When I got off the van, I found Cathy waiting. She gave be a big hug. "I knew you were coming back," she said. It was April, 2003 and I had just returned to the Base after four months of exile to "Big Blue" in LA.
I was amazed to find myself accepted back on the Base as if nothing had happened. People started to call me "Nine Lives." I was always coming back. But then that was the Sea Org motto, wasn’t it? "We Come Back."
In my absence, virtually nothing had happened on the CD lecture marketing. No new releases had been planned, no new promotion had been designed or written. It was as if time had stood still. Miscavige had ordered that a Lecture Marketing Team be put into place. Yael would not be a part of it – I found out that she had blown.
There was a huge meeting held in MCI with the entire Base present. The only purpose was to get a Lecture Marketing Team appointed – and "comply" with the order from COB. They asked for volunteers. I felt I had no choice – why else had I been brought back? I walked to the front. Out of hundreds of staff, only about a dozen volunteered. It was finally narrowed down to four people – myself, Dan Koon, Mariette Lindstein (a former RTC staffer now working in CMU), and Cebron Walker (a staff member in the LRH Personal Public Relations Bureau). After some vetting, we were all approved to be the new Lectures Marketing Unit. Dan was to be the leader, I was to be the Copywriter.
Once again, we had events coming up and we needed to decide what to release. The first event was on May 9 – the Dianetics Anniversary Event. We decided to release a series of lectures Hubbard had recorded in 1951 called the Human Evaluation Lectures. They went with the book Science of Survival. For the Freewinds Maiden Voyage Anniversary Event, we decided to release an early Hubbard Congress. I started writing the copy for these releases.
I was also put back onto the Purification Rundown. I had already done it twice, but somehow it was thought this was the root of my "problems." I just had to keep at it and keep at it and somehow eventually all the toxins and LSD would be out of my system and I would be a good Base staff member.
On one of his inspections of CMU, Miscavige suddenly stopped in the middle of the room and pointed at me. "What’s he doing here?" he demanded. I was immediately hustled out of the room. I was not to be physically in CMU any more. In a bizarre arrangement, I was set up with my computer and materials in a basement room, in HCO, and I worked from there, writing copy. I could work, I just couldn’t be in CMU where I might "upset COB."
One day, all of Gold was called to a special, mandatory meeting in MCI. When we arrived, all of the Gold executives were at the front, along with executives from CMO Int and RTC. There was a strange circle of chairs at the front of the room. I was directed to sit in one of them. I soon found out that this was for the Gold "troublemakers" – which consisted essentially of anyone who was actually doing anything in Gold, submitting things to COB, or producing anything. These were the people who were "causing trouble on COB’s lines – basically, everyone on his lines. Dan and Mariette were included.
What was supposed to happen was that each of these "troublemakers" was to get up in front of the group and confess their crimes. They were to describe the "criminal operating basis" or "op" that they were using to make Miscavige wrong and sabotage projects. And the Roman Circus atmosphere was beyond anything I had ever experienced at the grueling staff meetings. The crowd wanted blood.
One by one the circle of "troublemakers" got up and attempted to say something, anything, to satiate the blood-lust. "That’s not good enough!" someone in the crowd would yell. "Come on, tell us your real crimes." I saw more than one person break down. Jim Mortland, a man I respected and liked, was led off in tears.
Finally it was my turn. I tried to say something, but was almost instantly shouted down. One beefy guy from the Cine Props Department, Clark Morton, stood up and yelled, "Come, on, tell us your real crimes!" Clark had formerly been a CMO Executive, now busted down to being a propsman in Cine. I could see his face reddening as he screamed.
A voice rang out behind me, "This is the guy who lied to LRH!" It was Nathan Story, a Gold exec. The crowd roared for my blood.
In early September 2003, I was offloaded again. I was taken out to the "Int Ranch," a property about eight miles east of the Base, called, incongruously, "Happy Valley." It had been used as an RPF detention camp for the Base, but Miscavige had shut down the Int RPF and sent them all to LA. Since then it had been mostly deserted, cared for by a small maintenance staff, led by a blonde woman named Rikki Drake. Rikki had been the RTC Rep in Clearwater when the whole Lisa McPherson flap had happened. She had been spirited out of Clearwater and sequestered on the Ranch, not allowed to talk to anyone. I joined a small group of other offloadees, who were cleaning up the Ranch for a big influx of people. We found out that about 60 people were slated for offload from the Base. Miscavige was weeding out the chaff.
Dan Koon hadn’t known anything about my offload. When he found out about it, he raised a stink, and got me reinstated to the Base. I left the Int Ranch just as a huge bus pulled up, full of people from the Base.
I spent another month in my basement copywriting office, trying to write, but still shunned by the rest of the Gold staff. Then in mid-October, for no apparent reason, I was sent back out to the Ranch. It was now full of people, all on work crews, and all being prepared for offload. No one knew where anyone was going. We didn’t know if we were being offloaded from the Base to another Scientology Org, or offloaded from the Sea Org entirely. No one knew anything.
Our possessions started to arrive, in boxes. We had to go through everything, throw out what we didn’t want to keep, and make sure any "confidential" material was taken out – anything with the Base address on it, any photos of the Base. One by one, we were called into an office and shown our "Suppressive Person" declare. Hubbard had directed that anyone offloaded from the Base was to be declared Suppressive.
I assumed I was being offloaded from the Sea Org, and resigned myself to it. I was terrified at the thought that I would never see Cathy again.
I was assigned to chopping wood with two other guys, Jason Bennick and Micky Estrada. Jason was a feisty little guy, and had at one time been CO Gold. At one point he had been a favorite of DM, now he was in disfavor. Mickey had been a drummer for the Golden Era Musicians. There was a huge pile of logs – several large dead standing trees had been taken down and sawn into sections. Our job was to chop it up into firewood to be sold. We used sledge hammers and wedges, or an axe, and sometimes a chain saw. It was very hard physical work, and I got into great shape. Jason and Mickey were both very funny guys, and we spent a lot of time telling jokes and laughing as we chopped. At one point, I told Jason how my grandfather used to call me "Jeffer," and his Tennessee accent turned it into "Jeffa." Jason loved this, so I soon became "Jeffa" to one and all.
One day, Jason, Mickey, and a bunch of the others disappeared. Whatever was going to happen was happening. People were disappearing. Then a week later, in early December, I was told to pack my bags and get onto a van with a bunch of other people. I was leaving – for somewhere.
The van drove for hours, into LA, through LA, and north on the 5. Then we started winding up through a mountain road, mile after mile. It seemed to go on forever. Finally we pulled into what looked like a ranch, and got out into a bitterly cold night. We were ushered into one of the nearby cabins, where a group of people were huddled around a fire. A voice called out.
Jason explained to me what was happening. We were being given "one last chance." We had been sent to the "PAC Ranch" in the mountains above Santa Clarita, California, about an hour’s drive from LA. The Ranch had been used as a boarding school for Sea Org children, to keep them out of their parents’ hair so they could concentrate on their jobs. But the children were grown now, and the school had been closed. The Church was considering one of two options – either sell the property, or turn it into a Narconon Drug Rehabilitation Center. If it was to be sold, the property had to be cleaned up and repaired. If it was to be a Narconon, full feasibility planning would have to be done and a conditional use permit obtained from the county. We were going to do both.
The next morning, I was able to get a look at the Ranch. It was nestled in Bouquet Canyon, 3500 feet up in the Santa Clarita Mountains. About a mile away was the Bouquet Canyon Reservoir. The place was bitterly cold. But it was beautiful – and far, far away from the Base. We all began to relax a bit. As purgatory, it wasn’t bad.
Bouquet Canyon Reservoir
There were about 35 of us there at the Ranch. The only supervision we had from the Base was an MAA named Chris Guider, who would show up once a week or so. Otherwise we were on our own. And amazingly, there were no restrictions on us – we could come and go as we wanted, go into town for supplies, whatever. In this new spirit of freedom, I asked for my car from the Base, and Chris drove it down the next time he came. It’s amazing no one blew, but we took the "second chance" seriously.
One of the offloadees, Jim Mortland, took charge. He had been Estates Secretary at Gold – the division that handled grounds, building maintenance and construction at the Base, so he knew how to run a project like this. His Organizing Officer was Sarah Blythe, and she had experience in architectural planning, design and construction. I liked Jim and Sarah, they were friendly and easygoing. It became clear that there wouldn’t be any yelling or screaming or abuse.
We put in a rudimentary organization – three of the women were assigned to the "galley" – preparing the meals. The rest of us split up into work crews. In the mornings, we started cleaning the place up. Some of us cleared the brush and got rid of junk, others repaired electrical and plumbing lines. In the afternoon, we started working on the Narconon feasibility study.
I was already thinking about a new career in Scientology. I had no intention of going back to the Base. I had always had some interest in architecture, and I thought about pursuing that. I knew there was a big architecture office in LA that was designing all of the new org premises. Maybe I could learn more about it and join that office. I talked to Sarah and told her I wanted to do the architectural planning that would be needed for the feasibility study.
Three of us were assigned to Building Planning: myself, Jacquie Kenenaar and Cynthia Coleman. Cynthia had been one of the artists in CMU. Between us, we would do all of the architectural planning and put together a presentation for the county.
I still had money, so I ordered a nice laptop from Dell by mail. Jacquie and Cynthia also ordered computers, and Jacquie got a printer. I also got some architectural software – AutoCAD – which was good for drafting. Sarah managed to get a program from the architecture office in LA which was used to do 3D modeling of buildings. It was called AutoVIS and was a version of 3D Studio Max with a lot of architectural bells and whistles. I knew nothing about the program but determined to learn it. So we were pretty well set up – all using our own money.
Christmas came and went, and once again I was away from Cathy. I had ordered some presents for her by mail and sent them to her. Then, the day before Christmas, Chris had arrived with a big bag of presents from Cathy – mostly Christmas goodies and warm clothing, both of which I appreciated!
I wrote to Cathy every week, enclosing photos I’d taken of the Ranch, and, sometimes, poetry I’d written, but never received any letters back. I found out later that she was writing to me every week as well, and never received my letters. Both of our letters were piling up in a basket in the Security Office in the basement of Building 36. Meanwhile Cathy, of course, was being pressured to divorce me. She refused.
We settled into a work routine. In the bitterly cold mornings we’d clear brush. Then in the afternoon we’d do the Narconon planning. And in the evening we’d study. I was studying the AutoVIS program.
We managed to get some big topographical maps of the Ranch and scanned them in, which gave us the extent of the property. But there were no plans for the existing buildings, so the first thing we did was run around and measure everything. With the measurements, I did detailed "as-built" floor plans of all the buildings, using AutoCAD, which was fortunately fairly easy to use. Other members of the team did planning as to how many buildings would be needed to establish a Narconon, and we did a second set of plans showing the proposed building extensions as well as new buildings.
This facility was going to be the showcase Narconon for Southern California, so part of the planning was a large information center/convention center/auditorium to be built near the entrance. I did a floor plan for it, then decided to do a 3D model of it in the computer. I conceived it as a sort of mountain lodge, built with logs.
I had started learning the AutoVIS program at the beginning of January. Within four weeks I had mastered the program and done a fairly sophisticated 3D model of the Information Center, complete with stone, glass, wood and metal textures. And I had a ball doing it. I was looking forward to my possible new career in the Church’s architecture office. Somehow, I was sure, Cathy could join me in LA.
The proposed Information Center, modeled in AutoVIS
Strangely, instructions came that I was to get back onto the Purification Rundown. As there were no facilities to do it at the Ranch, I ended up driving into LA every day to do the Purif for five hours a day at the Hollywood Guaranty Building on Hollywood Blvd. I drove down with another guy from the Ranch, a German, Wolfi Frank, who was getting daily auditing. Then I’d work in the evenings.
We completed the presentation and Ken Hoden (also one of the offloadees) took it to the county and pitched it. I heard later, long after I left Scientology, that it had been approved, but Scientology was now in a pitched battle with the local residents over whether or not to have a Narconon there. It was never built.
In early February, Sarah called me into her office. She had just been talking to Chris Guider on the phone.
"How would you feel about returning to the Base?" she asked.
To her surprise – and mine – I started crying. "No," I finally managed to say. "No, I don’t want to go back there." Sarah said she understood and would go over it with Chris.
But I was not to have a choice in the matter. The next evening, Jim rushed up to me and told me that I had to get in my car right now and drive to the Base right now for a meeting. I tried to object, but there was no questioning the order. Whoever had delivered the message to Jim had scared the living daylights out of him, and he didn’t let up until I was in my car and out the gate.
I took the back way to the Base, taking the old Pearblossom Highway across the desert, then down through the Cajon Pass on the 15. I had plenty of time to think. Part of me was terrified at the prospect of returning to the Base. But another part of me thought about the beautiful woman waiting for me there, and as I drove on through the night, those visions of Cathy came to dominate my thoughts.
I pulled into the Base about eleven at night, and was rushed into the conference room in Building 36, where I waited for about an hour. Finally, the door opened, and David Miscavige walked in – by himself. This was unusual; he normally had a large entourage.
"You heard Dan Koon blew," he said. I shook my head.
"Yeah, he took off in January," he said. "So I’m willing to consider the possibility that I offloaded the wrong guy."
Miscavige went over with me what he needed. He was still hell-bent on getting all of Hubbard’s lectures out on CD – it was his top priority, and therefore the top priority for the Base. The first to be released would be the "Basics" or "Milestones" – the name hadn’t been decided. These were lectures that went with a particular LRH book, and there were about ten of these book-lecture series combinations. Reproducing the lectures on CD and packaging them up was pretty straightforward, but there was also to be a supplement booklet for each lecture series, containing Hubbard’s written essays from the period, as well as a written introduction to each series. It was the introductions that he needed me for. These had to be well researched and well written, laying out the Scientology history and technical development that led up to that particular series of lectures. Dan had been writing these, but he was gone. So, I had been brought back.
Another chance at glory.
As soon as the meeting was over, I found Cathy, and we hugged for a long time. She was living in a dormitory, but we soon arranged to get our old room back.
I had a desk set up for me in CMU. There was a new Lecture Marketing Officer on post, Rick Cruzen. Rick had been at the Base forever and had worked in many areas, mainly in Audio. He was a brilliant guy with a reputation for being able to solve problems. He was glad to have my help, and we started working together to get the CD lectures series packaged and ready.
The next day, Miscavige came down to CMU and took up his usual position at the flat files, with all of CMU and various executives on the other side. He threw out is usual bit of opening gossip: "Did you hear what those guys at the PAC Ranch were up to?"
It turned out that Jim Mortland and Sarah Blythe had been having an "out-2D." This had been discovered and reported by Jason. Miscavige took me to task for not having seen and reported it myself. He told us they were all being sent to the RPF, every one of them.
"You just barely escaped," he told me.
The Base seemed deserted. There had a lot of offloads over the past year, and now there were only about 350 people on the Base. At its biggest, the Base had almost a thousand staff, now it was down to a third of that. Miscavige kept talking about "getting rid of the deadwood" and "getting rid of the SPs." He had even threatened to close the Base entirely.
CMO International and Executive Strata, I found out, were confined to the Base – they were not allowed to go home. That had already been going on for three months. They slept underneath their desks and showered in the garage. The word was that Miscavige had "declared them all SP" and they were working on their "A to E steps" in the CMO Int conference room every day. The "A to E steps" were the steps an SP was supposed to go through to stop being an SP. Miscavige also had them on "mest work," cleaning out the septic ponds at the west end of the property.
He had informed both CMO Int and Exec Strata that they "had no org board." This seemed odd to me as both organizations had existed for years on some sort of organization chart, but DM insisted it was wrong and he had not approved a new one. So part of their feverish activity was hours spent revising their org board and submitting it to DM. He routinely rejected anything they sent to him. Meanwhile, he told them that no one was on post as they had no org board. This was to go on, literally, for years.
Marc Yager, Guillaume Lesevre and Mike Rinder were spending a lot of time "on the decks." They could be seen out in the Swamp, near the OGH house, clearing brush in their blue boiler suits. When it came time to do an event, they would be gotten off the decks, rehearsed, and put in front of the cameras reading off a teleprompter. I am sure the Scientology audience had no idea where they had gotten those nice tans.
Even RTC itself had been decimated. All of RTC staff, except for Miscavige’s personal staff, had been suddenly demoted to CMO International, This included long-time veteran executives like Greg and Sue Wilhere, and Norman Starkey. They were all in CMO Int now, in the "unposted" mess. It was amazing, but there was literally no one on post or operating at the top of Scientology except one person – David Miscavige. He was unchallenged, and what he said was law.
I got to work, and wrote the first four of the introductions needed. One day COB showed up in CMU and, as usual, held court across the flat files. He began railing at me, "This is the guy who sabotaged all the earlier CD releases!" he proclaimed. He demanded to see what I had been doing. I brought the four introductions I had written. He slammed them down on the counter.
"I can offload you again, you know," he screamed. "You’ll be flipping burgers at McDonalds."
"Yes, Sir," I stammered.
"Yes Sir? Yes Sir?" he shouted. "You want to get offloaded? Get him out of here!"
I was grabbed by the Chief MAA, Gerald Duncan, and hustled down to the HCO offices, where I was put into a room and told to start writing up my crimes. A few minutes later, someone cam dashing down from CMU. "You’re needed back up there right away!"
I rushed upstairs. Miscavige was still there, with the group around him, but everyone was oddly quiet. Miscavige was reading my introductions and making notations on them.
"These are pretty good," he said finally - as if nothing had happened. "I’ve made a few notations of things to be fixed, but otherwise well done." He handed them back to me.
I was saved – for the moment anyway.
I began to work feverishly to complete the rest of the introductions needed. I was one of the group that was on "COB’s schedule," which meant staying up until the wee hours of the morning and then coming in at noon. We would usually get called to attend a meeting with Miscavige in late afternoon or evening, and these could go on for hours. He would review the work that had been done, usually tear it to shreds, and then dictate what was to be done "and on my desk first thing in the morning." As the meeting might not break up until midnight, we then got to work and finished the submission for the next day.
It became usual for me to arrive home just as Cathy was getting up. Then I would have four hours of sleep, if I was lucky, and take the noon bus back to the Base, ready for another round. For the entirety of 2004, I averaged 4 hours sleep a night, often less.
The meetings could get volatile. During a break from a meeting in the Lower Lodges, Miscavige ended up repeatedly slamming his hand into the side of my head, then he went over and knocked Marc Yager to the ground.
Once he was giving a tour of "Building 50" – the RTC building – to a group of executives. The building was nearly empty. He was talking about CMO International someday taking it over. We moved from room to room as he described what could go in each room. As he was leaving one room, he had to pass right by me, and without warning he punched me in the gut. "I can smell Black PR a mile away," he said. I tried to reply but it just came out as a croak, I couldn’t breathe.
In the middle of Building 50 was a huge covered courtyard, going up two stories. Miscavige set this up for himself as a sort of conference room on steroids. He liked to take all of the submissions that people had sent him and pile them up on tables and say "Look at all the things I have to handle. I’m wearing every hat on this Base." At the same time, he insisted that everything come to him and that only he could give final approval.
At one of these meetings, he threw Mike Rinder off his chair and onto the ground. Mike, like many of the CMO Int Execs, had been trying to curry favor by grabbing some part of the "Basics" release and "handling it." This was seen as the path to redemption – but it was more often a path to catastrophe as Miscavige trashed whatever work they had done. One of his favorite punishments was to have executives run laps around Building 50, and sometimes he would send the entire conference out to run laps – 25 or 50 times around the building.
Another punishment was "overboarding." The offending person would be taken to the swimming pool and thrown in, fully clothed, by the MAAs. After 2000, this was the only use that pool ever got.
Of course, any punishment meted out by COB was soon copied throughout the Base, so "overboardings" and "laps" became the usual. One night we were out at the Castle at a Gold muster, and as I had missed some deadline or had something rejected, I was assigned to 15 laps around the Castle – a huge building. That was something like two miles. I ran it – in my street shoes. One was not allowed to put on running shoes!
The top of my left foot was rubbed raw and hurt like hell. In my few hours at home, I dressed it as best I could, and went back to work. The next night I started to feel feverish and weird. I stumbled down to MCI to see if I could get something to eat, and ended up passed out on the floor. A Security Guard found me. By the time I got to the Medical Officer, I was running a high fever and there was a bright red line running up my leg as the infection traveled. I ended up in sick bay for a week, then on crutches. Of course, I got accused of "making the CO Gold wrong" for having me run those laps.
In December, COB was down in LA and ordered a bunch of people down to LA. It included all of the key executives, Marc Yager, Guillaume, David Bloomberg, Norman Starkey and scores of others. I was included, as well as Rick Cruzen. Michela and Manu also came from CMU. Manu was the CO CMU.
Miscavige was operating from the ASI building on Hollywood Boulevard, so he had us take over the ground floor. It was insane. Everyone was expected to continue working on whatever they were working on, so soon truckloads of files started to arrive with everyone’s work. The room was a mess. We would have long, abusive meetings with DM, then everyone would frantically try to get something done. It was a colossal, but typical, waste of time. Henning Bendorff was there and took the opportunity to knock me down several times.
During one meeting, Miscavige told me, Manu and Michela that we were all offloaded as of that minute, right onto the streets of LA. The three of us left by the main door and were actually walking down the street, when the doors burst open and the rest of the group chased after us and brought us back.
"What do you mean by leaving?" they demanded. "You must have crimes!" It was all just a bit too crazy for me to comprehend. I was happy when we at last got back to the Base.
Amazingly, we had half a day off for Christmas shopping. Cathy and I went out to the mall in Cabazon. I knew we would never have Christmas itself off, so treated the day as our Christmas, and I bought Cathy whatever she wanted. She saw a $500 dress she liked – so I just told her to get it. We wandered around and had coffee. It was the first thing resembling a day off that we had ever had. And it would be the last.
Cathy was happy. She had at last been approved to go onto the post of Port Captain Gold, which meant she would get to deal with external PR and community relations, the things she most loved doing.
I finished all of the introductions for "the Basics" and started on the Congresses. These were big events that Hubbard had held, where he gave a series of lectures over a weekend. There were about 20 of these Congresses. To get them all done in time, COB assigned three of us to it full time – me, Rick Cruzen, and LRH Biographer Dan Sherman. I had worked with Danny on and off over the years. He was supposed to be Hubbard’s "official Biographer," but there was no biography forthcoming. He spent most of his time writing "Ron Magazines" – puff pieces about Hubbard’s life – or writing Miscavige’s speeches.
Miscavige wanted us near him, so set us up in a corner room up in Building 50. Miscavige’s personal staff were glad to see us there. "The building has been so empty," they told us. It was true; except for Miscavige and his personal staff, it was deserted, a big echoing hulk of a building.
Working in that corner office late at night, we could hear him in his big courtyard conference room, roasting some executive. We couldn’t hear the words, just an agonized howl reverberating through the empty building, like some rabid beast trapped in the depths of a vast and echoing labyrinth.
Relations between Miscavige and I, never that good in the first place, got icier. Soon I was being excluded from meetings. I’d show up and he’d say "get him out of here!" I’d be rushed out so as "not to upset COB."
Once I was standing with him and Rick, and he turned to Rick and said, "Look at this guy," indicating me. "He’d just love to punch me. I wish he would. Then I could really unload on him."
Finally it all came to a head after one particularly flappy meeting with COB in February 2005. It was decided that I would be "overboarded." I was allowed to change into a blue boiler suit, then escorted out to the lake. Danny Dunegan, a Security Guard, was present in case anything "happened." After all, I was a 58 year old man, it was the middle of a February night in the high desert, and the lake was freezing cold. I stepped to the edge of the pier and the MAA pushed me off. I hadn’t expected the water to be so cold. Gasping for breath, I struggled to the dock and was pulled up, soaked and shivering.
I changed back into my uniform and went back up to CMU. Manu, the CO CMU, told me that Rick Cruzen was up in Building 50 with COB. At that point, the MAAs came through saying that everyone had to secure (go home) NOW. It was a COB order! The buses would be held until everyone was on board. Manu and I didn’t know what to do. We could get in trouble if we secured while Rick was still in a meeting with Miscavige. We could also get in trouble for defying the COB order to go home. We were finally prevailed upon to go the bus.
Everyone crammed onto the buses. The only seat I could find was way at the back. Then we heard that Miscavige had come down from Building 50 and was inspecting to make sure everyone was on the bus.
Suddenly, he appeared at the front of our bus, and began walking down the aisle, scanning the faces. Finally, he spotted me at the back.
"Did you know I was still in a meeting with Rick Cruzen?" he demanded.
"Yes Sir," I said.
He addressed the bus in general. "Do you see that? Do you see the level of responsibility I have to deal with? He knows I’m in a meeting with his senior, and he decided to go home." His eager audience made the appropriate sounds of disgust and righteous anger.
"I’m sick of dealing with CI," he said. "Every staff member at this Base needs to go home tonight and make a decision, whether they want to become a real Sea Org Member or not." He stormed off the bus. Manu and I were hustled off the bus, amid shouted curses. After some discussion amongst the Gold execs, we were hustled back on the bus, to go home after all.
Cathy was already there. She took one look at me and knew something was wrong.
"What happened?" she asked.
I tried to explain about being thrown in the lake and the bus ride home. She couldn’t understand what I was talking about. I’m sure I sounded half crazy. Finally she did the only thing she could think of to calm me down – she had me clean the apartment. Mest work, the universal solvent.
I mindlessly cleaned the room. I had reached the end. I had to purify myself once and for all.
Tomorrow, tomorrow would be a bright new day, a brave new world. I would purge myself. I would confess to everything, anything. I would reach into the blackness of my soul, the core of my being, and dredge up and vomit out every secret hatred, every vile perversion and fetish, every black and evil thought. I would cleanse myself forever, let go of my "stubborn, self-willed exile" and emerge a bright and triumphant being, a perfect Sea Org Member, an ideal citizen of this new Base, this new Miscavige world, never doubting, never questioning, never failing, steely-eyed, working tirelessly towards the goal of a Cleared Planet, a perfect Scientology world where every citizen marched forward into a bright new future in perfect lockstep, ever faithful, ever dedicated, ever OT…
Sleep wouldn’t come. In the dark, Cathy’s hand found mine, and held on tight. I think she sensed, like me, that this was no new beginning.
It was the end.