That second hypnosis session went ever better than the first, provided a litany of tangible details, so we set up a dozen more for the next dozen days after that, me coming-in even on the weekends. As we proceeded deeper into these sessions, each revealed more and more of my harrowing alien encounters, of which there were very, very many. Turns out all those times I thought I'd blacked out from drinking I hadn't. No, my memory had simply been obscured by the aliens. And these "screen memories" stretched all the way back to my childhood. And after each and every session, the moment I awoke back into reality, Greenberg would plop down behind his big electronic word processor and begin frantically hen-pecking out everything I'd just recounted.
When I got back to my condo in Glendale, which Marilyn was more or less living in at the time, I'd read her copies of Goldberg's transcriptions from previous sessions while she sipped tea and shook her head and said, "Wow." Suddenly I seemed a lot more interesting than even Robert "I once went skiing out of a helicopter" Redford, and you can imagine how good that made me feel.
After Goldberg and me's sixty-fifth session, I awoke to him with his head in his hands saying, "Oh my God."
"What?" I said, "What is it?"
He told me that I'd just mind-travelled back to the very moment of my conception when an alien tapped my sleeping mama's belly with a crystalline rod, conjuring up an "interstellar consciousness encompassing the whole of spacetime." That phrase confused me. So Dr. Greenberg put it more succinctly, told me that I was some kind of "Space Christ," and that as such, I needed to relay an intergalactic message of peace and love.
"What message?" I said.
"I don't know," Dr. Greenberg said. "Let's have another session this evening and see if they'll tell further illustrate that idea."
And lo and behold, that very evening, in Dr. Greenberg's dusty living room cluttered with paperbacks and knick-knacks, I watched his pocket watch swing back and forth until it whooshed away into the hypnotic state.
When I awoke from that state, Dr. Greenberg was even more flabbergasted than he had been at the end of our previous session. Consulting his chicken scratch, he informed me that an "interstellar entity" had just appeared to me, and that it had begun to relay its message. It was "a wizened old man of fetal proportions with curly blond hair, beautiful blue eyes, and an inconsequential nose," to hear Dr. Greenberg describe it in the first volume of his books about these sessions. And its name was Ohdlaver-Zan.
And what was Ohdlavar-Zan's message? It was peace and love and eat a diet that included copious amounts of red meat but neither fowl nor nutmeats. It was be kind to your fellow man, and aim your telescopes towards the Pleiades star cluster. In short, it was your typical Eastern sassafras with an epic space opera woven throughout. Turns out that two competitive alien races were actively coercing the evolution of man. One race wanted us to ascend towards a harmonious and enlightened state so that we could join an intergalactic and far flung community of "star children" while the other, a disembodied race of "demonic energy balls," wanted us to devolve into "simplistic monkey-men," so that we could serve as easily-managed slaves on their vast colony of smog-choked planets. There was also something about "soul farming" in there, but no matter how many times I read and re-read Greenberg's transcripts, I never could grasp the idea.
Still, it was all riveting stuff as far as I was concerned. Not only were the alien races and their alien cities vividly described by Ohdlavar-zan, but I stood at the crux of this narrative! It was all coming through me, Space Christ himself, a conduit betwixt worlds!
Soon, Greenberg was preparing the first volume of "the message" for mass consumption, titled, " A Plea from Pleiades." One inspired evening he also came up with the idea that I should record and simultaneously release an album on the same peaceful alien themes to drive attention towards the book. Marilyn thought it was a great idea, and I suppose I did too.
I consulted xeroxes of my transcribed alien ramblings and constructed eight simple songs using the phrases that seemed to work best as lyrics, along with some "important" lines highlighted by Greenberg. I flew to Nashville and laid 'em down over the course of three long afternoons with some kickass studio musicians. More than once we had to start over cause the stand up bass player, a big ol' boy named Jug Deville, started laughing at my lyrics. "This is some truly zany shit," he said to me during a cigarette break. Guess you could say he was the only one with enough courage to play the role of the joker. But like some haughty Persian director, I ignored him.
Back in LA County I played a rough mix of the album for Greenberg and Marilyn on my reel to reel while we drained a couple bottles of red. At one point, Dr. Greenberg got so excited that he leapt up and began wriggling his round body around, dancing first with himself and then with Marilyn. He slid about the marble floors in his fluffy socks and giggled. "This is MUSIC!" He said. "Bobby, this is MUSIC."
"Course it is," I said. "I'm a musician."
He was so delighted with the album that he asked me if I'd like to be listed as one of the authors of "A Plea from the Pleaides," right alongside Dr. Greenberg and Ohdlavar-zan himself! I gladly accepted the offer. Me, a published author! Who'd a thunk it?
Then, as they say, it all came tumbling down.
With the vinyl all packaged-up and ready to ship, me, Greenberg, and Marilyn were having our standard Sunday barbecue out in Greenberg's overgrown backyard when he asked if I could assemble some shish kabobs while he tended to the grill.
While searching the overstuffed kitchen drawers for skewers, I uncovered a curious pile of mail. It was a mass of rejection letters from various publishing houses, saying in no uncertain terms that they had zero interest in Mr. Daniel Greenberg's manuscript, "Star Sieve. Book one of the 'Ohdlavar-zan' trilogy." The letters were headed with various dates, all ranging between nineteen seventy-two and nineteen seventy eight, a solid decade before Greenberg and I had even our first encounter with "Ohdlaver-zan." And then, beneath these letters, I found the gravy-stained manuscript itself, some seven hundred pages long.
A quick thumbing through "Star Sieve" and my eyes caught many words and ideas that were supposedly from my own, personal encounters with the aliens.
My stomach sank. The simple truth was too obvious to be denied. I wasn't a Space Christ, a conduit betwixt worlds. No, I was a rube, a chump. A pony being taken for a ride by the ambitious and duplicitous Dr. Greenberg—hypnotist, charlatan, and failed science fiction author.
As I flipped to the end and read the last line of this book, which was only a comma shy of being the exact same last line of "A Plea from Pleiades," Dr. Greenberg called to me from the back yard. "Bobby, you rustle up those skewers or am I gonna have to come untangle some coat hangers?"
I didn't answer. Instead, I charged out back and flopped the manuscript down onto the grill right beside a row of sizzling redhots. Dr. Greenberg's eyes went wide and he snatched up the manuscript, singing the knuckles on his left hand in the process. Whinnying from the burn, he ran into the house to once again secret his manuscript away. Of course, I should've just up and left with the manuscript the moment I found, at least then I'd have had a something to back up my version events. But I guess I've always favored dramatic zeal over rational action. Se la vie. Se la me.
As the Doctor searched his filthy home for a new and better hiding place, I was out back trying to explain to Marilyn that we'd been-had, and that we needed to leave right away. Having invested so much of herself in Ohdlavar-Zan's message, she wasn't hearing it. I was tugging at her, trying to get her up out of her lawn chair when she said, "Bobby, look out!"
I twisted round to see a fleshy blur—desperate Dr. Greenberg coming at me with a full-on meat clever like out the cartoons. I ducked down low as he chopped at me, the big blade whooshingoverhead. As the force of his swinging sent him bumbling past, I delivered a solid right hook to his liver area.
"Oogh!" He said, dropping his weapon in the dead grass and sliding to his knees. Then there, at the feet of sweet Marilyn, he curled into a ball and began to weep.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I'm sorry."
Marilyn looked at him, at me, and I nudged the balled-up doctor with the toe of my boot, coaxing him to unfurl. "Tell her," I said. "Tell her what you've done."
"I..." he sputtered, "I..." An admission was clearly forthcoming. But then instead of coming clean, the little bastard doubled-down and said, "I should not have resorted to violence, but when I saw the implant in Bobby's earlobe I knew that the Dao-dins had gained control of his little mind." The Dao-dins were the demonic dark energy beings in his space opera.
Marilyn stood from her lawn chair and retrieved the meat clever from the grass. "What's going on?" She said.
Dr. Greenberg stopped playing armadillo, stood, and both he and I shouted our version of events at Marilyn until she covered her ears and shouted, "Stop!"
When she uncovered her ears I simply said, "I love you, Marilyn. Please come with me." It was the first time I'd told her that, and I meant it.
She looked at me, at the subcutaneious zit in my earlobe, and said. "I need to talk to Dr. Greenberg about this a bit more before I decide on a course of action."
"He's a liar!" I shouted.
"He's under their control!" Greenberg shouted.
"Stop! Stop! Stop!" Marilyn shouted.
For a moment we all just stood there in the gentle breeze and listened to the redhots sputtering on the grill.
"I can't just stand here," I said. I've got to get Seth and Colony on phone and straighten all this out before it's too late."
She stood her ground. "Later, we'll talk this all through," she said. "I'll call you tonight, Donut."
"Okay then," I said, glancing at Greenberg, who was doing his best not to outright smile at his tiny victory.
Racing back to my mansion, I called Colony on the car phone. Turns out it was too late. My dumb alien records were already on display at Tower Records and everywhere else fine records are sold.
"We'll call it all a hoax," Colony's P-R expert said. "You down with that?"
"Yes, do whatever you have to do," I said. "I don't want to be known as the alien guy."
Colony's P-R expert pulled a thread or two, threatened blackmail against somebody at NBC, and I was on The Johnny Carson Show that night, dressed in a bubble-headed space suit that fogged up with my breath as I babbled about how I made this stupid alien album to lampoon the new-age star-gazing set. After I said my piece, Carson, who was eight months from retirement, looked me dead in the eyes for a solid seven seconds before he said, "Beam me up, Bobby." Then Ed McMahon laughed so hard that the whole set shook. For a second I thought it was an genuine California earthquake.
When I got back to my condo there was no message waiting from Marilyn. I sat and stared at the phone til sunrise and it did not ring. So I called her apartment, left a long earthling plea on her answering machine. Then I called Dr. Greenberg's house. He picked up, but hung up the second I said, "Let me talk to Marilyn." I tried to call a dozen more times before I relenting.
After that I tried to call Marilyn, oh, I don't know, a hundred more times. Never connected. I went by her apartment twenty-five times, but it showed no signs of recent occupation. I also went by Greenberg's a few times, but he pelted me with moldy tangerines the second time, ruined one of my favorite suits. I took cover behind the oleanders and shouted, "Marilyn! Marilyn please just come out here and talk to me!" But she didn't. Under onslaught of fruit I retreated back to my long pink limo. That was my last try.
When I was back at my desert estate in Arizona, I got a letter with no return address that said, "proditores factos ad mortem." Though the words meant nothing to me, I recognized her handwriting immediately.
I asked my butler Dimas if he could translate, Latin being more adjacent to Spanish than English. The only word he semi-recognized was "mortem," which he said probably meant, "death." So, a death-threat. Recently I ran the phrase through the Google hive-mind and found my presumptionscorrect. The phrase translated as, "Death to traitors."
But Marilyn never killed me, despite my being a traitor to the Pleaidian cause. But she never called me again neither. Those were her last words to me. "Proditores factos ad mortem." At least I can say they were romantic.
I never got killed by Doctor Greenberg either, though I guess so long as I draw breath the opportunity's still there for him. Come on, fat man. I dare you.
What little Doctor Greenberg diddo was publish eleven subsequent volumes of "A Plea from the Pleiades" According to ahalf-heartedBuzzFeed article I once read about the series, each subsequent volume was "increasingly unintelligable and startlingly pornographic." And starting with Volume Two, each was prefaced with a vitrolic attack against me and my "wiling allegance to the sworn enemies of mankind." With my necessary absence from the process, further teachings of Ohdlavar-zan were divined by Dr. Greenberg's simply laying his hands atop a large quartz crytal and giving dictation to his secretary slash wife—one Mrs. Marilyn Greenberg.
Despite this shameful episode, I never did lose my interest in aliens, and on occasion I still come across one of Dr. Greenberg's dusty tomes in the New and Used bookstores that've yet to be devoured by the insatiable and peculiar ambitions of Mr. Jeff Bezos. When I find one of these books, I'll read a weird paragraph or two, which are always fairly amusing out of context. And in the back there's always the same picture of Dr. Greenberg from around when I knew him, standing with sweet Marilyn Hyde. The picture is smaller than a playing card, with Marilyn's face no bigger than a postage stamp. But it's not too small to see her beauty mark--the reason her parents named her Marilyn in the first place. And that beauty mark, smaller than the final period printed here, well, it's not too small to kiss.