Saturday started off pretty promising. The guys ducked out to pick up something from a gas station near to our motel, they trekked across the interstate to get there. I missed out, but apparently, while searching for a convenience store, they came across an all you can eat, 24 hour a day buffet and popped inside to get some help. They were greeted by a largish woman in…a clown costume. Yeah. And she was knitting.
“Y’all have a good feed”, as she returned to her scarf, or booties, or whatever it was that this lady was creating at 9:00 am in an all you can eat Texas buffet a stone’s throw from an interstate.
The second person they encountered in their quest told them that there was a convenience store a couple blocks away, but also felt it important to also an ominous, “But don’t go there, its dangerous.”
However, the guys went anyway. And fortunately it was all good. So maybe the guy was just confused, or thought it was nighttime, or something else. All good.
The rest of the day seemed pretty normal, we went to some presentations, learned some stuff, and met some people. The cherry on top of the day’s overall trend towards the strange came when we hailed a cab to go home to our hotel. This was much later in the day, after midnight.
So at some ungodly hour, like 3:30 am, we finally get a cab. A local friend was cool enough to call them for us and let us hang out eating his pizza. Our cabbie was asleep when we got to it, so we woke him up, got in, and started off on our way. He had a ponytail and some big glasses on and a beard. He was a bit scruffy but seemed pretty normal. As we piled in we started with the standard sort of chat that one normally engages a cab driver in. Things seemed rather ok. For a few minutes, anyway:
“Where y’all from?”
“Oh, Canada. I don’t take Canadian money.”
“That’s ok, we’ve got some US money we can use.”
“Oh, good. ‘Cause I don’t take Canadian. Some people try to pay in Canadian, but I don’t take it.”
“I also don’t take Euros. No Euros. No Canadian.“
“Well, Euros might be ok for you to take ’cause they’re worth more than US and you could trade them in and be ahead.”
“Yeah, well, that doesn’t matter. Europe will be gone soon.”
And all I could think was, ‘Here we go’, as I slid forward in my seat to catch what was coming next. ‘Cause I had a feeling. He continued on:
“Yeah, Europe will be wiped out. By a plague brought on by birds from the sky. 200 million will die. At least.”
And away we went. He talked about how the CIA, in the 60s, had sought out ‘supernatural children’, and had conducted experiments on them for 40 years. He went on and said that Obama was the creation of a group spawned by these super human children. MK Ultra he called it. A group, according to this crazy man from Texas, that was a merger of divinity and man. “Even greater than Jesus Christ”, he said. The whole thing was quite surreal to hear in a cab in Texas just before sunrise as it rained.
As we were pulling up to the motel, he started taking steps to make sure we’d remember the stuff he was telling us.
“Look it up. Put it in Google. MK Ultra.”
“MK Ultra. Look it up. What is it called again? Tell me back.”
“Uh, MK Ultra”
“That’s right! You’ve got a good short term memory. They haven’t gotten to you yet. The Einstein Brain. It was done first in the 60s with television. Invented by the communists. We use it now too. They reset your memory, every two weeks. Everyone’s memories. I just woke up two years ago, when they tried to kill me…”
He then yelled, loudly, “SOUND OFF!” and we all jumped a bit ’cause, well, we were pretty attentive to what this guy was saying. A bit nervous, I think.
Then he turned the light on in the cab, our eyes met in the rear view mirror, and he yelled it again,
“SOUND OFF! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!”
He was wild and for a fleeting moment I wondered if he had a hand grenade, severe karate skills, or an assault rifle. He didn’t, thankfully, just some crazy ideas about what was real and what wasn’t real and very likely some unaddressed post traumatic stress disorder, or a pretty dedicated use of acid or worse.