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My Life With the Kill Jill Cult

My Life With the Kill Jill Cult

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Published by Brian K. Henry
Cult living is not all it's cracked up to be.
Cult living is not all it's cracked up to be.

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Published by: Brian K. Henry on Dec 02, 2011
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02/28/2013

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My Life with the Kill Jill CultMornings in the cult started early. If you didn’t get up in time, all the good bagelswould be gone. And the flavored cream cheese, like the blueberry type I liked, would beused up because Janice, the one who usually had bagel duty, only ever bought one tub of it, even though everyone liked it the best.Breakfast was served in the stripped down kitchen with the dingy, peelingwallpaper. In addition to bagels, there was usually some juice. Whatever was on sale atthe Marrow Family Market down the street – grapefruit, apple or sometimes the fruit punch, which was pretty gross and too sugary.After breakfast, the cult members would typically gather in the backyard. It was a pretty private backyard, which is important in a cult house. You don’t want random people seeing what all the cult members are doing in the backyard. Next thing you know,they contact the media and you have crazy cult member wannabes hanging around.This yard had a couple high concrete walls and a chain link fence on one side thatwas covered over pretty well with vines. The problem was this chain link fence was onlyabout seven feet high. So some of the neighbors on that side could look over if theyreally wanted to and stood on a table or a chair or something. We had to be careful, if wewere going to do anything extremely cultish, to hang some tarp from the tree on that sideof the yard.But usually our morning routine didn’t require so much secrecy. Darryl, our ‘charismatic leader’, would come out on the concrete-slab of a patio and blow his whistleto command attention. Darryl was a decent leader, as cult leaders go, but he was severelylacking in the charisma department. That’s why I put the phrase charismatic leader inquotes just now.For one thing, he didn’t have that commanding, theatrical voice that so manynatural, true charismatic leaders possess. You know, that room filling, sonorous tone.Sort of like the guy who does the Darth Vader voice. Instead, he had this kind of scratchy, low-volume voice. That’s why he needed the whistle to get everyone’sattention. It also didn’t help that he had some bad facial scars due to severe acne problems in adolescence. While that maybe added to his cultish rage, it didn’t do muchfor the charisma factor. And then there were the clothes. Darryl usually wore some kindof thrift store, JC Penney-style, plaid, long-sleeve shirt and loose, unflattering jeans. Hecould’ve used a sharp jacket, or some cult jump suit, if you want my opinion.But, you had to give the guy credit. Even though he didn’t fit the usual bill of acult leader, he worked hard at the job. He was good at some things through sheer effortand stubbornness. For instance, he had a pretty good piercing gaze he could basicallysilence anyone with. He’d gotten this down to a science over years of staring at his petcat and neighborhood children. Another good quality he had was a fiery temper thatcould break out in random, unexpected flares of violence. This was very effective, sinceit always had the effect of intimidating cult members who got out of line, especially newmembers who’d never seen Darryl flare up before. Although usually the violence wasn’tvery serious, but something more like throwing a half-eaten piece of cake on the floor or ripping an old curtain off a bedroom window.Our usual backyard routine started with Darryl’s morning pep talk. He didn’treally call it a pep talk, since that didn’t have a very cultish sound, but that’s what it
 
 boiled down to. He gave some reminders of our purpose in the cult, and shout outs tomembers who’d accomplished something in the last couple days. This could be any kindof accomplishment, such as posting an especially creepy blog entry, cleaning out therefrigerator or writing a poem that praised Darryl’s more admirable qualities. Then therewas a sort of physical routine we did that was a mixture of yoga, tai chi and some lessstrenuous moves Darryl developed on his own through a close study of dogs and greysquirrels. Finally, there was a berating, where Darryl called out a member withunsatisfactory performance and publicly berated them for their shortcomings in front of the entire assembly. Some people took pictures during this part and posted the photos ontheir Facebook page, which always made it even more humiliating.Anyway, you’re probably wondering why I left the Kill Jill Cult. Frankly, I wastired of the cult never living up to its ambitions. We had these grandiose plans that luredme into the cult to murder Jill Burroughs, but they never really amounted to anything.We’d get a few steps done: like filling out a diary of Jill’s movements, takingsurveillance photos of her at the Super Walmart parking lot and, one time, stealing her mail. But somehow it never added up to a real assassination plot. The whole glory andthe purpose of the Kill Jill cult was supposed to center on doing away with JillBurroughs, but it never seemed to come closer. Part of me thinks that Darryl just didn’thave his heart in it.Jill was this middle-aged lady that was pretty much the most annoying woman intown, hands down. She’d done something to personally alienate everyone who joined thecult. A lot of us had tried getting jobs at her market, with the so-called ‘organic’ produceand all, and been turned down before she even looked at our applications. She also was afanatic about coming down hard on skateboarders and BMX bikers who practiced trickson the sidewalk down from her store. They might’ve practiced a few times in her store parking lot too, but it was usually empty anyway. So who’d care?Just the sight of her, with her clomping, tree-trunk legs, mottled, make-up-freeface and old-fashioned blanket-shaped dresses was enough to turn most people’sstomachs. I saw her almost every day, standing there with her hands on her stupid hips infront of her store, and it just made me burn with impatience we never did anything aboutit.One night, Darryl was a little out of control on a Coors Light bender and was realfull of himself, you know. He was going out about how “tomorrow we do it, tomorrow’sthe night Jill Burroughs gets what’s coming too her.” He ripped some photos from theJill surveillance scrapbook and pins them up on the wall, then he draws these red target-type circles around them, right? Then he starts writing plans, directions. Telling Martyhe’s gotta stake out Jill’s apartment. Holding his beer can like the rolling pin and tellingJung Ho, look, here’s how you come up behind her, creeping up when she’s locking thestorage shed.Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I put down my rum-and-Pepsi and Icalled bullshit. I was, like, ‘Darryl, we’re not gonna kill anyone. You sit here and talk a big game every time you’ve had few too many brews. Then it’s all talk, talk, talk. Well,how about some goddamn action?’He looks at me, you know with that great gaze like I said he has. And he’s like,“Yeah, you wanna try me out? Jung Ho, get that rolling pin right now.”

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Joe Hagen added this note
That was a fun read. I've already enjoyed many of your space Command stories, although I don't have a kindle so have to read it off the computer. One day I'll take the plunge, download it from Amazon and finish it. You're very clever with your writing. Thanks for posting!
Brian K. Henry liked this
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