Cult

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Officer Training School Calls

Monday morning when I went down for breakfast, she was waiting for me.

“What have they done to you? Jesus, Mary and Joseph give me strength!”

“I go over there because it’s a heck of a lot more pleasant than listening to grief around here.”

“Do what you want, Brian. Only stop talking to the younger ones about it.”

“I have. Who said that I was talking to them about it.”

“Jimmy says that you’re still getting on him about his partying.”

“Somebody has to. Where do you think all his money goes? There’s a reason why he can’t pay his debts to you.”

“You’re a fine one to talk. I just got my MasterCard bill. You charged over $1,200 going out there. At least he doesn’t give his money to a cult. Where are you going to get the money to pay for that?”

She had me. I hadn’t realized I’d spent so much going out there.

“Aren’t you the one who gave me the charge card and told me to charge the trip-that I’d been working seven days a week for two years and needed a vacation?”

“That’s when I thought you were going out to see your friends Blake and Laura, not this cult. Maybe Mary Beth Visionary can pay it for you. At the rate her literature arrives here, they don’t seem to have any problems with money.”

“I’ll pay it all back. I’ve got some checks coming in from the guard job.”

“Pocket change. Don’t you understand you don’t go gallivanting all over the country on a vacation?”

“You thought it was a great idea as long as it was Colorado. You only changed your tune when you heard it included Montana as well.”

“Maybe I did but I’ll be damned if I’ll pay for that trip...every red cent of that bill.”

“I will. I have to get to the guards job. Can you give me a ride down there? My car wires shorted out or something. Jimmy’s going to look at it but I can’t get it started before work today.”

“Sure. Why not? You’re cult friends don’t seem to be around when you need them for things like this but your mother’s available.”

“Don’t bother. I’ll walk.”

“Don’t play the martyr. I’ll give you a ride.”

We drove down in total silence. It was painful. I worked the eight hour shift and the four mile walks to punch the security clocks every two hours were a sweet relief to what was sure to await me when I got off.

Throughout those long hours of as I walked alone through the warehouse and offices I would decree loudly to myself. It was a small comfort at the time.

She pulled in to pick me up a little past 11 p.m. when my shift was done.

“John from your cult called. He wanted to know why you weren’t at services today.”

“Did you tell him?”

“I told him your car wasn’t running. He said you should have asked Marianne for a ride over. Now they call up and check if you don’t attend services? This is a cult Brian and don’t try to tell me any differently!

“Believe what you want. You never listened to an explanation before. I don’t know why tonight should be any different.”

“What’s that you’re carrying? One of your cult books?”

“Back off, Mom! Just back off.”

“I’ll back off when they do. Who do they think they are calling my house to see why you weren’t at services? I’m sure they’re decreeing about me all the time. They’d love it for me to get out of the way so they could have you.

“Have you heard anything from the Air Force?”

She was nimble.

“The Air Force isn’t going to change anything. To answer your question, no, I haven’t. I’ll still be in the church if I go in the Air Force.”

“Stop calling it a church!!! It’s a cult and you’re in it! Your sister Ellen gave me a copy of an article she read in St. Anthony’s Messenger that explains how they get you into their way out ways.”

“Don’t think I don’t know what I’m doing! I’ve been around one too many years for them to get you without a fight.”

“I’ve had a long night at work. I’ll have an even worse day tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep. Can you stop talking? ““Is that possible so that I could have a minute peace?”

“Whatever you want Brian. It’s easier not to listen to the truth. I agree. I’ll stop.”

We rode the rest of the way in silence.

When we got home I showered and went to my room.

I’d built a little alter in my room where I had put a few pictures of the ascended masters Christ, and my decree book. I hadn’t entered that back room since I’d come back from Colorado. As I went in, I saw that the little alter I’d built had been ripped up.

There was no doubt in my mind about who had done that. I decreed quietly

When I walked downstairs, my mother said to me, “Someone named Carl called for you.”

“Carl. I don’t know a Carl. Did he leave a number?”

“Yes.” She handed me the number and walked away.

A guy I knew from Philadelphia who had the name .Carl was living in Washington D.C. now. I took up the message that had the return number on it and gave it a ring.

“Hello, Buddy! This is Jim Flanagan. I didn’t want to tell your boss who this was.”

“Oh...First Sergeant Flanagan. I didn’t know your first name. Your message baffled me.”

“Try this one on for size. Of the 24 people we sent down from the tri-state area, only you and an engineer from Drexel were selected for Officer Training School, Congratulations Lieutenant!”

“We have a shitload of paper-work to get you to sign so don’t go anywhere. Plus we have to get you in for the flight physical now that you’ve been selected.”

“How long before my reporting date?”

“Hard to say because I only have a verbal confirm on you right now.” I would learn that there were two sources of information--the official which took forever and the leak it which made sure the organization functioned. The verbal was as accurate as the official but they away s qualified it.

“Don’t quote me on this but you’re looking at least four weeks to get all the paperwork in order and then your report date of ...let’s see ...Where’s my calendar? You should begin down there around October 15th. How’s that sound, Buddy?”

’Fine. “That’s my slot?”

“Something called an Air Weapons Controller on an AWAC.”

“Damned if I have the slightest idea what that is. Any idea Lieutenant?”

“I know what AWACS are. I guess I tell the planes where to go. I’d take anything right now. Thanks for everything, Sergeant Flanagan. My hands are in a cold sweat and I can barely keep my heart from jumping out of my chest. Dear God...I can’t believe how lucky I am. II

″Lucky? Shit! You deserved it, Buddy. Can you show up sober for a physical in three days?″

“Sure.”

“I’ll have you sign all the paperwork then, too.

“Bye!”

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