Chapter 8: The Penguin Strikes Back !
The Penguin Strikes Back !
Although Oswald Cobblepot was incandescently angry with life, and some aspects of Gotham life in particular, he was also very depressed. How often anger and depression go together, and how often the psychologists will tell us so ! He had finally been broken. Life had broken him.
And yet, there was also something rather comic about Oswald.
- ( Answering the phone one day ) Aw, ... hello Mom...Aw, you know, .. I have my bad days, ... and my very bad days.
But that didn't mean that he was prepared to stay broken. And his burning desire for revenge would play an integral part in his attempt to become whole again. Maybe it might have made him just a little twisted, but he would still be whole again !
Before Oswald vacated his business premises at Humanitec, he made a point of withdrawing as much money from the accounts as he could ( his bank manager proved more than sympathetic in this regard !) and taking as many of the computers as he could !
This, together with a not insubstantial amount of personal savings, would form the basis of the campaign of revenge he would wage on all the interests, in any way associated with the injustices, to which he had been subjected !
He spent some of these resources on cosmetic surgery, ... on a nose job...not to have it shortened, but to have it lengthened !
He would have himself several costumes made, all based around the way so many among Gotham's young cultured elite had made him look all those years ago, on the night of his Prom. Pink Top Hat, pink and black pinstripe coat and trousers, white shirt, black and white spats and a cigarette holder with dummy cigarette ( For Oswald didn't smoke ! ), O yes, and the monacle he had started to wear at college, of course ! There were also some variations on the theme, for when he felt like a bit of a change !
Quite wisely, he had soon realised that his was a campaign so vast and complicated, that he could never hope to wage it on his own. He would need to recruit a team ! He would call it his Football Team !
Prior to the hostile take-over of his business, Oswald had started up and sponsored a private Football and Netball School for boys and girls who, like him, had been rejected, for all the wrong reasons, by their respective school teams and sports coaches. Only the tubby, the tall and lanky, the very short or thin, and the less than good-looking could join. They loved it, and most began to excel, much to the appreciation of their parents. They had all loved Oswald.
In fact, on one occasion, a rather impressive, well-built young man came looking to be part of the School. Said Oswald:
- Sorry kid, you are too strong and good-looking to join !
Some of the oldest members of the School were so incensed at the fact that he would have to close it, and the way he had been treated, that he found in them all too willing members of his 'Team'. Others, who had been rejected by Gotham Society, included some Japanese, who had suffered prejudice after the War, poor Afro-Americans, homosexuals, those born with Giantism and Dwarfism, the facially scarred, the very over-weight, the scrawny and the Irish !
As much as possible, Oswald would look to use large hangar-like buildings as a hideout, so that they could play football ! Oswald really loved to play football ! And he had a girlfriend, too, the large and curvy, Molly Brown. Molly wasn't her real name. He called her that, because he thought she was unsinkable ! Molly was one of the first members of the Football Team, and was very good for Oswald.
Finally, D-Day arrived. That was what he called it anyway. Maybe he was subconsciously resurrecting a chapter in his Father's heroic past, but, like all those football plays of his, it was meticulously planned, as we will see. And Oswald had employed some of the more irregular talents of the ex-con elements in his Team, like picking locks, for instance ! The targets, the Football fraternity, Oswald's old football coach, now permanently on the Giant's staff, and a few of the 'Erstwhiles', associated with his Prom humiliation and the hostile takeover... O yes, and some of the rather hollow, thrill-and-money-seeking young females, attracted like magnets to money and stardom !
And so the scene was set. It was the night of a big Football Game, the Gotham Giants versus the Metropolis Minotaurs, an occasion made all the more significant as it was the first night the Giants would use their new computerised giant scoreboard and advertising monitors around the stands, these the gift of some of the sponsors from the new Humanitec, who would be present on the night !
- Let the fun begin ! Meh meh meh meh meh ... ( Oswald was already getting into character ! )
The Giants were the first to score, but the points went to the Minotaurs instead ! The home crowd are incensed. But the Metropolis fans think this is very funny, as do a lot of the television audience, and as does Oswald. Those on the console try to rectify the fault, as well as technicians from his old business, but to no avail. The Minotaurs score, and their points are recorded as normal, but each time the giants score, their points go to the Visitors !
- ( TV Commentator ) In all my years of broadcasting, Dan, I have never seen anything quite like this !
Then, towards the end of the game, the advertising monitors momentarily go blank, then up comes the pictures of Oswald on his Prom Night, tied to a post and covered in paint ! Then pictures of Oswald today, in his new costume.
- ( Oswald, over the intercom ) Support your local Penguin meh meh meh...the real provider of tonight's scoreboard and advertising services, ah ! ... A special greeting goes out to Crawford Spratt, Cadbury Hawkes, Press Gutter, Cameron Scrape and Caspar Furey, all of whom, I believe, we are honoured to have with us this evening. On a rather personal note, I'd like to express to them a profound debt of gratitude. They made me the man I am today !
Meanwhile, a number of his Team start tapping on the windows of the high class cabs and private cars, to be used by stars from the Giants, his old coach and so on. Some of the drivers are black, one Japanese and some Irish ! The following is but one example of a conversation 'twixt Team Member and Chauffeur:
- Say, how would you like a decent game of football yourself, then a night of wine women and song, in return for the use of the vehicle of course ? Don't worry, you won't get into any trouble. We'll tie you up and leave you where people will quickly find you, and make it look like we hijacked the car ! Let's give some of these guys a lesson !
- Hey, that sure sounds good to me !
Then, on the scoreboard and the monitors, there appear the words BOMB ALERT ! PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY CALMLY TO THE EXITS. THANKYOU ! There is organised panic all around the stands, with the stewards controlling things, but just about ! The owners of the Giants are furious with the Sponsors from Humanitec, but all have to make their way out, and to the vehicles that await them !
- Right there, Uncle Tom, step on it !
- OK Paddy, let's get out of here !
- OK Nip, let's go !
Each time, the real drivers turn round, much to the shock of the occupants. On go the automatic security locks, and each target is brought to a piece of waste ground, tied to a post and pink die poured over their heads !
Says each member of Oswald's Team:
- We didn't want to use paint, you see. Its dangerous !
Then, the necessary photographs are taken, to be published in the Gotham Journal the next day !
The female members of the Team use pink mascara on the girls' faces, and nail polish on their dresses, and confiscate their high heel shoes, then pour water over them.
- ( Molly Brown ) So many girls like you, over the years, have called me cheap, honey. Well, I'll show you who's cheap ! It doesn't come any cheaper than water, girl !
When it comes to the female associates of the men in question, one, significantly, is specifically spared the ordeal of trial by mascara, one Belinda Gordon, much to the suspicious unease of one Molly Brown !
Meanwhile, all the poor underpaid and derided drivers are having the time of their lives playing football, and enjoying the company of the Penguin's female Team Members. Nothing too untoward, you understand ! Oswald had his standards and a reputation to maintain ! Suffice to say, some phone numbers are exchanged !
Then, at the close of the evening, everything is made to look as if the 'Poor Drivers' were forcibly removed from their cars, and tied up by the Penguin's Gang. They had had a ball !
Lots of other capers, 'a la Penguin, were to ensue, all directed against Gotham's corrupt elite, but, alas, too many to catalogue in this saga of stories ! Save to say, that none ever quite managed to live up to the finesse and precision of this first foray into the world of Oswald's revenge !