The Sea Gypsy (Nickname: "The Leader's Ark")



It is the story that has captured the interest of a nation and the world at large: A psychiatric patient dramatically escapes from a facility after raising cain, steals a car, and disappears.  Now it seems that a resolution is at hand! -- Delta Free Press. February 14, 2009

The world is intently following Ralph Oxner's unprecedented ascention to fame and glory. -- The National Spectator. February 14, 2009

The era of the underdog is dawning.  Yes, the tide has turned! -- Metropolitan Central. February 14, 2009


        Far out in the expansive Atlantic Ocean, a gigantic luxury yacht called The Sea Gypsy cruised along atop rolling waves.  Near its 457 foot hull swooped a crowd of seagulls.  The premier V.I.P. aboard the ship stood all alone at the corner of the upper deck aft watching them glide with his head raised, eyes sparkling, and lips smiling.  Along with the whirr of the wind and flow of the current, an assortment of sea life indulged his ears: a school of splashing dolphins continuously leapt high over the surface of their marine home, and above it -- in the bright blue sky -- birds happily chirped their sweet melody.  While the warmth of the sun's rays graciously greeted his flesh and the incoming cool sea breeze fanned his cheeks, the salty scent of the sea water served his sense of smell.  Furthermore, his tranquil mind felt as clear and fresh as the air he breathed.

        That enraptured moment with nature, however, was suddenly broken by a mild voice, speaking to him from behind.  "Excuse me, sir," it said.

        He took his sizeable hands off the guardrail and turned around to face the source of the utterance.  Gazing up at him was a beaming blonde boy with bulbous, buoyant, baby-blue eyes.  Those eyes reflected a spirit of innocent, purity, and admiration.  The tough guy felt soft-hearted upon seeing the adorable child.

        "May I have your autograph, sir?" he enthusiastically requested, raising the pen and paper in his small hands.

        "Of course," his hero willingly consented with a broad, closed-mouth grin.  "How old are you," he inquired.

      "Five, going on six," the boy specified proudly.

        "Oh, well, you're getting up there in age, aren't you?!  Before you know it, you'll be an old man like me," his elder of sixteen years playfully stated.

        After Ralph got his fan's name, he jotted: To my good friend, Roger Freeder.  And then he signed HIS name: Ralph Oxner!       

        Meanwhile, many miles away on solid ground, Ralph's older brother was not so content.  On the contrary!  He was stuck in a most inhospitable environment, and suffering an acute state of angst as a result.  But for most of his unsavory peers, it was just another dreary day in the harsh, and often brutal, confines of Miami's central prison.



Profanely vociferous caged men clad in their trademark bright orange jumpsuits combined with their cronies -- brutish, Satan-worshiping correctional officers of no higher value -- to thoroughly contaminate the already gloomy atmosphere.  Cell doors relentlessly clanged and toilets loudly flushed.  Even the inanimate objects seemed excessively cruel and obnoxious to Inmate #4074983.  Though he'd been languishing behind steel bars for less than half a day, undergoing his introductory incarceration experience, he knew that he could never adapt to his dismal, perilous surroundings.  Suicidal thoughts were already emerging in his frantic mind.

        Buck was a big and bulky, bald-headed prison guard with a long, scraggly, black goatee which he occasionally dyed red.  Loop rings pierced his earlobes, nose, and, most notably, the flesh around his eyelids.  Additionally, his massive arms were covered with inked designs of skulls, demons, and dragons.  But worst of all were those mercilessly demented eyes, which were solely responsible for striking Harold with his first major panic attack since being arrested.  The barbarian's dour, yet oddly poetic, initial words, "Welcome to the scene of ruthless struggle and endless woes," sure didn't help matters!  Buck's nickname, The Intimidator, suited him well!  It was bestowed upon him by a member of his father's outlaw biker gang when he was only eleven years old.  By all appearances, Buck was, indeed, bad to the bone!

        Harold heard heavy footsteps, peered out of his pen as far as the periphery would permit, and spotted Buck stomping the hall, accompanied by a middle-aged man in a blue suit.  Perhaps that's the warden, Harold conjectured to himself.  They arrived at Harold Oxner's solitary cell whereupon Buck unlocked and slid open the big iron door for the red-headed, uninvited cell guest to enter the 6 x 8 room.

        "My name is Don Hubbard," he greeted his visibly distressed client.  "I'm a public defender and I'll be representing you when your case goes to trial."  They shook hands and sat side-by-side on the bolted-down metal bench.

        Mr. Hubbard opened his legal portfolio, sat it in his lap and skimmed its contents, while intermittenly flipping through pages.  "I can't believe the judge set your bond at three million dollars.  I guess you'll be in here for a while, huh?!"

        "Yeah, no one I know is rich enough to bail me out!"

        "Also, sending you straight to prison instead of jail is highly unorthodox.  It seems to me like the system really has it in for you, buddy!"

        "I agree with you on that one, Mr. Hubbard!"

        "Okay, first off, I need to know if you want to plead innocent or guilty."

        Harold Oxner furrowed his brow to contemplate the simple question.  A few seconds later, he ambiguously submitted his answer: "Well, I guess you could say that I'm both innocent AND guilty." 

        Mr. Hubbard looked befuddled by the response.  Harold elucidated, "I masterminded my brother's escape aboard a ship... so in that regard, I'm guilty -- I'm guilty legally speaking.  However, I'm morally innocent because I was justified in my actions.  All I was trying to do is protect my little brother."

        "Protect him from imprisonment?" Mr. Hubbard asked, seeking verification.

        "Yes, but also to protect him from psychiatrists," Harold emphatically clarified.  Mr. Hubbard's already-serious countenance shifted to a nonplussed expression like the flick of a light switch.

        "What are you talking about??  Psychiatrists help people!" he protested vehemently.  Harold smiled knowingly at his attorney's naivety and said, "You have a lot to learn about psychiatry."

        Mr. Hubbard, his interest now aroused, chose to momentarily neglect legal issues, closed his portfolio binder, and humbly said, "Why don't-cha teach me about psychiatry, Mr. Oxner!"



        "Okay, but you're gonna have to listen to me with an open mind and leave all of your preconceived notions outside my cell door."  His lawyer nodded with intensity in his blue eyes, and his back arched over in excited anticipation of the enlightenment he was about to receive.

        "My parents used to think the same as you about psychiatrists: that they care about folks and want to help them.  But, actually, all they really care about is making money and using people for guinea pig experiments.  Ralph was an energetic kid.  Unfortunately, that led his second grade teacher to label him 'hyperactive.'  For Ralph, it was all downhill from there!!!  See, it's easier for teachers to handle placid students.  When kids are robust and running around and playing a lot, like children naturally want to do, some teachers get real annoyed.  The psychiatrists play off of this pissed-off attitude by encouraging the teachers to report the lively ones to them so that they can start attacking their minds with drugs.  Most teachers are dumb enough to buy into all this 'Attention Deficit Disorder' nonsense.  Psychiatrists are the biggest drug pushers around!  They should be given longer prison sentences than the street dealers!

        "Well, they started him on Ritalin.  Before long, they'd labeled him a bunch of other things, and he was on a whole lot of other drugs, as well.  We can't prove it, but we're pretty sure that those drugs impaired his vision.  Within a few months of taking them, he went from having 20/20 eyesight to being legally blind.  Also, he had to be put in Special Education classes because he couldn't learn anymore... even though he'd learned to read at three years old, and had a genius level IQ.  But, still, our parents thought that psychiatrists could do no wrong.  By the time Ralph was ten years old, he was on some really powerful drugs like Prozac and Lithium.

        "Sixth grade seemed to be going O.K. for Ralph despite his learning disability and poor eyesight, both apparently drug-induced, as I just mentioned.  But one day he got into a brawl with another student.  I'm sure the other kid was the instigator because he had a reputation for being a schoolyard bully.  Plus, Ralph never displayed any violent tendencies.  Well, Ralph was big and strong and easily won the fight.  Even though he didn't hurt him bad, the principal labeled him a "threat" to his peers because he knew that he was on psychiatric drugs and, therefore, he idiotically assumed that he was a dangerous psycho.  The principal overreacted BIG-TIME!  He expelled Ralph from school for a full year.  It was totally based on prejudice and ignorance!  Acting on the suggestion of the principal, our parents enrolled him in a 'Rehabilitation Encampment' for troubled youth.  It was run by retired military men.  He was treated like a soldier and a hardened criminal at the same time.  The place has since been shut down for 'accidentally' killing a kid.  Not surprisingly, no one was prosecuted. 

        "Well, as you can imagine, Ralph was mixed in with some pretty tough kids at this 'rehabilitation' camp.  By his account, he was forced into a fight.  Ralph won again.  This time, however, the combatant was hurt pretty bad and had to go to the hospital.  Criminal charges were filed against Ralph.  He got saddled with an incopetent, court-appointed attorney who completely ignored his claim of self defense.  He persuaded our parents to let him enter a plea of 'no contest.'  The lawyer assured us that, at most, he'd only get probation, and the conviction would be wiped off his record when he reached adulthood.  But the judge had a different idea.  He found Ralph guilty and sentenced him to youth prison until he turned eighteen.  So that made him severely depressed and suicidal.  In prison he was often despondent and his new prison psychiatrist ordered him to undergo electric shock 'therapy.'  Our mom began to cry when she saw him the day after they zapped electricity into his brain.  He was like a zombie, she said.  He could barely speak, and totally avoided eye contact.



        "Around this time, our parents heard of an organization called, The White Light Liberators.  The Liberators are totally opposed to psychiatry.  They're well aware of the horrendous abuses that are part and parcel of the pseudo-science.  Their main goal is to expose psychiatry for what it is, and to ultimately bring it down.  Before the White Light Liberators educated mom and dad, it had never even occurred to them that [the drugs] were the source of Ralph's various problems.  They were hoodwinked into believing that Ralph was born with a 'chemical imbalance' in his brain.  That's a devious lie that psychiatrists promote so they can get away with doping people.  The pretext for the crime is that they're 'balancing' their chemicals.  'Chemical imbalance' is an unproven theory, but it has served its purpose quite well: psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies, in particular, have made a killing.  And I do mean 'killing!'  Each year, thousands of people die as a result of psychiatric practices.

        "Anyway, after the White Light Liberators talked to my parents, they felt really guilty and stupid for what they let the psychiatrists do to Ralph.  But, by then, it was too late!  Ralph already had major brain damage and, on top of that, he was going to be locked up for the next seven-and-a-half years.  There wasn't much my parents, or anyone else, could do to help him.  To say that Ralph 'has had a tumultuous life' would be a huge understatement; it's been pure hell!"

        Harold paused a moment to wipe his watery eyes as a teardrop slid down his cheek.  This allowed Mr. Hubbard the opportunity to comment on all he'd heard thus far.  With pity in his eyes and voice, he exclaimed, "This is the saddest life story I've ever heard!!"  Then, his sympathy suddenly switched to sheer rage, and he thunderously declared, "These damn psychiatrists deserve to be crucified!!!"  His indignant opinion reached Buck's ears.

        Apparently just to exercise some authority, Buck hurriedly approached the cell and growled, "I'm gonna have to ask you to leave!"

        Mr. Hubbard, already worked up in a lather over the psychiatric issue, ardently argued: "You can't make me leave!  I'm consulting with my client!  I have a right to be here!  Go away and leave us alone!"

        "You were using profanity and threatening language and saying it loud enough for everyone to hear it," Buck sternly countered.  "I could have you charged with disorderly conduct," he warned.

        The cantankerous lawyer still refused to obey the barbarous guard.  Standing up, he shouted, "Who the hell do you think you are??!!  I'll report your big ass to the warden and have you fired, you son-of-a..."

        "Mr. Hubbard!!!" Harold cried out, hastily interrupting him, as Buck pulled out his jangling keyset.  "You need to do what he says," he sensibly advised.  Buck rapidly opened the cell door, walked in, and got right up in Don Hubbard's chubby face.  Don looked up into The Intimidator's menacing, dark brown eyes and his nerve succumbed.  Buck smirked triumphantly as Mr. Hubbard silently cowered out of the small cell.  For he had just won the showdown and felt in complete control, which satisfied his primal urge to dominate.

        Left all alone in his cell, the imprisoned spectator of the ugly scene closed his eyes, shook his head, and rubbed his forehead in angst.  He knew Buck's wrath and feared the prospect of impending displaced aggression.


       The world's most unlikely celebrity descended a spiral staircase which was beautifully adorned with hand-carved dolphins and maroon leather handrails.  He was in destination to the 1800 square foot, de luxe V.I.P. Stateroom, which was located on the lower deck of the Sea Gypsy.  His lodging's lavish interior was bright and palatial with venetian blinds; shaggy white carpet; a white, leather L-shaped settee and matching loveseat; a king-sized bed with a gold and cream bedspread; a marble-clad bathroom, highlighted by a sky-blue sink countertop; and sweeping horizon windows with floor-to-ceiling hanging ivory drapes.



Its pale elegance and calm atmosphere was a most welcomed contrast from the institutions and facilities he'd languished in for half his life!  The entertainment system included a 60 inch flatscreen television equipped with a DVD and satellite reception.  There was also a high-tech, surround-sound stereo system.  The connecting recreation room provided a mini-arcade and a pool table.  It was awesome!  Living in luxury was a new experience for Ralph which suited his fancy!  In fact, he absolutely loved it!  What a lifestyle, he said to himself while stretched out on the couch.  He felt like he'd died and gone to heaven.  Indeed, he never imagined that life could possibly be this pleasant!

        While comfortably relaxing, a thought came to Ralph.  He reckoned that since the public was so intrigued by him, he should write an autobiography.  The title came to him in a flash: The Story of Ox!  "Ox" was a boyhood nickname humorously dubbed by his grandfather at a time when his prodigious stature and broad shoulders became prominent.  At the dedicated office section, The Ox opened a carbon panel, behind which was a flatscreen computer.  Then, he sat in the swivel chair, and slid up to the fitted desk.  A rolling chair with five little wheels and a revolving seat was state-of-the-art to Ralph.  Like a kid, he enjoyed spinning around and around in it with a hard foot push on the floor as the impetus.  He also enjoyed getting dizzy!  He let out a big, Wheee!!! as he spun.  Now that he'd had a little more fun, it was time to get down to business.

        Computers were new to him, as well.  Before he absconded on The Sea Gypsy, he'd never used one.  He marveled at their complex functions and capacity for storing and retrieving data.  Ralph reflected on his tragic past as his inexperienced fingers slowly typed the keyboard's keys.



        My name is Ralph Oxner and, as of now, I am on a huge ship in the Atlantic Ocean.  The events which led me here are pretty outrageous!

        It all started after I was suspected of causing an old woman's death in the place I was staying at for people in need of living-assistance.  I don't really remember what happened too well because my shrink had me heavily drugged-up during that time.  Anyway, a cop came to the facility and proceeded to interrogate me.  He was asking me all these questions about what I was doing the previous night.  I answered him as honestly as I could because I wasn't aware that I'd done anything wrong.  I guess I said too much and incriminated myself.  I wish I had remembered the simple, yet powerful, phrase: "You have the right to remain silent."  But I wasn't psychologically on-guard.  I was too open.

        Eventually, he ordered me to turn around and place my hands behind my back.  I knew what was coming next.  Needless to say, I did not want to go to prison!  I had been there before, and urgently felt like doing anything necessary to avoid returning.  Panic mixed with adrenalin overcame me and I impulsively fought off the cop.  He was no match for me, partly because, I think, I was juiced-up on steroids.  The Leader told me that that's what probably accounted for sporadic periods in which I had surges of strength and fits of rage. [So, although I'm certainly not proud of my 'claim to fame,' I do know that I'm not responsible for all of my actions.]



        I quickly rendered the cop immobile beneath my body as I strangled his neck and pistol-whipped his forehead with his own gun.  Then I took it with me and fled the scene.  Soon after exiting the building, I spotted a fairly young, white lady getting out of her car.  Knowing that I desperately needed a get-away vehicle, I stole hers, along with her pocketbook.  I just pointed the gun at the poor woman's head and said, "Give me your keys!"  Then, I yanked her pocketbook off her shoulder and tossed it inside the car.

        I'd never done anything like that before and it made me feel like a criminal.  I was ashamed of myself!  It was a bad thing to do, but I was scared and just wanted to get away in a hurry.

        I inserted the key into the ignition, backed up, and sped off.  From the parking lot, I got on Interstate 95 South and drove all the way to Fort Lauderdale where my big brother, Harold, lives.  I realize that that's a remarkable feat!  I had NO IDEA how to get there, but a voice inside my head instructed me what roads to take and how to avoid police checkpoints.  My guardian angel must have been guiding me!  That's the only explanation I can muster!  I used the woman's credit card to pay for gas along the way. [Right now, assuming that she's interested in me enough to read my book, I would like to personally and sincerely apologize to her for stealing her car and snatching her purse.]

        It's weird how all these crazy things I did made me famous!  This morning I was presented 'The Washington D.C. Daily News' on my breakfast tray. [The communications equipment on this yacht is so sophisticated that newspapers can be downloaded via satellite from the Newspaper Direct service and printed out on the A-3 printer in the ship's office.]  The front page headline was: 'Ralph Oxner: The Most Glamorized Outlaw on the Run since Billy the Kid!'  That is so strange to read because I do not consider myself an outlaw at all.  And I'm far from glamorous, at least in my estimation.  Honestly, I don't know what people see in me!  But I'm glad that the public seems to to like me.  I suppose they understand that I am a victim and not a villain!

        Driving a distance of over a thousand miles took sixteen hours -- which included a four-hour sleep interval and a brief rest-stop off Interstate 95 in Georgia.  Just to reiterate: I needed no road map.  I didn't even know my brother's address.  The voice inside my head was my version of  Boy, did it serve me well!  Miraculously, it guided me all the way to my destination.  It's still hard for me to get over that fact!  Like I said, the only thing I have to account for it is angelic intervention in my life!

        I happened to arrive in Harold's driveway at exactly midnight; '12:00' was displayed on the car's little, rectangular, glass time-screen at the precise moment I pulled in and parked.  Perhaps it was an omen of cosmic alignment cast in my favor.  I've always considered midnight to be mystical and enchanting.  So, I knocked on the bungalow's door and half a minute later I heard a groggy voice utter, 'Who is it?'

        I identified myself as, 'Your brother, Ralph.'

        Skeptical, he shouted, 'Is this some kind of a sick joke?!'  Then, he flicked on the porch light to illuminate my face as he peered through the peephole.  However, he failed to recognize me, on account of the fact that my appearance had changed so drastically since he'd seen me last. 

        His test-question was, 'What's your nickname?'

        'The Ox,' I correctly answered.  But that didn't quite pass the test.

        'Who gave it to you?' he followed up -- just to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was me.

        'Grandpa Gus' was my verifying reply.

        The door swiftly swung open and I laid my eyes upon my big brother for the first time in ten years.  He looked a little older, but, other than that, he hadn't changed too much.  We hugged.  Both of us were filled with heartfelt emotion.  Although it wasn't a reunion under the best of circumstances, we relished the moment!



But we couldn't afford to revel in it for very long!  I wasted no time filling him in on the mayhem I instigated -- first inside, and then outside, of the nursing home.  As I expected would be the case, his loyalty was intact -- he never even (considered) turning me in to the authorities.  On the contrary!  Protecting me was his utmost concern.

        Harold anxiously stated, 'You're in a heap of trouble!!!'

        I retorted, 'Tell me something I (don't) know!'

        Then, he went into plan-mode: "I've got to get that car you stole out of my driveway before the police pay me a visit about this thing.  Pretty soon, I'm sure I'll be under surveillance... if I'm not (already)."

        Harold preferred to ditch the stolen car well beyond the scope of walking-distance to his residence.  The logic is simple: A close range drop-off would obviously point to him as a clear-cut suspect in the eyes of the law.  However, he knew that regardless of how far he left it, he'd still be considered the prime suspect!

        He handed me the key to his black 76 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and, reciprocally, I turned over the keyset of my crime victim's car to him.  We agreed that the idea of (him) relocating her car was better than (me) travelling any farther in the stolen vehicle.  However, we naturally understood that (whoever) drove it constituted a risk factor; cops are always on the prowl during the dead of night, especially in big cities like Fort Lauderdale, and they love stopping people for no apparent reason other than the suspicion that they're up to no good.  But my big brother wasn't in the least bit concerned about the danger that driving the stolen car would pose to him.  That's Harold for you!!  He has always put his family's welfare above his own!

        So, I was to drive his Trans Am in order for him to have transportation to return home.  Preparing me for the worst-case-scenario, he instructed me to drive away if he got pulled over by a cop and head to the first pay phone I could find.  Then he went to jot something down on his notepad and he came back with the slip of paper.  He handed it to me.  It read: 'Dexter H. 954-765-0392.'  The "insurance" part of the plan hinging on the contingency that Harold ended up in police custody for driving the car I stole was thus: For me to quickly tell his friend, Dexter, my situation and exact location so he could pick me up and hide me out.  We hoped that this extended element of the plan would be unnecessary!!!  I was much more nervous than Harold.  He was extremely composed and poised!  He must have ice running through his veins!

        So, without further delay, we set out on the road in separate automobiles.  At about 12:30 a.m. the streets were sparse -- with vehicles few and far between.  As I previously indicated, this was definitely not to our advantage.  For it only served to make a stolen car much more conspicuous to lawmen, as well as opening up the floodgates to run-of-the-mill police harassment, in which case we'd be found out all the same.  My original idea was to wait until morning arrived, but Harold had overruled me.  Although blending into traffic was preferable to sticking out like a sore thumb, Harold wanted to get rid of that hot car ASAP.  We knew that even if the South Florida cops were not, as of yet, on the lookout for the Volkswagon Passat -- due to its being so far away from the scene of my crime spree -- the license plate could easily be called in.  That's why Harold was sure to obey the speed limit and come to complete stops at stop signs and red lights.  He didn't want to give a predatory cop any excuse to go after him for a minor traffic violation.  Well, fortunately, everything went smoothly during the first portion of our journey.  I had followed my brother to a Publix grocery store's parking lot where he abandoned the stolen car.  Then he took over the wheel of his Trans Am, while I moved to the back seat.

        Right after Harold pulled out of the supermarket parking lot, headlights came up behind us.  He said, "I sure as hell hope that's not a cop back there!!"  The car trailed us along every turn for about ten minutes.



Then, our biggest fear materialized: blue, flashing lights appeared in Harold's rearview mirror.  He spouted out, 'Oh shit!!!'  I had a dreadful feeling -- not for myself, but for implicating my brother in the mess I had made!  I thought the game was over.  So Harold pulled over toward the side of the road.  It took the cop about two minutes to get out of his squad car and approach Harold in the driver's seat.  It was two minutes of pure trepidation!  But we took advantage of it -- using that allotted time to whisper our plan, which quick-thinking Harold formulated on the spur of the moment.

        A very young, blonde and blue cop with a baby face, crue cut hairstyle, and a southern accent walked up beside Harold's door, peered inside, flashlight in hand, shining it right in Harold's face through the window, waiting for him to roll it down.  Harold had already speculated that the grounds for the stop was the cop witnessing suspicious activity in the form of the automobile drop-off.  He was probably staked-out at the Publix parking lot, we assumed -- because he had gotten behind us so soon following our departure from it.  Therefore, Harold chose not to lie... at least not to lie about THAT.

        Down slid the window.  Then, "Where were you coming from," he asked in a formal, no nonsense voice.  Obviously a test to try to catch him in a lie.

        Harold was prepared for this very question.  "Well, sir, I came from the Publix parking lot on 17th Street," he replied.

        "What were you doing there," he probed.  Disallowing any time for a reply, the officer stated, "The grocery store closes at 11."  His voice was growing more stern and serious.  We knew that this cop was absolutely, positively suspicious of us.  My heart was pounding!  I silently prayed to God that the cop would believe Harold's upcoming fib.

        "My... I guess you could say 'friend' ... needed a ride.  Or at least he (thinks) he 'needs' a ride.  Andy back there sneaks out on his wife every so often and has me meet him at a pre-selected location.  Then he hops into my car and we go to gay bars.  We have to do it this way because he's afraid that someone he knows will drive by and recognize his car if he parks it outside of the bar.  Isn't that silly?!  Andy is very insecure about his bisexuality."  Then, employing a little dose of reverse psychology, I chimed in, "Excuse me, officer.  Will you please arrest me for being so insecure.  I'd really like for you to handcuff me and strip-search me."  We both giggled like teenage girls.  I figured he'd be less likely to make an arrest if he thought that that's what we (wanted).  Following my strategically applied, inappropriately flirtatious joke, the cop just simply walked away without saying another word and drove off.  Harold said his facial expression was one of utter shock.  I would have loved to have seen it!  The plan worked like a charm!!!  It was too much for the cop to take!  He didn't want to have anything more to do with us "queers"!

        We were both immensely relieved and took a pair of deep breaths.  The tension induced by the incident, combined with the hilariousness of it, caused us to laugh long and hard.  Then Harold let out a loud, 'Whew!'  He said, 'Let's go ahead and get home in case that cop has second-thoughts and decides to return to the parking lot and run the tag.'  No further problems were incurred the rest of the way.

        'Exhausted Me' crashed on Harold's dilapidated, old couch immediately after we reentered his modest little house in the low-income neighborhood.  Every wild thing which had transpired in less than twenty-four hours seemed unimaginably surreal, and yet I felt as if it was all shrouded in meaning.  Inevitably, I knew that something good would emanate from the big mess.  I recalled the maxim, 'Order out of Chaos' and, as I prayed again, I realized that God was at the helm!  Shortly thereafter, I was fast asleep and having all sorts of strange dreams.

        Harold woke me up around noon to inform me that his best friend, Dexter Howell, was on his way to pick me up and hide me out.  Over the phone, he had given him a run-down of my dire predicament, and Dexter nobly pledged to do everything in his power to aid his comrade's brother.  At the time, I was unaware that he was bound by an oath to act in this altruistic manner.



Harold explained the following to me in a state of urgency: 'You know you can't stay here, bro!!!  Eventually, they'll come knocking on my door with a search warrant in hand.  Today I'm going to go back to the supermarket parking lot and remove the license plate with my screw driver.  The longer the cops take to place your whereabouts in South Florida, the better!  Hopefully, they think you're still in North Carolina.  I don't see any reason for them to presume otherwise!'

        There was nothing to do but sit and talk while awaiting Dexter's arrival.  Forty minutes, approximately, was all the priceless time we had to chat.  But we used it wisely -- managing to momentarily forget about my unfavorable circumstances.  We reminisced about the precious-few good times we shared in our youth -- before the State took me away.  And we talked about mom and dad a lot, too.  However, a few hard knocks on the door had the effect of abruptly snapping us out of our nostalgia.  Harold nervously jumped out of his chair and peered through the peephole.  Then, he opened the door. 

        A tall, middle-aged gentleman with a keen gleam in his brown eyes, and an English Driving Cap atop his head, walked inside.  I immediately felt like I was 'in good hands' because he looked so very intelligent and aristocratic.  My first impression would be proved accurate, as I got to know the man.  Harold introduced us to each other and we shook hands.  Then Harold hugged me again and wished us God's protection before we departed.  I wondered if I'd ever see my big brother again!

        This time, I sat up front in the passenger's seat and rode in a new, grey Lexus convertible.  Having never been in such a fine automobile as that, I felt like I was travelling first class.  Dexter informed me that he was a stock broker when I asked him how he was able to afford such a nice car.  Then he engaged me in a conversation about myself.  There wasn't much to brag about, and I felt a little embarrassed.  Upon inquiry, Dexter revealed that he met my brother at a White Light Liberators' meeting.  I was surprised that my brother was affiliated with an organization of this type because, to my knowledge, he'd never been one to join anything.  Dexter boasted that the White Light Liberators ("The Liberators" for short) is a powerful and influential "international brotherhood" with a most lofty objective.  It is, he stated, to "liberate humanity from internal negative energy currents which suppress the life force that resides inside every individual."  And, furthemore, the Liberators seek to "foster cosmic consciousness" while quelling external attacks on humanity from nefarious forces hell-bent on hurting and destroying us.  After hearing ALL THAT, I was like, "Far out!!!"  In plain language: "The White Light Liberators' goal is to deliver humanity from oppression, misery, and stagnation!"

        Dexter went on to say that the leader of the White Light Liberators owned a private yacht.  It would be setting off to sea in four days... with ME on board -- "if everything goes according to plan," he noted.  My facial expression read, "Uhh... SAY WHAT?!"  He observed that my initial reaction was that it was an outlandish scheme.  "That's right!  I'm gonna smuggle you on the thing!" he confidently exclaimed.  Feeling excited about the idea of riding on a ship, I smiled wide and said, "Cool!"  Then, I thanked Mr. Howell for the courageous lengths he'd gone to to try to rescue me from the system's tentacles.  He nobly replied, "It's my duty as a Liberator to be of service to innocents in distress.  All I request from you in return is that you do the same for someone else if the situation ever arises."  I willingly agreed, and he proclaimed, "Now you can consider yourself an Honorary Liberator!"  I gleefully shouted, "Cool!" and pumped my fist in the air.  That caused Dexter to laugh.



        Dexter drove me to his stately Boca Raton home.  The first thing that caught my eye was the mahogany grand piano.  I mentioned that I'd always wanted to learn to play piano.  Dexter said that I could take lessons on The Leader's yacht.  I didn't even know that pianos were on yachts.  I said, "Cool!"  Come nightfall, I slept in the guest bedroom and raided the refrigerator -- much to the consternation of Dexter's delightful wife, Joanne.  A card-carrying, dedicated member of the White Light Liberators herself, she was made privy to the harrowing plot prior to making my acquaintance.  I was impressed that she didn't object!  While most wives would have thrown a fit and complained, she obediently acquiesced like a good Liberator soldier.  Liberators, indeed, seem to be a breed apart!

        Three days seemed to pass by quickly because I enjoyed my stay so much.  I basically lounged around watching the Howells's hi-fi, large screen TV and eating snacks from the pantry.  They had potato chips, cookies, popcorn, candy bars... just about everything I loved.  From the refrigerator I ate heaps of ice cream and drank numerous soft drinks.  And I got to see a lot of stations on the television because they had satellite programming.  I was "channel surfing" and I didn't even know that that is what it was called.  It was fun!  I had a great time at the Howells's residence, and I'm so grateful to them for all they did for me, especially Dexter.  But I was sure to thank Joanne, also, for the gracious hospitality.

        Very early on the fourth day, Dexter woke me up and told me to get ready to go.  He chauffeured me to the marina at dawn.  Waiting there to carry me off was a humungous vessel with the moniker "SEA GYPSY" in stylized black letters along the topside of the superstructure.  The hull's background design concept consisted of oceanic-style, swirling, white and blue patterns.  It was beautiful.  I was VERY, VERY impressed!  After setting foot on The Sea Gypsy, the only people I saw were hectic crew members scattered about working on different things in preparation for the impending voyage.  Dexter and I were hardly noticed as we walked side-by-side.  Upon entering the cockpit, we saw a man with his back turned on us.  He was busy studying the ship's computer-based systems monitor.  Later, I learned that it examines an assortment of functions -- including the ship's electronic system, engine diagnostics, fuel transfer systems, tank levels, and more -- through a touch-screen display.  Dexter respectfully got the man's attention and, in so doing, he turned around to face us.  It was my humble pleasure to be introduced to the majestic man of honor and valor, the Great One -- known to his followers only as "The Leader."  The Leader was 62 years old, of average height, with bright red hair, and dark blue eyes.  Those magnificent eyes seemed to pierce right through my soul, and reflect a clear understanding of all things.  Just looking at him made me feel as if I was in the presence of a prophet of old!  Unvarnished peacefulness, kindness, and wisdom shaped his countenance.  I immediately knew that he was like no other!  Atop his head sat a skipper's hat with "W.L.L." in gold blazoned across the black band, above the visor.  And, upward of that, toward the cap's peak, was an insignia of a dove.  Around his neck hung a white cravat, tucked inside a blue, buttoned-up vest.

        Dexter left us alone to talk in private.  Our ensuing conversation made me feel as though The Leader was the Captain of the World, as well as the Captain of the Ship.  For his wisdom and insight is, I believe, unparalleled, at least by anyone living in our modern day.  Due to his decree, the specific content of our discussion shall remain confidential.  Although, I (am) at liberty to state that an array of spiritual subjects was covered, including the immemorial war between the forces of good and evil.  The Leader pointed to a golden plaque hanging on the wall and told me to read the words on it.



It said: "Woe to ALL who Underestimate the Might of the Human Spirit / Damn he that Suppresses it / Bless he that Liberates it."

        "That, my son, is the W.L.L. creed!" he proudly announced after I read it aloud.  It gave me chills!  The Leader went on, "It can be summed up like this: 'The W.L.L. is dedicated to obtaining the rightful inherent freedom and liberty of the individual.'  That's our motto in a nutshell," he explained.  "But there's more to learn, much more!" he added.  "Read it when you have the time.  In it you'll come upon my statements about the 'Rights of Man.'  It rings of the Ten Commandments and, although it's fairly simple, I'm extremely proud of penning it because it's so very important for people to know and understand.  Please study it well and retain it in your heart!  I consider the W.L.L. manifesto [in-full] a holy, living document.  The tenets expressed in it put the U.S. Constitution to shame!  The only written works of which it doesn't surpass are... I'd say... the Bhagavad Gita and, of course, the Bible."

        As I flipped through the pages of the thick booklet, browsing its contents, I assured The Leader that I'd carefully read his manifesto.  Hours later, with a smile upon my face, I sailed away from the dock, into the great blue yonder.


Chapter 1

        I was born on September 15, 1987 in Chicago, Illinois.  Both of my parents worked long and hard, six days a week, in a hot factory on the assembly line.  We lived in the ghetto.  Harold, who exceeds my age by two years, two months, and two days, is my only sibling.  He's always been there for me when I needed help.  The account furnished in the Introduction is consistent with a life-long pattern of loyal support.  We were raised Catholic.  But dad didn't own a car, so, therefore, he couldn't take his family to church on a regular basis.  That made him sad.  However, every Sunday morning dad read the Bible to mom, Harold, and me.  The Bible study was followed by a catechism composed by him during the course of the week.  In this way, he assumed the role of a priest.  Dad called it "home church."

        One Sunday morning when I was three years-old, as dad recounted, a short, swarthy, middle-aged man with somewhat slanted eyes paid us a surprise visit.  He was somberly dressed in a black suit and an old-fashioned black top hat like the type Abraham Lincoln wore.  He looked like he had stepped out of the 19th century.  Oddly, the very first thing he said was, 'I have travelled a long way.'  The exotic looking stranger then claimed that he had heard that we needed a ride to the diocese.  My father repeatedly inquired who sent him to us, but the man was cleverly evasive in his responses.  However, I guess, for some reason, my father trusted the peculiar little fellow because he accepted the invitation.

        We all strolled out with him and got in his big, black Cadillac.  I sat in the back with my mother and brother, while my father sat up front beside him as he drove.



They were discussing religious issues, and dad asked the man his faith.  He said he was a Gypsy and that they have their own religion.

        Now, never having come across a Gypsy before made him very curious!  So he engaged him in a conversation on the subject.  For some reason, at this point, he opened up.  The man astonishingly claimed that a small portion of the population is descended from a race of demigods who interbred with humans in antiquity.  Those people's ancestors are, he elaborated, the Fallen Angels of lore, also known as the "Nephilim," "Overlords," and "Watchers."  According to the Gypsy man, although they departed the planet ages ago, somehow they've kept a close vigil over us ever since -- like modern-day surveillance cameras.  I guess you could say that they have "cosmic eyes without a face."  He said in a low, eerie tone that the "Great Ones," as he called them, always planned to return amongst us and that that day is drawing nigh.

        Our fascinating chauffeur asked my father if he had a dollar bill.  Although he was a very poor man, he happened to have a couple of ones in his wallet.  Dad thought it was fare for the transport, and he intended to hand it over to him.  However, right after he pulled the bill out of his wallet, he was instructed to observe its backside.  "See that eye inside of the pyramid?!" the Gypsy said.  Dad looked at it and grinned.  For he knew the point the Gypsy was trying to make.

        Right before our new, Gypsy friend dropped us off at the cathedral, dad asked him if he'd be waiting in the parking lot to drive us back home after the service ended.  His indirect reply was, "I will certainly see to it that you all make it home safely."  Then, after we hopped out of his car, he smiled and waved, and drove off.  The next thing my parents, Harold and I remembered was being back home in the living room.  We had no recollection, whatsoever, of the church service or the return commute.

        The following day my father unfolded his wallet to withdraw his two ones.  He was shocked to discover two one-hundred dollar bills in there, as well.  He naturally assumed that it was the Gypsy's doing, although just (how) he managed to surreptitiously slip them in the wallet's slit remains a mystery to this day.  "The Generous Gypsy" is what dad called him from thence forth. [He never thought to ask him his name.]  That slight-of-hand gift supplied food on our table for many a night to come.  We were extremely appreciative, indeed!


        After hours of typing, Ralph was getting drowsy.  So he decided to halt his literary progress and turn in for the night.  This is a good place to stop, he said to himself, planning to pick up on Chapter One the next day.  He labeled the document 'Ox's Auto' (which meant "Oxner's Autobiography" to him) and then he saved it to file.


       Attorney Don Hubbard was deeply thinking about all that his client had told him.  He wanted to learn more about the White Light Liberators, and he wondered who started the organization, so he got on his computer and typed, 'W.L.L. Founder' into Google's search engine, hoping it would turn up something.  A page-full web listings appeared on the screen.  He clicked on one of them, and read the following:

        The White Light Liberators (W.L.L.) was founded by The Leader in 1964 at the tender age of 18.  After participating in civil rights activism, he saw the need to establish his own group.  By the time he was only 14 years-old, The Leader was already a patented inventor, as well as a published author.  Remarkably, he's entirely self-taught -- never having attended one day of formal school or college.



        As legend has it, The Leader was abandoned by his teenage mother as an infant.  If the story is true, she dropped him off on an Indian Reservation and the Satchkwa tribe took him in, warmly accepting the white baby as one of their own, calling him 'Great Eagle.'  However, Great Eagle chose to rename himself 'The Leader' when he came of age.  It is said that he changed his name to The Leader because he felt deep within his heart that God had chosen him to deliver human beings from the ills of oppression, misery, and stagnation, and guide them into a golden dawn.  In other words, he believed that he was destined to 'lead humanity into the light!'  At the age of eight, as the story goes, he took up with a band of wandering Gypsies and, supposedly, learned many of their secrets.

        While The Leader works closely with some politicians, judges, and law enforcement officials, he feels that others are intrinsically evil and harm society greatly.  He calls these types 'SP's,' which stands for 'Suppressive Personalities.'  Chief amongst the SP's, he says, are psychiatrists.

        The White Light Liberators is the fastest growing religious group.  From the base of operations on his yacht, which is his perpetual home, he currently heads the organization, which boasts over 600,000 members worldwide.  Followers hail him as the new mental health messiah, while critics contend that he does not believe in traditional mental health practices, namely psychiatry.  Though many claim that the therapy methods he employs on them work wonders and lead to lasting happiness.