This is a True Story
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Thursday, July 28, 2016
By Kay Ebeling
Men sniff out women like me. I've always wondered if my encounter with Dave (I don't remember his real name) had somehow been arranged.
Dave had an office at NASA in Houston in Building One, a ten story structure where the Administrator of the space center occupied the top floor. Dave was on six or seven. You got off the elevator and walked down bare walled hallways until you got to his office, where he sat at a government gray desk. There was nothing on the walls, nothing on the top of the desk, maybe a pen holder and calendar, but the room was barren. With windows looking out at a panoramic view.
From here Dave was an “accountant” I think he said.
From here Dave left on trips to mysterious places and then came back and called me and we’d spend more time together.
The way I lived my life, that was a long term relationship.
At one point Dave was going to be gone for several weeks, so he made special arrangements for us to call each other. By then it was obvious Dave was doing something secret for a living. While he was gone this time, we held Looooong conversations, sometimes I would call him back, I can't remember the phone arrangements, but it was an unusual way to make a phone call.
A few weeks after Dave returned, I got my phone bill and all the calls I’d made to him were listed on the bill, with no charge, and the number called just said 000 000 0000
By that time I was not dating Dave anymore as he’d identified me as a risk to his cover. When he came home from one of his trips, I was in his air tight bedroom naked between his brand new high thread count sheets, and he was in the shower. So just for the heck of it, I looked in his closet and on the floor was this heavy woolen military uniform with foreign writing on the sleeves and ribbons.
Dave emerged as I was staring at the uniform on the closet floor. I asked him what it was. He spit out the words, “It’s a Syrian officer’s uniform.”
I did not know for sure where Syria was at the time, but I knew it was in the Middle East, so I said, isn’t Syria too hot for a uniform like that. The coat was thick and wool. He looked down at me and said, It’s for going into the cold parts of Syria.
I cogitated on that, dressed, and went in to work, but it really bothered me. So as I waited in the tour guide office to go to my next assignment, I casually mentioned the uniform on the closet floor to my boss. She had served at an enlisted level in the Air Force, I think she even had some intelligence experience. She ran the tour guide office with the tyranny of a boss who was a smart high school graduate, and I submitted to her authority.
She noticed something was on my mind so I spilled it out, without even thinking. I told her about the uniform on his closet floor and him saying it was a Syrian officer’s coat, and just what strange a person Dave was.
Within seconds, SECONDS, the phone rang in the tour guide office. The boss answered, and handed it over to me. It was Dave calling from his office that was almost in my view there in the building across the walkway. His voice came stern and cold over the line.
“You weren’t able to keep that secret for five minutes. I can't trust you with anything.”
And he slammed down the phone.
Any time I tried to call him after that, he did not answer, he would not return messages, he vacated me from his life in that moment, and I don't think I ever saw him on the LBJ Space Center campus again after that.