I wandered about for several more weeks. Then, at supper one night I
said to Ivan "I want to do something....some kind of work. I need to be
of some use to someone."
Ivan smiled. "The day has come," he said, "you will leave me. I will miss your company, good Lenin. But it is only right. You are called to greater things. Yours is a higher place. Tomorrow I will take you to The Preparation Center and they will prepare you for whatever work it is best for you to do."
The rest of the meal was silent. All of Ivan's companions seemed to share his feelings that I would soon leave.
The next day Ivan took me to another of those beautiful buildings. This one looked like a huge pyramid, covered with flowering trees, the topmost being one that shimmered like gold.
"What kind of tree is that?" I asked. "I have never seen one like it."
"It is the Spirit of a Tree," Ivan told me, "a rather remarkable Tree. It's story is in The Hashon Legends. It is The Tree That Would Not Be Moved. But that is all I will say of it. It is the appropriate symbol for the people that work here."
Ivan took me in the building through a long hall to what must have been its center. There were many people sitting around and a pleasant-looking woman at a round desk in the middle. She smiled as we approached.
"This is Lenin," announced Ivan. "He wishes to be of some use to someone."
"We have been expecting him," the woman answered. "Do have a seat, Mr. Lenin. I will have a caseworker for you as soon as possible."
Ivan escorted me to a seat, embraced me warmly, and bid me good-bye.
"Surely I may visit?" I asked.
"Of course," Ivan answered, "whenever you wish."
I sat for some time watching counselors come for people, and others arriving. Finally a pleasant-looking Haven carrying a clipboard approached me.
"Mr. Lenin," he said, "I am Gray Moon, your caseworker. Would you like to accompany me to my office? There are some preliminary questions."
I followed him to a very pleasant room and he motioned me to a chair while he went through the papers on the clipboard.
"You keep records of us?" I asked.
The Haven smiled. "I have a good memory," he said, "but I currently have two-thousand beings under my charge. That is beyond even MY skills." He put down the clipboard. "Is there anything in particular you would like to do,, Mr. Lenin?"
"Please, sir," I requested, "just Lenin. The Mr. makes me nervous."
The counselor nodded. "As you wish, Lenin. Again have you anything in mind?"
"Well, I heard of guiding," I told him, "I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds interesting."
The counselor nodded. "Not only interesting," he said, "but some of the most important work we do. And it is very demanding. That is a possibility. Would you mind if we gave you some tests? That might help matters greatly. None are too complicated."
"Of course," I answered. "Whatever you need!"
Gray Moon pressed a button on a box and spoke into it. "Mary, could you come in, please?"
A moment later a very attractive human woman entered.
"This is Lenin," my counselor announced. "Could you take him down to testing and arrange for quarters? This will take a couple of days," Gray Moon told me. "It is best you stay here. You may speak with me any time you wish, but it is best simply to go along with the test procedure, until it is completed."
"Certainly," I agreed.
The young woman led me through the building and brought me to the desk of a human male. "This is Lenin," she said, "he wishes the full testing procedure."
"Certainly," the man answered, rising. "Come this way, sir. There's a group filling up now. We usually run testees in groups of ten. It saves effort. We already have eight and there should be someone along, shortly."
He led me into a room where several other people were waiting. "Introduce yourself," he said, and departed.
I did as I had been bid. I found the room filled with people from everywhere. There was a Buddhist from Japan, a Hindu from India, a former Catholic Priest from Ireland, a real American cowboy, two English housewives...an incredible mixture of peoples. We were getting involved in such interesting conversation that I was rather disappointed when the tenth person arrived and our testing began.
There are no living words to describe the testing. I would make no attempt to explain it, other than to say it was not unpleasant, and sometimes very interesting. At the end of the first day I was taken to an extremely lavish room for MY tastes, and found that rest came VERY easy. The next day I finished the testing, rested again, and the following morning was returned to my counselor.
He went through the report I had been given carefully, then sat it aside. "Well, Lenin," he said, "you're not really suited to be a Guide, or really much in contact with the material world. May I make a suggestion?"
"Of course!" I told him.
"You have the skill that rarely survives transition. You are an able and capable political leader! Your people here, the Communist people, need leadership. No strong, caring leader has emerged since they started coming. They are surviving well, but a strong leader to give them some goal, some direction, would be very advantageous for them.
We never force anyone into any line of work, but I would appreciate it if you would consider my suggestion.
While you are considering it, you are free to go through the work files, check all the types of work, inquire into any you wish. Even if you are not a good contact with the material world, there are many, many things you can do here, that will be of benefit to all of Earth's people."
"Thank you for your sincerity," I answered him, "I will consider what you have said very carefully."
And that I did for several days, being disturbed or encouraged by no one, simply using the facility's beautiful accommodations at my leisure and considering my future heavily. But my thoughts drove me back to Gray Moon with a question.
"My friend Ivan," I told him, "is interested in Communism, and is an able leader. Why can't he be this leader you are seeking? I will not want to take someone else's place who is more deserving than myself."
Gray Moon rose and began to pace. "Ivan anticipated your thoughts," he said, "and gave me permission to speak. But it still bothers me to speak of one of my client's cases to anyone else. So I hope you will forgive me if I do not go into too much detail.
Ivan has made tremendous progress. He does very well as the mayor of a small village. But too much responsibility, too much pressure weighs on him. Even now every once and a while he wanders off into the Darkness to rest for a while. As he is only gone a couple of days at a time his people do not mind. They understand his needs for occasional periods of absolute peace and tranquility. So it is a situation that works well. But a strong leader is needed for such a troubled people, for such a frustrated and disturbed people.
A strong leader can give them guidance, can give them the strength they are lacking, the encouragement to continue on in the face of disaster. Ivan is not yet strong enough for such a job; even when you were visiting him, he was clinging to your strength."
He returned to his seat and became silent and I, too, sat in silence for several minutes. Then it was my turn to rise and pace.
"What if I, too, aren't strong enough?" I asked. "I have already failed my people once, what if I fail them again?"
"You had a dream," Gray Moon told him, "other men betrayed that dream. Who is to say who it was that failed?"
His smile was a reassurance beyond any words. My decision came hard, but I finally made it. "How do I begin?" I asked, spreading out my hands at my side in the gesture so common here. Gray Moon rose, put my file away, and led me through the halls to an exit.
"This will lead you to modern day Russia," he told me, "or its equivalent here. You will find yourself in a familiar square near an office you are acquainted with. You will know where to go. Good luck. I doubt if we will see each other much in the future. Your file will be moved to the employed section. I don't think I will have need of it again."
He extended his hand in a human fashion and I took it. "May The Lords be with you," I told him, and wishing to take no more of his valuable time I departed. Passing through the exit I found myself in Red Square and without hesitation headed off for where my office used to be.
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