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Don’t @#$% with me!!!

July 15, 2012

Sometimes you can remember things as clearly as though you are watching a movie, sometimes a memory is cloudy and in pieces and sometimes they are just vague forms without real shape or definition. I don’ like to put down these incomplete ramblings as they lack detail and tangibility. But sometimes they warrant some attention just for their simplicity and directness.

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For instance, I had been living in Santa Cruz for only six months or so when I was about 19 and I made friends with a married couple no older than me. They lived in the small community of Le Selva Beach, south of Santa Cruz. The three of us were in a big hurry to become full fledged hippies, even though we weren’t really sure what that was. We went to all of the free concerts, made occasional trips to the nameless hip shrine just below Lime Kiln Creek, a good ways south of Big Sur, smoked marijuana from a hooka and had all the most hip albums from the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service and Country Joe and the Fish. All of our hair was growing as fast as possible and the girl wore long, flowery skirts. I’m not sure if the first college at UCSC had opened yet but the first University buildings were just about finished around this time.

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(Woodstock)

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I was living in a hip compound in Zayante, between Ben Lomond and Scott’s Valley. I drove my old VW down to Le Selva to see if the couple had anything cooking. I got there at dusk and they were both putting on their coats. The girl had run into a very interesting older chick at Bookshop Santa Cruz, who was going to some sort of meeting that evening up above Felton. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) as UCSC had no students yet, or, if it did, not enough to would bother with. I had dealt with them enough at San Jose State. The older girl had talked something about a “new way of thinking.” I don’t much like being told what to do, much less think, but what else was there to do? There was nothing happening in the entire county that night.

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The hand written directions had us driving in the deep redwood over a mile on a dirt road. We finally saw a few lights through the trees and pulled up to a rather recently constructed “pre-fab” style of house. It’s simple yard was filled with cars. It was dead still. We got out of the car and the three of us looked at each other and paused. It was dead still. They headed to what looked like the simple front door in the center of a very empty patio. I followed and as we approached, we could see that this was the back of the house, and the door opened to a brightly lit basement. It was still dead still. Obviously, this wasn’t a party, no way was it a hippy party. There wasn’t a sound. A man’s silhouette in the open door quietly invited us across the patio. As we got to the door, the silhouette turned out to a short haired, clean shaven man with a white shirt and tie on. This was just getting way too weird. At the door step, we gazed on a large room full of very, very straight people. Our six, young eyes opened very wide and we silently asked each other “Where are we? What is this?”

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The guy who started out as a silhouette in the doorway told us we were almost too late and chairs were being brought around for us, they had a bigger turnout than they expected. Some guy across the room in a jacket and tie tapped on a microphone and said good evening, stepping up to a podium. We three questioned each other with our eyes and our frightened wits. Someone started walking towards us from a side door, carrying three folding chairs. The speaker at the podium said “good evening” again and almost simultaneously, the locks on all the windows and doors were snapped, echoing through the room.

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“Welcome to the Church of Scientology,” the speaker said.
Some long forgotten warning went off in my head,
“We are out of here,” I said jumping up and grabbing the couple. Unknown to the Scientologists, the badger fangs in my jaw had sprung into place.
“Oh no you don’t” a couple of them said clustering in front of the door.
“Oh, yes I do,” I grunted with a poise and coordination I didn’t know I had. I pushed through them hard and all at the same instant, I pressed the latch, twisted the deadbolt and the toes of one foot leveraged the door to swing 180 degrees and slam into the outside wall opposite the hinges.
The three of us ran across the yard like scared rabbits and I yelled out, “I’m driving” and the husband tossed me the keys. Neither one of them could drive worth a shit, the husband worse than the young wife. Looking over our shoulders, we jumped in the car and I spun the wheels all the way to the paved road over a mile away.

After this, pretty much the couple and I never really got together again. Maybe we just got too cautious. I really don’t remember all that happened afterwards.

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Katie Holmes, we are there for you . . .

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