A few days ago I was hanging out
in LatteLand reading Looking for Orthon, a sociological
study and critical biography of the late saucer contactee
George Adamski. Among Adamski's many claims was that various
"space people" worked secretly among Earth's scientific and
industrial complex. I was musing on the idea of human-looking
"aliens among us" when I saw the back of a blond-haired woman
standing in front of me, facing the espresso bar.
I watched her carefully pour the contents of one coffee cup
into another and back again as if working with chemicals. As
if on cue, the woman swiveled to look straight at me. She was
probably in her fifties (or sixties); her face had the taut
quality associated with cosmetic surgery, and she wore big
black sunglasses that made her look a bit like the cover
illustration from Communion. She was hauling a large
After asking one of the baristas to keep an eye on her tote,
she used the restroom and returned to sit down next to me at
an adjacent table. She was still wearing the sunglasses, and
smelled strongly of perfume. I kept reading, but the woman's
presence was oppressive; she was practically looking over my
shoulder (LatteLand is a small joint, and both of us were
probably lucky to get seats at all).
Then she started asking me questions. "Where is the Truman
Museum?" She had a European-sounding accent, but I couldn't
"That's in Independence," I said. "About a 30-minute drive."
"You mean it's not here? I thought it was here."
"Well, not in walking distance, but it's not that far away."
She proceeded to ask me about where exactly downtown Kansas
City was in relation to the Country Club Plaza, then abruptly
changed the subject: "Where is a hardware store?"
I thought she might be asking about Restoration Hardware, an
upscale home decorating store across the street (and she
seemed to agree with me for a moment), but she made it clear
she needed an ordinary hardware store. I didn't know. Then she
asked for a drugstore, and I was able to provide her with
directions to the Osco Drug on Main not far from my apartment.
By this time she had finally taken off the dark glasses.
She thanked me and, tote trailing behind her, left the coffee
I don't think this woman was one of Adamski's space people (or
any other sort of alien being). I think she was a
synchronicity: Her demeanor and overt mystification were
straight out of some "B" movie about invading saucermen. As
such, she served as a living, breathing illustration from
Looking for Orthon.
Mac Tonnies (e-mail)
is a self-described "transcelestial ontologist" and
science-fiction writer. His stories have appeared in
Implosion, Next Phase, Meshuggah and others; his 1995 book
Illumined Black is still available. He lives in Kansas
City, Missouri. His website is
Looking for Orthon is available through Paraview Press.