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"Robin at Brentwood Academy" Chapters 1 and 2

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  • Justin_ Benedict
    Chapter One Harley looked at Mister J suspiciously while slowly guiding the van with the darkened windows through the little village of Brentwood, just outside
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2012
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      Chapter One

      Harley looked at Mister J suspiciously while slowly guiding the van with the darkened windows through the little village of Brentwood, just outside Gotham City. It was odd, he really didn't want to use the Jokermobile, or any of the various fleet of grin-painted vehicles that he kept in a hidden garage…for once he wanted anonymity.

      "So you just wanna find the kid `n off him, Mister J?" The Joker, of course was in a reverie, considering who knows what, as was the habit of the mentally ill. Thinking about how great he was, probably. And Harley loved him…why didn't he notice her more? Why?

      The Joker smiled at Harley, his cherry red lips gleaming vividly. Harley wondered how, with almost no maintenance and constant violence, the Joker's teeth were gleaming white and fully intact…he was a gorgeous man in some ways, though in others he looked like Lucille Ball on meth.

      "Harley, I have a job that needs doing." The Joker ran a gloved hand through his green locks. "I killed Robin, and now he's back…a new Robin. I want to kill him too…when there's a new cockroach in the kitchen, I must get out the Raid, you know." The Joker laughed loud and long, before continuing.

      "Because, of course when the current Robin is with Bats, he's a bit difficult to get to, I've had to hold back, but he's been seen sans old Gloomyguts here in the village of Brentwood, stopping small burglaries and other felony detritus and I have the oddest idea that he may be attending the youth conservatory up on the hill."

      "Robin, in boarding school?" Harley was puzzled. She hadn't really thought of what the kid did in his off hours. Harley had gone to P.S. 38 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and it had never occurred to her that Robin might be a preppie

      . During her previous life, as Harleen Quinzel, psychology student, she'd met a few graduates of Choate and St. Paul's in college, and didn't think of them as being terribly muscular, or for that matter, very bright, and young Robin was both.

      But the Joker was canny and quite observant for someone who spent much of his time um, clowning around…and he had agents everywhere feeding him information, even when he was straitjacketed at Arkham.

      "You see, Harley—Robin has quashed about twelve crimes in the past three months—just when the semester started at the school. Before that, this sleepy little town had never had anything but an incompetent constabulary."

      The Joker had instructed Harley to just drive slowly through the streets, looking around and keeping a low profile, which of course Harley Quinn wasn't really into. She'd been quiet and demure for the first twenty-six years of her life, except for a little stickball with her brothers, and since finding her reason for living as the Joker's sidekick and sometime lover—she liked to make noise.

      "On September 12th, Robin put down a robbery of Brentwood Savings & Trust…on the nineteenth the police showed up at Brockman's Diamond Exchange in the morning to find bound and gagged men in the main trading floor with long burglary records, in mid-October drug lord Sausalito Sanchez, who had a monopoly in this area for crack and heroin, was dropped off with his evidence at the police station, and so on…"

      The Joker grinned at Harley, and she was glad she wasn't Robin.

      Chapter Two
      SIZING UP THE MATTER
      Crouching on the rafters, overlooking the sordid transaction in the warehouse below, the two youths were transfixed by the appearance of the Medico-Maggot.

      "His head looks like Jell-O Vanilla pudding" commented Robin to Nightwing, who nodded assent. Salvatore Dali would agree too. From the shoulders down (as he had no neck) Medico-Maggot resembled a doctor on rounds—long white hospital coat with "Maggot" neatly inscribed in red embroidery, normal hands, sober black pants, etc.

      But Medico-Maggot's head was bald and lumpy, a bit like the Thing of the Fantastic Four--- his face was two tiny black eyes (like raisins in the pudding? Mused Tim) and a wavering orifice below the twin raisins that had to be a mouth.

      "What Love Canal was he born next to," breathed Nightwing.

      "Medico-Maggot makes Clayface look like Ricky Martin" responded Robin.

      "I have nineteen kidneys here, Wesker" Medico-Maggot croaked lustily, "Twelve thousand dollars apiece, if you will."

      Medico-Maggot was reclining on a lumbar-support office chair, with his feet propped on a large oblong freezer. Across the freezer sat a balding, mild-mannered chap with thick glasses, holding a hideous ventriloquist's dummy, sort of a cross between Charlie McCarthy, Junior Soprano and Joe Pesci, clad in a gray flannel suit and fedora, holding a small "Tommy" gun. Doll as it was, it didn't' t look as if this wooden crate would take any bullshit from Medico-Maggot.

      "Don't talk to Wesker, Pudding-face!" shrieked the little doll, and above, Robin was gratified that the little mannequin had concurred with his observation.

      The little doll's head rolled briefly to look at his lap's host and then back to Medico-Maggot. "Wesker's just a goddam stooge, see, I'm Scarface and I say three grand a kidney, how come you don't have twenty even, Medico? They come two to a vic, right?"

      Medico-Maggot grunted. "I fear one of the kidneys perished when it was insufficiently frozen." Medico Maggot paused for a moment, rubbing the lump on his chin.

      "But my incompetent staffer will repay me with two of his own kidneys should the error be repeated. But most of your customers will only purchase one kidney, and I cannot part with them for less then ten thousand dollars each, Scarface."

      Upon the rafters, Tim Drake blinked behind his mask. The past three of his sixteen brief years had been quite instructive in the ways of evil, both assisting Batman and Nightwing, and in his work with the Titans. Murdered children, intergalactic holocausts, dissected eyelids. The third Robin had observed a lot.

      But stealing kidneys? It had been a joke "Is Gotham being de-geeked?" asked WGOT disc jockey Mouth Mullins. It seemed as if a variety of nerdy, obese or just plain people were being picked off in various nightclubs and singles joints in the Gotham tri-city area, though the Iceberg Lounge, owned by the Penguin, seemed to be severely left alone.

      "Mortie Herndon, about forty-two, a zit face, he never got lucky here" commented a curvy bartender from the Neon Mist to an inquiring from the Bludhaven Bugle. "Then one night, a honey blond, looked like January Jones is necking with Mortie at the bar, shit, I'd get a tetanus shot if I was her, but they left, and Mortie's not been seen in three weeks."

      Neither had Mortie's employer at Gotham Rent-A-Car or Mortie's not-so- heartbroken mother "Finally I can get a tenant for the bum's room."

      A sobbing Post Office employee told a similar tale about her sister, a sometime member of Overeaters Anonymous, and president of the Gotham Quilting Bees.

      "Gretchen and I were at the Rainbow Room, and a gorgeous guy, looked like Brad Pitt, came over to compliment Gretchen on her sundress, which she'd gotten at Lane Bryant on sale…I wasn't surprised when they left together, Gretch never got that lucky in her life—but I've not seen her in a month now!"

      So Dick Grayson had put some fake buck teeth in, attached a cleft lip to his mouth and a bald pate…and just a pillow or two in his belt, and went to try his luck!

      Three nights later, at the Nut Hut, a cute little brunette started a conversation with Dick, who stuttered and did some aw-shucks… they'd danced, Dick stepping on her toes to make SURE she knew what a loser he was…but she'd invited him home, offered him a beer…

      Dick's nose, trained by the World's Greatest Detective from childhood, had caught the scent of Rohypnol, and feigned near unconsciousness, until the girl and a young man from the back room of her apartment had come to load him in a box…

      Certainly they were surprised when, upon lifting the coffin-like box, Nightwing had emerged, tying them both up, and calling in Robin to assist…and they'd gotten an address of this musty warehouse before dropping the two felons off at Bludhuven P.D.

      "I'm so glad you called me in on this" Robin whispered to Nightwing. "Boarding school is so boring, and I really miss Stephanie. This skirmish should ease the tension."

      "I was tense until I saw the bodies out back…they just took the kidneys and threw the people away." Nightwing said glumly. "Criminals have amazing imagination, don't you think?"

      Below, Medico-Maggot and Scarface were beginning to argue. "Who the fuck are you going to get to buy these goddamn things if not me, you shriveled prune?" screamed Wesker's doll.

      Medico-Maggot laughed. "Are you joking? Killer Croc said he might buy them to eat if you don't want them, Scarface. I suggest you meet my price."

      "Jesus, I'm going to hurl" Robin said, and Nightwing patted his shoulder.

      DRIVING A HARD BARGAIN

      Medico-Maggot had once been relatively ordinary looking doctor, although he was an albino, and had hated the fact that people ignored his brilliance at surgery and other things in favor of pity at his pinkish blond state.

      Medico-Maggot had developed a formula that he had believed would make him beautiful…curing his albino-ness, and bringing him the charm and beauty Nature had made available to lesser mortals.

      But he'd forgotten to add salt, or something, and the formula had caused Medico-Maggot's head to rupture, it seemed…and had perhaps affected his sanity, for his behavior after the unfortunate experiment had caused Medico-Maggot to be dismissed from Bludhaven Hospital, and be briefly committed to Arkham Asylum.

      Recalling his early days, attempting fruitlessly to get dates at singles bars as a homely young albino, Medico-Maggot had recruited a series of attractive young men and women, usually nurses, doctors and physician's assistants who had lost their careers because of morphine addiction or embezzlement.

      Yes—nerds were desperate for dates, and those who were in dialysis would pay well for kidneys…more applicants than donors…and so--

      Medico-Maggot's people could both seduce and reduce…bringing in the lonely, drugging them, removing their kidneys surgically, and disposing of the bodies. When Medico-Maggot had enough money from this enterprise, he would be able to conduct ANOTHER experiment that would in fact succeed in making him handsome and charming!

      But first the puppet had to pay what Medico-Maggot wanted, and unfortunately, Scarface was now pointing the little machine gun a little too close to Medico-Maggot for his comfort.

      Medico-Maggot nodded to his own men, who pointed their guns at Wesker and the dummy…"This can only end in tears, Scarface. If you value your—"

      But then there was a shout from above. "Guess that's our cue, Robin!"

      And dropping from the rafters were Nightwing and Robin—familiar to Medico-Maggot from the TV news, and of course old foes to Wesker. All on the floor, save the unarmed Medico-Maggot, began shooting at the costumed two, who, amazingly dropped through the hail of bullets like ghosts.

      The last thing Medico-Maggot heard before he fled the warehouse was Robin chortling "Don't you know handguns are notoriously poor at aiming, except at close range?" as he kicked a Glock out of an employee's grasp.

      Outside the warehouse, Medico-Maggot looked around in the dark, terrified. He did not want to return to Arkham, and the murder of many de-kidneyed geeks might put him on death row…

      Suddenly he was confronted with a van pulling up, and the side opening. Was that…a clown? The JOKER!

      "Need assistance, dear boy? I understand you were once a plastic surgeon, though sadly, not one who was adept at self-help." A maniacal laugh. "If you could turn a humble harlequin into a high school teacher, albeit temporarily…I could effect your escape from this unfortunate situation, and perhaps give you a bit of the financial ready as well…"

      Medico-Maggot knew in his heart that the Joker was a psychotic murderer…but hearing the pandemonium in the warehouse cease, also knew there was a pretty good chance that the capes had won…and would be coming out to look for him. He climbed into the van, and it pulled away, the Joker and Harley howling with merriment over their peculiar acquisition.

      A SOPHOMORE WONDERS

      Paul Ellis grinned and tapped Tim Drake's foot in the seat ahead of him. "You're falling asleep again, dude. Langstyn will flay you." Drake looked alive, sort of, and smiled vaguely behind him at Ellis.

      Chirpy Bellows, Ellis's best friend since they'd started at Brentwood back in the Second Form, also known as seventh grade, roomed with Drake, and had told Ellis on a number of occasions that Drake must be out getting laid, as he left his room around ten-thirty every other night…by the window, and it was a wonder he could negotiate the fragile ivy to the ground.

      Now Mr. Langstyn, chairman of the classics department at Brentwood, and teacher of this class on Beowulf, was going on and on…fortunately the bell was about to ring—but would Drake pass out before?

      But, blessedly, the bell rang. As the boys left the classroom, cruelly disregarding Langstyn's shout to read pages 133-152 for class tomorrow, Ellis and Drake emerged into the hall, where they saw the Assistant Headmaster with a peculiar bearded fellow, whose eyes and upper forehead seemed to be covered with dark glasses.

      "God, the new teachers get weirder and weirder here, Drake." Ellis muttered.

      "Maybe dude's a parent" Drake replied, but he cocked his head.

      "No, I've been here a while…the weirder they are, the more responsibility they have—"

      And indeed, they overheard the Assistant Head say to the bearded chap. "Mr. Shaw, your classroom will be over on this side. I hope you enjoy teaching World History."

      THE JOKER'S NEW JOB
      The Joker found the beard and the glasses to be not quite as irritating as the artificial pigment that the Medico-Maggot had ingested into his formerly beautiful, glorious alabaster skin.

      As soon as Harley had figured out how to continue the treatments to keep the Joker as Mr. Shaw, World History prof, they'd dropped into a funeral parlor and cremated the Medico-Maggot alive, dancing to the Maggot's agitated screams outside the chamber.

      The Joker listened to the Assistant Headmaster droning on about schedules and health insurance, and wondered how people could do this sort of thing every day. Go to work, remember timetables—and this was what the doctors at Arkham wanted of him…to be sane.

      But normalcy was so repulsive. Even as a child, the Joker had preferred pulling wings off flies and dropping a cherry bomb into the neighbor's toilet to the drudgery of multiplication tables and Little League.

      He'd burgled the Gotham Zoo at thirteen, bringing a dozen cobras into his parent's bed, and watched Mama die in agony…and then he'd gone into the room with a machete to assist the snakes, who apparently saw him as a friend, in dispatching Papa as well.

      A decade or so later, as the disguised thief the Red Hood, the Joker had had his dousing in the infected acid at the playing card company…he'd fled Batman…but he owed Batman so much! He had not become insane as a result of his skin whitening, his hair turning green or his lips red…he'd realized his true potential…and what potential!

      "I hope you can achieve your goals here, Mr. Shaw." The Assistant Head patted the Joker's betweeded arm as they walked back to his office.

      "Oh yes, I have several." Harley was a genius at falsifying records…and the Joker knew—he just KNEW that Robin had to be a student here at the Brentwood Academy. And if not, if he knocked off a few not-Robins, it didn't seem like a serious error.

      It was just a good thing to get some attention—think of Jim Gordon, the idiot Police Commissioner of Gotham—The Joker had paralyzed his daughter, and then shot Gordon's second wife to death, Lieutenant Sarah Essen, during the Gotham earthquake—

      And Gordon might hate the Joker, but essentially, he respected the Joker as well. He had to! And, if the liberal, namby-pambies did not want to execute the Clown Prince of Crime, then that was just a pass for more fun, right?

      "Mr. Shaw" watched the fat, complacent administrator waddling beside him with contempt. What a life…compare this to ridding Gotham of its irritations…plaguing the Batman, resting up at Arkham before beginning the whole thing again…and the Joker was famous—television psychiatrists tried to analyze him, and he just terrified the world.

      Who could have a better life, really?

      VICTOR'S VISITOR

      Victor Zsasz rode in silence in the van, looking at Harley Quinn suspiciously. "You broke me out of Arkham…why?" Zsasz's skin itched for a fresh slash. He hadn't had a killing since strangling a dishwasher employed in Arkham's cafeteria last April.

      Zsasz was seriously considering killing Harley Quinn, after all, she'd once been on the hospital staff…but he didn't want to annoy the Joker. Zsasz was not afraid of much, but the Joker freaked him out!

      Also, Harley had helped Zsasz get out of his annoying Arkham coverall and into a nice tank top, a wife-beater which handsomely displayed his many, many hash marks covering his chest and shoulders, each from a murdered—a murderee, there was a new word.

      Usually young women, but Zsasz wasn't particular. He was a living guillotine, and couldn't wait to get his hands on a nice big butcher knife.

      But now Harley was speaking, as she negotiated the van out of Gotham, heading for Brentwood Village.

      "Mister J is doin' something interesting at Brentwood Academy, like I told you." Harley said, rattling the jingle bells on her jester's hat. "He don't think he needs help, but if he's gonna find Robin and kill him, p'raps you can thin the herd a little too—of boys, you know? Schoolboys."

      "I hate Robin. I hate Batman. I hate everybody." For Zsasz, this was almost a daily insight. "It sounds like a plan…wait, stop here, Harley."

      Harley halted the van, and Zsasz, taking a discarded letter opener, a pretty silver thing, from the van's dashboard, hopped out, encountering a young woman on a skateboard.

      Harley rubbed her nose and looked out the other window as the shriek came, and then Victor Zsasz climbed back into the van, putting on his seatbelt and then carving a small hash mark into his shoulder. "Yes, I'm more relaxed now. So much better than Prozac."

      IN A NIGHT'S WORK

      It was a great secret of Ian Chastek's that he was secretly Jewish. As leader of the Brentwood Village Neo-nazis, it could have caused him serious grief that he'd been born Isadore Kilovitz…but his followers weren't bright, and what a time they were going to have raping the bound, and nearly naked librarian of the Gotham Holocaust Museum.

      They'd brought her back to Ian's basement apartment, and there, lying under a huge poster of a purple swastika, Kylie Levenson wriggled miserably.

      Ian grinned at his followers. Chauncey DeMars snapped his fingers. "Let's go to it, give the bitch her due, right?" Ian knew that Chauncey, and Lyle Maher and Porky Lofft were quite happy with the find, not only because it would strike a blow against the Hebes but…none of the guys got laid much. Even by women who didn't know they were great Neo-Nazis…

      But, as Ian stepped forward and began to unzip his pants, there was a sound of breaking glass…and oops, Ian's door had just been kicked in by—a kid in a mask.

      "Well now—so you cowards are about to ruin yet another young woman's life." The masked kid walked over to Kylie, and, detatching his yellow cape, draped it over her nudity…and then turned to the Brentwood Village Neo-Nazis with a grim look.

      "Oh, look, is this Robin?" Earl Novello, Ian's warlord grinned.

      Jesus, he's just a kid, Ian thought. Here we are, bodybuilders in our twenties, and this little chump can't be more'n fifteen! Shrimpy little bastard—but, as he watched Chauncey DeMars lunge at Robin, Ian wondered if the stories were true.

      "Hold still, you little bastard! Ian, help me—Ooof!"

      Chauncey had been a Golden Gloves runner-up, and also a Tae Kwon Do expert, but none of this was serving him well in dealing with the uh, Masked Avenger in the faggy red suit. As Chauncey went down, spitting teeth, Earl and Maher ran, Maher swinging a long thick chain with sixty keys on rings at the end—it was quite a weapon!

      "Motherfu-" WHAP BANG, POW!

      Unless you were kicked in the nuts and the chain was slammed back in your face—this boy wasn't playing around. Not five seven, and now he was throwing Earl Novello, who was easily six four and built like a chimney, into Ian's mantelpiece. Mom would be pissed, if she heard all this from upstairs.

      Finally Porky seemed to have Robin in a chubby death grip, and was attempting to squeeze the air out of him, and Ian ran to do a little stomach punching…

      But before he'd landed one, Robin's right foot slammed up into his jaw, and then, before Ian actually fell to the ground Robin seemed to climb up Ian's body, disengaging from Porky before slamming a backhand and shattering Porky's upper plate.

      Ian was a vicious bully, but he was no coward, and he wasn't going to let some adolescent bury his dream of giving Kylie the old sausage (Kylie had several times rejected Ian's advances as Isidore, back in the Youth Group days of Temple Beth-Israel on the corner of 8th and T)

      Taking up a fireplace poker, Ian swung it at Robin's head, but the nimble little monkey ducked, and Ian ended up whacking Earl Novello in a swinging steel arc, as Earl had been attempting once again to grab Robin…

      Two little fists, encased in green gloves battered Ian's jaw and stomach and then another roundhouse came—a haymaker like Ian had never suffered, and he went down again, spitting out teeth and blood with vigor.

      As Robin helped Kylie Levenson dress, and the police invaded Ian's apartment, Ian lay dazed on the basement floor, and wondered if he might go back to Youth Group as Isidore, and just keep his head down…
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