By Tim Stevens
The following is an excerpted transcript of a couple's therapy session between Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Richards (Invisible) Woman of the Fantastic Four, and therapist Tim Stevens.
TIM STEVENS: Thank you for both coming in. I know your schedules make it hard to fit this kind of thing in and I just want to compliment you on making a commitment to this with the kind of lives you both lead.
SUE RICHARDS: Of course. And again, we are so sorry for missing last week. The Mole Man can be such a pain in the neck sometimes.
TS: Yes, of course. In the future though, if you could give us 24 hours notice, it would be appreciated. Otherwise, we do have to bill you for the full cost of the session. In any case, the last time we were here, we were
REED RICHARDS: I'm sorry...oh, yes, of course. My apologies. I was just tinkering with your lamp a bit. I think the bulb is giving off a few fewer lumens that it should, given its wattage.
TS: Sure...possibly. The bulb is a bit old. In any case, we were last talking about the need for you two to connect in daily life, beyond the time you spend on missions as the Fantastic Four or your intimate moments alone. Have you two been engaging in the activities I suggested last time?
TS: Can you elaborate, Mrs. Richards?
SR: Well, we did make an effort to have a meal with the entire family on Tuesday last week, but then the Puppet Master seized control of Ben so that got interrupted. Then, two weeks ago, Reed and I were going to take the kids to a ballgame, but he got distracted by this battery that will, apparently, never run out of energy. So he never met us and Franklin, Valeria, and I ended up seeing the Mets lose by ourselves. He did find us for ice cream after though. He brought Uatu with him, but still.
TS: Even though you are trying to make it sound all fine, I can tell you find it very frustrating. Could you please give your husband and me insight on what you are feeling.
SR: Well...yes, it is frustrating. I know he loves me, of course, but sometimes knowing it is not-
TS: Doctor Richards! I asked you to sit down. Now please pay attention to your wife.
RR: Oh, Sue, I just got distracted. You see, Tim's air conditioner here is quite old and therefore not particularly healthy for the environment. So I rewired it a bit and inserted a coil from the Fantasticar that I happened to
TS: Doctor Richards, I understand that you enjoy fixing things and I do appreciate it, but I must insist that you-wait, three times?
RR: Yes. It was simple really. If you would let me take it back to the lab with me, I could make it so it would actually feed electricity into the grid while it was working. We could make your office a zero energy workspace.
TS: You know, I was just reading about that in "The New Yorker" this week and was seriously considering doing it. It is so expensive though, isn't it?
RR: Hmm...no. No, I could do this very easily.
TS: Well, there are some ethical implications of that I'd have to look into, but I think-
SR: Excuse me! Aren't we paying you by the hour?
TS: Right...right. Sorry. It's just fascinating work your husband does, isn't it?
SR: Yes. Very fascinating. As I was saying-
RR: Sue, we have to leave!
TS: I really have to insist that you do not leave mid-session again.
SR: Come on, Reed, we only have 25 minutes left. Please just sit.
RR: I would love to Sue, but Diablo has seized the financial district! If Dragon Man destroys all those records, the world's economy will be plunged into chaos!
RR: Of course, dear. Tim, we will see you next week.
TS: Good luck...
To learn more about the Richards' marriage, please review the work of Doctors Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham who have worked with the two previously. Details of the Richards' relationship can be found in Hickman and Eaglesham's report FANTASTIC FOUR #573, available for review on November 25.
Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Doctoral Intern at a college counseling center currently pursuing his Psy D. who has had experience working with individuals who have difficulty expressing emotions.
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