All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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By Barbara Graham
I haven't ridden up to Los Angeles since I moved back to San Diego. I've gone through the city on my way elsewhere, but I usually take the train into the City of Angels. I don't like the limited mobility factor; I always have to leave before the evening events to catch the last train home. So, Tuesday morning found me checking the oil and tire pressure, pumping it up, and hitting the freeway North on I-5. For some reason, Los Angeles hasn't found it worth the effort to expand the freeway into the city; it dwindles down to three lanes north of Anaheim, home of Disneyland and some baseball team. There is a gorgeous building sheathed in green glass just north of Mickey's fantasy, it's almost worth the ride to see it in the morning sun!
When I reached the old Firestone building, with its strange, winged gods and new video displays, traffic came to a halt, and by golly, stayed that way all the way into the city. What could have been a two hour ride stretched into a three hour white knuckle extravaganza. I wouldn't mind the traffic. I wouldn't mind the three lane freeway. I do mind that the goddam lanes are so freaking narrow, you take your life in your hands splitting traffic!
When I pulled into the Sizzler parking lot, I met Jeff, who was actually just leaving! He waited while I wolfed down a steak and a glass of chablis; sated, I was ready to assume the character of the beloved Galactic Overlord.
I thought it would be more convenient to just take one vehicle. Hah! I asked the manager of the Sizzler if I could leave my bike parked in his parking lot for a few hours, and he said it was okay, if I put it out of the way of customer traffic. I stuck it in a half-slot near the dumpsters in an out of the way place, got my stuff out of the panniers, and Jeff and I headed over to the LRH Life Museum. The Xenu costume really is a magnificent piece of work! Dr. Dave sent me a new mask to replace the old one, which had literally rotted to bits. Nothing left but a pair of purple eyes. The foam inside the shoulder piece is falling apart, unfortunately. It left crumbly bits of orange foam all over the interior of Jeff's car. We found a parking place down the street, I donned the costume and shuffled down to Hollywood Blvd. The costume robes are made like an elegant evening gown, you have to take baby steps; no striding while Xenu!
It might be just another day in Hollyweird, seeing an alien Overlord on the boulevard, Xenu got lots of attention from passersby. Xenu was handing out 'Ron the War Zero' fliers to counter the confabulations offered within the doors of the Life Museum. He received many accolades from his human subjects driving by, honks, waves, and cell phone pictures were constant. Many tourist hominids on foot took Xenu's picture as well as a flier. Xenu's sign had a picture of Stan from South Park, dressed as the return of Hubbard with the wreath and toga, and the quote, "SCIENTOLOGY IS A BIG, FAT, GLOBAL SCAM!"
And the Sea Ogres in their pale blue shirts and black ties scuttled to and fro in a constant stream, hustling to Do Important Things. I don't think the SO building across the street has been sold as someone reported a while back, because it was bustling with activity. I saw a couple of guys with epaulettes on their shoulders, for the rest of it, the poor, dedicated culties were wearing pale blue shirts, black tie, dark slacks and shoes. After a couple of hours, Xenu's eyes started to fog over and it was getting pretty damp inside the mask.
People started arriving with garment bags, or already dressed in formal wear, ready for the New Year's event. When the busses began to arrive, we decided to call it quits. Elronically, one cultie ordered Xenu to "get a life." Xenu has had many, many lives. He was not insulted. There was one Scientologist who remained on the corner during our picket, watching us with a cell phone screwed into his ear. Predictably, LAPD was called. The female officer who arrived was, surprisingly, shorter than me. There aren't many people around who are. She was polite and professional, something that impresses me about the Hollywood officers. I don't know where LAPD keeps the jackasses you read about in the news, Compton maybe. She gave us the usual rundown, don't block egress, ect. ect. and mentioned something about taking photographs, which is legal on public property in California. I guess the clams must have complained. Ironic, since their properties bristle with cameras trained on the sidewalks! We assured her that we had done this before and had no intention of breaking the law. She talked with our watchclam for a while and left, much to his disappointment, I am sure.
As we walked back to the car, we were warned off from picketing an empty bus by its driver. "Don't you be picketing my bus!" he said. Jeff, Ghandi tech personified, explained that we were walking back to his car. The guy seemed to want to continue warning us, so we kept going.
By now, it was around 5:00 pm, and I was glad to divest myself of Xenu's robes and rubber head. We cruised over to have a look at Big Blue, at which point a silver SUV pulled up next to us. I could see Edwin Richardson at the wheel. He wanted to tell us something real bad! "I've got something to tell you," he called, indicating that we should roll down the window.
"Oh, fuck, it's fucking Richardson!" I snorted. Jeff said to him, "that's nice," and drove on. The son of a bitch continued to follow us. At one point, he actually got out of his van at a light and came pecking on Jeff's window. "I've been watching you," he said. "That's nice," said Jeff, and then the light changed and we sped off, leaving Richardson standing in traffic.
I bet his Big News was that he'd had my bike towed. He followed us all the way back to the Sizzler parking lot, and then split.
My bike sure the heck wasn't in the parking lot when we got back. I asked the manager if anyone had moved it. He said no, and seemed very unhappy that it had gone missing from his parking lot. I assured him that I didn't think it his fault, and thanked him for graciously allowing me to park it there. While I was calling LAPD, a second silver SUV pulled into the parking lot, and a pair of yahoos apparently invited us out to dinner. One of them sidled too close to me while I was on the line, and I snarled at him to get back. I finished my phone call from inside the car, and the officer told me the bike had been impounded. The notice on the wall around the parking lot had the tow lot's information, so I called them next. All I needed to get Hootie out of hock was a drivers license and $220.00 in cash money. I went in to the Sizzler and spoke to the manager. He was shocked that my bike had been towed, and wondered why the tow truck driver hadn't come in and informed him about it.
Well, it was because some cult asshole had posed as the manager in the parking lot, and signed the papers! We got directions to the tow yard, and found an ATM machine, which spat out the $220, much to my surprise. There used to be a limit "because of drug dealers." I guess that stupid law was changed.
At the tow yard, out in the middle of godnose where, I treated the guy behind the counter nicely. It wasn't his fault. Who would expect some asshole PI to impersonate a restaurant manager? I told him what the deal was, how we had come to LA to picket Scientology, and he said, "Oh, those assholes!" He told me that Diamond Towing used to have a contract with them, and they would have dozens of cars towed away from their property, probably belonging to staff. Mobile slaves aren't a Good Thing, and the cult took their wheels. He also said that, while on tow runs, he would see members indulging in dangerous activities, such as washing windows way high up without any safety gear. He didn't seem terribly fond of the Scientologists, but he didn't give me my $220 back, either. He also refused to trade me a black Mercedes for my Beemer, but the tow truck driver said he'd prefer to have the bike.
All the while, I was in constant contact with Tory and Susan, but I was a little short with them, I'm afraid, until I got the bike back. I needed to think Tomorrow, I am going to call the tow truck company to see if they have email. I want to send them a picture of Edloser Richardson and see if he's the guy who posed as the manager. The driver said only that he had not been a heavy set Latino, which the manager is.
We then proceeded to the Shrine Auditorium. Alas, Jeff's plan to park on the street outside was foiled because of the time, it was after 6:30 by the time we arrived, so we pulled into the parking lot of a strip mall across the street to figure out our next move. An Italian gent approached us where we were parked behind a Wendys, and asked us where the Shrine was. We told him, and Jeff took his picture, suspecting he might be one of our PI friends. He wasn't, and took exception to having his picture taken. Apparently you don't do that in Italy! Jeff deleted the image in front of him, and he went on his way. No, he wasn't a Scientologist, nope, just a tourist wanting to see the Shrine. Yeah, right. The Shrine is a real tourist destination. I bid him 'bon giorno,' and off he went. Jeff went off to try to get a pic of one of the vehicles which had been following us; the driver burned rubber in the parking lot to avoid getting photographed. I had my picket sign bungeed to the back seat of my bike, and it attracted the attention of a pair of punkish-looking wannabes in black clothes and black dyed hair. One of them was saying something stupid about my bike being fuel injected, like he knew something about BMW motorcycles. They were too close, so I doodled on over to hear one of them read my sign. "Word up!" I told him.
His voice rose in that whiny tone only a peeved adolescent can achieve. "You should take those stickers off that bike!" he told me. "I'm a Scientologist."
"Aww," said I. "I'm sorry to hear that. You should get a real life before you waste the one you've got." They stomped off crankily into the mall. Word!
At this point, we decided to call it a night. I decided to stay over with Susan rather than Tory, although both had extended an invitation. Nothing personal, it's just that Susan is closer to San Diego. Jeff and I parted ways at the 110 freeway, each of us with our respective followers. Mine peeled off south of Compton, where I hope they had a flat at Normandie and Vermont, where the last LA riots started.
I spent a pleasant evening charming the fur off Susan's greyhounds, two beautiful rescued dogs which, like Bart Simpson's dog, were racing hounds in an earlier part of life.
The ride home was uneventful, and traffic was light. I had to stop by my parents' house to give them the 411 on my Los Angeles adventure, and to reveal the cunning plan I concocted the night before to make sure this never happens again.
This is true,
"Imagine a church so dangerous, you must sign a release form before you can receive its "spiritual assistance." This assistance might involve holding you against your will for an indefinite period, isolating you from friends and family, and denying you access to appropriate medical care. You will of course be billed for this treatment - assuming you survive it. If not, the release form absolves your caretakers of all responsibility for your suffering and death.
Welcome to the Church of Scientology."
--Dr. Dave Touretzky