The 616 Diaries: Entry 10 by Kevin Kauffmann
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September 17th, 2019, 6:16 PM

I tried, but it’s time to recognize that this isn’t going anywhere. I won’t be getting better; I won’t be focusing on avoiding 616. It’s part of my life, now—even when I don’t want it—and to ignore that would be to go a whole different kind of insane. I’m… I want to say that I’m sick, or that I’m deranged, I want to be able to go to therapy and fix this, or to even stay at a mental asylum for a few weeks and straighten myself out. I want it to be like any other drug or addiction; to have proof that it’s just my fault, that if I really try to focus and I’m strong and determined that I could get better.

But I’m not sick. It’s there. The numbers are there even when I’m not breaking down and reading all those newspapers. The numbers are there when I’m just trying to get through work, or just cuddle on the couch with my girlfriend while we watch tv shows of barely-acceptable quality. Even when I don’t look at them or point them out to Andrew, even when I see dozens of 616s show up in all our RPGs and our shooters or even our puzzle games. They’re there in every spreadsheet, every memo. They surround me.

And eventually, when the enemy surrounds you, at some point you just have to give up.

This is my life now; a chronicler of the dreaded 616. In the last post I was talking about my life’s purpose and how there isn’t one, but I was just fighting the inevitable. It was always going to be this way; 616 was just waiting for me to realize it. Whether it’s some conspiracy or not, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s there, and it’s not going anywhere. It’s my role in this life to write down when it happens, to show the world through this blog that there is something going on beyond our understanding.

Beyond my understanding, at least.

Renee and I got into another fight, and this one was big. I remember it was not too long ago that we never fought at all. We were the happy couple, the ones who had public displays of affection that were just on this side of totally acceptable. We could spend hours being silent right next to each other, or we could go out and drink and watch live music without clawing all over each other.

It seems like those days are gone. Every time I see her now she’s upset, and it’s not because of anything else but me. Her job… well, it’s a job, but she does it and complains about it like everyone else does; she doesn’t let it affect her. Before a few weeks ago, she was reasonably happy, content with her lot in life.

And I changed that.

It’s my fault that she’s having a rough time, why she cries now. I see her tears and I don’t want them, I want to push them back in her eyes. I want to make her smile, but I’m the exact reason why the tears are there in the first place. When she came over this afternoon, I was expecting something like this to happen. I had broken down—posted twice since I promised I wouldn’t—and the tone of her text message was all I needed. I’ve been fearing that she would break up with me over the last five days, and I’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop.

The shoe didn’t drop, but only because she’s still holding on for some reason.

Usually when we get together, it’s for a few hours at the least, enough to actually enjoy each other’s company. This time Renee only stayed for ten minutes, just long enough to give me an ultimatum. She told me about how she read the posts, how she broke down crying right there in front of her computer at work. From the tears in her eyes, I knew she wasn’t lying. I don’t know why I affect her that much—between the two of us she’s obviously the treasure and I’m the lucky sap—but it was right there. Not being able to let go of 616 was enough to drive her to tears.

It was enough to drive her over to Andrew’s place. They don’t really talk too much, these two important people in my life. Every once in a while the three of us will hang out, but Renee usually treats us as a separate unit and so does Andrew. I’m almost different people when I’m alone with either of them, and they know it. There’s just no point in trying to force it and Andrew has never enjoyed being a third wheel.

616 caused them to join forces. Renee went over to his place, they talked it over, and apparently Andrew was more out of the loop than I thought. Apparently he hadn’t read the last four or five posts and didn’t realize how far I’d gone. At this point I know I’m not insane—that it actually is in front of me—but they don’t. They can’t. What they see is one of their best friends going off the deep end and just losing himself to a mindless pursuit. Renee said that Andrew promised to talk to me, but that she told him not to. She told him that she was going to try first and that he shouldn’t bother.

She told him that she would be here today to ask me to stop, or that she would leave.

I took it seriously. I had to. Until recently, Renee was my life. She was the only person or thing I cared about. All the games I like, all the things that happened at work, none of that was anything compared to her. I couldn’t imagine a life without her.

Though now I can. I have to. It’s a truth that I might have to accept, because—like I said at the beginning of this post—I’m giving up. 616 won’t let me go and I won’t let it go. It’s not even really about purpose; it’s a… responsibility? Yeah, I think that’s the way to go. It’s there, and apparently I was the one chosen to see it, to connect the dots, to find out why it’s happening.

And as much as I love her, that actually means something to me.

I don’t want her to leave. I don’t want her to have to think about 616 at all, or to even consider that I don’t want her, don’t love her. I wish they could be separate. I wish she could accept that this is part of me now; that I have to explore it. An ultimatum like this makes it so that I will lose something either way. Either I lose a woman who has stood by me for years—when she shouldn’t have—or I have to ignore the entire reason I’m on this planet. In either case, I lose half of what makes this life worthwhile.

The worst part about it is that it’s not even a choice to me. It could have been a few days ago, maybe a week ago, but it’s not now. Maybe it never was; maybe that’s all just wishful thinking because eventually 616 would have shoved itself into the spotlight, but it makes no difference. The situation is obvious now, and even though I don’t want to hurt her or make her leave, or stay and resent me, it’s not my choice.

Because it’s not my choice to chase 616. The only choice I have is to accept it.

I’m still dreaming. Sometimes they make no sense, sometimes they make too much sense; sometimes it’s just voices in the darkness. Every once in a while there will be flashes of blue, like someone fucked up the tint options on my mind’s eye. It’s all chaos, things I can’t really understand but feel like I should. Very rarely is there anything in English, unless of course it happens to be another day at work.

The only reason I mention it is that they’re starting to come true.

You all know what déjà vu is. Everybody does. Some people claim to see it all the time. I never used to be one of those people. Every once in a while I’d get that feeling, like something is out of place or that I remember things that I don’t actually remember, but nothing more than normal. I would have never pretended to see the future, or glimpse into other realities. I’m more humble than that, of course, even though these days I’m claiming to be some seer or prophet for the Devil, but more importantly it just never happened.

Yesterday I went to work and had the meeting from the dream I had just before work on the 11th.

Surprised you’re just hearing about it? I mean, I would be; I am, considering that I have a habit of posting twice a day when something incredibly “exciting” happens. Not to say it’s not exciting to me, but I’m sure the audience I fabricated in my head is far less interested. In any case, I’m positive I would have written a post and told you guys all about it if I didn’t spend the next fifteen hours figuring out what the fuck is going on.

Because it wasn’t just some vague déjà vu, some feeling like I’ve seen the situation before. It was exactly the fucking same. Word for word. For five minutes, I didn’t just see what was going to happen, I knew what Jim would say, that Rosey would cough for no reason and apologize and explain that she’s not sick. I knew that Parker would yawn and almost fall out of his chair and wink at me when he regained his balance.

After that there wasn’t an argument that 616 was real. There wasn’t work after that, either. I wasn’t just going nuts anymore and losing my grip on reality. This is reality. Whatever 616 is, it brought back my dreams just in time for me to see the future? If nothing else, this was a clue from some higher(probably lower) power that I’m on the right track. Even if I lose everything, it’s going to be justified. It may not be worth it, but I’ll know that I was doing the right thing.

In any case, the question that haunts me doesn’t haunt me anymore. I already have the ghost of a number and a Devil on my back, so at least I know I’m not insane. Well, not as insane as I thought I was. I’m obviously not entirely sane, but I’m willing to lose that confidence at this point. When you start seeing the future, things get a little clearer.

After it happened, I definitely intended to tell you guys when I got home, I was excited about it, getting all vindicated about it, but then I started to look over my notes and my sightings, trying to make sense of them. If it’s real enough to show me something in a dream that was going to happen a week in the future, it’s real enough to have a reason for it. I went full-on conspiracy theory just to find something, and the last couple hours of work flew by as I spiraled into the darkness.

You should know by the tone of this post that I found something.

Suddenly, that article about the House of Orphans that I found in the paper the other day meant something else. Remember when I said that the article was split onto page 6 and 16? If you didn’t know, the House of Orphans is an organization founded by Lynn Stafford, who used to be a congresswoman about five years back. She stopped because her son died to an Escape overdose. It’s a potent hallucinogen—probably the strongest one there was at the time—and she had even taken steps to try to make sure it didn’t get into the hands of kids.

Too bad she wasn’t paying attention to what was happening at home.

From my research, I found out that she had completely dropped out of the limelight for a couple years, and at first everybody thought it was a mix of grief and shame. You can’t champion a cause like that, fumble, and then try to keep going with the career. Nobody blamed her for that; nobody judged her for throwing in the towel. I learned—or at least her PR team has spinned it to this point—that it was just grief. That she admitted to even trying out the drug because of how much it had changed her life; that she had completely lost her way.

This is where the House of Orphans comes in.

Turns out that for Stafford, losing her son was enough to make her take a good, hard look at herself and, apparently, the world. She said in the mission statement that she didn’t want anybody to feel alone like that. She didn’t want anybody to feel like an orphan; that in this day and age—with more than seven billion people living on the planet with instant communication at our fingertips—that there was no need for it. Out of that many people, there are going to be people who understand you, who have felt pain like you have felt pain; the human race is one big family and we should all look out for each other.

Sounds like a cult to you, too, right?

I started looking deeper at the organization—at the company and people it’s affiliated with—trying to make connections. How convenient it was when there was a 616 there to “solidify” my grasping at straws, to make me look more critically at where that money was going.

Oddly enough, I couldn’t see anything nefarious or problematic with any of them. They’re all above-board; most are just donations by corporations that they can write off for taxes. The House itself doesn’t even do anything sketchy. They do community outreach, they’re non-profit, they just give away free babysitting. There aren’t any horror stories like there are for Scientology, nobody seems to be getting screwed over and, generally, people have the opinion that the House is a good thing. Some lunatics are even calling her a modern-day, secular Mother Teresa, but who are they kidding?

Though from the way they’re talking, I’m not sure they’re kidding.

Anyway, I tried to dig up dirt on the organization for a while—the cult impression never really left me no matter how many good things I found—but eventually I had to give up on the House of Orphans(I know, fitting way to say that). I, of course, made my notes on them, left a lot of question marks on my corkboard.

Oh, yeah, I went old-school on this. There’s a corkboard and red strings and pictures of people and whatnot. I always wanted to make one of those, even if it totally reinforces the “I’m nuts” argument.

But as far as the House of Orphans goes, there really wasn’t much to find. Until I started looking at who the House thinks is nefarious and underhanded. Stafford’s pretty good about keeping her nose clean; even when she makes public appearances on talk shows and does her interviews for the news, she pulls her punches even when talking about the people who criticize her organization, whenever the critics do happen to show their faces. Really solid, class act, but you can expect that from a former politician and probable charlatan.

However, even with all that high-minded “we’re all one family” talk she spouts off, Stafford’s mood changes whenever Catalytics is mentioned. I saw a clip of her talking about drug addiction—a conversation which happens less often than you’d think considering her political history—and everything was fine while she was talking about junkies and rehabilitation programs. Once the host, Chris Harmon, mentioned Catalytics’ outreach program as one of the best for rehabilitation for Escape addicts, you could see Stafford react. Instead of the calm, kind woman she always pretends to be, you could see her thoughts go dark, her fists clench, every part of her body tense up as she remembered whatever it was she remembered about Catalytics.

On the show she recovered and said that it was a great program, that they’re doing good work for a pharmaceutical company, but I knew there was something more. You can’t have that reaction—you can’t be a professional liar/actor and have that reaction on national television—unless you know something more. Something dark. Lynn Stafford may not be the leader of a cult; she might not be some sort of Devil.

But she might know one.

After that, I launched into an amateur investigation into Catalytics. If you don’t remember from one of my other posts—because why would you—I had seen 616 around Catalytics, too. There was an address with the number and one of their recruitment phone numbers had another instance. Flimsy at best, but between that and that video I saw of Stafford, it was enough to warrant some extra attention.

Found out a lot about the company that made it seem a little more sketchy. Catalytics is by far one of the more powerful pharmaceutical companies on the planet, which is even more shocking because it’s only been around for five years or so since they started. Most of the journalists, the Forbes and the Wall Street Journals, they contribute that success to the two founders of the company, Marcus Wright and Lewis Macklemore. At some point they both have showed up on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, which is one of those rare achievements that actually means something, or so they say.

But my question, the entire time I was reading up on them, was how the hell were they so successful?

They have a ton of patents—both Wright and Macklemore are apparently genius chemists—but that doesn’t really explain anything. It was only five years; that’s barely enough time to get one or two drugs off the ground and that’s being really generous. Usually those things take a decade of testing and retesting and miles of red tape. Apparently their ad campaign and the products they did have were just that good. That they were able to hit the ground running like that… it’s incredible.

Old definition of incredible. In that I didn’t believe it.

So I looked further. I tried to find out if there was some money-laundering going on, if their public records had anything that looked completely out of place. I couldn’t find much, but what I did find made it seem like they had shadow funds from more than a couple sources. One of which I have a good theory, but the others are a complete mystery to me. It just seems that once they went public that some really powerful people took interest in the company.

That one theory, though? I’m pretty sure they’re drug dealers.

And yeah, I know; they make prescription drugs like Ultrasil and Somnion, which are totally okay, but I’m talking about actual drugs. Illegal drugs.

I think before they ever made the company that Wright and Macklemore were responsible for Escape.

Everything seems to tie into it, even though I don’t have a shred of proof. If you’ve been living under a rock, Escape is one of the most powerful hallucinogens on the planet, let’s you see and experience exactly what you want to see and experience. It’s the godfather to some other designer drugs like Lucidity and Clarity, which affect dreams and focus and all kinds of other stuff. They actually sound like a lot of fun; I just don’t have a job that will let me have them. Plus, I’m scared of what I might start to think if I take them, or how it will change my life.

Ironic, huh? When I clearly have a handle on my life right now.

If you look at Catalytics’ history—especially that of Wright and Macklemore—it almost seems too perfect. Their meteoric rise to power came very shortly after Escape became massively popular and, like I said before, they seem to have money coming from all sorts of hidden sources. Forming a company like Catalytics would be a great way to have their dirty money and clean it up. Add to that the fact that Catalytics is one of the biggest philanthropists when it comes to rehabilitation and it almost seems like someone is feeling guilty. Wright even personally goes down to some of the centers, some of the ones devoted to Escape, and volunteers.

And while this is a bit of a low blow, there was… Wright had a girlfriend who committed suicide before they formed the company. Troubled kid, it seems, but the police reports were lacking on a lot of details. Most importantly, however, there was a note that Marcus Wright was there, and so were a few of his friends, some of which had rap sheets.

All of those friends work for Catalytics now.

I know; I know. I’m grasping at straws and this sounds like some tinfoil hat stuff. I mean, why wouldn’t you hire your friends into your company so they could enjoy your newfound fortune? I’d totally do the same thing. If I didn’t have one piece of information, I wouldn’t even be entertaining the idea. From the outside, Catalytics seems like a great company; certainly better than the rest of the pharmaceutical giants who overcharge for everything. Seriously, they undercut their profits just so people can afford their products, which is really odd in our capitalist society. All in all, Catalytics seems fantastic.

But Lynn Stafford’s face during that interview makes it all seem too good to be true.

One of them is lying, at the very least. If Catalytics was as good a company as it’s supposed to be, there’s no way that Stafford would have reacted like that. I could feel the hate and frustration coming from her. Now, she was a politician, so she could be the bad one here, but I don’t really see the evidence of it. The House of Orphans really only funds good projects, and their income, funding and spending is definitely more transparent than Catalytics.

My theory is that Stafford knows exactly what Catalytics is getting up to. She knows—or at least thinks—that Wright and Macklemore are dirty, made their way up the ladder by peddling drugs, and all this just because of that that thirty-second clip on the internet I saw. Two reasons for that, I’m thinking: one, she reacted that way because she couldn’t stop herself. Her son died to Escape while she was trying to fight it, she has a very personal history with the stuff, and when she bristles with anger when someone mentions a company’s involvement with the drug… I just think she knows.

The other reason I take it so seriously, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is that that interview clip started at the 6:16 mark.

I feel like I have something here. I’ll let you know more if I find more.

*EDIT- I had no idea I posted this at 6:16 PM, but it only makes it seem more convincing.



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