“You might be wondering why I called all you here today,” The Citizen told the crowd in front of him in the theatre. He wore a grin from ear to ear, like a mischievous cat that also drove taxis. “Well, it’s because your dearly beloved Mr. Can-Do has passed away in his sleep.”
One guy in the crowd raised his hand. “Uh, why are you telling us this? It happened last week.”
“Because I have proof that he was not killed by an accident!” The Citizen said. “And it pleases me to tell you that one of you in this room was the culprit!”
The crowd gasped. All but one person, of course. The Citizen paced around the stage and shook his head. He was pleased.
“What?” The same guy from before asked.
“Hear me out…”
“No,” everyone in the crowd said in unison.
“No, don’t go!” The people who were starting to get up to leave sat back down. Suddenly, some people were slightly interested in what The Citizen had to say. “ I have proof. Evidence. And I will show it to you now!”
The Citizen motioned for other people to come forward, and they did. A large projector was wheeled to the back of the theatre and a scrawny teenager began to crank it. “This is exclusive footage that I myself obtained on the deathbed of Mr. Can-Do,” The Citizen said. “It’s extremely exclusive because I shot it myself!”
“That doesn’t seem very ethical, to film a guy who’s dying…” said that same guy.
“Shut up. Anyways, take a look.”
The film reel started showing some actual events:
The Citizen, holding his camera, looked over the hospital bed of Mr. Can-Do. “Sir, I have to know what happened.”
Mr. Can-Do was barely conscious and probably not very alive either. “Rosebud… Rosebud…”
“Tell me more! What is this Rosebud you speak of?”
But Mr. Can-Do said no more. “Rosebud… Rosebud…”
And then the film reel shut off.
“You really wasted all that money on a film reel that lasted fifteen seconds?” the guy once again asked.
“You know, if you want to leave you fucking can,” The Citizen said. The guy stayed in his spot. “So Mr. Can-Do, who was thought to be killed in a freak sledding accident, was actually… murdered!”
“By who?” the crowd asked in unison.
“By a man named Rosebud, obviously!”
The crowd gasped.
“Yeah, it’s pretty obvious who that’s referring to,” The Citizen said. He pointed to the audience and a spotlight shone on some guy who looked a lot like Orson Welles.
The Orson Welles guy started slow-clapping. “Bravo! Bravo!” he shouted. “You figured out that I killed Mr. Can-Do, didn’t you, The Citizen?” The man, who was apparently named Rosebud, stood up and then pulled out a revolver. He pointed it at his own temple. “But if you want to know why I did it, you’ll have to let me go free. If not… Well, then it’ll remain a mystery forever.”
“Don’t worry, I’m calling your bluff and raising it about five notches.” The Citizen snapped his fingers and a laser was pointed towards Rosebud’s body. “Before you can take that shot we’ll neutralize you nonlethally. But if you don’t want three bullets in your limbs and torso, I’d suggest you tell us all why you did it.”
Rosebud shook his head and laughed. “You fool!” he shouted. At that cue, five men surrounding Rosebud stood up from their seats and surrounded him, blocking the sniper from taking his shot. Several of them took out guns and pointed them at other members of the audience.
“It’s a good thing we have a captive audience,” The Citizen said. “Because this is gonna be one hell of a show.” he took out a revolver of his own and pointed it at his own temple. “Now who’s going to talk?”
The scrawny teenager at the projector aimed the projector at the ceiling. “This baby doubles as a missile launcher,” he said with several voice cracks along the way. “Anyone makes a bad move and the whole thing buries us all.” He also cranked the projector and it played a movie on the ceiling featuring a guy pointing a gun at the audience.
The stage was set.
“What’s it going to be?” The Citizen asked.
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” Rosebud said.
“And the same could be said from other sources,” said a voice from the audience. “Namely, me.” The person stood up and it was none other than– Mr. Can-Do? He pulled out two revolvers and pointed them at both the scrawny teenager and The Citizen.
“But… How?” The Citizen and Rosebud asked at once.
“I got better,” he said.
Now, the stage was even more set than ever.
“Can you let the non-insane people leave?” that guy from earlier asked.
“No!” everyone said in unison.
Bang. Everyone fired their weapons at once.
The Citizen was shot in the leg before he could off himself. Mr. Can-Do shot the teenager, but not before he shot a missile at the ceiling. Rubble came down and crushed half the audience. The sniper cleared the way through Rosebud’s henchmen, but Rosebud himself had offed himself successfully before they could neutralize them. One of Rosebud’s remaining henchmen and the sniper began firing at Mr. Can-Do, riddling him with bullets and sending him to the ground. As he collapsed onto the floor he fired two more shots in the air, killing the henchman and sniper.
The only one alive was that one guy. “What a waste of time,” he said. He got out of his seat and left the theatre.