Message #3; From: BISHOP; To: David Paglia
Well, this just doesn't stop. I had to go so suddenly the other night
because I had another visit from Calvin. I got some more information
from him, but nothing that makes me feel more comfortable about any
of this. Quite a bit less so, actually. But what I've recently heard
will make even less sense to you without hearing the rest of what
happened that first night.
Where were we? Calvin was trying to get me to talk to him and I was
calming down a little, but not completely because of the TV show stunt
with the "look, no gun". Normal people just don't do that,
or if they do they come off as goofy and affected. He didn't. He gave
off the feeling that he generally did have a gun on him somewhere,
but just didn't happen to have one tonight. And how would he have
known enough about me to know that I'd be the type of person who would
wonder if someone was carrying?
I suppose at that point I thought he was probably another private
investigator sent to get some information from me about an old case.
Once I thought about it, I realized that I had been on Calvin's side
of the gate a couple times in the past.
"Okay," I said. "I see from the pulled back window
shade across the street that my sweet old neighbor has noticed you
and is wondering what I'm up to now with my crazy friends. Come in,
slow and calm, and we'll talk on the front porch."
He came into the yard and walked right up to one of the chairs on
my little front porch. I followed and took the other chair and he
immediately said, "I need you to go somewhere with me tonight
to see something. I'm not going to say anything about it and, again,
I'm willing to accept just about any conditions you name to get you
to go with me..." I started to protest, or laugh, "...hear
me out. This has nothing to do with anything in your past. There is
nothing sordid or illegal involved. I swear it." And that stopped
me dead in the middle of my smirk.
People say "I swear" all the time, and they say it with
the same diluted meaning as "damn it" or "go to hell".
But this guy said it and meant it.
"Look," I said, "I don't know you. For all I know you're
on the payroll of someone I pissed off back when I used to do that
for a living. Why in the world would I even consider going somewhere
He ignored that and just said, "I need you to come to John's
pass. Actually, if you don't decide to go soon I'm going to go alone
because I can't miss this. Take your own car. Park across Gulf Boulevard
at the village, there will still be plenty of people there this time
of night. I don't want you to go anywhere secluded or hemmed in, just
walk across the street and go down to the beach. I'll be sitting on
a bench by the access until 11:40. If you get there later than that
I'll be gone down the beach and I doubt you'll find me in time."
"In time for what?"
"You'll never know." And he smiled a smile that told me
beyond any doubt that he knew way too much about my particular interests.
Then he got up and left. Walked past me with only a "good night",
got in his car and drove off.
I'm sure all the internal debate that immediately followed, and continued
all the way to John's Pass, would be way too tedious to recount. It’s
enough to say that I went. I got to John's Pass Village at 11:25,
and it was a couple minutes before 11:40 when I walked on to the beach
through the access and saw Calvin sitting on a bench watching the
waves shining under the full moon.
I mentioned in the last E-mail that there was a full moon that night
and this is one of the reasons I remember it. I don't know if you've
been in St. Pete long, or if you have ever been to the beach on a
perfectly clear night under a full moon, but it is one of the most
beautiful things you can see in this area. And that night was absolutely
clear; millions of stars and a perfect blue-white moon. You could
have read a newspaper under that moon.
Calvin looked up and said, "We're going to walk over to the South
where the point curves around and follows the pass. Then we're going
to turn around and follow the beach near the water line back to the
"What are we looking for?"
"You'll either see it or you won't," he said as he started
walking around the block of condos to the South. It didn't take us
long to get around the corner to where the beach rounded off the gulf
and became the North side of the pass into Boca Ciega bay. We walked
toward the bridge for just a bit before Calvin turned around and started
walking back along the beach.
I had no idea what was going on. I was scanning the water line to
my left and the condos to my right and even the gulf looking for anything
that would have explained why I was there. I wasn't sure at that point
if I should be feeling more suspicious or more foolish, but I kept
There were some other people on the beach. Tourists and bar hoppers
stroll along there at all hours. Ahead of us, a couple was walking
arm in arm toward us. I could make out their features from pretty
far off due to the brightness of the night. They were a young man
and woman, probably in their late twenties, walking close and comfortably;
like lovers do. A good breeze was coming off the water that night
so it was just cool enough for the woman to be snuggled close to the
guy. They were walking so close that I didn't see it at first.
They were absolutely normal looking. The girl was blond and very pretty.
She was about a head shorter than he was, and he was average height.
He wore jeans and a black t-shirt and had dark, shoulder length hair.
Calvin and I weren't directly in their path; we were closer to the
water line and they were a few feet up near the high tide mark. As
we came near to them, still about 10 or 15 yards away, they stopped
and, still holding hands, turned together to look out over the gulf.
They separated a little as they turned and the rising moon, behind
them, cast the girl's shadow, sharp like a silhouette, in front of
us. But only her shadow. The guy didn't have one.
I guess I was right in front of them when my brain actually registered
what I was seeing. I was just past them and looking over my shoulder
trying to stop and stare, with Calvin pulling me to keep going, when
they cuddled close again and their closeness masked the insanity.
But I got that second look. I saw it again just long enough to be
sure; the bone white sand stretching away from the man where the hard
edged black should have been.
Calvin kept pulling me along, and they kept walking around the curve
of sand where Calvin and I had started our walk. I looked back a couple
more times, but he was too far away and their embrace was too close
to see what I was looking for. We went a couple hundred more yards,
then angled right toward the hotels.
I was speechless. Literally. I tried to talk, but felt like a tight
fist was squeezing my chest. Calvin said, "Just try to breathe,
and listen. I have to go in just a minute. You saw what you saw, and
I saw it too. I was expecting it, so it didn't knock me for a loop
like it did you. I don't know when I'm going to be able to talk to
you again, but I will. In the mean time you're going to start convincing
yourself that it was all a trick of the light. But it wasn't. I saw
it too. He did not have a shadow. You know now that I haven't lied
to you, so believe me when I say you aren't in any danger. Just go
home, do what you are going to do, and I'll be in touch as soon as
I can. Okay?” He looked down the beach to where the couple had
disappeared around the bend. “Don't go down there, though. I
know a little about them and they aren't a threat to anyone. They
deserve to be alone tonight." He gave me a last hard look, to
make sure I'd be okay, I think, then turned and walked away.
I let him go. And after that I'm not sure of exactly how things went.
I calmed down and made it back to my car and drove home. Then I spent
the next three weeks wondering what the hell was going on. Then I
decided to add to this strangeness by writing to you. Maybe now you
see why. I don't know you and you don't know me. I have absolutely
no reason to lie to you about this, and you can think I'm crazy without
any impact to me.
But I'm not crazy. Writing to you (and thinking about writing to you)
has helped me work through a lot of this, and my recent conversation
with Calvin has clarified more. But he has raised a bunch of new questions,
too. I realize that this may have put you over the edge, but if you'd
care to hear it I'd like to talk to you about some of what Calvin
has told me. If you're interested let me know. We'll have to make
some arrangements to continue to communicate anonymously, but that
can be worked out.
White Sand : ADDENDUM