Patreon Bonus Episode Transcript

The Bright Sides: Patient #5-E-3
by Lauren Shippen

[sfx: click of recorder]

[sfx: Dr. Bright pouring herself a scotch]

Dr. Bright: Weekly session update: Patients two and three have continued to progress at an encouraging pace. The journaling projects seem to be serving them both well and I think I could probably assign even more outside work. I’d like to create a list of books for them to read, possibly starting with- 

[sfx: door swinging open]

Damien: Hello? 

Dr. Bright: Oh, hello- I didn’t hear you- I’m sorry, can I help you? 

Damien: Are you, um, - Is this the office of Doctor Bright? 

Dr. Bright: Yes, yes it is. I’m Dr. Bright. 

Damien: I’m so sorry to come by so late. I was out for a walk, sometimes it helps me think and I, uh, I saw your light on. And I was wondering, do you take on new clients? 

Dr. Bright: Are you all right? You look... 

Damien: It’s been a bad day. Week. Month. Hell, my whole life’s been kind of shit. 

Dr. Bright: I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m actually just closing up for the day, but if you’d like to schedule an appointment, I think I have some time tomorrow- 

Damien: Do you- Is there any chance you have some time right now? I know, I know you’re probably really busy but- Please? Please, I don’t- I don’t know how long I can last. 

Dr. Bright: Are you saying you want to hurt yourself?

Damien: Do you want me to? 

Dr. Bright: Of course not. Why don’t you take a seat. 

Damien: Thank- thank you, oh thank you so much ma’am- 

Dr. Bright: Dr. Bright will be fine. 

[sfx: Damien sitting]

Damien: Thank you, Dr. Bright. 

Dr. Bright: And you are? 

Damien: Damien. Just please, just call me Damien. 

Dr. Bright: Very well. Tell me, Damien, what  did you mean when you said you don’t know how long you can last? 

Damien: Are you new to the neighborhood? 

Dr. Bright: Therapy isn’t about the therapist - it’s your story that’s important here. It can be hard, to talk to someone you’ve just met. But I’m not going to judge you. Why don’t we start simple. Tell me a little about yourself. I- I want to know more about you. 

Damien: Do you? I- I thought I’d seen every therapist in the phone book. Or at least, I’ve been going down the list. 

Dr. Bright: Is there a reason you’ve seen so many? 

Damien: I- I think I’m looking for answers, I guess. I never feel- I don’t fit anywhere, not really. I’ve looked for years and years, to see if anyone has the anyone could help me and no one ever seems to be able to- I’m sorry. 

Dr. Bright: These feelings you're having are quite common, Damien. Many people feel they don't belong. Tell me: what answers are you looking for? 

Damien: You’re... you’re really good at this. 

Dr. Bright: Thank you. 

Damien: You’re very soothing. Do you work a lot with kids? One of those family specialists? I’ve seen a lot of those. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, I’ve worked with children- I’ll work with anyone who has unusual abilities- 

Damien: What’d you say? 

Dr. Bright: My specialty is working with Atypicals, but those feelings of discontentment and a lack of belonging, they’re not limited just to- to- I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be speaking about my other patients. 

Damien: No, no, that’s okay. I wanna know. Do you know a lot of, um, what’d you call it, Atypicals? 

Dr. Bright: I’ve- I’ve met a few, yes. 

Damien: And you? Are you- you know? 

Dr. Bright: It- it runs in my family. But we’re getting off topic. What do you know about Atypicals? 

Damien: Can I ask, what did you do before you started the practice? 

Dr. Bright: I really think that we should- 

Damien: Please? It’s been- I’ve had- There are some monsters out there and I just need to know. 

Dr. Bright: What kind of monsters? 

Damien: The kind who take advantage of anyone they can. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, I’m- I’m familiar with that particular kind of monster. But I can assure you, you’re safe here. 

Damien: The Atypicals you work with, are they monsters? 

Dr. Bright: No they- They’re not the monsters I encounter. 

Damien: That- I can’t- This is amazing, Dr. Bright. This is... I- I’ve been looking for- I didn’t think there were more people like me. 

Dr. Bright: I- Yes, I’ve seen many different, um, many types of Atypicals. But enough about that. I’d like to talk about you. Tell me. About you. I- I want to know. 

Damien: And I want you to know. 

Dr. Bright: So then tell me. We can start small, where do you come from? 

Damien: Nowheresville. 

Dr. Bright: Not from here? 

Damien: No. Not from here. 

Dr. Bright: Do you have family here? 

Damien: No.

Dr. Bright: How about back in “nowheresville”. 

Damien: Nah. They moved on. 

Dr. Bright: Where do they live now? 

Damien: No, I mean, they moved on. They’re not in my life anymore. 

Dr. Bright: I’m sorry. 

Damien: Their loss. My parents, they couldn’t handle their son being a freak. 

Dr. Bright: You’re not a freak, Damien. 

Damien: I am what I am. 

Dr. Bright: Which is? 

Damien: Let’s just leave it at that. 

Dr. Bright: So. Did you move here from your nowheresville? 

Damien: No, I, um, I traveled around. 

Dr. Bright: Was that difficult? Moving from place to place? 

Damien: Nah. People were very kind to me. For the most part. 

Dr. Bright: That’s good to hear. The world isn’t always the kindest place. 

Damien: You know, don’t you? How harsh the world can be? 

Dr. Bright: Yes, I- well. Why don’t you tell me about these people who were kind to you? 

Damien: Even kindness has its price. People, they want- they want you. To use you. Get whatever they can and go. And you’re just a commodity, something for them to step on as they make their way through life. They just want you to agree, a world of fucking yes-men. 

Dr. Bright: Have you been used? 

Damien: I’ve- there’s been so much that’s happened. To me. Stuff that’s not fair. But bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people and the world just  still spins, right? 

Dr. Bright: Yes, it does still spin. Everyone has their battles to fight. 

Damien: So how do you control it? 

Dr. Bright: What? 

Damien: How do you fight the battle so that you win the war? Or whatever metaphor you want to use. How do you keep control of the world around you? 

Dr. Bright: We can’t. No one can control the world, or the people around them. The world will continue to spin whether we like the way it turns or not. But together, we can work out a plan to help you cope with that. Control the things you can and learn to let go of the things you can’t. 

Damien: You- you would do that for me? Help me? 

Dr. Bright: It’s my job. And I want to. 

Damien: You really think I can have control?

Dr. Bright: I think everyone can. 

Damien: Even you? 

Dr. Bright: What? 

Damien: Do you feel in control? 

Dr. Bright: No. I mean- I can’t control the rotation of the earth anymore than you can. But I think that everyone has the capacity for control within their own lives. 

Damien: Interesting. 

Dr. Bright: You don’t agree? 

Damien: I think we’re all playing a part in some puppet master’s sick game. 

Dr. Bright: And what game do you think the puppet master is playing? 

Damien: I think... I think the puppet master- just- why did God make people? 

Dr. Bright: Pardon?  

Damien: People. Big bang or creation, or whatever. 

Dr. Bright: Are you religious? 

Damien: No, but- the puppet master- he’s like God, right? 

Dr. Bright: In what way? 

Damien: Why did God make people? To love Him? Or Her, or whatever you wanna believe. 

Dr. Bright: You think the puppet master’s goal is to be loved? 

Damien: Think about it. The person holding the strings can get whatever they want. Whoever they want. But they can’t- I mean, I don’t think it’s possible to really make someone love you. Not really. 

Dr. Bright: That’s true. So the puppet master’s trying to control you to love him? 

Damien: Tell me about your other patients. 

Dr. Bright: I- I don’t have that many right now. I just- I just started- 

Damien: But you’ve been a therapist for a while, right? 

Dr. Bright: Yes- 

Damien: So how did you get into this? 

Dr. Bright: I worked at an organization that registers Atypicals. 

Damien: Really? What are the other powers out there? 

Dr. Bright: Well, there’s a myriad of other abilities- but I can’t discuss that- 

Damien: What are the other Atypicals that you’ve seen- 

Dr. Bright: Well, at my old job, I saw many- I can’t-

Damien: You said Atypical abilities run in your family but it’s not you so...who is it? Who’s special? 

Dr. Bright: My brother! 

[sfx: Dr. Bright throws her scotch in Damien's face]

Damien: This is pretty good. You keep scotch in your office? Classy. 

Dr. Bright: You’re a mind manipulator. 

Damien: Well done, doc. I’m impressed, I really am. No therapist has ever figured it out. But I prefer the term mind control. Really rolls off the tongue a bit better. 

Dr. Bright: There’s no such ability. 

Damien: You sure? Then fine. Call me the puppet master. 

Dr. Bright: Or God? 

Damien: If you’re one of the saps that believes in that shit, sure. 

Dr. Bright: I- I told you- 

Damien: Wasn’t really your fault, Doc. You wanted to. 

Dr. Bright: Interesting. 

Damien: So what was that about control again? 

Dr. Bright: You’ve lived with this your whole life? 

Damien: Ah, doc, I thought you realized by now, this isn’t about me. 

Dr. Bright: What do you want? 

Damien: C’mon, don’t you want to play? 

Dr. Bright: Are there others like you? 

Damien: I was kind of hoping you could tell me. 

Dr. Bright: Impossible. I would never talk about my patients. 

Damien: Not unless you wanted to. 

Dr. Bright: Damien- Is that- that’s how your power works? You want something and it infects the people around you? 

Damien: Don’t make it sound gross. C’mon doc, don’t you want to tell me all about the nice little Atypicals that walk in and out of your office? 

Dr. Bright: I’m warning you- 

Damien: All about their nice, juicy brains full of potential- 

Dr. Bright: Have you had these powers since birth? 

Damien: Pretty much, but enough of that. 

Dr. Bright: Damien-

Damien: I said no-- 

Dr. Bright: Then how can I help you if you won’t talk about your childhood? 

Damien: Oh, you still think I came here to be, what, fixed? 

Dr. Bright: Therapy isn’t about fixing anyone, I don’t think you’re-

Damien: A freak? A monster? 

Dr. Bright: Broken. I don’t think anyone’s broken, we’re all in various stages of process-

Damien: Spare me the platitudes, doc. I told you, I don’t need to be fixed or healed or whatever other crap you’re selling. That doesn’t interest me. Have you ever met anyone like me? 

Dr. Bright: Oh, I’ve met a few egomaniacal pricks in my time. 

Damien: Thanks, but I mean anyone with my specific type of powers. 

Dr. Bright: No. No, Damien, I can’t say that I have. 

Damien: Huh. Bummer. 

Dr. Bright: Why? Do you want to meet someone like you? See what it’s like-

Damien: No. Hell no, I know it’s- I know it’s not exactly pleasant. Can’t imagine you like knowing I have complete control over you right now. 

Dr. Bright: Damien:, don’t- 

Damien: Relax, Doc. I’m not going anything to you. For now. 

Dr. Bright: Then let me go, Damien. 

Damien: I’m all the way over here couch, what are you saying- 

Dr. Bright: You want me to stay. So I’m staying. But I don’t want to stay anymore. 

Damien: Nah, I don’t believe that. You like giving up control like this, don’t you? 

Dr. Bright: Why go to so many therapists if you don’t actually want help? 

Damien: To play. I get bored easily. A little while back I figured out that therapists make great toys. 

Dr. Bright: I suspect it may be more than just that. Tell me about the kindness of strangers. 

Damien: What? 

Dr. Bright: You mentioned that people were kind to you when you were traveling. I’m assuming their kindness was, in part, because of your abilities? 

Damien: Aw, c’mon, I was messing with you. It’s not like I was singing kumbaya around the campfire with folks. 

Dr. Bright: But you did rely on strangers to travel around, didn’t you? With what you can do, you wouldn’t need to worry about money or bills or anything. 

Damien: You’re right about that. Safe to say I don’t have to hitch-hike the traditional way. Just ask a pretty lady at a diner if she'd want to drive me to the next town over. Aw, don’t look at me like that, doc, you said you wouldn’t judge. 

Dr. Bright: And is that something you want? That world of yes-men? 

Damien: I don’t have a choice. 

Dr. Bright: Everything’s a choice. If you have control over your- 

Damien: I have control. 

Dr. Bright: But not enough to change anything. Tell me about your relationship with God? 

Damien: What the fuck are you talking about. 

Dr. Bright: During your little routine, you brought up God. 

Damien: I brought up the puppet master. 

Dr. Bright: Is that how you see yourself? 

Damien: Oh, sure, I’m a regular Batman villain, baby. 

Dr. Bright: God, like a puppet master, carries an incredible amount of control. But also an incredible amount of responsibility. 

Damien: Yeah and look where it lands the idiots who believe in Him- wars, genocides, fucking suicide bombers. 

Dr. Bright: Is that what happens to people who believe in you? 

Damien: What’s in this for you? How come you didn’t immediately kick me to the curb when you figured it out? 

Dr. Bright: This is my job. 

Damien: Don’t give me that. No one does  anything for free. And you can guess I’ve got no money. Like you said, I never needed it. But you let me stay. I didn’t even care that much to want you to let me stay. So...out with it. 

Dr. Bright: Like I said, I’ve never seen anyone with powers like yours before. I- I would like to observe them. 

Damien: What, wanna lock me up and prod me with needles in some mad scientist lab? 

Dr. Bright: No. No, absolutely not. You would have complete autonomy. 

Damien: Yeah, no shit. 

Dr. Bright: With one exception. You would leave my patients alone. 

Damien: But what if you’re lying. 

Dr. Bright: You’d know if I were. These are innocent people, Damien, I will not have their minds violated. 

Damien: You make me sound...What if they could help me or were like me, you don’t expect me to trust that you’ll just- 

Dr. Bright: Damien, if you’re not ready to trust me, if you weren’t looking for counseling or therapy, if you didn’t know there were others like you, then why- 

Damien: Ordinary people need reasons for what they do. I’m not ordinary. 

Dr. Bright: No, you’re not. But you’re wrong. Even the most extraordinary people have motivations, however buried they might be. 

Damien: Oh yeah, you think I've got some hidden agenda?

Dr. Bright: I do. I think it's hidden, even from you. 

Damien: Oh, do tell. 

Dr. Bright: I think you don’t want to be one of the monsters. 

Damien: I never called myself a monster. 

Dr. Bright: Yes, you did. 

Damien: Ten minutes and you think you know everything about me? Who’s the egomaniacal prick now? 

Dr. Bright: You have a choice, Damien. You can’t compel people to genuinely love you - no one can - but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make a genuine connection. 

Damien: You think it’s that simple? 

Dr. Bright: It’s not simple at all. But it’s not impossible. 

Damien: In my case- 

Dr. Bright: In your case, you have a greater challenge in front of you. A puppet master has to find the will to cut the strings. 

Damien: I- why do you think I’d even want that? 

Dr. Bright: Are you saying you don’t? 

Damien: You’re looking at me like I’m going to bite you. 

Dr. Bright: Are you? 

Damien: Not today. Not exactly my type. 

Dr. Bright: Fortunate for me. I should report you. 

Damien: To the police? 

Dr. Bright: You’d walk right out of there, wouldn’t you? 

Damien: To that...that place you mentioned. Where you used to work. 

Dr. Bright: They’d be interested in you. 

Damien: I’m very interesting. But I take from your tone I wouldn’t like their interest so much. 

Dr. Bright: I can’t imagine you’d walk out of there in one piece.

Damien: That why you left? 

Dr. Bright: I’m going to keep seeing you. And I’ll be keeping a record of you. Just in case. 

Damien: Why- why are you doing this? 

Dr. Bright: Because, Damien, it’s my job to help people. Even people who don’t know how to ask for it. 

Damien: I told you - I don’t need help. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun together. 

Dr. Bright: We’ll see. Now. Let me go, Damien. 

Damien: Sure thing. 

Dr. Bright: And Damien next time you have to schedule an appointment. 

[sfx: Damien gets up and leaves]

Damien: See you later... Doctor B. 

[sfx: closing door]

[sfx: click of recorder]

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions was created by me, Lauren Shippen. Julia Morizawa is the voice of Dr. Bright and Charlie Ian is the voice of Damien. This episode was written by Meghan Fitzmartin and directed, edited, and sound designed by me. Our usual sound designer is Mischa Stanton and our composer is Evan Cunningham. Our psychological consultant is Elizabeth Laird. If you’d like to hear more of Meghan’s work, she just debuted her own amazing audio drama, Red Rhino. You can listen wherever you get your podcasts and learn more or support over at This episode and so many others would not have been possible without you, our amazing patrons. So his episode will always be available to you and only you. Thank you so much for your support. Our next bonus is released to the public on September 17th. Until then, stay strange.