Marty Rathbun - Journey to Nowhere (continued) - Chilled to the Bone

Chilled to the bone, he screeched the motorcycle to a halt and tossed the keys to the first person he encountered—a young boy. 

That would not be the last of Rathbun’s self-centered, irresponsible actions. 

Again flouting all responsibility, he rented a car and headed north. His companion: a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila. 

It wasn’t long before a drunken Rathbun crashed the vehicle into a ditch—his only safety net a cell phone. 

Sobbing, and seeking help, he called the same Church staffers he had abused.  

After making a tearful confession, Rathbun was once again given another chance—an opportunity to return to the Church and reform his ways. 

He was even given the opportunity to pick a job that would help him heal. 

And so Rathbun began working a part-time schedule in the furniture mill at the Church’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. 

But after eleven months, he couldn’t even handle that.   

On December 12, 2004, just hours after he cocked a loaded fist just inches from his wife’s face, Rathbun, once again, was out the door—this time, never to return. 

In his grandiosity, Rathbun paid no heed to his wife, nor the members of  the Scientology community he had brutalized and who still had forgiven him. 

No, in that grandiosity, in that paralyzing obsession with self, the psychotic Rathbun saw the world as he always did—­­revolving around him and only him. 

Later, when he talked about his departure on that December Sunday he acted surprised, if not shocked, that no one was on hand to, perhaps, change his mind or to plead that he not leave. 

On that day Rathbun walked over to the Church carpentry shop where he had been working as a helper for the last six months. It was closed that Sunday morning. 

As he said: 

“And I walked over there at noon and there was nobody there. Uh, so I just decided to just keep on walking.” 

“Uh” —that’s the Rathbun who was baffled that he wasn’t met by an overflow crowd blowing trumpets and begging him to stay. 

And then, in a portent of things to come, Rathbun spent that day in a bar watching a football game and getting drunk with some “guy off the street.”   

In a period of less than 24 hours, that’s how much Marty Rathbun’s universe had changed. And now he was wallowing in a booze-fueled pity party and singing his sad songs to an audience of one, and a stranger at that. 

At that point in time, Marty Rathbun’s real universe was nothingness. 

That was his reality. 

But it was a reality that Rathbun would do anything not to see, even as he, drunk and reeking of beer, boarded a bus in Tampa early the next morning for points north. 

In the solitary cell of his mind, Rathbun would have people think he was “going to go hiking and get some space.”   

But that was just a facade. 

Inside, somewhere in that soulless cavern of his body, the infernal gears were already turning—focusing, relentlessly, on himself. 

And, on the revenge he would wreak on those whom he had already brutalized. That is if they didn’t come calling and take him back. 

And, thus, the “hiking,” or “getting some space,”  were excuses that Rathbun would use for himself, and, others he would seek to lure into his ever diminishing universe, a universe that, in time, would become a small cult—with Rathbun as its militia leader. 

But, the all-too-obvious reality—one experience by sane people—is that Rathbun was at the beginning of a journey to nowhere. 

But he could not—would not—see it. 

That was Marty Rathbun’s reality—anything to avoid seeing his own nothingness. 

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