Indy's thriving black market
INDIANAPOLIS -- ITC officials were dismayed to discover recently that several ATI students had set up a black market and had successfully operated it for years. A Russian orphan, whose pickpocketing skills were well-honed, worked on the kitchen staff cleaning up after meals. Recognizing a capitalistic opportunity, each day he would filch delicacies from the ITC kitchen. Recruiting a partner, the two ran a healthy "Robin Hood" business with many of the ITC male residents, making the exchanges outside the multi-mirrored Cosmetology class (secrecy guaranteed by several well-placed bribes).
Students traded practically anything in exchange for food, from newspapers (particularly the Arts and Entertainment section), to valuable information on possible dangers from loyalist (rat fink) students. Young men in the Life-Focus program, often encouraged to practice "voluntary" fasting, were a major source of business.
The group pulled off its most daring stunt by stealing Mr. Gothard's birthday cake the night before the training center threw a party in his honor. Pieces of the cake were auctioned off in exchange for a TV monitor, VCR, and several DVDs (including Sixteen Candles and Fight Club).
When the ITC leadership realized food was disappearing, they engaged in frantic witchhunts to track down the thieves, which gave the black marketeers an opportunity to knock off several annoying brownnosers in a matter of weeks. The Robin Hood ring was careful to avoid direct wrongdoing, rather arranging for character assassinations in exchange for a tin of brownies or a stray bowl of ice cream. One troublesome young fellow, fond of reporting rule infractions to the leadership, was sent home after an Oprah magazine was "discovered" in his backpack. Another was accused of defrauding a young lady with his roving eyes.
The black market operated gleefully for several years before key members moved on to new opportunities. Not willing to allow his legacy to die out, one of the originals anonymously mailed a "confession" to the ITC.