Early one morning my friend Joseph called me from L.A.
“There is a guy named Chris coming to Moscow and he wants to talk business. I gave him your number, and he should be calling you in a week or so.”
Joseph explained that he didn’t know much about this Chris, only that he was a “friend of a friend” and his business plans sounded ‘interesting,’ but he did not have the credibility to pull off such projects - and on top of it, he has almost no contacts in Russia.
I have no idea why Russia was a magnet for bizarre Americans during the 1990’s. Maybe it was the lure of easy money; the ability to be a seemingly big fish, in a small pond; maybe it was the opportunity to have the feeling that one is actually ‘making a difference for the better’ in helping modernizing Russia so it too can enjoy the many benefits of a free market.
Many Americans view(ed) Russia as a social and economic basket case. Many Americans, feeling pity for their former enemy-turned-brethren would travel to Russia to teach the so-called ‘backward’ Russians that life could be normal if they would just read a few self-help books; accepted the fact that Russia lost the cold war, and that America was just better in everything we did.
I found people like this revolting and limited all my contact with them. If Russia was so backward, why was the Russian Mafia the best organized and most powerful on Earth?
Chris called me when he arrived. He told me he was staying with a Russian family, which, if my predictions were correct, and they usually were, he would be desperate to eat any non-Russian food item by day four, and at any cost. So I invited him to meet me for lunch at a hotel in two days.
I arrived at the hotel a few minutes earlier than we agreed upon. I parked myself in a comfortable chair. Knowing Moscow traffic, he was probably going to be late, so I opened a newspaper and began to read. All of the sudden I spotted a man in his late 40’s wearing a toupee. He was wearing a poly-blend suit and tie that resembled a cheap floor rug.
Instinct said, ‘this must be Chris.’ I was right, it was him. I stood to shake his hand, and introduced myself.
“How have you been finding Russia? Is this your first time here? Are you meeting interesting people? How is the food?”
I was right. Chris was sick of eating fatty sausage, cabbage and potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was grateful we were in a Western hotel. It was an oasis of culinary nostalgia for him.
“This is my second time to Russia. I was here years ago during the Communist times. So much has changed, and there is so much that I can offer and teach the Russian people. I thought there would be great business opportunities here. I prepared some business plans. Why don’t you have a look.”
He handed over a stack of 10 business plans, and proceeded to review them with me. I have read dozens of business plans as part of my MBA in banking and finance, and past work.
It is easy to quickly surmise what is worth discussing further and ones that are not.
These were all extremely poor. They included cut out magazine pictures, and featured no financial information, projected rates of return, etc. Estimated rates of return were listed as “there is a possibility for a lot of money.” There was no substance in these plans, actually there was nothing. It was just magazine cut outs pasted on pages. Like we all did in first grade.
He did include a copy of his biography, which was interesting. He worked in Hollywood for about 20 years producing music and music videos for numerous one-hit wonders of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Groups that sounded vaguely familiar, but then again, all groups in those days had similar names, and none of them are performing today.
The business plans covered a wide range of topics. Everything from a Moscow highrise office building, to a proposal for a movie about Catherine the Great featuring Sigorney Weaver.
Finally, there was a business brochure that mentioned something about a joint venture using Russian satellites and American television to create an international 24 hour satellite television network.
The goal would be to have it up and running in three years. It promises to be very exciting and state of the art. I have ‘high level’ contacts in a major network, and they are very interested in this project. It will be called RAIN: the Russian American International Network.”
I’m always weary when people don’t drop names but instead say “high level.’
My first job in Russia was on the largest aerospace joint venture between Russia and the United States, so I had some understanding of the issues, logistics and costs involved for such a program on the satellite side. I decided to prod him for more information, and to see if he really knew what he was talking about.
Chris explained “It is going to be a 24 hour a day international satellite TV network that can be viewed around the world.” The documents he walked me through looked like a teenagers’ illustrated science fiction book from the 1950’s.
“Neil, do you want to know the real reason for doing this project?”
“Is it to make a profit?” I ventured my answer, suspecting that if it was business, profit is the most important thing, at least according to everything I ever learned.
“Neil, what I am about to tell you is of a highly sensitive nature. It deals with the highest and most secret levels of government.”
“In October 1998, when the satellites are all in place, the US Government and the aliens will announce to the world, that they are in partnership. We need the satellite network to announce this at one time around the world.”
“Aliens?” I asked. “like new Russian immigrants? People who overstay their visas?”
“No. Interplanetary visitors.” Chris said this with a straight face.
Chris volunteered more information than was requested. I didn’t even have to ask to hear more, he just started chatting away.
“When I was 11 years old, I had a close encounter of the FIFTH kind.”
He must be more important than Spielberg, as Spielberg only had one of the third kind.
“Fifth kind? I never heard of that, but I am familiar with the encounters of the third kind.” I saw the movie when I was 7, but I did not mention it to him.
Life for him at 11 years old was much more exciting than mine could ever hope to be.
In all seriousness he explained that “My close encounter of the fifth kind was where aliens invited me to their ship, and the aliens proceeded to explained to me what my future will hold.”
With great aplomb, Chris handed me an addendum to his biography. It was his “Metaphysical Biography.” There was nothing in the biography about anal probes, though.
In this 7 page paean, I read with interest all about his abduction by space aliens, and how they explained that he would have three important phases in his life.
The first phase was youth. It mentioned something that he grew up on a farm.
The second phase explained all about his career in music and music videos in a pre-MTV world. The music industry in the late 70’s was a rather wild scene from what I knew.
The third phase was his exploration of international business opportunities. I wonder if during the explanation of his second phase of his future they mentioned hanging out at Studio 54 and doing mega-doses of hard drugs, that in later years could cause delusions and flashback hallucinations of interplanetary communications?
When I was 7, I too knew my future. My parents and family spelled it out for me. I will grow older, go to high school, and then college. I will graduate university and go into the labor force, have 2.5 kids, a house, car, retire, then die, and in the process pay oodles of taxes.
Let’s see if the aliens can predict all that and with such stifling accuracy. I am still working on the kids and death, but in time they will all come.
He said the initial announcement of initial contact of the US Government and aliens would be similar, but not as ‘cute-sy’ as Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Chris told me that he is still in touch with the aliens on a regular basis, and ‘black’ agencies of the US Government.
Being that I also have a background in US government work, I wanted to hear about these “black departments.”
Chris was evasive about these “black departments.” No matter how hard I would press, he would not explain. But he did tell me about his partner in what he termed UFOlogy. UFOlogy is the pseudo-science of UFO’s.
His partner had a Ph.D. in primitive archeology. So naturally he was an expert on space, science and mathematics, and how to get dirt off of old artifacts from the ground. On a metaphysical level, there might be a connection.
Chris pulled out some magazines to add (or detract) more credibility to his case. He showed me some articles that he wrote for them. These UFO journals were humorous. They had cover pictures of soft-focus-artsy type portraits of ‘aliens’ as they appear in movies.
The magazines had t-shirts for sale (“My alien friend went to Calgon-9 and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt”) and current trends in human-alien contact.
Chris wrote an article that said alien to human communication via telepathy would still be most effective, as anything else would be unbelievable to the general public.
The articles mentioned nothing about the October 1998 surprise of the global US Government announcement. I guess that Chris’ project was still rather hush-hush. But he sure filled in all those gaps for me.
I egged him on by telling him that I had seen a UFO once when I was a child. As a child, I swore that I saw a UFO. It was a bright light hovering upon our front lawn. I finally figured out it was a searchlight from a police car on the street. The object is thus identified, and did not even fly.
With serious exaggeration I explained how there were “figures in this light” and felt a ‘great peace descend upon me.’ He bought this story lock, stock and barrel. It built up my credibility that I too, was not a skeptic, but a believer.
He explained that he was to address a major Russian UFO conference being held in Moscow the following week.
“Oh please take me!”
I met Chris at the Russian UFO convention. Talk about a gathering of strange people - even space aliens would have felt out of place.
The conference was held in a Moscow movie theater on the outskirts of town. The room was decorated with scientific photos of the moon, and constellations. There were little flags in some constellations, probably representing where some aliens came from. ET was a little on the right, and the evil monsters from Plan 9 From Outer Space were on the left.
The first presenter was a woman who read a very emotional poem about space aliens and contact. I had no idea what she was talking about, as my Russian language skills, though fluent, were limited to topics based on reality. She wiped away small tears that had formed on the corners of her eyes after finishing her poem. She received a warm round of applause and people seemed touched.
Next an old Russian academician looking man showed some equipment that he had recently developed. He would put some chunks of frozen carbon dioxide in this strange box camera-like machine with lights, that emitted vapors from the carbon dioxide. It was like a smoke machine for a disco.
He claimed it helped one see alien residue on objects. Since there was nothing nearby that had recently been touched by aliens, it was difficult to promote the effectiveness of the machine. Oohs and ahhs reigned when the lights were turned out and the smoke and light effects of the box camera looked rather cool in the dark.
Then the introduction for Chris was read. It was something that he was from Los Angeles. If this was America, that would say enough about him, but in Russia, LA doesn’t have the same connotations.
Based on the excited look on Chris’ face, this was an important moment that will be recorded in a future updated ‘Metaphysical Biography.’
He was addressing an international symposium on UFOlogy in Moscow, Russia. This would sound impressive in some circles in the West, but truth be told, it was a gathering of strange folks in a run-down movie house with dirty bathrooms.
Basically, he explained the same nonsense 5th encounter, black departments that he told me. But when ‘black departments’ was translated into Russian, it sounded like he was working with the US Department for Black Citizens. He encouraged person to person contacts between UFO believers in all countries and was happy to make his own small contribution to world peace and understanding.
I felt let down coming as I wanted to see photos of aliens and remnants of alien ships. I wanted to meet people who had anal probes. None of this occurred.
I thought that if I could not find intelligent life here in this movie theater, why would anywhere else be any better? Then I wondered if conferences such as this take place on other planets? Do they try to decipher video snippets transmitted of “The Brady Bunch?”
Chris called me prior to his departure to Los Angeles and thanked me, and hoped to see me on his next trip to Moscow. He felt he made great progress with his business ventures.
Joseph in Los Angeles called me and told me that Chris had returned from Russia and they talked by phone.
Chris said he was 100% sure that I was a CIA agent under deep cover in Russia. He spoke of it factually to my friend, and mentioned that he was a bit frightened after meeting me.
October 1998 came and went. There was no globally coordinated TV announcement on the wildly successful Russian American International Network announcing that Klaatu landed in Washington, DC.
I was living in DC at the time, patiently waiting.
And as for being a deep cover CIA agent?
If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.
You could ask Chris, but mysteriously, no one saw him since he met me.