I survived my first day and second night here at Narconon. The heat was blaring down on me again last night and at some point Coco got up, walked over to the dresser, took out a handful or Sour Patch Kids from her Costco sized bag, scarfed them down and was back asleep within two minutes.
Her zombie like state, caused me to giggle. Even more hilarious, Chanel got up maybe 20 minutes later and did the exact same thing. As I enlighten them about their activity this morning, they both laugh, and neither one of them remembers their Sour Patch Kid’s snacking habit.
They both have been very reassuring that it doesn’t bother them when I come in after they are already asleep, or all the times I have to get down to go outside and cool off. However, every time I get down from the top bunk, Chanel mutters something at me.
“I do?” She asks.
“Yes. Last night, three separate times I got down and each time you said a random thing before falling back asleep,” I answer.
“That is so weird,” she says. “I honestly don’t remember waking up. Liz I promise you, it doesn’t bother me at all.”
As we get ready for the morning, Coco has her iPod plugged into a speaker. She bounces around and mimics Plies with her ghetto tone and head weave. It’s awesome and I can tell she shares an affinity for Southern rap. It must be the Florida in her.
“Hey, girl, I am sorry we had to put you on dishes last night,” Coco explains. “The new students always are delegated that chore and it wouldn’t be fair for us to play favorites.”
“It’s okay. I understand. Truthfully, I’d rather do dishes than any other chore on the list,” I admit.
To most every one here, this admission is odd. However, I have worked in restaurants my entire life. Being in the kitchen and rocking through the dishes at rapid speed, is familiar. In a weird way, it makes me less homesick and provides some sort of normalcy, in this otherwise foreign and strange land.
Class goes until 6:00 p.m. today and the first session is spent, repeating TR-1-TR-4 drills. This is getting really old, very quickly. Keisha did her one hour eyes closed TR-0. Because I needed to do my half hour eyes closed, I did the first half hour of her hour, before another student tapped my shoulder (to tap me out) and completed the remainder of her hour with her.
Donny D volunteered to run my TR’s with me. He is hilarious. I call him Brooklyn, because his accent is so NY (New York), and he always wears NY clothing. He has made handling origination’s particularly interesting, as his origination’s have ranged from, “My balls are itching,” to “It burns when I urinate,” and everything in between!
After our first cigarette break, I am informed that I will be drilling TR-0, Bullbait. Bullbaiting is meant to distract you from your ability to confront and “Be there,” comfortably. The basic gist of it is, you and your twin are seated three feet apart, eyes open and are to remain in control of your confront (stare), without allowing for outside interruptions to cause you to laugh, move, flinch or flunk the drill.
This can become rather vulgar and obscene. It is also loud and Stormy suggests we run this drill outside. Everyone wants to volunteer to be the students doing the bullbaiting. However, there are plenty of PM sauna students who are not in class, outside on the steps, and willing to assist.
Among these students is Kacie, the cheerleader type girl I met in Huntington. Gus, the Greek New Yorker, who I also met in Huntington and Cody, the former marine. Cody is usually in sauna, but switched to PM today. He suggests it’s fate, as bullbaiting is extremely fun for him.
“Don’t let Kacie fool you,” Cody warns. “She may look sweet and innocent but when she was bullbaiting me, she said what she wanted to do with my dick and I completely lost it.”
Dick? That does not seem like how Kacie would talk at all. She smiles at his telling of this. Keisha and I are positioned three feet apart and engaged in our stare.
“Secret of the trade, Liz, is to look between the person’s eyes on their forehead and not directly into them. This will help you get through these a lot more comfortably” Cody suggests. “Some people even stare past a person, but be mindful of the instructors walking around you.”
“Wow, really? Thanks for the tip,” I say.
“TR-0 Bullbait, start,” Cody says.
“Oh, so you like doing heroin, huh, you fucking junkie,” Gus shouts out.
“Is that a booger in your nose?” Kacie asks, sarcastically. She gets very close to my face, as she asks this.
You are allowed to get very close to the person, provided that you do not touch them.
I burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
“Flunk!” Cody exclaims.
“Oh my gawd, what the fuck?” I ask, still unable to control myself.
“That is nothing,” Cody suggests. “It get’s better.”
“TR-0 Bullbait, start,” Cody repeats.
“I want to slide my tongue down your..” Cody begins to say, but I immediately interrupt his thought with laughter.
“Flunk!” He exclaims again.
Keisha is laughing with us. This is going to be very difficult for me. I am already a giggle box by nature. Once I get going, everything makes me laugh, even when it’s not funny!
“TR-0 Bullbait, start,” Cody repeats.
The corner of Keisha’s lips begin to curl. Do you know how difficult it is, to be forced to stare at someone and not mimic their facial expressions. Her smile is causing me to smile and I can feel myself about to burst.
“Don’t laugh, Liz. Oh. I see it. You’re trying not to laugh. You’re going to laugh,” Gus taunts me.
“So about where I’ll be sliding my tongue,” Cody begins.
Again, I lose my confront and erupt into hyena like laughter.
“I am never going to pass this TR!” I exclaim. “How long do we have to maintain our confront for the test?” I ask.
“You have to be able to maintain your confront for a full minute,” Cody confirms.
An entire minute of raw, unedited, filth, spewing forth from stranger’s mouths while I stare at someone and not laugh? Oh my gawd, there is no way I will ever pass this!
Stormy comes out to check on our progress. He is twisting his mustache.
“Have we found Liz’s buttons yet, gang?” He asks.
A button, is something that causes you to break the confront (laugh). This drill is run, until all buttons are flat (no longer producing a reaction).
All Stormy has to do is look at me and I laugh, but he knows my button. It’s a silly button, but no matter how many times he says it, I can’t stop laughing.
“Steven Lim,” Stormy says in a monotone voice, while twisting his mustache.
There is no holding back. I nearly fall out of my chair, laughing so hard.
Steven Lim, of course is the Korean student who is always walking around in a huff, slamming the desk and screaming about his magnet being moved. For some reason the way Stormy says his name, cracks me up. He discovered this button on a smoke break and now my bullbaiters are aware of it.
“Alright guys, you know her button. Flatten it,” he instructs.
While they are successful in getting me to break my confront by saying Steven Lim’s name, nobody is quite capable of duplicating Stormy’s delivery.
As difficult as this drill is, I have to admit, it is the most fun. I can’t remember the last time I have laughed this much. It feels good to laugh again.
The rest of the day, is spent drilling TR-1-TR-4. Also, I was able to complete my TR-0 eyes open for 30 minutes. I begged Jacob and Stormy to move ahead into TR-6-TR-9; however, their hands were tied by the number of hours that is required of me to spend on the first part of Book 1.
There is a marathon of MTV’s, Ridiculousness on. This is not uncommon, and I enjoy a couple hours of it, before it’s time for another game of spades with the boys.
“Liz, are you playing?” Brian asks.
“Deal me in,” I respond.
Brian and I, are teamed up against Hunter and Noah. Noah seems annoyed by this. He doesn’t appear to like me very much, but he is difficult to read, and quite frankly, I don’t really give a fuck.
Juice, Donny Bolts and Daily are sitting at the table with us. Bolts is producing massive clouds on his vapor.
“Yo, check out my clouds boo bear,” he suggests.
Bolt’s always wears basketball shorts, a ball cap turned slightly to the side and a shit eating grin. When he talks, he is animated and uses his hands a lot.
“Let me hit that,” I respond.
“You can’t handle it,” he says sarcastically, still passing it in my direction.
I take a major pull off the vapor and produce billowing clouds of smoke. There are different flavored juices, with different levels of nicotine in them, for these contraptions. I choke a little on this mix.
“Wow, that is strong. I feel like I have a little head buzz,” I admit.
“No shit. I got that good juice. That Gavrill juice,” he says, before taking another massive hit off the vape.
Gavrill makes vapor juice. After all, he is the, “Vape Guy.”
It’s funny, despite everyone puffing on their vapors, we make our way outside for actual cigarette breaks, as well. There is a table with two benches outside the lodge’s door, that is the popular designated smoking area. It is right next to the outdoor gym.
There are a couple meat-heads at the center. In fact, they refer to themselves as such. One of them looks familiar. Oh my gawd. It is Anthony. The guy I met at the doctor, called a pussy for playing R&B and asked repeatedly, if he was the assist guy. He smiles at me and waves.
I am mortified, but manage to smile back before hanging my head from embarrassment. His girlfriend is working out with him. Her name is Rogue Langley, but most people refer to her as, Mrs. Hulk. Like Anthony, she is a meat-head. She has tan skin and a badass, boxer body. She is one of those girls, who is fortunate enough to be beautiful without wearing any makeup. Her and Chanel, both, have flawless skin and wear the all-natural look well. Her hair is dark, brown and shoulder length.
I hope that she doesn’t hate me already. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet her, but was informed that she was Anthony’s girlfriend when everyone was retelling the 2 Chaaaaaaainz story.
“Yo, Liz, so what did your Reg. tell you was going to be here?” Bolts asks sarcastically (Reg. is pronounced re-dge).
“What’s a Reg?” I ask.
“The guy that talked to you on the phone before you got on the airplane. You know the guy that interviewed you?” He asks, while using his fingers to make air quotes on the word, “Interviewed.”
“Oh. I called him my Narconon dude. His name was, Michael Daniels. He didn’t promise me a whole bunch. He did tell me there would be a heated swimming pool, a flat screen TV in my room, massages and soda. However, the biggest shock was his assurance that my program was by the beach and I would be able to meditate with God everyday there!” I exclaim, in a fit of condescending laughter.
“Oh, I don’t know who Michael Daniels is, I had Ben Nosh,” Bolts informs us. “Ben Nosh is one of the leading Reg.’s. I think almost everyone here had him.”
“No, I have heard of Michael Daniels. He is another lead Reg. bro,” Brian confirms. “They are like the big two.”
“All I know, is I was told there was a fucking lake and jet skis, and I don’t see a lake in this bitch, do you?” Bolts elaborates, sarcastically. He puts his hands up around his eyes and forms a pretend pair of binoculars with them, before looking around in a mocking manner.
“Man, I was told there was a lake too,” Juice chimes in. “There was a lake here though. It’s that old, dried up crater in the center of the track. Still waiting on the jet skis though,” he jokes.
Aiden, the Ethics Officer (EO), walks by. He stares us down, still wearing that silly smirk he has. He is very difficult to read.
“Three feet apart,” he warns.
He is instructing Brian and I, not to sit as closely together as we are. But, he is grinning, so I can’t tell if he is being serious, or halfway kidding. Nevertheless, I move over a few inches.
Everyone at the table finds this amusing before they begin telling their own Reg. stories. After I have listened to all of the, alleged, promises made to these students, I chime in,
“Damn. I guess I made it too easy on my Reg. I didn’t require an intervention, I didn’t run and he didn’t have to promise me horseback riding, a lake and an 18 hole golf course!” I exclaim.
“I did, however, put him on speaker phone during my interview because I needed to tie off to take a shot,” I admit.
This admission causes Bolts to choke on his vapor. The rest of us are howling.
“No, fucking way?” Bolts asks.
“Yeah dude. Seriously. I was with my friend Travis and I asked him to hang on I needed to tie off, so could I put him on speaker. He agreed and then informed me of how badly he believed I needed this program,” I elaborate.
“He was cool though. He shared his personal story with both me and Travis. So what, that I don’t have a flat screen TV. I’m not living in my fucking car anymore, so this is an upgrade.” I light a second cigarette.
“Fuck that. I want the jet skis, the lake, the mother fucking horses and some deep tissue massage,” Brian blurts out, through his adorable laugh. He smacks his hand on his thigh, on the delivery, of each desired amenity.
“Right? The website, makes it look like a fucking Sandals Beach Resort, not this run down, dried up crater lake, no horse having, dump!” Juice shouts out.
While I engage in the giggle fest, and participate in the Reg. bashing, I am extremely grateful to have a warm bed, a bathroom, three prepared meals each day and a scheduled routine. It’s been so long since I’ve maintained a schedule, I had forgotten what consistency felt like.
There is another Ethics Officer (EO), named Curtis Maxwell. He is tall, slender and sags his pants a little. He is a blondish ginger, with a few freckles and is also, from Washington state. He takes out a can of chew and puts a gnarly dip in his mouth, before joining us.
“Sssh the law is here,” Bolts halfway jokes.
“Bro, don’t make me write you a chit, bro,” Curtis jokes back. He intentionally pronounces his words, like a stoner. There are people around here, that attempt to intimidate his slow, stoner, speech. I will be one of them, later.
I haven’t interacted much with Curtis, but he seems cool. We had a brief conversation once before. That is how I learned he is from Washington and has a kid. He plays this game, called “The Game.” He connects his index finger to his thumb, creating a hole. The object of the game, as far as I understand it anyways, is to get people to look at it. If they look at it, they, “lost the game.”
Every time he starts this, it produces a ripple effect. This time is no different.
“Man fuck the game,” Brain says, as he gets caught looking. He immediately, forms his fingers in the same fashion.
“Bro, you ain’t going to catch me looking,” Juice says, diverting his eyes towards the sky.
I have never seen anyone play this game, but by the end of my program, I too, will engage in it’s ridiculousness. I mean, why play a game that you are not certain about it’s point? But, it provides entertainment all the same.
Today has been a long day. I’ve made the mistake of drinking coffee all night and am not sleepy when the EO’s inform us it’s time for lights out. I make my way to my stoop, watch the boys and their shenanigans, while I smoke and then head to bed. Coco and Chanel are already asleep.
Tomorrow, I will witness my first graduation at Narconon. Every Friday we are served a special dinner. I’ve been informed it is usually steak and I am excited by this. Parents and family come to support the students graduating their programs. I put my headphones in, play my Twilight instrumentals and daydream about my own graduation….