Drinking pints with flying saucers

Fred had always been a little bit strange, but after he visited the crop circle he got downright weird. “I didn't know it at the time,” he said as we drove to the Latin American Club, “but you can will crop circles to come to you if you want them to.” This is exactly what he had done a few years prior. He was in Vancouver visiting his father, an ex-Yale/Stanford academic who used to work on government projects until he became too obsessed with UFOs. (“The Man” couldn't take it, so he split.) Fred read everything his father had on the phenomenon and said silently, “Jeez, one day I'd really love to actually see one.”

The following week he was sitting watching the evening news with his girlfriend, and there it was: a crop circle — way out in the East Bay, complete with flattened grass and a flummoxed farmer. They got in the car and headed for it. It was dark and eerie, just like you'd expect, but with an odd energy in the squished parts. Fred, being a kook, decided to do Qi Gong exercises to try and channel the vibes. When they got back to the car, the couple was emitting so much cosmic heat that they steamed up the car windows. What Fred didn't know is that he had invited something into his life on that night. Something he swears is never going to leave him until he does its bidding.

“Dude, stop looking at me like that,” he said as he told the story. I was staring all right, lips pursed, back straight, eyes mildly rolled, head tilted … the international sign for What The Fuck, Homie. Then again, I thought, I am someone who loves Art Bell. Who am I to judge? Here I was with a good friend who claims to have experienced this stuff firsthand. The least I could do was listen.

The Latin American Club is a lot of people's favorite bar and here's why: It's hip without being snotty, the service is great, the margaritas are big, and it's at 22nd Street and Valencia, where it exists as a “squished part” emitting cool energy in a sea of Mission District corn stalks (oh sorry, I mean maize). Normally, I will look around a place and take in its subtleties to parlay to you fine readers, but on this night I was wholly focused on Fred's Amazing Tale, so bear with me.

“It was a few weeks after going to the circle that I saw my first UFO,” he continued. Basically, he was being followed around by an orb. It was black and smallish, about the size of a Nerf product, and looked like two contact lenses fused together. It first zipped past him and into the hills of Albany, where there is an Ohlone burial mound. While some people might have been freaked out at this, Fred merely shook his head in silent recognition. It was starting.

Despite shaking up the universe, Fred still had his career to think about. He is a struggling actor, and at this point he decided to move down to L.A. and try and make it. Fred is blessed with a face for fame, being part Peruvian, Chinese, and German, all of which comes together in a tall, dark, and handsome package. He had tons of auditions and slowly raised his profile. Strangely, the UFO didn't bother him when he was down there. “They don't go to L.A.,” he informed me. “They don't like it.”

Eventually, he came back up here, and that was when the ETs started playing hardball. He sighed and took a big swig of his drink, steeling himself for the rest of his story. While at an office Christmas party, he believes he was hit over the head by someone or something. Pessimists might say that perhaps he had too much to drink and fell, but Truth Seekers know that something nefarious was going on. After all, there were ex-CIA people at this party. Anyway, he got a serious concussion. He began to have dreams that would come true the next day, little things like running into people he hadn't seen in years. He got an MRI and the doctors saw something weird: There was an anomaly in the center of his brain, something that shouldn't be there, a smallish square. The doctors thought that maybe it was some dust on the lens or whatever, but Fred is pretty sure it is a microchip that was put there when he was unconscious. And to tell you the truth, at this point, I was pretty sure he was right.

“Then I saw the mother ship,” he said flatly.

OK, maybe he is a nut job.

He was up at his dad's again, walking in the woods, when he came to a clearing. There, through the trees, he saw an immense cloud. Behind the cloud was a gigantic version of the two black contact lenses thing, but with blinking lights along its bottom. This time he wasn't cool about it, he was scared. It floated away and he high-tailed it out of the woods. Just as he reached the forest's edge he saw something really fucked. Carved into a tree were the words “They Are Coming.”

I had to ask him the question that had been nagging at me from the beginning. “Why do they want you so bad?”

“I don't know,” he replied. “There is probably going to be some dimensional shift and they need a few people to be ambassadors to the new world.”

Huh. We sat in silence for a bit, listening to the Rufus Wainwright song that was playing. I uncrossed my legs and stretched.

“Hey, let's go get some smokes,” he said.

“Cool,” I replied.

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