I Was Abducted by Creatures With Bad Hair They were alien to my department. They probed. I screamed.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – The following is what I told the authorities about the whole thing that happened between last Sept. 12 and Sept. 15, but I still don't expect anybody to believe me. Nobody believes anybody anymore, and that's the darn truth. I suppose it's because of all those things you see on television that they call reality, but you still don't believe it because it seems so fake. That kind of makes you doubt everything, and then when something really real happens, you still can't get any respect when you tell the story to people at the Exxon minimart or Bob's Big Boy, because it didn't happen to them and who's to say the whole crazy story isn't something you didn't make up after a two-week bender. And I don't blame folks for saying that, because that way, you know, they can keep their sanity, and feel safe.

But it did happen, and that's the truth of it. You can believe it or disbelieve it, it don't make no difference to me. I know what they did to me, and how it still hurts me whenever it's a little wet outside, and nobody can take that away from me. It's in my bones, and nothing's going to change that.

So here it is. I was just wrapping up work that evening of Sept. 12 and I had the radio on in my office and nobody else was around on our end of the floor except Lester the custodian and Nancy Butz, a midlevel manager with no direct reports but a lot on her plate. And then suddenly there was a bright light from, like, nowhere, and the radio went dead, I swear to God, and the computer made that funny noise it makes when it's rebooting, and I got a real squirrelly feeling in the bottom of my shoes. I walked out of my office into the hall near the water cooler, and there was Nancy, and we both looked like we didn't know which end was up, because we didn't.

"What's goin' on?" I said.

"I...I dunno," said Nancy. She's got a good head on her shoulders, has Nancy, and the fact that she was hearing and seeing what I was made me feel a little bit better. I found myself holding her hand as we stared up into the intense light together. She paused for a moment, then whispered in a voice nearly paralyzed with fear, "I think...I think it's a...a CFO."

It felt right. CFOs have been sighted around here before. Nobody puts much stock in the sightings, because we like to think it's a rational universe, but there's a lot more bizarre stuff out there than you can shake a stick at, I'm here to tell you. So somewhere deep down we're all prepared to believe what we hear happened to other folks, and we know it's not just supermarket tabloid stuff. There are CFOs out there. And when they come for you...well, you have to go.

Anyhow, we were standing there and I realized suddenly that we couldn't move. We were, like, frozen, and it wasn't just fear, although I admit there was plenty of that. It was a physiological thing. My muscles were incapable of motion in the bath of that white and freaky light.

Then out of that terrible, cold aura walked two of the weirdest-looking creatures it has ever been my displeasure to see. They were very small, shorter than normal people, if you could call 'em people, and very thin, except that one of them had a pretty noticeable bulge in the midsection. I've had one of those, and I can tell you that unless you work out every day and eat just right, that kind of paunch is hard to get rid of when you hit a certain age. I'm thinking that that one, at any rate, was no spring chicken.

I should mention that both of them had very large heads that were mostly domes, except for a couple of strands of what I guess was hair that they arranged across the top. It was pretty gross.

"Take me to your 2001 Plan," said the one with the little tummy on him.

"Already?" I said. "It's only October!"

"It is useless to resist!" said the other one, and I didn't like the tone of his voicebox at all. It had a metallic ring to it, and a quality of smug entitlement that made me want to slug him. I don't know why I didn't, I was bigger and stronger than both of them put together. But they had some kind of hold over me that made me incapable of resisting. Maybe they had a secret scrambler of some sort that their tech people cooked up for them to take away people's willpower, I don't know.

The next part is pretty hazy. They took us into a big room full of little machines they kept looking at and working on, poking at the tiny rubber keys and exclaiming and shaking their heads. And they laid out my entire budget on the big table in there, and they probed and probed--and I don't think I can go on right now. Give me a minute.

...I don't think I can adequately describe that feeling of being probed by inhuman hands. I wanted it to stop, I wanted to call out for help of some sort, but there was nobody to call to, and they didn't stop, not until they were good and done with us. They poked into corners nobody should look at. They got at things that made me question the very nature of existence. Why do we do the things we do? Do we need to live the way we live in order to survive? Are we necessary on the planet? And most ominously, why are there so many of us? I wanted to scream into their bland, almost featureless faces, "Why are there two of you? Isn't one of you redundant?"

But I didn't. What was the point? They were in control, and the sooner we closed our eyes and let it happen, the sooner it would be over. No, it don't sound courageous, I know that. But you go through something like this, just once. Then you talk to me about courage.

I think I lost consciousness after about six hours of this. The next thing I knew, it was about three days later, and Nancy and I were back in our offices. We haven't talked about the experience much. What is there to say? I feel all right, considering. But I know that something is wrong. I just can't put my finger on it. It's like...it's like 20% of me has been removed for no good reason. I'm not quite sure what part of me is gone, I just feel cut back in some way, and slightly less capable of operating in the way people expect of me.

Blessedly, the memory of my night with the CFO creatures is fading now. In a few weeks, I bet it will all be gone and I'll be one of the bozos that yoks it up when others describe what happened to them.

Oh yes. I'll laugh. But deep down, I will also know.

They're out there. And they'll be back.

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name.