Bonus Episode 5 Transcript

Patient #9-A-2
by Caitlin Schneiderhan

[sfx: click of recorder]

Dr. Bright: I haven’t had the chance to tidy up after my last patient -

Victor: It’s fine.

Dr. Bright: -but when you called, I thought that-

Victor: Did you get a new chair?

Dr. Bright: It’s the same chair.

Victor: Got it. I’m going to -

Dr. Bright: Please.  Sit.  How have you been, Victor?

[sfx: they both sit]

Victor: Great.  The restaurant is doing well.  Chef Marquez was on the cover of City Break magazine the other month. Did you see it?

Dr. Bright: I’m afraid I don’t subscribe.

Victor: We’ve been getting a lot of customers from that.  Chef’s over the moon.  Bought this bottle of Laphroaig - 27 years - and gave some to everyone in the kitchen and the wait staff.

Dr. Bright: That sounds wonderful

Victor: For five hundred dollars, it better have been.

Dr. Bright: Are you expecting a call?

Victor: I’m sorry?

Dr. Bright: You keep checking your phone.

Victor: Yes. Yes. Just keeping an eye on the time.

Dr. Bright: It’s a little after 5.

Victor: 5:07.  Or - it’s 5:08 now.

Dr. Bright: If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you to put your phone away for the rest of our session.  Are you comfortable with that?

Victor: Sure. I’m actually going to stand.

Dr. Bright: “Going to” or -

Victor: I want to.  Would like to stand.

[sfx: Victor stands and starts to pace]

Dr. Bright: Whatever helps you feel at ease.

Victor: A deconstructed duck confit with a seaweed and arugula salad.

Dr. Bright: I don’t think I have that in my mini-fridge.

Victor: No, Chef doesn’t like to rely too heavily on acidic profiles.

Dr. Bright: Ah.

Victor: Pinot Noir.  2013.  The whole bottle.

Dr. Bright: Victor.

Victor: You said it, not me.

Dr. Bright: Victor. 

Victor: Damn it.

Dr. Bright: Are you with me?

Victor: Yes. 

Dr. Bright: Are you with me now? 

Victor: Yes. 

Dr. Bright: Has that been happening much?  The...

Victor: Distraction.

Dr. Bright: Temporal dissociation.

Victor: No. It hasn’t.

Dr. Bright: You’ve been doing the exercises we developed?

Victor: Every day.

Dr. Bright: It is understandable that someone with your powers of precognition would experience a certain amount of temporal instability.

Victor: I do the exercises.  I don’t get distracted.

Dr. Bright: I see. It’s 5:10. I’ll save you the trouble of checking.

Victor: Thank you. You’re probably wondering why I called you out of the blue.

Dr. Bright: It’s always good to hear from my former patients.

Victor: I know we didn’t leave things on the best terms.  I was- I was a little eager to be finished with our sessions.  I thought that since I had a tight enough grasp on my- my- my visions -

Dr. Bright: Your precognition.

Victor: I thought I could control when I had the - when they happened. So I stopped them.

Dr. Bright: You stopped them?

Victor: Yes. 

Dr. Bright: And the temporal dissociation.

Victor: Yes. 

Dr. Bright: Completely? 

Victor: For the last year, I haven’t had a single vision.

Dr. Bright: Those exercises were never meant to suppress your abilities -

Victor: Maybe not.  But they did.

Dr. Bright: What brings you back to my office today, Victor?

Victor: We had a food critic come in for lunch today. It all ties in, I promise.

Dr. Bright: What food critic?

Victor: Robert Ingram. He was with the Daily Courier, but then he quit and started out on his own. He runs one of the most popular food blogs out there. 

Dr. Bright: I may have seen some of his pieces.

Victor: So yes to Ingram, no to City Break Magazine?  Did you see what he wrote about The Copper Block?  That Asian fusion place over on 7th?

Dr. Bright: What Asian fusion place over on 7th?

Victor: Exactly.  One bad Ingram write-up is like a thousand one-star Yelp reviews.  But a good Ingram write-up is…well, it’s worth buying another bottle of 27-year Laphroiag over.  So he comes in, and of course today is Chef’s day off.  It’s all on me to execute perfectly, because God forbid Ingram’s food is one second overcooked -

Dr. Bright: What did he order?

Victor: A deconstructed duck confit with a seaweed and arugula salad.

Dr. Bright: Vinaigrette for the salad?

Victor: No, Chef doesn’t like to rely too heavily on acidic profiles.

Dr. Bright: And was that it?

Victor: Pinot Noir.  2013.  The whole bottle.

Dr. Bright: For lunch? 

Victor: You said it.  Not me. Thanks.

Dr. Bright: Better?

Victor: Less muddled.  Caught up. I was pulling the duck out of the pan when - God, it had been so long, I almost didn’t know what was happening.  It was like being in my twenties again...

Dr. Bright: You had a vision.

Victor: The strongest one I’ve ever... It wasn’t just seeing what was going on - it was like I was there, hearing and touching and. Fuck. Tasting. Smelling. And the feelings, too - emotions, not senses. It was horrible. 

Dr. Bright: What did you see?

Victor: Elisa.  My sister. What time -

Dr. Bright: 5:15.

Victor: I waited on that corner for four hours until it happened.

Dr. Bright: Please focus on me now, Victor:. What was Elisa doing in this vision? 

Victor: She wasn’t in the vision. It was my phone. Just my phone on a table and - she was calling me. It’s been ten years since Elisa and I talked. And I knew - I knew she was calling with bad news. I knew she was going to tell me something that would - that - 

Dr. Bright: How could you be sure it was bad news?

Victor: I saw myself answering that call.  And I felt -

Dr. Bright: Take a deep breath -

Victor: I felt the world was breaking -

Dr. Bright: Another breath.  Another.

Dr. Bright: Good.  You’re doing good.

Victor: Sorry.

Dr. Bright: You never have to apologize for your emotions.

Victor: I know.  I know. It’s.  The - what I saw was just so strong.  The feelings are still so overwhelming.

Dr. Bright: Different than the temporal dissociation?

Victor: That.  That’s just confusing, it’s not consuming.

Dr. Bright: Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what you’ve told me in the past, your temporal dissociation causes you to completely lose track of when you are. 

Victor: That’s right.

Dr. Bright: And that doesn’t feel “consuming” to you?

Victor: Not really.  It’s - almost deja vu.  Sometimes it’s a little unsettling.  Before I catch up to myself, I feel off-balance. But it always evens out.

Dr. Bright: Unlike the vision you had earlier-.

Victor: Right.

Dr. Bright: What time did you see the call happening?

Victor: 5:31.  Today.  Less than fifteen minutes from now.

Dr. Bright: Victor -

Victor: Please don’t start.

Dr. Bright: I only want to suggest -

Victor: I know what I saw.

Dr. Bright: I’m sure you do. But we have to face facts. Precognitive abilities - in every precog, not just you - are notoriously unreliable. What you saw may be a completely innocuous call. It might not even happen at all. 

Victor: So I’m crazy, is that it?

Dr. Bright: That’s not what I said.

Victor: Because you telling me that “temporal dissociation” is “understandable” and then saying that whatever I see may not even be real feels a little bit like I’m being jerked around. 

Dr. Bright: What you saw - what you felt? It was real for you in that moment- 

Victor: It was real, full stop.

Dr. Bright: - your sister may or may not call.  You may or may not receive troubling news.  And you will have to deal with that when it occurs.

Victor: What do I even say to her?

Dr. Bright: Anything you want.

Victor: But after ten years...

Dr. Bright: Tell me about her.  Elisa.

Victor: She’s my big sister. We grew up getting on each other’s nerves. She skinned her knee pulling me out of the way of this... asshole on a bicycle when I was six, and I broke my finger trying to punch a guy who wouldn’t leave her alone when I was ten. She was the last person to give up on me. Before I got clean. She could have walked away a lot sooner. No one would have blamed her. Looking back, I wouldn’t blame her. 

Dr. Bright: Sisters are hard to shake.

Victor: And I tried to shake her. This one night, I showed up at her door - three hits deep into something I’d bought off one of the busboys. I was chasing the visions back then - the ones that got me a little bit richer or a little bit luckier or... Listen to me. Therapy habits die hard, huh? 

Dr. Bright: I’m impressed with your openness. You weren’t this forthcoming about your precognition two years ago.

Victor: Thank you. I showed up at Elisa’s door.  It was - after midnight.  One a.m.

Dr. Bright: You’d seen something.

Victor: I’d - yeah.  I - I.  You know, I don’t know how to talk about this when I’m not trying to convince you to fix me.

Dr. Bright: There’s nothing to fix.

Victor: I’m not skittish about this stuff for fun, Dr. Bright. I just - so listen, help me out here. 

Dr. Bright: Can you walk me through your visions?

Victor: I already did - the phone call -

Dr. Bright: I mean your visions in general.  In our previous sessions, you were reluctant to get into them.

Victor: Well.  You’ve talked to other people like me, haven’t you?

Dr. Bright: One or two.

Victor: Then it’s the same as whatever those people felt.  I can’t imagine it would be that much different.

Dr. Bright: Every atypical interacts with their ability in a unique way. You could interview a room full of precogs and each of them would tell a different story of how their visions present to them.  I’d like to hear your experience.

Victor: Oh. 

Dr. Bright: I understand if you’re as reluctant now as you were when we first met. But putting words to this aspect of your identity might help you achieve a measure of clarity. It may help contextualize what felt so different this afternoon. Does that make sense? Victor? 

Victor: Toxic.

Dr. Bright: I’m sorry?

Victor: It’s like having a friend. In your head. The kind of person who’s. Toxic. Someone who builds you up over and over again, and paints these pictures - if you do this then this will happen, it has to happen. X leads to Y, promise. But when it’s time for you to take whatever leap they’ve planned for you - sometimes they’re not there to catch you. When I get confused, when I dissociate - that’s small. That’s contained, just to me, just in one tiny loop. But the visions talk a big game. I’d get these ideas - buy a scratcher at this bodega, or be on the street corner at that time. Maybe you’ll win 50 bucks. Maybe you’ll meet the owner of that restaurant you’ve been trying to get in with. Maybe nothing will happen at all. Did I ever tell you that’s how I met Chef Marquez? 

Dr. Bright: By buying a lottery ticket?

Victor: I had a vision - Chef getting rear-ended by some jackass in a BMW on the corner of Maple and Jefferson. I waited on that corner for four hours until it happened. Then I rushed over, all concerned and helpful. He bought me a drink for the trouble, then “You’re in the restaurant business too? That’s nuts. Small world, huh?” 

Dr. Bright: You never told him you knew of him from before the accident?

Victor: Never came up.  I guess I figured... if he was already going to get hit by a car, then something good might as well come out of it.

Dr. Bright: Did you consider trying to stop the accident from happening in the first place?

Victor: I’m not saying I was in a morally sound place at the time.

Dr. Bright: And I am not accusing you of anything.  I’m genuinely curious.

Victor: Then. To tell you the truth, I don’t think it crossed my mind that I could stop the accident. I’d had the vision, which meant it was either going to happen and I could make something out of the situation, or it wasn’t going to happen and at least Chef Marquez wouldn’t need to buy a new Hyundai. Does it sound kind of Machiavellian when I say that? 

Dr. Bright: Well, hen it comes to the morality behind atypical abilities, things are slightly murky.

Victor: Only slightly?

Dr. Bright: I have never fashioned myself an authority on atypical ethics. It’s a world of nuances I’m still feeling out.

Victor: What time is it?

Dr. Bright: 5:22.

Victor: God. 

Dr. Bright: Can you tell me what happened when you showed up at Elisa’s house?

Victor: I thought there was someone inside.  Hiding in her hall closet.  I’d seen it.  An intruder.  Stalker.  So I banged on her door for five minutes straight, and when she finally answered, I told her she needed to leave with me.  Or else.

Dr. Bright: Or else what?

Victor: Just “or else”.  I wasn’t focused on specifics back then.

Dr. Bright: And she went with you.

Victor: She called the cops to search her house, which is what a normal person would do. They didn’t turn up anything. Whatever I’d seen... it had all been in my head. 

Dr. Bright: Is that what caused the rift between you?

Victor: No.  That would be the time I stole her Prius and woke up in a pile of scrap metal in the middle of the highway.

Dr. Bright: I see.

Victor: This was a mistake.

Dr. Bright: I’m sorry?  Are you -

Victor: I’m not dissociating. I’m saying. This was a mistake. I can’t talk to her. I shouldn’t have come here. 

Dr. Bright: Victor -

Victor: If she calls, I’ll - I won’t answer.

Dr. Bright: Why don’t you want to speak with Elisa?

Victor: That’s not it.

Dr. Bright: Then what?

Victor: It’s not me not wanting to talk to her. I can’t. Nothing that I say is ever going to be enough. How do I make it up to her? This was my first vision in two years - it’s probably off. I’m rusty. 

Dr. Bright: Your precognition is a part of you.  You couldn’t get “rusty” at it any more than you could get “rusty” at breathing.

Victor: You said I was wrong.

Dr. Bright: Might. I said the vision might be wrong. But I’m not sure the odds of it coming true are really what are in question here. 

Victor: What do you mean?

Dr. Bright: You have a choice in front of you.  You can choose to ignore your sister’s call.  That is always an option available to you.

Victor: Okay.  Okay.

Dr. Bright: You can ignore every vision you have for the rest of your life.  You can continue to suppress your ability the way you have for the last two years, though I would not recommend it. Your precognition doesn’t have impact you any more than you want it to.  But I worry that you’re neglecting an important facet of this decision.

Victor: Which is?

Dr. Bright: Only this: as soon as Elisa calls, your vision is no longer just a vision. As soon as Elisa calls you, the maybe’s and what if’s become concrete.  It’s your family on the other end of the line. Reaching out to you.  By not answering, you aren’t just denying your abilities.  You’re denying your sister.

Victor: So I’m supposed to start chasing my visions again?  Doing whatever they tell me to do?  I tried that.  It landed me in the hospital.

Dr. Bright: What do you want out of this, Victor?

Victor: What do you mean?

Dr. Bright: At, say, 5:40 - whether or not Elisa calls, no matter what she has to say to you - what is your ideal result?  Would you like to have successfully avoided contact with your family?

Victor: No. 

Dr. Bright: Then what?

Victor: I want to talk to Elisa again.  I want my sister back.

Dr. Bright: Then call her. 

Victor: What? 

Dr. Bright: Reach out to her. Before 5:31. 

Victor: But she’s just going to tell me -

Dr. Bright: If she has bad news to relate, then that’s unfortunate.  You have a support system to help you handle it.  Me.  Your friends.  Your coworkers at the restaurant.  And even Elisa. But only if you talk to her. You have agency in this situation, Victor.  You don’t have to sit around and wait for your boss’s car to get totaled.  And you don’t have to sit around and wait for your sister to call. You can take control for yourself.

Victor: What time is it?

Dr. Bright: 5:28.

Victor: Okay. 

[sfx: Victor takes out his phone and dials]

Dr. Bright: I was thinking you might want to step outside…

Victor: You’re in this with me, Dr. Bright.

[sfx: phone ringing]

Victor: She might be driving. She always pulls over to answer her calls.  Even when she’s on Bluetooth.

Dr. Bright: Victor.

Victor: Elisa?

Elisa’s Voicemail: You’ve reached Elisa Shah.  I can’t -

[sfx: Victor hangs up]

Dr. Bright: Victor.

Victor: Um. 

Dr. Bright: I’m proud of you for calling.

Victor: Thanks.

Dr. Bright: You didn’t yield to your vision, and you didn’t ignore it. You acted. That’s very impressive. 

Victor: I should, um… I’m going to go.

Dr. Bright: Are you sure?  You don’t want to wait ’til 5:31?

Victor: No.  No, I should go.

Victor: Do I still schedule through Sarah?

Dr. Bright: You want to set up another appointment?

Victor: I think that would be smart.

Dr. Bright: Whatever you’re comfortable with.  I’d be very happy to have you back as my patient.  And I’ll look for that review. Cityscape Magazine, you said?

Victor: City Break.  Yeah.

[sfx: Victor’s phone buzzing]

Dr. Bright: Victor...

Victor: Yes? 

Dr. Bright: That’s your phone.

Victor: Yes. 

Dr. Bright: It’s 5:31.

Victor: She’s probably just calling me back.  Like you said, those feelings I saw - they’re wrong.  They’re not real.

Dr. Bright: Are you going to answer?

[sfx: Victor picks up the phone]

Victor: Hello?

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions was created by me, Lauren Shippen. Julia Morizawa is the voice of Dr. Bright and Sean T. Krishnan was the voice of Victor. This episode was written by Caitlin Schneiderhan, 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. If you’d like to support The Bright Sessions and help us make more podcasts, you can become a patron at patreon.com/laurenshippen Our next bonus episode will be coming out on December 17th. Until then, thanks for listening and stay strange.