the Suitcase didn’t matter


She left the suitcase at the bus station the day she left, the day she got away. No locker to put it in she left it in God’s hands. Her ticket was not until the next night but she had to leave early to escape. The night before the woman told her she could not leave, her file had been lost.

I have to go September 1st” she said. “That is when my bus ticket is for.”

You can’t,” she was told. “Not until your file is finished. Tomorrow we will spend all day talking about it if we have to, but you can’t go.”

The file, six months she had spent doing everything they asked. Over and over they asked, would she sue? At first it was easy, she passed clear without a thought, but as the months dragged on and the questions delved deeper, her hostility made it harder and harder to say, “I won’t sue.”

She didn’t sleep that night. She packed. Fortunately nobody in her dorm knew her, none realized she wasn’t supposed to go. They did their best to ignore her noises, curled up trying to sleep in the quadruple bunk army cots, those few short hours they had.

The things in the suitcase didn’t matter really. Freedom was what mattered. To escape Scientology she knew was no small feat.

She spent the day on the beach, reading a “Ghost of Flight 401,” to keep from feeling her hunger pangs. She had less than ten dollars and one more day to make it through before the bus ticket could take her to the safety of her family. She finished the book then searched for a place to sleep for the night. It was scary, she had never been homeless before. All night she listened for voices or foot steps, every moment afraid someone would prod her, tell her to move along or worse.

The sunrise was glorious. Nothing makes a sunrise more beautiful than a night spent scared to death. She brushed off the sand, sneaked into a McDonald’s to wash and grab as many ketchup packets as she dared. Then she headed to Hollywood. She took her time walking up and down, before she picked her movies, tickets were cheap there and she had just enough money for a double feature, small popcorn and drink. She choose “The Secret of My Success” and “The Living Daylights.” With Micheal J. Fox and Timothy Dalton, two of her favorite cute-guy actors, for a few hours she was a teenager again.

That night she returned to the bus station to use her ticket to San Francisco and family. Stopping at the desk she asked at the desk for the suitcase. It was there. The attendant gave her a funny look, but didn’t ask.

For years afterward, nightmares continued, being stuck there, being threatened. She wanted to write about it, to talk about it, but it was frightening. They really think they are right. They think they have the right to do whatever it takes for the common good. That is the thing that makes them so wrong. They have some really great ideas but the Sea Org. is twisted, perverted, tyrannical. They think they should rule the world. She read it. She knows it. It is why she left. After all why else would they ask members to sign a “billion year contract?!?”

That’s why, while she cried outwardly to hear her file was lost, inside she jumped for joy. She knew they’d lost that bogus bond, she’d signed in orange marker on a highway over pass surrounded by three big men and scared they’d toss her over if she didn’t.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Maggie says:

    You have left me wanting to know more…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carolyne says:

      Thank you, that is the greatest complement a writer can get.
      I can still hear the funny tone in their voices, when I first started working at the Chateau Elycee in Hollywood, as they joked about people jumping off the roof. Eventually I found out an employee had committed suicide just before I came. They insisted it was his parents fault, the parents were trying to make him leave. But the tone of their voices, it sounded wrong. It sounded like deep down where they didn’t dare admit it even to themselves, they knew it was a lie. Deep down, they didn’t want to go there or they might have to admit that maybe they had helped kill him. It’s easier to write about in the third person, like it was someone else that happened to, it was almost thirty years ago.
      I wasn’t interested in Scientology, Only eighteen, I was applying for a job as a maid, but they had me do all these tests and when I scored 145 for my IQ, they made it clear they wanted me. How I ended up on that highway overpass being “persuaded” to sign a billion year contract, that’s a quite a story too.


      1. Maggie says:

        I think you need to write these stories, you have a great voice.


  2. Emily Brock says:

    Thank you for sharing! I never knew what all you went through. I am both saddened and impressed that you went through that and and had the strength to come out the other end (albeit changed I am sure). I am most curious about that “contract” and all the other details. Thanks again for sharing.
    I can understand wanting to write in the 3rd person. Sometimes I think of writing about my life, but it feels like it would be more comfortable in the third person.

    Liked by 1 person

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