The opposite of tall and dark, but still full of mystery

As many of you know, a couple weeks ago I started getting some strange email from a Met Onaplane with a throwaway Yahoo email, that I initially believed to be from a real life stalker (of sorts). His first email, while rather polite, invited me to a message board and primarily felt creepy because he was claiming to be someone who had sat next to me on the flight to London (where I neither gave an email nor a name)! However, the tale continued…

My response (after some waffling and even a few nightmares!) was basically “Sorry, let me know how you got my email, thanks for the website recommendation.”

I received the following:

I understand and respect your suspicion, but as strange as this must sound, would like to explain through the previously mentioned bulletin board rather than here. If this is too weird for you, I understand and will not trouble you further.

So figuring I had nothing to lose I head over to this bulletin board and as soon as I’m approved receive the following message (yes, it’s long, but interesting):

Welcome Heidi!

I was quite pleased when I saw that you had signed up. Sending vague emails is a regretable method of contacting people. As you will see, but perhaps not believe, it was the best choice.

To get right to the heart of things. The reason I wanted to give you this information through this board rather than an email is for security purposes. Although this board is largely a normal discussion of travel topics, it serves as a front for more sensitive discussions. My group controls it completely from the ISP to servers to software, which allows us to ensure that information will only remain as long as we want it to be here, and that it can be viewed by only those who we want to see it.

Which raises the question, “what group?” I provide services to a department of the United States government interested in keeping things secret. I will never be more specific than that, although in the future I will be able to provide certain assurances to support that statement.

Our interest in contacting you is simple. From time to time, we have need of transporting small objects, almost always media of some sort, over seas, with the assurance that our couriers are unknown. If you are interested we would like to use you in that role.

Keep in mind, the role is by nature limited. You will be asked to perform service only a couple of times and those will be spread out in time so as to appear as simple sight seeing trips, which for all other purposes they will be. Financial considerations will be handled through a variety of innocuous methods.

With that much said, I’ll end this message. Please give this some thought and let me know if you would be interested. In your case, you may discuss this with your husband, who has a bit of experience with the business. Discussing with others would, of course be inappropriate.

Finally, our meeting on the plane was not random, and we did not exchange names. But, given the previous information shared, I think I hardly need to explain how I found your email address.

You still have the option of breaking contact and we won’t trouble you further.


When I read “you may discuss this with your husband” I turned to Mark and started yelling at him, a bit surprised. He proceeds to tell me that he was contacted by someone before his trip to Copenhagen, with the mention that he had been recommended by someone. We couldn’t talk much more that day, as it was my birthday, and we had plans all day long with Jan.

Eventually I received instructions that they had to test my “performance in action” and responses to unusual situations, so the next day I received another message:

I noticed it was your birthday and thought I’d get you a cake. Pick it up at La Michoacana Bakery at about 2:30 today. It’s under your first name. It might take you a little longer to get home with it.

The bakery was a bit of a disaster, as neither of us could really understand each other. They did present me with an envelope containing a cd and instructions to take it to the airport to meet someone, but they didn’t give me my cake, which I went back and got later (a rather tasty tres leches cake, for the record).

The airport was also a small disaster, as I didn’t know what terminal to be in, just a baggage claim number, but walking the length of both terminals allowed me to discover that the terminal I didn’t start in had lettered baggage claims. In any case, no one approached me, as the instructions said they would, and I fortunately got the text message “Abort. Discard cd.” I chuck the cd, wondering if someone’s watching me.

When I get home and tell Mark the results of my afternoon, he suddenly breaks down and reveals that he is Mr. Fourth Lion (I had had suspicions along those lines, but pointing them out in my narrative would tip off you, the reader, too quickly!). Furthermore, he had additionally planned two other quests, leading up to a present (which he never did buy, heh). My second excursion was to have been listening to the spy number radio station (fm transmitter connected to his mp3 player hidden in the car) to get gps coordinates, which would take me to a cd hidden in a park, and also would be the key to decrypt the file on the cd (Mark has such confidence in my technical abilities).

The file would contain the instructions for the third assignment, to go to an address and make up a story to the owner to let me onto their deck (a social engineering test described in a book Mark had read about training the Israeli intelligence services). There presumably Mark would be there to give me my present.

I guess he folded because he hadn’t quite finished the setup for the second and third assignments, and he was feeling let down because his coworker hadn’t been able to come through on meeting me at the airport. But in any case, it was an extremely bizarre and interesting birthday present, despite the fact that it mainly occurred AFTER my birthday since Mark didn’t realize I’d be so suspicious! :)

(And to a poor unknowing man on the southern coast of England, I apologize for cursing and defaming you.)


07 2007

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    I had no idea you were keeping a blog. Hope you are well.

    Very funny blog post :)