Aaron Hughes to the Rescue

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The Leader's reclusiveness from society and habitation aboard 'The Sea Gypsy' combine to make him a very curious figure, indeed!  It's as if this mystery-man dwells on some Olympian height above lowly mortals.  And the ocean is his throne! -- London Morning Herald

A dignitary named 'The Leader' runs the 'White Light Liberators' (W.L.L.) from his behemoth yacht, which also serves as his own personal living quarters.  His IQ is higher than Albert Einstein's IQ.  But more importantly, he's a champion of the oppressed and downtrodden -- a true hero! -- The Toronto Tribune

 

        With his high forehead furrowed and his bleary eyes locked on the hard floor, Harold Oxner sat hunched over on the prison cot deep in thought.  I've got to get out of here! he whispered to himself.  How was the conundrum his mind was systematically engaged in solving.  He figured that if Ralph could manage to disable an armed cop and drive 1,000 miles to his residence without even knowing where he was going, then surely he could break out of prison.  It would require the ingredients of keen observation, creative thinking, meticulous planning, and, most likely, at least one accomplice, he reasoned.  Harold knew that he was fully capable of pulling it off!  Although his IQ wasn't quite as high as that of his brother, it was still well above the 'genius' level.

        Taking a break from plotting, he picked up the Bible on the cot beside him.  Reading it was mainly for the purpose of distracting his mind from his environment, but also for spiritual comfort.  Eventually, he came upon Daniel 2:43.  It said, And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

        That verse stuck a chord with him.  Harold took his eyes off the page and looked up.  Mingle themselves with the seed of men, he mumbled to himself, remembering back to what the Generous Gypsy had told his father.  He closed the Bible and laid it back down.  Then his mind returned to formulating a plan of escape.

        Harold's concentration halted, his head lifted up, and his back straightened -- all in response to the dreadful noise lumbering along the hall.  By now, he was so familiar with the signature sound of those heavy footsteps that he could unmistakably identify their maker.  He stood up, took a few steps to the vertical bars, and gazed down the hallway in order to visually verify to himself that Buck was, indeed, headed his way.  Contrary to his wish, Buck's next step happened to be at (his) cell block.  Harold had been anticipating scapegoat reprisal with a deep sense of foreboding; he assumed that (he) would have to pay for (his lawyer's) sin of irreverence.

        As 'Big Buck' unlocked the iron door, Harold resolved not to go down without a fight!  The door opened.  Harold braced himself for combat, while trying not to appear as being too overtly 'on-the-defensive.'

 

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Now Buck was in his cell.  Harold was set and ready to defend himself.  Expecting imminent attack, he espied Buck for his next move so he could react to it quickly.  Then there came a bolt from the blue!  "I've got good news!  You've been bailed out," Buck announced, somewhat cheerfully.

        "I've been WHAT??!!" Harold said, incredulously, suspicion immediately arising.  He suspected that it was just a wicked joke, designed to lift his spirits in order to sink his heart.

        "Bond has been posted," he reiterated, phlegmatically this time, as he drew forth a pen and a piece of paper.  Harold accepted it in his hand and saw that it was an official release form.  He skimmed it and quickly signed it, halfway fearing that Buck might yank it out of his hand if he didn't hurry.  Buck informed him that he could pick up his civilian clothes in the administrative office, and that he was free to leave.  Then Buck said, "Good luck," before he turned around and walked away.

        "Thanks!" Harold called out, most taken aback by Buck's kind words.

        Harold strolled down the hall with a smile upon his face.  Almost as astonishing as the great news was the transmitter's cordial deportment in delivering it.  "The Intimidator" had actually bid him a fond farewell!  Harold started having second-thoughts about his snap judgment of Buck.  Maybe ole' Buck wasn't such a bad guy after all, he thought.  He recalled how bad it felt to be prejudged himself, and how he got mad when people prejudged Ralph.  Now, he realized, he was personally guilty of unfairly assesing an individual on the facile basis of exterior characteristics.  Suddenly, another thought entered his head: Who could've posted the $3,000 bail???  He didn't know ANYONE that rich!

***

        Dade County District Attorney, Oscar Carranza was sitting in his office discussing the case against Harold Oxner with Assistant D.A. Sim Banglio when the telephone rang.  He picked it up and said, "Hello."

        "Mr. Carranza, this is Joe Millman."

        "Oh, hi, warden."

        "Hey, I'm just calling to inform you that Harold Oxner has been bailed out of my penitentiary."

        "He's been WHAT??!!" the D.A. exclaimed, flabbergasted by what he'd just heard.  "His bond was set at three million dollars!  Who the hell could've posted three million dollars that knows Harold Oxner?!"

        "Are you ready for the answer?"

        "Probably not, but shoot."

        "Aaron Hughes."

        "You've GOT to be kidding!  You mean 'Aaron Hughes,' the actor??"

        "The one and only!"

        "Damn, I wonder why he would do a thing like that!" said Mr. Carranza, utterly baffled.

        "This is going to be a high-profile case; maybe he's seeking publicity," the warden conjectured.

        "I doubt that.  He's already so famous that he doesn't need to be pulling any publicity stunts.  There has to be some other reason!"

        "Your guess is as good as mine," the clueless warden said flatly.

        "Man, this case just keeps getting stranger and stranger," Oscar said, while shaking his head.  "Thanks for the update, Joe."

        "No problem, sir."

        Right after D.A. Carranza hung up the phone, he turned his head to make eye contact with his prosecuting partner, as if to say, "Did you hear that?!"

        Banglio accurately read his facial expression and responded to it: "From what I heard, it sounds like Aaron Hughes sprung Harold Oxner out of the Big House."

        Crestfallen Carranza just shook his head and looked away without bothering to verbally confirm Banglio's easy supposition.  "The biggest name in Hollywood supporting him won't increase our chances of winning a conviction; I can tell you that right now," Carranza disappointedly forecasted.

        Assistant D.A. Sim Banglio tried to refocus his boss's mind on the substance of the meeting prior to its ringing interruption.  "Okay, let's get back on track," he resumed.  Carranza turned his attention to the Forensics Crime Scene Investigation document that he was examining before the warden called.

 

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        "It says here that both brothers' fingerprints were in the stolen vehicle."  He silently skimmed the Forensics Crime Scene Investigation document for seven seconds.  "Let's see," Carranza half-wittingly mumbled while flipping binder pages.  "Ralph's prints were already on record with the Youth Offender Department.  As for Harold's... it says here that the FBI matched Harold's prints by dusting his doorknob.  Harold doesn't have a criminal history, aside from a few speeding violations.  That's why they had to dust the knob.  Scientists also tested sweat residue and skin particles in the lab.  There were some hair follicles found in the Oxner automobile, as well.  But the FBI doesn't think that they came from any heads other than the owner and the Oxner brothers.  They've pretty much ruled out the possibility that additional people were recent occupants of the vehicle.  So it doesn't look like we'll be prosecuting anyone else.

        "Now, let me see if I can find the Interrogation transcript," he said, turning pages in the thick binder.  "Aah, here it is."  He perused a section of the copy he'd highlighted with a yellow marker.  "Harold flat-out confessed to the FBI interrogator.  But, unfortunately, that statement won't be admissible in court because he wasn't read his legal rights beforehand.  All throughout this transcript, he's talking about how psychiatrists ruined his brother's life.  It's like he's more upset about that than he is about the trouble he's in."  Carranza paused a few seconds to read more of the quoted dialogue sheets.  "This guy sounds pretty smart," he concluded.

        "That means he'd be a hard defendant to grill," Banglio chimed in.

        "Exactly," Carranza agreed.

        "You know what we should do," Banglio began to propose in a thoughtful manner with seriousness of purpose in his voice.  "We should request of the FBI that they mail us the VHS tape of the interrogation proceedings.  It would give us a better idea of his general demeanor, and it'd probably help us handle him on the stand."

        "That's a good idea," Carranza commended.  "The more we understand his temperament, the better.  If I can trip him up on the mental level, maybe I'll be able to push his buttons on the emotional plane."

        "So, we've got their fingerprints, skin particles, and hair fibers in the car.  Is there any other evidence besides the biological traces they left?" inquired Banglio.

        Carranza thought for a few seconds and then replied, "Well, of course, the FBI looked over Harold's phone records.  They're particularly interested in an early morning call he made to a Boca Raton resident.  His name is..." Carranza paused while flipping pages... "Dexter Howell," he stated after spotting the name in print.  "The Feds conducted twenty-four hour surveillance on Harold.  He frequented the headquarters of a New-Age-type religious organization.  Dexter Howell is a member of that group!"

        "Hmm," Banglio murmered, while rubbing his chin and connecting the dots.  "It looks like that sect might be involved in Ralph's disappearance," he reasoned.

        "That's what I suspect, as well," Carranza concurred.

        Meanwhile, Banglio was trying to place the group: "I think I've heard of them.  What are they called?  'The White Liberals' or something?"

        Carranza chuckled at the misnomer.  "No, it's not 'The White Liberals.'  It's 'The White Light Liberators," he corrected.

        "Who's their leader?"

        "The Leader."

        "Yeah, who is he?"

        "The Leader."

        "For heaven's sakes, Oscar!  That's what I'm asking you!  Who's the leader??"

        "Like I said, 'The Leader.' "

        "You mean that's actually what the guy goes by?!?"

        "Yeah.  That's the weird thing about the sect.  Their leader doesn't have a name, or at least no one knows it.  His followers just refer to him as 'The Leader.'  He's seldom seen.  Not much is known about him -- sort of a mystery man.  But he's supposed to be a mega-genius, from what I've heard."

***

       

123

        "Why do you need two microwave ovens, Mr. Leader," Ralph asked, following their therapy session in the sage's suite.

        "Those aren't microwave ovens, my friend," he responded.

        "What are they, then," Ralph inquired.

        "Why don't I show you," suggested The Leader.  The he took off his watch and handed it to Ralph.  "Put it in there," he instructed.  Ralph pulled open the appliance's door, placed the gold Rolex on the silver disk base, and closed the door.  Then his mentor pressed some buttons on the front frame.

        "Now, open the door," he said with a twinkle in his wise, compassionate eyes.

        After doing so, Ralph excitedly asked, "Where did it go???"  The Leader answered by pointing his finger at the twin, rectangular receptacle across the room.

        "No way!" Ralph skeptically exclaimed.

        "Go look for yourself," recommended the smiling inventor.

        Ralph opened the door to a purplish glow and, sure enough, the watch was inside.  He looked back at his hero with awe-radiant eyes.  "Whoa!!!  How does that work???" he queried in a state of utter bewilderment.

        "It's just a simple teleportation contraption I invented when I was fourteen years-old.  In order to comprehend the intricacies of the dematerialization process, you'd have to have an extensive background in the field of quantum physics, like I.  But, summarily speaking, it basically requires artificially accelerating the vibrational frequency of an object's subatomic particles, thus inducing a multi-dimensional passageway, which is followed by non-locality space transference to the designated location.  Then, the receiving apparatus reduces the atomic vibrational rate to normal, and the object materializes."

        "Uh, I'm sorry I asked!" said Ralph, jokingly.

        The 'beyond brilliant' Leader chuckled and remarked, "My Perpectual Motion machine would be a lot harder to explain.  I invented that when I was nineteen.  As I like to say, 'It keeps going and going and going and going!'  Ha!  By the way, this here Sea Gypsy runs on free-energy fuel."

        "What made you want to be a scientist, sir," Ralph inquired, still awestruck by what he'd seen demonstrated.

        "Well, Ralph, I've always been fascinated by the four forces which combine to shape the reality we all experience.  They are: matter, energy, space and time."  The Leader was now speaking in the spirit of a seasoned educator.  "I also invented a Time Travel machine, by the way."

        "COOL!!!!" shouted Ralph.

        "When I was in my early twenties, I began to investigate the greatest hidden force in the universe.  It's called the mind.  And it's the most interesting thing in existence, in my opinion.  I'll describe it a little: The mind's essence is autonomous.  In other words, it's not subject to the laws of what I previously mentioned: 'matter, energy, space and time.'  Furthermore, the great 'Source Mind' or 'Universal Mind' -- as it can also be called -- is omniscient!  It knows everything, and we are all part of that knowledge!  Isn't that a marvelous fact to consider?!"

        "Boy, I'll say!" agreed Ralph.

        "Yet another term for it is the 'Cosmic Mind.'  So, now, hopefully, you're getting a clear understanding of what I'm talking about!  Think of this mind as having an inexhaustible supply of ubiquitous, omnipotent, pure energy.  It has unlimited power.  Plus, it's like a never-ending, all-pervasive ocean that's around us and in us at the same time.  It's always there, waiting for us to tap into it if we choose!  Well, I learned how to do just that!"

        "Cool!!" exclaimed Ralph.  The Leader never ceased to amaze him.  In fact, he was always 'blowing his mind!'

        The Leader continued on with his esoteric educational lesson: "The boundless, all-encompassing, all-knowing nature of the mind fascinated me more than anything I'd ever studied.  My research led me to the conclusion that there is much more to the thinking process than solely the brain; the mind plays the main role.

 

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As a matter of fact, the mind is able to function independently of the brain.  That's because the mind is a universal entity unto itself, and we all share an infinitesimal portion of its infinite energy field.  It's analogous to someone tasting a drop of sea water from the Atlantic Ocean.  Not to brag, but for the sake of clarity, I've penetrated into that well of consciousness on a much deeper level than my Earth peers.  Figuratively speaking, 'I'm drinking a pitcher of water while everyone else is merely taking a droplet on their tongues.'  Understand so far?" he checked.

        "Yes!  You're making it all quite clear to me," Ralph assured.

        The Leader went on with his lesson: "We are immortal spirits with temporary bodies because we are all interconnected to the eternal Source Mind.  Unfortunately, most people inwardly believe that they ARE their bodies.

        "My research led to the discovery that periods of physical pain or emotional suffering -- under prerequisite conditions -- can be imbedded, or "etched," in our minds, metaphorically speaking, like the grooves on those antiquated, big, vinyl record disks.  Then, at a later time, and, again, under prerequisite conditions, the pain imprints lodged in the mind gets restimulated and, thus, replayed like the little needle [on the record player] touching the grooves to produce the sound effect.  Except, in this case, the effect is the re-experience of the initial pain, as opposed to music.

        "I devised a method to CLEAR the human mind of the accumulated engravings affixed to it.  I call the process 'auditing.'  Some people confuse it with counseling, others with hypnotism.  But there is really no comparison!  They are diametrical opposites, you could say.  Hypnotism puts people to sleep, and places them under the control of a verbal suggestion.  Auditing awakens them and releases the 'suggestions.'  Auditing frees your mind.  Auditing is not only unique, but it's really the only form of therapy that works.  It's immensely more beneficial than any other psychological self-help system on the market.  That's because it gets to the root of the problem, instead of dealing only with the symptoms.  As today's youth would say, 'It's the bomb!"

        "And all this time I thought you guys were counseling me!" Ralph interjected.

        "No, son.  We had to fool you a bit because I knew that you weren't prepared for the immensity of the procedure.  If we had of leveled with you from the get-go, you would have assumed that it was too 'alternative' and been intimidated by the concept.  Your history of psychiatric abuse would've caused you to mentally overblow the idea and turn it into a self-induced complication.  Therefore, the required relaxation technique would have been impeded and, as a consequence, reverie obstructed.  But I think that now you're ready to know more about the science behind our therapy sessions.

        "Getting back to the subject; I was ecstatic when, after much trial and error, I finally figured out how to clear the mind.  I call it the 'technology of the mind.'  I conclusively considered it my greatest achievement to date -- much more valuable than any of my mechanical inventions.  That's because auditing has the tremendous ability to liberate the entire human race!  That's our lofty goal.  However, I was soon to find out that there were people in the world who regarded my research as a threat to their own vested interests.  Chief amongst them were my foes, the psychiatrists.  Misery and insanity has always been their business, and they reckoned that if I attained success in my quest to eradicate those psychological plagues, their livelihoods would dissolve along with them.  Their pseudo-science would be obsolete, their college degrees would be worthless, and they'd have to find employment elsewhere.

 

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Therefore, the powerful psychiatric lobby went to war against me... and fought dirty!  They tried to suppress my progress every step of the way, ruin my reputation, and spoil my aims.  In short, they became my arch enemies.

        "I was in court, all the time it seemed, fighting bogus lawsuits.  They even stooped so low as to bribe unstable people [whom I was trying to help] into pressing false criminal charges against me.  So I took to the sea to escape their relentless persecution and carry on with my work.  I designed The Sea Gypsy.  And all of my guests aboard it are Liberators.  I have managed to convert a few technicians to the cause."

        "I'd like to be a Liberator, too," Ralph proposed exuberantly.

        "What would I have to do to become an official Liberator instead of just an honorary Liberator?"

        "All you would have to do is take the Oath of Aegis," informed The Leader.

        "What's that??" Ralph asked with teeming interest.

        "It's a promise of adherence to the Liberator doctrine and a vow to assist fellow Liberators in circumstances ranging from inconvenience to peril.  I'll set up the Swearing-In Ceremony for you as soon as I get around to it," he promised.

        "That sounds cool!  I like the idea of being in a fraternity!"

        "I also heard that you liked the idea of learning to play the piano."

        "Yes, sir!  I've always wanted to play but I've never had the opportunity."

        "Well, now you do!  How would you like to learn on that one?" the Leader offered, pointing at the mahogany grand piano in the corner of the room.

        "That would be fantastic!" Ralph excitedly exclaimed.

        "I don't have the time to teach you, but the good news is that a piano teacher is aboard the ship.  I'll arrange for her to give you lessons.  I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience.  Is there anything else I can help you with, Ralph?"

        "You can give me a nugget over there," he wisecracked.  The Leader walked over to the pot of gold on the end table and grabbed a handful of its valuable contents.

        "Thank you," Ralph gratefully said, while holding out cupped hands.  "You're very generous," he added.

        "Generous?... well, not when you consider the fact that I have access to an unlimited supply of gold.  Believe me, there's more where that came from!" stated The Leader.

        "Wow!!  Are you talking about a gold mine?"

        "No, I'm talking about another one of my successful projects."

        "What's that??" probed Ralph, curiously.

        A sly smile came upon The Great One's face and he replied, "Let's just say that there's something called alchemy."

***

        Harold Oxner was in the supermarket the day following his release from the penitentiary.  The unsanitary prison food had tasted worse than it looked, which made grocery shopping a pleasurable experience for the first time in his life.  He'd leisurely treaded down every aisle -- pushing the roller cart in front of him as he enthusiastically scanned the shelves high and low in search of savory treats, as well as necessary household supplies.  With his shopping cart filled to the brim at the check-out line, he browsed the magazine/tabloid rack merely out of boredom, while three consumers stood ahead of him in line.  That's when he spotted his disheveled mugshot on the cover of the Weekly Inquisitive Review.  In stark contrast, it was right beside Aaron Hughes' princely face, which occupied the major portion of the pictorial space.  The other movie stars pictured were not as prominent.  The main story's huge caption stated, Aaron Hughes Bails Out Ralph Oxner's Brother directly over their adjacent images.

        As he was flipping through the tabloid, in search of the article, he felt a light tap on his right shoulder.  Reflexively, he turned around to see who had just physically requested his attention.  And, as he did so, he was met with his second big surprise at the check-out line.

 

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It was Buck, the Department of Corrections officer, with a six-pack of beer in his hand.

        "Hey, buddy, it looks like you're trying to feed a village," Buck quipped.

        "Well, what do you know??!!  It's a small world, isn't it," Harold proclaimed expressively, looking up at the hulky giant.

        "Yeah, I guess you don't mind seeing me as much under THESE circumstances."

        "You said it!  Prison is not exactly my favorite hang-out!"

        "Mine neither!  Working there is really depressing.  It takes a toll on your psyche.  I see you like to read tabloids," noted Buck, in observance of the one Harold was holding.

        "Not usually, but this one is of personal interest to me," he explained.  And then he held it up high in front of The Intimidator's rugged face.

        "Hey, that's YOU on the cover!" he exclaimed.  "It looks like you're famous!  That reminds me: someone from the media came by the prison today.  She asked me a load of questions about you.  All I could say is that you were a model prisoner.  I told her you were quiet, stayed to yourself, and didn't give anyone any trouble.  I think she was disappointed that I didn't have any drama to report.  Speaking of drama, it's unfortunate that I had that little incident with your abrasive attorney.  A feisty little fellow he was, indeed!  Sorry I had to eject him from you cell like that.  But I have to take control of the prison environment.  Outbursts can get inmates all riled up.  And if you say the wrong thing loud enough, it can even incite a riot."

        "Wow!  I understand that now!  At the time, I just thought you were being a bully."

        "No.  I'm an intimidator for sure, but a bully I'm not!"

        "Well, you intimidated ME pretty well when you said, 'Welcome to the scene of ruthless struggle and endless woes!' "

        "Oh, sorry!  I don't recall saying that to you, but I'm pretty sure I did because that's part of the first stanza of my newest poem.  I love to write poetry!  I guess I was just talking to myself again, reciting lines in my head.  I've got to get out of that habit!  I'm also an habitual daydreamer, by the way.  That's another one of my vices.  Hey, would you happen to know the vocabulary word for 'a speech made to one's own self?' "

        "No," Harold pled ignorance with a smile.  "What is it?"

        " 'Soliloquy,' " Buck educated.

        Harold grinned and said, "Well, how about that!  I learned something new today, didn't I?!  Maybe you should've been an English teacher instead of a prison guard!"

        Buck chuckled and humorously replied, "I don't think that would've been a wise career choice.  I'd rough up my students for using incorrect grammar, and their parents would complain to the principal."

        Harold laughed and submitted his own joke in response: "Incorrect grammar sounds like an egregious offense.  Perhaps the courts should make it a felony.  Then, you could get to see all of the English language violators in prison, and rough them up there."

        Yeah, that sounds like a good idea," agreed Buck.

        "Hey, I'd like to read some of your poems, dude.  Give me your e-mail address."

        "All right, buddy.  You got a pen?"

        "Yeah.  I'll write it on the back cover of this here tabloid.  I'm going to buy it anyway, so I guess they won't mind."

        "Technically, it's vandalism until you actually make the purchase," Buck lightheartedly warned.

        "Oh well, I guess I'll just take the chance of getting caught and thrown behind bars again," Harold jested.  "Okay, what is it," he asked, holding the tip of the pen on the paper, prepared to write.

        "NtimidatorPOET at coldmail dot com."

        "Cool!" said Harold, after jotting it down.

        "We should get together sometime and have some beers.  I'll take you to an outlaw biker bar."

        "I don't think I'd fit in there."

        "You might be surprised!  They're fun guys to hang-out with... unless you show up with a Kawasaki motorcycle; we're all Harley men!"

        "All I ride is a bicycle."

        "Well, get there late when everyone's thoroughly drunk, and just tell them that that bicycle of yours is a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and they probably won't notice the difference."

        "Ha!  That's a good one," Harold complimented.

 

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        Moments later, at the check-out counter, Harold got his first taste of celebrity life: The teenage cashier gasped, "Oh, my God, aren't you Ralph Oxner's brother???"

        Harold gave an affirmative nod, a sheepish expression, and his first-ever signature upon the giddy girl's request.

        Then, an amused Buck smacked his back and forewarned, "Pretty soon, the paparatzi and obsessed fans will be stalking you.  That means you'll need to hire a bodyguard.  Hint, hint!"

***

        The following day, the United States' citizenry was all stirred up and chattering about the next major event that occurred involving the 'Ralph Oxner Saga.'  Black uniformed, gun-toting SWAT team members were shown on the National News storming the White Light Liberators' sprawling compound.  The TV anchors reported that federal authorities, including the FBI and ATF, raided the Fort Lauderdale headquarters after obtaining a search warrant.  They were acting on the suspicion that the affluent sect assisted in Ralph Oxner's ongoing flight, it was explained.  The public was also informed that the federal agents seized computers and other personal property -- such as files in filing cabinets -- for the purpose of gathering evidence.  The WLL's impressively towering buildings were highlighted, and its wealth was documented, as well.  In that way, the feature inadvertently served to further attract people's interest in the organization and, consequently, contributed to additional membership requests.  WLL converts skyrocketed!