Andrew Barker was not missed the day he walked off the job. No one ever noticed if he were present or not during the past decade. He was like the trash bin in the corner. Everyone assumed it was there without looking.
Andrew Barker’s co-workers assumed he was present.
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This was not unusual.
When Andrew Barker took his set two weeks vacation people assumed he was at his desk.
The clerk would put the day’s work on his desk each morning at 8:15 am. Her hours were 8 to 4, this was to allow the office to operate at optimum level.
She would put down the work and take up the files she had placed yesterday in the belief the work had been done. Weeks sometimes months, later it would be found that the work had not been done. This was a minor glitch. The work was more notation than action. More record keeping than creating records.
So on Tuesday, the Clerk had put the work on his desk and on Wednesday took up Tuesday’s undone work, and put down Wednesday’s work.
As no one cared about Andrew Barker, or had since the first day they had seen him, no one noticed Andrew Barker was absent. His weekly pay was deposited in his online account.
This went on for a month. For a full month it was not noticed that Andrew Barker was missing. It was not until the Process Server returned with supplementary documents to be served that things changed.
As this was the same Process server who had served the divorce he knew where to go, who to look for. He came to Andrew Barker’s desk and waited. And waited. No one in the office could tell him where Barker was, if Barker had come in.
After waiting forty minutes, the Process Server left the office and drove to Andrew Barker’s home address. He saw people moving in and out of the house. He asked for Mr. Barker and no one knew of whom he spoke.
The Process Server asked to speak to the owner. A man identified himself as George Robins. It took time for it to become apparent that Andrew Barker had sold the house to a Real Estate Agent who had sold it to Mr. Robins and his family.
The Process server raced back to the Attorney’s office to report this event. This would cause the Attorney who was handling the divorce to go into overdrive. A search for Andrew Barker was launched.
As his company did not know he was missing there had been no dislocation. Andrew Barker’s pay cheque had been deposited in his account every Friday morning. After contact by the Attorney, Andrew Barker’s boss asked for him. No one could find him.
When it became evident that Barker was not at the office a call to his cell phone was made. The phone was no longer in service. His house phone was answered by strangers.
The Boss became agitated and confronted the staff. No one could say when was the last time they saw Andrew Barker.
Barker’s boss asked Accounting when was the last time Andrew Barker collected his salary. He was told Last Friday. The order to cease payments was given.
The hopeful ex-Mrs. Barker, learning the house had been sold and she would get nothing went ballistic. Eventually, calming to hysteria, she was advised to go to the police.
Reaching the Police Station she was able to vent and curse, and share her personal life with any and all in ear shot. The upside was that now the police were involved.
As it was not a priority case, the cops took their time. It was a few days after Mrs. Barker’s report that they actually began the basic investigation. It was as if Andrew Barker did not exist. The only proof that there had been such a person was that the bank account in which his pay cheques had been deposited had been cleaned out.
As there no new pay cheques had been issued since last week, the account was empty.
A search for his car found nothing.
As the police did not believe he had sold the car but had driven it somewhere, they did not canvass car lots. Even if they had, no one would recall Andrew Barker. As he had driven a gray Toyota, and such was the most popular car, there were dozens on every lot. Dozens had been sold. It would take a search of each lot, an examination of each Toyota to ascertain when it was purchased by the lot, when and to whom it was sold.
As this was a lot of work for a non-priority case, the canvassing of car lots was not done, although there was a BOLO put out for such a car in adjoining states.
Andrew Barker’s hopeful ex-wife was more concerned about the loss of the house than whether her desired ex-husband was living or dead. She wasted more money on the Attorney to see if the sale could be put aside, which considering the house was owned by Andrew Barker and Andrew Barker had sold the house, was not likely.
As Andrew had belonged to no clubs, had only shopped with the family at a particular store and had not been seen since the last time he appeared with his family, there were no leads.
Another month passed.