I went to meet Randall, a guy who claims to have been part of a mysterious cult based in Chicago and nearby Northwest Indiana. Their “base” was mostly along the lakefront shared by both states. A house on the lakefront there, a cottage on the lakefront here, etc. And a couple of high rise apartments along Lakeshore Drive. Everything was looking out towards Lake Michigan.

On the phone Randall said he believed the cult (he wouldn’t tell me their name, if they had one) numbered about 30.

Supposedly in April they headed off on small boats on Lake Michigan during a storm and disappeared. On purpose, Randall said.

Now I’m going to save a lot of this cult stuff for a future post, because I’d like to introduce Windi.

Windi also claims to have been a part of the cult. Randall confirms this. While Randall lives in Northwest Indiana and attends community college.  Windi moved to Boston where she is an art student at Tufts University.

Randall is a little chubby with dirty blond hair and beard. Cargo shorts, sandals, a rugby jersey. He also had with him a gumball machine. Windi was short, with short straight black hair and a pair of vintage eye glasses. Her clunky boots didn’t seem fitting for some of the beach walking we would do but she had a cute short summer dress on. One of her bare arms showed off a small tattoo of a boat anchor.

Oh, and she had armpit hair.

I brought Aidan along. He thought it would be entertaining. He had beer. He seemed to make Randall nervous. Windi didn’t give a shit.

Aidan looked over Windi. “Fuck me,” he says.

“What?” I say. “Like you haven’t seen that? You’ve been in some of these Chicago clubs.”

“I mean fuck me, like fuck me, she’s hot.”

We started at the beach south of McCormick Place. Randall walked us up to a little hill where there was foliage. He said one of the cult’s telescopes was there, but not anymore. This was the case at several other locations along the beach (we drove to the Indiana side). The telescopes were for observing something out on the lake, but Randall didn’t know what. He said he just an underling. Someone who was “part time” and cleaned and did odd jobs. So was Windi, although I sensed there was more to what she did. I said this too Aidan as we were walking behind the pair.

“How the fuck do you even know if they were in a cult, if there was a fuckin’ cult? And if all of them disappeared in the lake how come these two didn’t? How the fuck were these two even in it?”

They weren’t invited, Randall said. Windi was quiet. She dropped back to walk with me. She asked me about my name, where  was from, what I did, and if we could get a drink after.

I said yes. I never shared a few pints with a girl and her hairy armpits. After the cult tour ended (again, more later – I’ll admit there’s some spookiness to it) Randall and Aidan went there separate ways. Windi and I went to a bar. We ate, drank, and talked. She kept kicking me gently under the table with her big boots, on purpose I don’t know. I didn’t mind.

Windi asked if I could drop her off at her friend’s place on Belmont, where she was staying.

“But first let’s hang out in the back seat of your Jeep,” she said.

Windi had armpit hair, but she had a wonderful technique for pants removal. And despite her armpit hair, she was smooth everywhere else. I kissed a girl with armpit hair, I thought. So cross that off my list. Wait a minute…that’s not on my list. I did a lot more with a girl with armpit hair that night.

I dropped her off. She invited me to visit her in Boston. I asked her if she could tell me more about this cult. She just smiled, kissed me and pointed to her tattoo.

“Liffey,” she said. “I like that name.”