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 Posted: Thu Oct 18th, 2018 04:53 am
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HugheenG
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THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL















































CHARACTERS


Eva – 35 – Believes she has had near death experience

Aaron – 40 – Devout Christian

Frank – 45– Irreverent non-believer

George -45 – Comical con man.

Sandra – an attractive actress unsure of experience

Chapman – 50-maintenance man

Professor Prentice -55– Researcher

Dr. Michael Phillips – 36 – Researcher

Gerald Foote– Hospital Administrator (simply a voice offstage for phone conversation)




















FADE IN

INT RESEARCH ROOM OF HOSPITAL - DAY

Eva is sitting in a chair center of research room facing audience. Professor Prentice is on stage right of room facing her and Dr. Phillips stage left also looking at her. Both have notebooks, a tape recorder and a computer with speaker and phone on a small table in front of Eva. There is a pitcher of water and glasses on the table. The room is very dark, the figures barely discernible.

EVA
“I remember lying on the operating table with my eyes closed., I was nervous, of course,
cancer is serious stuff, my stomach you know, and they thought it had metastasized too. I
wondered if I would die right there on that operating table during the operation. I felt a chill
of fear run through my body. I wondered how my husband would take it, I knew my daughter would care and that comforted me, but then I started to worry about what would happen to her. Cancer runs in my family, my mother and father died from it. I wondered if my daughter would inherit the gene or whatever it was that caused it and someday she would be on the operating table like I was now. I had all these depressing thoughts, I wanted to stop thinking about it, so I opened my eyes and sort of raised my head a little and looked around me. The lights bothered me for a moment but then my eyes adjusted. Everyone was very busy, there must have been a half dozen of them in the room, all dressed in those green gowns or whatever you call them., scrubs that's it scrubs. Everything seemed very bright, very clean, very efficient, somehow that was reassuring to me. I saw my surgeon talking with a nurse, he looked over at me when he saw I was looking at him and waved. I couldn't wave back but I think I smiled at him. I felt calmer then, everything seemed so normal.

One doctor came and bent over me, he told me his name....Doctor Wright and he said he was the anesthesiologist. He was nice, with a soft, soothing voice, told me he was going to put this mask over my face and in a few minutes I would drift off to sleep, said he would keep monitoring me. “Okay?” he asked. “Right”, I said, You can call me Bill he said and we both laughed,” I asked him if the anesthesia would make me sick after-wards and he said that it usually didn't. He asked if I had any more questions and when I said no he put the mask on my face and I looked up at the bright lights above me, they blinded me and I closed my eyes.

“That's all I remember, It seemed I went down very fast. I don't know how long I was like that but it didn't seem long at all until I woke up, sort of like falling asleep at home in bed right away and then waking up shortly after-words. I always do that. I was surprised, “shouldn't I be asleep?”, I thought, but there I was, wide awake, hearing the talk, mostly medical stuff but some joking around too, I could hear a chuckle now and then. I knew they were working on me but I couldn't see what they were doing. I was very worried that I might feel some pain since I seemed so awake. He didn't give me enough anesthesia I thought. I looked around for him but he was watching the monitor and I couldn't catch his eye. But I wasn't really feeling any pain.







(continuing)
Then, an extraordinary thing happened, my body began to lift slowly upwards and I felt myself rising up toward the ceiling, above everything and everybody, music was playing, I recognized it, Mozart's Concerto 21 in D major, it was all so pleasant, liberating. I looked down and saw that they had opened my stomach up and were cutting away some tissue, “cancerous”, I thought, “they're cutting out the bad stuff”. The whole scene was the strangest I've ever had. I felt like a voyeur watching myself. It seemed so paradoxical.



I don't know how I avoided the overhead lights going up. I saw the anesthesia machine which had tubes running to me, the monitor, the surgical instruments on a table, There were things I didn't know what they were.

PRENTICE
Yes, anything else?

EVA
No, then I ….wait, I wasn't sure if I saw it but I know I did now, a picture, a painting..

PRENTICE
Painting?

EVA
Yes, an old painting, I've seen it before somewhere, by a famous painter, I know him, just can't think of his name at the moment.

PRENTICE
Where was it?

EVA

Hanging on the wall right above the operating table. I thought it so odd because obviously no one could see it there, and it had pictures of what looked to be like a dead person and everybody was sort of standing around and looking at him.

PRENTICE
Interesting and then what happened EVA.

EVA
Then things changed rapidly, I was being pulled from the room toward something in the upper corner of the room, something shrouded in blackness. I was more startled then frightened and then I entered the blackness. It took me a moment before I realized it was a tunnel, a large circular tunnel, I tried to adjust my eyes to the darkness. I was rushing through it very fast and I was afraid I would hit something. Then I could see a light of some kind, a brightness far down the tunnel.


A subway, I thought at first, a subway tunnel and I'm going through it to somewhere fast, very fast and the light must be sunlight when I come out. I was standing all the time. I've been on a lot of subway rides, you're in this subway car in a dark tunnel and then suddenly, pop, you're up and out in the daylight. I wasn't scared. I was accepting, it seemed very right, very appropriate, even kind of adventurous. I just had this feeling that something good was happening to me, that this was a trip worth taking.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Was the music still playing Eva?

EVA
Yes, yes, it was, always there in the background, the same work, sometimes louder, sometimes softer sort of like when you turn it up or down on the radio.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Go on please.
EVA
The light...the light was blinding at first but when I reached it I was able to walk right through it, just as if it was just this very bright enveloping cloud. Then, I saw them. They were all standing there, smiling warmly at me, no not just warmly, lovingly. They were all dressed as I remember them. My parents, were there smiling at me, at first I didn't recognize them because they were so young , like 30 or something the way they were when I was little, it was so strange, looking at your parents when they
are younger than you are, but I kind of liked it too. My uncle, two aunts, my cousins all looking so young and healthy, even my little baby brother who died at six months was there but he was a young man, somehow, I knew him right way, tall, handsome, smiling broadly. All of them. I was overwhelmed, (Eva stops here emotional) I'm sorry, just thinking about it...

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
That's okay Eva, take your time.

EVA
(beat) I'm okay, Doctor, I'm alright now. They all seemed so happy, so serene, so loving. I wanted desperately to join them but there was this distance between us that seemed impassable. When I moved toward them they seemed to step back.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
How far away would you say they were Eva?

EVA
That's what was so strange, it seemed like maybe ten feet but it felt like a hundred when I tried to reach out to them like there was this invisible border that I couldn't trespass through like an electric fence except there was no shock.

Finally I started to cry, I told them I wanted to join them, to be with them like this forever but they just stood there smiling sadly and shaking their heads. The separation was very painful to me. Why, I said, why can't I be with you? I love you all, why? My mother took one step toward me, “you have to go back Eva, you have unfinished business to take care of there” Her voice sounded just like it did when I was growing up, not commanding or anything, just, just very reasonable. You couldn't argue with her, you just knew she was speaking the truth. Those were the only words spoken to me there.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Do you have any idea how long you were there Eva?

EVA
I've thought about that Doctor Phillips but I have no idea, it could have been minutes or hours, time seemed to stop still.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Then what happened....after your mother spoke to you?

EVA
They began to move back, slowly, smiling, waving goodbye. My mother had tears in her eyes and I was crying too. But as they started to fade away, I realized they were right, I had to go back I had
Mary, my little girl to take care of, my work wasn't done yet. I sort of reluctantly resigned myself to it.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
What was the environment like Eva, What did you see around you?


EVA
Oh, this wonderful expanse of green, flowers everywhere, all in perfect bloom, woods, trees in the background, I've never seen anything so gorgeous, so picture perfect. There was water, a lake or something, in the distance, a beautiful blue presence. The air on my face was like caress. There was this wonderful scent from the flowers.....(beat)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Please continue.

EVA
Suddenly I felt this tremendous force, a pull really, and then I was moving back in the tunnel racing through it the other way. In moments, it seemed I was there back in the operating room slowly sinking back to my body, a kind of soft landing. Then I was back in it and everything went black.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Did you see anything on the way down to your body Eva?

EVA
No, it happened so fast, there wasn't time to look. When I woke Doctor Wright and a nurse were there.
I felt terrible, my body ached and I had this terrific headache. They asked me how felt and I told them I had pain and they gave me some medication and I fell asleep again.

(Lights up on research room)

EVA
I'm thirsty from all that talking, (drinks some water)

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
How has it been for you since that experience Eva?


EVA
I'm fine, the operation went real well, they believe they have gotten it all out of me. I'll be going
back for a follow-up exam next month.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
No, I meant psychologically.

EVA
Oh.
PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Have you felt any changes psychologically?

EVA
Definitely.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
And?

EVA
I feel funny talking about it Professor Prentice, but I guess that is what this is all about.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Yes it is.






































INT WAITING ROOM SAME DAY

Aaron is reading a book Frank walks in.

FRANK
Any good?

AARON
What?

FRANK
The book.

AARON
Oh, yes, very interesting all about near-death experiences.

FRANK
Yeah, I've been reading a little about those myself since I got into the study.

AARON
I'm Aaron, so you're in the study too?

FRANK
(Walks over, shakes hands) I'm Frank. Yep, I'm in for better or worse.

AARON
Should be very, very interesting, can hardly wait to get interviewed.

FRANK
So how did you get involved in this Aaron?

AARON
One of the members of my congregation works here and he saw a notice on the cafeteria
bulletin board asking for research volunteers and told some of us about at church. I jumped
at it because I thought it might help me understand my experience better.

FRANK
Christian?
AARON
Yes.
FRANK

What brand of Christian are you?


AARON
Brand? What kind, what denomination you mean, I'm Evangelical...more or less

FRANK
More or less?
AARON
Well, I mean I have faith in the important beliefs but, you knows, doubts about some.

FRANK
I see. So you think this is going to help you huh? What was your experience like anyhow?

AARON
It was the best experience of my life. Ironic isn't it, a near death experience is the best one of your life.
I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's made me a different person.

FRANK
What was so cool about it?
AARON

I saw my whole life in review, it was incredible, like a video in blazing fast forward, almost
simultaneous if that makes sense, more conceptual than visual really, you're judging yourself,
kind of like giving yourself a grade on a very long test.

FRANK
Don't know if I would pass that. How did you make out?

AARON
Okay, I think I passed, not perfect, of course, but they accepted it.

FRANK
They?
AARON
Maybe I shouldn't be telling you all this.

FRANK
Its okay with me. I don't think there are any rules against it.

AARON
I went to the other side.

FRANK
The other side of what? Oh, Heaven.



AARON
Yes, can you believe it?

FRANK
(ignores question) How long were you there?

AARON
I have no idea, could have been minutes or years, time didn't mean anything, it didn't seem to exist.

FRANK
But you were only in the operating room for a limited period of time, hours right?

AARON
Yes, that's true but in that realm it could have been eternity.
FRANK
Weird

AARON
I know it’s hard to comprehend.

FRANK
Yeah, it sure is. Who did you see over there, up there, on the other side or wherever it is?

AARON
You won't believe this either.

FRANK
Probably not.

AARON
Jesus and his disciples.

FRANK
How do you know you weren't just dreaming all this?

AARON
No, no I know what dreams are like, this was different, this was real.








FRANK
Yeah?

AARON
You're skeptical.

FRANK
Yeah, Aaron, sorry, I guess I am.







































INT - SAME DAY Back to research room.

EVA
What's changed? Lots. I have this special sensitivity. I don't know if you would call it ESP but I seem to be able to anticipate things that I didn't before. Phone calls, I often know who's calling before I pick up the phone, same thing with mail, even email. I seem more perceptive, I feel more intuitively. I'm a lot more compassionate than I was before. Experiencing death can put things, life into perspective. I can see things, people so much more clearly than before and....and...you may not believe this but I have no fear of death anymore.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Very interesting.

EVA
And before this, this experience I was definitely frightened by the thought of dying even though I am not old yet. I worried about this and that: illness, car accidents, even disasters. I would have bad dreams. I don't have those anymore, I just am not afraid of it anymore Professor Prentice. I mean I still fear being sick and in pain and all that, the cancer coming back. I don't want to die hard. I would miss people, especially my daughter but since I've discovered what death really is I'm no longer afraid of it.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Interesting.

EVA
This has been the most profound experience of my life, its like for the first time in my life everything is in perspective, everything makes sense to me now.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Are you a religious person Eva?

EVA
I'm more a spiritual person Doctor Phillips. I'm not much into institutional religion anymore. But I do
believe in certain things. I am very spiritual.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Such as....




PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Let me continue my line of reasoning, Doctor Phillips, if you don't mind.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I just thought it important to....

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I know, I know, but let me pursue my questions.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I defer to you Professor Prentice.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Thank you./ Do you work Eva, they left the occupation slot blank?

EVA
I'm an elementary school teacher but I've taken this year off to be with my daughter, she's having some learning issues in her school. I'm sort of blending home school with her real school. It seems to be working well right now.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Good. And you husband?

EVA
What about him?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What sort of work does he do?

EVA
He's in sales, software, travels some. He makes a good living….for him, us.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
How have your relationships been since your experience Eva?

EVA
Well, good and not so good, I mean people, my friends are glad I'm okay but...


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
But?






EVA
Well, when I tell them about my experience, they think that...I'm weird, or something, not all of them, of course, but I can see these reactions even if they don't say anything negative about it or me. And my husband, well, he thinks I'm losing it, thinks it's all a dream., dismisses it out-of-hand. I resent that. I know what I've experienced. I know the difference between reality and a dream. We've had some rather heated discussions, he just doesn't see it, he thinks I'm being self-indulgent and I think he's being close-minded.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Self-indulgent?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I think she means intellectually. (Professor Prentice shoots him a look)

EVA
Exactly. He doesn't share a lot of my thoughts and feelings especially on this one. I feel that demeans me and my experience. I think this is really threatening our relationship which I guess was rather tenuous anyhow. It's sort of an issue with a lot of other issues underneath it. I guess he picked this one to express his dissatisfaction with our relationship and I respond in kind. We're on shaky grounds. He sort of goes his way and I go mine. It's kind of a mutual understanding. We're not really enjoying this whole experience anymore, if we ever did.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I see.

EVA
And what really bothers me is that he is influencing, Mary, my daughter, to doubt
my experience also. She really looks up to him and when she hears him discredit
it she believes him not me. I mean she doesn't say anything but I can tell, its pretty
obvious. She is wondering about me too.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sounds as if it might be a good time for some family counseling Eva.

EVA
I've thought of that but right now, I don't know, we are so far apart. I'm not sure it
would do any good. One of the reasons I signed up for this, this research was just to make sure I could talk about it and people wouldn't think I was crazy.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Many, many thousands of people have had similar experiences Eva. They weren't crazy nor are you.

EVA
I know I've read that but still, I've read about other near-death experiences but....still when you run up against people who....

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
You have to go by your own experience Eva.

EVA
(Nods) I guess so. I do. I am trying to do that.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Well, I think that about does it for you right now, thank you Eva. (afterthought) Oh, do you have any further questions Doctor Phillips?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
No, not really but thanks for asking I was beginning to feel like an observer and not a collaborator. Thanks very much for sharing your experience Eva, this interview is nice contribution to our research study.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We may like to talk to you again.

EVA
That's fine. Bye now. (Eva starts to leave but then stops) I want to tell you one more thing
that happened to me up there.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What was that Eva?

EVA
When I was there I saw my two cousins, as I said, but one of them was still living and I remember
later, I didn't think of it at the time that Roger, that was his name, shouldn't have been there, I couldn't figure out why he was. When I got out of the hospital, I was home about a week or so and my husband mentioned to me that Roger had died the day I entered the hospital. So it made sense that he should
have been there when I saw him that day.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Fascinating, thank you so much for sharing that Eva, a very important point.

EVA
You're welcome, well bye again.



DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Bye Eva. (Eva leaves stage right to waiting room)

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Quite convincing, an intelligent articulate woman, what strikes me again and again is how these people's lives are changed so profoundly by their near-death experiences.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Yes, that is interesting, but their reactions, although strong, aren't terribly different than any of us who have faced a near escape with death, right?, we start looking at and appreciating life differently and sometimes that can be quite profound too. Cardiac patients go through this all the time, gunshot victims too.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Her out-of-body experience was very convincing, the detail.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Yes, it was. We will need to confirm it, of course. What was the date of her operation again?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(Looks at sheet) May...5th. Of course, we have to confirm this, it's of critical importance.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
May 5th. Okay. But we have to keep in mind that painting was in the lobby of the admissions area for a year or so before the administration decided it wasn't appropriate there because of its content, I mean, you know, (laughs) a corpse surrounded by doctors. I mean that would have been alright in the Gross Anatomy lab, in fact, that's the title or something like that, but the lobby?

DOCTOR PRENTICE
(smiles) Not too reassuring to the patients. I wonder who was responsible for putting it up there.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We'll never know.

DOCTOR PRENTICE
She was also very clear and concise on her perceptual changes after her NDE.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Her “heightened sensitivity” bothers me somewhat.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Because...

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Well, I mean if we know the context of our lives, what we're currently doing, who we are in
contact with, what sort of things are going on whether it be socially or business it's not terribly clairvoyant to know what sort of phone calls or mail you are expecting. I get a call from my mother every Saturday morning around nine I can pretty much figure that's her calling when the phone rings at that time on Saturdays. If I leave a message on an answering machine for someone I can figure on a return call from that person in the near future. Eva would have to keep a record on her hits and misses to make her point of being clairvoyant. That was a pretty general statement.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I think she was being more specific than that.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We didn't establish that. It seems to me normal anticipation of common events rather than precognition of any kind, Professor Prentice, These reports of clairvoyance really seem to follow the subjects' propensity toward the paranormal before their hospitalization. I mean we have some studies supporting that characteristic.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
And we have studies questioning that conclusion. Wait a minute Michael, you heard her last report about her cousin. She actually saw her dead cousin without being aware of his death at the time she was experiencing her NDE. She learned about it later. That's something we can confirm.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'd like to do that.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Perhaps we can get some collaboration from her husband and the death certificate of her cousin.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
That would be interesting.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
“Interesting”.Always the skeptic, I've always found the problem with skeptics Michael is that they have trouble opening their minds to go beyond their skepticism.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Really, I've always found a too open mind lets in too many drafts.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(suppressed anger) Really!
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I would have liked to have pursued her beliefs Professor Prentice, what a person believes
can have a great influence on what they think they experience, religious experiences,
for example. I mean it's clear that in our culture many people are acclimated as children
to supernatural beliefs, an after-life if you will, the bible in Genesis talks about darkness
for six days and then on the seventh there is light so light becomes an element of good
in people's minds. There is cultural conditioning going on here. They go into the operating room with a conscious or unconscious mindset created by all these things. Studies have confirmed this.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We all know about acculturation Doctor Phillips.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
But we don't know her belief system.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE.
(annoyed with discussion) Perhaps we can go into that next time to your satisfaction, Doctor.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Fine!








































INT - SAME DAY - Waiting room

Aaron and Frank are seated there, Eva is standing there in front of the two men

FRANK
So how it did it go Eva?

EVA
Very good, they were very nice.

FRANK
They give you any idea of what happened to you?

EVA
What do you mean Frank?

FRANK
You know, what caused it, the anesthesia or something like that.

EVA
Nothing like that Frank, I did the talking, they did the listening, they accepted what I said
as my experience.

FRANK
Well, sure, its your experience we all know that but what caused it is the question, isn't that what this study, this research is all about?

EVA
I'll leave you to explore that Frank, I'm content with my experience as is. Wait till they hear yours, we'll see what answers come up then.

FRANK
Well, just remember, you talked me into this. I've already got the answers as far as I'm concerned. I've done some reading about this stuff and to be honest I just can't see it, even mine, as real as it seemed, I just think it was a crazy, realistic dream, that's all that's to it.

AARON
Then what are you doing here Frank?

FRANK
I had an experience, they want all kinds of experiences whether you believe in it or not. (laughs) I have
near-death experiences on the expressway once a week.

AARON
Seriously.

FRANK
It's hard for me to take this stuff seriously Aaron. For example, There is a tribe in New Guiena that believes ancestors give them technology. Their near death experience consists of computers, autos, cell phones, ipads, big screen TVs…

EVA
Very funny Frank.

FRANK
I'm serious, I read this in a journal, these people think spirits are in these technologies (beat)
Sometimes I do too especially when they screw up.

EVA
(skeptical) I would like to read that article.

FRANK
I'll email it to you. Have to wonder what these folks think when their computers crash.

AARON
(seriously) They likely have angered their ancestor who leaves them.

FRANK
Yeah, sure.

EVA
You may have already guessed this Aaron. but Frank has been a devout doubter, if I can use that description, ever since I have known him. Since what? Third year of college Frank?

FRANK
Second actually but we didn't see each other much then.

AARON
A doubter I was getting that impression, that's too bad.

FRANK
(annoyed) What's too bad about wanting proof?

AARON
(firmly) You have to accept some things on faith Frank.

FRANK
(getting angry) Look Aaron you do it your way and I'll…...

EVA
Okay guys, time out....

FRANK
Did they say who was coming up next?

EVA
No, but I'm sure they have time for more interviews.

FRANK
Harry picking you up?

EVA
No he's at a conference in Chicago. I drove, it's no problem, he probably wouldn't have driven me if he was here.

FRANK
II hate to say I told you so Eva, but remember I said, you shouldn't marry the guy.

EVA
I remember. He's got his good points.

FRANK
I'm sure, but not enough of them.

EVA
I'm trying to balance it out.

FRANK
I know that but I don't like the way he treats you.

EVA
Don't worry about it Frank.

FRANK
I do Eva, I do.

EVA
Thank you for caring Frank.

(Enter George)
Hi folks, is this the Near Death group?

FRANK
We're getting nearer to it every day.

EVA
Frank! Yes it is, are you a study volunteer?

GEORGE
Yes, I'm George, they said not to use last names.

EVA
Nice to meet you George, I'm Eva, this is Frank and this is Aaron.

AARON
Good meeting you George.

GEORGE
Hi Aaron. Hello Frank, Eva.

FRANK
Welcome to the near death cult George.

GEORGE
Thanks, are they interviewing now?

EVA
Yes, yes they are. Are you scheduled for today?

GEORGE
Yeah, this afternoon. I can't wait to tell them about my OBE.


AARON
Really! Well, you can tell us first if you want.

GEORGE
That's okay?

FRANK
Sure George lay it on us.

GEORGE
It's hard to believe.

FRANK
My whole life has been hard to believe, go ahead George, try us.

GEORGE
Well, while I was supposed to be under I was actually having an out-of-body experience and hovering (gesturing to group) meaning I was floating above the operating table.

FRANK
We know what hovering means George, we're a pretty sophisticated group.


GEORGE
Oh, good. Well there I was hovering and the medics they're not operating on me they are
pumping me out and feeding me some stuff.

EVA
I don't mean to interrupt George but pumping what out of you?


GEORGE
Well, I hate to admit it but I attempted suicide and drank a lot of liquor and took some sleeping pills.

EVA
Goodness!

AARON
Could have gone to hell for that George.






FRANK
Must have had a hell of a hangover.

GEORGE
Yeah, I guess I was lucky a friend found me.

FRANK
So what happened when you were hovering?

GEORGE
I saw…... it's rather embarrassing to telll…..I heard the surgeon pointing his instrument at me and saying, “this guy's an alcoholic, his liver looks like a dead fish”

EVA
Really?

AARON
No!

FRANK
No kidding!
GEORGE
He said it more than once. The other doctor and anesthesiologist were laughing.

EVA
Laughing?

GEORGE
Yeah, one said, “we should have saved the anesthesia, he probably didn't need any.”

EVA
Not nice.

GEORGE
Yeah, and the surgeon said, “we could have given hm a pint of whiskey”. And they all laughed again.

EVA
Terrible talk.






FRANK
(smiling) Kind of funny.

ARON
How long did you stay up there hovering George.

GEORGE
I came down after that, they were starting to try to revive me so I had to get back into my body.

EVA
Disgusting!

FRANK
They may have been drinking some of what George had before the procedure.

EVA
You should have reported it George.

GEORGE
Nobody would have believed me.

AARON
George could have died for all they seemed to care.

FRANK
Left to hover all his life, I'm going to hover over and get some coffee.

(Eva joins him at coffee pot

EVA
Why are you being so flippant about George's experience. (pours a cup, Frank hands her cream) thanks.

FRANK
I don't know, I have a hard time taking him seriously. He sounds like he's been drinking.

EVA
You have a hard time taking lots of things seriously.






FRANK
I still take you seriously Eva, why don't you dump that guy. We could try again. I've
learned a lot since….

EVA
Frank you know its complicated, there is Mary to think of, she loves him and he is not a bad man. He's a good father.....

FRANK
Do you love him?
EVA
Love isn't everything in life Frank.

FRANK
I'm trying to learn that.


































INT - SAME DAY Back in waiting room, Eva, Frank and Aaron


FRANK
(checking watch) I hope next. Well, I can tell you I didn't see Jesus, Aaron, but I didn't see the devil either, so I guess I came out even.

AARON
I'll be right back, want to use the restroom.

EVA
You're upsetting him Frank.

FRANK
Didn't meant too, maybe he just had to pee.

EVA
Be tactful with him Frank, he is a nice person.

FRANK
Yeah, okay, (beat) Eva did you think about what I said?

EVA
What Frank?

FRANK
Don't what Frank me, Eva, you know what I mean, you and me trying it again. I'd love to
have Mary with us.
EVA
Frank it's too complicated for me to think about now. It's just not a simple yes or no there
are so many considerations.

FRANK
Only one important one Eva if you love me enough, if there is enough love for you to try
it again with me. You did call me about this study didn't you, that wasn't just for the study
was it Eva?

EVA
Let's talk about it later Frank







FRANK
(a little upset) Later. When are we going to talk about it later Eva, when?

EVA
Please understand Frank, there is too much going on right now.

FRANK
(resigned) Yeah, okay, later.
(enter Doctor Phillips)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Frank you/re up, ready for this?

FRANK
Let's go.

FRANK
Alright. See you later Eva.

EVA
Good luck Frank.

FRANK
Yeah, I need some of that but not with the interview.





















INT – SAME DAY Research room Frank and doctors seated

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Good to have you here Frank, I'm curious as to how you found yourself in our study,
when I met with the subjects two weeks ago you mentioned you were pretty skeptical
about all this.

FRANK
True.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
So why join the study?

FRANK
Well, while I'm skeptical, as I said, but I admit I find it rather interesting too. I'm also trying to understand what makes people believe these experiences especially Eva.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Eva, what has Eva go to do with it?

FRANK
She's actually the one who told me about it and persuaded me to join when he heard about my
experience. She's always had a problem with my skepticism about what she believes and I thinking
she is hoping that this study might change my mind.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I see.

FRANK
So I guess you could say I have an ulterior motive as well.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Okay with you Doctor Phillips?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sure sometimes ulterior motives are the best motivations of all.








PROFESSOR PRENTICE

Okay. Just tell us a little about yourself Frank. According to your application you work
as a computer consultant and on your own.

FRANK
Right, I've never liked working for other people, like being out on my own.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
And I have your age as 45. And apparently you live by yourself. Ever been married?

FRANK
Yeah, well I've done my sharing of dating but I fell in love in college and never quite got over it.
I guess I'm a one woman man.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I See, Do you have relatives, close friends.

FRANK
Yeah, my mother is still living, my father left the family when I was small so I never really
knew him. I've got some cousins I see occasionally at family affairs, usually funerals actually.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Only child?

FRANK
Yeah, sorry should have mentioned that.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Hobbies, interests…..

FRANK
I'm a basketball fan, Chicago Bulls, of course, I follow the other sports causally, check the standings on Sunday, will tune in for championships or special events. I still like boxing, know that's somewhat primitive watching two guys trying to beat each other up but I do it with some discomfort. I work out regularly, three, four times a week, swim once in awhile, play tennis when the weather permits which isn't much in this town. I like music, blues, some classical, I read fiction, non-fiction, do the movies, YouTube, that sort of stuff. Oh, and I drink.




PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Overdo?

FRANK
Rarely, sometimes if I'm with a bunch of guys I might try and keep up but like I said that's does happen very often.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Close friends?

FRANK
Yeah, some of the guys at work, a couple of guys from college, one from the Army,
I guess you could call us close friends, as close as men get anyhow. We help each otherwise
out when we need it.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Thank you. Frank our intake workers indicate your experience was quite different
from the usual. Want to get started telling us about it?

FRANK
Sure. Well, I went out right away from the anesthesia. I always do. It takes very little of anything to put me to sleep. I go to sleep after a glass of milk. I sleep on subway trains all the time but know exactly when to wake up and get off at my stop. Talk about out-of-body experiences.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
But this experience…

FRANK
I digress, I’m given to digressions, well, anyhow, I did have this sensation of getting up out of my body and leaving the room. It was like an experience I had smoking marijuana one time when I was high. I was sitting in a friend's apartment and we were smoking joints and listening to jazz when suddenly I hear a saxophone like I've never heard before and then I had this feeling of leaving the room, sitting in the chair but being pulled out into the universe, scared the shit out of me, didn't smoke anything for years after-wards.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
And back to the Near Death Experience Frank….

FRANK
Sorry, I digress again, back to the experience, so I'm getting pulled somewhere and everything is black.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Were you in a tunnel?

FRANK
No tunnel, just this all enveloping blackness and then suddenly I'm in the city, Chicago, here, and I'm on this deserted street in this downtrodden neighborhood, seemed familiar, like one I've been on before but I just can't think of the damn name, I know this city, better then most cab drivers really, but I can't think of the name of that street but I know I've been on it, I could tell by the buildings, the homes, the store at the corner.

Anyhow, I'm on the street, it's night time and I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing there and I'm frightened because I'm alone and I know it's dark and it's a bad neighborhood. I hear voices and they sound threatening although what they're saying is not clear. I think they're talking about me. I see movements in the shadows by one of the homes and I decide I better get out my ass out of there.

I start walking fast toward the store on the corner. I figure if they have a phone I'll call a cab, I knew there wouldn't be any public transportation at this time in this neighborhood. It seemed to take me a long time to get to the store like I was on a treadmill. Meanwhile I could see more and more activity in the shadows and the voices getting meaner and louder.

When I got to the store it was open but empty. There was pay phone on the store in front of it but when I reached into my pocket it was empty too. I saw a cash register but I was afraid to go to it in case the owner showed up. I didn't know what to do. Then I thought I would dial 911 and I did but the phone was dead and I hung up. The shadows were coming at me fast now so I started to run. I ran and ran up one street and down another. I saw the Hancock building in the distance so I ran toward it.

Everywhere I went it was deserted, it was like I was the only person alive in the city. No one on the streets, just empty cars, all the lights in the building off, this sense of danger, the darkness. No moon to speak of, the sky looked jet black, I couldn't see any clouds at all. I figured it must be late at night or early morning but when I looked at my watch it was only 9pm. I ran and ran for what seemed to be miles and the shadows finally disappeared. I stopped running and started to walk. Funny, I never
seemed to get tired.

I was downtown, Michigan Avenue. I felt better but there was still no life. Nothing, all the street lights, the neons were out, no lights from the office buildings, nothing.. I was scared out of my mind not my body. I thought I had died.. I was thinking this was my private hell, I start thinking about my past life, some of the screw-ups and regrets but even then I couldn't quite buy this was the end. And I wanted to go on living. I just felt something was terribly wrong with the city but couldn't figure out what. I thought it must be a blackout or something, that consoled me, but I wasn't sure it was true.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
So then what happened Frank?


FRANK
Then I try to lighten up a little I figure it might be a holiday too, (laughs) made sense at the time, so I go over to State Street to see if there is anything or anyone over there. There's always somebody on State Street even if they are sleeping on the sidewalk. But nothing, not a damn thing. Nothing but empty streets and sidewalks, the only light coming from the full moon which hung up there like a big, yellow streetlight. Now I'm really spooked, I've never been this scared before. I don't know what to do, I stand at State and Congress and look at the library. I see there is this deep dark darkness at the entrance and walk over to it.
I figure darkness got me into this mess and maybe darkness will get me out. Damned if it didn't as I drew near it sucked me in like a giant vacuum and enveloped me. And then bang I was back in my body in the operating room and the nurse was asking me how I was doing. I was in pain, I wasn't in a good mood so I said something like how does it look like I'm doing? She blew it off, probably gets that half the time.

DOCTOR PHILLPS
So now that you've had time to integrate this experience what do you think about it.

FRANK
Nothing but a bad dream as far as I'm concerned. It was vivid as hell and very, very real but
it was a dream nonetheless. I've had a lot of very realistic bad dreams, most of them are. You know those dreams when you think it's all over and then you wake up and you're grateful as hell that it was just a dream. That's the way I felt about it then and that's the way I feel about it now. I've had reoccurring death dreams, very, very scary, being pulled down towards this spiraling darkness like a black hole and I fight like hell to wake up and always do sometimes all twisted up in the bedclothes, sometimes in a sweat and other times on the floor. I've had dreams about flying, dreams about being chased, dreams in an out of control car, most of my dreams are bad. I have these dreams, lucid dreams they call them where I am half in and half out, I know I'm dreaming but I'm not awake either. When I wake up I'm not sure what is real and what is the dream for a few minutes.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
But this whole experience wasn't real to you Frank?

FRANK
I didn't come back with any souvenirs did I?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Are you normally depressed?

FRANK
Who's normally depressed?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I mean....



FRANK
Yeah, I know what you mean, no, I mean I consider myself a realist, which might be a delusion in itself, and realism brings with it some tough feelings but no, I can't say I'm normally depressed, I have my ups and downs like everybody else but nothing all that bad for any length of tim

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
How or has it changed you or your life Frank?

FRANK
Not a damn bit. Well, when I go to bed at night I kind of hope I don't have that dream again but my dreams are not all that pleasant anyhow as I said so I guess I can live with it if I do. What bothers me most of all is I still can't think of the name of that damn street. I know I know it.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
How are you feeling now Frank….after your by-pass

FRANK
Fine, just fine. Was surprised when I found out I needed it but given the food I ate and the lack of real exercise I shouldn't have been.

DOCTOR PHJILLIPS
You've changed that.

FRANK
You bet, I've lost 15 pounds and I'm working out regularly.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Good for you.

FRANK
Nothing motivates you better than getting the shit scared out of you.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
True, fear is a powerful motivator

FRANK
Stronger than love?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We would have to do a study on that.


FRANK
Count me in.
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Anything else you'd like to say about it all Frank?

FRANK
Not really. Next time I have a by-pass I'll ask for a local anesthesia (laughs).

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Okay Frank that will do it for now, thanks for your participation, it adds another dimension
to our study.

FRANK
No problem. You through with me for today.

DOCTOR PRENCTICE
Yes, we are.

FRANK
See you later.
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Okay Frank.
(Frank returns to waiting room)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Well, he's a pretty good example of a negative NDE wouldn't you say Professor Prentice?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Yes, definitely, there are some of those. Would be intriguing to understand why. It might have to do with the personalities of the patients or their life history.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Well, from my experience and others it is clear that the context of one's life, preconceptions, especially religious ones have a strong influence on NDEs. Frank is obviously an non-believer and saw no deceased relatives, supernatural beings, etc. They simply aren't part of his life philosophy. He's a down-to-earth guy in every sense of the word.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I would have to agree with you on that Michael. Buddhists see Amida, pure light, Hindus go to Rig-Veda perpetual light. Theists to a heavenly light. Apparently Atheists go to dark places.
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I guess that's what realism triggers. Hey, we finally agree on something. (both men laugh)




INT - SAME DAY Back in research room

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Hello George, I'm Professor Prentice, this is Doctor Phillips, thank you for participating in the research.

GEORGE
Sure thing.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We've reviewed the screener's report which said you were admitted as a suicide attempt,
is that correct?

GEORGE
Yes.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
So you deliberately took a number of sleeping pills after drinking rum all night?

GEORGE
As I recall. 150 proof rum so I'm a little vague on what happened. But when I was discharged I noticed the pills in the bottle were less. I don't sleep too well when I drink too much so I take pills sometimes.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
So it could have been an accident as opposed to a suicide attempt.

GEORGE
(smiles) Suicide gets you through the ER faster.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
You been there before.
GEORGE
Right.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Who took you to the ER?

GEORGE
An ambulance, I dialed 911, they sent one.






PROFESSOR PRENTICE
So you live alone George?

GEORGE
Right, been single for a long time, divorced in my early thirties, thirty-two I think, no maybe thiry-three.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
No need to be exact. Do you drink a lot George?

GEORGE
Well, you know Professor, it's all relative.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Do you do drugs George, seems like you mixed alcohol with another substance?

GEORGE
I have to take the Fifth on that one Professor, (laughs) Amendment that is.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I see. Do have any close friends George, relatives, women?

GEORGE
Not really, I know some guys I used to hang around with but I don't see them regularly only when I do the bars which I can't afford to do too often any more. I have a neighbor I bullshit with when we bump into each other. What was the other….yeah, relatives, none of them have any use for me and I feel the same way about them. The fact that they are relative doesn't mean shit to me, this blood thing is vastly over-rated. Why should you like someone because you're related to them None of them helped out my mother when she was trying to raise her kids. They'd come around at Xmas but not even with gifts for the kids maybe a bottle wine or candy or something. I've never forgotten that and they know it. I leave them along and they leave me alone.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Siblings still alive?


GEORGE
One did heavy duty drugs which killed him young, the girl took off after high school graduation with her boyfriend and nobody ever heard from her. We never found out whether she is dead or alive. I still wonder about it, wonder if she will turn up someday.





PROFESSOR PRENTICE
And love relationships, women, any women in your life.

GEORGE
Not really, I pick one up in a bar occasionally and get laid but it's usually pretty much a one night stand or at best a couple of weeks. They either leave me or I leave them, I don't know if I care one way or another. (Getting uncomfortable with questions) I thought I was here to talk about my near-death experience.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
That's right, (skeptically) why don't you tell us about your NDE experience George.

GEORGE
(George animates all his experience, standing, mimicking hovering, gesturing
his NDE throughout the interview)

Well, there I was on the table, dead to the world, (laughs as he realizes what he says) and suddenly I was wide awake, could see and hear everything said and done in the room. I began to get up, rise up in the air, I hovered there for awhile and watched while they pumped
me out, kind of disgusting really. They gave me oxygen therapy I saw one doctor
pat a nurse on the butt while she was administering fluids to me. I was shocked. She got angry y and walked out so another nurse took over. I hung up there for awhile but then slowly I was pushed into this long, dark tunnel. As I went through it my whole life passed before me.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Really, how did it look?

GEORGE
(Cavalierly) Not all that bad, really, some off-the-wall stuff but nothing all that bad. Sort of like watching a “B” movie. Then I saw this bright light, sort of like a big stationary searchlight, at the end of the tunnel. Seemed I was flying through there. It all happened fast. When I got there I knew I was on the other side.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
The other side?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
You want to continue to take this Doctor Phillips?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
If that's okay with you.





PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Go ahead.

GEORGE
You know, Heaven.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Heaven, how did you recognize it as Heaven George?

GEORGE
Oh, angels, harp music, singing, lots of holy looking people reading bibles and stuff.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Reading bibles.
GEORGE
And Jesus was there.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
What was He doing?

GEORGE
Preaching.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
To the choir? (beat) What did he look like?

GEORGE
He had a long beard, mustache, lots of hair. Long white robe, sandals, sort of how he looked
in the movies.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
What language was he speaking in?

GEORGE
Didn't catch that.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
How close were you to him?






GEORGE
I could almost touch him (gestures with hands) He was that close

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Did he speak to you?

GEORGE
Yes. He knew I had tried to commit suicide and he told me that was a sin and I should repent or the next time I died I would go to hell. I told him I understood and that I wouldn't do it again. He blessed me and told me he forgave me and said to go and sin no more. I said I wouldn't and that was it. I went back into the tunnel and back into the operating room and into my body.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
So apparently he was speaking in English. How has this experience changed you George or has it?

GEORGE
I'm a lot more spiritual, I pray a lot more, go to church on Sundays.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Still drinking.

GEORGE
(smiles )A little, now and then.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I see. Are you working now George

GEORGE
I've been unemployed for some time, economy you know.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
So the $500 for participation in the study will come in handy.

GEORGE
Everything helps

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I don't have any other questions








PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Nor do I, you can go now George..

GEORGE
You're finished already? I didn't tell you about what I heard when they were working on me, what they said about me when I was being operated on.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(interrupts) Not necessary We're FINISHED with you George.

(George sheepishly exits)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS

What did you think of that Professor Prentice.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Clearly a fraud, in it for the money. We'll drop him from the study.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I wonder how he got by the intake workers.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
He's pretty glib. Let's drop him now.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
What about his OBE?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We can check on any reported incidents but I'm pretty sure the whole thing was contrived.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
This points out the danger of these anecdotal out of body perceptions in NDE's.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Well, clearly his testimony isn't true but there have been any number of reported incidences where NDE's have reported seeing and hearing things while supposedly under anesthesia or near actual death, out-of-body experiences are quite common.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
But none hold up under close examination. In fact while they are having these OBE's
they often report something inaccurately and miss other obvious sightings.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Not true Michael, we have some experiences which have been collaborated and look
at our Eva's OBE and her deceased cousin.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
There have only been a handful of such incidents and I'm not convinced despite the so-called collaboration. The probability of one out of many hundreds seeming true and then being highly publicized doesn't provide substantive evidence Professor.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(annoyed) Just what would it take to persuade you there is some veracity to these reports Doctor?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
People claim to see all kinds of things during the OBEs. It's usually things they see before they go under or when they come out or what they dreamt about.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Some of them are quite convincing.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
OBE's have been created by electrical stimulation of the temporal lobes. Epileptic seizures create NDEs.

PROFESSOR PHILLIPS
I know that!

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
And I know you've heard about these controlled target experiments they set up at some two dozen or more hospitals where they put up a target sighting so that the patient can spot it during an NDE and report back on it.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Of course, I read all the pertinent literature.




DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sounds easy, but they've run into problems with the patients and staff seeing them beforehand so now they are putting the targets up there at the ceiling facing upwards because that's where most of the NDE's say they go when they have the out-of- body experience. They even doing electronic stuff with vivid red colors, numbers, signs, words that are changed periodically and again can't be seen even by staff.



PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I like the approaches being developed, should come up with some conclusive evidence when there are enough sightings reported, might even convince the likes of skeptics like you Michael.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
More of the NDE reports of the controlled experiments accurately identifying these perceptual targets would do it for me Professor. When the patient has an OBE and sees these targets and reports on them accurately I would have to reconsider my position.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
That would be very interesting.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Yeah, to me also, but to date no NDE has reported seeing one of the targets. If OBE's exist why haven't they seen these obvious targets up in the operating room?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
The studies so far haven't been conclusive because the studies unfortunately haven't had many OBE;s I believe we'll be hearing of some target sightings in the future as more data comes in.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We’ll see what develops.
(Gets up and calls out to waiting room)
We're ready for you Aaron, if you're ready for us.

AARON
I'm ready Doctor Phillips, I'm all set to go.

DOCTOR PHILLPS
Okay, let's do it.
(Aaron enters research room)






















INT - SAME DAY The Doctors in their respective chairs, Aaron in his

AARON
Fine Doctor, fine,...a little nervous actually.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
O course, perfectly normal, don't worry about a thing. Can we ask you a few personal questions?

AARON
My life is an open book.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Good, we'll read a few pages. Your age is 40? And you are married with two children?

AARON
Correct, six and thirteen, boy and girl.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I think Doctor Phillips would like to know if you are a religious man.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Thank you Professor.
AARON
Religion is the most important thing in my life. I can say with humility I am a devout Evangelical. I'm very active in the church I attend sometimes people think I'm part of the ministry.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Very praiseworthy.

AARON
(Beams) Thank you.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE

How is your family life Aaron?

AARON
Never better.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Alright I think that does it for me. Any questions Doctor Phillips?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
No, I think you've covered everything Professor Prentice.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Okay Aaron tell us about your experience.

AARON
Where should I start?


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Wherever you feel appropriate Aaron.

AARON
Do you mind if I lie down to do this, it will put me in the mood.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Might be kind of uncomfortable Aaron.

AARON
No, I'll be fine.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
If you'd like to.

AARON
(Lies down parallel to audience)
Okay, well I was up for a triple by-pass and I was doing a lot praying. I know it's a pretty
common medical procedure now-a-days but still one worries. I was more worried about what would happen to my soul after I died then if my body died although I was worried about that too. I was kind of reviewing my life to see if I had been good enough to get to heaven. So I was praying all the way up to the time they gave me the anesthesia. I was still praying when I went under.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Uh,huh

AARON
I have no idea how much time passed but I just woke up, just like that, fully awake. I couldn't figure that out, I knew I was supposed to be under anesthesia. It didn't feel right. And then bang I was lifted up gently but forcefully and pushed up and into this darkness. Before I knew it I was in this dark round tunnel moving through it really fast.
(Aaron sits up he is animated in his descriptions)


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Did you see anything before you left the operating room?

AARON
No as I said this happened so fast I didn't have an opportunity to see anything.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What were you feeling at the time Aaron?



AARON
I'm not sure I felt much of anything except complete surprise.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
No fear?
AARON
Not that I can recall, but things were happening so fast that I hardly had a chance to feel anything until I got to the light at the end of the tunnel. Then I distinctly remember thinking, wow, so this is what death is like, what have I been worried about. Everything was wonderful, I felt wonderful too. There was a peace, a serenity I've never felt before, music was playing, everything seemed so rich, the fields, the sky so blue, that puzzled me I hadn't expected a sky in heaven….

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
So you thought it was heaven, how could you determine that Aaron?

AARON
Well, I didn't know for sure until I saw Him.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Him?
AARON
You know Him.
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
For the record Aaron who?

AARON
Jesus, of course, there he was just like I had imagined, just like I had always seen Him depicted. I thought, wow, he is just like all his pictures. The beard, the long flowing robes, the penetrating eyes, the magnetism. I was spellbound. And He was surrounded by others in robes too, I figured they were disciples, I may have recognized some from pictures of the last supper or something like that. They all seemed holy because they all had this, this powerful presence, I can't describe it really, different from anything I had ever felt on earth.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Did you speak to each other?

AARON
I was speechless. Overwhelmed, I couldn't even move let alone talk. They just stood there smiling in this very kind, loving way. I never felt that kind of warmth before not even from my parents, or wife or kids. I was filled with this love, this caring. That gave me the courage to ask them if I could join them. I want to be with you I said. I want to stay here with you. They gathered together and talked. I thought that they might be discussing whether or not to let me join them. Some of them looked at me as they spoke. Finally Jesus stepped out and came forward toward me about two steps. He just shook his head
(continuing)
sadly and then backed away slowly at first and the faster and faster. It was his angel who spoke. “You must go back Aaron” he said, “you are not ready to be with us now, your time has not come”. I protested again and again yelling but I want to be with you now not later, why not now, let me be with you now, please, please. But I couldn't move my body toward them more than a couple of feet. They were close but at the same time inaccessible. I'm ashamed to say I begged but it was no good, then they all moved further and further away, some waved goodbye and then turned and disappeared. I stood there crying, beginning to grieve but before I could feel anything more I felt that force again pulling me.


Then I was back in the tunnel moving at I don't know how many miles per hour but not as fast as the trip out, in fact it seemed rather slow in comparison. Maybe because I was resisting going back. I wanted to go back to them but I knew I couldn't. Deep down I knew they were right; I had a wife and kids, it would be selfish to leave them for my own happiness no matter how good. Then suddenly I was back in the operating room. I could see they had sewn up my chest, I could see the stitches, I tried to see if I was breathing but I couldn't tell but I figured I must be alive since I was back. I went into my body and felt very bad, sore, thirsty, hurting. I asked for water and told the nurse I was feeling pain. They gave me medication. They told me the operation went well but really I was hardly concerned about that,.I knew I was back but I would never be the same again.



PROFESSOR PRENTICE
How has it been for you since that time Aaron?

AARON
Good, very good. Once I got back with my family I didn't have any more regrets, I knew that I belonged there for now and I would join them up there sooner or later, that comforted me a lot. The people around me, my congregation they were very impressed with my experience and I even talked about it from the pulpit on one Sunday. I guess I became a minor celebrity because everyone was shaking my hand congratulating me, wanting to talk about the experience again and again. Usually the same questions over and over. It got kind of weighty after awhile but overall it was nice, very nice.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Have you changed personally because of the experience Aaron

AARON
I'm definitely happier, my wife likes that very much. I'm more relaxed, not as uptight as I was before.. I think I feel more. I'm much more sensitive much more attuned to what's going around me, to people. I do more volunteer work, I always did some but now I want to do more and more. I'm thinking about changing jobs to do more social work. I'd like to become a missionary but I don't know if I can pull that off with a family and everything. I feel more attached to God than ever. I feel a very real personal relationship with Jesus that I
(continuing)
never felt before. I'm very happy I had the experience. It changed my life forever. I'm not afraid of death anymore, people don't believe it when I tell them that but it's true, I just don't worry about dying or death, in fact, at some level I would welcome it. I know what it's like now and as long as I believe I am going to Heaven I have no fear of death. My only fear now is whether or not I do go to Heaven but I believe that as long as I live a good life I will.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Quite an amazing experience Aaron.


AARON
(Aaron sits up) Yes it was.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Any questions Doctor Phillips?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You're experience would indicate a belief you may or will go to Heaven in an after-life.


AARON
I don't mean to be presumptuous, that's just what the experience was.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
No, no I didn't mean to imply that at all. I just find it interesting that your experience indicated
a Heaven while 18% of near-death experiences are negative, distressing, even hellish.

AARON
That makes sense to me, not all of us are going to Heaven.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
As a child did you suffer any trauma, abuse Aaron?

AARON
No, not really, my Dad was strict, got the strap once in awhile but I usually deserved it.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(Looks puzzled at Doctor Phillips)

PROFESSOR PHILLIPS
Studies show that NDEs have more trauma than the norm.


PROFESSOR PRENTIC E
(disinterested) Really?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Anything else you want to share with us Aaron?

AARON
(beat) No, can't think of anything else, if I do, I'll let you know.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Okay, Aaron, you can get up now Aaron, you're free to go, thanks very much for your time.

AARON
You're very welcome, my pleasure.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Thanks Aaron.

(Arron goes back to waiting room)

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Impressive, striking similarity to Eva's experience don't you think.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Well, we know many, many of these NDEs are similar, the tunnel, the light, the deceased,
Jesus, interesting isn't it that his vision of Jesus was just like the prayer cards he likely saw
as a child and grew up with, the beard, the eyes, the charisma etc.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(somewhat sarcastically) I guess you have to be a religious person to appreciate his experience.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
What was interesting to me was that he didn't see any of his dead relatives there, that's a little different from most stories we hear.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Stories, you do believe these are only fiction don't you Michael?.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We don't have any evidence that they aren't Professor.






PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Evidence? When you have many thousands of people all over the world coming forth with these experiences. 4% or more percent of the population in the United States. They are atheists, agnostics, Christians, Hindu, Buddhists, every race and nationality testifying to their near death experience in the most vivid terms and you don't call that evidence Michael? Recorded NDE reports go back centuries before Christ. These experiences don't mean anything, don't signify something? Are we to dismiss them as mere stories, individual hallucinations on a massive scale?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
But what about the many more millions who have come close to death, near death so to speak and who have not had these experiences, how does one explain those exceptions. As I mentioned only 18% of NDEs experience an after-life. We hear a lot about these anecdotal coincidences because they are good media stuff but nothing about all the experiences which don't happen which is the norm.



PROFESSOR PRENTICE
That doesn't invalidate those who do have such experiences.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'm sure you would agree it's not objective evidence Doctor, I mean you're the one who
pounded that home to me in medical school. Evidence, evidence, evidence, science, science, science..
We have millions of people who believe in ghosts and many who claim they have seen
or heard them but that's not evidence. Two-thirds of people claim to have had a mystical or religious experience of some kind. It's no different with these NDEs. It's no different with dreams is it? Flying, excitement, anxiety, pleasure, running from danger, sex, extraordinary experiences of all kind. Some times the dreamer doesn't know if internal or external events are influencing the dream, you can actually hear a telephone ring and incorporate it in a dream. There is a breakdown of boundaries as to what is real and what is a dream. Patients under anesthesia hear the medical people talking at times. There are tremendous commonalities in these dreams but we don't call them evidence of real experiences despite the fact that most of the human race have such content in their dreams... over thousands of years I might add.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
But dreams are often incoherent at least to the dreamer. NDEs are lucid coherent narratives.

PROFESSOR PHILLIPS
There are experts on dreams who would argue they make sense too. And beyond dreams fantasy plays a role in NDE;s, studies have shown them to be more absorbed in fantasy than the norm.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
To the experts perhaps but not necessarily to the dreamer. As far as fantasy goes we all do that. The fact that NDEs fantasize more doesn't persuade me. But let's talk about evidence of death, shall we, Michael. There is absolutely irrefutable evidence of patients who have suffered cardiac arrest, no brain-stem activity, a flat-lined EEG, no visible respiration, nothing, who nevertheless survived and had a near-death experience. These people were clinically dead as possible and had no brain activity yet were able to have a conscious experience and live to tell about it. How do you explain that
phenomenon Michael?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We may well be dealing with a level of consciousness which instruments such as the EEG aren't sophisticated enough yet to pick up. And far as being dead is concerned who knows when a person is truly dead, lack of breath, response, EEG., brain stem activity, there are a number of criteria that define death and it's still controversial.



PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I recognize the complexity of defining death but the evidence we do have is our best current criteria of being death and that's what I'm talking about.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We simply don't know for sure. Furthermore no one knows when these alleged NDEs are taking place during these long operations, they could be happening when the patient firsts goes under or is coming out, they can take place in literal seconds, it's like when we have dreams, whole sequences occur in seconds…..

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What does that…..

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Let me finish please, I repeat no one has shown exactly when these so-called NDEs take place during the time the patient is out so to speak. Some patients are under for hours. The NDEs could have taken place before or after the so-called clinical death measurements.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We know that when we resuscitate patients after being clinically dead they have lucid memories of having experiences during the time they were considered dead. Conceivably consciousness can survive death, if you believe some philosophers and scientists,

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Some theologians perhaps.



PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I said philosophers and scientists.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
A distinct minority. Look, we know brain cells exist within the brain for some time after they are called clinically dead but once those cell dies its over, all over. There is no evidence of consciousness existing after that finality takes place. I believe when one is actually death they are actually dead and can't be resuscitated. Near death isn't death.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
You always have an answer, that's what I remember most about you as a student Michael, always an answer, right or wrong but always an answer.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I thought teachers like answers Professor, Isn't that why they ask questions, for answers. I believe there are answers to most things if we dig long enough and hard enough to get them. We can't simply dismiss science because it doesn't have all the answers now. The answers to most of these questions are coming as they always have...sooner or later.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I've learned something you haven't Michael and I may have to teach you that also.
Perhaps this research will do that job for me. There are things beyond science and medicine
that have their own truth.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(beat-somewhat sadly) How did we become so different Professor?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I don't know, Michael, I don't know.
















INT - SAME DAY Waiting Room



FRANK
How did it go Aaron?

AARON
Very well, I enjoyed talking about it, brought back some good feelings. They are smart people, very interested, in what I had to say.

EVA
They are. I'm glad it went well for you Aaron.


FRANK
What did they say when you told them you saw Jesus.

AARON
Nothing, I did almost all of the talking.

EVA
I'm sure you enjoyed that part too Frank.

FRANK
Very funny, just remember Eva you talked me into this study or research or whatever it is.
I'm not sure it's worth the $500 they paying us for our time and effort. I could have
written a couple of programs for clients in the time I'm spending here.

EVA
Well, when I found out you had one too, it just seemed reasonable for you to come too.

FRANK
Reasonable?

EVA
I think you are more interested than you let on Frank.

FRANK
I'm interested Eva but not in the study, I'm here because of you and not the study.





AARON
So what was your near death experience like Frank, I told you about mine.



FRANK
I'll tell you about it later Aaron.

AARON
Okay. (beat)So how long did you and Eva stay friends after college.

FRANK
We were more than friends for awhile

EVA
Frank!

FRANK
What he's a big boy.

EVA
That's not the point, that's very personal.

AARON
I didn't need to know that Frank.

FRANK
I'm sorry really, that wasn't necessary. I'm kind of messed up today with this stuff




















Frank and Eva are sitting in waiting room when Sandra walks in. She is attractive, somewhat stylish, smiling. She has presence.

SANDRA
Is this the study on near death? They said it was in room 12.

FRANK
You've got our number. I'm Frank and this is Eva. We're subjects…. in a clinical sense that is.

SANDRA
(laughs) I'm Sandra, nice meeting both of you.

EVA
Pleasure.

SANDRA
So what's been going on, you both been here awhile?

EVA
Yes, Sandra, we've both been interviewed.

SANDRA
(sits) How did it go, did they ask a lot of personal stuff?

EVA
Some but most of it is on the near death experience itself.

SANDRA
That makes sense, that's what this is all about.

FRANK
How did you get involved in this Sandra?

SANDRA
I saw it on the hospital kiosk I was returning for a follow-up visit and saw it there.
I had an….unusual experience so I thought I would check it out. How about you
guys?

FRANK
Well, I had a kind of experience but I probably wouldn't have gone except Eva and
I talked about it and she suggested I check it out so I did


EVA
I had a real near death experience and wanted to know more about it. My surgeon
was aware of the study and suggested I might find it valuable.

SANDRA
Has it been?

EVA
Very. Have we met before, your face, your body look familiar?

SANDRA
Not socially.

EVA
I'm sure….

SANDRA
Do you go to the theatre?

EVA
Yes, why?

SANDRA
I'm an actress and I mostly perform locally.

EVA
Oh, how interesting. Maybe that's where….

SANDRA
I just played Beverly in the Shadowbox.

EVA
That's it! My girlfriend and I went to see that. Sure you were her in that play, some role. What a
coincidence.

SANDRA
It is, did you like the play?

FRANK
What was it about Eva?

EVA
This guy, rather young guy, finds out he's dying, great play, really good acting.

SANDRA
Thank you.





































INT - SAME DAY Research Room

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(Looking at list) Let's see. We got everyone today except one.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(Looks at watch) We've got another one?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Yes, a woman, remember we were getting too many men in the study for some reason.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We need to be politically correct.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I call it fair. We still come up short 3 to 2.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
It might be 3 to 1 if she isn't here.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'll take a look maybe she snuck in during Adrian's interview. (as he goes to check she walks in)

SANDRA
I'm Sandra Stevens, I have an appointment with you all. They told me you guys were back here in the research room.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(warmly) We were just going to look for you, good timing.

SANDRA
Timing is important in the theatre.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You're an actress!

SANDRA
I am. Sorry didn't mean to do an entrance.







DOCTOR PHILLIPS
No problem, please have a seat and we can get started.

SANDRA
Thank you.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Do you perform locally, I do theatre as often as I can perhaps I've seen you...but no I'm
sure I would remember you….

PROFESSER PRENTICE
I'm Professor Prentice (looks at Doctor Phillips) I'm also one of the researchers.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sorry…

SANDRA
Good to meet you Professor.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Well's let's get started, shall we. It would appear you would like to lead on this Doctor Phillips.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(beat) Yes, I would, fine, (smiles), can you tells us something about yourself Ms. Stevens, yourself lifestyle so to speak, work, friends, (looks at sheet) we have you down as living in the city and as single.

SANDRA
Sure. Well, I'm 35, living alone, divorced, I married young, 19, got divorced at 30.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Friends, relatives, relationships?

SANDRA
Number of friends or acquaintances really for the most part…


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Do you categorize them as one or the other?

SANDRA
Well, when it is an acquaintance a friend, you know. I count a friend as someone who will go the extra mile for you especially when you need it. I have a couple of those but we don't get together as much as we used to. So the rest are pretty much casual friends/acquaintances. I can take them or leave them and I'm sure they feel the same about me. Relatives? Parents have passed. I was an only. Never had much contact with uncle or aunts, cousins all move somewhere else. I'm more or less a loner nowadays.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(nods) I get it. Relationships?

SANDRA
I take it you mean lovers. No, not for awhile now…

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Meaning?

SANDRA
Time-wise….I'd say two years, maybe a little more than that. Sort of lost interest in men after the divorce, not a good experience, probably took it out on the guys I dated after that.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
And apparently no children.

SANDRA
(stiffens) There was one, once.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Oh!

SANDRA
(beat) A son, he died a few years after the divorce, O'D .

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'm sorry to hear that.

SANDRA
At fourteen, can you imagine that before he had a chance to really live (starts crying)
my Paul, he was a nice, quiet kid, just a beautiful boy.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(Passes Kleenex to her)

SANDRA
I'm sorry but every time….I'll just never get over it...never.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
If you want to take a break..

SANDRA
No, no lets get on with it, I'll be OK.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Do you suffer from depression?

SANDRA
You caught that. I do but except when I go off the deep end which I'm learning not to do...it's too damn hard digging yourself out after-wards I deal with it fairly good. No I'm not happy.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sort of a low level chronic depression?

SANDRA
Exactly, well put.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(pushing it somewhat) Perhaps we can get to the NDE now Doctor Phillips?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
One other question, Ms. Stevens, do you consider yourself a religious person?

SANDRA
No, not really, I'm a lapsed Catholic, lapsed for 20 years so I guess I'm excommunicated by now. Don't really believe in much anything

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Okay, would you describe your experience to us please?

SANDRA
So they found some cancerous cells in one of my lungs, I'm a former smoker, a pack a day, unfiltered, they found it early fortunately, but they wanted to go in and remove whatever was there and see if there was any more than they could see with, the imaging tests they did.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sure

SANDRA
So I'm lying there after the anesthesia and slowly at first and then more rapidly I feel myself sinking,

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Sinking! Oh sorry.

SANDRA
Sinking, sinking, sinking, down, down, down, then falling, falling frighteningly fast into what is like a dark abbess. I was terrified, wondering when it was going to stop and what it would feel like when it did, like would I hit something or what. And then I land on my feet, no stress, and I'm on stage facing a huge dark empty auditorium. It is eerily quiet. The stage is dimly lit but I can see a person standing in the corner by the curtain. He is big, wearing a black cape and beret, completely dressed in black and he has this big bullwhip and he shouts “places everybody, places” and cracks the whip.

I start with lines from the play Shadow Box, a great play about death, I'm Beverly talking to this guy Mark whose leaving his dying partner Brian who was Beverly's former husband. (Sandra stands up acts) “You're cute Mark but let me tell you something, next to me you the most selfish son of a bitch I've ever met” (She sits) And then, then every time I get to that line he lashes out with the bullwhip and strikes me, (a little upset) every time, every damn, time and I'm crying and I'm bleeding and I start the lines again and he hits, hits, hits, me the bastard. He screams out do it again. Over and over I play the lines and he lashes me with the bullwhip. It was horrible, It was hell, I don't know how many times he did this to me.

And in the middle of it my son appears and he is sitting in the first row and he is applauding, clapping smiling and then he disappears just like that. (stifles a cry), just like THAT. (beat) I collapsed and then I start to leave, I start to rise up, fast first then slower and things get brighter and brighter, like the sun is coming out after a storm, and I find myself back in my body, I'm waking up, the bright lights of the operating room in my eyes, the anesthesiologist standing over me asking me how I was doing. “Fine” I said, “fine”

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Quite a trip.

SANDRA
Sorry if that was a bit theatrical, but what can I say.






DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I would call it dramatic not theatrical.

SANDRA
Thank you.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(Somewhat condescending) You are dark, aren't you?

SANDRA
I'm a realist, (laughs) that's why I'm depressed.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Interesting insight. One theory has it that depressed people are more realistic especially about themselves. That might sound paradoxical but…

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Let's get back to the NDE shall we...Ms. Stevens why did you come into this study, the money?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Wait a minute..

SANDRA
(flippantly putting him on) Actually $500 is not bad for a couple of hours work Professor some hookers don't even make that kind of money, not that I would know about things like that. The truth is Professor I read about near-death experiences after my experience and I couldn't sort it out as to whether mine fell into that category or not. (Prentice says nothing looks at Phillips)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
What do you make of it now Sandra?

SANDRA
(avoiding) I've been reading about them and it is so fascinating, you know I might do a monologue about them. I mean it would be fictional but then maybe they all are.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(sternly) What makes you say that?

SANDRA
(Defensively) I've read some of the science on it and my sense of realism sort of just can't buy it, I mean, I doubt mine too.



PROFESSION PRENTICE
Doubts prove nothing. (He turns to drink some water)

SANDRA
(whispers to Phillips, he's sort of like the director. (ignores Prentice turns to Phillips, I don't know what to make out of it. It seemed so real and powerful and haunting that I thought it might be an NDE but then I kind of read it as a message about my future in theatre or maybe my past but what really bothers me is (emotionally) that my son, Paulie was out there in the first row clapping, what was he clapping about? Was he clapping about my performance what he thought was a play or was he clapping because I was being tortured. It tears me up, it drives me crazy. I think about it all the time, every day.

(beat) DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'm afraid I can't do an interpretation on that but a good therapist might be able to help you sort that out and help you with the depression too.

SANDRA
I've had some therapy, who hasn't? I think some of those guys could use a good therapist themselves. I had one guy who fell asleep on me repeatedly and another who showed me all the books he wrote, and then told me all my problems were nonsense. Of course, I didn't go back and I didn't pay him either. I read later he was arrested for drugging his patients and then having sex with them.

PHILLIPS
I know who you mean, a rather famous analyst.

SANDRA
But to be fair some of that therapy helped me understand myself better although it didn't change much.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Did you, do you drink Ms. Stevens?

SANDRA
Why do I act as if I do? The answer is yes and I control it quite well but at times fortunately rare when I'm down I might wipe out the whole bottle of wine. The next day I'm more depressed then ever because of my behavior. Then I quit everything for a couple of months and resume my routine


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Which is?




SANDRA
A glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon every other day maybe a couple on the weekend.

PHILLIPS
(putting it to him) Shall we get back to the NDE Professor?

SANDRA
(smiles)

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(persists) Drugs?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Really Professor Prentice what are we trying to prove here? This is starting to have the flavor of an inquisition.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
And you seemed to be charmed out of your objectivity.

SANDRA
Yeah, I did them, we all did but I stopped when I got pregnant, after some time me and Peter, my husband smoked once in awhile but when he did that he went out drinking so I stopped doing that too.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Was you son aware of your ...smoking?

SANDRA
I don't think so it wasn't that frequent and he was quite young, under eight at the time.
(angry) What are you trying to imply Prentice that I influenced him to do drugs?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Merely suggestive.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Your behavior is unprofessional Professor and I want you to stop this inappropriate interrogation now or it will be in my report.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I have no further questions.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I apologize for this Sandra.




PROFESSOR PRENTICE
You don't have to apologize for me Doctor?


SANDRA
It's okay Doctor Phillips, thanks.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Well, I hate to end on this sour note but I do think we are finished and I hope your life gets happier and I would urge you to see someone who might be able to help you.

SANDRA
I understand there are meds that can help.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
There are for sure but I recommend doing with psychotherapy, studies show that to provide the best results

SANDRA
I will do that. (gets up) Can you show me the way out?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(walks her into the waiting room, Prentice busies himself with paperwork)

SANDRA
(they stop) Do you have a card?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Of course, (Gets, gives her one, Sandra carefully puts it in her purse) Any time you have a question on the study or its results don't hesitate. Leave a message if I'm busy.

SANDRA
Thanks. I most definitely will. What is your first name Doctor?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(A little taken back) Michael, Michael Phillips.

SANDRA
Michael. Okay Michael thanks so much for your sensitivity and help. (she offers her hand (She looks at his fingers, see the wedding ring)







DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You are very welcome, thanks for being such a good subject.

SANDRA
Never been called a good subject before, rather nice. Goodbye I know my way out.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(wistfully) Bye Sandra. (he goes back to research room)

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
There is not much to discuss here, this is a highly neurotic woman who really shouldn't have
gotten past screening. I'm going to take it up with the research board.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Your behavior was anything but professional, you took an immediate dislike to this woman
and displayed it blatantly.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Don't you dare talk to me that way…..I never….

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'll talk to you anyway I feel appropriate, something you haven't seemed to learn: you're not running a classroom anymore Professor and I'm no longer your student.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
You haven't seem to learned much Phillips.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Maybe because I had poor instructors.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I should have flunked you out, I would have done the profession a service

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You keep up your noxious and unprofessional behavior and you will be drummed out into retirement which apparently is where you probably belong Professor.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What was professional about your falling over all this woman like an adolescent in heat. Did you date her in the waiting room?




DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I keep my professional boundaries all the way. The woman was a credible subject with an interesting experience. She clearly needed some sympathy and support….


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(grunts) Oh, is that what you call a flirtation “support”.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You couldn't be jealous could you Professor?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Of what? I'm going to consider her as an inappropriate subject in my report.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You better have some backup details on that Professor. The screeners considered her “appropriate” and so do I. Her perceived experience had what are considered definite NDE aspects including what she felt was her personal acting hell, the darkness and light features of so many NDE's, a dead relative, the son. A mysterious unearthly presence in the stage director. Her sense of leaving and returning to her body.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Inappropriate is and will be my stated opinion.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
The only thing “inappropriate” here is your behavior and I will be stating so in my report.




















INT - SAME DAY Research Room


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What time is she due?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Right about now. I'll take a look in the waiting room.

(goes looks, returns)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Not there yet.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
So your interested in her sighting, her visual perception while she was in the NDE?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I want to explore that with her some more.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We have evidence supporting Eva's experienced

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Like what?

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
The deceased cousin, I confirmed the date of his death.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'm not sure that is so conclusive. (gets up and looks in waiting room) Eva! Come on in.

EVA
I didn't know whether to knock or what.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
No problem, have a seat. How are you doing Eva?

EVA
I'm fine. What was it you wanted to review with me?




DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We just want to explore and clarify a couple of points you mentioned

EVA
Oh, okay, like what?
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Your deceased cousin Roger for one.

EVA
I saw Roger.
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'm sure you did. How old was your cousin when he died.

EVA
Oh, maybe almost 20 years older than me. He was my oldest cousin.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
And were you aware that he had been quite ill for some time before his death.

EVA
Yes, as a matter of fact I visited him in the hospital. Why..... oh I see you think I
saw him as deceased because I knew he might die. Is that the real question here?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I'm merely exploring it as a possibility Eva.

EVA
(defensively) All I know is what I saw and that's what I reported.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I don't think this line of interrogation proves anything Doctor Phillips.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Merely suggestive Doctor.

EVA
I didn't know he was dead.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
We accept that Eva.






DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I've arranged for a conference call.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
A conference call?


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Between us and Gerald Foote, an administrator in charge of technology at the hospital

EVA
Oh!

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Why wasn't I informed of this Doctor Phillips. I don't like these surprises. Protocol would have dictated your informing me of this and getting my consent.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I was just able to make the connection right before we met this morning. I didn't want to
raise the issue unless it was possible to do it. I was sure you would want
the collaboration of a witness to Eva's experience. We talked about that need.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I do, but I am going to note this as departure from research protocol when this is over.

EVA
I hope I'm not causing trouble.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Not at all Eva, just our little problem. Now let's see if I can get Mr. Foote (presses button
on computer). He is at an administrator's conference in Atlanta. Ah, how about that, got him on the first try, Mr. Foote can you hear me ok? Good? I'm here with Professor Prentice, my research colleague and Eva. Yes.

(Phillips is using a speaker phone, someone offstage can do the speaking)


GERALD FOOTE

Hi Eva, how you doing?





EVA
Fine, Mr. Foote, just fine, thanks to your hospital and the great doctors.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I've related to you the visual experience Eva had of the staff during her Out-of-body experience, her belief she saw a reproduction of a Rembrandt painting hanging in operating room number six.

GERALD FOOTE
Yes.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Knowing that was a highly unusual issue I waited so as to give you time to investigate the matter, have you concluded that investigation?

GERALD FOOTE
Yes, I have.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You determined whether the painting was indeed placed up on the wall in operating room six?

GERALD FOOTE
Yes I did.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
And..(beat)

GERALD FOOTE
The online records from maintenance have the painting being placed there in early May…

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
The exact date please.

GERALD FOOTE
Let's see, May 3rd, they have it recorded as May 3rd, even the time 10:10AM


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(unbelieving) You're sure? Absolutely sure?

GEERALD FOOTE
That's what the record says.



DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Okay, thanks for your time.

DOCTOR PRENTICE
Thank you Mr.Foote, thank you very, very much, you've made a real contribution to science here.

GERALD FOOTE
You're very welcome.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Goodbye Mr. Foote, well I guess that's it.

DOCTOR PRENTICE
(working on the report on the computer) That's it indeed. I think it is time you did that reconsidering Doctor Phillips

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Yeah, I guess so. You revising the report? (walks over to look) a little exuberant...

DOCTOR PRENTICE
Just a paragraph about the confirmation of the OBE, just facts Doctor Phillips just facts the way you like IT.
























INT - SAME DAY Waiting Room


FRANK
Hi Eva.

EVA
I proved it!

FRANK
You proved what, the near death thing?

EVA
My out of body experience, seeing the painting, the administrator confirmed it was on the wall where I said I saw it.

FRANK
How could that be?

EVA
Sorry Frank it happened.

FRANK
So hard to believe.

EVA
It's true, maybe you better start believing Frank. (Starts to walk away)

FRANK

Let me drive you home.

EVA
No. thanks I'll grab a cab.

FRANK
And if I had accepted your experience would it have made a difference for us?

FRANK
Maybe.








EVA
I need to go now. Bye Frank.

FRANK
(beat) Bye Eva.








































INT SAME DAY - Waiting Room

(PHILLIPS starts to leave workman enters with painting
it is turned backwards so we can't see it)

WORKMAN
Hi Doctor, listen do you know if operating room six is busy?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Six? Why?

WORKMAN
I've got to get this painting hung before tomorrow morning. I don't want to interrupt anything, sometimes they're training in there.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
They don't do it on Fridays. (frowning) Let's see that.

WORKMAN
(It's Rembrandt's “Anatomy Lesson”) It fell down the day we hung it up, we had to get a new frame.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
(loudly) So it wasn't there on May 5th.

WORKMAN
Like I said, it fell down the same day we put it up, how could it be there?


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Wait a minute, why isn't all this on the maintenance record?

WORKMAN
How do you know….(sheepishly) look it was no big deal, it was the supervisor who hung it
and he didn't...you know...he didn't want to report that he ...that it fell down.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Whose the supervisor. I need his name.


WORKMAN
(beat) Me.



DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Who is?

WORKMAN
Peter Chapman. Look I don't want to get into trouble, all I want to do is rehang this.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(Comes out with printed report in hand) You still here Michael?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Did you send the report yet Doctor Prentice?

DOCTOR PRENTICE
(walking) No, l was just going to fax it.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Hold the report Doctor Prentice we are going to have to make some changes

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
(stops dead) Changes, what changes?


(Phillips, Chapman, Prentice go into interview room)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS

Eva didn't have an OBE! The painting was there the day she said she saw it.


PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What are you talking about, Doctor Phillips, we have proof from Administrator Foote.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
This is Mr. Chapman, he just told me the painting had fallen down the day it was hung

breaking the frame. He was just going to hang it up again when I bumped into him.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
What are you trying to pull Doctor Phillips?









DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Pull, nothing, look there is the painting in his hands. He is returning it to the operating room.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
That proves nothing, the maintenance record doesn't say anything about a repair, it says it
was up on May 5th, the day of her operation and the day she said she say it and the day
Foote says it was there. Mr. Chapman is mistaken. We go by the record not heresy.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Any chance you are wrong on the date Mr. Chapman?

CHAPMAN
No, not chance, it fell down the same day I hung it up.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Which would have been May 3rd and he is just rehanging it today Doctor Prentice.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I don't know what you are trying to pull off here Doctor Phillips but if you are bribing this man…

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Don't you dare impugn my integrity Prentice! Chapman who else would be aware of when the painting fell?

CHAPMAN
All the crew they were making fun of me, you know, the supervisor who can't hang a painting properly.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Anyone else?

CHAPMAN
Some of staff in the operating room, it fell after an operation and they were saying they were glad it didn't happen during the previous operation. They weren't happy about it, scared the hell out of some of them.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
I filing the report as is, this is all hearsay, anecdotal speculation, we have the facts on the record, it was a legitimate proven OBE period.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Don't file the report until we finish interviewing the witnesses Professor Prentice, it will look bad for you.

PROFESSOR PRENTICE
Bad for me? It's going to look real bad for you Doctor Phillips when I tell the panel what you tried to pull off.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Have it your way, you always have, let's go Mr. Chapman.


(Phillips and Chapman go to waiting room)
I'll be interview your crew tomorrow, I'll need statements and I'll find out who was on duty
in the operating room on the 3rd. Thanks a lot for your help, I'm sorry if this causes you any
embarrassment.

CHAPMAN
I guess I can take it…(laughs) I've messed up worse

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We all mess up at times Peter. (Pats him on shoulder) thanks again.


































INT - SAME DAY Waiting Room

FRANK
Hi Doctor, all finished with the interviews.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
All finished Frank.

FRANK
Want some coffee, it's not bad, relatively speaking.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
No thanks.....wait a minute, on second thought, yeah, I would like some coffee.

FRANK
Cream, powdered cream, that is?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Please, no sugar.

FRANK
Good they don't have any.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Eva's left?

FRANK
Afraid so. (Brings back coffees to the table)

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
You and her had a relationship before she married?

FRANK
I've never quite gotten over that experience, talking about near death experiences,
the end of that one almost killed me emotionally.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Do you know her husband?

FRANK
Guys a jerk. I don't get it, I couldn't be any worst than him and I might even be better
I think it's this damn NDE of hers. She is so committed to it, she can't live with anyone who doesn't share that belief with her. She'll probably wind up divorcing him and marry the first guy who accepts her NDE. Crazy. I could have pretended to believe her, go along with the story but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I mean what the hell, what's the big deal in my doing that? But I just couldn't do it. I'm as crazy as her in my own way. But it looks like it's all over.

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Hopeless?

FRANK
Maybe, maybe if she divorces her husband I could take another shot at it but who knows.

(Professor Prentice walks out and through the room)

FRANK
What's with him?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We had some serious disagreements on the research conclusion. We're splitting up.

FRANK
You too.
DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Us too. We had....different perspectives on NDEs and an OBE. It got personal.

FRANK
Eva and I couldn't get past it either but thought you guys had to do that.


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
We do, but sometimes, personalities, feelings, important differing views on evidence , that's why I'm stepping out. It's best for the study.


FRANK
Evidence. What good is it? I argued with Eva over and over before we came here for the study. I kept telling here it couldn't have been real. Now she's says she proved it


DOCTOR PHILLIPS
I can't go into the details but unfortunately an omission led her to believe her out-of-body was true, it wasn't.

FRANK
Really. New evidence won't change her mind. But why, why does she,
why did she need to believe something regardless whether it's true or not?

DOCTOR PHLLIPS
She needs to believe in something bigger, something beyond her reality which can be pretty difficult and her experience provides that for her.. It's not just Eva, Frank, we all have our needs to believe some things. We believe what we need to believe not what is necessarily true. It's emotional not logical.


FRANK
What about truth? Doesn't that count for something? We can need to believe any kind of bullshit. What's true has to mean something too, doesn't it?

DOCTOR PHILLIPS
Only if you need it to mean something, Frank. That doesn't mean we can't keep searching for the truth but it means we have to try to be aware of our emotional needs to believe certain things too. Gotta go, thanks for the coffee Frank, good meeting you, good working with you. Good luck with you know who.

FRANK
Yeah, thanks Doctor Philips, (Phillips leaves )….take it easy

( Frank, (with finality) tosses rest of coffee into the garbage pail, walks away)

THE END

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