What was that about?

[sfx: door closing, Lou sitting]

Lou: Oh. Sarah had me do a cage test before I came in to make sure I wouldn't, um, fry your equipment. But I kind of made her hair go all over the place in the process. 

Dr. Bright: Pity I missed it. 

Lou: I mean, I could probably do it to your hair, but, um, I feel like that would violate doctor-client, uh, respect? 

Dr. Bright: I guess I'll have to leave it to my imagination. 

Lou: Sorry, again. For the bother. 

Dr. Bright: Like I've said, it's really alright, Lou. 

Lou: Okay. 

Dr. Bright: So, how have you been doing? 

Lou: Okay. I think. This extra credit project is coming along really well. My parents keep telling me not to get my hopes too high, they said "it's like catching lightning in a bottle kiddo" but then I was like, I'm the zap-master, I could probably literally do that, catch lightning in a bottle, I mean. But then they said I'd be grounded if I tried. 

Dr. Bright: That does sound dangerous. 

Lou: I know, I was kidding. Mostly. Anyway, I told them if Jamie can work with the Navy on barnacle research at sixteen, then I got a pretty good shot for at least internships with those energy companies. Some of the smaller ones I mean. The giants are pretty much run by butthole billionaires. Anyway, the big issue right now is storage, if I can figure that out, I got this thing locked down. I think. There's also the fact that whenever I lose focus, my voltage gets wonky and then it's just a downward spiral of problems and parts I need to replace and I've been burning through babysitting money to bribe the guys down at water and power as it is. Speaking of, would you be willing to call the local hardware stores and complain about the cost of their stuff? The prices for the supplies I need is practically highway robbery and my mom said she'd ground me if she caught me trying to buy from shady characters but I told her those hardware store guys are already shady characters! 

Dr. Bright: Sounds like you've been busy. How has your attention been? Have you been having a hard time losing focus at all when working? 

Lou: Lately, kinda, yeah. Which is frustrating because it was going really well and I felt like I had a lot more control. I've been trying really hard to apply what you've been teaching me. 

Dr. Bright: Your work ethic is impressive, Lou, but have you given more thought to taking breaks? You mentioned maybe going to the movies with friends last week. 

Lou: Oh. Right. I forgot. 

Dr. Bright: Lou.

Lou: I know! I know but this project is super important and I got a feeling about what you're gonna say Dr. Bright but it's fine. I can make friends at college. Or in the industry. You know, Tesla didn't have many friends and was in love with a pigeon and he turned out alright. Well, maybe not completely alright but the man built a death ray! How cool is that? 

Dr. Bright: You're allowed to have friends, Lou. 

Lou: I know that. 

Dr. Bright: Then what is it? 

Lou: I mean. You know. It's just weird. 

Dr. Bright: You've accomplished a lot in the past year, it's not odd to celebrate that with other people. 

Lou: I don't know if I want to. 

Dr. Bright: Because of Paige? 

Lou: No. Maybe, I don't know. 

Dr. Bright: We're approaching the year mark, how are you feeling? 

Lou: I don’t know. I just - sometimes it catches me off guard.

Dr. Bright: How so?

Lou: Like, the other day, I ran into her mom at the grocery store. 

Dr. Bright: And how was that? 

Lou: We both looked at each other like we only just remembered how long it'd been. And then it was like it had just happened. I told her I'd call her and left really quickly because I was afraid I'd, y'know. 

Dr. Bright: It's perfectly normal for those feelings to resurface around anniversaries. The fact you kept control and took yourself out of the situation shows enormous progress. 

Lou: I know that. I- I'm sorry, didn't mean to snap. 

Dr. Bright: It's okay. 

Lou: I mean, I know I've been "making progress" or whatever with this whole electricity thing but when it comes to this other stuff...I don't know. It's stupid. 

Dr. Bright: I'm willing to bet it's not. 

[sfx: slight buzz of electricity]

Lou: Have you...have you ever lost someone Dr. Bright? I'm sorry that's- that’s really personal. 

Dr. Bright: I have. In a manner of speaking. 

Lou: Do you ever still wish you could talk to them? 

Dr. Bright: Do you still wish you could talk to her? 

Lou: Yeah. I feel stupid but I do. 

Dr. Bright: It's not stupid. When- when people we care about leave us, we don’t lose the desire to talk to them. Sometimes things are left unsaid and sometimes-

Lou: That's not it though. 

Dr. Bright: What's not it? 

Lou: I mean, I got to say everything I wanted to say. Even though it felt like- it felt like it all happened overnight, it actually lasted a couple months. So, I had time. I didn't want Paige to be- to be gone and not know. Especially about, y'know, the whole "zap master" thing. 

Dr. Bright: How did you feel after telling her? 

Lou: I was really happy. Like, I was still worried and scared but it was nice that I could make her smile by using it in little ways. Nothing big, nothing like what I did right after. But, um, like I would recharge her phone by just holding it. Make the battery just go woop! I had to be careful though, not to do anything to the machines hooked up to her. 

Dr. Bright: And how did she respond?

Lou: I mean, she was so cool with it. I remember she laughed because she realized I was the one who wiped the library computers. Nobody knew who checked out what and they had to re-catalogue the whole system. I was so embarrassed but she had, like, five books overdue so she called me the King of Thieves, savior of stolen books. Her parents found them, the overdue books when they, uh, when they boxed up her stuff. Mostly short story collections. She liked those. 

[sfx: a swell of electricity]

Dr. Bright: Lou? 

Lou: Right. Uh. I guess what I was getting at, um, I didn't- I didn't think about how there might be more. 

Dr. Bright: More what? 

Lou: Stuff. That after she was gone, I'd want to tell her more stuff as time passed. And I know I'm lucky. I know that a lot of people don't get to tell someone they love how much they love them, how much they mean to them. But- but there are so many new things that happen in a year that I want to tell her but I can't. 

Dr. Bright: What are some things you wish you could tell her? 

Lou: I don't know, stupid stuff. Like how Mr. Soto said he wouldn't write my recommendation letter or how Cody Cavanaugh is still a jerk to Hannah and me during lab or just- I dunno. Dumb stuff. 

Dr. Bright: Sound like pretty important stuff to you.

[sfx: buzzing begins]

Lou: Maybe. It's just, it doesn't matter what the stuff is, if it's stupid or important because no matter what it just keeps piling and piling up and the weight of all of it, I can feel it on my chest and it's crushing me. And I'm so scared because I have a whole lifetime ahead of me and it's just gonna get heavier and heavier. 

Dr. Bright: You have experienced something that most people your age haven't. And, I know it doesn’t always feel this way, but you’re a very strong person. 

Lou: No, I’m not! It's been a year and I don't feel any better, I feel like my muscles are about to give out because I can't... we were supposed to carry these things for each other. That's what a best friend is for, they carry what you can't because for some reason it's easier to carry someone else's pain but- but now I have nothing from her to carry except for her dying and it's just me and that weight and nothing else. 

Dr. Bright: Lou, I need you to-- 

[sfx: recording cuts out]

[sfx: recording clicks on]

Lou: I really am sorry Dr. Bright. 

Dr. Bright: That's okay, it's why we have safeguards. 

Lou: I'm so embarrassed. 

Dr. Bright: You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. 

Lou: I lost control and after seeing you for so many months... 

Dr. Bright: Look at me. Grieving is a messy process. There are going to be days when you feel okay and can look back at your time with Paige with joy and then there will be other days- 

Lou: Like today. 

Dr. Bright: Right, like today. When it’s hard to see past the pain. 

Lou: I'm just scared. 

Dr. Bright: What are you scared of? 

Lou: That I'm gonna- that I'm gonna hurt somebody. When I hurt. 

Dr. Bright: I'm not hurt. Sarah's not hurt. My computer may need a little help but that's why we made backups. You're safe here. 

Lou: That's not...I mean... you're gonna think I'm a bad person. 

Dr. Bright: Do you feel like you’re a bad person? 

Lou: Look, I'm not... I'm not gonna hurt anyone okay? 

Dr. Bright: Okay. 

Lou: But, it's just... we're learning about the brain's electrical impulses in my bio class and I started thinking maybe I could manipulate that, make people feel different things. But now I'm scared that...that when I hurt I'm gonna wanna make other people hurt the way I do. But I swear, Dr. Bright I wouldn't and I hate myself for thinking that. 

Dr. Bright: Having those thoughts can be scary but listen to yourself. You thought of the possibility and then you rejected it. That's important, that's the part about you that's true. 

Lou: I guess. 

Dr. Bright: Could you tell me what spurred these thoughts in the first place? 

Lou: Maybe because- because I just feel alone? Like, I'm the kid who's best friend died and it's just- everybody else has someone to help carry them and I don't. I walk around with this huge weight and nobody seems to notice so maybe if I could make them feel what I do, maybe it'd feel like someone else was helping me carry it. Like, in Lord of the Rings when Samwise is telling Frodo to share the load, it's like I'm Frodo on the edge of collapsing because the Nazgul killed my Samwise. 

Dr. Bright: But remember: Frodo had the whole fellowship. Are there people you could reach out to to help you carry that weight? 

Lou: I mean, talking to you helps a little bit. 

Dr. Bright: How about any friends from school, classmates you get along with? 

Lou: I don't know. 

Dr. Bright: What don't you know? 

Lou: They're nice and everything it's just they're not... 

Dr. Bright: They're not what? 

Lou: They're not Paige. 

Dr. Bright: What do you mean by that? 

Lou: I mean, she's-was a person. It's not like I can just go to the hardware store and pick up a replacement. 

Dr. Bright: Making new friends doesn't mean you're replacing her. 

Lou: Isn't it though? 

Dr. Bright: Your relationship with Paige was and is still important. It always will be. When you make new friendships,  you're creating new bonds, unique to the people you share them with. No one can replace Paige but you can still build a support network. 

Lou: What's the point if it keeps changing? 

Dr. Bright: You'll keep changing too, Lou. Your needs may change and so will your friends and that's okay. It doesn't make those relationships any less important than they are in the moment. 

Lou: So I guess this means the movies this week. 

Dr. Bright: It doesn't have to be I gotta go to the movies but it may be helpful to reach out to some friends or classmates, even if it's just sitting with them at lunch. Whatever you're comfortable with. 

Lou: This is gonna cut into my "zap master" practice time. 

Dr. Bright: You might find that walking away from "zap master" time will result in you feeling refreshed when you go back to it. 

Lou: Oh! I can see if Hannah will go with me to that neon shop downtown! I promise I'll keep my ability in check, just wanna see all the cool lights. You know Nikola Tesla developed something super similar to a neon sign? Never took off but that's Tesla for you. 

Dr. Bright: That sounds like a fun outing. Hannah's your lab partner, right? 

Lou: Yeah! She's really good at the lab write-ups so I paired up with her fast. 

Dr. Bright: Well then, I think it sounds like the two of you could have fun together. 

Lou: And maybe…I was thinking of asking Paige's parents if they'd go with me. To visit her, I mean. I figured they might like that, especially since I promised her mom I'd call her. 

Dr. Bright: That’s really thoughtful idea, Lou. 

Lou: Thanks. I'm kind of nervous but it feels right. Anyway, I better get going, I know we went a little over to deal with my...y'know. 

Dr. Bright: Absolutely not a problem. I look forward to hearing about your trip to the neon sign store next week. 

[sfx: Lou stands, walks to the door]

Lou: Dr. Bright, I hope- I hope you have a good network too. For those days when you hurt. 

Dr. Bright: Thank you, Lou. 

Lou: Anyway, see you next week. 

[sfx: door opens and closes]

Dr. Bright: That was eventful. I'm disappointed in losing some of the session but the patient is making enormous progress. While her clean energy project is exciting to say the least, it's a good sign she's feeling ready to stop burying herself in work and reach out again. I'll have to refresh myself on her ability's relationship with brain electricity. I recall a couple concerning cases of the ability being used on others and one in which it was used as treatment on the atypical individual themself. Given the patient's proclivity for following scientific rabbit holes to sometimes dangerous results, I'll need to keep an eye out to make sure she's not planning on doing anything potentially disastrous. And now to check on the state of Sarah's computer.