Sleep didn’t come easy last night, not that I had much time for it. The police, coroner, and paramedics were here until the early morning hours dealing with the body and asking questions. Cleaner and I stayed late, answering as many as we could, but many we couldn’t. Some we simply didn’t know the answers to and others ventured into classified territory about what we do here at Studio D.
Most of the night was spent standing around, watching the authorities do their job, and keeping them from probing into areas that didn’t concern them. I used some of this time to read through the daily progress reports Garner and I receive from the department heads each evening. I struggled to concentrate on the words and ended up skimming most of the reports entirely.
I sent out an email to all Studio D employees informing them of Garner’s death. I gave them the full details as I knew them, including the note he left behind. I also typed out a quick email to the congressional oversight committee that oversees the work we do here. It was quick and cryptic but gave them the gist of the situation. I promised more detail to come.
By the time I got home, it was after two am. I fell into bed, too tired to even change out of my clothes. But sleep was elusive. I laid there for hours, my mind racing, trying to come to terms with the events from the last 24 hours. The future we saw; what it means to us, and to the world.
And then Dr. Garner.
Here I was, just a few hours ago contemplating how to push him out of his job. Into convincing him to let it go once and for all. And then he does just that, only far more tragically.
The note he wrote kept replaying over and over in my head:
I have lived a full and fruitful life. Knowing that all life comes to an end, I am choosing the terms in which to bring the last chapter of mine to a close. Whatever the future holds, I hope you find a way to survive where I couldn’t.
It was plain enough for the police to recognize Garner’s death as a suicide, while also containing plenty for the rest of us to read between the lines. I could see how he was impacted by what we saw in the future, but I had no idea it was to this degree. I regret not walking out with him, opting instead to send Cleaner. I was too busy being focused on the big picture that I missed a critical detail. I should have stayed with him.
I’ll add this to a long list of bad decisions I’ve made in my life. One more that I really don’t need on my conscious.
I tossed and turned throughout the night, waking up at least half a dozen times. I decide to get up when I look at my clock and realize the alarm will be going off in less than twenty minutes. Throwing off the covers, I make my typical beeline to the bathroom to relieve myself and brush my teeth.
After a quick shower, I shave, dress, and fired up my laptop to check messages. I see a response from the oversight committee and click to open it.
I am being summoned to Washington DC. ASAP.
I had a feeling this would happen, though I usually get more notice. Whenever there is an event of any significance, the oversight committee wants to meet. And in this case, we have not one, but two significant events to discuss, which, I guess, warrants the urgency.
I book a flight online, shoot off an email regarding my arrival to DC, and throw together an overnight bag, not knowing if I’ll need it or not. Bag in hand, I walk down the Hall of Ghosts to the kitchen, where I brew up a cup of hot, black breakfast, then head out the door for the airport.