Or that is to say,
Me and the NSA go way back...
So, here's the thing. Once I become acquainted with something (ideas mostly, but organizations and people, as well), I tend to keep on seeing them more and more, you know, because I know what to look for. And then, let's not overlook what drew my initial inquiries towards that thing in the first place...
Anyway, I browse Craigslist for jobs. Yeah, maybe I'll find one I want to work one of these days. And going on the better part of a year ago now, The NSA advertised for a great big job fair thing on Craigslist. So, I went. Mulled the idea of working for them over for a few days. Finally decided, they probably wouldn't hire me anyhow. (The magic number is 8 years of combined education and experience, which I can make a case for; but you know, when I say I can make a case for it, what that really means is that I don't really have what they say that they're looking for. Whatever.) I took a break from what I was doing, went to their site, and filled out an application. Now, this story of mine is only the least bit interesting because what I was working on before I applied was a web scanner. So, literally, minutes before applying, I'd run a scan on this very web site. And minutes after applying, I went back to what I'd been doing, which was developing a scanner, so I ran it again. And what do you know? In the interim, someone had hacked my site. Coincidence? Well, I'll tell you one thing. This Conspiracy Theorist does not believe in mere coincidence!
Anyhow, long story short: I didn't get the job.
But you know, I talk. Folks heard the story about my website being attacked. And so, when I found myself visiting the DC area (not because that's where the NSA is located nor because I was going through some final Top Secret Clearance thing; but rather) on a lark, I visited The NSA Museum. (I think it goes by some other name: National Cryptology Museum, or something like that. But no one is hiding the fact that ALL -- nearly all, who really knows -- of the exhibits were donated by the NSA.)
Anyway, lots of words there. Don't know how many words are to follow.
That cryptology museum has wonderful brick work on the inside. I mean wonderful, like staggered patterns, like you could lose yourself (go a little crazy if you know what I mean) trying to find meaning in those patterns.
And military groups (fully uniformed, looked like they were on the clock, at least one group while I was there) were taking the tour.
And this other guy (or was it two of them), were taking pictures of everything, you know, like as part of the NSA hiring process: someone might hack your website, you'd be supposed to figure that out, follow the links (whoever hacked my site, left links to sites that I never did visit, 'cause what, I'm supposed to follow a trail of poisoned breadcrumbs); and then, you make your way to DC, and if you can, if you can figure out the puzzle, find the Easter Egg, they'll hire you. Right? Got it? This guy was taking pictures of EVERYTHING. I mean, it wasn't, 'Oh, this looks interesting.' He was getting photographic documentation of every last display, entry, sign, placard, the works, like exactly the sort of thing you might do if you were going to run a computer scan on the pictures looking for clues...
So, I like turning my reality into a bit of a story. I find it fun. So, I was having a grand old time watching my mind take the plunge and fall into this madness.
Of course, I couldn't be bothered to take the tour. I mean, you don't walk through the front door. No one walks through the front door. So, forget about the front door. And take in the ambience: what's important, what the military guys focus on, and that crazy guy with the camera (who looked sort of military, too boot).
Anyway, wandering around, I found my way into the library. Free library. Free reading room. Heck, you just might be able to check a book out. And the books are great. Everything YOU (or I) ever wanted to know about cryptology and the NSA. Complete volumes of declassified correspondence with great tracks of critical information blacked out, because seventy years later, it was still all hush hush. But really, that wasn't the interesting stuff.
The prior NSA director (perhaps the guy who'd started it all, the driving force for years), his entire library was there. Hand signed notes, annotations. Good stuff. No, really good stuff. A guy could lose his mind in that kind of stuff.
Or the books on the occult. Yeah, psychic reading at a distance. They had a whole section on that. So, I'm crazy? I'm the one who's a little bit off his rocker? No. This whole weirdness trip. I'd fit right in. If only I could find the pattern.
I mean, I was having fun. I don't know. It probably sounds crazy to a stranger. But I like books. I've spent half my life (maybe more) staring at paper. And here was an amusement park attraction, an ode to the paper trail. And the old time smells. The librarian sitting by the door, smiling, 'Let me know if I can help you with anything...'
'Oh, really? Anything? Well, you know this is going to sound a little crazy...'
But yeah, I was fine, just browsing, looking for clues. Wouldn't it be great if I solved the puzzle. And with none of that intermediary crap. Just sort of use my Psychic Powers to power through the maze and get to the prize at the center of it all, hidden here, in this room full of paper. 'Cause, you know, in this fictional world, plot line to a book, make-believe land, I've done my tour in the Black Ops, got my brain cleansed when I mustered out, that's why it's so hard to concentrate these days, don't seem to get as much from my reading as I used to, why I was in DC, surrounded by military and government workers, just hanging, magically getting into all sorts of weird places, NIH is not your typical tourist venue, the way those guards just wove me on by:
Seriously! Why the Fuck are you letting me into this building!'
And then, I came across the book: The Book. Say it with reverence. I came across the book that explained it all, wrapped the story up, and either solved it... or explained why I (me, myself, and I) would never be tracking this mystery any further, end of the line... for me. For you see, it was a book about Braille, a coding convention, perfectly reasonably to find in this repository, only it had been done up in one of those special folders, custom binding, black lines crossing out the important stuff... what a joke. For you see, the entire book had been crossed out, cleansed clean, from beginning to end. The volume was an ageing photocopy of some Braille manuscript, written in Braille. And I think you'll agree, when it comes to Braille, a copy just doesn't do the trick, it looses some of it's meaning, you know what I mean, it lacks a certain feel when it's just a photocopy... nothing more than an ageing decay, of a visceral feel, nothing really there... to put your finger on, if you know what I mean.
And that's why I don't work for the NSA... not that I would remember something like that, even if ever I did.
One can only surmise,
that I must have known then,
what I don't know now.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure
all of us in Dark Ops
knew what we were giving up.
For Ķing & Ќountry!
For Ķing & Ќountry!
© copyright 2015 Brett Paufler