It's been nearly three weeks since Bob Lindsay spotted something falling out of the sky on a security monitor at the TriGen power plant downtown.
Lindsay seems like a straight-up kind of guy. He's a chiller operator at the plant, which supplies power, heating and cooling to major buildings downtown. When the summer's swelterin', Lindsay's the man making sure the temperature stays cool in Bartle Hall.
So you can imagine that Lindsay has a little time on his hands when it's the dead of winter and air conditioning's about as useful as tits on a boar.
On January 14, Lindsay was usin' a little of that leisure time to check on a colleague in the plant's control room when he noticed something odd. A security camera trained on a couple of the plant's boiler stacks happened to capture an object moving across the sky.
"I saw a long, black object, and I could see flames starting at its nose and going up both sides of it," Lindsay tells the Strip.
Lindsay wasn't sure what he was seeing, so the 52-year-old did what he figured was the responsible thing -- he made a videotape of the flight and alerted the media.
First, he says, he tried The Kansas City Star, but the newspaper didn't get back to him. So naturally, he next turned to the Fox network.
And here's where the story really gets strange.
After describing what he'd seen to a producer at WDAF Channel 4, Lindsay was told that the Fox affiliate -- get this -- wasn't interested.
Say what? The network that brought us Alien Autopsy passes on a UFO videotape? What's the world coming to?
Still, Lindsay didn't give up. He had better luck with KMBC Channel 9, which aired Lindsay's tape and called NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command), only to find that the U.S. military claimed not to know anything about a re-entering piece of space junk over Kansas City. The ABC station also consulted an astronomer, who said the object was probably a large meteor (freakin' spoilsport).
Channel 9's story was picked up by numerous television outlets outside the Kansas City region and was rebroadcast from Florida to the Bay Area.
Lindsay admits that after the story started to spread, he figured he'd be answering calls from plenty of other local television and radio outlets.
But so far, nothing.
And here's what's even stranger. Despite putting up notices of the sighting on two different UFO Web sites, Lindsay's had no inquiries whatever from UFO researchers -- and his messages on the two sites have both disappeared!
What the -- !
This meat patty was beginning to smell an X-Files-sized conspiracy. Here was videotape of a sighting -- the gold standard of UFOlogy -- and not a single self-styled Agent Mulder or Scully had descended on Lindsay to take down his testimony.
That just ain't natural. In this meat patty's experience, even the whiff of a close encounter is enough to bring hordes of amateur Area 51 experts out of the woodwork to make astounding pronouncements of space-alien involvement on the slimmest of evidence. Why, this tenderloin itself has seen persuasive outer-space gurus convince eyewitnesses that the indistinguishable speck they had spotted above their heads was actually a full-blown hyper-dimensional mothercraft with illuminated portholes filled with the visages of bulbous-eyed aliens. These folks are good.
And by now, they'd normally be all over Lindsay and his videotape like a hound dog on a bone.
Instead, Lindsay remains unmolested and, truth be told, a little bewildered.
This sirloin decided to get to the bottom of things and looked up Jim Johnson, director of Kansas City's chapter of the Mutual UFO Network.
Jim, it turned out, was well aware of the Lindsay Incident. In fact, he said, his group of local UFO aficionados has been buzzing about it in a flurry of e-mails. But that enthusiasm, he says, hasn't resulted in an actual MUFON investigation.
"I personally didn't take an interest, because I didn't think it was a UFO. This looked like a falling piece of space debris. I don't think anybody in our group thought it was worth investigating," Johnson uttered, to this cutlet's amazement.
Could it be? Had the Strip really found a skeptical UFO hunter?
After talking with Johnson for a little while, this meat patty got the distinct impression that perhaps some of the impulse power has leaked out of the E.T. industry since the passing of the millennium and the cancellation of X-Files.
Johnson says just sixteen folks showed up at the local MUFON's last bimonthly meeting in January at the Westport Branch Library. Only 21 came the time before.
And as for local flying-saucer activity? Johnson says he hasn't seen one yet, and it's been more than a decade since the last local crop circle showed up.
This porterhouse of pontification hated to get back to Lindsay with the bad news. But it gave the chiller man the news straight: "Pardner, about that spacecraft you nabbed in midre-entry? Nobody gives a crap."
Lindsay was mystified by the lack of response to his celestial prize.
"I put it on the Internet to see if anyone had any interest. Nothing. I don't know what the problem is. Maybe the government told them to back off."
That's the spirit, Bob. That's the spirit.