Code Red River | Chapter 2: Love Bomb

Share...
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Written by: Kevin Gatti

SHORT SERIAL FICTION

Genre: Horror | Thriller | Suspense

STORY MODE: DARK | LIGHT

Who can say no to free introductory classes? Well, they were free initially. Since I didn’t really have any money at the time, they offered me to take the first couple classes for free with the understanding that I would pay later. Classes like the basics of loving yourself and a class about knowing your own worth. At the time, I thought these classes were completely amazing. Don’t get me wrong. The concept of these classes was great. The problem is that organizations like the Love Thy Self People use self-love and even spirituality to suck you in. Unfortunately, for me and many others, we didn’t realize this until much later.

Jeff was offered free introductory classes as well, so we were in a lot of the same classes. The classes we were taking in the beginning always seemed like a lot of fun. We were always playing games and having deep conversations where everyone in the class would often share their darkest secrets with each other. It was okay though because it was deemed a “safe place” and we would ensure each other of that. Little did we know that all our classes were being recorded and that the things we said were being filed in a folder with each of our names as blackmail against us.

Of course, you’re probably wondering how on earth could they be allowed to record us like that. Well, back at the introductory session they had us sign all these documents. I remember we didn’t have much time to sign them all. Why? Because the pizza was getting cold. I kid you not.

As I was starting to read through the papers. They quickly started to rush us all into another room for pizza. “Hurry up! Sign those papers really quick! We have pizza in the other room. It’s getting cold. Hurry up! It’s okay. Just sign!” They said.

I did think very briefly to myself that I wanted to take my time to read over the papers before signing, but as they were rushing us, I gave in and signed quickly as they wanted. As we were all rushed over into the next room with the false sense of excitement, I remember that not a single person insisted or even questioned about wanting more time to sign the papers. I often look back and wonder if anyone was questioning it in their heads, but were just too scared to speak up.

What I didn’t know at the time was that with those documents I was basically signing my life away. I was giving up all legal right to ever sue them, or to ever speak out against them. Later, I also learned that rushing us all to sign because the pizza was apparently getting cold in another room was a pre-planned tactic used at all introductory sessions in order it get people to sign without reading or asking questions. It was called the hot pizza trick and only certain members were allowed to know about it.

Not long after I started taking classes, Jeff and I were invited on a weekend trip to the ranch in Wyoming with a group of about thirty others. We were both exited to attend. Aside from the chance to learn more about the good work that the Love Thy Self People did and an opportunity to meet the leader Mick, there was also no up-front charge for us. We were told the trip could be complementary in exchange for our “volunteerism” for the cause.

When we arrived at the ranch we were showered with a celebratory affair. There were balloons, food and music. There was large group of members there to welcome us too. I remember distinctively that they all had huge smiles on their face. They all appeared as if they were truly at the happiest place on Earth.

We thought we were just attending a relaxing weekend at a ranch to learn more about the culture of the Love Thy Self People. It was definitely that, but it was also a weekend long sales pitch for living at the ranch ourselves.

I beat myself up. Signs were everywhere that weekend and yet at the time I didn’t see any of them. I believed everyone when they sang the ranches praises and I gave everything the benefit of doubt without much question. They spoiled us and treated us like royalty that weekend. What I didn’t realize was that the members living there were tirelessly working to make sure everything was perfect for us. There was little to no consideration given to the members living there.

I do remember very briefly questioning this once to myself that weekend, and I came to the quick conclusion that hospitality must be the job around here. I even remember thinking that I could do that as well if I had too. It didn’t seem so bad to me. What I didn’t know until later was that their jobs were completely unpaid.

It was actually a pretty sad situation because I could have asked someone there how much they were getting paid and their response would have been something like, “We get paid pretty good.” I know this because I soon became one of them and the justification used was that we were in the presence of Mick and that he was providing us with food and shelter. This was considered not only enough compensation, but a great honor.

Their weekend sales pitch worked flawlessly for both Jeff and me. We agreed to move to the ranch in Wyoming and become what the organization called sacred members. Within a month, the organization had helped us both get out of our apartment leases and paid all of our moving expenses. We were both sitting in an auditorium on the ranch as Gloria from my first protest in DC entered the room to start off the new resident orientation. At that moment, the love bomb that they dropped to get us to move there had officially ended.

Share...
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
error: Content is protected !!