I fished the rag out of the dirty, grey water in the pail, then squeezed it to drip water on the filthy tiles. Taking the brush I had been given by the Gus (earlier I had learned the name of the old man in charge of Estates), I scrubbed the last section of tile in the room.
Before I started, the floor had appeared to be a dirty grey, but as I cleaned, an intricate pattern of blue and white tiles in an Indian design began to emerge from the filth. "How long has it been since they cleaned this bathroom?" I wondered, as I looked in satisfaction at my finished work. I stood up to stretch my arms and back. "I'm going to feel this tomorrow," I thought ruefully. This was the sixth bathroom I had cleaned since beginning my penance several hours earlier. It was now dark outside.
I undid the latches of the window and forced it halfway open. A cool evening breeze floated into the room. I wiped a trickle of sweat from my forehead with my arm, and looked with dismay at my hands. He wasn't kidding about this soap, I thought, as I tried to dry the raw skin on my slacks.
I looked below me at the courtyard where clusters of students were gathered, and listened to the sounds of laughter and conversation as they drifted up to my window. It must be nine o'clock, I thought. Break time. I longed to be part of the happy scene below. "Instead here I am," I thought, "the Cinderella of Scientology."
I closed the window and gathered my cleaning supplies together and headed back to Estates. I desperately wanted to take a shower. A hot shower, with or without roaches, suddenly seemed an incredible luxury, a luxury I had previously taken for granted.
Gus saw me coming. "Over here," I heard him calling me. I looked over and saw him standing near the door to the annex.
"Come and help me move these mattresses," he motioned for me to follow him. Behind the annex was a large shed, in ramshackle condition and looking as if at any moment it might collapse. I followed Gus into the shed and let my eyes adjust to the dim lighting from a street lamp coming through a small window at the far end of the room.
I could make out what looked like stacks of thin mattresses piled against the wall. Gus switched on a small lamp in the corner. "Here, give me a hand with these," he said as he started to pull the top mat from the pile. "Just put them on the floor, about six inches apart," he instructed. "I guess this's where you'll be sleeping tonight, with the rest of the RPF'ers."
"RPF'ers?" I repeated the unfamiliar word.
"Yeah, the rest of the folks in the RPF. Rehabilitation Project Force. Didn't you know that's what you were in?"
"No, I never even heard of it before. What is the Rehabilitation Project Force?"
"Well, it's a new idea. Came from Hubbard, I guess. I hear it started on the ship. It's for people who get themselves into trouble in the Org. If they mess up. Or if their stats are too low. Quite a few people've come through here in the past month or so. But you probably won't be here for long," he looked at me optimistically. "Most folks don't stay here very long."
"So what do people do who are in the RPF?" I asked him, almost too tired to care.
"Well, work, mostly," Gus answered as he pulled the last mat into place. "There. All set for the night."
I was silent as he continued to talk about the RPF. "We just take care of the property, painting, cleaning, things like that. I'm glad to have the help, believe me. Before the RPF, I had to try to manage everything myself. Right now, most of the men are working to renovate the Cedars Complex down on Berendo."
I had heard about the huge complex of buildings that Scientology had just purchased for five million dollars in cash. It was a labyrinthine complex of buildings that had previously been a hospital. According to rumors, it was to be the future home of Scientology in Los Angeles.
"They should be back before too long," Gus continued. "Then you'll be eating your dinner."
"Isn't it kind of late for dinner?" I asked him.
"Yeah, in the beginning I tried to do something about that, but I was told not to interfere. I tried to change a lot of things around here, but I was politely told to butt out and keep my ideas to myself. Around here, it doesn't pay to argue," he lamented.
"So why do you stay, Gus? If you're unhappy, why stay?" I asked him.
He didn't say anything for a few minutes.
"I guess because I believe in the Old Man," he answered slowly. "Hubbard. I was with him from the beginning, more than twenty years ago. Left my family and everything. Thought we were going to change the world. Turn it upside down," he looked at me sadly.
"I can't say it was a mistake, exactly. It just didn't turn out like I thought it would. Anyway, where would I go now?" he reflected. "I don't even know where my family is. No, I plan to stick it out. One of these days I'll probably drop the old body. Then it won't matter any more."
We were both silent for awhile. I was thinking about what he had said. I wanted to say something wise or comforting, but I couldn't think of anything to say. Gus' life was a tragedy, but to feel sympathy was wrong, according to Hubbard, because sympathy was an emotion very low on the Tone Scale (Hubbard's chart of emotions, arranged in a hierarchy, from Serenity of Beingness (+40.0) to Total Failure (-40.0)).
A knock on the door interrupted the uncomfortable silence. The door opened and a dozen unbelievably dirty men, some looking very young, filtered into the room. I noticed that they were all wearing the same dark blue worksuits that Gus had on.
"I guess I'll be going over and getting your food," Gus said, sounding relieved to have something to do to distract him from painful memories. He headed out the door toward the Org.
"Welcome to the RPF," one of the older of the men looked at me curiously. "So what did you do to earn yourself a place in the RPF? Mess up a PC?"
"Not exactly," I said regretfully. "More like made the mistake of minding someone else's business. Stuck my nose in where it didn't belong. I wrote up a Knowledge Report that got some people in trouble, including Ethics."
"Well, I guess you'll be here for a while," he chuckled. "Might as well make the best of it."
"There's no such thing as the best of it," grumbled the youngest looking of the group. He was barely a teenager, I thought. "This place is the pits. If I had any money I'd be on the first bus out of here."
Some of the others grunted their agreement.
"Can't you leave? I mean if you really wanted to leave? Who would stop you?" I asked.
"And go where?" the young boy looked up at me. "With no money? Where'm I gonna go?"
"Where is your family? Your parents?" I questioned him. "Don't you have a family to go back to?"
"No, they're all in Scientology. On the ship. My grandparents are dead. There's nowhere for me to go." He punched his fist into the palm of his other hand. "I'm stuck here, and for a billion years," he said sarcastically. "Scientology is all a bunch of crap, the whole thing," he looked at me bitterly. "Hubbard's nothing but a con artist. This whole thing is nothing but a money-making racket." He hit his fist angrily against the wall.
"Come on, Joey," one of the other boys said, trying to cajole him. "We told you, if you keep talking like that, you'll never get out of here. They're just going to keep you in the RPF forever."
"I don't care. That's what I think. And nothing they do to me is going to make me change my mind. I just can't believe my parents fell for all this crap. Everything was fine before they got into Scientology. We had a house, car, everything. Now, nothing. They sold everything and gave all the money to `Ron.'" He said the name sarcastically.
I was shocked by his heresies. "Haven't you had auditing?" I asked him.
"No. I don't believe in it. I'm not going to waste my time. Yeah, if I go along with the program, I can get out of the RPF. Big deal. But what for? I just don't agree with any of it. So I'll just stick it out here. I'll just stay in the RPF for a billion years. I don't care, anyway." He rubbed the knuckles he had just slammed into the wall.
Nobody said a word. The sound of footsteps outside the door interrupted the silence. Gus came in, carrying two pails and a box containing plates and spoons.
I looked in the pails. I couldn't identify the contents.
"Beans and rice," Gus answered my unspoken question. "Better get used to it. In the RPF, you'll be having it a lot."
I took a plate with everyone else and spooned some of the unappetizing mixture onto my plate.
"What's in the other bucket?" I asked.
"Bread crusts," Joey volunteered. "Help yourself."
I reached into the pail and pulled out a crust of bread. On one side of the bread there was a bite sized indentation. "What in the world," I stared disbelievingly.
"You guessed it," Joey laughed in spite of himself at my chagrin. "Sometimes we get scraps of bread left over from other people's plates."
Disgusted, I threw the crust back into the pail. My appetite was gone. I ate a few spoonfuls of the rice and beans mixture and threw the rest into the trash.
Now what, I wondered. I looked around. As everyone finished eating, they began to lie down on the mats.
"Don't we get a shower?" I asked the first man who had spoken to me. "I'm filthy. I can't sleep like this."
"We only get showers every other day," he answered. "And we had them yesterday. We don't get one again until tomorrow night." He reached over and switched off the lamp.
I was too exhausted to argue. I lay down on one of the mats. It was completely dark in the room except for the dim light from the street. I wanted to think, but I was just too tired. I finally fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming that I was on a large ship on an angry, rolling sea. I was on a never-ending voyage into unreality, on a ship that threatened to capsize at any moment, spilling us all into the infinite, anonymous waters of the sea.
"Wake up." Someone was shaking me. "Come on, or you'll miss breakfast." I opened my eyes. It was still dark in the room. "Come on, hurry."
In confusion, I stumbled to my feet and followed the one who had woken me up. Outside, I looked up at the sky. It was only beginning to show the first hopeful rays of the morning sun.
"What time is it?" I asked groggily, rubbing my eyes with grimy fists.
"6:30," the voice answered. It was one of the men I had met last night. I followed him sleepily into the back door of the Org. We walked back into a tiny kitchen. I was handed a plate of toast, bacon, and something that looked vaguely like oatmeal. I tasted it. It was cold. And it had no taste.
"You'll want to eat it," a voice behind me advised.
I turned around. It was the older man from last night.
"I'm sorry I didn't introduce myself last night," I held out my hand to him. "I was too exhausted to think. I'm Margery."
"Larry," he answered amiably, shaking my hand.
He led me outside to the steps outside the back door. The others were already sitting and eating the unsavory meal.
"You have to learn to eat the food," Larry said, as he swallowed some oatmeal. "Otherwise you'll get weak. Just visualize something you really like. And swallow it fast. After a while you'll get hungry enough that anything will taste good to you."
I took a bite of the oatmeal and tried to swallow it quickly. I thought of the delicious hot cereal my mother used to make with butter and maple syrup on it. It didn't help.
By seven, the sun was emerging in earnest. Rays of pink and orange thrust into the greyness above us. A surge of optimism welled in me as sleepiness gave way to the energy of a new day. In spite of sore muscles from the work of the day before, I was ready to live again.
"Scientology, you can't break me," I thought. "I am a survivor. I can overcome this temporary setback. I'm going to prove that I can be a valuable member of the group."
A truck had pulled up to transport the men to the Cedars complex, where they would be working.
"What about me?" I asked the driver. "I don't know if I'm supposed to go or not."
"I think you're supposed to help the Registrars," he answered. "Go up to the second floor and try the third door on your right. I think they're expecting you."
I followed his directions. A girl about my own age with thick dark hair was seated at a desk surrounded by tall stacks of manilla folders. "Oh, good," she said as I entered. "Are you Margery?"
"I'm Audrey. I'm so glad you're here. We're way behind on our stats." She pulled up a chair to a small desk across from hers, also piled with folders. She cleared a small space amid the jungle of folders. "All you have to do is take a folder. Go through it quickly and look at the recent correspondence. Then all you have to do is write a short letter to the person. Urging them to come in for their next service. That's all there is to it. Our quota for Normal Operation (an Ethics condition) is twenty letters an hour. Here's some paper. And pens. Envelopes are in that box over there." She brought me a handful of envelopes.
I opened one of the folders. Inside was a stack of unanswered letters. The person had apparently ignored all of them.
"Audrey." She looked up from her work. "This person has been sent over twenty letters and hasn't answered any of them." I showed her the folder.
"It doesn't matter. We just keep on writing. You'd be surprised. Sometimes we'll write fifty letters to a person with no answer, and then after the fiftieth letter, suddenly we get a response. Anyway, each letter you write counts as a stat, and that's all that really matters," she answered, then quickly went back to her writing.
I began to write. "Dear Stephanie, I hope you will come in soon for your free personality test. Did you enjoy the Dianetics book?" I signed the letter and stuffed it into the envelope. That was easy enough, I thought.
Soon I was in production. The room was totally quiet. Several hours passed. This is almost relaxing, I was thinking.
Suddenly there was a sound of someone yelling in the hallway. A short, bent figure of a woman burst into the room. She had white hair and her face was very red.
"Audrey, where are my things?" she cried hysterically. "All my things are missing from my room. What have they done with my things?" Just then, the Ethics Officer appeared right behind her.
"Ruby," he said sternly, "you have been `declared' and are not to be on these premises. I told you that you were not to come back into this house."
"But where are my things?" she wailed.
"Out there. Out in front. Now you must leave or I will have to call the police."
He took Ruby by the arm, and led her, still crying hysterically, down the stairs.
Audrey got up and went to the front window. I followed her.
There, on the pavement below, were two large heavy-duty black trash bags, stuffed with what appeared to be clothes and other personal items.
"Poor Ruby," Audrey said under her breath.
"What happened to her?" I asked.
Audrey sat down on the window ledge and cupped her hands over her eyes. "I feel so sorry for her," Audrey said softly. She looked up at me. "Ruby just got too old. She worked here for sixteen years. But lately she just started messing up. Losing folders, writing letters that didn't make any sense. She started talking funny too. They finally held a Comm Ev (Committee of Evidence, the Scientology equivalent of a jury trial) on her. She was declared SP and they decided to `offload' her."
"Offload?" I had never heard the term.
"Yes. That's when they send you away with orders that you are not allowed to come back into Scientology. If a person becomes a problem to the Org, they will usually be offloaded. When Ethics just wants to get rid of them. But Ruby," she didn't say anything for a while, then she looked up. "Ruby didn't deserve this."
"Where will she go?" I looked out the door. I saw Ruby struggling to lift one of the bags. "Why didn't they call her family? Or get her help?"
"How long have you been around?" she asked me, her tone of voice suddenly changing. "Don't you know that when you get old, or sick, it's your own responsibility? That's what Hubbard says. We are all responsible for our own condition. No matter what happens. Nobody can be responsible for you except yourself. The same with Ruby. She has to be responsible for herself. And she will. She's a strong thetan." Audrey turned away from the window. "Let's get back to work. The stats have been down since Ruby left, and we are really going to have to work to get them back up again."
I took my seat at my desk. I wanted to go down and help Ruby. But what could I do? Something about the situation bothered me, but when I tried to think about it, I just felt more confused.
"Ron knows best," I told myself. "The greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. That's the rule we have to follow or we'll never get the job done. There's no time to be sorry for someone like Ruby." Just the same, I thought of her frequently for many days. I remembered the fear I had seen in her eyes, the fear of a terrified animal.
We sat and silently wrote letters for the rest of the day. I was given a decent lunch and dinner. I stayed at my task until eleven o'clock at night, then made my way back to the shack behind the annex. My fellow RPF'ers were already asleep. I wanted to take a shower, but didn't want to wake anyone to ask them where it was.
The next morning, we again were awakened in the misty dawn. We had a breakfast much like the day before. Larry was right. With hunger, it was beginning to taste better.
The driver pulled up in his truck.
"Climb aboard," he told me. "I have orders to take you over with me to the G.O. to help with some filing." He looked down at the paper in his hand. "Is your name Margery?"
"That's me," I answered, getting into the truck. I caught a glance at myself in the rear view mirror and grimaced. I looked terrible. My hair was matted and there were smudges of dirt all over my face. My clothes were soiled and wrinkled. I was glad no one at the center could see me.
The Cedars was a short drive away. I followed the driver into the building and he led me to an elevator. Inside, he punched the button for the third floor. I noticed a sign near the elevator button. THIRD FLOOR. GUARDIAN'S OFFICE. AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.
The door opened. I looked around curiously. I didn't know much about the Guardian's Office, just what Hubbard had told us, that they had the job of making the world safe for Scientology to expand into.
A receptionist sat at a desk blocking the long hallway.
"The RPF. For filing," the driver said brusquely, then turned and caught the elevator just as the door was closing.
"Have a seat," the receptionist eyed me with distaste. I took the seat farthest from the desk.
Minutes later, a woman in a navy blue uniform came out and motioned for me to follow her. She led me down the hall to a small room filled with filing cabinets.
"We've got a real backlog right now with our filing," she said, surveying the room. "Ethics has ordered you to help us out. Here's a pile to start with." She selected a stack of papers from a table on which hundreds of pieces of paper were piled precariously. "Just find the person's folder and file this inside. Here's a punch. Just punch holes and file it on the top left side of the folder. The folders are all in these cabinets in alphabetical order." She handed me a hole punch and left me to work alone in the room.
A short time later I was surprised to see the Ethics Officer in the doorway. Wordlessly, he stood over me. "Have you started to work out of your Condition?" he asked coldly.
"You mean Enemy?" I asked. He didn't answer. "Yes, in fact, I have. I thought about it the night I was cleaning the bathrooms. And I know for sure now who I am. And where I belong. And I'm not going to harm the group again," I said to him sincerely.
"Here's some paper," he handed me a sheet of paper. "Write it up and submit it to me later today. Perhaps I can upgrade you to Doubt."
I was about to thank him, but he had already turned and was walking from the room.
I took the sheet of paper. I printed my name, then wrote "Condition of Enemy." I underlined it. Underneath, I wrote:
I was in a Condition of Enemy because I betrayed two members of my group. I got them and the Org into trouble by writing a Knowledge Report and sending it to World Wide instead of just going to see Ethics. I will never again do anything to harm my group. I know now who I am. I am a Scientologist. And Scientology is my group. And I just want to be a good member of the group. I wish to be upgraded to a Condition of Doubt.I printed my name below, and then signed underneath it. I folded the paper and went up to the receptionist.
"How can I get this to the Ethics Officer?" I asked her.
"Here, give it to me," she answered, taking the paper from me. "I'll see that he gets it."
I walked back to my filing.
Later that afternoon, the receptionist walked back to my room. "Here," she said, handing me another folded paper. "The Ethics Officer says you are to work out of Doubt."
"Do you have an Ethics book?" I asked her. She nodded, then left the room. A few minutes later she handed me a copy of the book. I sat down and looked up the Doubt Formula.
I was to evaluate the group I belonged to as an Enemy (of Scientology) and also the group of Scientology. The formula read:
Join or remain in the one which progresses toward the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics and announce the fact publicly to both sides.
Do everything possible to improve the actions and statistics of the person, group, project, or organization one has remained in or joined.
Suffer on up through the conditions of the group one has remained in if wavering from it has lowered one's status.
I opened the blank sheet I had been given. I wrote my name on the top and the words "Condition of Doubt."
"Until I did this formula," I wrote, "I didn't realize how important the group of Scientology was to me. Now I know for sure that Scientology is my group. It is the group which is doing the most for this planet. I will never betray my group again. From now on, I only want to do what I can to help my group. Because to help the group is to help the planet. I am no longer in Doubt." And I signed it.
I sent it to the Ethics Officer.
I went back to the Org to eat dinner. Thankfully, Gus showed me where the shower was and I enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower. Never again would I take a shower for granted.
I returned to the annex, shaking my hair out to dry in the warm evening air. Gus met me at the door.
"You're to report back to the G.O.," he announced. "He said to tell you to report at once as soon as you got back. I can give you a ride over there."
"Thanks," I told him. "Do you know what it's about?" I asked him.
"No, and I don't want to know," he said somewhat under his breath.
"Why? What could it be?" I begged him.
"You'll find out soon enough," he answered, as we climbed into his truck.
I walked up to find a different person at the reception desk. She led me back to the small room where I had been filing.
"You have been upgraded to Liability," she looked at me with an expressionless face. "Do you know the formula?"
"I'd have to look at the book," I confessed. The Ethics book I had used earlier was still on my desk. She nodded and I quickly turned to the appropriate page.
"Condition of Liability," I read.
- Decide who are one's friends.
- Deliver an effective blow to the enemies of the group one has been pretending to be part of despite personal danger.
- Make up the damage one has done by personal contribution far beyond the ordinary demands of a group member.
- Apply for re-entry to the group by asking the permission of each member of it to rejoin and rejoining only by majority permission....
"OK," I looked up at the uniformed woman. "I know who my friends are. Scientologists are my friends. Scientologists in good standing. Scientology is my group. So how can I deliver an effective blow to the enemies of the group?"
"Are you willing to do that step even if it means some danger to yourself?" she asked, her eyes intense.
"Sure," I answered. "But how could I be in danger?"
"Just wait here," she answered, and walked out.
Several minutes later, she reappeared in the doorway, with a tall, blond man in a dark Sea Org uniform. He also didn't waste time on preliminaries or introductions. I never did learn his name.
"We have a job for you to do," he said abruptly. "Something that will satisfy your Liability Formula." He paused.
"A few blocks from here there is a psychiatrist's office," he said. "A man who has been causing us some problems with the American Psychiatric Association. It's not important for you to know what those problems are." He stopped and cleared his throat.
"What we want you to do is to get into his office. Pretend to be a patient or do whatever you want. Somewhere on his bookshelf there should be a directory of all the psychiatrists in the United States. We need that directory. Also anything else you can get us. Financial information. Names of some of his clients. That's all. Think you can handle it?"
I drew in a breath. I looked back at the formula. I knew that Hubbard said that psychiatry was evil, a holdover from nineteenth century German behavioral therapy. According to Hubbard, psychiatrists were our chief enemies on the planet. They used barbaric methods to treat people with psychiatric problems. Like lobotomies and electroshock treatment. It was up to Scientology to put an end to these barbaric forms of treatment. And now I could help.
"OK," I looked up at the Sea Org member. "So where is the office? And you don't care how I get in there?"
"No, we don't care how you do it, we just want those records. And, I probably don't have to tell you, if there is any trouble you are under no circumstances to implicate the Org or Scientology. Do you understand what I am saying?"
"Yeah, I understand," I answered. "But I won't get caught. You'll see." I was confident that I could do what he wanted me to do.
He handed me a slip of paper with the address on it. "You'll need some fresh clothes," he said, appraising my wrinkled apparel. Then he abruptly saluted the receptionist and left the room.
"Wow," I said to myself. "I don't believe this. I get to be a spy." The knowledge that I was going to perform an illegal act was offset by the knowledge that I would be doing a great service to my group. And it would get me out of Liability at the same time. I couldn't wait to get started. I walked back to the house on Beacon street which was deserted. At least tonight I would get to sleep in my own bed, I thought with satisfaction. I selected some clean slacks and the nicest blouse I had and went into the kitchen to iron them.
Shortly afterward, I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep. I woke up to an empty house.
I went into the kitchen to find a clock. Nine thirty. I had really overslept. I took a quick shower and put on the clean clothes. I rummaged through the kitchen for a grocery bag, which I folded up and put in my purse. Then I set out to find the address on the slip of paper I had been given the night before.
I stood outside a low building. A sign above the door read "Habana Professional Building." I quickly located the building directory, encased in glass in the lobby.
I looked up the name I had been given for the troublesome psychiatrist. Second floor, Room 203. I climbed the stairs. I opened the door to the waiting room. A secretary behind a glass window looked at me pleasantly. "Can I help you?"
"Yes, I wanted to make an appointment with the doctor," I told her. "A friend referred me to him. Is he here?"
"No, he's not here now but I'm expecting him in about 1:00 this afternoon," she said. She opened a small black book on her desk.
"How about 4:00 on Thursday?" she asked.
"I'm afraid it's a bit of an emergency." I tried to look and sound desperate. "Does he have anything sooner?"
"Well, it just happens that he might have a cancellation at 1:00 today. Would you like to call back around noon?"
"Would you mind if I just waited here?" I pleaded with her. "I live quite a way from here. There wouldn't be time for me to go all the way home and then come back. I'll just sit out here and read."
"Well, all right," she sounded a little reluctant. "Just make yourself comfortable. I should know in about an hour about the cancellation." She smiled at me, then turned back to her work.
I took a chair in the waiting room, and pretended to read a recent issue of Time Magazine that was lying on a table. Out of the corner of my eye, I was watching everything that was going on behind the glass window. An hour later, the receptionist called out to me, "You're in luck. The other patient just cancelled. The doctor will see you at one o'clock." She stood up and came out into the waiting room with her purse. "I'm just going to pick up some lunch," she announced. "I should be back in just a few minutes. If you need anything, the bookkeeper is in the back room."
Just what I had hoped for. As soon as she was gone, I quietly opened the door to the receptionist's area. I looked at the books on her desk. Not much except the doctor's appointment book. Safer to get that on the way out, I thought. I looked toward the back. I could hear the bookkeeper talking on the phone.
Noiselessly, I opened the door to the doctor's office. If I was caught, I decided, I could just say that I was looking for something interesting to read.
Bookshelves. I quickly scanned through the titles of the books. Then I found it. APA Directory. I pulled the book off the shelf and opened it.
"Perfect," I thought, as I looked at the neat rows of names and addresses. I looked quickly at the other books on the shelf. Nothing very interesting. Mostly old copies of journals, bound into notebooks.
I stealthily opened the door and listened. I could hear the voice in the back room still talking on the phone. Great. I quietly closed the door and crept over to the secretary's desk. I snapped up the appointment book and thrust both books into the bag I had brought with me for just that purpose.
I walked nonchalantly out of the building and started down the street. A block away I started to run.
"That was too easy," I thought triumphantly. "That was just way too easy." My heart was pounding.
I didn't bother to go back to the house. I went straight to the Cedars complex and found the secretary on the second floor.
"It worked," I gasped, out of breath from running. "I was able to get everything you asked for. Well, almost everything. I couldn't find any financial records." I turned the two books over to her.
She looked through the two books. "Wait here," she pointed to the chair by her desk.
Several minutes later, the man in the Sea Org uniform came out to the lobby. "I will let the Ethics Officer know that you have performed this errand satisfactorily." He held the two books. "In fact I am impressed with the speed with which you carried out this mission. As Ron says, `Speed of particle flow equals power.' You may go back to the Org and report to Ethics. And I don't want you to mention this to anyone. Ever. Do you understand?"
"Perfectly." I felt like saluting. I was glowing with the praise he had given me. I started out on the long walk back to the Org.
"Are you ready to complete the formula?" the Ethics Officer asked me. He didn't say anything to me about the events earlier in the day.
"I have to make up the damage by extraordinary personal contribution," I remembered out loud. "How can I do that?"
"Well, normally, we would have you do some work for 72 hours to get out of Liability. But since you have apparently done an excellent job for the Guardian's Office, I am going to reduce it to 48 hours," he said magnanimously. He took me back down to the Registrar's Office.
"Excuse me," the Ethics Officer addressed Audrey, who was sitting at her desk writing letters. He pointed to me. "She has to do forty eight hours of amends. Please arrange for someone to supervise her on the night shift." He disappeared from the room.
Audrey smiled at me. "Don't worry," she said to me in a low voice. "It won't be as bad as you think."
I sat down and took a pile of folders. I spent the next two days and two nights writing letters. I was too excited about my successful spy caper to sleep much the first night anyway. And to Audrey's credit, when I did doze off during the second day, she ignored it unless she heard someone approaching the office, in which case she would call out my name, rousing me from sleep. During the second night I was too sleepy to remember much at all. The night watchman, who luckily for me was a kindly older man, came about every half hour to make sure I was busy writing letters. I got so that I could doze off just after he had left the room, and program myself to wake up a short time later. He caught me napping a couple of times, but he just woke me up and went off with a chuckle.
Finally I was allowed to go back to the Org to sleep. I collapsed on a mat on the floor of the annex. I slept from noon until the next morning. Walking back to the Org the next day, I was thinking of Hubbard's words in the Ethics book:
All that Ethics is for -- the totality of the reason for its existence and operation -- is simply that additional tool necessary to make it possible to apply the technology of Scientology.
We are factually only here helping people to help themselves to better their conditions and the conditions of life. That is our total action.
As that additional tool for making it all possible, the Ethics system of Scientology is tremendously successful.
"I guess it's successful," I laughed to myself. "I never want to get into a lower condition again.
"From now on, I'm going to keep my ethics in!"