Roxy Box decided to replace Adamine Krator for the final segment of the After Show. An actor (who was far more convincing) was hired to hear the final verdict. Krator was shuffled off to the tombs. His guilt or innocence didn’t really matter to the officials who controlled the Department of Justice. They needed a scapegoat. They needed to prove the System worked and crimes were being solved and avenged. The tombs were not so terrible, in fact there was a party going on in full swing. Krator worried about what came after the party, probably total dissolution. Though he was not yet dead, the party guests were celebrating the autopsy of Adamine Krator. Everyone looked familiar, but they all wore masks. Everyone pretended to have a good time. It was perfectly obvious when they began to disrobe and remove their masks to reveal their true identities as acquaintances, enemies, victims and casualties of Adamine Krator: everyone had an ax to grind; a bone to pick with Krator. It was a worst nightmare scenario, except that each person was polluted. The party had been going on for too long. No one was in his-or-her right mind. A drug induced haze hung in the air like a poisonous fog bank. Krator was free to walk through the menagerie unmolested — free to ask questions and untangle the mystery of his life and crimes.
Canapés and drinks were passed around. People lounged on couches or sat on the floor absorbed in the drama unfolding on TV, the final act on the After-Show. Krator resented the actor who replaced him — the guy was a ham who played-up to the expectations of the viewing public. He cried like a hysterical child demanding candy. The public loved him and demanded more over-the-top antics. After fifteen minutes of hooting, shouting and crying, the public was bored — they wanted blood. The sentence was death. Krator wasn’t surprised, but he still needed to discover the truth. He needed to know whether or not he was guilty. He’d begun to doubt his own integrity. In the end, Adamine Krator had no choice — to solve the crime he had to perform the autopsy on himself.
People gathered around and watched Krator slice open the corpse. It wasn’t easy to cut through the sinews, through layers of obfuscation and self delusion, across dimensions through time and space. Magpies erupted from the open wounds and attacked Krator, pecking at his brain. Names and faces flipped through his mind like numbers on the face of a one-armed slot machine. Krator was the young boy in the theater who was seduced by the man in the bowler hat. Krator was also the man in the hat. It was a magician’s trick. The man with a Time Machine was the magician (from the story, “Limbo”). When the boy grew older he became an artist, but it wasn’t supposed to happen. Time lines were crossed and short circuited. The artist had to be murdered so the detective could survive and become the man in the Time Machine. Adamine Krator was just a device caught within the lines of text stored in the archives of the Red City. It was a humiliating situation, but it solved the case. Krator still had the Time Device sutured into the palm of his hand. If he pressed the button, he could escape death, but he was tired. He was too exhausted to move — too many lives were already disrupted. Adamine Krator succumbed to the demands of the viewing public, entombed in the archives never to be heard or seen again.