Transcript of 4th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Darius Booth, Monday, November 2, 1998 at 3:00 pm.

Mr. Booth: Doctor Balis! Great to see you! How are you?
Dr. Balis: Hello, Darius. I'm fine, thank you. Is something wrong?
Mr. Booth: On the contrary. Like Madonna said at the Oscars, "I'm king of the bloody world!"
Dr. Balis: Okay. Darius, just try and calm down a little. Please, take a seat.
Mr. Booth: Yes, all right. It's just a bit of a spin-out coming in here after the week I've had. Sorry if I'm a bit grubby, I haven't had a chance to get to the laundromat.
Dr. Balis: You look quite pale. Have you been getting enough sleep?
Mr. Booth: Don't worry about my looks. I'm a comedian, remember? It doesn't hurt to look a bit funny. But seriously, Doctor Balis, you see before you a deeply happy man. The world may be a beautiful place after all. I hope being ecstatic isn't breaking any therapist rules.
Dr. Balis: Not at all. I'd like to hear what's put you in such high spirits.
Mr. Booth: It all comes down to The Cha-Cha. The Cha-Cha rocks! I've had this song going round in my head all week. Do you know Barry Manilow's "Copacobana?"
Dr. Balis: I'm familiar with it.
Mr. Booth: That song. All week. With different words, of course. It goes: "At The Cha-Cha, Cha-Cha-crapola; lung-meat and tumors are always the humors, at the Chaaaaa-Cha; Cha-Cha-crapola."
Dr. Balis: Hmm, an interesting version.
Mr. Booth: It's not meant to be a go at Barry Manilow. Barry's okay. He put in the hard yards. Good luck to him.
Dr. Balis: So what happened at The Cha-Cha, Darius?
Mr. Booth: Everything! I knew that place had something. After our session last week, I realized that Doug Auble was taking up far too much of my time, not to mention money. Do you know how much a good toupee costs?
Dr. Balis: It's not something I've looked into.
Mr. Booth: Hundreds! I should have gone with something basic, like a strangled chicken or a cut-and-paste note. I'm sure Doug never appreciated the levels of the toupee, anyway.
Dr. Balis: Have there been any more incidents...
Mr. Booth: No, no, no. It's not possible--I took the rest of last week off. By Friday, I could barely remember what Doug looked like. He even changed appearance in my dreams.
Dr. Balis: Does Doug Auble often appear in your dreams?
Mr. Booth: Oh, yeah. But usually it's in a very straightforward way, almost like a replay of the day's events: Doug at the photocopier, doing something secretive and possibly illegal; Doug walking to his desk with a fist-full of chockie bikkies and wisps of steam rising from his shoulders. I figure, either I've got a very lazy subconscious or Doug is already so hideous that there's not much more dirt to be found on him.
Dr. Balis: Dreams, in general, reflect one's own thoughts and emotions.
Mr. Booth: Yes, well, he's almost out of the picture now. In last night's dream, he was dressed as a priest. Except for a single nose-wart, his skin was blemish free and creamy-smooth. He stood so tall and impassive. I can't work out why I thought it was Doug.
Dr. Balis: Did anything else happen in that dream?
Mr. Booth: Not really. It quickly turned into someone else's movie, as dreams do. It went right over the top. Doug was holding my old green school-bag. He reached in and pulled out a pair of thin, slippery, black snakes. There was lots of running around and hiding, and I think my elbow cracked open. But please, the last thing I need is some MTV clip to tell me about my life.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Booth: But what is this? Why are we talking about Doug? It won't be long before I never have to see him again.
Dr. Balis: Why is that?
Mr. Booth: I've been offered a job at The Cha-Cha.
Dr. Balis: You have? Doing what?
Mr. Booth: I'm not sure.
Dr. Balis: You've been offered a job but haven't been told what it is?
Mr. Booth: I don't think it will be as a full-time comedian. It doesn't work that way in the stand-up business, although Bertie Buckmeister sure seems to have tenure. He was there again on Thursday night. You'll be glad to know that Pecker-boy is still having it away with everything wooden.
Dr. Balis: So how did the job offer come about?
Mr. Booth: Persistence--that's the key, Doctor Balis. Since our last session, I've been at The Cha-Cha every minute it's been open.
Dr. Balis: Darius, it's no wonder you've...
Mr. Booth: It's not as bad as it sounds. The Cha-Cha often doesn't open until two or three in the afternoon.
Dr. Balis: So have you given up your job at SII?
Mr. Booth: No. I'll go back tomorrow. I want to see how everything pans out at The Cha-Cha first. I'll start this Thursday night--the comedy night. It sounds good, uh?
Dr. Balis: Hmm. It seems highly unusual to be offered a job but not be told what it entails.
Mr. Booth: Well, yes, but the circumstances were unusual. It's been a very strange and wonderful week, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Please tell me about it.
Mr. Booth: At first, the only goal I had was to find my sweet little thing.
Dr. Balis: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Booth: The laugh--the "ha, ha, ha." I wanted to find the man who laughed during my first routine. That way, I'd have been able to confront Neville Hurt and demand another try-out. It was a simple plan, but practical. Those are always the best.
Dr. Balis: Darius, I don't think...
Mr. Booth: No, you're right! The joke was on me. Tuesday night was Country-and-Western night. Who the hell was laughing? I think the band was called The Ho-Diddle-Fiddles--all grizzled beard and fancy brown frills, jumping and a-careening. It was like a cross between a Scout Jamboree and the slaughtering of an ox. I'll tell you this: whatever happens, job or no job, I will never again step foot inside The Cha-Cha on a Tuesday night.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Booth: Wednesday night was better. It seemed to be devoted to the mixed-grill. There's no entertainment, just beer and a selection of five different meats. The punters spent a quiet night moodily hunched over their consumption.
Dr. Balis: And what about you, Darius? You were spending all your time in a pub. Were you drinking a lot?
Mr. Booth: Oh no, I was all business.
Dr. Balis: Have you been taking any other drugs?
Mr. Booth: Not at all! I need a clear head. I had one, maybe two glasses of house red just for appearances. But if you ever call in to The Cha-Cha, Doctor Balis, I don't recommend the house red--a very nasty drop.
Dr. Balis: Thank you for the warning.
Mr. Booth: Anyway, by late Wednesday night, Neville Hurt was becoming very uncomfortable with my presence there. He seems rather flighty for a manager. What's left of his hair won't lie down, it's always poking up in pluckable orangey-red tufts. I've noticed that a lot of the regulars there call him Fluff. He doesn't seem to mind.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think he was so upset with your presence there?
Mr. Booth: At first, I thought he must be afraid I was there to cause trouble. But I kept telling him, "Neville, just let me talk to the owner for a minute, then I'll happily leave and never come back." This seemed to freak him right out.
Dr. Balis: What were you hoping to achieve by seeing the owner?
Mr. Booth: I've no idea. But even mentioning the owner got such a reaction--Neville would start waving his arms around, and go on about how I didn't know what I was doing, and wouldn't I please, please just leave. He even offered me a free mixed-grill! I politely declined. The gravy reminded me of an overly long winter. Anyway, as I was having no luck finding my laugh, asking for the owner seemed the only course of action left.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Booth: And then came good old Thursday night--the comedy-night. The place was abuzz. The previous night's protein was kicking in. Bertie Buckmeister's arrival was imminent. Old men were recounting Pecker-boy's stiff-necked debauches. Old women were wondering how far it could go. I remained happily seated at my little table in the back corner, taking it all in. Then Neville came over and asked me to leave. I asked if I might see the owner for a moment. He lost it. He stood up straight as a broom, pointing at the door, screaming, "Go! Go! Go!" I stayed where I was, calmly humming to myself, "At the Cha-Cha, Cha-Cha-crapola," until Pecker-boy appeared. He came up on the stage, from behind the curtain, as if on his own, with his wicked, stiffy grin and his limp, waggling limbs. The place filled with an eager roar. Neville ceased his imprecations. He turned to me and said curtly, "See me after the show."
Dr. Balis: It's possible, Darius, that the manager was trying to warn you off the place for your own good. Spending a lot of time in an environment like that is not good for your health--physical or mental.
Mr. Booth: But if I have a job there...
Dr. Balis: Do you think it's wise to pin your hopes on a job when you don't even know what it is?
Mr. Booth: You don't understand. It's not the job that matters. It's the way it came about.
Dr. Balis: How did it come about?
Mr. Booth: After the show, I found Neville. He was giving Bertie a pat on the back, telling him that tonight was possibly his best performance. I interrupted to ask Neville what he wanted to see me about. Looking over my shoulder, a bit sniffily, he said, "Do you want to work here?" I couldn't believe it! I could have jumped on him, but I played it cool. I said, "That sounds like an interesting proposition. Perhaps I should first see the owner?" Ha! That was a good one, uh?
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Booth: Of course, I expected him to wig out. But he simply spun around and said, "Follow me," and neatly zig-zagged his way back behind the bar. He was hard to keep up with. For one awful moment, as he paused beneath the rows of bottled spirits, I thought he might want me to tend the bar. I don't know a Bloody Mary from a Green Tree Frog. But he started off again, out through the kitchen--thank God, I didn't eat the mixed-grill--down a long narrow corridor, finally stopping at a door with a name "Anne Cursaro."
Dr. Balis: That was the owner of The Cha-Cha?
Mr. Booth: Yes.
Dr. Balis: Did you meet her, Darius?
Mr. Booth: I...
Dr. Balis: Darius?
Mr. Booth: Her office was so cluttered--papers, and books, and folders everywhere. She was behind a desk, almost hidden by towering columns of paperwork. She seemed trapped in there, like a small bird, a rather agitated bird. She was hunting about furiously for something. It was so intense, I felt like searching my own pockets. Suddenly, she looked up and said, "Have you got a pencil?" I didn't, but I couldn't just say "no." After what seemed like a split-second and an eternity of missed opportunities, she made a sharp gesture of dismissal. Neville tapped me on the shoulder and whispered that it was time to go. It all seemed a bit rushed. I still can't help wondering what would have happened if I had a pencil. What would she have said?
Dr. Balis: That was the extent of your meeting?
Mr. Booth: Yes. Just before the door closed, I saw her make a sudden, extravagant motion as if unsheathing a sword. Inwardly, I cried out. I thought I should go back in. But the door was shut, and Neville was tugging me down the corridor. I managed to loiter long enough to hear her talk sharply into what must have been a cordless phone or a walkie-talkie. She said, "Joe? Where are the fucking pencils?"
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Booth: When we got back to the kitchen, Neville asked if I still wanted to work there. I said I most definitely did. He told me to report next Thursday at six pm.
Dr. Balis: Well, Darius, I think you made the right decision not to quit your job with SII for the time being. I think you should be very cautious about any further involvement with The Cha-Cha. Go there on Thursday, see what happens, but don't rush into anything. Think things through.
Mr. Booth: Oh, I'll definitely have to have my wits about me, that's for sure.
Dr. Balis: Yes. Well, I'm afraid our time's up for today.
Mr. Booth: Is it? Time sure flies when you're on top of the world.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week?
Mr. Booth: Yes. I sure hope so. See you then, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Darius.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Right, Up & Out

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Darius Booth's Transcripts Transcripts of Darius Booth's Communications
Button to Darius Booth's Patient File Darius Booth's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1998. All Rights Reserved.