Just Another Day in Gotham

When the news came in on a new hit job against a crooked cop, I planned to meet my friends and our contractor at a gas station down the street.  Quite frankly, it was just another day in Gotham…  The smoke trailed up from the tip of my cigarette while the rain pelted my shearling jacket.  The shine of neon lighting from above decorated me in shades of a technocolor hue.  Hideous gargoyles, statues of god-like men, and mysterious giant faces stared down from above, ever watchful of the dangerous, yet mortal streets below.  Graffiti etched all over the brick walls displayed a rainbow of street gangs led by demented Arkham Asylum escapees.  I turned out of the alleyway and surveyed the usual pedestrians.  Rarely did one ever come across any businessman types on this side of the neighborhood.  Either you were a punk, a prostitute, a beat cop, or someone looking for a beating.  Every two or three minutes, a police siren would buzz on by in the distance.  Every fifteen minutes, you’d come across at least one police car headed the other way.  And on every two or three days, you might catch a police car flying in the air.  Gotham, at least on this side of town, wasn’t safe for the average man or woman.  But for a tough guy like me, it was home.

Three buildings down, I spotted the gas station across the street.  I flicked my cigarette into the nearest ashtray, crossed the street, walked past a woman pumping gas into her station wagon, approached the door, and opened it.  The buildings inside were no better than outside.  The fluorescent lighting flickered and clung to dear life.  Grime was all over the floor and walls.  Half the shit that fell on the floor never got swept.  Tiles were missing from the ceiling.  Over half of the goods sold were past their expiration date.  Only one refrigerator in the back barely worked.  The ice cream stored in that fridge always melted by the time you brought it home.  Not to mention the old man working the clerk’s desk never had a smile on his face.  Not even “Trust”, the latest Prince single, muffling out of a barely functioning radio on the counter top could lighten the mood.

I walked over to the desk and hid my hands in my jacket pockets.  “One pack of Green Cigarettes.  Regulars.”

The old man went over to the cigarette shelf, unlocked the glass case, got out the right box, and slapped the box on the counter top.  His voice was deep and raspy.  “That’ll be ten bucks.”

I took a long, deep breath, pulled out my wallet and handed over my cash.  “Ten dollars for cigarettes?  Like I’m rich.”

The old man took my money and backed up.  “You’re never too rich to quit.”

“Never said I wanted to.”  I took my box, backed away, and got out of there.  The rest of the crew was already there.  A man with wavy blonde hair and wearing a sleeveless t-shirt tucked into blue jeans leaned near the front door.  A man with fine-combed black hair and wearing a business suit and sunglasses sat on a nearby bench and read the newspaper.

The blond man hopped off his wall and nodded.  “Armand, are you ready?”

I grabbed my cigarette carton, pulled out a fresh cigarette, and lit it up.  “Just a quick smoke before we go.”  I looked at the dark-haired man.  “Gunther, are you ready?

Gunther chucked aside his newspaper and pushed the bridge of his sunglasses with his fingertip.    “I’m ready to go.”  He looked at the blonde man.  “Warren, are you ready?”

A black limousine screeched next to the sidewalk.  Warren hid his hands in his jeans pockets and looked at the car.  “Boys, let’s do this.”

The back door swung open.  I chucked my cigarette into the ashtray.  The three of us ducked and got in one at a time.  After we got in the limousine, the door slammed shut and sealed itself tight.  The limousine sped off into the night!

Compared to the filthy outside, the limousine’s interior was pure luxury.  The couch was composed of red top grain leather.  The floor was a pitch black wool carpet.  A miniature chandelier dangled from the ceiling.  A bottle of long-aged red wine was set upon the couch table with three glasses.  If I could live in this limousine, I would.  Unfortunately, it belonged to our contractor.

Our contractor sat across from us.  He wore a white striped business suit over a black shirt and white tie and a white trilby upon a black skull mask.  He was flanked by a pair of burly men in suits.  Bodyguards; I wouldn’t doubt it.  Such a man who easily made enemies couldn’t go around the bad part of town without backup.  And considering the circumstances, I doubt he trusted any of us.

Warren was the leader of our squadron.  He did all of the talking.  “Black Mask, how may we assist you?”
Black Mask had a deep, baritone voice.  By the low volume of his tone, he wasn’t pleased with any of us.  “After the last stunt you pulled, this one’s going to be a suicide mission.”  He pulled out a manila envelope and gave it to Warren.  “A police officer has been causing trouble for my gang.  I need the three of you to go into his apartment building, go to the designated room, and eliminate him by any means necessary.  I don’t care how you do it, but I’d prefer his death be slow and painful.  Whatever you do, just make him disappear.”

Gunther and I looked at the file, looked at each other, and nodded.

Warren raised his concerns.  “It says here he has a family.  We don’t kill families.”

Black Mask made his intentions clear.  “The world of organized crime is far from sanitary.  Business is business.  Either you’re in,”  His henchmen reached under their suit jackets and pulled out their semi-automatic pistols.  “Or you’re out.”

We had to accept the contract under gunpoint.  “Yes, sir!”

Black Mask nodded at his henchmen.  The henchmen sheathed their pistols, pulled out three masks (one for each of us), and handed them over to their respective owners.  “Considering the circumstances, I’m going to need the three of you to mask up for this mission.  Gunther, you’ll have a shark mask.  Warren, you’ll have a fox mask.  Armand, you’ll have a vulture mask.”

We took our masks, slapped them over our faces, and strapped them on!

The limousine stopped the moment we heard a loud bang!  The door popped open.  “That’s your queue.”  Black Mask thumbed at the door.

We got out, turned around, and stared up at the sky.  The limousine soared off the moment a giant shadow enveloped the street.  We stared at the very sight in awe!  It was huge, fast, and shaped like a bat!  I’ve never seen a plane like it before, much less flown one of its kind!

I pointed at the plane when it went out of view!  “Guys, did you see that?”

The Shark gazed up, pulled his pistol out, and screwed a suppressor into the barrel.  “The Bat’s got wings now?”

The Fox reached into his pocket, pulled out a claw, and adjusted it to his left hand.  “Doesn’t matter.  Black Mask can distract The Bat all he wants.  All we gotta do is go in, kill that guy, and ride off into the sunset.  Who’s with me?”

The Shark slapped a magazine into his pistol’s receiver and pulled back the charging handle.  “I’m ready.”

I pulled out my pistol, screwed on a suppressor, and slid on a scope.  “Let’s get this over with.”  I slapped a fresh magazine into the receiver and pulled back the charging handle.

The Fox named our team.  “I suppose we’re one Terrible Trio.  Let’s get in and get out.”  We approached the entrance, got into position, and took cover.  The Fox gestured his arms about, pointed his hands around, and gave us a moment.  When he was ready,  “Move, move, move!”  We kicked the door open and ran in!

Inside was an old, dilapidated apartment building.  A wood panel was torn from the floor boards.  The clerk’s desk to the right had a chipped corner, loose papers spread about, and an elderly man standing behind the desk.  An aged carpet near the clerk’s booth was moldy and ripped at the seams.  Guest seats to the left had ripped-up and deflated padding.  Straight ahead was a hall of doorways which lead to an elevator door.

In the blink of an eye, The Fox aimed at the receptionist and fired!  I looked at the receptionist.  He smacked his back against the wall and slid down onto his bottom.  “Fox, was that necessary?”

The Fox holstered his pistol.  “No witnesses.”

The Shark pulled out his pistol and aimed down.  “Not even this cat?”

We looked down at a black cat hiding under one of the guest seats.  The cat sat still and stared silent.  The Fox grabbed The Shark’s arm and lowered it.  “No animals, no women, no children, only men.  Not like he can speak anyway.  Besides, killing him would only piss off Catwoman.”

The Shark holstered his pistol.  “You got a good point.  I wouldn’t wanna be a scratching post if I can avoid it.”

I shook my head.  “You wouldn’t.”

We looked ahead and marched forth.  We walked down the hallways, kept an eye on the scene, and made sure nobody saw what we were doing.  Once we reached the elevator, The Fox hit the up arrow.  We waited a few moments.  The door swung open and we got in.  The Fox turned around, hit the floor 5 button, and waited until the doors closed.

We made small talked while the elevator went up.  “Fox, you really didn’t have to kill that man.  That was unnecessary collateral.”

The Fox shrugged.  “He looked at me funny.”

“But how’s anyone going to get in or get out?  They’ll need to hire a new guy.”

“Their problem, not mine.”

The Shark had a thought.  “Guys, what if The Bat catches up to us?”

The Fox had his plans.  “We fight until we die.”

I gave him a good point.  “But The Bat doesn’t kill people.”

“He doesn’t…yet.  Never know when someone’s gonna break The Bat.”

The Shark crossed his arms.  “The Joker’s always giving him a headache.  One of these days, that man is going to slip up.”

The Fox shook his head.  “The Bat is no man.  He’s a monster.”

I agreed, but gave it my own thought.  “No, he’s gotta be more bat than man.”

The Shark punched my shoulder.  “You’re thinking of Manbat, you dumbass!”

I changed the subject.  “Say, you heard The Bat took in a new Robin?  I heard this one’s a girl.”

The Shark was well aware.  “Some tomboy-looking kid with glasses.”

The elevator stopped and door opened.  The Fox raised his index finger over his lips.

We shut up on queue.

The Fox gestured his index finger forward and jabbed twice.  We followed him down the hallway at a brisk pace.  The floor squeaked beneath our shoes.  In one room, I heard a loud argument between an angry couple.  The woman yelled out loud.  “You cheated on me, you bastard!”  The man yelled back.  “So what?  She was younger and smarter than you!  You’ve been a real pain in my neck lately!”  Their conversation continued as you’d expect.  In another room, someone’s got their video game volume at full blast.  The 8-bit chiptune music was rather catchy.  I would’ve danced to it had our mission not been so serious.  In another room, someone vacuumed their carpet.  In yet another room, I heard a group of friends talk about movies.

One of the friends asked.  “Say, you watch the new Back to the Future movie?”

Another friend asked.  “Don’t they go into the future in that one?”

A third friend said.  “Man, I wish we’d get hover boards in the future…”

Halfway down the hall, the lights went out!

The Fox looked back and raised his thumb.

The boy from the video game room yelled.  “Damn it!  Not at the final boss!  I’ll have to replay the whole goddamn game all over again!”

Someone from the movie conversation room took charge.  “Everyone, stay calm!  The lights will be on any minute now!”

The man from the argument room stomped towards the door.  “That’s it!  I’ve had enough!”

We were three-fourths of the way there when the argument room door busted open!  On cue, the three of us grabbed our pistols, turned around, unsheathed them, and aimed!  The occupant of the room was a portly man in a wifebeater and boxers.  The man widened his beady eyes!  “Oh crap!”

We aimed and fired!  The man’s white shirt was pelted by a stream and bullets and dyed red by the time his back thumped against the door frame and he slid down.

A blonde woman in a robe ran out and shrieked!  “Eeeeek!”

The Shark aimed and fired!  She tumbled forth and slumped on the floor.

We paused for a moment.  The Shark just broke our honor code and The Fox wasn’t going to let that off the hook.  “You piece of shit!  I said no women!  The hell is your problem?”

The Shark blew on the tip of his receiver barrel.  “You said no witnesses.”

It was at that point I realized our cover was blown!  “We’re screwed!  We’re so damn screwed!”

The Fox took lead.  “Everyone into room 521!  Now!”

We regrouped and hurried down the hall, turned left, and approached the right door.  The Shark and I took cover.  The Fox stood in front of the door, raised his boot, kicked the door, and ran in guns blazing!  “Go!  Go!  Go!”

We ran in and emptied our clips!  People began running out of their rooms and hurrying for the stairs!  We heard a lot of screaming followed by bullets pelting the wall!  Bullets ricocheted!  Porcelain and glass shattered!  Carpet got torn!  A television screen got ripped!  One thing was clear.  Our bullets were hitting something.  The room itself was pitch black and covered in gun smoke.  We couldn’t see inside the room very well.  It was until the gun smoke settled…we realize we made a big mistake!

In the middle of the room was a shadow.  The shadow’s head raised from its middle, revealing a pair of beady white eyes.  To the right was an open window.  In the window, I caught a glimpse of a red tunic beneath the flash of a yellow cape.  Robin had left the building, yet our bigger concern was before our eyes…

I stood still and shivered.  “Oh crap!  It’s The Bat!”

The Fox raised his claw and dived right in!  “Screw this!  He’s mine!”

The Shark reloaded and charged inside.  “What are you waiting for?  Let’s kill him!”

I stood in the doorway and watched the following scene unfold in sheer horror.  The Shark swung around the shadow’s right side, grabbed an aquarium, and chucked it!  The shadow knocked The Fox aside, turned, and blocked.  The aquarium shattered!  Glass pelted the shadow and water splattered all over.  Loose fish fell onto the carpet and flopped about.  The shadow pat the glass off of itself, ran at The Shark, swept him away, and disappeared into the kitchen!  “Aaaah!!!”

The Fox hurried over into the kitchen!  “You son of a bitch!  You’ll pay for that!”

The shadow swooped down from the ceiling and snatched him!  “Noooo!!!”

I blinked and a pair of white, pupil-less eyes stared back from beneath black shadows.  The eyes stared deep into my soul until I gathered the courage to act.

I dropped my gun, turned, and ran!  “Oh god no!”  I dashed down the hall, ran for the stairs, and shoulder charged through the door!  I hurried upstairs and didn’t turn back!  I couldn’t stop now!  Five more flights to freedom!  The Bat was going to get me!  One misstep and I was in for a world of pain!  Couldn’t stop now!  Feet were hurting!  Clothes were sweaty!  On my last breath!  Shit…  Shit!

I shouldered through the rooftop door, ran down the rooftop, hurried behind a duct, and hid behind cover!  I took a slow, deep breath and caught my wind.  I reached into my pocket, pulled out my carton, got out a cigarette, and lit it up.  Nicotine and carcinogens burned my throat, yet calmed the nerves.  I needed the rush at this time.  I outran the shadow, but for how long?

Not long at all!  Heavy footsteps stomped up concrete stairs.  The thuds got louder and louder; closer and closer.  It was getting closer and closer.  I peeked around the corner.  The shadow stood in the doorway and talked to itself…or perhaps someone on another line.  Its voice was deep and sinister.  “Robin, is the family secure?  That’s good to hear.  The police are on their way.”

I tucked myself into my corner and curled up into a ball.  The wind howled.  Goosebumps crawled all over my skin.  I broke into a cold sweat and shivered.  Too close for comfort.  Too close for comfort…  It was there, wasn’t it?  The Bat was going to get me…

Something thumped on the duct above!  I raised my head…

…and two beady white eyes stared back!  My jaw dropped and my cigarette hit the floor!  I had a better glimpse of the shadow this close up.  Its long, tattered cape flowed with the wind.  A tall pair of bat ears jutted for the heavens.  I caught a slight glimpse of a square jaw surrounded by a five o’ clock shadow.  People ask me what the scariest part about living in Gotham City is.  Was it all the rampant gangs?  Was it the mentally-unstable super villains?  Was it the unbalanced economy that lumped all the middle-class and lower-class citizens into one grotesque satire of a melting pot?  No.  The scariest part of Gotham City was also the one thing protecting it from the bad guys like me.  Above all else, Batman scared me the most.

And his deep, sinister drawl sent chills down my spine!  “Give it up, Armand.  It’s over.”

I got up and ran!  Batman reached out and grabbed my jacket!  He pulled me back and slammed me against the air duct!  He stepped close and stared down.  “An innocent couple already lost their lives because of your friends.  I suggest you comply.  Don’t make this any worse.”

I stared into his eyes and contemplated how everything went wrong.  We had the perfect plan laid out in private.  Go in, get the guy, and get out.  It was all so simple, yet something went wrong in the process.  I only had one question for Batman.  “Who told you we’d be here?”

Batman narrowed his eyes.  “Nobody.  I figured it out.”

“But this was meant to be kept top secret.  Only the boys and I…”

“Black Mask set it up, didn’t he?”  Batman turned around.  “Only a madman like him would send someone after Bullock.”

We didn’t even get a name!  “Wait, we were sent to kill Bullock?  As in the Harvey Bullock?”

“Yes.”

My bad day just got a hell of a lot worse!  Now we were liable to get screw up in court!  Nobody dared going after the king of corruption and even fewer would live to tell about it!  “Oh crap!  Oh crap!  No!  No!  No!  I ain’t going to jail for life…or worse!”  I got up, hurried around Batman, and ran for the edge of the rooftop!  “You’ll never catch me alive!”

Batman hurried over!  “No!  Don’t!”

I leaped off the roof and stared down…  I had to say, despite being a cesspool, Gotham looked pretty at night.  The orange-tinted roads resembled long, winding corridors of fire.  Tiny cars zipping along the streets and tinier people skittering on the sidewalks resembled ants from this distance.  Various neon signs strapped upon the sides of buildings gave the city a dash of color and style.  Tall, monolithic spires closer to central pierced the heavens.  I stared across the street at the rooftop in the distance.  A costumed woman with long, wavy black hair, a black and purple bodysuit, and a purple domino mask watched my gradual descent while she crouched upon a gargoyle.  It was a shame such a beautiful dame had to watch such a gristly sight…

My foot barely went past the edge when somebody grabbed my ankle!   I was pulled up into the air and dangled over the street!  “You’re not going anywhere.”

I panicked and squirmed!  “Please don’t kill me!  Don’t take me to prison!  Spare me, please!”

Batman began to drag me away.  “I won’t kill you, ever.  I won’t hurt you either, not unless you take the first swing.  However, just like your friends, you’re going away for a long time.  The law will handle the rest.”

They weren’t my friends.  “More like business partners, quite frankly.”

“You need better friends.”

“Maybe I do.”

I closed my eyes.  I couldn’t watch what happened next.  I felt him lift me over his shoulder and move me somewhere.  I was brought downstairs and tied up.  I couldn’t will myself to watch.  My life was over the moment I spoke.  I had to shut off my brain from that point onward.  I wasn’t me anymore.  I didn’t exist.  The nicotine addiction hit, so I made one final request.  “Before you do whatever it is you’re doing, can you do me a favor?”

Batman stopped and paused.

“In my jacket pocket is a pack of cigarettes.  Can you light one up for me before I go?  Gonna be tough to smoke in prison.”

Batman sighed and did what I asked.  “You know smoking is bad for your health.  Ever consider quitting?”

I chuckled and bit down on the cigarette in my lips.  “I get that all the time.”  Batman flicked a lighter and lit my cigarette.  “Maybe now’s a good time to start.”  I pinched the cigarette tight and inhaled the carcinogens.  My throat burned at a bearable amount of pain.  I felt myself drop and stop.  I exhaled my smoke through my nostrils and let out a muffled cough.  The wind chill sent goosebumps all over my skin.  I swung back and forth.  I was dangling over something, wasn’t I?  I opened my eyes, lifted my head, and realized…

I dangled on the fire escape in front of Room 521!  I looked down.  My body was bound in the air by rope!  I looked further down and watched little ant cars zip around and little ant people skitter about, look up, stop, and point.  I was dead meat.  And it didn’t help matters when the infamous red and blue lights got closer by the second.

I looked to my left and right side.  The Fox and The Shark were in no different of a position than I.  We dangled from the window of the same guy we planned to murder.  The Shark kept calm and stood still.  The Fox kept swinging back and forth in frustration.  I sighed and let fate catch up to us all.  “We’re fucked, aren’t we?”

The Fox turned his head and growled!  “Shut up!”

The Shark shrugged.  “He’s got a point.  No turning back from here.”

The Fox turned his head towards The Shark and yelled.  “The both of you, shut up!”

The Shark giggled.  “Better we say our prayers while we can.”  He turned his head towards me.  “How’s it hanging, Armand?”

I stared down at the police cars and let out a long, deep sigh…  “Just another day in Gotham…”
4 Likes

OK. There’s so much potential, here. Loads of it. What level of feedback do you want, really? A quick thought-- exclamation points should be used only sparingly, no matter how exciting you want things to read.

I’m glad you enjoyed it. I could go for as deep of a level of feedback as you need. I’m not too picky when it comes to feedback.

Holy cow. That was a LOT. Very good though!

2 Likes

That was exciting! Like Misfit said, I’d heavily cut back on the exclamation points, but the tone, pacing, and characterization were fantastic. Is this a standalone or part of something longer?

It’ll be part of something bigger, but unfortunately, I won’t be posting the next part for about another week or two. I’ve got a family vacation coming up shortly.

1 Like

coughs Hopefully, that won’t stop you from adding shorter pieces elsewhere. cough And maybe get BatJamags to come with you. cough He’s also on the recommended reading thread.

Even MORE seriously, while I am far from an expert on Fan Fiction, as FF–? This is bloody magnificent. But if your’re looking to work with professional editors, there are skills and instincts shown here that need sharpening. MOST people don’t like to hear this stuff. I got ripped to pieces by a professional editor at a disgustingly young age-- and he was mostly right-- ok, almost entirely right. There’s no ripping to pieces on this website. This is one of the kinder places I’ve ever been.

No rush, but I look forward to the next part whenever it comes out!

(Also, Misfit - sorry I haven’t updated my thing. I started working on it, and then real-life stuff dumped a bunch of work in my lap.)

Real life is a bummer, way too often. Definitely want to see the next part of your Batman mystery. But I was also inviting you to join in our group story, I AM THE KNIGHT, elsewhere in these fan creation threads. And, please feel free to offer your thoughts on my Tommy Tomorrow serial I started putting up today.

And you already did lol

@WildDog can I be in the story

I’ve got a sequel story coming soon, but I do have a question regarding content.

Without spoiling too much, there’s going to be a gory crime scene. Regarding content of that nature, is there a guideline for that sort of thing or perhaps a NSFW tag? Just playing it safe as a precaution.

@WildDog
If it’s NSFW due to gore, you should be fine noting at the beginning that it is “NSFW”.

1 Like

Thank you. I’ll post something either tonight or tomorrow.

Someone gave me the idea to find writers on here to make illustrations for, on their writing projects. Would you like for me to do some sketches or some panels for you?

@hklolpop11

Dude, sure. I’d be down for illustrations. Think you can do one of the Terrible Trio chilling in front of a gas station?

PS: Do you take commissions by any chance? I might need additional help…elsewhere.

Sure I can do both the terrible trip and commissions! You got discord by any chance?

Trio*

I’ve got a Steam account. Does that work?

Oof I dont use steam sadly…