Batman Episode 3: Long Summer

Chapter 9

Both men were standing, a sure sign there was shouting within the sound proofed office of the Commissioner’s office. The blinds over the windows were still down, offering only the faintest of silhouettes.

“Its been a month, Gordon! No more wasting time, I want him brought in, or it’s your badge!” Jim wrenched the door open, squeezing his temper through his solid grip on the door knob. He closed the office door behind him. As he turned back around, he found another man leaning against the railing of the loft over the bullpen in wait. His arms were crossed as he fixed Gordon harshly and chewed on a toothpick.

“Something I can help you with, Detective Bullock?” Jim inquired hotly.

“I want off the Mama Sandra’s case,” Bullock demanded.

“Is that right?” Gordon grumbled.

“I want Batman,” Bullock said with a glower.

“Really,” Jim said perturbed. “And do you have anything worthwhile to contribute to that, Detective?” he burst, his face turning redder than his hair. Bullock remained still, glowering at Gordon from under the brim of his black fedora. Gordon huffed as he strode past Bullock and made his way to the descending staircase. He paused at the first step and sighed, cooling his temper.

“You’re a good detective, Bullock, you get results,” he said. He looked over his shoulder back at the hefty man leaning against the railing. “Just make sure that you’re doing your job for the right reasons, and not to impress the wrong people.” Bullock snarled as Gordon descended the staircase back into the bullpen of police headquarters.

The plates were empty with only the smear of steak sauce and crumbs of food left from a much enjoyed meal. In the homey comfort of the warmly lit dining room, the three talked and laughed long after the meals were eaten. A half empty bottle of wine was set in the center of the dinner table, covered by a floral dinner table. Gilda Dent balanced a wine glass in her hand as she spoke with her husband seated beside her, shaking his head shyly, hiding his smile behind his mouth.

“Here was this guy with dreams of standing before some of the shrewdest people around to argue complicated cases, bumbling over his words as he asked me to dance in front of a group of my friends,” she laughed.

“Those sorority girls were shrewder than any jury I’ve ever faced,” Harvey grinned defensively.

“I can second that,” Bruce lied as he laughed and Gilda shrugged in agreement.

“Besides,” Harvey said as he looked over at his wife. “I won in the end.” Gilda blushed as they exchanged an endearing look. Bruce smiled as he watched on, his gaze drifting to his watch.

“Ten past ten,” he read out loud. “I’m sorry you two, but I have to be going now,” he said with an apologetic tone as he stood from the table. Harvey stood up as well.

“Early meeting in the morning?” he inquired mockingly.

“You know, Bruce,” Gilda said. “The invitation could’ve been a ’plus one,” she said with a sly smile. “What happened to that Olympic swimmer you had at the last rally?” she inquired as she brought her glass to her mischievous lips.

“Katrina?” Bruce inquired. “Just didn’t pan out,” he replied casually.

“And another one bites the dust,” Harvey mumbled as he and Gilda led Bruce to the front door a mere four paces from the dining room, through the living room. Bruce glanced his way with a sarcastic glare.

“We still set for Racquet Ball next Tuesday?” he inquired, eager to change the subject as they reached the door.

“Rematch, next Tuesday,” Harvey replied, firing a competitive look in his eye as he pointed his finger aggressively.

“You got it,” Bruce grinned then turned to Gilda.

“Gilda, thank you for a lovely evening.” He opened the door as she approached for a quick hug.

“Anytime, Bruce.”

“Likewise,” Bruce bid as he stepped out into the warm night. The door to the house closed and the home of the Dent family seemed to fall back in place, side by side the row of doors and addresses on the neighborhood block on the edge of Burnley. Bruce approached his car, the sleek silver Jaguar parked along the curb in the glow of a streetlight. The night was quiet, yet Bruce out of habit, remained ever vigilant as he climbed into the driver’s seat. He was completely awake and alert, ready to stop back at Wayne Manor to suit up for the night. He’d turned down Gilda’s offer for a drink of wine, since he was driving himself. Neither she or Harvey thought any more of it.

“That Bruce,” Gilda chuckled out loud as she and Harvey gathered the dishes from the table. “What is this, four? Four different women in one month?” she said.

“What?” Harvey frowned.

“I mean what is it, he just looses track of their number or something?” she suggested sarcastically.

“Bruce gets women thrown at him,” Harvey chuckled as he carried his pile of dishes into the kitchen.

“Well, what’s he looking for exactly?” she inquired with piqued curiosity.

“Oh how should I know,” Harvey scoffed.

“Well he’s your friend, Harv,” she retorted. “What do you and he talk about every week at the health club?”

“Not that,” Harvey laughed. Unsatisfied, Gilda stepped over to the telephone hooked on a base on the kitchen wall. A small, leather bound book rested on the counter beside it. She opened it as Harvey carefully placed the dishes into the sink. “Gilda, what are you doing?” he inquired uneasily.

“Looking through my contacts book,” she replied. Harvey froze and glanced over his shoulder.

“Oh no,” he mumbled.

“Here!” she exclaimed as she spun around and held out the book for Harvey to see. “She’s perfect.” Harvey scrutinized the name in the contact book.

“What makes you think she’s perfect?” he argued.

“Opposites attract,” Gilda suggested with a shrug. Harvey frowned, not convinced even with Gilda’s mischievous smile.

“Bruce is a good guy but beneath the money and good looks, he’s pretty bland,” she explained almost apologetically. “He needs a little excitement in his life.”

Driving down the street, Bruce came across few cars on the road as he drove along the southern most boundary of Burnley. The glowing metropolitan market square of the Bowery still remained as alive as ever, even after the bombing of Mama Sandra’s. Bruce loosened his tie with one hand on the steering wheel.

“Call Alfred,” he ordered out loud. His cell phone, docked on the hands free clip on the dashboard beeped in compliance. The call dialed before Alfred’s voice replied.

“Yes, Master Bruce?” he inquired.

“Bit of a late start tonight, Alfred,” Bruce said. “Prepare the cave for my arrival.”

“Very well, Sir,” Alfred answered. “Did you enjoy your Memorial Day dinner with the Dents?” he inquired. Bruce opened his mouth but his voice stuck in his throat. Far off to his left, a corner of the Bowery was engulfed in a ball of flame. The explosion shattered the quiet within the car. Bruce slammed on the brakes, screeching to a halt. He heard Alfred calling out loud on the speaker as he opened his car door and stepped out onto the street looking out across the roadway, petrified by the shock of a second attack.

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