The Instructor gave me his permission to go to the Office of Certs and Awards and attest to checkout on the tapes, bulletins and demos. Certs put the date on my checksheet and gave me a certificate qualifying me to begin the practical drills, many of which were repeats from the Dianetics Course in New York. I found a partner, a Southerner named Jim Fergus, and we sat facing each other to do TR-0, which was simply to look at each other and be there.
When we got to bull-baiting, I broke Jim up by mispronouncing his name in various dialects. He on the other hand couldn't make me laugh; I was in far too serious a mood. I began to feel sorry for him.
"Do birds flah?" he intoned for the twentieth time in his East Texas drawl.
"No," I responded.
"All right. Do fish swi-yum?" Suddenly with cheeks sucked in, lips quivering and eyes bulging out, he thrust his face near me. Gill-like lines appeared at the corners of his mouth. "Ah'll repeat the auditing question. Do fish swi-yum?"
I started to gasp. "Do fish swim?" echoed students from nearby tables. They began to drift over to me. Soon I was surrounded by a sea of gulping mouths and bugging eyes.
"Stop it, Jim. You win!" I choked, as I gave in to the relieving laughter erupting from my stomach.
That night at the manor, I asked Edward Douglas, who was famous for his TR-0, to coach me. Edward took me into his room and closed the door. I helped him move books, lamps and suitcases around to get table and chairs into auditing position. Edward plodded about the room for another several minutes getting things just right, his roundish elfin features set in a sober expression. Next he scrupulously adjusted his E-meter; the meter was not used in the drill but gave it the feel of an actual auditing session.
Edward did not bull-bait, but focused on keeping me alert and in quiet ARC with him. "Flunk for confronting me with your left ear," he said at one point. "Flunk for letting your being leave this room." I asked him what these corrections meant. He explained that he had perceived my attention straying to a part of my body or to some other time and place, and he wanted to make me aware of it. "Misattention comes from the bank," he said. "TR-0 pulls you into present time. Oy must see that you confront me with yourself and with nothing else.
Jim Fergus missed his family, was in a big hurry to finish Solo Audit, and wasn't getting much sleep either, he confided. We agreed to meet each night and on the weekend, hitching rides to the Hill for our get-togethers if necessary.
Both of us were familiar with some of the E-meter drills. It was annoying to have to repeat #1, the title of which, "Touch and Let Go of the E-meter," strongly suggested its tediousness. #2, "E-meter Familiarization," was a long series of coach's commands to move the various knobs on the device, repeated until the trainee executed flawlessly. We spent an hour on a drill in which the coach playing the preclear yawned, stretched, squirmed, changed his grip on the tin cans and shifted his feet -- its purpose to teach us to distinguish body reads from bank reads.
A read was defined as any change in needle action -- a stationary needle starting to move, or a moving needle changing direction or speed. Eighteen types of needle action were listed: Stuck, Null, Fall, Change of Characteristic, Rise, Theta Bop, Rock Slam, Free Needle, Stage Four, Rocket Read, Clean Needle, Dirty Needle, Tick, Speeded Rise, Speeded Fall, Slowed Rise, Slowed Fall, Stopped. These were largely related to aberrations stemming from the preclear's bank:
A Fall: Losses, lies, present time problems, locks, and disagreements with a reality.
A Rise: Non-confront, an ARC break, restimulation, unreality, out-of-sessionness, fear, irresponsibility, identification, elsewhereness, dispersal, and confusion.
A Stuck Needle: Betrayal, anger, stopped or stopping, hate, fixed attention, failed help, refused help, terror, and failure.
A Theta Bop: Exteriorizations, operations, desires to leave anything, violent injuries, and shocks.
A Rock Slam: The consideration of committing overts.
No Reaction: Anything which has been destimulated or discharged or which is inert.
A Change of Characteristic: Any of the above.
A Free Needle. Demonstrated by elimination. If the student auditor has been able to produce any of the above need actions, then the needle was not a free needle.
Withholds or charge on an item caused a network of tiny stitches on the dial known as a dirty needle. If a dirty needle wasn't cleaned, it rose slowly towards the left on its dial, requiring tone-arm knob adjustments to the right to center it; hence, the tone-arm needle also rose, passing 4 and 5 on its own dial , until the "read" needle stuck rigidly or pulsated in minuscule tics like a throbbing nerve-ending.
If instead the large needle veered to the extreme right as though pulling itself off its dial, a load of charge had just blown from the bank. An adjustment of the tone-arm knob, now to the left, centered the needle again. The concomitant leftward movement of the tome-arm needle was called a blowdown.
Through their absorption in the data on meter reads, tone-arm and charge, the students soon learned to identify their own and other people's mental/spiritual state with what the E-meter told them.
To produce reads, the coach went down lists provided in The Book of E-Meter Drills, one of which contained Scientology terms and organizational titles. Hubbard and his wife, Mary Sue, were on the list.
There were also list of countries, trees, fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, animals, musical instruments, nonsense phrases and creatures such as "tarantula," "silverfish," "octopus," "hookworm," and the "elephant's-trunk snake." That last item provoked me. I doubted the existence of such a creature, but got a big read when Jim Fergus read it off to me in his amiable drawl.
The final meter drill was called Track Dating. One of us would write a date and time on a slip and hold the tin cans. The other then asked questions dealing with increasingly smaller "orders of magnitude" until by spotting reads he arrived at the date and time noted on the slip, down to the second. The drill was designed for past lifetimes. The dates we used were in the hundreds of trillions of years ago.
During lunch break I noticed a man without a nameplate standing near the Castle. When I reminded him of the rule, he said, "I don't attend here. I'm just waiting for my mother to leave her class." I said nothing more and went to the canteen. I had hesitated before turning away from him, although I didn't think anyone was watching us. Was this out of a sense of duty, or a fear of punishment? I wasn't sure. I touched my own nameplate. I had worn it faithfully for several weeks. Something was happening to me, but there was no time to think about it. I'd be leaving soon anyway.