A week has passed and I have attested (completed) Book 1. The next part of the program is sauna; however, I haven’t been approved. I went to the doctor again, yesterday, but it takes a couple of days to hear the results. I am a little worried. Although, I am enjoying laying out in the sun all day and watching TV while students are in class.
Tony Crone is back at the center (everyone calls him Crone). He is really tall and athletic. He happened to be dressed in Michigan sports gear and was fitted (matching) all the way down to his socks and shoes. He has short, brown hair and a white smile. I swear to gawd, even his cell phone case matched his outfit! We have a word for that back home, gangster.
I introduced myself and made a playlist with a few songs that were absolute must haves. I didn’t expect him to get me Karmin, Taylor Swift and No Doubt, but he not only hooked me up with everything on my playlist, he packed my iPod with 3000 songs of pure awesomeness.
He insisted he didn’t need smokes, candy or any sort of payment for doing that for me. I am extremely grateful. Music is a huge passion of mine and life felt empty without it. Crone may not know it, but he has just made the rest of my program tolerable.
He hooked me up with music for every mood and my iPod will not only get me through holidays without my family, singing my rage out in the laundry room and dancing on the basketball courts. I will pay it forward by passing it off to the first student I put through withdrawal in Huntington (as an intern), to make his program tolerable, on the day I finally go home.
Sadie Dell, my counselor, is walking over to me.
“Hey Liz. How are you feeling?” She asks.
“Okay. I don’t know why I can’t get into sauna though,” I admit.
“I understand it is frustrating, but I came to talk to you about doing Book 3,” she says.
“I don’t want to jump ahead in my program. It takes as long as it takes, right?” I question, smugly.
“There is truth in that,” she says. “However, Book 3, usually only takes a day or two to complete and it won’t hurt you to do that book before you are approved for sauna.”
“I know it might not make sense,” I suggest. “However, I am a sequential person. I like to do things in order. Clearly, L. Ron Hubbard (LRH), designed the program this way for a reason, right?” I question.
I can sense the frustration on Sadie Dell’s face. She can’t force me to go to class. Sadie, talks with a soft voice and she smiles the entire time she is pushing words through her teeth. Jude London, actually does an impression of her. It is hilarious. He is quite the character.
“Okay, well I really want to encourage you to start Book 3, Liz. It’s not good for you to be inside your head so much,” she confesses.
“I’m not in my head,” I lie. “Crone hooked me up with music and I am content, until I see the doctor again on Tuesday.”
She excuses herself back to the office. I absolutely, am in my head. All I can think about is heroin and I continue to speculate reasons about why I am not approved for sauna. I’ve also begun plotting an escape down the mountain. I know that Narconon holds my bed for a week, so all I have to do is go get high and be back here within a week. I haven’t started sauna yet, so it wouldn’t put me behind in my program.
I’ve had a good hustle going with dishes. Several nights, students have been willing to trade a pack of smokes on their Walmart list in exchange for my doing the dishes. In fact, the other day, a group of students dared me to jump in the pool in exchange for $20 worth of items that they would split up on their Walmart lists.
“Liz, I dare you to jump in the pool,” Jude taunted.
“Hell no,” I said. After all, it is a running joke around her about how dirty the pool is. “I don’t want to catch diphtheria.”
“Come on Liz, jump in the pool,” Jo chimed in.
I don’t like Jo. She is that Brooklyn chick with the nose hoop that had something condescending to say my first day here.
“For $20 bucks on your Walmart lists,” I agreed.
Jo’s other two roomies, Christina and Victoria were in on it, as well as Jude and Rick. To my surprise, they agreed. I jumped in fully clothed, shoes, sunglasses and all.
Everyone laughed, as I screamed out how freezing it was. My screams had drawn the attention of other students, including Swift who missed it. So I jumped in again, for Swift’s sake. I realize I may appear to be a performing monkey, but my dad is not as rich as some of these kids parents and I will make an ass out of myself to spare him the expense of my cigarettes.
Each day gets longer. Other than muster, roll call, meals and chores, I have no schedule. The staff is right to worry about me, as I continue to lounge around.
I make my way inside to watch TV. There are only a handful of students in the lodge and they are watching, Minority Report. I love this movie.
“Oh my gawd, Tom Cruise is so hot. Too bad he is a fucking wack job Scientologist nut!” I exclaim.
Curtis Maxwell, looks at me sideways from the wall where the Ethics guys hang out.
“What?” I question, while meeting his stare.
Bolts, Brian and Juice are in the lodge.
“Dude, Liz, you know that Narconon is Scientology, right?” Bolts asks. He can hardly contain his laughter.
“What? NO!” I exclaim.
“Who the fuck did you think L. Ron Hubbard was?” He asks. Still laughing uncontrollably.
“That’s enough,” Curtis instructs.
Everyone is laughing. Even Curtis is having a difficult time holding back his smile.
“Good ole Leron,” Juice jokes.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I ask.
“Liz, go down to the office,” Curtis instructs.
“What? Why?” I question, puzzled by his command.
“Liz, just go see Moff,” he replies.
Once down at the office, I tell the receptionist I need to see Tess Moff.
“Well, does she know you are coming?” Alex asks.
Alex has long, hippie length hair, a scruffy beard and an attitude with me. I don’t know why he doesn’t like me but I feel like he is a smartass and in this moment, I don’t like him.
“Yes. I was fucking told to come down here,” I respond.
“Well calm down and let me call back there,” he says.
He picks the phone up very slowly, as if taunting me about doing this leisurely. I roll my eyes.
“What’s your fucking problem?” I ask. My voice is raised.
This causes the head dude, Bart, who I never see, to peak out his office door. Tess Moff races over to me and pulls me outside. She is puffing away on her vapor and talking with her hands.
“What’s going on Liz Brown?” She asks.
“Well, I don’t know Tess Moff,” I reply. “You tell me?”
“Why the fuck is Alex always a dick to me when I come down here? Oh, and is this fucking Scientology? I want to call my dad right now!” I demand.
“Liz, no. Calm down. Listen to me,” she explains. “L. Ron Hubbard was a Humanitarian, before he created Scientology. These books are based off his humanitarian days. Liz, I am Catholic. I am not a Scientologist.”
This calms me down a little. My biggest fear, isn’t Scientology. Hell, I don’t know anything about Scientology (obviously or I would have recognized LRH on all my books). My fear is, that I recognize it is a religion and I am a Christian. In God’s eyes, I don’t want to be committing blasphemy. What’s worse? To be participating in blasphemous activities without even realizing that’s what I am doing.
“Liz. I understand your fears and concerns about this, but I assure you that none of the staff here are Scientologists. There are Catholics and Christians and everything in between. We are not recruiting for Scientology. We have all completed this program and want to give back and help save lives. We know what it’s like to be where you’re at, because we were there only a short time ago,” she assures me.
I accept this answer and make my way back to the lodge. But not before being told that we aren’t supposed to say the word, “Scientology” or disparage LRH. She doesn’t want other students to freak out, like I just did. I concur and make my way back to the lodge.
The boys are outside smoking and call over to me.
Bolts laughs in his hysterical and deliberately delivered and emphasized laugh, “Bwahahahahahaha,” as he points at me. “Fucking L. Ron.”
“What’s up girl, did you get spanked?” Brian jokes.
“Mums the word around here,” Juice says. “There are fucking cameras all around us.”
This causes everyone, myself included to laugh. Fucking Juice and his paranoia.
“No, dude, I am serious. Have you ever noticed the suspiciously placed birdhouses in the courtyard?” He asks. “I’m telling you they’ve got Hubbard eyes on us.”
There are some strangely placed birdhouses in the courtyard between the girls and boys rooms. It’s not so much their placement, as it is their size, that is odd. No bird can get into or feed in them. They are purely for decoration, or perhaps, little Hubbard eye cams. This thought causes me to choke on my laughter.
“Dude, bro, there are no fucking cameras here,” Brian says.
“That’s what they want you to think,” Juice explains.
Bolts is standing behind Juice. He is twirling his finger around his ear, as if to suggest Juice is crazy. We try to contain ourselves, but Juice catches on.
“Fuck you Bolts. I’m telling you there are cameras!” He exclaims.
“Oh, yeah. Okay. Just don’t stab me with a hanger. I’m not in on it,” he teases, while putting his hands up, as you would if a police officer instructed you to do so.
“Wow I can’t believe that I didn’t know who LRH was?” I admit. “I studied World Religions.”
“Yeah, Liz there’s a difference between world religions and fucking made up, don’t drink the Kool-aid, cults,” Bolts says.
Curtis and Johnny both walk out of the lodge.
“Sssh, everyone. The law is here,” Bolts says, only half kidding.
“Yeah. Johnny’s a fucking snitch,” Juice shouts out.
“Juice, dude. I am an intern. I can’t keep it secret that I found your hooch,” he explains.
Juice gets pissed and walks off. Brian and Bolts have to get ready for sauna. So I am left talking to Johnny.
“Are you sure you want to be an intern Liz?” Johnny asks. He looks a little bothered.
“Well, I don’t want to be an intern,” I laugh. “I want more clean time.”
“The hardest thing about becoming an intern, is that so many of the people who were your friends in the program, turn their backs to you or don’t understand that you have a job to do,” he confesses.
“I could see that. It’s not the same thing, but I experienced that when I was promoted to a manager over girls I had waitressed with for years. There was a transition period that was difficult. Mainly concerning accepting my new position of authority.” I explain.
“That’s exactly it,” he says.
“Well, I don’t have any issue with you Johnny. Of course, you couldn’t risk your job, hiding hooch, ” I laugh.
“Thanks Liz,” he says.
“Sure,” I reply.
It is nearing chow time. I finished the movie and make my way down to make a telephone call to my precious Natalia.
“Yellow,” my dad answers.
“Hi dad,” I say. “So, did you know that you sent me to Scientology camp?” I ask.
“What? No,” he stutters.
“Oh yeah. All of my books are based on L. Ron Hubbard. Do you know who that is?” I ask.
“Yes. He is the founder of Scientology,” my dad says. I can hear shock in his voice.
“Well, don’t worry dad. They aren’t trying to recruit us or send us to church. In fact, Sundays we are allowed to go to a Catholic church,” I inform him.
My dad puts me on speaker phone, so that Colleen can be a part of this conversation. I reiterate the Scientology camp joke and inform her all of my books have LRH’s name on them.
“What? Oh my God,” Colleen gasps.
“Exactly. I say. God. Remember him? You both prayed about it and believed that this was the place God delivered for my recovery,” I say, chuckling. “It will be okay. I’m not coming home, but yeah, just remember that you both believed this is where God wanted me to be”…..