Batman Episode 3: Long Summer

Chapter 8

The entire city was baffled, stumbling blindly in the dark over the tragic attack on one of Gotham’s more prestigious Italian restaurants. As investigations went underway, more details cropped up from the ruined ashes of the penthouse restaurant, yet nothing to point in the direction of the one responsible. For nights, Bruce remained vigilant, keeping his eyes open and ears to the ground. A feeling had set in his stomach, a churning cold feeling that told him this was just the beginning. It was far too well coordinated, congruently designed to be a single random attack as most investigators and news reporters were claiming. Then there was still this ‘Penguin.’

Weeks past and Bruce was in agony with how little progress he made over his new lead. Yet still, the black market expanded without him. Whoever this Penguin was, he was gaining ground and fast. It was bound to happen. With the two major weapons dealers jailed and muscled out of Gotham, someone was bound to move in and absorb what was left open for the taking.

Bruce would just have to be patient. The computer in the cave, though running, was still not at full capacity. All manner of local and national databases were at his disposal, but international, such as Interpol databases were still far too risky. As Lucius Fox had explained, the anti-tracing firewall security system was enough to protect on a national scale but insufficient internationally. It was merely a matter of patience as Fox programed a truly invulnerable firewall. Until then, Bruce would have to resort to old fashioned street detective work.

If it weren’t for his brief recesses away from the cape and cowl and outside of the cave as Bruce Wayne, Bruce felt as if he’d lose his mind, let alone his temper. Bruce was running on exactly three hours of sleep yet just to be himself while not being the Batman was just what he needed.

“Come on Harvey, you can do better than that,” he mocked with a smirk as he stood over the bench. Harvey Dent was on his back, his pectorals straining and toned biceps bulging as he pushed the hundred-twenty pound laden, metal bar to finish the set. A vein in his forehead popped as he let out a mighty growl and hefted the weight straight over his chest. “There you go,” Bruce cheered on as he guided the bar onto the support arms at the head of the bench. The weights rested with a hard, metal clang as Harvey breathed heavily.

“Towel,” he request wearily with an outstretched hand. Bruce threw the white rag and Harvey caught it, dabbing at his forehead. “I don’t know how you do it, Bruce,” he said.

“Well all those pretty numbers you see clinging to my arms at your campaign rallies are good motivation,” Bruce smirked. Harvey laughed as the two men walked through the rows of weight lifting equipment in the private health club. It was a routine the two men who’ve come to call each other ‘friend’ enjoyed to take part in once a week. Stepping through double doors, they entered a the upper ring level of a gymnasium chamber. The indoor track was mostly empty. The two men took no hesitation, throwing their towels and water bottles in a corner of the pit stop entrance before taking off side by side in a leisurely paced run.

“Speaking of campaign rallies, your idea of my appearance at the fundraiser for the families of the bombing victims was a doozy,” Harvey said between breathes.

“People are starting to see that you really care, Harvey, that’s important. You’re gaining their trust,” Bruce said sincerely. He could go on running and continuing a conversation for quite a while but deceptively threw in a pant here and there in his sentences.

“Yeah, but as long as Reeves keeps Bat-bashing, he’s making friends with the people that really matter. Majority votes don’t count for much in a corrupt city,” Harvey added bitterly. Bruce refrained from frowning as the two rounded in for their third lap. “I don’t want to talk about this now,” he spat grumpily. “I come here to escape before I have to go back into that mess,” he added with a chuckle. Harvey glanced up at the analog clock glowing on the wall above the track.

“Crap,” he exclaimed. “Which reminds me, I have a consultation meeting this morning.” Harvey doubled back then turned back around. “Almost forgot,” he called out. “Gilda wants to have you over for dinner tomorrow.” Bruce paused, remaining to jog in place on the track.

“Tomorrow? You mean Memorial Day?” he inquired.

“You been invited to any big shot barbeques?” Harvey chuckled.

“Probably, but all of them will be dull and boring. What time?” Bruce asked with a grin.

“Let’s say six thirty.”

“Let’s say six,” Bruce suggested.

“Alright, six then,” Harvey chuckled. The two waved goodbye as Harvey darted for the pit stop along the side of the track and Bruce continued his run.

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