Reliable Source

Reliable Source: On the Oregon Trail to Crazytown

Marion Cox | 9 Jan 2010 10:00
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"Thanks for seeing me on short notice," I said hoping that my politeness would cover the distinct smell that I had developed while on the road. "Please explain your church to me as if I was a journalist who didn't do any research before the interview."

He smiled at the question. Did he know something? It really creeped me out. "I'm happy to explain it to you. Is there anything specifically you want to know?" he asked.

I hadn't expected a counter question. The truth was, I didn't know a damned thing about this guy's faith or why I was even here. I suspected videogames were involved, so I said the first thing that popped into my head. "So, did you play MW2?" I asked hesitantly, hoping that his face would give me a clue as to what I was supposed to ask next. From his furrowed brow, I could tell immediately that I'd asked the wrong question. His face showed that he was about to answer angrily, but I preempted him with another question.

"Uh, can you tell me about the church's founders?"

"My father had shown a lot of psychic potential and my grandfather decided it was time to turn it into a business. He and my father worked for the police department in Gary, Indiana as a psychic crime solving team until it was later discovered that each person he'd help to convict turned out to be innocent. That scandal landed my father in the same jail that he'd once filled. While he was in prison, though, he met and charmed the warden's daughter, who later helped him escape to Minnesota where, under state law at the time, you could marry one woman and/or pack animal of your choice to be absolved of all crimes."

Whether it was his dull monotone or the relative lack of sleep I'd gotten over the last month, I found myself sinking into the surprisingly comfy chair. Huh, wouldn't have expected that.

"My father took a job as an educational software developer in Minnesota until he was the first white man to contract smallpox since 1879. During that illness, he dreamt of the Antromacesummarish people. He emerged from his sickroom claiming that he had been visited by the spirits of people who had come to America thousands of years before the first Europeans. The ghosts of these ancestors bestowed 20 eight-inch floppy disks made of solid gold unto my father, John Smith. And though his wife and friends never actually saw the disks, John asserted that they were the word of God and began transcribing them.

"He locked himself in his study for two weeks and emerged with a disk of fully compiled code which turned out to be a sort of a road map to the Promised Land. He released the program for free to public schools and colleges, and many former students, smitten by his charismatic nature, flocked to his church. He told them he was looking for the Promised Land known as," he paused dramatically, "Oregon.

"Hey! Are you sleeping?"

I sat up in my chair, suddenly aware that my butt had begun to ooze out of it and I had probably closed my eyes for a few seconds. I blearily stammered, "No, it's a rare condition called..." I searched for something that sounded like a disease, "Pokémon. I was bitten by rabid charizard when I was serving in the Team Rocket Corps of America and have had a bad case of the Pokémons for the last few years. Do you want to see them?"

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