Pay No Mind

“Hi! Could we tempt you with some delicious bars?” It’s 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, and my sister and I are at the Minneapolis Church of Scientology. We’ve been standing at the entryway for two minutes now, completely paralyzed. Our secret plan is definitely not working—these people cannot be bought by conventional means.

“Okay. If you don’t want any bars, can I ask you a few questions?” The middle-aged guy standing in front of me is named Dan. He’s wearing a tight yellow polo shirt. He’s the resident Scientologist on staff, and he doesn’t like sugar.

“Of course,” Dan says enthusiastically. He motions us inside. In our outstretched arms, we’re both still holding baking tins full of chocolate-coconut bars made by my sister’s neighbor Barb: Barb’s bars!

“Yeah, coooool,” I say, twisting the tin like a steering wheel, preparing to unload my spiel: “So, hey, have you heard Beck’s new album? I was going to stand outside and play it, but I couldn’t find a boom box. I brought these bars instead.”

“Oh, wait… are you here for the Sunday service?” Dan asks.

“Well, no, I just wanted to ask you some questions about Beck for a story I’m writing. Because, you know, Beck is a Scientologist and I think people are curious about that.”

Dan frowns and tilts his head. “Who’s Beck?”