The bar was packed.

My beer was gone and someone was sitting on my stool. Yellow Badges were everywhere. I walked up to a space next to the busy waitress station and ordered another beer.

Glasses were clinking, I could hear “Oh, that’s terrible!” and “You know it’s like she became a different person. She just snapped.” A stool opened up on the other side of the bar and I sat down, continually scanning for another intelligence opportunity.

As I sat there, something was not sitting right with me. I had joined Scientology because it was a better way. It would lead to a better civilization on Earth, where war, crime and insanity would finally be handled. I couldn’t reconcile how clothespins scattered across the bathroom floors of a conference fit in with the wisdom necessary to create a new and better civilization. What’s worse, the more I looked at and chatted with the badges in the bar, the more the people attached to them grew in my consciousness.

I began to wonder what the hell I was doing there. It was better than working all weekend at the Mission, I knew that. It was good to get a break. But my attempt to understand these people and why they are members of CAN was not fitting in well with the cartoons of Anti-Social Personalities I had studied in my Ups and Down in Life Course pack.

It was around 7pm now, and I thought that I should probably check back in. So I finished my beer, I had lost count of which one it was, and I went back up to my room. When the doors opened at every floor, there were two huge men standing there with wires coming out of the back of their shirt collars and into their ears. They were everywhere.

I called Carol.

Her grating tone was the first thing that hit me. “Alanzo! Where the hell have you been? Right now there are two deprogrammers in the restaurant and we need you to get down there and sit behind them at a table and listen to what they are planning.”

I was silent. I was not responding eagerly and right away.

“Alanzo?”

“I saw the clothespins in the bathroom.”

Carol laughed gleefully, like a mean little junior high schooler. “That’ll introvert them!”

I said nothing.

“Alanzo? Where have you been?”

“I’ve been in the bar talking to people.”

“Alanzo, you didn’t come here to party. Are you drunk?”

“No.”

“Jesus Christ. ALANZO – GET YOUR ASS DOWN TO THE RESTAURANT AND FIND OUT WHAT THOSE GUYS ARE PLANNING.”

“I don’t think the clothespins were all that great of a thing.”

“What? You are so out-ethics. Jesus fucking christ! You’re fucking drunk.” Then she hung up.

I sat down on the side of my bed, thinking. OK, maybe I was a little drunk. I knew I was in trouble, but what the fuck? I was paying my own way here, I can take a fucking vacation if I want.

The phone rang again. It was Randy.

“Alanzo, listen. There is going to be a press conference tomorrow morning. I have a press pass for you and I want you to be there.”

“But I’m not a member of the press. Isn’t that against the law?”

“Oh, Alanzo. You are so PTS. No, it is not against the law. It’s just a press pass. You are just saying that you are a reporter, that’s all.”

“But I’m not a reporter.”

“Oh, fuck this. You’re fuckin worthless.” And he slammed down the phone.

I laid down on my bed. I had been drinking beer for 5 hours straight.

Yes. I was drunk.

When my eyes opened, light was streaming in through the window and I was fully clothed, on top of the bedspread. My head ached and I was dying of thirst.

I made my way to the bathroom and sucked cold water from the faucet.

I looked at my watch. 7am.

I got my bag, gathered up all my things and left, leaving my key in the check-out slot at the front desk.

A lot of what I had seen that weekend didn’t sink in with me for another 13 years. I remained a Scientologist, but never really worked with OSA again. They gave me a highly commended certificate a few months later, and tried to get me to pay money from time to time. But OSA had grown distasteful to me and I put off examining exactly why until I got further up the Bridge. Maybe after I had become Clear and OT, my aberrations would be cleared away and I could see why my mission as a spy in the fight for freedom for all mankind had been so unproductive.

I only knew that I was aberrated.

And I needed to handle that.