wrote me. He wanted to speak again... in person this time. Montgomery didn't even raise an eyebrow, so promising to make amends for my carbon footprint these past few weeks, I once again took to the skies.
I hadn’t actually seen Paul School in person since our encounter in Arecibo, which was the first time I’d ever been in handcuffs. He’d had us arrested. It was petty. I’d been out all night with the pretty strawberry blonde, and he was jealous enough to call the guards when he saw us sneaking in.
God knows what their actual relationship was, not my business. What I do know is that they were trying to communicate with extraterrestrial life that summer and that they had a deal that, no matter what, they would communicate if either of them ever got dial-tone -- meaning, confirmed communication with non-human, non Earth-based communication.
He’s still living in the tropics. He’s aged. Hot tropical rain poured down on the cabana. School looked haunted. He was drinking a clear local rum. It looked like he had been for a couple days. The attendants did their best to cover for him, but the ghostly rings of bottles and ice remained. “She contacted me…” He didn’t mention her name. He didn’t have to. We only shared one ‘she.’
I told him I knew about Pasadena. That he was the one who had brought the Bogdanovich signals there. Dropping them all around so Agents would find them and talk about them. I asked him why he hadn’t made himself known while he was there. He ignored the question.
School said +Devra Bogdanovich
was very specific in her communications with him. He refused to make eye contact, he was lost in an enormous polynesian carving a few feet away. “It was about you.” He didn’t seem happy about this fact. “She said to tell Hank to be careful of Persepolis. Be careful of Thaïs.”
Thaïs, of course, was the name ascribed to the Greek consort who inflamed Alexander the Great to burn the temple at Persepolis. I asked him what else Devra told him. “It wasn’t a conversation,” he said.
And there wasn’t much other conversation to have with School that day. It was the end of a long tropical afternoon. He stared at the bottom of his glass, probably looking at his own reflection swirling in the last drops of rum. At the end of the day, it probably gave him more answers than I could have.
I left quietly.