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25

the alibi (a Broken World story)

When he woke up he was asked to review the last hour of his life. The request coming from a small speaker in the casket he currently occupied.

“Think about the last hour of your life.”

Loud, panicked requests for additional clarification went unanswered. As he was trapped in the narrow space, completely in the dark, he had no option but to try and do as he was asked. He wasn’t sure if it would result in his release, but he was in no position to argue.

He wasn’t sure exactly who had put him into casket or what their end goal was, but he suspected they were somehow connected to law enforcement.

An hour later came the following; “I’d like you to think about the last day of your life.” And then silence.

He was a criminal, which is why he suspected the police were involved. He had been frustrating them for years. He had figured out that getting arrested wasn’t something to fear as long as he had an alibi. The alibi was the key.

So he came up with a foolproof way to make sure the he and the men he hired never went to prison. It was so simple that he couldn’t believe that nobody had thought about it before.

It took three other men to pull off. Three men roughly the same height and weight as him. Each pair would pull off a very visible robbery dressed the same and wearing distinctive Richard Nixon masks. Not just distinctive because they were Richard Nixon, but because each would have some subtle-yet-memorable stain or tear that the victims of the holdup would remember. Something that would make any reasonable detective, or, more importantly, juror, assume the two robberies were committed by the same two individuals.

Except they wouldn’t be.

More time passed. “Now I’d like you to think about the last week of your life.”

Instead. while the first two robbers were busy committing the first crime, the other two were in a very public place doing things that would make it very easy for the other people/witnesses to remember them being there at the time of the first robbery. They would then meet up with the other two who had just pulled off the crime and hand off the masks. Then the two of them would go on to hold up another establishment close by while the first two would make their presence known somewhere else. That way if any of the four were suspected or arrested they would have an ironclad alibi for one of the two robberies. There was no way the police could wrap their head around the fact that two robberies, within minutes of each other, both involving criminals wearing the exact same Richard Nixon masks, would have been done by different people. The plan was perfect.

Had it been another hour? “Now I’d like you to think about the last year of your life.”

He was starting to get worried. He had no idea how much air there was in the standard coffin, but he had to be running out of it. His breathing was getting a bit ragged and his initial confidence that police wouldn’t actually let him asphyxiate was beginning to wane. Maybe they were just sore losers. He and his crew had been on a complete rampage the last few months. He felt he had beaten the system. He was untouchable.

Or was he?

Every minute that passed seemed like an eternity, until “I’d like you to think about your entire life. Think really hard about it.”

He began to scream. Pleading with someone to let him go. Long profanity-filled tirades about the unfairness of it all. How they could prove nothing and they had to let him go.

And finally, a long rambling confession. A confession that ended as he began to feel consciousness slipping away.

“You know” said the voice, “if you’re in a dark room you don’t need to produce your own light to see. You can simply open up a door and let the light in.”

Inside the coffin was silence.

After a few more minutes came “What… no alibi?”

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