Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Helen Gregory, Thursday, August 8, 1996 at 2 pm.

Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, Ms. Gregory.
Ms. Gregory: Hello, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: It's nice to see you again.
Ms. Gregory: Thank you.
Dr. Balis: You seem to be considerably more calm today. How have you been since our last meeting?
Ms. Gregory: I've been okay, I suppose.
Ms. Gregory: And the people who were following you last week, have they been back?
Ms. Gregory: They've been trying to find me, but they can't. I'm hiding. I've gone undercover.
Dr. Balis: There's no reason to be startled.
Ms. Gregory: I...I'm not startled, I just don't...
Dr. Balis: What is it? What is troubling you?
Ms. Gregory: I just don't think it wise to reveal too many secrets.
Dr. Balis: Your secrets are safe with me. Will you tell me more about what's been frightening you? You mentioned a moment ago that you've gone undercover.
Ms. Gregory: Yes. That's correct. I have nothing to fear. They can't track me down now no matter how many evil little men in dark suits and black sedans they have crawling spidery and insidious across the cracking plaster walls of time's every arching corridor because I've gone under, slipped beneath the surface of the story to scuttle unseen across its watery bottom. And no need. No need to come up for air. I cannot be seen, but oh, my eyes are everywhere.
Dr. Balis: Can you tell me more about this undercover work?
Ms. Gregory: You see, Doctor, I've been resistant to tell you about what goes on beneath the picture because the knowledge itself could deliver great danger to you here or home, a ticking package, crudely wrapped. I am a spy. And now the truth is out to work its lethal magic on us both. You must not let it slip. Loose lips. Death before dishonor.
Dr. Balis: Your secrets are safe with me. I only work for you.
Ms. Gregory: Yes, I know. And don't you think for a whispering minute that I would have hired you without a thorough background check. Your loyalty comes highly recommended.
Dr. Balis: Yes, well... Have you heard of the patient/client privilege?
Ms. Gregory: It matters not to me beneath what rubric you cloak your silence, so long as that silence is absolute.
Dr. Balis: I see. Then allow me to assure you once again that you can depend on my discretion. Now then, just so that I can obtain a little bit of background information, are you an employee of Silicon Impressions?
Ms. Gregory: According to them.
Dr. Balis: But not according to you?
Ms. Gregory: Ha! According to their, as yet, pitifully underinformed perceptions, I am an employee. I am on the payroll. I show up everynight at eight p.m. with unflagging punctuality. I punch the clock, then go about meager trivialities, dusting this, sweeping that, polishing floors and windows and mirrors.
Dr. Balis: But you don't consider yourself as employed by the company?
Ms. Gregory: No. I have my own agency with its own agenda. Those paltry and insulting duties I have just described are where the ruse, the simulacra of employment ceases. That is the shadowy translucent scrim-hazy image floating impalpable as a disease across the story's topmost layer, a lazy lacustrine dream-image afterburned across the static and tattooed surface of time's limnetic waters. But what seems, that is, what appears inverted and transient across our retinaes in all their profound concavity, what we perceive as flashing before us with all the fleeting and fragile temporality of a dream dissolving at the cusp of waking, what we see, Doctor, is hardly an accurate indication of the truth. Would you agree?
Dr. Balis: Well, I suppose that human perception might be a bit flawed. But help me to understand your situation. You are employed at Silicon Impressions as a member of the janitorial staff, is that correct?
Ms. Gregory: Tee, hee! What better way than that to get inside and get the real cleaning done?
Dr. Balis: I'm afraid I still don't understand. What are you getting at?
Ms. Gregory: At night I make my rounds and look and listen. And consequently there are certain things I know. These things are dangerous portents of events that must be stopped.
Dr. Balis: So you have been hired by someone else to infiltrate Silicon Impressions as a corporate spy?
Ms. Gregory: Oh no! Did I say that? No one hired me for this assignment but myself. I am my own agency.
Dr. Balis: I see. Can you explain why? Why you hired yourself for this...this case?
Ms. Gregory: Operation. This operation. And I hired myself because there's no one else. Nobody else can be trusted.
Dr. Balis: Okay. But why Silicon Impressions? Why did you decide to spy on that company in particular?
Ms. Gregory: It was something that the visitors said. Or that I overheard them thinking. They let it slip somehow, I guess. Somehow the message crossed the channels.
Dr. Balis: The visitors?
Ms. Gregory: Yes.
Dr. Balis: What visitors?
Ms. Gregory: The ones who come at night and tell me things.
Dr. Balis: There are visitors who come into your house?
Ms. Gregory: Oh, yes. Yes, yes. They come into my room. They come right up to my bed. I touched one once. Most amazing experience. I used to be quite afraid of them, but not so much anymore. It's still a little bit frightening, of course, but you learn to live with that. Occasionally, I even miss them now, when they haven't come around for a long time.
Dr. Balis: What's a long time? Can you be more specific?
Ms. Gregory: Oh, a month or two. Sometimes several. Sometimes I even call them back, now. They're friendly enough.
Dr. Balis: And you say the visitors speak to you?
Ms. Gregory: Well now, I wouldn't call it speech, exactly. They do it with their minds. They tell me things.
Dr. Balis: What kinds of things do they tell you?
Ms. Gregory: Oh, I don't know. Many things, really.
Dr. Balis: Can you give me an example of what types of things they tell you?
Ms. Gregory: Sometimes they say things like: "Beware, Helen. The daylight wears a beast of burden. Beware the fatted calf, the sun's money. Say the word. A difficult journey. Shed your drying chattel. Reality reversed, some kind of shelter." But sometimes they're more upbeat and encouraging. Then they might say something like: "Wonderlust the grindstone, Helen! Forge the wandering pyre. Be good. Be good to keep it in your eye, the light, the beacon fire!"
Dr. Balis: And they tell you these things with their minds?
Ms. Gregory: Yes. It's like having a tiny radio inside my head, the sound of them.
Dr. Balis: Ms. Gregory, do the visitors ever tell you to do things?
Ms. Gregory: Do things? I'm not sure. I think of them as teachers. They teach me things and I try to make good use of their knowledge.
Dr. Balis: Do they ever tell you to do violent things? To hurt people?
Ms. Gregory: Heavens, no!
Dr. Balis: Have you ever felt the desire to act out violently because of something they've taught you?
Ms. Gregory: Now, what on Earth has gotten into you, young man? Are you insinuating that I am prone to violence? I should wash your mouth out with soap for making such an absurdist proposition!
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, Ms. Gregory. I didn't mean to upset you. I'm just trying to understand as much about what you seem to be experiencing as possible.
Ms. Gregory: Well now, that's okay young man. I suppose I understand. Just don't let it happen again. I guess we don't really know each other all that well yet, do we? It's just that you remind me of my son and so I naturally assumed a certain degree of understanding.
Dr. Balis: Yes, well, if you don't mind, I'd like to return to our conversation about the visitors.
Ms. Gregory: Yes, of course. I know this next part is going to sound strange, but sometimes when they come to tell me things, they don't speak English.
Dr. Balis: Oh? What other languages do they speak?
Ms. Gregory: None that I have ever encountered in any other context, which leads me to believe it is some type of code. I think they only use it when they want to give me an important secret that they don't want anyone else to know.
Dr. Balis: Hmmm. I see.
Ms. Gregory: It's a code that even I haven't been able to crack, and I've undergone substantial cryptographical training.
Dr. Balis: Really? Tell me more.
Ms. Gregory: Oh, yes. I've taken numerous courses in cracking all manner of codes and ciphers. Coupled with more than twenty years of field experience. I am an expert cryptographer.
Dr. Balis: And where did you receive this training?
Ms. Gregory: The Company, of course. That was before I broke away and went solo.
Dr. Balis: The Company? You mean Silicon Impressions?
Ms. Gregory: Silicon Impressions, right. No, young man. The Company. The C.I.A. I used to freelance for the agency.
Dr. Balis: I see. When did you work for the C.I.A.?
Ms. Gregory: Oh, let's see. It was a few years after graduate school but before Matthew was born. Oh, yes. I remember. I'd just lost the job at Berkeley. They didn't give me tenure. What can you expect, I guess. I'm a woman, after all, and the academy is not nearly as progressive as it would like to be perceived. It was 1971 when they came to recruit me to work at the Company.
Dr. Balis: There's a lot of information there I'd like to follow up on, Ms. Gregory, but it will have to wait for our next session. Right now, I'd like to get back to the visitors, if you have no objection.
Ms. Gregory: Oh, no. None at all.
Dr. Balis: How long have you been having these experiences?
Ms. Gregory: How long?
Dr. Balis: Yes. Can you tell me when you first noticed the visitors?
Ms. Gregory: I'm afraid I can't. I don't remember a time without them. Since I was a child. All my life they have been coming.
Dr. Balis: Who do you think they are?
Ms. Gregory: Oh, young man, I couldn't know. Who? That's a question I can't answer.
Dr. Balis: Are the visitors the same people who were following you last week?
Ms. Gregory: No. Oh, no. The visitors are...there's no word. No language. They come in the night and they tell me things. I have no other name for them.
Dr. Balis: What else do they do when they come to you?
Ms. Gregory: Sometimes they take me places and show me things. No, that's not quite right. It's more like they bring the places to me. I stay right where I am, but the places come to me, a new surrounding. Or time perhaps. Perhaps I stay right where I am, it's just the when that changes. I'm not exactly certain. It's all terribly difficult to describe.
Dr. Balis: That's okay, I understand. We're just about out of time this week anyway. Perhaps we can continue the conversation next week. Would that be okay?
Ms. Gregory: Yes, Doctor. That would be fine. It really helps to have someone to listen. It helps me sort out all the details.
Dr. Balis: That's what I'm here for. But before we end the session, I have one more question. I'd like to know a little bit about your family life. You've mentioned a son several times. Matthew.
Ms. Gregory: Yes, Matthew. Matthew is my only child.
Dr. Balis: And how old is Matthew?
Ms. Gregory: He just turned twenty-one. Haven't I told you that already?
Dr. Balis: Yes, I'm sorry. I just want to check my facts. Just to make sure I haven't misinterpreted anything. And where is Matthew now, Ms. Gregory?
Ms. Gregory: Matthew is in Europe. I sent him there so that they wouldn't find him. I sent him to Europe to protect him. So that he would be safe.
Dr. Balis: Safe from the visitors?
Ms. Gregory: No. I explained that. It's not the visitors.
Dr. Balis: Then safe from who?
Ms. Gregory: The Company. I sent my son to Europe to protect him from the Company.
Dr. Balis: I see. Well, we really are out of time. I'll see you again next week?
Ms. Gregory: Yes. That would be fine.
Dr. Balis: How about next Thursday the 15th at 2 p.m.?
Ms. Gregory: Okay. I'll see you then.
Dr. Balis: Great. Ms. Gregory?
Ms. Gregory: Yes, Doctor?
Dr. Balis: It would really help me to have some more information to work with. Do you think you could do some homework for me before you come back next week?
Ms. Gregory: You want me to keep a journal, don't you. A journal of my dreams, perhaps?
Dr. Balis: Exactly. Anything you care to write down--a record of how you're feeling, what you're thinking about, what the visitors tell you and, if you would like, your dreams as well. Do you think that you could do that for me?
Ms. Gregory: I'll see what I can do.
Dr. Balis: Thank you. See you next week?
Ms. Gregory: Goodbye, Doctor.
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