There Has To Be a Morning After
IT support in San Francisco can be mystifying, or even phantasmagorical in a sense. Awaking in his chair with the beginnings of a hangover, Mark wondered if it all had been a dream. But when he found the gun, he realized it couldn’t have been. For a moment, it had felt like the fading illusions of a bizarre nightmare--- everything exaggerated beyond reality. But the gun was like a focusing lens. So he was alive, and Drake Bannon, working for... The Orb?... was dead. That meant he, Mark, was working for both the NSA and CIA. He swallowed, shook his head, found some indescribable leftovers and a pint of coffee, and then drove to work.
The Plot Thickens
Mark declined to the hangover as a means of avoiding conversation and was greeted with empathy. In his office, he immediately set to researching Drake, and what he found went through a circular process of settling and unsettling him.
First, there was no mention of the incident in downtown San Francisco the previous day. Not in any police blotter or internet publication, not on YouTube or Twitter or Facebook. That was impossible.
Wait. Had Mark dreamed it all? Was it all just a nebulous cloud of imagination and funk congealing in a drunken midlife nightmare? He began to feel better. But as Mark did a background check he found that Drake had an extensive profile that came complete with near celebrity status. The man was a public figure, well known for his own exceptional skills in IT support provision. Drake also provided IT support in San Francisco, though not to quite the same degree as Mark's company, OneClick Solutions Group. While Mark's business offered:
• IT Managed Service at a Flat Fee
• Business Continuity Planning
• Hosted and Cloud Services
...Drake's company had no consultation and a break/fix model. Still, the man was a known philanthropist, captain of industry, and as one publication put it, an "upstanding citizen;" a "pillar of the community." This was the guy Mark just threw off a building.
Drake was a regular media saint--- his publicity alone was enough good PR to send any IT services provider through the black. So why was there no news about his death?
Mark compiled all the information into a dossier, and was nearly finished when something disturbing broadsided him between the eyebrows.
The Man Who Cheated Death
Mark happened to look up a YouTube video for Drake's company. One had been posted that day at noon. Mark watched flabbergasted as Drake himself--- the man who had screamed like a banshee as he plummeted end-over-end from a building until he became a spot of dead on the sidewalk forty-odd storeys below--- smiled, waived, and plagiarized Samuel Clemens: "Rumors of my death have been largely exaggerated," he chuckled to the reporters. "A publicity stunt gone wrong; we dropped the dummy before we gathered the crowd! A tasteless plug for IT support in San Francisco, the tagline was going to be: 'We'll die to keep you running,' and the dummy would be thrown off after ostensibly leaping to catch a thumb-drive. My marketing team assured me it would be wonderful. I assure you they'll be sacked, and the graphic videos scrubbed from the web..."