Please keep in mind that this is a draft and will likely undergo significant changes in the future.
Below you will find the first chapter of my upcoming book Cultworld. I hope to have the first draft completed in one month and have it published before the end of this summer.
Chapter 1: On the Hunt for the One True Cult
“You’re actually in a pretty good position man,” the Brazilian cop told me.
The shiny silver handcuffs rattled in my lap. The brand name Invictus was stamped on the left cuff and there were small, notched keyholes in both.
No key in sight.
The large grey building full of windows which comprised the federal police headquarters in Boa Vista, Brazil whizzed by the police SUV’s windows as rain started to fall.
The cop, Felipe, checked Whatsapp on his cell phone.
Henley’s poem popped up, rising vaguely somewhere from pit to pole in my dark subconscious:
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Two police officers in the front talked in low tones and two sat in the back with me, one sheepish redhead in a military tactical vest and shaven-headed, tall Felipe in plainclothes with a shield badge hanging from his neck on a long chain.
I’d previously been in the back of the vehicle in a separate raccoon-cage looking compartment sitting on a detachable seat pad attached by Velcro.
Hot air was blasted in from two side vents, supposedly air conditioning, although you could have told me it was a new geothermal wind energy project and I would have believed you.
Thankfully I had now been allowed to sit in the vehicle after a pat-down and agreeing to be handcuffed following the collection of my belongings from my Airbnb under close supervision.
“We don’t want to treat you like a criminal,” the other officer had assured me back at headquarters.
“No, don’t worry, bro. You’re living the dream. You’re 36, single, not tied down. You really are in a good position, you’ll see that one day,” Felipe said. “And you’re gonna remember me saying that, too,” he added.
You’re actually in a pretty good position, man…You’re single...Not tied down...Living the dream.
Pretty good position...Living the dream...Not tied down...
I couldn’t resist Felipe’s comment.
I swore under my breath and launched into another invective-laced, bitter tirade.
The victim narrative loomed and swole up with pride roaring with release and fury like Mohammad Ali’s standing over Sonny Liston after the knockout punch.
Felipe winced and winked, shaking his head a little bit.
“No man, no. Trust me. You’re good.”
The guys in front ignored me studiously.
They’d clearly seen a lot worse. I was barely even on the radar, although my large hunting knife had been confiscated back at headquarters after I’d chucked my phone and passport against the wall and started raging.
We weaved onto the road, pedal to the metal like a NASCAR racer and the driver toggled the siren for a few seconds, passing multiple vehicles every few seconds.
Welcome to the rodeo.
In my time covering religion and what some would consider cults - political, ethnic, ideological and theological - around the world, I’ve had some interesting experiences.
I also had time to peer through the near hysteria of my wanderlust to ask what I was looking for. The answer was obvious: I was searching for belonging and a sense of meaning.
The true faith, the straight path, the shamanic jackpot, philosophical perfection, the credo to end all credos.
I was on the hunt for the one true cult. And I’m pleased to report that I’ve found it.
But I’ll get to that a bit later.
Hopefully your literary appetite for non-fiction is now whetted. Here’s a list of my book’s chapters as well. I hope I can resist the temptations of Mexico and keep working on this because I want to complete it in the next few months.