Well, Peter, what would you like to discuss this afternoon?
And the insomnia. I’m not sleeping well.
For how long?
No, the insomnia. We’ll get back to the voices, you know we always do.
Oh, yeah, sure, Doc, no problem. Ummm, let’s see…What’s today?
Okay, yeah, ummm, I guess I haven’t “really” slept since last Wednesday.
May I ask what you count as “real” sleep?
Anything that’s a solid 3-4 hours. In my bed.
Interesting. Why did you add that last bit of information?
What do you mean, Doc?
The “in my bed”? Where else would you sleep?
Oh, I don’t mean anything by that. It’s just that, you know, sometimes I doze off for a few minutes – maybe an hour – here and there, and it’s just not in my bed so I don’t count it.
Where do you “doze” then?
Oh, you know, here and there. Sometimes…
Ugh, well, sometimes…sometimes…I fall asleep in one place, you know, like my arm chair or on the couch or something, and then, well, I wake up somewhere else a bit later.
Like where, Peter?
I’d rather not say.
You’d rather not say?
No, I’d RATHER not talk about that.
What does that mean? Do you sleep walk?
Maybe. I mean, yeah, I guess. Yeah, I sleep walk.
Do you ever end up someplace where you’ve felt you’ve endangered yourself?
Doc. Please? I don’t wanna talk about THAT today. Can we please talk about the voices?
In a minute, Peter, in a minute. Please be patient. First, I want to make sure we thoroughly discuss your sleep trouble. If I remember correctly, last time you said you were also having some bad dreams.
Are they still a problem?
Heh. That’s like asking if someone’s cancer is still a “problem.” Heh.
Interesting figure of speech, Peter. Do your dreams feel like a terminal illness?
Doc. Seriously? I was just trying to make light of it. You know, a joke. I was making a joke.
Well, Peter, let’s not joke. Now the dreams. Are they still frightening you?
I don’t know that they’ve ever really “frightened” me, Doc. But they’re unnerving, you know?
“Unnerving.” Okay, that’s good.
Good? Doc, trust me, it’s not “good.”
What are you writing down?
Nothing, just some notes. You’ll see later. Now, Peter, do you think they may contribute to the insomnia?
What do you mean I’ll “see later”?
Nothing, Peter. This is just stuff I want us to remember, so I want to make sure I make note of it. So, the dreams. Do they contribute to your sleeplessness?
You’re a real genius, Doc, anyone ever tell you that?
Peter, please, don’t be petulant.
“Petulant”? Christ, my mother used to say that to me – “Petulant Peter,” she’d call me and she’d say it in that fuckin’ singsong voice of hers, remember? “PetUlant PeTER.” Ugh, it gives me shivers…Are you trying to be my fuckin’ mother, Doc?
Sorry. Sorry, Doc. No disrespect. Sorry. But, I’m tired. Really, really tired. And these voices are driving me out of my fuckin’ mind.
I accept your apology, but you ARE being petulant, Peter. You know that, don’t you? Right. Okay, yes, we’ll get to the voices in a bit. Can we talk more about the dreams?
Or, would you rather discuss your mother?
Heh. Doc, you’re a real comedian, aren’t you? No. No, you know I don’t want to talk about her. Not today. My head hurts too fuckin’ bad.
You have a headache, Peter?
Yeah. It feels like somebody is tugging on the cords behind my eyes. It’s unbelievable.
“The cords behind your eyes”?
Yeah, I read that somewhere. Or saw it in a movie, I can’t remember which. Either way, my head hurts like hell.
Would you like an aspirin?
No. You know me, Doc, no drugs.
Not even an aspirin, Peter?
No. No drugs, Doc.
It may ease your pain.
Okay. Then, may we continue our discussion about the dreams?
Jesus, you have a one track mind, don’t you Doc?
Well, one of us needs that. Right, Peter?
Heh. A real comedian. Yeah, okay. The dreams…Let’s see…Well, okay, here’s a good example. A few days ago, I dream that I’m riding the subway with this woman. Beautiful woman. Long, dark hair, tan legs, olive complexion. Anyway, she and I are having this conversation, and I don’t know this lady, right? I mean, in the dream, I’ve never met her before in my life, but she keeps talking to me like we’re old friends. And, one of the things that really bothers me is that she seems so sad, and her sadness seems to be about me. Like I’m dying but don’t know it. But she doesn’t say anything to convey that, you know? It’s just there. Like that stale subway air? Her sadness is just mingling with that air.
Oh yeah, well, you know. All those books, I guess. They’re bound to have an impression, right?
Sure. Now, you said “one” of the things that bothers you. What else bothers you about the dream?
You distinctly said that this woman’s sadness is just “one of the things” that bothers you. What else bothers you?
Oh, right. Sorry, Doc. I’m just real tired. So, yeah, one of the other things that bothers me is that she keeps calling me by another name. I correct her, but she doesn’t listen to me; she just keeps calling me by this other name.
What name does she use?
“Ah”? What? YOU know a Nathan, Doc? Cuz I sure as hell don’t.
You don’t Peter?
Are you sure? You can’t think of a single Nathan?
NO. And I don’t appreciate you questioning my memory, Doc. I may hear voices, I may have bad dreams, I may not sleep much, but I fuckin’ remember stuff like my own fuckin’ name!
Calm down, Peter. Let’s not get upset. I wasn’t trying to accuse you of anything. I was just trying to understand your dream a bit better. Now, why does this particular dream bother you so badly? It sounds innocuous to me.
“Innocuous,” Doc? Seriously? Did they make you take a class in those kinds of words when you got your fancy degree? Sheesh.
I apologize, Peter. I didn’t mean to sound pretentious. Did my word choice bother you in some way? You seem agitated.
Of course I’m fuckin’ agitated! Christ, Doc, all I wanna talk about are these fuckin’ voices, and all you want to do is parade these fancy fuckin’ words around and, and, focus on this stupid, meaningless dream! I mean, a dream’s a dream, right? It doesn’t mean anything, you know?
Why don’t you take a deep breath, Peter. Calm yourself down…That’s right, a deeeeep breath. In. Out. In. There. Is that better?
…Yeah…Yeah. You’re right; that’s a bit better. Sorry, Doc. No disrespect. I’m just real tired, you know?
Yes, I know you’re tired Peter. I KNOW.
Is our time up?
What do you mean Peter?
You just looked at your watch and you always glance at your watch when our time is nearly up. Has it already been 50 minutes, Doc?
Peter, you know you have all the time in the world to talk to me.
Heh. A real comedian, Doc. You know I’m no rich fuck like your other patients.
Peter, please, you know YOU have all the time in the world with me if you need it. You know that.
What does that mean, Doc? Sheesh. You’re kinda creepin me out.
Peter, please, you understand my meaning perfectly well. I’m only here for you.
Christ, Doc, let’s not play these head games, okay? Just shoot straight with me, okay? I have NO idea what you’re fuckin’ talking about. Are we almost out of our time together? And can we please talk about the voices before the time is up?
Peter. You DO know what I’m talking about, ALL we talk about are the voices, and you KNOW I have all the time in the world for you.