Transcript of 1st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Helen Gregory, Thursday, August 1, 1996 at 2 pm.

Ms. Gregory: Close the door. Hurry! And lock it. Lock it tight.
Dr. Balis: Ms. Gregory?
Ms. Gregory: Doesn't this damn thing have a dead-bolt? Oh, that's a morbid one isn't it? This piddly chain isn't going to keep anyone out who really wants to get in. It's beyond me why they even make such insubstantial little hook and wire gizmos and pawn them off as security devices.
Dr. Balis: Excuse me. Ms. Gregory?
Ms. Gregory: Or furthermore, why someone would buy a flimsy piece of tin like this and think it capable of shutting out all the dangers of the world.
Dr. Balis: Excuse me, are you Ms. Gregory?
Ms. Gregory: Perhaps if I move this couch in front of the door, like a barricade. Could sort of rampart myself in. Hmmm...yes. That would help, I suppose.
Dr. Balis: Can you hear me, Ms. Gregory?
Ms. Gregory: Of course I can hear you young man, shrieking at maximum decibels like some sort of tortured hyena. The whole world can hear you bellowing my name down the darkest hallways of infamy. And for what? To signal them? Is that the insidious purpose behind your operatic wail? Incidentally doctor, have you ever considered singing professionally? There's a powerful lot of wind in that chest of yours and if I play my stars right, I just might be able to persuade those in the proper positions to grant you an informal audition. There's such a profound dearth of quality American vocalists these days. You are an American, aren't you Doctor? Do you understand me? You're from these parts? I certainly hope so. I was counting on you to be on my side and I just don't know how I could manage to. But for goodness sake, man! Don't just stand there airing out your dental work. I'm afraid you might drool all over your...say, is that my company file? What have they said about me, Doctor? What have they said?
Dr. Balis: Who, Ms. Gregory? What has who said about you?
Ms. Gregory: Them. They're coming for me. I think they followed me here.
Dr. Balis: Who? Who are you talking about? Did you see someone?
Ms. Gregory: Don't play games with me, young man. I'm practically old enough to be your mother. Now help me move this couch in front of the door, and by the way, I strongly recommend you have a dead-bolt installed, but not by a locksmith. For god's sake, son, no locksmith lock will fortify us from such consequential ignominy. Don't you know they're all paid off? They're part of the team. And believe me when I tell you that I know whose pocket holds this city's skeleton key. Hmmm... There's another one. Hardly an auspicious portent. Methinks these words are stacking up against us. Now give me hand here. We don't have much time.
Dr. Balis: Well, if it would help you feel more comfortable...
Ms. Gregory: Comfort is hardly what's at stake here, Doctor. Oh dear, again! "At stake"--no pun intended, but that was a nice one of I do say so myself. Isn't it amazing what the subconscious mind will do? Have you studied much French history, Doctor?
Dr. Balis: Well I...
Ms. Gregory: Oh, it hardly matters. Just a tangent anyway, the other side of the mind's mirror. But slips of the tongue are so revealing! I do believe that Sigmund Freud knew what he was talking about. About some things, that is. The whole penis envy thing is a lot of puckey if you want my opinion for what it's worth. Most men I know would die to have a woman's anatomy, wouldn't you say? And the horrible things he wrote about the homosexual community! Oh, it's an abomination. Now, if you could just push that end flush to the wall, Doctor. There now, that's better.
Dr. Balis: Okay. There now. Do you feel more comfortable?
Ms. Gregory: Yes. A little. At least we'll have a few seconds. Enough time to climb out the window, I suppose.
Dr. Balis: Please, Ms. Gregory. Take a seat.
Ms. Gregory: Thank you. I believe I will.
Dr. Balis: Now take a deep breath and try to relax. I can assure you that you're quite safe here.
Ms. Gregory: I'm afraid you don't understand. I'm not safe anywhere.
Dr. Balis: Who is following you? And why?
Ms. Gregory: You mean you don't know? I thought that file beneath your hands would certainly be brimming with documentation about the whole affair.
Dr. Balis: I'm afraid I don't understand what you're talking about. What 'whole affair?' Please. Fill me in. Perhaps I can help you.
Ms. Gregory: I believe you speak the truth, young man. And I can tell. Your thoughts are all spread out before me like a series of film clips, only all at once. After all, inside the mind there is no chronology. I can see all your thoughts--each twisting path and branching junction. A map of your mind, if you will, not unfolding, but is already unfolded. And I do believe you speak the truth. Yes, I do.
Dr. Balis: I'll try to be honest with you Ms. Gregory, but...
Ms. Gregory: Yes, yes. But we all carry around our buried treasures, don't we? Yours are hardly of concern to me, which is not to say that I'm not a compassionate woman--I just...
Dr. Balis: You just what? Finish your thought.
Ms. Gregory: I need to be very careful about who I trust. It seems my intuitions were correct with you, but that's no surprise. In fact, you remind me somewhat of my son. Of course, you must be some years older than Matthew. He just turned twenty-one last month. Oh, don't be ridiculous, Helen. You're just grasping at the frayed hem of some distant tapestry, but that past exists on another plane between the mind's eye and the eyes' mind, between the door to the mirror's self and the sky's tumbling clocks. Tsk, tsk. So difficult to keep the attention focused on one stream anymore. I've so much to worry about. So many dangerous elements to this and they're all pressing in. Oh dear. They're all pressing in and sometimes it gets so bad that I can't even breathe.
Dr. Balis: Why don't we try to slow down a little here, Ms. Gregory. I'm having a difficult time keeping up.
Ms. Gregory: A difficult time.
Dr. Balis: Do you think you can take a moment to catch your breath, and then try to tell me why it is that you've come here today?
Ms. Gregory: I came here today because I had an appointment. It is the first, isn't it?
Dr. Balis: Yes it is. But what I meant...
Ms. Gregory: Thursday, August 1st?
Dr. Balis: Yes, you've got the right day, Ms. Gregory. But as I was about to say...
Ms. Gregory: And it is 2:00, isn't it?
Dr. Balis: It was when you arrived. 2:00 p.m. sharp.
Ms. Gregory: Why must everything sound so violent today? You frightened me, Doctor. I thought for a moment that it had happened again. I never can tell anymore when it's going to happen. I just don't feel things the way I used to.
Dr. Balis: What did you think had happened?
Ms. Gregory: That time had come unstuck again.
Dr. Balis: What exactly happens when time comes unstuck?
Ms. Gregory: Sometimes I lose hours or days. They just vanish, like a trance, or a deep sleep with no dreams. I just suddenly am not, and then I am. And when I am again, it's a different day with a whole chunk missing.
Dr. Balis: How do you know it's a different day?
Ms. Gregory: I can feel it. That there's another hole in the tapestry.
Dr. Balis: The tapestry?
Ms. Gregory: Yes, the tapestry. The plane that is now and forever. The story in which we are all woven. You see, that's just the trouble. My version has all these empty spaces.
Dr. Balis: So there are periods of time you can't remember?
Ms. Gregory: It's more than that. It's not just time that has passed, that I can't remember. It's time that is missing. Time that never was. Things that never happened, although they've already become.
Dr. Balis: Can you tell me what happens just before time becomes unstuck?
Ms. Gregory: I know what you're thinking, Doctor. But forget it. This is not a perceptual flaw. This is no psychosis. The time is gone for me and there for everyone else. The newspapers tell me so. And the television. And radio. And the people, too. "Did you hear the news?" they ask. "Did you hear the news?" "Oh, no. I've been busy," I say. But I haven't been busy. And I had been watching the news. I watch the news every night, do you understand? My news didn't cover the story yesterday, because my yesterday was three days ago and in between resides a dark eventless space I didn't even know existed--a temporal elision in which not even the passage of time itself has occurred, the fissure stitched up imperceptibly by some meticulous surgeon's hand I can't begin to comprehend, a space that can't be filled, a space that transcends all recollection, that transcends the fabric of time itself in all its profoundest vacuity. Do you understand me now? Do you understand?
Dr. Balis: Well I understand that time has been disappearing for you, but I need to talk...
Ms. Gregory: Only that's not all because it also works the other way, in a blind and implacable chiastic reversal because everything can be folded into itself and can be hidden. Not only does time disappear before it passes, but it also refuses to pass once it appears.
Dr. Balis: I don't understand.
Ms. Gregory: I mean just what I said, Doctor, that occasionally time gets stuck as well.
Dr. Balis: What happens then?
Ms. Gregory: I live the same moment or the same day over and over again, a tape loop of retrograde cognition. Again and again the same conversation as if the record of the unfolding now had skipped a beat, the needle jerking back a few grooves to replay and replay and replay itself until the entire apparatus wears thin and dissolves and finally spirals out again into motion. And what am I doing? Where is Helen then? Certainly, if that file says anything at all, if it's even about me, it must mention all the days I've missed, all the unexplained absences.
Dr. Balis: Actually, this file isn't even about you. I don't have your personnel record.
Ms. Gregory: Well they know. They know all about me. They know everything.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Gregory: Don't you see? They're trying to pawn me off on the county hospital as a batty old bird. A paranoid schizophrenic. That's what they're trying to do, isn't it?
Dr. Balis: I don't...
Ms. Gregory: I want you to promise me something, young man. And I believe you'll keep your word. Do not allow them to send me there.
Dr. Balis: Why would your company want to have you committed?
Ms. Gregory: Because I know too much and they're afraid I'll talk.
Dr. Balis: You know too much about what?
Ms. Gregory: About what they do there. I mean what they really do. And about the information. I know too much about the information.
Dr. Balis: What information?
Ms. Gregory: I can't tell you too much. You seem like such a nice young man and I don't want to endanger you as well. The less you know, the longer you'll live I imagine.
Dr. Balis: I see. Yes, well...unfortunately we're running out of time here. But I'm concerned about you and the danger you're in. I think that your spells of missing time and the resulting confusion they cause you can be treated with some medication. But I need to talk to you more before I can draw up a prescription. Would you be willing to take some medication if I gave you a prescription?
Ms. Gregory: You don't believe me.
Dr. Balis: I do believe you. And I'm extraordinarily concerned about your well being. I think we can get a handle on those temporal fissures you've been experiencing, which might help you to feel less unnerved. Will you give this a try?
Ms. Gregory: Yes. Okay, fine.
Dr. Balis: Good. I would like to see you again in a couple of days. Can you make it on Monday?
Ms. Gregory: Monday?
Dr. Balis: Yes. This Monday.
Ms. Gregory: Monday the 5th?
Dr. Balis: Yes, that's right.
Ms. Gregory: I couldn't possibly make it before Thursday. That's right. Thursday the 8th. That's the first good day.
Dr. Balis: Are you sure? I'd like to see you earlier than that, if possible.
Ms. Gregory: No. Thursday. Like today. Only next week. We cycle forward but stay the same.
Dr. Balis: Okay, so we'll have an appointment the same time next week. That's Thursday the 8th at 2 o'clock. I'll see you then.
Ms. Gregory: Yes. 2:00.
Dr. Balis: Okay then. Now, if you need to reach me before our next appointment, I want you to call me, okay? Anytime is fine. Just call here and the service will track me down.
Ms. Gregory: Thank you. I'll remember the service that you've done me today. Goodbye, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel all right? Would you like me to escort you? In case there's somebody following?
Ms. Gregory: No. They've gone. They've gone for now.
Dr. Balis: That's good, Ms. Gregory. Goodbye. See you on Thursday.
Arrow, Left, Up & Out Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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

Button to Helen Gregory's Transcripts Transcripts of Helen Gregory's Therapy Sessions
Button to Helen Gregory's Patient File Helen Gregory's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1996. All Rights Reserved.