TITLE: LEAPING to CONFUSIONS
(Interior Doctor's office)
The physician is seated studying a thick file. He is in his 50's. His beard is unkempt and his brown suit is old-fashioned. He is wearing a smock with the nameplate "Bernstein" on the pocket.
He is Doctor Zolton Bernstein. He is from Melbourne. His accent is clearly Australian. He wears black horn-rim glasses popular decades ago.
The patient signs in as Carlotta Unger. She has a vague old-fashioned beauty and no personality. Her expression is one of exhaustion and worry.
Bernstein: I notice you ingesting tablets. How many of those tablets have you been taking?
Unger: None. I refused.
Bernstein: But I - nevermind. Cod Liver Oil is a necessary--
Unger: I told your nurse all three times I called. You never returned any of
my calls or you'd know.
Bernstein: (Pushing an intercom button) Charlotte? Have I received calls from Mrs. Unger this past week? (Waits . . .listening)
(Voice: No Doctor.)
Bernstein looks up baffled.
Bernstein: When did you say you called?
The lady sneers and makes a throwaway gesture.
Unger: Alright. So, I only thought about calling. What's the big deal?
Bernstein: How can I help you if don't take the prescribed treatment your doctor prescribed.
Unger: I told you: pills don't help. Aren’t you Dr. Bernstein?
Bernstein: Yes. I’m one of three Bernsteins in the building. I don’t think I’m …
Unger: I didn't agree to any of this. You and my husband colluded behind my back.
You can't expect me to continue this charade without fighting back.
(Bernstein opens his mouth to speak and stops. He purses his lips thoughtfully.)
Bernstein: I see. I see. One or both of us is confused - but I’m willing to help you. Who is your Doctor - the REGULAR Doctor?
(Unger fumbles in her clutch bag for something. Presently she pulls out a business card triumphantly.)
Unger: There it is! I have the name of a real doctor--a highly accomplished neurologist. I looked him up on the Internet and his credentials are extraordinary. I have an appointment with him. I only came here today to inform you in person. I won't fall into your--your scheme, that you and Charles have cooked up. I know what he's up to, even if you pretend you don't.
(Bernstein's brows knit and his forehead furrows)
Bernstein: May I see that business card, please? I'm sure I'd know any other patho-neurologist within a hundred miles of here. . .
(Unger tosses him the card. It flutters and spins to a stop in front of Bernstein as his eyes open with shock.)
Bernstein: Why-there is -as I mentioned - a different Bernstein who …
Unger: What kind of bullshit are you giving me---(she fumbles in her clutch bag and shakes her head negatively) I--I--that IS the right card. Doctor Bernstein is my specialist. I'm to consult with him today as a matter of fact. Just as soon as I leave here. . .I think . . .you are deliberately confusing me!
(Bernstein stares frozen in place. He sniffs and forces a smile.)
Bernstein: Okay. Whatever you say. But--do you mind if I ask you a question?
Unger: Go ahead, but I don't plan on sticking around here much longer.
Bernstein: Do you know what your condition is called? What the diagnosis is?
Unger: Of course I do, temporal displacement syndrome. I'm certain Charles must have explained this to you in some detail.
Bernstein: And, do you know what my name is?
Unger: What a stupid question!
Bernstein: Do you what day this is?
Unger: I'm not an idiot.
Bernstein: Please, indulge me. What is my name?
Unger: Now you are insulting and I don't appreciate it!
Bernstein: Today is January 2nd. It is a New Year. What is my name?
Unger: It says right there on your----wait! What is going on here?
Bernstein: Now don't get yourself excited. This is just a bit of rollover confusion.
All a part of your condition. No need-----
(Unger stands up agitated. She pulls her cellphone from her purse and pushes in a phone number and waits . . .)
Unger: Charles? What is going on---why did you---? How's that? Proto what?
(She listens and her face goes blank and her body movement hesitates...she is stiff.)
Bernstein: Mrs. Unger? Mrs. Unger? Carlotta, can you hear me?
Unger: (Strange machine voice) Reset protocol initiating. . .Date reset.
Bernstein: This is an easy fix!
Leap year. Difficult to program for your series - I’ll send you down to Bernstein in engineering.
End Scene One