Keith was following his usual routine, arriving fifteen minutes early at the high-tech military contractor where he worked. He flashed his badge for the guard, went up an elevator, weaved through the maze of cubicles, and eventually reached his own little workspace. Along the way he acknowledged greetings from coworkers. He liked his work, but he had been there long enough that it was starting to wear on him.

It should have been just another routine day using a finite element code to analyze high stress locations on the GX259 but there was a surprise waiting for him; someone had left a cookie on a napkin in front of his monitor. He first looked over the tops of the surrounding cubicles, but he didn’t see anyone acknowledging leaving him the cookie, so he sat down in front of his monitor and the cookie. The cookie looked tasty, probably shortbread, but he didn’t normally eat cookies before lunch, so he left it sitting there and logged onto his computer and pulled up the files on which he’d been working.

Keith got to work on the files, but his eyes kept drifting down to the cookie. He decided to move it out of sight into his snack drawer, but when he picked it up it looked so good that he said to himself, “What the hell,” and took a bite. It tasted as good as it looked, so he finished it and got back to work. It was a good workday, maybe his best in a while.

There was a cookie waiting for Keith each of the next few days and eating it seemed to improve his day. Perhaps it was due to knowing that someone cared about him, but somehow it also appeared to help relieve the funk he’d drifted into. The cookie pattern continued over the next few months and Keith found that he really craved eating the cookies. His disposition improved, he smiled more, and he greeted everyone he passed in the aisles. He never felt better, and if anything, the pleasant sensations kept growing stronger each day.

One day Keith went into work, greeted the guard and everyone else he encountered, but when he got to his cubicle, he saw that there was no cookie waiting for him, only a folded note on a napkin in front of his monitor. “Bummer,” he said to himself.

Keith unfolded the note and read, Sorry, but I will be in touch. “Okay, no problem,” Keith said to himself and started his workday. He felt a little off and he had a mild headache and a stomachache, but he made it through the day. It bummed Keith out not finding cookies over the next several days and his headaches, nausea, and disposition worsened with each one.

The next morning Keith almost called in sick. He felt like crap, but made it into work anyway. He grunted at the greetings of others, including his supervisor, on the way to his cubicle. When he got there, he immediately saw another folded note on a napkin in front of his monitor. He unfolded it and read, “If you want more cookies you need to help me. I need copies of the engineering drawings of the GX259 nose assembly.” The message went on to describe where to leave the drawings.

Keith knew that he couldn’t comply with the message. He made it through the day, but the quality of his work was poor, and he even got into an argument about it with his supervisor. The next day was even worse, and he wanted a cookie so bad, so before he left work, he printed out copies of the GX259 nose assembly drawings, folded them up, and placed them in his lunch box. He then left them at the requested location along his way home.

The next morning Keith was relieved to find a cookie on a napkin in front of his monitor. He picked up the cookie and discovered a folded note under it. He quickly devoured the cookie and started feeling better right away. Then he unfolded the note and read, Good job, I’ll keep the cookies coming but this week I need the material specifications for the GX259 nose housing.

FBI agents visited Keith a couple weeks later.