It turns out that “Hank” had also been NSA. He spoke fluent Russian and had been in a listening post in Tehran back in the 1970s. Tehran was in an ideal location since, due to its altitude it would intercept signals from the Baikonur Cosmodrome among other locations in the lower USSR. He was alone and on duty on the night when three Soviet cosmonauts died during reentry. He listened as he heard their screams and comments as they died. It chilled him to the bone as he realized what was going on.
Flying Business class from New York to London, British crew on a United flight. Nice service from the flight attendants, typically lousy food as per all United flights, but unlike most United flights, the booze service was good. I asked for and received a couple of scotches before the miserable dinner and a couple more after to make up for the awful cuisine. As the captain announced the descent into Heathrow, very cute flight attendant came and knelt by my aisle seat and gave me a bottle of champagne. She said it was because I had been so nice and polite during the flight, said “Please” and “Thankyou” and smiled at the attendants. Seems that her experience of Biz class passengers was not normally so positive. As an Englishman, this disappointed and surprised me.
This wasn’t in a woods, but it was in the foothills of a mountainside in a remote and isolated area. I lived on the edge of hills with extensive hiking trails that stretched past city after city in Southern California. Everyday I’d climb one hill and follow its curves back down. It was my daily exercise routine and my serenity. One year there was a major fire that started nearby and burned the brush for a good twenty miles. After that a fence was installed around the entrance, with a gate that was open half the year. The other half of the year it was locked during fire season. I had to climb the fence during the dry season to still hike.
I climbed the fence like usual, walked in a short way, and started my steep ascent up the switchbacks, when I heard a voice. I stopped and listened, a red flag, as I was alone hiking in a remote area. Then I heard several voices, and I felt relieved as there was a group of people ahead of me on this trail. I hadn’t seen them, but I heard them. I continued up, and on the third switchback the voices began to argue, yelling loudly at each other. I stopped in my tracks and looked up to see one lone man chugging up the trail, dressed in business attire (mind you, he had to climb the fence to get in) yelling at the top of his lungs, using three different voices. I froze. My hair stood up on end. I turned and ran down the trail as fast as I could to get out of there. I would not hike there again.
Thirty minutes later I heard sirens going up the hill and then I heard them again, back down the hill. This said to me that the man wasn’t dead after all. But that he was critical as sirens are only used for the critically ill. Later that afternoon the police called me to wrap up their report. The man I came across was a homeless man in his fifties. He had a heart condition that the officer could see. As the officer walked up to him the man jumped up, but couldn’t get very far as his legs were very swollen. The officer assessed him and called the paramedics. Soon after arriving at the hospital the man passed away. At least he wasn’t alone.
He immediately called his watch commander who put him on hold for about 2 minutes. When his watch commander returned, he had patched in higher ups in Frankfurt, Germany who listened to his briefing. Again he was put on hold. A few minutes later, he was talking with Richard Nixon. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to stand at attention while speaking with POTUS, but again he repeated his briefing on what he heard. Nixon thanked him and Hank was instructed to keep quiet about the incident.