I was on my way back to L.A. The airplane descended through the same pea soup smog.
I reported to work at my new place of employment and about all I remember about the place was that I had a boss named Jerry.
The company did contract computer programming for small businesses.
I soon made friends with another worker named Don Wakefield, and we started talking about starting our own business. We thought we could do just as well on our own as Jerry was doing.
So, Wakefield Systems Consultants was born. We worked out of Don's apartment in mid-L.A.
We were spending most of our time together. Soon we were having an affair. This happened easily because I really didn't know anyone else in L.A. except Mario, and he was usually busy at Celebrity Center.
I went to the Advanced Org, where I had my money on account, and asked when I could start the Clearing Course.
At that time in Scientology there was a new policy concerning Clears. Hubbard had made the discovery that many people were already naturally Clear, so people were being checked out on the E-meter to see if they were perhaps already Clear.
I was checked out, and much to my surprise, I was told that I was Clear! It had probably happened, they said, when I had the Clear cognition on the way to Mario's apartment several years earlier. So I had actually been Clear the whole time.
I was assigned a Clear number, and I was allowed to attest at Clear night.
Now, I could go directly to the OT levels, but first I had to take the Solo Course, so that I would know how to audit myself on the upper levels.
For some reason, I didn't start them right away. Don and I had started our business, and we soon had plenty of clients, and were working around the clock seven days a week to get all the work done. I put Scientology on the back burner for the time being, because I felt a responsibility to the business and to our clients.
Don and I became inseparable. Soon we were living together. I noticed certain things about him, but I didn't let them bother me too much at the time.
One was that he was compulsively neat. Clothes had to be put in the drawers in color order. Things had to be folded a certain way. The glass tables in the living room had to be polished daily to his exacting specifications.
We went out to eat a lot, mostly at Mexican restaurants because Don liked Mexican food. He would usually have a couple of jumbo margaritas, and I noticed that when he drank, his personality would change. His usually sunny disposition would change into something more surly. We began to have arguments when he was drunk. I later learned that his father was an alcoholic, but I was very naive about alcoholism and didn't know the warning signs.
On a whim, Don and I decided to get married. We reasoned that we were together all the time anyway.
The wedding was planned, and we decided just to get married in our apartment, with Mario doing the service. It would be a Scientology wedding. Only a few friends were invited.
My parents and my sister flew to L.A. for the wedding which was in November. I remember my mother taking me out to lunch shortly before the wedding, and asking me if I was sure this was what I wanted to do. Instinctively, she knew that something was wrong. I did, too, but I chose to ignore the warning signs, especially the arguments that always seemed to follow Don's drinking.
We went to the courthouse to make the wedding legal. The night before the wedding, my father took us all out to eat at one of L.A.'s most expensive restaurants. I ordered cooked goose, which was ironically appropriate to the situation, because I was, in fact, going to get my goose cooked. I just didn't know it at the time.
We had champagne at the wedding which was a big mistake. After the wedding was over, and everyone had gone home, Don and I sat in the living room and we had one of the worst arguments we ever had. I don't even remember what it was about. I thought, what a way to start a marriage.
The only part that was good about our marriage was our sexual relationship. We were compatible in bed. The rest of the marriage was made in hell.
I had married someone just like my father, someone who didn't even like me.
Don was very self conscious about his height. He was short, and he insisted that I wear flat shoes. He was also extremely self conscious about his baldness, and he always wore a hairpiece and, whenever possible, a hat.
Once, during a particularly violent argument, we were in the parking garage, and I pulled his hairpiece off his head. He knocked me out. I woke up on the floor of the garage, alone.
He kept finding more and more things wrong with me. Nothing I did was right. I was too tall, not neat enough, and I couldn't seem to learn how to fold fitted sheets to his satisfaction.
We managed to work together and to keep our clients happy. I don't think any of them realized how bad our relationship really was.
We had neighbors who weren't getting along any better than we were, and we would frequently hear their angry voices through our walls. On Christmas Day, we heard a gunshot, and the emergency team came and wheeled the man next door out on a stretcher. He had shot himself in the head.
A year passed. Mostly, we just worked all the time. Don was not able to have children due to a genetic defect, so I didn't have to worry about getting pregnant.
We had a client who had offices in Kansas City, and we were hired to fly there to fix their computer system. We worked for seven days straight without a break, and I was worried about what the stress would do to our relationship.
On the plane back to L.A., Don was getting drunk on wine. I went to the back and told the stewardesses not to give my husband anything more to drink, but they ignored me.
The Los Angeles airport was fogged in, so we landed an hour outside of the city and were held in the plane waiting for buses to take us into the city. Don was drunk and was in a foul mood. He went up to the pilot and demanded to be let off the plane. He started to make a real scene. I was trying to pretend that I didn't know him.
He demanded that I give him my apartment keys, as he had forgotten his, and I refused, thinking I would get back to L.A. before he did. Eventually, they did let him off the plane.
I waited for the buses and got back to the apartment at about three o'clock in the morning. Don was waiting there. When we went into the apartment he hit me hard, sending me sprawling into the corner of the piano. Then he hit me twice hard in the head and knocked me out. When I came to, he was in the bedroom, so I just went to sleep on the couch.
In the morning, the argument continued. We were in the kitchen, and arguing, and he started hitting me again. I hit him back, which was a big mistake as it enraged him even more. He came after me, and I locked myself in the bathroom. He slammed his fist right through the wood of the bathroom door and unlocked the door.
I started to scream. I knew he was going to kill me.
My screaming threw him off balance for a minute, and it gave me the chance to get by him and get out the front door. I ran to a neighbor's apartment, and asked him to let me call the police. I stayed there until the police arrived.
I was a mess by this time. I was covered by red welts turning into bruises. The police took Don into custody, and took me to the police station where they took pictures of all my bruises. Then I was sent to the hospital, because they thought I might have a skull fracture.
At the hospital, I was X-rayed, but apparently I was all right, as I was released the same day. From my hospital bed, I called my parents in Wisconsin and told them what had happened. My dad said he would help me to get a divorce, and he did. He sent me $1200 which was the sum demanded by the divorce lawyer.
Don spent three days in jail. When he came home, he was livid. The marriage was over.
Amazingly, we still worked together for about six months because we felt responsible for our clients and it took that long to finish up all the work. When I had finished documenting everything I had done, it was understood that I would move out. During those six months, we hardly spoke to each other. It was a hellish experience.
Actually, I was devastated by the divorce. I thought of it as my own failure. I felt terrible for the violence that we had created, and I felt it was just as much my responsibility as it was his.
After the six months, I had nowhere to go except back to Scientology.
I moved into the new Celebrity Center which was now located in the old Hearst mansion on Franklin Street. I was given a small room for which I paid a nominal rent.
I went job hunting and managed to get a job as a data processing manager for a law firm in downtown L.A. I spent a happy year working for this firm, but somehow they found out that I was a Scientologist and they fired me. I came to work one day, and my replacement was already there at my desk.
It was just as well, I thought. Now I could get on with doing my OT levels.
I began to get more and more involved with Scientology. I signed up for the Solo Course, and when I wasn't on the course, I signed up to do some volunteer work for the Guardian's Office in the Cedars Complex of Scientology.
The Guardian's Office of Scientology was the branch of the organization involved with clandestine activities and lawsuits.
Recently, eleven Scientologists had been arrested for infiltrating the IRS and FBI offices in Washington, D.C. and stealing tens of thousands of classified documents. The Guardian's Office in L.A. was helping to prepare for the trial.
Scientology had hired private investigators to look into the personal lives of all the Justice Department attorneys assigned to prosecute the case against the Scientologists. It was my job to take the information they had amassed, and to compile dossiers on the attorneys to be used by the Scientology attorneys in court.
They were especially interested in any information about sexual deviance or extra-marital affairs that could be used to blackmail the opposing attorneys. I had to mark these passages in red and tab them for our attorneys. One of the attorneys I compiled a dossier on was a man named Raymond Banoun.
One day, a meeting was called for all the Guardian's staff to attend. I sat in on this meeting. The subject of the meeting was what to do with an ex-Scientologist named Michael Meisner, who had defected to the FBI with all of the secret materials of Scientology.
But somehow, Scientology had gotten Michael back in custody, and had him secluded in a motel room somewhere in L.A. The plan was to take him out on a boat into the ocean, tie weights on him and "deep-six" him, in other words, drown him. This would have been done, but that night Michael managed to escape through a bathroom window and he returned to the FBI where he was given protective custody. No one has heard from him since.
The other problem that was discussed at that meeting was what to do about Paulette Cooper, an author who had written a book highly critical of Scientology. She was one of Scientology's most feared "Suppressive Persons," or enemies. The decision was made in that meeting to kill her, but the details were not discussed.
Later, I heard that someone disguised as a flower delivery man had gone to Paulette's apartment, but Paulette's cousin had opened the door and was mistaken for Paulette. The delivery man held a gun to her head and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired and the cousin was unhurt. That was just a rumor that I heard. I don't know if it was true. I do know that Paulette was harassed by the "Church" (of Scientology) and later settled out of court with them.
I didn't think anything of these macabre plans. I believed the Scientology motto: "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." In other words, if these murders had to be carried out to protect Scientology and the future of the world, then the ends justified the means. That's how brainwashed I was.
The Solo Course had not changed much during the years I had been gone. I still had to read the bulletins about the GPMs and the Helatrobus implants, but I forced myself to get through it and understand as much as I could. I practiced auditing myself on the E-meter, by holding a "solo can" in one hand, while I wrote down my notes with the other hand.
Soon, I was a "Solo Completion." I was ready to do the OT levels.
I have to explain at this point, that there is a mystique in Scientology about these secret upper levels, and particularly about the level called OT3, on which one supposedly learns the great secret of this universe that has been hidden for millions of years, until, of course, it was discovered by Hubbard.
Part of the mystique of these levels is that they are highly dangerous. As Hubbard said in one of his bulletins, "Running a GPM badly can be quite deadly."
The OT levels were highly confidential. All the materials had to be kept locked in the briefcases attached to one's arm with a dog leash. Even married couples were not allowed to discuss the levels they were on with their spouse. It was rumored that if you were told the contents of a level before you had actually achieved that level yourself, you could die within days from pneumonia.
I didn't question a thing. Again, if Hubbard said it, it must be true.
But I was ready for the adventure. I would accept the risk. Live or die in the attempt, I would be an OT!