It was Christmas. Phoebe was home from college, where her third semester had been as expected, except for that one thing she had on her mind. As she, now after her mom's last wedding had a very stepfather, who was sort of very harsh and strict about religion, she waited until he was out for a while, before speaking to her mom about it. Her mother's two younger children were at the time also out with the youngest's father.
“It's a semi-Christian and semi-pagan thing,” she told her. “They practice something which is a bit, only, like speaking in tongues, but which is also into sort of being a language on its own! It's almost unchristian, I say, but no they do realize Christ's worthiness in their sentences!”
“Who is it that told you about it?”
“Oh, it's that half-Aborigine girl, Christine,” Phoebe answered.
“Oh,” her mother said. “So it's an Aborigine cunning that it's about?”
”No, it's a Nordic cult,” Phoebe said to her mother, who responded by looking at her with a grin about her own heritage from that part of the world.
“I see,” she mused. “That could mean that we also could become part of that secret cult, then, right?”
“I think we might be able to, if we learn what they are doing with their rune alphabet and stuff!”
“Why is that?”
“It's because that's what they use for that type of reasoning! It's by associating to the rune meaning of a sound that they do it!”
“Oh! But then there are also other ancient alphabets that associate each sounds with one meaning - or at least I think there are. So I'm not too sure that this was totally into something so fantastic.”
“Perhaps, mom, but then again they are into smart stuff about how to make secondary and tertiary associations - and by the way, they were also very much into our own Latin alphabet, and like old Hebrew - or something - interpretations of its sounds.”
Phoebe's mom looked thoughtful. After a while she asked: “How can we be sure their not into anything as hazardous as that other cult, the one with the God-is-sex attitude among its superiors, and the (even more horrible!) semi-satanism among its inferiors?!”
“I can be sure!” Phoebe retorted. “It's not about satanism, it's about pagan worship, but at it's best. They're not satanists, and not very much into being too sexual.”
Her mother giggled a little. “How can you be sure about it?” she insisted.
Phoebe sighed. “Oh mother! I guess I can't be sure if it's in that sense it has to be! But I can be certain that they haven't been into not having a Christ there, and they're also into like warning about those other cults, for example the one you meant, mom!”
But her mother giggled once more and then said: “We aught to actually watch out about them anyway! Besides, I don't think we need to be into anything that anyone else could believe is not really much into Christianity like us!
“Mom, why do you feel that we are into it?! I mean we just go there almost every Sunday. It's not like we pray anymore than what the others around us there do!”
“That's exactly what I'm saying. Some of them pray even better than I do, not to mention you or your stepdad! You don't want those people to be praying against us rather than for our benefit, do you?”
Phoebe sighed. “Mom, it's not much smarter to pray all the time than to get into stuff like this, and then to alternate that with the prayers we're used to!”
Her mother smiled at this. “Well,” she said at last, “it's not we who are into not praying, and thereby there's a perhaps to that we can actually look into the possibilities of doing that kind of a thing! But I'm really not too sure about what your father will say about it! He might be really opposed to even giving it a chance! He's very much a man to stand for his ideals as much as he can, and although he doesn't feel like praying as much as I do, he still feels that it's Christ who is that only resurrection, and that that's the way things really aught to continue being!”
Phoebe looked relieved, even though she thought about her stepdad as someone who might possibly pose a threat to her new interest. “I feel,” she said, “that it's he and not I, nor even you I suppose, who are as stuck up as that! Can't we, mom, just tell him to look into it? I mean don't you feel certain that he will find them - at least potentially - good enough for even our family to look into?”
Her mother giggled, this time with an edge of impertinence to her. “Please don't speak as if looking into something was about being into that other people should be hoping to look into it too!”
“Please! Don't be sarcastic!” Phoebe retorted.
“I won't be if you admit that you're wrong in repeating my expression more than one time when you answer me - at least if you don't have anything really constructive to say with it!”
Again, Phoebe sighed. “ Oh, OK, mom, I won't!”
With that they ended the conversation for the time being.
Phoebe's stepfather looked astonished, and tried not to even speak to his daughter for a while. Instead he looked at his wife and asked her “Linda, why do you feel even that it makes any sense at all to go visit one of their meetings, when they're clearly into being pagan!?”
“Harold, there's nothing too bad about them, actually! It's guaranteed to be into Christ in some ways! Isn't that so Phoebe?!”
“Yes,” their daughter responded. “They're very much into being about Christ with their way of talking their smart kind of gibberish.”
Phoebe's half-sister, who was only five, broke in and said: “Then why do they try to speak other normal. I mean we can speak Christian! They can speak nonsense!”
“It's not nonsense! I have seen them converse very smartly about a college course assignment, which they readily solved more fluently than I, by speaking that way!”
Her eleven years old half-brother looked at her. “Really?” he asked.
“Yeah, really, Joe!” she answered.
Joe looked thoughtful for a while, then he said: “Wish I could see that! Are there any such people around here whom I could perhaps check out?”
“Yeah, there is someone. I know one girl from my Spanish class in college, who lives fairly close to here. But she's not very skilled at what they're doing, I think.”
“Do you think ... ah, ... Is it possible for me (or us, I guess) to go visit her, and check that out anyway?”
“In fact it might be. We did become a little friendly, and really I do have her address, even. ... But it's not at all a safe bet that you're welcome as well as me!”
“Oh! Come on sis! I wouldn't be that much of a nuisance! Actually, I think we should go there like immediately - or just I, perhaps! Or is it like you want to sort out some, or so, about her with me first?”
Phoebe laughed a little before answering: “yeah, I guess we could go there right away; but I also could wait for a few years, and then you'll find out from for example me what they're like!”
He looked stubborn. “I feel we could go there immediately, and that there's not an excuse for pretending there's a reason to stay away from it!”
Their stepfather studied him for a while. At last he decided to say something that was also to Phoebe: “I think you two could very easily go there and just ask. It's not really about trying to be part of it or anything, which I think you should emphasize. I dare say that when you come back you won't find it to be anything but anti-Christian, and that you'll thereby not try to speed up your language the way those people are!”
Phoebe called to see if here friend was there, which she was. She asked if she was OK with a visit, and got the answer that she was. So when the supper was finished they both grabbed their bikes and went to her place.
The Visit to Christine
At about half past seven Joe and Phoebe arrived at a small house just outside of their village where they and their family dwelled. A young woman opened. “Oh, hi Phoebe!” she burst out. Then she looked at her brother. “Who's that?”
“It's my brother Joe. ... I apologize for bringing him with me. It's just that he very much wanted to see that smart smart way of speaking, and I hoped that you might be the one to show him. I mean there's no else one I know around here who knows any of it!”
Christine thought for a while. “Well, how do you mean that I should show him? It takes two people to have a conversation and just one person saying something wouldn't prove anything, would it?!”
A bit nonplussed by this, Phoebe admitted that she hadn't really thought about that, but that she meant that somehow she, Christine, could speak like either in a monologue or perhaps that she, Phoebe herself, could be of assistance.
Christine looked at Joe. “Well,” she said after a while, “I can teach you, but not if there's any stir about this kid you're bringing along!”
Joe looked back at her. “I won't be any stir!” he said, sounding quite sure of himself.
“Alright, come on in, then!” Christine said, and they did.
She showed the two of them to a living room, where she sat down and told them to do the same.
When seated, Joe looked at his hostess curiously and asked: “How do you say ... ehm, for example: The war was on because of the threats of famine?”
“That depends on what context you have!”
He thought for a while. “Oh, so the context has to say most about that!”
“Yeah, you could say so!”
“OK, let's say the context is ... that I spoke to a friend about school work and he didn't know why that war was on!”
“I guess you two could be into saying something like ... hey I can't quite pronounce that Swedish sound for the letter U, so I'm afraid I can't tell you!”
He looked her, almost getting mad at her for this response. “But which other sounds would there be in the statement?”
She looked back. “I think it would with a sound like the th in thunder, and begin with an ordinary n-sound, I think.”
“I'm not sure!”
Joe looked at her again, very thoroughly this time. “Why do you think that I and my buddy could then have communicated something?!”
“Because there is a meaning to it, that's why!”
“It's because the first sound can mean famine or so, the second is an indicator of where something springs from, and the third means war gods or something!”
Both he and Phoebe thought for a while. Then Phoebe said: “Well, thanks!” and looked at her brother and asked: “or aren't you satisfied with that?”
He thought for a while longer, then he said: “I really very much would like to learn some more!”
Christine looked at him. “Are you sure that I want to teach you of all people all about it, though?”
He sighed. “No, I'm not, of course. ...” Then he looked at the two college girls and said: “Well I hope you have a nice friend in my sister there!”
Phoebe giggled. “We can get along, and we have tonight - or at least this far, I think!”
Christine said: “I guess we can work on this friendship, then, the two of us. But on the other hand, I would like to give you lessons, but for a price. It'll cost you a few bucks for each lesson.”
“We can pay, I and my sister!”
“Why would I have to pay for it?!” Phoebe retorted.
It was silent for a while. Christine looked at the two of them, then asked: “Well, perhaps I could teach even you a little more, cause after all I'm a full member now, so I'll be knowing what to teach. ... Of course, Phoebe might become a member herself, but I might speed up the process of it happening - for a few bucks per lesson!”
“I don't know if we should - apart from perhaps secretly - get very much deeper into this stuff,” Phoebe said.
“Secretly will do!” Christine answered. “But it's not I who have gotten paid for even the first lesson yet. And perhaps you could begin there. ... And, OK, I'll give you a bargain, since I can teach the two of you at once, you'll only have to pay for one lesson for now!”
Phoebe sighed. “How much do you want for it?”
“Let's say four bucks!”
Phoebe came to think about that she hadn't brought a wallet. “OK, but I don't have any money on me,” she said. “And I don't think he does either!”
“No, I don't.”
“Alright you owe me four bucks, then!”
“OK, I owe you the four bucks I do, but I'll not be having to pay them until I know that there will be at least one more lesson. That is I'll pay doubly if, but then also only if, there's a second lesson!”
Christine sighed. “Yeah, I guess that will be fair enough.”
The Second Lesson
When the two half-siblings came home (at about nine), their parents interrogated them about how it had been at this half-Aborigine girl's place, and whether or not they had reached any conclusion about her cult's so-to-speak language. Phoebe answered that there hadn't been anything that said that the realism was quite amiss in their kind of communication, but that she wanted to know a lot more about it before she could comment any further. Joe said he felt something similar, and that they were close to the truth about actually telling each other something, but that they weren't communicating as if there were a real language to be speaking in. Phoebe wasn't totally sure about his last point, but felt that it was almost a certainty that it couldn't quite work as one.
The next day, which was the day before new years eve, the two of them went there again, although their stepfather had scolded them for actually believing in that stuff, which he considered weird and perhaps dangerous. Their mother, too, had scolded them and said that they weren't into quite knowing what they were doing, especially since she had asked them for money for her 'lessons'. It wasn't Joe, though, who gave up even at this point, and eventually he managed to get his older half-sister to call her friend, who happily told them that they could be there at around three a clock for it.
At five to three they arrived at her place. She was stood in her garden awaiting them, and showed them in to the living room again. After a while she began to have it there was to be a consolidation between friends for the sake of the lessons. She thereby took the hand of her friend in her own right hand, and her brothers in her left. She stood there holding them for half a minute, then she burst our that she wanted to hug them both! After that she sat down and said that she took them for granted as her friends forever more.
Even so, she insisted on having Phoebe pay in advance, for the second lesson, and at the same time, of course, pay also for the one they had already had. Phoebe paid her friend, who thereby felt satisfied and began another lesson with the two of them. They listened and even tried some expression, and finally figured out how to be into that this language (or so to speak) was going to take over their thoughts for a while, whilst they were trying to be thorough about some given subject. “Oh, this is great!” her friend Phoebe finally broke out, and her little brother seem think so as well.
It was not until about ten that the two half-siblings finally came home after this second visit. It was not at all too much of a waste of time, which was what their mother had expected. Even their father was soon a bit impressed by what they had learned, although he thought of it as rather obnoxious of this stepdaughter of his to find it in him to have to confess to that.
Back in College
Phoebe and Christine continued the lessons, but Phoebe only had to pay for one of them, upon which they then had five more. After that, Christine had taught her all she knew, even including some new such communication-skill cunning that Christine learned from being a member of a club they had, where they worked more on dealing with making ancient mythologies fit into modern society, into Christian and into semi-atheistic belief systems, than on teaching new members all about languages. But Christine recommended her friend as a new member for her elders among them, and soon after had Phoebe apply for becoming one.
Phoebe thereby felt reassured that she would be able to manage this type of skill in the future. And she and Christine were already fairly fluent at discussing various phenomena in the cult's kind of equally succinct as spiritually oriented way. Both of them attended meetings with fellow sect members. Because, although they called themselves a club, they were into worship of so peculiar kinds that it tended to be a sect, no matter what they said, or least so Phoebe figured about them.
But she liked her sect, at least for the most part. What she didn't agree with was some people who seemed to be into something reminiscent of neo-Nazism among a few of the members that she ran into at the meetings. Luckily, as it seemed to her, this was counteracted by an anti-racist attitude among the senior members. Thereby, she was happy to receive a note from one of them, a female who had seemed concerned about her being a newcomer. The note said that she aught to come to a secret meeting with her and a few of the others, in order to sort things out about dangers with some of the members being racist or brutal.
The meeting was on Saturday night, which seemed rather unlikely to be a bad time, though she felt that she needed to check on if there were anything big in her school the week after. There wasn't, so she accepted, happily, and that Saturday night she went there and expected to discuss such issues. What happened, though, was that the three other girls that were there discussed the devil instead of the people involved, which she almost immediately found a bit naive and eventually got frustrated by.
In response to Phoebe's attitude, one of the girls talked to her in a rather private corner of the room. There she stood beside her and said to her that she needed to be into interpreting them “as the devil himself,” for the sake of understanding what these kinds of people are all about. After having talked about this for a while, she sat down with this the new member and began saying to her that they both could be into trying to be sure about that those who weren't her closest friends were not to be trusted at all, except for the possible invitation from them to become one of her closest friends. In that she stood up again and scorned them demonstratively with a gesture of pleasure over having made Phoebe a new best friend as well.
Secret Attitudes about Pleasure
Apart from this sect business, so to speak, things went almost as usual with Phoebe and her school work. There was a slight difference in her attitude towards school, but it was not greater than that no one who didn't know the details noticed anything, except at most the after all fairly few times when she openly spoke the sects succinct language, which was, in her college already a fairly ordinary change among the students. Underneath this, though, there was a fairly huge change because of her new close friends.
During the meetings with the cult, there was sometimes a short pause, for prayer - or you might say seance, which was supposed to last for four or five minutes, and be done in silence. This prayer was also to be done in (so to speak) 'solitude'. This meant that there was not supposed to be any assumptions done by any participants that she or he was to view him- or herself as actually needing to be aware of the people close by. It did not mean, however, that one was - at all - to avoid closeness to each other.
Immediately before such a prayer, Christine seated herself very very close to Phoebe. She seemingly trusted her to want her to be as close as this, it seemed, because her attitude expressed a pleasure in being liked, somehow. But Phoebe didn't like being very very close to her, especially since her bosom seemed unusually open. However, as the rules were, it seemed, she had to pretend as if nothing about it.
After the prayer, Christine seated herself only a little bit less close to her friend, who was thereby only a little relieved. She asked: “How come you sat all that close to me? And why did you have an almost unbuttoned shirt?”
“I was just trying to see if you were ready to accept my friendship as total, so that we can be solitary when we're even that close! And - oh - these shirt buttons are a bit to open for you? Well they aren't for me! Because I'm into actual worship and care for God, Christ and eternity! And my bosom is not really out of reach from childhood, meaning that there is no notion of God that can't be seen in it! It is really our bosoms that actually make life real! Remember, even the Great Virgin shows her bosom, and sometimes even a lot more than I did now.”
Phoebe settled for that her friend could very likely have a good enough point about Virgin Mary. She thereby began to ponder on if she herself should let her breasts be fairly visible, and if so when. Christine looked her in the eye and then whispered to her: “You aren't supposed to show it to the men out there, that's all!”
Phoebe felt a little uncomfortable about this statement. But then she thought about Jesus, and how his teachings seemingly, she thought, had - at least perhaps - really always been into something that actually might mean that only females can be seeking attention without that seemingly being a nuisance for Him or his Father.
It was not, then, she figured, a sin to be like a woman about sensuality. It was, though, somehow a sinful thing for a man, she figured. But then, what about her half-brother at home? What should he actually be into? Should he be a man based on what his father is? If so, is that his stepdad or the biological father it should be?
To the extent he was to become a man, he would have to learn not to be into care for the same sensuality as she and her friend. It was not because of her that he didn't fit into the potential of being of God when being into care for nurturing the bodily fluids of beginning adulthood. Rather it was that he himself was into much more mature attitudes about what care for extravagance would have been had he not been prohibited by God Himself from caring very much about it, she thought. During the rest of the term the issue was brought up a few more times, firstly between her and Christine, and then also between them and their superiors in cult, who seemed to be righteous in believing that indications of femininity should be between women and that only.
Back with the Family
The next time Phoebe met her little brother, she saw him as her superior about trying to pretend to be like God. By this she didn't mean that she was too wise for that superiority to be real, but she did mean that everything else about it would be an irony, in a sense, about him being as superior to himself as she now saw to it that she had him subtly realize. She thereby felt that God had finally won a great battle against the vanities of his masculinity.
Joe said that he was not trying to be a man, just trying to be himself. To this Phoebe answered that he has to view himself as himself no matter what his instincts tell him. He didn't answer her for a while, then he said that “There is no pleasure in being a man in that sense. There's just a pleasure in that you, for God's sake, have it in yourself to try to bring me up as though I were your bastard to be taking care of not letting him be anything but the excuse for you to pleasure yourself with gluttony or you know what!”
“What does that say to me, do you think?! That I need some bastard half-brother just for excusing myself?! ... Do you really feel that I could at all be in need of that?! If so, then you're wrong! But the fact of the matter is that you as a God's child are so wise that you aught to stay away from femininity that much more than we, who are only females!”
He looked thoughtful. “OK,” he said. “But what then about my father? And about that I don't have any authority because of both my stepfather and my biological father, by the way!”
“We have a conscience about that, we, the rest of the family do!”
He was startled. “That's not real! .. You can't be calling it a conscience when you don't want me to take care of my own affairs!”
She mused a little at his foolish comment to her. Then she retorted grimly: “You don't realize that thieves aren't really what they pretend to be! Nor do you realize that you yourself are a humble man on the surface, but an actual pretender once you find out what actual manhood is! It's not I but you who realize the worth of trying to pretend something is worthwhile when it is mature enough to become evil when there's to much pleasure in it!”
“Oh, you really think so!?”
“Yeah I do!”
“Then I dare you to tell both mama and the new father about it - and actually, I guess, even the old fathers, too, eventually!”
“I will. Don't worry, I want to tell them!”
At dinner she talked about the new views she had on Christ and God. Her mother, her step-father and even her half-sister looked startled. But she continued: “And thereby, Christ is the proof we can have that everyone is to be treated as a superior if they are male, but only to the extent they are into not pleasuring themselves!”
“But what if,” her stepfather asked, “we feel like knowing about the pleasures you have, for the sake of - our presumed - wisdom?”
Now Phoebe looked a bit thoughtful. After a while she said: “I guess you'll just have to be into pretending as if something about God, and God's will about it.”
“Meaning that we should be into that if we are wise enough for there to be a God in trying to be promiscuous as well, then, and only then I presume, can we be allowed to pleasure ourselves the way you seem to be into that only females are allowed to?”
“I guess it's something like that. But why do you think we pleasure ourselves more than we aught to be?! I mean almost no one of us - females - is into actually smartly trying to pretend to be into something that must be! It's not a must if there are no men, I feel!”
“I doubt that!” her stepfather answered.
Now her half-brother broke in: “Do you know what?! I can read pleasure in those eyes of yours, Harold! Now how come they aren't seemingly punished by God then or something?!”
Harold smiled and said that it was not actually his pleasure that was banned. But that Phoebe probably meant that he should never see himself as the superior he “as a male should be and thereby bring pleasure - of gluttony, perhaps - is that what you mean Phoebe? - to the point of it being a pleasure in trying to possess God!”
“Oh, is that so!” Joe answered.
Phoebe smiled. “Yeah, that's it,” she answered.
The Final ManipulationBut in the beginning of August that year, Phoebe tried to manipulate her half-brother into pretending to be a winner, by having it seem like a winning strategy for him to be into that pretension. This sort of worked, but Joe guessed that there was something weird about his situation for it. He therefore told their mother about it. She reacted by trying to be into a strategy of conning that he should have been mistaken for a man again by her. But this was not the case with her now, he thought, as it was his sister who manipulated him; she was into taking care of making him seem innocent by pretending he was a winner of charm in that kind of strategy.
As a result, the kid seemed to be both into being superior and also into being inferior, in a way that really set him aside among his friends. He tried to explain this to his mother, but she didn't seem to understand at all. He therefore went to his stepfather and tried to explain things. He seemed to get the part that he was not seemingly OK among his peers, but not really that he could have been manipulated, thoroughly enough for there to be any chance of him being someone who didn't have the potential change for the better in his own hands. ...
But it was not Joe who had that potential. Rather, the fact that he didn't have it got him stuck in that he had been made to seem both superior and innocent enough to be reckoned with as though he didn't have any problem with his appearance, nor with his way of handling his situation. Thereby he had no potential whatsoever to remark effectively against his half-sister's insinuations. It was, weirdly enough, never quite easy for him not to seem too cunning to be in such a trap. At the same time, if one found out, he was sort of too laughable to believe, and fairly few actually believed his surface pride to be anything but his own vanity - a vanity about would-be innocence as well as would-be cunning - or perhaps just one of them. But hardly anyone ever actually thought that much about which, or what that would mean in that case.
It was not really easy for those around him to believe he had been manipulated into being surface proud and then also very insecure, actually about his own being.