Chapter 14 continued.... That became my life – weeks and months of drudgery, being a "Program Operator," punctuated by special projects where I could do a bit of writing and creating. Meanwhile the Base continued to expand, and we were still working every Saturday on "Renos" to complete building projects. CMO International and Exec Strata moved out of Del Sol and were put into a temporary building (made from pre-fab trailers) between the 200’s and Del Sol. The old hotel was completely renovated and set up for staff auditing. The huge Cine sound stage was completed at the west end of the property – built to look like a Scottish castle. Work started on the huge RTC building at the top east end of the property, and also on a huge mansion to replace Bonnie View, to be a new home for LRH. If any of us had any doubts as to why this 9.4 million dollar house was being built for Hubbard, complete with office and secretarial facilities, Miscavige made it clear one day. "It is not a museum," he said. External contractors were being used exclusively for Hubbard’s house – no "all hands" there! Throughout 1996 and 1997, Miscavige was often gone from the Base, either in Washington DC or Clearwater, handling legal and PR work. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was handling a very specific "flap." In December of 1996, a woman named Lisa McPherson had died in a room in the Fort Harrison Hotel. When Miscavige left, everyone would breathe a sigh of relief, and for a few weeks or months there would be, if not calmness, at least a slight lessening of tension with everyone somewhat able to get on with their work. Then a buzz would go through the Base, and there would be frantic projects to clean up the Base, clean up the offices, get urgent projects completed and generally prepare for the onslaught. Years later, I saw the movie The Devil Wears Prada and laughed at the scene where Stanley Tucci runs through the office yelling "Gird your loins, people!" It was exactly like that. The first thing Miscavige would do when he hit the Base was do an inspection, walking through all the Base spaces with a cadre of executives and asking pointed questions. And woe be to the staff member who manifested any nervousness or hesitation – he was obviously "hiding some crimes" and would be rushed into Security Checking. It wasn’t unusual for someone to hit the RPF as a result of these inspections. I witnessed Miscavige walk into a room and at someone, saying with contempt "what’s he still doing here?" The person was on his way to the RPF within minutes. I came to dread Miscavige’s inspections and meetings. He was always intense and intimidating, and accompanied by a crowd of executives, eager to curry favor with him by acting as his Greek chorus. We would usually have some warning that "COB is coming down to CMU" and every executive on the chain of command would start running in, usually out of breath. After a crowd of fifteen or twenty execs had congregated, Miscagige would suddenly appear. Sometimes he’d throw out a derogatory little tidbit: "Did you guys hear what that asshole Gary Weise just did?" Then he’d describe some staff member’s "out-ethics" in detail, everyone nodding in agreement about what an out-ethics scumbag Gary Weise was – and hoping they weren’t next. Then he’d take up whatever he had come down to see us about – sometimes slamming a submission down on the counter before proceeding to pick it apart. He had a way of talking about people in the third person, as if they weren’t there. "Look at him," he’d say, pointing at some staff member. "See how he looks at me." Or "Listen to how she talks to me." He’d often throw around threats of RPF, or even offload. "You’ll be flipping burgers at McDonalds," he’d say. I found that, in those confrontations, my mind would simply cease to function. The words would not come. It was as if a switch had been thrown, shutting off my brain. I would stand there stupidly, with people around me urging me to say something. But I had nothing to say. Oh, I’d seen others handle these confrontations smoothly, particularly Marc Yager and Guillaume Lesevre. The words seemed to come easily to them: "Yes, Sir, you’re totally right, I see that, that was stupid of me, I’ll handle it right away, I’ll get my ethics in…" Placating words, words of self-abasement and capitulation. But somehow, when I was on the spot, in the hotseat, those words never came. I wanted to explain, to elaborate, to discuss – but any attempt in that direction would be instantly shouted down by the assembled execs: "backflash!" And Miscavige would point at me, "You see? You see how he talks to me?" So my mind jammed, a system shutdown, and I just stood there stupidly. What is wrong with me? I thought. Why can’t I speak? I began to feel more and more like some kind of invalid, a mental cripple who could not function in normal society. At first, I was gotten into Security Checking to "find my crimes." For me to behave like that, I must have crimes. When that didn’t work, it was correction. I needed to be cured, healed. I was instructed to do the Purification Rundown again – it must be residual LSD in my system from 1967 that was causing me to malfunction. That was fine with me. The program was done five hours a day – that was five hours less on the firing line. I got to run outdoors and get fresh air and exercise, then spend hours in the sauna where I could relax and read and unwind. And I had to get eight hours sleep a night to do the program. With the sleep, exercise and fresh air, I started to feel better. I followed the Purification Program with the Running Program – the one where you run around a pole for five hours a day. Some people thought it was a punishment – I loved it. I got thin and fit. In the midst of it, I had to have a hernia operation. I asked the doctor how soon I could be running again, and he said about a week. He asked me how far I ran every day. "About ten miles," I said. He gave me a look. "And you’re how old? Fifty one?" He just shook his head. All of this made me feel better, but I was still as hapless as ever in my confrontations with Miscavige. But I laid low and worked at my thankless job as Dianetics Campaign Manager. Sometimes I would daydream about leaving, getting out of there, as others had done. But I couldn’t think about it seriously. I would have to turn my back on Scientology, on my whole life. I would never be able to do my OT Levels. I would be cut off from every friend. It would be a sort of suicide. And where would I go? What would I do? It was just a daydream, but not a very practical one. And I was lonely. It had been three years since Nancy had blown. I went home every night to the crowded dormitory and a lonely bunk. I wanted someone – I wanted to get married again. But finding a prospective partner at the Base was a daunting task – if not impossible. You had no time off. Every waking moment you were surrounded by people, hundreds of eyes watching you. If a man and a woman were observed to be paying too much attention to each other, the Knowledge Reports would fly, and they would be reprimanded – sometimes publicly. It was called "flowing and glowing" and was heavily ridiculed. It was "out 2D." The phrase "2D" came from Hubbard’s Eight Dynamics – he split life up into eight parts – self, sex and family, groups, mankind, all living things, the physical universe, spiritual beings and "infinity." The Second Dynamic was sex and family, and its abbreviation, "2D," became a colloquial term, as in "they’re having a 2D" or "I’d like to mock up (create) a 2D with you." When a person did something wrong or unethical on the second dynamic, it was called "out-2D." And on the Base, that included flirting, holding hands or even "flowing and glowing." It could wind you up in trouble. Even so, life goes on, and people did somehow manage to get together. As I had a car, I could sometimes get away with offering a likely woman a ride home – it meant fifteen minutes of private conversation, more if we stopped at a Burger King or In-and-Out Burger. And then there were odd moments at mealtimes or on the bus ride home where one could strike up an innocent conversation. But even that could backfire. One of my cautious advances ended up with an ugly Knowledge Report filed on me. In mid-1998, I noticed a new staff member in the Golden Era Productions Sales area, an attractive, petite woman with long brown-blonde hair and luminous hazel eyes. She intrigued me. A lot of people seemed to know her, and we had a lot of mutual friends, but I had no idea who she was. I did a little discreet detective work and found out her name was Catherine Fraser. She had been on the Freewinds as Port Captain and then had been brought to the Base as RTC staff. Something had gone wrong and she had ended up assigned to Gold. One night, we were doing an "all-hands" in the LRH Book Compilations Unit. This was a fairly regular occurrence. A division would get backlogged or in trouble and the whole staff would jump in and handle the situation. The all-hands was going to go all night, and about three in the morning they announced there was pizza in MCI. I happened to be working next to Cathy, who wasn’t able to leave just then. So I asked her if I could bring some back for her. It was a simple start. As the Rx7 was off the road, I was riding the bus to and from the Kirby Apartments. One night, by putting a book casually on the seat beside me, I kept the seat empty until I saw Cathy coming down the aisle. Then I lifted up the book and smiled at her. She sat down, and we talked. Something amazing happened during that bus ride, as we made small talk. I looked into her eyes and sort of got lost. I described it later, in a poem to her, as feeling like I was a diver at the top of a tall diving board, about to plunge into a pool far below me. A thought crossed my mind: this is my wife. It wasn’t "Gee’ I’d like to marry this woman," it was just a fact. This is my wife. Cathy told me later that the same thought entered her mind at that same instant. This is my husband. Being together seemed the most natural thing in the world. The next day, which was a Saturday – a Renos Day – Cathy pulled me inside, into her office, and said she had to talk to me. "You know, I’m still married." "Oh," I said. My disappointment must have shown. "I’m separated from my husband," she told me. "He’s still on the ship. We’re in the process of getting a divorce." I smiled at her, a little sadly. "OK – thanks for letting me know." About an hour later I ran into her out on the lawn. "Thanks for being honest with me," I said. She looked at me slyly. "You know, I won’t always be married…" Our eyes locked. We both smiled. From then on, we found many excuses to be together. We would casually talk at mealtimes for a few minutes, and managed to sit together frequently on the bus and talk. Sure enough, tongues started to wag, and Knowledge Reports started to fly. Cathy, being the "married woman," got the brunt of it. The entire Gold crew mustered three times a day on the patio behind MCI, after each meal. We lined up in straight rows, by Division. The executives stood in front. Roll was taken and every person was accounted for – over 400 people. Then there would be uniform inspections, announcements and news. Cathy was made to stand up on a low wall, facing the crew. Then the CO Gold, a cold-hearted martinet named Lisa Schroer, enumerated Cathy’s crimes, her "out-2D," her flirting with me – her, a married woman! I was mortified. I wished I could be up there instead. We stopped talking to each other and tried to avoid each other. The last thing I wanted was to get her in any more trouble. A few months later, at Christmas, we had a staff party. Cathy said she had to talk to me, so we went outside. She said she had been proposed to go to Clearwater to handle PR there. She thought that might be best if she were to go. Then she could get her divorce and come back, and we wouldn’t have the strain of trying to avoid each other. I agreed that was probably best. I said I would wait for her for a year if it took that, I would be here. Again, she got in trouble. Someone had seen us together. She was found to be not qualified to go to Clearwater because of her "Out 2D." Yet we had never touched each other, never even held hands. We spent the next year ignoring each other. We did not look at each other or speak to each other for one entire year. I would watch her from a distance, then go home at night and write poetry to her, poems I hoped she would someday read: Cold wind through stark trees A stranger hurrying by She’s wearing your face At the end of the year I managed to get away for two days to see my mother in Santa Barbara. We spent a wonderful time together, walking all over the city, one of the most beautiful in the world. We visited Mom’s favorite parks and gardens, and talked and talked. At 82, my mother was still sharp as a tack, working every day as a tutor. We talked as we had never talked before, and she told me things about her life with my Dad that I had never known. I told her I had found the woman I was going to marry, and she was very happy. "I’ve put my affairs in order," she told me late one night as we sat in her apartment. "Oh Mom, you’ll be around for a while yet!" I tried to make light of it. She smiled sadly. Two months later, in February 1999, I was suddenly called down to the conference room in Building 36. Muriel Dufresne, who worked as an external PR for the Base, had me sit down and then solemnly told me, "Your mother died." I called Kim. He said he and his wife Cathy were heading up to Santa Barbara right away to take care of all the arrangements. He said there would be a service the following Saturday and he needed my help with that. I said I would get up there as soon as I could. But I couldn’t leave. I had to get auditing. In order to leave, I had to pass a Security Check. The sessions went on and on, day after day. I got more and more desperate. But I was told, no, I could not leave, I had to finish my auditing. It took four days, four frustrating, maddening days. Finally, on Friday, I was allowed to leave. As the RX7 was still inoperational, I rented a car and raced up the coast and met Kim and Cathy. They told me Mom had died suddenly on Saturday night. She had been in the middle of writing a letter – to me. When I read her half-finished letter, I cried for the first time since hearing of her death. Kim and I worked late into the night working out Mom's service, and on Saturday, we held the service for about 40 of her friends in a little community center downtown. Kim and I spoke, telling stories of her life, and many of her friends spoke as well. At the end, I read from the Scientology funeral ceremony. When I got to the line, "Goodbye, dear Evelyn," I looked up, tears streaming down my face, to find there was not a dry eye in the place. She had many, many dear friends. We chartered a boat and took her ashes a mile offshore, where we scattered them on the water, along with flowers from the service. I felt a tremendous weight lift. "She’s gone," I told Kim, and he nodded, smiling. We sat in the bow, our arms around each other. "Does this mean we’re grown up now?" I asked him. "No," he replied, "We can still be kids." As I was leaving Santa Barbara, I asked Kim if he could loan me some money to cover the rental car. He said sure, and added, "You won’t have to ask anyone for money for a long time." Mom’s estate had turned out to be larger than we had imagined. By Sea Org standards, I was rich. Mom had a little Honda Civic, which I took with me, driving it back to the Base. I now had two cars, the defunct RX7, and the Civic. I ended up having the RX7 towed away for charity. I was driving out of the Kirby Apartments one morning after I got back and saw Cathy standing there, waiting for the bus. She looked at me and our eyes met for a second, a brief flash of compassion and understanding. She’d heard about my mom. 1999 was a long, long year. The big project was the publication of Dianetics in 50 languages. I had somehow gotten back on my earlier post of Director of Research and Planning, and it fell to me to decide which languages to publish in, and to craft an international campaign for its promotion. I had something like two weeks to do all this, which I somehow managed to do. The translations were being done by an outside translations mill – a lot of them ended up being pure crap. But the important thing was to get the editions out there, so it could be announced at an event "Dianetics has been published in 50 languages!!!" As for a campaign, I not only had no research for all of the countries we would be releasing the book in, but no way to get anything done in those countries. There were no Scientologists there. I ended up using commercially available research and, rather than planning out a campaign, worked out a program for volunteer projects that would go into each country, arrange book distribution, do surveys, and supervise advertising and PR for the book. Of course, as soon as the plan was done and approved, I got transferred back under Michela to get it done. We got Scientologists to volunteer to go to different countries with the project I had written, and get the book launched there. It was a harebrained, desperate scheme, but we ended up actually doing it in a number of countries. At the end of a year, we had sold 450,000 books – 9,000 average per language. It wasn’t huge, but it was something. As the year ticked by, I despaired of ever being with Cathy. We continued to ignore each other and never speak, and I wondered, does she still love me? One day in November, I was walking up the stairs to CMU. I saw Cathy on the landing, talking with someone. As usual, I ignored her and started to walk past. Suddenly her little hand shot out and grabbed my arm. "I have to talk to you," she said. One look in her eyes told me everything. "Tonight, on the bus." I replied. She nodded. For the first time in over a year, we met at the bus and sat together. She told me that her divorce had come through. She was a free woman. I don’t remember what we said, but that fifteen minute ride seemed to take hours, and at the end of it, I had proposed, and she had accepted. I walked her to her dormitory door and, for the first time, held her in my arms and kissed her. I didn’t know what the road ahead would bring, but I knew I would now be traveling it with a soulmate.