We were in silly moods. Something called The Tension Experience sometimes seems to require a Release experience as well, and I think this was what that was. We were taking pictures, posting to Facebook, laughing, making fun of the people who were after us, who we had been warned were dangerous. And in the middle of that, my cell phone rang - No Caller ID. Everyone went completely silent.
I think Lauren spoke first and said "answer it! we're all here!" I just had NOT expected my phone to ring at that moment, surrounded by these people. I answered it and a voice on the other end whispered "Tomorrow....8pm...." before hanging up. So, that was definitely a change from the person who had called me so much on Saturday.
Tomorrow (Monday) came, and I heard nothing from anyone for most of the day. I was having dinner with one of my oldest, closest friends when I got another message from Aleister with only a zip code, directing me to be IN that zip code at 8:00. The zip was in Valley Village. Shortly after that message came another, this time Aleister telling me that he had intended to meet me himself but that Gatekeeper III was awake and suspicious, and he was sending someone in his place. I was saddened by this as I've talked a lot with Aleister and was looking forward to seeing him specifically. I had something I wanted to talk to him about...
Just before I went to dinner, another OOA apostle (and fellow beach goer from Sunday night) Melissa contacted me. I had given her the documents that were in the envelopes at Echo Park because one of them had a whole bunch of "redacted" text - crossed out extensively with sharpie marker. Melissa has access to forensic lab technology, and she had found what that text said. She believed it was pretty huge and would have a huge impact. We talked about it and decided that I would take it to Aleister that night, and that we would sit on it in the meantime. However, when Aleister decided not to meet me, I got nervous. I messaged him, asked him if he and I could still have a chat at least. While driving up to Valley Village, I had the maybe not-so-bright idea to Periscope my request to the rest of Tension. I found the World's Worst Starbucks and sat there with the World's Worst Chai, and got on Periscope. I just asked anyone watching it to try to get in touch with Aleister and let him know that I needed to talk to him that night. It worked because in minutes we were talking. Well, first, I had a couple of other non-Tension people contacting me trying to make sure I was ok, so I had to make sure they understood that I was fine and what was going on. Aleister wanted to know what I needed, but at that moment, my phone rang.
This was NOT a "No Caller ID" number but it was also not a number my phone recognized. I answered it, and it was Jake - another fellow OOA apostle who also had a scheduled Aleister meeting that night. He immediately began speaking and it was clear that he was actually *reading* a text to me, and that he wasn't going to be taking any questions on this. He sped through it, and the gist of it was that he had been involved with the Tension Experience from the beginning, and he was sorry. He told me that the meeting was at the Foxfire Room. He advised me to not attend the meeting I was about to attend. He advised me not to drink what they put in front of me. Which, you know, I wouldn't be doing if I wasn't attending the meeting per his advice. But ok. Go with it. He hangs up and I get in my car.
Aleister still wants to know what I need and I tell him I'm on my way to this meeting, Jake has warned me not to go, and that I wanted to talk to him after. But he was pretty insistent that I tell him *what* it was about now, so I asked, "did you mean for me to find that text?" "Nothing is random," he replied. He told me to tell the person I was meeting "what needs telling," and to Periscope after the meeting. It was really weird, and open ended.
I walked into this bar - which, as it turns out, is a bar that was in Magnolia, but all I saw was "seedy strip mall bar where Megan does not belong." There are a million and one reasons why everything that happened in the next 20 minutes had me extremely uncomfortable, and I don't think any of them were intentional. And I also don't think they should be discussed in this particular blog post but in a part 3 of the weekend (this weekend had many parts). What I can say is - the environment put me ill at ease, walking in alone, looking around for someone I didn't know and feeling REALLY conspicuous and just wanting to turn around and leave...I made myself push through this because I wanted this adventure more than anything. But it wasn't easy. I was approached by a man ("what did he look like?" "like a man." "like an old man? used car salesman man?" "I don't know. a normal man. not fat. not thin. just normal. he wore a shirt. he was a man.") who asked if I was Megan.
(Those of you who know me well - Travis, Becky & Stacy if you're reading, Erica - sit down and cringe with me through this next part, because I know you know that this was NOT something that I would be ok enduring.)
The Man told me to go to the bar and get a drink, and rejoin him at the corner table in two minutes.
I told him I was fine and didn't need a drink. This wasn't because of the "do not drink" warning Jake gave me earlier, but because I didn't want a drink. But he just looked at me, and repeated himself and so, fine. HOMEWORK: I need a list of drinks one orders in a bar such as this that I might be ok actually drinking, just in case I'm ever in this bizarre situation ever, ever again.
I got my drink (the worst amaretto sour I've ever had) and sat down. Then I stood up and sat down again, closer to the Man, because I couldn't hear him very well from across the table. He asked me why I was there, but I didn't feel like I was giving any correct answer - "why are you here?" "because I was supposed to meet someone else here, and he told me to meet you instead." "why are you here?" "because someone I trust sent me here." "why are you here." I have no idea. Why don't you tell me. Or give me the script.
Now, the rest of this - I'm not certain what order it happened in. I'll break it out into bullet points, and you can move those into whatever order makes the most sense to you.
- He got a shot of tequila and put it in front of me, told me to drink. I said no. He said he wasn't going to talk until I did. I asked why. He said he didn't trust me. I started to ask about the correlation between me drinking this and trust but he asked why would I not drink? "Because it's 2016, I'm a woman, and I'm not stupid." He insisted, no drinking, no talking. Fine. Hey, free tequila. I didn't honestly for one minute believe something was wrong with the drink. I drank. It was way better than my amaretto sour and calmed me down a bit.
- He wanted to know what I thought of the OOA - the group we were all involved in. I was honest. I decided in my head that Aleister trusts this man, told me to tell him "what needs telling," so I tried to. I said I belived they were a dangerous cult. I said I was there trying to figure things out, trying to learn what was going on. I said I had some information. "Information?" he said. Yes, I had information that described cult-like practices of the OOA. Then, for some reason, he told me to go over to the bartender and get her to sign up. This made NO sense to me - why would I make the bartender sign up for something I thought was dangerous? Also, that was beyond the limits of what I was willing to do, because it involved someone who wasn't involved, as far as I knew in the moment. Again, more on this, my gut reaction to it, the reasoning behind it, in a future installment. He told me to do it one more time and to be honest I'm getting pretty tired of this guy telling me what to do. I flat out refused, and told him I was not going to do it.
- He told me he wanted to tell me his story but first I had to do something for him. He pulled an envelope out of his pocket and told me to call the number on the back of the envelope. When either a person answered or voice mail picked up, I was to open the envelope and read the contents, then hang up. Of course - OF COURSE - I dialed the wrong number. Because this is my life. Thankfully no one answered. I called the RIGHT number and got Sean's voice mail - Sean being ANOTHER of the OOA apostles and friends I've met. Sean was nice enough to transcribe it for me: "Sean, I have some crazy information about who and what the OOA really is. When you look back, it was always there. They are trying to gather up all of our vulnerabilities, and they know yours. Sean, I am looking at a file of you right now. The things in here… I need you to listen. They have marked you. They are going to– ((END OF VOICEMAIL))" Having done that, he told me his story about getting involved with the OOA, about how the OOA uses people in the entertainment industry, about how they are dangerous and I should leave.
- Oh - and at some point, for some reason during this he decided I had to change seats. He wanted me to sit with my back to the rest of the bar. Guess what? I didn't want to! But I did because I was tired. Like I said, nothing, NOTHING about this experience didn't push every goddamn Megan-button that exists.
- And then suddenly, he decided the meeting was over. He seemed to see someone beyond my shoulder - I turned around, he yelled at me not to. Told me I had to leave. I said "ok...so...are we done?" He said yes. I left. Drove home.
The ending of the night was a bit of a downer. I get home and catch Terami up on my adventures of the evening. When I go to return Sean's call, I see that there are a bunch of messages on Facebook from Aleister. As it turned out, had I gone to talk to the bartender, she would have taken me to meet him. He said he was "heartbroken" and that it was a "missed opportunity," but that it would not be our last and we would meet next time. I was SUPER crushed at this. He reassured me that there were no wrong choices but I really felt like the discomfort I felt in the situation - my own issue - was what caused this to happen. He even tried to cheer me up with a picture of a cute animal, but it wasn't working. I hope he gets in touch again soon.
After all of that, not having really been able to ask Aleister the questions about the redacted text that I wanted to ask, not really having had a conversation with the Man about it either, the text was posted on the forums. My concern is that it being out there - Aleister having had a hand in getting it to me and encouraging it being brought to light - will have consequences for him. Possibly for me as well.
(Right now, the consequences for me appear to be in tornado form, as I was supposed to be home in Minnesota with my cats by now but instead I am stuck in Kansas City while weather happens up north. I blame the OOA. Oh yes.)