Chpter 45 – Goodbye Mrs Branbury

Goodbye Mrs. Branbury

There was paperwork of course. Updating and closing the patient chart, the certificate of death, a medical examiners report with autopsy findings, sometimes. Nurse Shirley admitted that she had been present, claimed she considered resuscitation but Mrs. Branbury was so old and frail she would have broken, with no good result. She claimed that she had left the Sunroom to get help and so was not present when Nurse Clara and Dr. Hauptman arrived. She observed them from afar but as there was nothing further she could do, she did not intervene. Nurse Clara thanked her for her input and told her it was fortunate she was there, so she could have helped if there had been any chance to save the kindly old woman.

It was written in the report that Peter van der Groot saw Oddur Gunnerson slip something into the birthday cake, then deliver a piece to Mrs. Branbury who shortly after eating her cake became dead as a door nail. ‘Could it be that Gunnerson slipped something into her cake or perhaps it was that new guy Magnusson, who spoon fed the old lady. There seemed to be something going on between them. And that Homesman guy, the troublemaker, he’s the one that brought the birthday cake into the room. Could have tampered with it. He’s from two, can’t be trusted. Same as that Gunnerson fellow. Something fishy for sure,’ Peter van der Groot had told Detective Klugman. ‘I used to be a policeman, so I see things that others don’t,’ van der Groot said. Klugman humored old van der Groot and would have passed it off as senile ramblings but Nurse Clara insisted his comments be recorded in the report. She said that Mr. van der Groot was old but he wasn’t stupid or senile and not known to tell lies or spread rumors. Klugman agreed to make the notes.

“She had a good life, a long life,” Nurse Clara said. “It was just her time and we’re all happy that she didn’t go suffering or in pain. She left this world surrounded by her friends, celebrating her life.”

Now Jon could only think of Mrs. Branbury as a statue frozen in time, like a person carved out of ice.

“You’re taking this hard,” Karl said.

“She was my friend, how should I take it,” Jon said. “She’s gone to the Singularity, to be with her other selves.”


“The Singularity. It’s what happens to all of us when we go. We go back into star dust and return to the energy of the universe. We join back up with all things that were matter and energy. If you are a hundred or better. Some others too if they were special.”

This is the state, Jon explained to Karl, that was achieved when a person passed the age of one hundred. That a person’s essence had earned the privilege of becoming one with the universe again. Going home, as it were, becoming part of the whole once again. It was not clear where or when Jon came to this belief, but this is the idea that fueled his drive to make his hundredth birthday.

“You know that is just bullshit.” Karl countered this by stating, assuredly, he expected when he was gone he would be exactly the same as he was before he was born, he would see and remember exactly the same things, which was nothing, because he wouldn’t exist at all. Jon dismissed this idea as pure speculation.

Dr. Weppler, the Lodge pharmacist, spent his day scouring his own records and inventory. He had come across a substantial shortage of certain medications. The shortages remained unreported while Dr. Weppler determined if an error had been made in processing the orders or recording shipments. Detective Klugman learned this by chance and though he was not investigating anything suspicious, it seemed a curious thing to him.

“Insulin and a little valium,” Dr Weppler said.

“Do you think somebody is stealing it and selling it out there?” Detective Klugman asked.

“There isn’t enough missing that anyone could make a living from selling it on the street,” Dr. Weppler assured.

It was left there.

Nurse Clara checked the insulin log when Dr. Weppler advised her of shortages. Everything was up to date. Patients were almost never administered insulin during the night so it was not unusual to see nothing in the night log. There was no record of extra valium administered and none appeared to be missing from the third floor med locker.

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