The tenth installment of the first draft of a novel written by our old friend Terra Cognita. Our Sunday Serial.
Terra welcomes all suggestions and feedback — this is draft — you can note them in the comments.
“You’re both here. Good,” Gardner said, grabbing one of the kitchen chairs and pulling out his little notebook.
Dev and I sat on the couch.
“Got any news?” I asked.
“Been a bitch trying to get ahold of anyone in the church.”
“That would be the Church of Scientology, right?” Dev asked.
“That would be the one, yeah.”
“What about Brenda or Doug down at the local org?” I asked. “They could back up my story.” Or not.
“On vacation,” Gardner answered.
“That’s kind of a big coincidence, don’t you think?”
Gardner nodded. “I’ve never really believed in coincidences.”
“But there must be other guys at the org you can talk with,” Dev said.
“Not that know anything. And I’ve talked with all of em. Nobody knows anything.”
“You think they’re telling the truth?” I asked.
“Like I told you, only Brenda and Doug were around when…Joan passed away,” I said. “So it is possible the rest of the staff really don’t know anything. They might have been told a story. Like Joan was called away on an emergency, or something like that. They might not even know she’s…gone.”
Gone? Passed away? Why hadn’t I just said “died?”
Gardner nodded. “Brenda and Doug were the only local staff there at the time, right? You’re sure nobody else was around?”
“Except for the three Sea Org guys who showed up later, Brenda and Doug were the only two.”
“Well…it’s not like I searched the building before I left.”
“Then there could have been others there that day.”
“I guess. But most of the staff just work there at night. I’m pretty sure they all have day jobs. Like to pay the bills. I don’t think Scientology pays its staff all that much. And in a place like Santa Barbara where the rents are sky high…”
Gardner flipped the page of his notebook and scribbled something else before looking up. “And what about the people working at Int Base out in Hemet? Who out there would know?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know who actually knows the whole story. A lot of guys saw me, but I don’t know if any of em were told why I was there.”
“Nobody at all?”
“Well…the MAA,” I said. “The Master at Arms out there. He knew what was going on.”
“He got a name?”
“Guy Sephardic. Young guy. Not older than twenty.”
“And Roxy Brand? She knows everything, right?”
“Definitely. I told her everything.”
“She got an address and phone number?”
I shook my head. “As far as I know, she’s down at Pac Base—Pacific Base—on L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles. She doesn’t have a cell phone.”
“She’s one of those Sea Org people, right?”
Gardner chuckled. “I’m sure trying to reach her by phone would be an exercise in futility.”
“I’m sure you’re right. I haven’t spoken to her since she left.”
“She leave on her own volition?”
“Two Sea Org guys picked her up here at the house. Convinced her to go with em.”
“You were there?”
I nodded. “She wasn’t forced. Like not physically. It was her decision to leave.”
“So she was happy she left?”
No. “What difference would it make?” I asked.
“Don’t know. Just gathering data. So was she happy?”
I shook my head. “She thought she didn’t have a choice. Like she was a Sea Org member and it was her duty to go back. That…and she’s been in Scientology her whole life. Her parents are Scientologists. All her friends are Scientologists. She doesn’t know anything else.”
“You think she would rather have stayed here with you?”
I shrugged. “Maybe. Probably… I don’t know. Like I said, she doesn’t know anything else outside the church.”
“You think she’d corroborate your story?”
“She only knows what I told her. She wasn’t there when Joan died.”
“Might she have talked with other Sea Org people about what happened?”
“It’s possible. They’re a pretty clothed-mouth group, though.” I took a deep breath. “Speaking of what happened, you heard back from the coroner, yet?”
“Got the report back yesterday.”
“So…what’d it say?”
“In other words, a heart attack,” Dev said.
Gardner nodded. “No doubt brought on by all those vitamins and shit she was taking and from sitting in a frikken sauna for five hours a day. A woman like that…” He shook his head. “She never should have been on that program in the first place. Not in the shape she was in.”
“You think a crime was committed?” Dev asked. “Like someone could be arrested and go to jail?”
“That’s for the DA to decide. I’m just a lowly cop.”
“Just the same, thanks for being up front with us,” I said.
“Can’t see any reason why not to be. I be upfront with you. You be upfront with me.” He paused and stared into my eyes. “You have been upfront with me, haven’t you, Rick?”
“Totally,” I said. “Everything I’ve told you is the truth.”
He smiled. “I appreciate you talking to me without your lawyer.”
“You know I have a lawyer?”
“I’m a detective. Remember?”
“So what now?” I asked.
“Good question, kid.” Just before closing the door on his way out, he turned and said, “You left town once before. Let’s not make it a habit. Plan on sticking around.”
The moment Detective Gardner left, I fired up my laptop and went to Marvin Brander’s website, The Real Story of Scientology. Five people had responded to my plea for help. Three had spent time on the RPF at Pac Base back when they’d still been inside the church. One said she’d been on the rehabilitation force for over three years. All of them said the experience had been hell.
“ClearlynotClear” wrote that the food had been horrible and she’d been lucky to get three or four hours of sleep at night. “RPF members are required to run everywhere they go, too,” she’d added.
“OTright?” said that RPF members often worked outside. General maintenance, gardening, and painting were common tasks. “If you just cruise around the complex you’re bound to see her,” he wrote.
I glanced up at Dev. “That seems like the thing to do. Just cruise around until I spot her.”
“And honk when you see her? Speed over to the curb and call out for her to jump in the car?” he asked.
“Unless you got a better idea.”
He shook his head.
“I’m thinking the sooner the better,” I said. “Like maybe even drive down there tonight.”
“You’d have a much better chance at seeing her tomorrow morning. It’d be light and she wouldn’t be asleep in some random building miles away. Cindy and I could come with you.”
“You don’t have to come,” I said.
“No, I want to. I’d kinda be fun. Like see what this complex looks like. And besides, nobody’s ever seen my face before. Nobody but Roxy would recognize me.”
I nodded. “Maybe. And by the way, how close exactly are you and Cindy? Like you guys doing it?”
“Uh… I don’t know. I mean… I do like her. And yes, we are doing it. But we’re not official, if you know what I mean.”
“Like you’re not exclusive.”
“Right. Although I kinda am.”
“I haven’t been with anyone else since we’ve been together if that’s what you mean.”
“And what about Cindy?”
“I don’t think she has either. That said, it’s not like either one of us have used the B or G words.”
“Boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Dev stood up. “So tomorrow morning then? We drive to LA?”
I was glad for the company. “Sounds good. Your car or mine?”
“I’ll drive so you can be on the lookout,” he said.
Dev and I were creeping along in LA rush hour traffic on the 101. The bright sun had just risen above the windshield and fast food wrappers littered the floor at my feet.
“Want the rest of my coffee?” I asked from the passenger seat.
“Sure,” he said.
I passed him what was left of my grande Pike and then turned down the music.
“The bummer is, there’s no parking on L. Ron Hubbard Way,” I said. “So we’ll have to park in one of their lots or on one of the side streets.”
All the main Scientology buildings fronted L. Ron Hubbard Way on the block-long, brick-paved street. The last time I’d been there, I’d seen lots of RPF members in black jumpsuits running around trimming bushes, washing windows, and picking up trash.
Dev turned to me. “Sure hope we find her.”
“I just hope they haven’t shipped her off to Int Base. No way could we get inside there.” Not without going back over the fence. Or cutting through it.
We merged onto the Hollywood Freeway, and five or six exits later, got off on Sunset Boulevard. A mile later, we turned right onto L. Ron Hubbard Way. Except for a few SO members walking around like they had someplace important to go, the sidewalks were empty. Two parties of people sat at tables on the café patio outside across the street of AO—Advanced Org. A Scientology security officer rolled up the street on a black mountain bike. According to our dashboard clock, it was ten A.M. Either Roxy was still asleep or scrubbing tile floors with a toothbrush. Dev hung a right at the end of the block.
“You’re right,” he said. “We can’t park on L. Ron Hubbard Way. We could however park in the big lot at the top of the block.”
It’s kinda deserted,” I said. “Like we’ll be pretty noticeable just sitting there in the car. Might be better if we parked on the street.”
“Except there’s no place to park. And if even we did find a spot, we wouldn’t necessarily be able to see Roxy.”
“We could just circle the block.”
“And you don’t think someone would finally notice us? Like one of those security guys on the bikes?”
“Dude, we gotta find someplace inconspicuous.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s no place to hide around here. So why don’t we just park in the parking lot and pretend we’re waiting for someone?”
“I suppose it can’t hurt.”
Dev parked at the top of the lot near Sunset, facing toward L. Ron Hubbard Way. We rolled down the windows and leaned back in our seats. We didn’t see Roxy and no one accosted us. For the first forty minutes.
A young SO member crossed the lot to our car and bent down until his face was level with mine.
“Hi. My name is Jesus. Can I help you?” he asked in Spanish-accented English.
“Just waiting for a friend,” I answered.
“Are you Scientologists?”
“No. Like I said, we’re just waiting for a friend.”
“Why don’t you wait inside where it’s cool? I’ll get you some water and show you around.” He nodded at the big blue building at the south side of the parking lot.
“It is no trouble at all.” He smiled widely. “Come on, we have lots of cold water.”
“If it’s all the same to you, we’ll just wait here,” I said.
He nodded. “What is the name of your friend?”
“Sid Jet,” Dev answered.
“Is he a student at LA Org?”
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Well…course is not out until twelve o’clock.” He glanced at his watch. “Which is not for another hour. Come with me. I will introduce you to Dianetics. The science of the mind. Have you read the book?”
Dev and I shook our heads.
“Come with me, then. I guarantee, you will be impressed with what you see.”
“Maybe later,” I said. “Like after Sid shows up.”
“And we grab some lunch,” Dev added.
“Okay,” Jesus said. “Then maybe you can you help me while you wait. Wait here. I will be right back.” He crossed the lot and went inside LA Org.
“Fuck this guy,” Dev said.
“He is persistent,” I said.
“You think we should move?”
“And go where? We have the greatest chance of spotting Roxy if we stay here.”
“Shit. Here he comes.”
“Hi guys,” Jesus said. “I wonder if you wouldn’t mind filling out these OCAs for me.”
“OCAs?” Dev asked.
“Oxford Capacity Analysis. It is designed to locate exactly what it is that needs improving in your life. You simply answer the questions. That is all there is to it.” He passed two clipboards through the window. We were hardly in a position to refuse.
“Whoa,” Dev said. “There’re two hundred questions.”
“I know!” Jesus said. “This is what makes it so accurate. You will see. It will blow your mind! You just answer ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe’.” He pulled two stubby pencils out of a pocket and shoved them through the window.
I glanced at Dev and then back at Jesus. “Alright then, thanks. We’ll get right on these.”
“I will come back in twenty minutes.” He turned and walked back to LA Org.
“I’m not filling out this shit,” Dev said.
“Unless we want to get kicked out of the parking lot, we should fill these things out. Like it can’t do any harm.”
Dev thumbed through the questions. “Well, it’s not like we have anything better to do.”
Fifty questions in, five haggard-looking middle-aged guys in black coveralls jogged around the corner of the big blue building on the right. Two carried trash cash. The other three carried rakes and hoes.
“I’m pretty sure those guys are on the RPF,” I said.
“They look like shit,” Dev said.
“I think that’s the whole idea. Like beat em down until they can be molded into good little Sea Org members.”
“Kinda like being in boot camp in the military. Unfortunately, Roxy isn’t part of the group, dude.”
“So we wait until she shows up.”
The RPF guys put down their trash cans and got to work. Two guys trimmed the short hedge surrounding the parking lot; two guys weeded; the last guy raked shit up. They worked fast and none of them looked around while they worked. I didn’t envy them working in black coveralls under the hot sun. None of them wore hats.
Jesus showed up a few minutes later. Dev and I each had another hundred questions to do. Dev and I weren’t as efficient as the six RPFers.
“I want to make sure I answer everything accurately,” Dev said.
“Me, too,” I said.
Jesus thanked us for being so “thorough” and told us he’d be back in another twenty minutes. Ten minutes after he left Roxy and two other women in black coveralls crossed L. Ron Hubbard Way and went inside one of the big blue buildings.
“Holy shit! That’s her,” I said, pointing in her direction.
“You sure, bro?” Dev asked.
“Totally. It was her for sure.”
“What’s that building she went inside?”
I shook my head. “Don’t know. Doesn’t matter. Don’t care. We just gotta be ready when she comes out.”
“How the fuck we gonna do that with Jesus all over us?”
“I think one of us is gonna have to wait in front of the building she went inside while the other does the OCA thing with him.”
“I should be the one to wait outside the building. Like I’ll pretend to be on the phone,” Dev said. “You deal with Jesus.”
“What if she stays inside for hours, though? You can’t just stand outside on L. Ron Hubbard Way pretending to talk.”
“It’s an important call, dude. Got lots to discuss. So when Jesus comes back, you go with him. I’ll say I gotta wait for Sid. I’ll call you when Roxy and I get back to the car.”
“You make it sound so easy.”
“Unless you got a better idea.”
I shook my head.
“You’re gonna have to haul ass when I call you,” Dev said. “Like there may be Sea Org guys after us or something like that. So the second I call you, you come running. Don’t even answer.”
“You sure I shouldn’t be the one to wait for Roxy and you do the OCA thing with Jesus?”
“Dude, we’ve been over this. You’ve been here before. If someone recognizes you, it could blow the whole thing.”
Ten minutes later, Jesus strode purposely across the lot. Fifteen minutes after that I was sitting across a desk from test evaluator, Larry, in an office in LA Org listening to him tell me what was ruining my life—according to the OCA I’d just completed. Considering I’d randomly filled in the answers without reading the questions, I was pretty fucked up. Every two seconds, I glanced down at the cell in my hand. I wondered what I’d do if Roxy stayed inside for another hour or two. Or three or four. One thing for sure, I wasn’t starting a course at LA Org.
“So…what do you say we get you started?” Larry said.
I jerked my head up. “Ah, what?”
“Let’s get you started on the Success to Communication Course and handle your problem at interacting with others.”
“Sounds good,” I lied. “I’ll be in tomorrow morning. Nine A.M., right?”
“Right. Morning session runs from nine to twelve. But let’s get you started right now.”
I shook my head. “Can’t. Got other things to do.”
Larry shook his head. And frowned. And said, “I’d be committing a crime if I let you walk out the door right now without starting.”
“Is that right?”
“Your reactive mind doesn’t want you to get better, Rick. It’s your reactive mind telling you to leave. Listen, I’ll be honest with you. Most people that leave at this point don’t come back. And you know why? It’s not because they don’t want to handle what’s ruining their lives. It’s because of that part of their minds resistant to change. You see, the reactive mind thinks doing anything to lessen its hold over you is counter-survival. So it’ll do anything to maintain the status quo.” Larry pointed to my graph. “You see all these points here below the line. You need to handle these, Rick. If you don’t…” He shook his head.
“I hear you Larry,” I replied. “But seriously, I just don’t have the time right now. I have other things I gotta do.”
“I gotta be at work.”
“Where do you work?”
“Tell em you can’t make it today. You’re not feeling well.”
“Nah… Wouldn’t be right. I can’t blow em off like that.”
“Okay, then let’s at least get you enrolled. You don’t have to actually start the course right now.”
“Tomorrow,” I said.
“Let’s do it now.”
Larry was a persistent fucker.
My cell vibrated in my hand. I glanced down at the screen. Text from Dev. I tapped the icon with my thumb. He’d written, “Think I spotted her!”
I stood up and looked at Larry. “Sorry, man, gotta run. They need me right now.”
“Right. But don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“Okay, but before you go, let’s sign you up. It won’t take long. Just a few minutes.”
I stepped toward the door. “I’d really like to but I just don’t have the time. Tomorrow.”
Larry skipped around his desk and followed me out the door. “Come on, Rick. This will only take a few seconds. And then you can go. Make the commitment to handle what’s ruining your life. Make the commitment to free yourself.”
I paused outside in the parking lot and looked around. Fuck. No sign of Dev. No sign of Roxy. Larry followed me across the parking lot to our car. I turned around at the driver-side door.
“See you tomorrow, Larry,” I said.
“Tell you what, Rick,” he said. “At least pay me for the course now. Make the commitment.”
I looked over his shoulder, looking for Dev and Roxy. I wished Larry would disappear. “Tomorrow,” I said.
He frowned and shook his head. “Let’s do it now.”
“Fuckin-A, Larry. I said I just didn’t have the time.”
“I know what you said, Rick. And I know that’s your reactive mind talking. It’s not the real you. I know you want to change. You want to get better. You want to become the person you’ve always dreamed of becoming. I know you do. So at least pay for course. Make the commitment. Do the right thing.”
“All I have is twenty bucks,” I said.
“You have a credit card?”
“No,” I lied.
“Okay, then, pay me the twenty bucks. You can pay the rest when you come back tomorrow.”
Anything to get the guy to leave. I pulled out my wallet, trying not to let him see the red Visa card sticking halfway out of one of the front pockets. Or the other twenties, tens, and fives in the main sleeve. Larry leaned in for a better look. I pulled back and carefully extracted a twenty. I quickly folded the wallet in half and stuffed it back in my pocket. I handed the money to Larry.
He took the twenty and said, “Sure you can’t pay for everything right now?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.” I pulled on the door handle, thankful that Dev hadn’t locked the car.
I slid in behind the wheel and pretended to adjust the seat and mirror before sticking the key in the ignition. Larry didn’t move. And I didn’t have a key. I clipped in my seat belt. Larry watched, as if I might change my mind and follow him back to the org. If I’d had a key I would have pulled out of the lot and circled the block. But I didn’t. So I sat there. Waiting for Larry to walk away. The car felt like an oven.
I glanced down L. Ron Hubbard Way. I didn’t see anyone except a handful of SO members dressed in white shirts and black slacks walking from one org to another. No sign of Dev. No sign of Roxy. Fucking Larry stared through the window at me. I wiped at the sweat trickling down my cheek.
I pulled out my cell and texted Dev. No response. The car was so hot, the heat had probably melted the chip. I surveyed the lot. Didn’t see anyone. Except Fucking Larry who was trying to read what I’d typed. I finally cracked the door.
“Something you need, Larry?” I asked.
“Just ever hopeful you’ll change your mind and get started on your course.”
I rolled my eyes. Fucking Larry. “Not today, man.”
Fucking Larry smiled.
I was still sitting in the car—with Fucking Larry standing outside—when I spotted Dev and Roxy sprinting up L. Ron Hubbard Way followed seconds later by four guys in black coveralls. I stepped out of the car, high on adrenalin.
Fucking Larry said, “Ah, you’ve come to your senses. Great. Let’s get started.”
I didn’t answer. Had other things on my mind. Fifty yards separated Dev and Roxy from where I stood. I couldn’t think of what to do but stand there and wait for them to arrive. The youngest of the SO guys—the only one without white hair—was closing the gap.
Fucking Larry glanced over his shoulder to see what had grabbed my attention. “What the fuck?” he muttered.
The SO guy in front yelled, “Stop her!”
I said, “Step aside, Larry.”
“What the fuck?” he repeated.
I opened the back door for Roxy, ready to shove Fucking Larry aside. Five yards before she reached the car, young guy grabbed her collar and yanked her to the ground. I ran over and shoved him off of her while Dev jumped behind the wheel. The young guy latched onto my ankle. I kicked him in the face with my free leg. Blood spurted from his nose. The other three SO members arrived. One of them grabbed Roxy. I stepped over and slugged him in the stomach—the first time I’d ever laid a hand on someone my dad’s age. He doubled over and retched.
Roxy clawed at the hands of the lone SO woman who’d grabbed ahold of her ponytail and was dragging her back. I made an exception in my life about hitting a woman and punched her in the side of the head. She released Roxy’s hair and fell back. Startled. As if she couldn’t believe someone had hit her. Probably the first time in her life.
“Get in the car, Roxy!” I shouted.
Fucking Larry stood between her and it. Another pod of black-clad RPF members had appeared on the other side of the parking lot and was trotting toward us.
Dev started the car and popped the trunk. “Grab the tire iron!” he yelled.
I ran around in back but didn’t see anything but two crumbled beach towels. I noticed a small panel on the side. A car jack and tire iron fell out when I twisted the knob. I grabbed the iron and turned to face the crowd.
Broken nose guy sat on the ground holding his hands over his face, blood leaking through his fingers. Another of the other SO guys was trying to yank open one of the back doors. Where Roxy sat staring out the window. The other two SO guys stood off to the side. Apparently not wanted to tangle with me and my tire iron.
“Get the fuck away from the door,” I shouted.
He glanced at me and my weapon and stepped back. Just as the other half dozen SO arrived from across the lot. I swung the tire iron back and forth as I sidestepped around the car to the front passenger door. A tall, blonde guy lunged at me as I reached for the handle. I chopped down on one of his outstretched arms. I heard the sound breaking bone.
Another dove from my legs. I cracked him atop the head. Heard the sound of breaking bone. He slumped to the ground. The rest of them had formed a semicircle around me. I stood with my back to the door waving the tire iron back and forth. I reached back for the door handle with my free hand.
As I pulled the door open, a stocky guy kicked it shut with big black boots. I struck at him with the tire iron as he leaned back. Just missed his knee. I pulled the door open again and maneuvered my body between it and the interior of the car. Black boot guy lunged at me headfirst like some football linebacker, his head hitting me square in the chest. I smashed the tire iron down on his back. And then the back of his head. I kicked him out to the pavement and jumped onto the front seat.
Two others held the door wide open. Another lay sprawled on the front hood, hanging onto the windshield wipers. Dev gunned the car forward and then slammed on the brakes. The two guys holding onto the door flew forward and tumbled onto the asphalt. The guy on the hood ripped off the wipers as he catapulted over the bumper. Dev yanked the wheel to the left and the door shut by itself as we raced across the parking lot. We careened out of the lot and turned left on Sunset. A few miles later, we jumped on the 101 heading north.
Dev, Roxy, and I were sitting in a diner in Thousand Oaks a couple of blocks off the freeway. Dev and I were working on two platters of huevos rancheros. Roxy had devoured her pancakes and was picking at my beans and rice. None of us had said more than a dozen a words since fleeing Pac Base.
“Holy shit,” Dev said. “That was totally unreal.”
I nodded. Roxy nodded.
“I had no idea they used physical force.” He glanced across the table at Roxy. “Like they were gonna drag you back to wherever and do…” He shrugged.
I nodded. Roxy nodded.
“So now what?” Dev asked.
I turned to Roxy. “Now you get on with your life.”
“Whatever that is,” she said.
“You can stay with me in the Little House. And go to school. And go to movies. And do what real people do.”
She glanced down at her empty plate. “I guess.”
“Unless you got another plan.”
She shook her head.
“You’re totally okay to stay with me. Really. It’s not a problem.” I took a breath. “I want you to stay with me.”
The waitress came by, refilled our coffees and left the bill.
“I don’t have much of a choice,” Roxy said. “You two are the only ones I know. On the outside, that is. I’ve been in Scientology my whole life. I don’t know anything else.”
“You’re young. You’re smart. You’ll adapt,” I said. I sounded like a guidance counselor. “You have your GED. You can go to City College. You made the right decision to leave.”
“I already told you my GED means shit.”
“Doesn’t matter. They test you before you start classes and you can do remedial courses to makeup whatever you don’t know.”
“And if I don’t want to go to College?”
“Then you don’t have to. You could get a job and do something else.”
“I want to be a chef,” she said. Out of the clear blue.
“City College has a cooking school,” Dev said. “Or you could go to some dedicated cordon bleu-type school.”
“Not sure what it means exactly. Only that it has to do with fine dining and where chefs go to learn how to be chefs.”
“How much does that cost?”
“No idea. But they probably offer scholarships. Most colleges do.”
“For wayward ex-Sea Org girls?”
“I think they got a special category just for runaways.”
We paid the bill and left. Doug, Brenda, and three guys I recognized as local Scientology staff members were waiting for us at the Little House when we got back to Santa Barbara.
Dev pulled over and stopped a block from the Little House while he, Roxy, and I stared at the five Scientologists standing in my driveway. One of the guys, Tom, I thought his name was, flicked a cigarette butt to the pavement.
“Fucking litterer,” I muttered.
“What do you want to do?” Dev asked.
“Might as well get this over with and go talk with em.”
“We could call the cops?”
“They’re just standing there. They’re not exactly breaking the law.”
“They’d just step onto the sidewalk.” I turned to Roxy. “You okay with talking to em?”
“Might as well get this over with and go talk with em,” she repeated.
Dev coasted down the street and pulled into the driveway, forcing the five intruders to step to the side. Brenda stood in front of the gate leading to the back yard and the front door of the Little House. The three of us got out of the car and walked up Brenda.
“What do you say we go back to the Org and talk,” she said.
“We can talk right here,” I replied. “No way are we going to the Org.”
She nodded, as if she’d expected the response. “Might be less conspicuous if we went inside, then. The neighbors and all.”
I glanced at Dev and Roxy.
Dev shrugged. “Be more comfortable than standing around out here.”
“But just you Brenda,” I said. “Nobody else.”
“We’re not here to hurt anyone,” she said. “We’re just here to talk.”
“I’m sure you’ll do fine just by yourself. It’s you or nobody.”
She glanced at Doug, Tom, and the two others. “You guys wait here.”
We went inside. Dev, Roxy, and I took the couch, leaving one of the kitchen chairs for Brenda. I’d left the front door open for fresh air. And for whatever.
“Okay. So here we are, Brenda. Talk,” I said.
She turned to Roxy. “You’re Sea Org. You signed a contract. You need to go back.”
Roxy didn’t respond. Dev and I remained silent.
“You’re just making things worse by blowing,” she continued.
“Blowing” in Scientology meant leaving without authorization. According to L. Ron Hubbard, people blew because of their overts and withholds—all the bad things they’d done. Blowing never had anything to do with the organization.
I shook my head. “Never gonna happen.”
Brenda raised her eyes at Roxy.
“I’m not going back,” she said.
“That’s your bank talking. Not you. You know what the right thing to do is: return to Pac Base and the SO.”
“So you say,” I said.
Brenda glanced my way. “Roxy and I have been in Scientology much longer than you. We’ve studied the tech. We understand the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics.”
“What the fuck are dynamics?” Dev asked.
“LRH divided up life into eight categories. Urges to survive he called em,” I said. “The first dynamic has to do with you as an individual. The second has to do with family and boyfriends and girlfriends and shit. The third has to do with groups. The fourth, mankind. And so on. The best decisions presumably take into account all the dynamics.”
“So taking into account all these so-called dynamics, the best decision according to Brenda here would be for Roxy to return to the SO, right?”
“Exactly,” Brenda said. “That is precisely the best decision. So what do you say, Roxy?”
Roxy shook her head.
“Guess that answers that,” Dev said.
Brenda turned her attention back to the girl sitting between Dev and me. “Don’t make this any worse than it has to be. You stay here with Rick, you go down with him.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Roxy asked.
“It means that the cops have been asking around about the death of his Purif twin, Joan. He could be charged with her death. He…”
“Bullshit!” I exploded. “You’re the one who ordered the body to be moved. And I didn’t kill her. I didn’t cause her death. She died of a heart attack. Pure and simple.”
Maybe simple, maybe not so pure.
“You were with her the whole time,” Brenda said. As if that explained my “complicity.”
“It still doesn’t change the fact of how she died,” I said.
“No it doesn’t. And it doesn’t change the fact that Roxy should return to Pac Base.”
“I’m not going back,” Roxy said. “That’s all there is to it.”
“There’s no need for you to throw your life away, Roxy. Which is what you’ll be doing if you stay here and don’t return.”
Two middle-aged guys walked in the door. Uninvited. I could tell by their uniforms that they were Sea Org. Suddenly, the teams were evenly divided: three against three—not counting the local guys standing outside in the back yard.
“Afternoon,” the one in front said. His name tag read, “Petty Officer, Burgess Hanson.”
His parents must have been high when they’d named him. “Petty officer” sounded like some sort of navel rank.
“We’ll take it from here, Brenda. We’re here to escort Roxy back to base,” he said. His gaze shifted to me. “You need to come with us, too.”
“Good luck with that,” I replied.
I pulled out my phone. Everyone stared at me while I texted.
Once I’d finished, Hanson said, “Let’s go. Both of you.”
“Now,” he said.
I slipped my fingers through Roxy’s.
“Don’t make this any worse. Let’s go,” he said.
“We’ve already been over all this,” I responded. “We’re not going anywhere.”
“And we’re not leaving until we settle this. Until you agree to come with us.”
Roxy looked up from her lap. “I’m done with the SO. I’m staying here.”
“I got that,” Petty Officer, Hanson said. “But you need to route out the right way.”
“Route out?” Dev said. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“When a staff member leaves Scientology, they’re supposed to go these procedures,” Roxy answered. “Like they have to get sec-checked. Short for security checked. Which is basically telling someone all the bad shit you committed while a Scientologist.”
“What the fuck difference would that make?”
“LRH said people leave a relationship—business or personal—due to all the bad shit they committed against that organization or person. Since man is basically good, he leaves so as not to go on hurting the people he’s connected to.”
“That’s what LRH wrote and what Scientologists believe.”
“But what if this person you’re connected to is a real dick? Or you find out the organization you’re part of is some kind of neo-Nazi-type of group?” Dev smirked and shook his head. “What then? You’re still supposed to do this sec-checking thing?”
“There is no more ethical organization on the planet than the Church of Scientology,” Hanson said. “Nobody does more good than we do. So don’t try comparing us to a bunch of neo-Nazis.”
I snickered. “You trap people. Hold them hostage. Brainwash em.”
“You’ve been listening to too much psych-run media. They hate it when we’re winning and will do anything they can to make sure we fail. Most everything out of their mouths is a lie.”
His lines sounded rehearsed. Like he was repeating what he’d read from a company HR manual.
I laughed. “And you know this because of all the research you’ve done? Because of all the time you spend listening to the radio and surfing the Internet?”
“I’m not gonna waste my time trying to convince you what is so obvious.” Hanson turned to Roxy. “Let’s go. If you want to route out, do it properly. The right way. We’re not leaving without you. That’s all there is to it. So you might as well come with us and get it over with.”
Whatever “it” was.
I heard the sound of a car pulling into the driveway. Followed by its engine shutting down and the sound of two doors opening and closing. A few seconds later, Detective Chip Gardner and another plain-clothed officer walked into the Little House. Standing room only. Both wore short sleeve shirts and ties. They’d clipped their badges to their belts. Gardner was ten years older than his partner and the one in charge. He’d received my text.
“Detective Chip Gardner,” he said. “And my partner Sean Buckley. What’s going on here?”
“This woman is Brenda Jackson, the executive director of the local Church of Scientology,” I said. As the host. “These other two guys are Sea Org members and are trying force Roxy and me to come with them.”
Gardner turned his attention to them. “Is that right? In case you weren’t aware gentlemen, kidnapping in California is against the law.”
“We’re not forcing anyone to do anything,” Hanson said.
“You said you weren’t leaving without us,” I said.
“What do you know about Joan Macias?” Gardner asked.
“Never heard of her,” Hanson answered.
“The woman who died a short while ago. Here in Santa Barbara. She was doing the Purification Rundown with Rick, here.”
Hanson shook his head. “Wasn’t there.”
“Didn’t say you were. What do you know about what happened?”
“Like I said, I’ve never heard of this Macias woman. So I have no idea what happened to her.”
Gardner glanced at his partner and shrugged. Then to Hanson, he said, “If you’re lying, we’ll find out.” He pulled his small notebook out of his back pocket.
Gardner wrote down their names and where they lived and worked. Hanson gave up his cell phone number. He and his SO buddy stuck to their story that they knew nothing about Joan. Which may have been true. They may have been ordered to simply pick up Roxy and me and bring us back to Pac Base in LA. They wouldn’t have needed to know anything else.
Gardner handed Hanson a business card. “Call me if you have change of heart.” Then, “You can go now.”
Hanson looked over at Roxy and said, “One more time, come with us.”
She shook her head. “No.”
When Hanson didn’t move, Gardner said, “You heard her. She’s not going with you. So you can leave now.” Once they’d left, he said to us. “I’ll have a patrol unit cruise by periodically.”
“Thanks,” I said.
Gardner turned to Brenda. “Care to shed any light on how Joan Macias ended up dead in her bathtub?”
“I already told you what I know,” she answered.
“You expect me believe Rick here moved her without any help from your place downtown to her house? All two hundred and fifty pounds of dead weight? Seriously?”
“Think whatever you want.”
“Sooner or later, I’ll find out the truth.”
In case he’d forgotten, I’d already told him the whole truth.
“Things won’t go so easy for you, Ms. Jackson if I find out you’ve been lying to me.”
Brenda stared at the detective with excellent TRO before walking out the door.
The two detectives left a couple minutes later.
“Well that certainly was fun,” Dev said.
“They’ll be back,” Roxy said. “They won’t let this go. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hanson and his friend were parked around the corner just waiting for the cops to leave. They return to AO without me, they’ll be in deep shit.”
“So what do we do?” Dev asked. “You think those guys would physically try to kidnap you?”
“I don’t know for sure. I’ve never heard of that happening but I wouldn’t put it past them. Usually they just keep hammering a person—verbally—until he eventually breaks down and agrees to go with them.”
“No. They basically just keep repeating what they said before. Like I’ll be throwing away my life unless I go with them. That the Sea Org is most ethical organization in the world. That nobody is doing more good to save the planet than them. That my life is fucked if I don’t go with them. If I stay here, in the Wog world, I’ll be lost for all of eternity.”
“What’s a Wog?” Dev asked.
“Stands for worthy Oriental gentleman. It’s an old English term, I think.”
“Sound condescending and racist.”
“I’m sure it is.”
“I got an idea,” Dev said. “What if Roxy stays with me?”
“No!” I said. A little too quickly.
“But they don’t know where I live. If those Sea Org guys come by again, you can tell em Roxy went to live with her aunt in Saskatchewan.”
“I don’t have an aunt in Saskatchewan or anywhere else,” Roxy said.
“That’s not the point,” Dev said. “The point is to make them think you’ve gone somewhere else. Someplace far away. Like Canada.”
I squeezed Roxy’s hand, imagining her staying with me. In the Little House. Lying next to me in my bed. My hands running up her… “She’ll be okay here,” I said. Snapping out of my short reverie.
“But you don’t know that for sure,” Dev said. “They could snatch her away while you were at school. You can’t be with her all the time. And even if you were, they could show up with six guys instead of two and they’d overpower the fuck out of you.”
Everything he said was true. “They’re not gonna come back,” I said.
“No, dude. They will be back. You heard what Roxy said. They won’t give up.”
“Well… She can’t stay at your house forever, either.”
“She could crash at Cindy’s,” Dev said.
“And how long would she stay there?”
“Until things cooled down. Like until this situation was resolved.”
“But how long would that be? A couple of weeks? A month? A year?”
“I don’t know. They’ll have to give up eventually. It’s not like they’re gonna post people here forever. We’ll just have to play things by ear.”
I turned to Roxy. “You think they’ll hold on to this?”
“For a while, at least. I think.” She shrugged. “I don’t know. They might.” She closed her eyes and leaned her head back on the couch.
“I think we gotta just play it by ear, guys,” Dev repeated. “See what happens.”
The only thing I wanted to see happening was Roxy living with me in the Little House.
Mythology serves a symbolic purpose.
I mean … numerology/animal symbols/food symbols
These are stories of ancient story tellers to help us thru – not literal things to war and murder over.
What causes the disconnect?
What makes someone white knuckle a belief system …
And what keeps people from questioning and research …
You’ve probably read them and been besten down by well-meaning but theologically insane people.
It takes knowing symbolism, a bible concordance and keeping what is written in context.
It’s a word mentioned a few times. And I’ll give you a quick full of holes version…
In the OT it talks about a place called shoel.
Sometimes it is translated “hell”
Gahanna is sometimes understood as hell. It’s a city w a garbage pit.
Hell is literally “the ground” – it’s the grave.
Fire and brimstone is thanks to the RCC and the likes if Dante.
There is the pit in revelations but that’s a whole diff thing that serves a diff purpose symbolically.
I’ll dust off my notes if you like..
You can also drop the: where does it talk about the rapture in the bible?
Hnnng – Good analysis and summary
OT – Old Testament
concordance – 2. an alphabetical index of the principal words of a book, as of the Bible, with a reference to the passage in which each occurs.
4. the Rapture, Theology. the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth.
I learned a couple of things about Christianity (Hnnng was replying to Acquamarine blow)
below – lol – I wasn’t quick enough to beat the edit
Love it, great stuff!
Fucking Larry …
Dead Men Tell No Tales Bill Straass says
I lost 2 hours replying to a comment because my phone is a POS. If this goes through, I will try again tomorrow
Dead Men Tell No Tales Bill Straass says
Dear Mr Rinder,
I have typed a long comment twice and lost it before I have sent it because my new phone is a POS.
I sent you a comm several weeks ago and I realize that you are very busy and have likely not seen it.
I have proof of various violations of State and Federal laws by the Freewinds and the Church in my cycle of being sent off of the Freewinds to die od AIDS after 23 years in the SO.
I have the original (not copy) of a test ordered by Dr Denk in Nov 2002 which shows clearly that I had zero T-cells left and a viral load so high it could not be measured.
This takes at least 10 years of having HIV and not receiving treatment in order to have a result this bad. None of the 25+ million people who have died of AIDS could have had a worse test result.(continued)
Mike Rinder says
Pls resend. I dont recall seeing it.
John Doe says
Although it makes for a good read, the tire iron defense is over the top. I think the RPF members would back down and Sea Org Security would take over. The staff would all be aware they were out in the open and how “out PR” it was becoming.
They would use words to manipulate and ultimately let Roxy go rather than risking a scene.
But had it unfolded with the tire iron, you can be damn sure that the cult would have had Rick, Dev and Roxy all arrested and that pictures, medical reports etc. of the “attempted murder with tire iron” would be in the hands of the police arresting the three escapees. Maybe security camera video if it showed the scene unfolding the way scn wanted it: “Roxy stole church material and we were chasing her to get it back when her accomplices visciously joined in her crime, inflicting serious bodily injury on innocent people, blah blah.”
Anyway, it’s still a good read, and if it were toned down to a scuffle and scn security showing up and taking pictures and threats of “Oh you guys are in a lot of trouble. Kidnapping is a major crime!” that kind of thing, it would be more accurate.
pretty clothed-mouth group – >> pretty closed mouth group
the story is moving along nicely….when Roxy and Dev showed up running my pulse went up too and I couldn’t read fast enough…Those Dev and Rick tyre iron guys sure are OT in making it go righter than the SO dudes..lol
Terra Cognita says
Here are a couple of minor “stoppers”, things that made me stop in the reading, maybe just because I was reading with the idea of editing.
Gardner refers to himself as a “lowly” cop. He seems to take pride in his work so I think he’d say “I’m just a cop (or detective)”
“OTright?” is confusing lettering in print. Maybe use “OT-Right?” or use a different name.
Rick’s inquiry about Dev and Cindy’s relationship is abrupt and not in the context of the conversation. Maybe include a transition like “By the way, Dev . . . “. Also, “doing it?” is kind of cutesy. I’d ask a best friend “getting it on?” “doing the deed?” “shacking up?”
I was hoping Dev and Cindy’s relationship would be that they are just best of friends but I guess that’s not the case. I once knew a guy and gal who were almost inseparable in a purely platonic relationship. They were friendly acquaintances for a while but they both “got saved” and after that the conversation always went in that direction. They were almost as persistent as the Scientolgists in the story or Jesus freaks. “We like you, Richard, and we want you to be in Heaven with us.”
One more edit – When doing an OCA analysis on a person “off the street”, rather than saying “Your reactive mind . . “, Larry would probably say and explain, “There’s a part of our mind which we call the reactive mind which doesn’t want you to get better, Rick. . . . etc.”
Terra Cognita says
Richard: Thanks for your helpful suggestions.
I think I found another edit. Chapter 59 should end with “We paid the bill and left.” – “Doug, Brenda, and three other guys . . . ” should be incorporated into the beginning of Chapter 60.
OMG, Richard, this is the kind of stuff my Evangelical cousins tell me. “We love you. We know that you are a good person. We would be so happy if we knew you were eternally safe with Jesus”.
So depending on my mood, I’ve sometimes responded, “Ok, I get it. If I don’t accept Jesus as my Savior, I’ll burn in the Hellfire Everlasting. Ok. Lets say I take this very seriously. After all, that sounds like a very uncomfortable way to spend eternity. So lets posit I take this dire warning very seriously.
My questions are as follows: 1) Where IS hell?
Is it underground? On another planet? What is the physical location of this place where there’s all this burning and roasting going on? Which leads me to question #2)
WHAT is actually burning there?
Not our bodies, certainly, as they’re in the ground buried somewhere, or else cremated with the ashes in a jar somewhere. So – what substance is fueling this everlasting fire? Our souls? Fine, but have you ever tried to start a fire with a soul? I’m afraid you’re going to need wood or coal or something flammable and then an endless supply of it to KEEP it going EVERLASTINGLY, correct?
So, to recap, where is hell, and what is actually burning there on a continuous basis?
Well! That’s when the conversation usually ends, needless to say, sans answers to eIther question! And I get why.
Because, its just NOT ok to ASK these questions!
And that’s one of the reasons I got kicked out of Sunday School when I was 8 or 9. I would ask questions like these that couldn’t be answered. So I got sent home, banished from Sunday School! Good little girl me, in my starched little pink and white dresses, black patent leather mary janes and white gloves. A heathen in the making! A veritable heathen!
After asking my father these questions, he, not paying too much attention because he was cleaning out the garage, said, “I don’t know…nobody knows. Don’t worry about it. Just tell the truth, keep yourself clean and keep your room clean, use good grammar, do your homework and when you eat, keep your elbows off the table. Help your mother when she asks you to. When you get older…” he wiped his perspiring face, “use common sense with boys, and go easy on the makeup. Go and bring me a beer now, its damned hot in here.”
That was his WASP advice as re my immortal soul and to this day I laugh when I recall it (I had no idea what “use common sense with boys” meant ). I might have lost him early but I’m so grateful that I had a common sense father who was honest about what he knew and what he didn’t know, and was honest with me about it, and his advice has stood me and my immortal soul in good stead.
The questions you ask have Biblical answers –
But the answers arent as terrifying and dramatic.
Nor does it cause your eternity to hang in the balance.
In fact – an xtian would actually not only have to read the Bible – they might actually have to research culture and language.
It’s more fun to threaten, terrify and use faith as a weapon.
Next time presented w the xtian crazies (the people) – remember this verse “where there is fear there is no faith”
And maybe drop the hint that they are terrifying …
Thanks for your response, Hnng. You stated that the the questions I ask have Biblical answers. If you wouldn’t mind telling me where in the Bible I can find them I promise to read them immediately. Thanks again!
Aqua – “A heathen in the making!” LOL I guess I was in the same boat since I also got kicked out of Sunday School at about the same age. I didn’t have any intellectual inquiries, just that I’d spent all week in regular school and didn’t feel like sitting around in a musty church basement on Sunday morning studying whatever the program was.
I attempt to not be hostile toward people in organized religion, only those who are pushy about it. My mother was born of Russian immigrants and was raised in whatever the Russian version is of Catholicism. When i was a kid she went to the local Methodist church and her attitude was “God is where you find Him.” Dad tagged along with her to church on Christmas and Easter to prove he wasn’t a heathen.
The flip side to where is Hell is where is Heaven? After a thousand years of floating on clouds with all needs met I might get bored and go pick a fight with someone to liven things up. There’s always gonna be some conflict in my opinion.
Maybe thetans floating around in the ether just talk things out. After I blew Scientology in 1982 in Los Angeles I joined a blown Scientologist support group and we listened to some channeling tapes. On one of the tapes the entity said he and a group of entities would sometimes get together to decide how best to impart their knowledge to we humans. Don’t ask me where channeling comes from – haha
I know I was literally labled “heretic” and told I harbor a spirit of rebellion.
People give way too much power to goofy things
Richard, I enjoyed your response. Twice banished from Sunday School for “not having enough faith” (read: for asking questions that no one can answer).
Too bad we two Heathens In The Making couldn’t have compared notes back in the day. For me it was upsetting because I was truly curious. I wanted to understand. Thankfully my father didn’t make me wrong or give much of a damn as long as I kept my elbows off the table at dinner 🙂
.For as frustrating as Sunday School was for me sometimes, at least it was interactive, unlike church, which by the time I was old enough, was pure torture in its boringness. Church was Hell, for me, it was so boring.
Finally when I was fourteen I refused to go any more. I just flat out refused and my father didn’t force me. I would have hated him if he had forced me and I guess he sensed that and figured I was already inculcated enough with the 10 Commandments so that I could leave off church. That’s when Sundays became my favorite day of the week.
Now, I totally agree with you about heaven – BOR-RING! I’m falling asleep just conceptualizing an eternity on a cloud with a harp – not my favorite instrument 🙂
But look, like you, totally as you said, I’m not out to diss somebody’s magic or knock anybody’s woo so long as they don’t push it on me.
And for the record, I am totally behind Christian principles – totally admire and aspire to them whenever possible.
I just don’t believe in Biblical Magic – talking snakes, living in the belly of a whale for 3 days and then coming out, completely intact, somebody being turned into a pillar of salt, Red Sea parting, Virgin Birth, water walking, feeding 5 thousand people with 5 fishes and five loaves of bread – just off the top of my head. Never could believe in any of this. Doesn’t mean that Moses and Jesus weren’t great teachers with great wisdom to impart. I just eliminate what is to me the mythology factor. They were men. Extraordinary men, possibly – very possibly. But men.
I think we’re all trying to make sense of one inexplicable thing in our many various ways.
To me its all good. Like you I tried a lot of stuff. I was curious. Still am.
Ciao for now FH. (Fellow Heathen.)
Such a violent escape would cause them to claim dozens of extreme but hard to diagnose injuries. They would spin it like a major terrorist abduction attack.
Does anyone else wonder if the little shit David Miscavige reads these?
My guess is he’s too busy playing with his hair
🙂 smorbie. Well, blonds do have more fun, after all 🙂
He might browse the anti scn blogs once in a while just for laughs, and then go shopping.
Don’t forget nails! Very important!
And freshening up his tan, and then some chiro from his personal back-cracker. Before you know it its time for lunch. Afterwards, some late afternoon rescanning of Mike’s and Tony’s blogs, and possibly summoning Lou for a bit of afternoon delight, which relieves some of the tension but then, saving the best for last, some face time venting to Tom, who always listens and understands how incompetent everyone except him is and how he has to do everything himself. Venting to Tom always makes him feel better, or else he wouldn’t be able to enjoy his nightly scotch and choice of 1 of the 2 five course dinners prepared for him each night.
Dinner over, finally he can chill, but, oh my goodness, where does the time go?
There just aren’t enough hours in the day for this busy Ecclesiastical Leader of the World’s Fastest Growing Religion.
Terra Cognita says
I hope he reads Mike’s blog. He’d be a fool not to.
Another heart pounding read, TC! Keep ’em coming! I could see this as a film, yes!
TC an important note. Make sure your characters who are not scientologists don’t use words remotely scientologize.
Example the detective says. “Don’t know. Just gathering data. So was she happy?”
No one says “data” except clams. He would say “gathering information” or “just getting the facts”.
Important give each character their own way of speaking and not Hubbardspeak for non-members.
I’m a never-in, and I’ve used that phrase. (Datum is much rarer outside Clamville – even most scientists I work with do not use it) If the cop had some science / geek in his background (forensics?), he might use it. It implies a sciency mindset, which might not be what you are going for.
I’d imagine a detective would be more likely to refer to “details” or “evidence”
Terra Cognita says
BKmole: good suggestions. Thanks.
TC, your welcome. Your book rings true as a novel based on fact and it is a page turner as well.
Marie guerin says
It reads like a script…..
Great story telling !
Old Surfer Dude says
I got so wrapped up in the story, I wanted to drive up to Santa Barbara and kick some cult ass! Jesus, this story is just incredible.
Terra Cognita says
Thanks OSD! Let’s have a beer after we’re done–kicking cult ass, that is.
Cat W. says
Laughed out loud at F-ing Larry. It may be blatantly false that they’re the most ethical people on the planet, but Scientologists sure are the most annoying. No contest!
Do you think Rick would be quite that self-absorbed at the end of this section? I mean, they came darned close to kidnapping her back, twice in the same day, and if they’d succeeded, they’d certainly hide her away where he’d never get another chance to rescue her. I’d think that, having come that close to losing her, he might be a little bit glad to get her to a safer place, rather than moon about not having her with him in the short-term. If he cares about her, at least.
Terra Cognita says
Cat W.: Would Rick be quite that self-absorbed? Hmm?
Terra. Excellent. And from all I witnessed over the decades I was “in” everything you say is totally correct. I want to buy the book once published.
I do, too. And I expect an autographed copy :3
This episode was pulse pounding. The scene where Roxie was trying to get away and they actually had to fight to keep her kept me on the edge of my seat.
I can honestly say I get excited on Sunday mornings waiting for each episode to be posted.
Terra Cognita says
For TC: Suggested Edits follow: Chapter 56: “No, I want to. I’d kinda be fun..—— It’d kinda be… —– [or use It would] kinda be…]
Chap. 57, 1st Paragraph: ,,, The bright sun had just risen above the windshield and fast food wrappers littered…—— – fast-food
Chap. 58: Another dove from my legs. —— dove for
Chap. 59: None of us had said more than a dozen a words since fleeing Pac Base. ——- delete the “a” after the word “dozen”
“And if I don’t want to go to College?” —— college [lower case is ok to use here]
Chap. 60: The three of us got out of the car and walked up Brenda.—– – walked up to Brenda
Gardner handed Hanson a business card. “Call me if you have change of heart.” —– have a change
“….waiting for the cops to leave. They return to AO without me,…”——- If they return…
“Stands for worthy Oriental gentleman .——- Worthy Oriental Gentlemen [Capitalize 1st letters]
TC: xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo from Bg
And for chapter 59 after the Petty officer introduces himself, should be “naval” (as in Navy rank) not “navel” (as in bellybutton). Giggle
Old Surfer Dude says
No, no! You’re right! He should have the rank of Navel. Either that or the rank of, Stupidity.
Terra Cognita says
Terra Cognita says
Bg: Thanks for all your catches. I appreciated it.
Bruce Ploetz says
Ach, Terra, you’re giving me flashbacks. Though no one ever actually tried to physically restrain me. With my 6′-2″ and 250 pound frame they probably knew they wouldn’t get too far.
One time when I was “routing out” I was getting frustrated with how long it was taking and told Chris Guider (my auditor) that probably the best way to get this thing moving would be to do it on the RPF. Next session the RPF In Charge showed up outside our auditing room in the Big Blue. He did try some Training Routine 9 on me but I just refused to move. If Chris would have joined in, with his pro rugby frame and moves, it would have been another story.
In real life the episode with the tire iron is unlikely. More often they use persuasion. If one tack doesn’t “bite” they switch to another. Like these (not a definitive list):
1. You won’t make it on the outside (odd to say because supposedly Sea Org members are defined the way you define an OT – at cause over life, matter, energy, time and form)
2. You’ll just go back to drugs (some would find this an incentive but they mean it as a pejorative)
3. You will owe a large “Freeloader’s Debt” (I worried about this for years after I left until I figured out it was a big lie. The only ones who pay it are those who are trying to get back in and play by the rules)
4. You’re letting your friends down (perfectly true but only if they stick with it. And how good are these “friends” who want you to share their misery for the next billion years?)
5. You have some big bad thing wrong with you that will only get worse if it is not “taken care of” (I was told I had “out Int”, too complex for a parenthetical explanation but basically means they think you have a problem with exteriorization, leaving your body. They also asked if I was in chronic pain, which I was at the time, but in Scientology that is one of Hubbard’s ideas about why people go crazy so I knew they were really asking if I was insane)
6. You’ll go crazy
7. You will connect up with people who don’t like Scientology and get a bunch of “false ideas” (Hope so, if that means Jefferson Hawkins and Marc Headley)
8. It takes a lot of money to live in the “Wog world”, you’ll end up on the streets or in a shelter. (Perfectly true, anyone leaving needs relatives or help from something like the Aftermath Foundation. But of course they don’t tell you about any possible help)
9. You would be leaving all your stuff behind (actually you can get a policeman to accompany you back to your residence and collect your belongings)
10. You would be leaving family and friends behind that will never be allowed to talk to you again.
11. The big one is the “go by the rules” one Terra mentions in the story. In every step of Scientology there are official rules for what happens next, who you see after you pay for something, what steps you take if you get in trouble, how you take a leave or even to call your parents on Christmas. It is all governed by papers called “Routing Forms” that have from a few to dozens of steps. Everyone is perfectly conditioned to follow these Routing Forms even when they make little sense or force you to do something you don’t want to do. So just the suggestion that you “need to route out properly” is enough to break down someone who is deeply conditioned.
The Routing Form for leaving the Sea Org is many pages. You see all kinds of people and every one of them tries to talk you into staying. You get sec checking, which is intended to make you see what a criminal you are and how great the organization is so you get shamed into staying.
My advice to anyone thinking that they “need to route out properly” is just skip it. Take the money and run, son, don’t need to be coy, Roy, just hop on the bus, Gus, don’t need to discuss much, just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free.
Excellent post. This should be a permanent stickie on this site or the Bunker, maybe Chris Shelton’s, anywhere people who are trying to escape might visit. It answers a lot of questions and tells them there’s help out there for them.
Terra Cognita says
Bruce: You’re comments are invaluable! Thank you!
P.S. Love the Paul Simon reference.
Great post, Bruce!
Nice episode! A pause for breath. I’m rooting for Roxy, I hope she stands strong.
Peggy L says
I’m rooting for both of them. Sure hope this is has an “and they lived happily ever after” endings. This would be one of those books that would be hard to put down.
Old Surfer Dude says
I’m rooting for both of them too. But I still want to kick some cult ass!
Peggy L says
🙂 You are all making headway on that goal Old Surfer Dude, and I’m rooting for all of you too.
Wouldn’t that interrupt your surfer zen?