‘Peace? That’s a relative concept.’ Mayor Brown scratched his head.
‘How?’ Chief Blue was a man of few words. He couldn’t see why Brown was so off. Since the Bat had upped and left following the departure of all the misbegotten misfits who’d inhabited the sewers and junk yards and alleys, he’d gotten fat and he liked it.
‘Look, it’s been fine for you and yours, cruising about, looking good but tourism’s down, hospitals are closing and the construction industry is barely functioning. Throw in the closures of hardware stores, gunsmiths, Gentlemen’s lycra outfitters, car repair shops, rocket boot makers and spotlight silhouette artists… and you name it, we’re struggling. We had a Bat-based economy and now we have a business mutiny that is ready to explode.’
The Chief nodded at his state of the art police response vehicle bristling with the latest ways to disable, main and if necessary vaporise any challengers. ‘They wouldn’t dare.’
‘If I was you I’d enjoy your indolence, Blue. Arianna Dove has just been signed to the Chamber of Commerce. She’ll get rid of you as fast as she did for the Bat. You know it was her polling that showed the only reason there was so much crime was because he was here. He was just setting himself to be shot down. She knew he had to go, sure enough… but there were unintended consequences. Do you think we need you and all that, that flash stuff now they’ve all gone?’
The Chief looked sombre; Mayor Brown patted his shoulder. ‘Don’t worry, Blue. I kept the hotline. I thought we might need it. But there will be sacrifices.’
‘You’re going to call the Bat?’
‘God, no. Not that hotline. No, what we need is crime and lots of it. Once the Joker, the Penguin and the rest are back the Bat won’t be able to resist a return. That was always where his strength really lay. In one mother of an ego.’
‘And the sacrifice?’ But he already knew. ‘At least, can I keep the vaporising gun? Pretty please? Just for a week?’