"They changed me Billy, that's what the Prophet Solomon can do!"
Billy looked sceptically at his cousin Ben, who had joined the Eternal Family of Prophet Solomon about a year before that fateful evening.
It was the evening that Billy had come home drunk, and the childhood of witnessing the abusive palms and fists his father had laid onto his mother's
face exploded into rage, as the confrontation about "noise" with the old man turned violent ... then the police were called by his parents, and he
spent a day in jail, only to hear that the charges were dropped, but he was also homeless.
His mother sided with her abusive husband, and in the last phone conversation Billy had with her from the cells, she just managed to whisper: "I love
you Billy - but Billy, please don't come home again."
Then the line went dead.
When Billy was released from jail a cop said his mom had dropped off a bag, which had some clothes, toiletries, his wallet with documents, and a thin
wad of cash.
The only number that Billy had was that of his cousin, who told him enthusiastically to "come on over."
Billy took a bus, and then Ben and another young dude named Tim came in a car and picked him up at the terminal. They drove for what seemed like ages
into rural fields, and eventually over gravel roads, until they reached a farm-house and some caravans.
Now Billy faced his cousin after a week of being starved and locked up in a man-sized metal box that was freezing by night, and sweltering in the heat
by day, and was labelled in red ink above the door: "The Hole of the Humble."
"This is a cult Ben - we are in a cult, and we need to get out."
Billy could no longer tell how long he had been in this place.
When he first came it seemed like a good place to clear his head and do some kind of penance, since the people here were always talking in Biblical
It seemed restrictive, yet "spiritual". They bought and sold flowers and trinkets in town, or so they first told him - but back then they just wanted
him to rest. He slept with some other guys in the trailer upon the evening of his arrival, and the next morning at dawn everybody gathered in the
house as the "holy father" or "Prophet Solomon" entered the room before the 40 or so young people. The men sat on the right, and the women to the left
on plastic chairs, and The Prophet spoke from a small stage and wooden podium. The Prophet was a rather unimpressive bearded and balding white man,
paunchy and middle-aged - and as far as Billy's nose could tell, he always arrived with an aroma of body odor and whiskey. Billy's first glance was to
the female side of the congregation, where he noticed a young lady with long loose red hair, and she briefly met his gaze and then cast her eyes back
to the Prophet.
"What's her name?" Billy asked Ben, who was seated beside him.
"Her name's Shelly, now pipe down Billy, the prophet's gonna start."
And then the prophet began preaching. Billy didn't care about the sermon at first. He'd never cared much about religion. Instead he turned and took
stock of these people whenever it seemed less obvious, and he noticed how his cousin would unwittingly stare at Tim. It then struck Billy that Ben was
gay. However, the sermon continued for hours, and towards the twilight of evening Billy was sobbing and begging The Prophet for forgiveness as
everybody in the congregation began to stand and confess their transgressions to emotional music, and at first Billy felt somehow released and joyful.
The supper of a boiled potato and what looked like sandy spinach felt like the best meal he had ever had, although it was his glances at Shelly across
the room at the women's table that seemed to really keep senses sharp.
However things did not continue as promising as they began. Prophet Solomon questioned Billy on a number of issues, but by that time Billy was so
tired all the time that it all seemed like a blur. At first he was considered a young man that was called by God himself to walk with the prophet - a
soldier for the Word with unlimited potential He could even go for short walks with Shelly, who first seemed quiet and giggly, but on the third
evening she suddenly broke down sobbed: "Get out of here Billy, we cannot be together, I'm engaged to the prophet."
Then she ran off back towards the compound.
Billy often saw people locked into the Humbling House, especially Tim and Ben, but they insisted it helped them, and that it was a way to "improve
yourself". Shelly stayed away from him, but at one point she had a black eye, and Billy knew a shiner when he saw one, although the others laughed it
off and claimed she "fell". Then Billy had to start selling flowers. He stood by a gas-station for 10 hours and sold nothing. The prophet decided he
should go to the Hole of the Humble for "time out" because his attitude was wrong.
Billy lost track of time inside that box, and when he came out Ben and Shelly stood there smiling, as if he should laugh it all off too. Shelly told
him that his mom was sick with worry and causing problems, and they must phone her, and he must tell her he's fine, because she thinks he's been
kidnapped. Billy felt a rush of energy as he realized that he might have been forgiven, and home seemed so close. They gave him a meal and the prophet
personally gave him a cola and cookies, with reassurances on how well he had done with his spiritual growth. Then he was given a mobile phone and made
to stand on the podium before the prophet and the entire congregation. His mother answered the call: "Billy, oh my God Billy are you OK? Billy it's
OK, just come home now. We've discussed it and decided you must come home."
Billy bit his lips and said: "I'm OK mom ... I'm happy here ... mom, you betrayed me."
With that the prophet grabbed the phone, and ended the call.
Something in Billy broke, and the prophet drew his flock into a jubilant sermon on how Jesus denied His family and came to bring a "holy sword" to
chop up families.
After that the prophet and the cult played Billy like a fiddle, and that's how we get to Billy's umpteenth session of being let out of the Hole of the
Humble (he was never good at selling flowers), when something went clear and he confronted his cousin.
Ben reassured Billy: "Dude, this not a cult - do you see weird clothes and chants and children being abused? Prophet Solomon is a good father, he's
good to you Billy. Don't cry like a girl about a bit of discipline."
Then Ben told Billy that the prophet was planning a film-shoot for his new Internet and video distribution "network." Ben explained that it would be
film-making skills to put on your CV, together with the flower-selling, and that the prophet always did things for a beneficial reason.
Billy was no longer convinced, but the long gravel road on foot meant he had no choice for now.
He was led into a room, where Solomon sat between spotlights and a camera, like some great director between cheap gadgets.
A rifle lay beside his chair.
Ben, Billy and Shelly were shoved before the camera by some goons, and then the door was shut, and they were left at the mercy of a madman with a
First Solomon told them he was making a warning clip against homosexuality, and that Tim and Ben should show him how wrong it was for a man to lie
with a man like with a woman. It was nothing dirty, just how small sins like lying together with clothes, or non-spiritual dancing led to big sins.
edit on 4-5-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)