Planet Earth, some time in the near future …
Slappy stirred between his silk sheets and opened his eyes. Something had woken him and he didn’t like to be woken unexpectedly. And he’d been having such a lovely dream. He’d been cuddling with his best friend Tom and he was just about to kiss him, when he had been so rudely awoken. Someone was going to pay for this.
There it was again. Shouting outside his cabin. Furious now, he leapt out of his king sized, handcrafted bed and stormed over to the door. But before he could open it, it was flung open and he was confronted by a scene of chaos. Two of his private security guards were being held down by two very large and mean-looking men in black T-shirts. This alarmed him enough, but what he saw next, astonished him.
In fact, he was so astonished, he forgot to use his usual string of expletives and said simply, “Marty!”
The tall man with the greying hair and a suntanned face said, “Yes, it’s me. I’ve come to speak to you.”
Alarmed, Slappy started yelling, “Security! Security! Code red! Protect me immediately!”
The man he had called Marty calmly said, “It’s no good David, there’s no one left who will follow you any more.”
Slappy backed away from him as though he had been confronted by a dreadful apparition from his nightmares. “I knew you’d come. You’ve come to kill me. You want it all for yourself! You’re an SP Rathbun.”
“No, I don’t want anything from you. I was asked to come here by some good friends who have finally woken up. And put some clothes on, you need to come outside.”
Slappy looked down, and for the first time realised that he was stark naked. “My best clothes are at the cleaners,” he wailed. “Lou hasn’t put today’s set out for me.”
Marty looked exasperated and rummaging around a laundry basket in the corner of the room, produced a pair of grey jogging pants and grabbed the jacket, gaudy with campaign-style decorations, from the back of the chair by the antique walnut and maple desk. Flinging them at Slappy, he growled, “Put them on now. You have 30 seconds to get outside before we drag you out. And don’t even think of going for your Glock in the nightstand, there are some guys here that would just love the excuse to blow your ass off.”
Slappy hurriedly donned the pants and the jacket, and slipped on a pair of sneakers. He’d thought of putting on his hand-made shoes with the platforms heels (to give him more authority), but decided that he might need to make a hasty retreat and the sneakers were more practical. He grabbed Pooky from his bed and clutching him to his chest, stepped uncertainly through the door and into the morning sunshine. He gasped when he saw the group standing just a couple of yards from his cabin.
“So you’ve all come to stab me in the back!” he shrieked, spittle flying. “I might have known that you would be here, Rinder, with your boyfriend Rathbun. And who let you out Jentzsch, did you suck the c**ks of the guards to get out of The Hole?”
A large, grey-haired man of about 70, his face red with fury had to be restrained from lunging at Slappy. Rathbun looked grim-faced and pulled out a piece of yellow-orange paper from a folder and began reading. With a shock, Slappy realised what was coming. He would refuse to listen, and looked away from Rathbun.
What the f**k is he doing here?” Slappy screamed, pointing at a man with a video camera. “He’s a motherf**king SP!” Ignoring the fact that he had personally declared all the other people present, at one point or another in time.
“Do you even remember his name?” Rathbun asked sternly. “Well why should you? This is just another person who you tried to ruin. His name is Marc Headley and I invited him here to bear witness to your dismissal. Just so there’s no dispute about what happened.“
Slappy glowered at Headley, who responded with a wink. Rathbun was talking again so Slappy turned to face him.
Reading from the sheet, Rathbun continued, “… and employing the Naval tradition of removing a commanding officer who has become unfit for duty by reason of insanity, I do hereby relieve David Miscavige the self-styled ‘COB’ and ‘Leader of the Scientology religion’, of any and all positions of authority within the Church of Scientology. Furthermore, as the declaration of suppressive person has been used unjustly and as a means of punishment during the tenure of David Miscavige, all SP declares of the past twenty years are hereby rescinded and declared null and void. Harsh ethics penalties are cancelled with immediate effect until further notice, with one notable exception.”
Rathbun paused for a second or two to look directly into the now tear-filled eyes of Slappy, before continuing. “For the heinous crimes of suppressing the Scientology religion, altering the Technology left to us by L. Ron Hubbard so as to make it unworkable at the highest levels of the Bridge and countless other crimes against humanity, David Miscavige is hereby declared a ‘Suppressor Of All Beings’ and is to be denied any Scientology services in perpetuity.”
And with this, he stepped over to the trembling, diminutive figure and ripped the captain’s stripes from his jacket. “You will now leave these premises,” he said.
“But what about my cars, my clothes, my, my, - MEST?” Slappy asked plaintively.
Jentzsch replied with a scowl, “Your BMWs and Range Rovers were bought with the blood and tears of those you enslaved. As were your Egyptian cotton shirts, your Italian silk ties and your hand-stitched shoes and all the other fripperies that no other Sea Org member was allowed. You will leave here with your life and the clothes you are wearing. You deserve nothing else.”
Slappy howled in protest, “Don’t take Pooky. Please!” Someone muttered, “For God’s sake let him keep the bear.”
Slappy hugged Pooky to his chest and began sobbing. “I want Shelly. Where is she? Why isn’t she here?” Yager spoke up this time, the disgust in his voice plain to see, “You sent her away. You accused your own wife of ‘sexually perverted conduct’ for smiling at another man, and you sent her away. And all the time you were using prostitutes, you little shit.”
“Petite merde!” Lesevre added, nodding vigorously.
“Time to go!”, Jentzsch added brightly, and pointed down the hill to the main gate. Slappy wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, and looked in the direction Jentzsch was pointing. What he saw, caused him to rub his eyes in disbelief, and exclaim, “Look! They love me, they’ve come to fight for me.”
Evenly spread along the length of the road winding gently down the hill, was the entire complement of crew from the Base. Some 400 men and women in naval uniforms lined both sides of the road and were standing to attention.
Rathbun had a look of pity on his face. “No David, they’ve come to make sure that you’ve gone for good.”
At this, any remaining confidence was crushed and Slappy seemed to sag in his clothes. “But where will I go?” he said, his voice choked with emotion.
“No worries mate,” said Rinder, with a smirk. “We’ve arranged transportation for yer.” This remark was met with guffaws from several of the assembled senior officers. Slappy didn’t like the sound of that, what could it mean?
“Time to get going!” Yager said gleefully, punctuating this with a kick to the butt that sent Slappy sprawling in the dirt. He picked himself up and slowly started making his way down the hill towards the main gates. And as he passed each pair of staff members, they spun smartly on their heels in an about turn, presenting their backs to him in the ultimate gesture of rejection.
As he approached the gates, he started to regain some measure of composure. He’d been terrified that they would lock him in ‘The Hole’ and he’d never see the light of day again. But, unbelievably, they were going to let him just walk out the gate! “Stupid, stupid, stupid” he muttered to himself. “You let the most powerful being on the planet get away. I’ll be back, and then you’ll be sorry. Every single one of you. You’ll die alone and in pain and in the dark.” This started him thinking of even more elaborate and degrading punishments. Obviously they hadn’t learned their lessons from previous ‘SRAs’. Well, he’d just have to ‘up the ethics gradient’, wouldn’t he? He allowed himself a little chuckle and a semblance of a grin returned to his begrimed features.
He passed the pillars and the gates swung silently closed behind him. He ignored the sound of wild cheering and thunderous applause which erupted from behind him and stood at the side of the road, blinking in the California sunshine. Now that he had escaped their treacherous mutiny, he’d make them sorry. Very sorry.
“Just wait and see Pooky, we’ll go back to LA, mobilise security there and come back and make them sorry,” he said. “My real friends will be here soon. Now where is my limousine?”
Suddenly, a stern-faced man in a dark suit and even darker ray bans got out of the previously unnoticed black sedan parked just beyond the entrance, and walked purposely towards him.
“See Pooky, I told you someone would come for us. I was certain of it!” He exclaimed, not sounding at all certain.
And any vestige of certainty disappeared when the man stopped a pace in front of him, quickly followed by another, almost identically attired man.
Slappy wiped the tears from his face and did his best to give the strangers his best ‘What the f**k do you want stare?’ However, the effect was rather spoiled by the fact that in his sneakers his face only came to the level of the strangers tie and he had to look up and squint which gave him the appearance of the village half-wit greeting the local constable.
The first man pulled out a badge from his jacket and said, “Mr Miscavige, I’m agent Smith and this is agent Jones. We’re with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We’d like you to come with us.” He motioned towards the car. The back door was open and seemed to be beckoning to Slappy. The interior was dark and filled with foreboding. He suddenly felt very frightened.
Agent Smith motioned again for him to walk towards the car, but Slappy couldn’t hear him. His ears were filled with a roaring, his stomach felt as though it was being crushed in a vice and the world appeared to be spinning around him. He didn’t feel well and wanted all this nastiness to stop.
Smith spoke again, more insistently this time. “You have to come with us Mr Miscavige, we have a warrant for your arrest. Look, we can do it the easy way or the hard way. Either way you are coming with us”. With this, he grabbed Slappy by the arm, who promptly responded by slumping to the ground.
Smith stood over him and shook his head in exasperation. Jones joined him and said, “Christ, what is he doing now? Oh for Pete’s sake – he’s sucking his thumb!”
Smith replied, “It’s called the foetal position. People who are mentally unbalanced often revert to this when they can’t face real life. It’s a sort of attempt to return to the safety of the womb”.
Jones shook his head in disbelief, “And this guy was the head of that crazy f**ked-up UFO-cult that all those celebs belonged to? Doesn’t look up to running jack shit now. Looks like we’ll have to carry him to the car.” He started to reach for Slappy, but stopped when he noticed the smirk on Smith’s face.
“What are you grinning at?” he asked. But then he didn’t need an answer, his nose told him what Smith had already noticed. He started back towards the car saying “This day just gets better and better. I’ll get the rubber gloves out of the car”.
“You’d better put the plastic sheet on the back seat as well”, Smith called out to his partner. “No sense in getting it all on the fabric, he’s really let go in a big way. In this heat, with the air con not working, it’ll stink like a wino in a back alley by the time we get back to the field center.”
Slappy lay motionless, oblivious to what was happening at the side of Gilman Springs Road. A dark stain had appeared at the front of his jogging pants and he was making faint keening noises to himself.
Two minutes later, Smith, Jones and Slappy were travelling north-west along the highway towards the FBI field center. Jones pulled out his ‘special’ CD and Smith groaned. He knew what was coming next and secretly was rather amused by his partner’s little ritual.
“Time for some AC/DC,” Jones said with his customary relish and turned up the volume. The raucous strains of ‘Highway to Hell’ blared out, so no one heard Slappy’s parting words, murmured so softly, as he left forever what had once been his empire.
“Why is this happening? I only ever wanted people to like me.”