5 November 2006
The box was delivered with no introduction to a file clerk in an underground office building outside of Grove City. It was never signed in. The clerk opened the tape, verified the list, made a note about the missing items, then resealed the box and added a label with a case number. The box spent the next day sitting on a table in a locked room filled with files before it was picked up by another agent, who did not sign it out. This agent loaded it into the back of his van, beside the crumpled remains of a console pulled from the wreckage of a small town just across the state line in Ohio and a body bag labeled “Caretaker.” The van picked up the turnpike and headed across Pennsylvania, pulling off at Breezewood to grab some food at a drive-thru before turning south.
Outside of Washington, D.C., the van passed into a slowly gentrifying neighborhood, cruising past a third-generation barbershop that sat next to a cafe with drinks named in poorly-translated Indonesian before turning down a largely-forgotten alley. Here, tucked away from curious eyes behind a brick wall, was a loading dock. The van pulled up to it, the driver hopping out to ring a buzzer next to the doors. A gruff man opened the door, checked the driver’s ID, then went to the van to confirm its contents. Satisfied, he grabbed the box and walked it inside, barking orders to a few people in overalls watching a television. These quickly ran outside to grab everything else; he continued on his way, into an elevator and up to the third floor. With a practiced feel of the place, he navigated through the stacks and the shelving units until he came to a small section labeled “Jeremiah Bazyli Matteson.” He slipped the box onto an open shelf, rearranged a few folders that had fallen over, and left the room.