Paper Trail (1/3): Night and Day

Paper Trail (1/3): Night and Day

===GCPD. Holding Cells.===

The cell door opened; the iron gate dragging along the concrete floor. Sitting alone on a cold metal bench, was a dishevelled looking Leonard Fiasco; his hair damp from a leaky pipe dripping above his head, his facial hair overgrown from three days in captivity. Standing in the doorway, a middle aged police officer; a set of keys in one hand, a cardboard box in the other.

"Mr Fiasco, your bail’s been posted. You’re free to go," he announced.

Fiasco tilted his head upwards, and rubbed his eyes wearily. "I don’t understand… I confessed."

The cop shrugged, as he dumped the box, full of Len’s belongings, at his feet. "Hey, welcome to Gotham."

Fiasco grabbed his jacket from the box, dusted the dirt off of his shoulders, and got to his feet. ‘Must’ve been one helluva check,’ he thought to himself, as he walked out the door. As he walked down the hall, he felt his hair stand on end, as all around him, police officers glared at him. ‘Fuck ’em,’ he thought bitterly, as he flung the front door open and walked down the stairs to freedom. Reaching into his pocket, he grabbed another cigarette, and lit it angrily. For a few moments, he just stood outside the precinct, taking in deeper breathes with each puff. And then, a voice called out; a voice colder than any autumnal breeze.

"Hello Leonard."

~

Down the hall, in a disused storage room, Montgomery Sharpe sat adjacent from David Li. Sharpe, was staring glumly at his plastic cup of water. "Don’t suppose you’ve got anything stronger?" he asked.

"I never drink on the job," Li said.

"Bummer," Sharpe scoffed, as he ran a hand across his bruised skin.

"Quite," Li said, adjusting his glasses. "My apologies, Mr Sharpe, my client is currently embroiled in a family affair- but he sent me in his stead. I was hoping to meet with your employer instead, but I couldn’t reach him," he said disappointedly.

"Nah, you wouldn’t," Sharpe grinned, revealing several cracked teeth. "He’s taken something of a sabbatical."

"I see," Li noted, as he drew a pen from his pocket, and began writing. "Do you have any idea where he is now?"

"Eh, some school in Colorado," Sharpe drawled. "I think. Never been big on exposition," he added bashfully.

"Well, that certainly narrows things down," Li said loftily, as he closed his briefcase. "Thank you."

~

Fiasco spun around- standing behind him, a pair of coffee cups held in his hands, was Julian Day- a thin layer of make-up applied to his forehead in an effort to mask his scars. Without warning, Fiasco swung his fist forward, and cracked it across Day’s face. Blood dribbled down Julian’s chin, but he remained otherwise unhurt.
"Careful-" he winced, as he raised a defensive palm up. "You’ll spill the coffee."

"The hell do you want?" Fiasco snarled.

Day placed the cups on the step, and dabbed his bloodied face with a black hankerchief. "You looked hungry," he noted, as he reached into his messenger bag. Fiasco took a cautious step back, his hand tucked behind his jacket.

"Oh, please," Julian smiled. "If I wanted to shoot you, I would have. It’s pastrami on rye. Your favourite, if memory serves."

Fiasco snatched the sandwich and turned his head away, as he bit into it hungrily. "So-" he chewed, "what the hell are you doing here?"

"I saw a friend in need, that’s all. So I paid your, uh, "bail," and ensured you got out safely," Day explained calmly.

"Oh, that was you, was it?" Fiasco glowered suspiciously. "Why? Out of the goodness of your heart, I guess? Because it sure as hell wouldn’t have been cheap."

Day flashed a sly smile. "You have no idea. Fortunately, Ted Barson has a substantial bank account, and an easy to guess PIN number. He’s also an idiot."

"You hired him," Fiasco chewed.

Day shook his head. "Leonard, do you truly think so little of me. He approached me. Of course, I said no- I gave him some advice that he didn’t heed, and sent him on his way. My partners however were insistent that I salvage something out of that Gotham General debacle, and so- here we are," Day finished, frowning slightly.

"Partners!" Fiasco said snidely. "You’re not in charge, are you? You’re as much a lap dog as Carson is."

"I’m a team player," Day said coldly. "That’s all."

"Oho, is that why you sold us out to Bolton?" Len spat.

"I sold you out to Bolton, because you’d become sloppy and complacent. And, I see not much has changed…"

Fiasco’s jaw clenched.

"Doesn’t it bother you?" Julian asked. "Living under Drury’s shadow? Losing your bar, getting arrested, losing friends and customers in his wake?" He swallowed, as his eyes locked with Len’s. "My… partners have given me the opportunity to free the Misfits- Charles, Joseph, Lynns- from their moral shackles. From your insipid dependence on that showboating insect. To accept themselves for what they truly are. But if I can’t, they’ll be left at Barson’s mercy. And you know what he’ll do then."

"You said it yourself, he’s an idiot."

"Yes," Julian lamented. "An idiot with The Psycho Pirate and The Polka Dot Man on speed dial. With my partners’ oversight, they could trick the Misfits into ripping each other apart, or do the job themselves with a well placed portal… I wonder, what exactly do you think they’ll do to you, when Barson learns what you did to Ant Man?"

Fiasco got up and placed his sandwich wrapper in the bin. "Thanks for breakfast. Now, piss off."

~

Li placed his hat on his head, and walked down the stairs briskly, and gasped; Just a few metres away, clambering into a yellow taxi, was the Calendar Man. For a moment, both men stood there staring at the other, and then- Day was gone. Li looked down at his phone, wondering whether he should inform Sionis or not, and sighed, before sliding the phone back into his overcoat. If the Calendar Man was indeed hunting Janus officials, then Li was very keen not to make his hitlist. ‘Who knows, maybe he’ll kill Ferris next,’ he hoped to himself.

==The Road==

The Misfits sat in the truck, tiredly; Chuck was still on the wheel, Drury’s head was rested on Reardon’s shoulders, and Rigger was peering excitedly out the window. In the trailer, the remaining members had put together some makeshift bedding and furniture, and were huddled around a steel drum, playing some sort of card game. Gar, sat a few metres away from them, a laptop resting on his lap. Beside him, their radio blasted Stereophonics loudly:

"Superman on an aeroplane
Sitting next to Lois Lane
You got that woman but you want her gone
So you can sleep with a teenage blonde"

"Well, that’s just disrespectful," Blake noted.

"You know, I heard John Corben used to do backing vocals for them," Mayo said casually. "Just thought that might explain it."

Chuck looked over at the clock, and nudged Walker’s shoulder. "Drury, I was thinking now might be a good time to get some rest, stretch our legs for a while. Saw a sign for a truck stop a few miles back. Then we can think about maybe finding a hotel for the night? What d’you think?"

"Huh, oh yeah, sure," Drury said, distracted.

Chuck nodded, as he turned off the interstate. "Just stepping out for a quick bite," he said, addressing the trailer. "You guys want anything?"

"Cheese!" Otis’ voice yelled out.

"Cheese," Brown repeated blankly. "Of course."

Gar looked into his computer monitor, his daughter, Josie, reached out a chubby hand towards the screen. "Daddy, when are you coming home?" she asked.

Gar’s face softened. "I- uh, don’t know Fireball. Soon, I hope."

"Well, don’t lie to the poor child, Garfield," Clair’s voice called from off-screen.

"Soon," Gar confirmed. "Just be good to your momma, and eat your vegetables, alright?"

"Bye daddy! Love you!" Josie called out, as the screen went black, as the vehicle came to a stop.

"Gar, we’re heading out," Chuck said, tapping him on the shoulder. "You wanna come with?"

Gar looked over at his travelling companions, and jumped to his feet. "God yes," he said, as he picked a black rucksack up from off the ground, and slung it onto his back. "You think I can ride in front during the next stretch?"

"I think that can be arranged, Chuck smiled in understanding. "Joe, do you think you can takeover for the next shift?" he called into his Walkie Talkie.

"Aye, aye Captain," Rigger replied cheekily.

"Don’t worry, we’ll man the fort, Charlie," Blake chuckled.

Chuck raised an apprehensive eyebrow, then jumped out the back.

===The Coffee Shop. Truck Stop==

"Hey, Drury, you didn’t say anything about a detour," Chuck said, as he examined the map. "Did you leave something behind in Keystone, or what?"

"Something like that," Drury said glumly.

"Right…" Chuck nodded uneasily, as he folded the map back up, as a young waitress approached their table.

"What can I get for you?" she asked the trio.

"One black coffee, and a tea please" Gar said, ordering for Drury. "And you?" he said, tilting his head towards Brown.

"Yeah, hi, do you have any like low fat options?" Chuck asked, looking at a now fuming Lynns.

"We have water?" the waitress offered.

"Water it is, thank you," Chuck said with an embarrassed smile.

The Waitress marked down their orders into a small notebook. "Anything else?"

"Apple Danish please," Drury said softly.

"Raspberry, thanks," Gar said.

"That’s it thanks," Chuck nodded, as she disappeared into the back. "She seems nice," he said to Drury. "I’m just saying," he added hastily.

"I, need a smoke break," Gar declared, as he pulled the stool out.

"Thought you quit?" Chuck queried.

"Old habits," Gar muttered. Any excuse to escape the inevitable awkwardness.

"She’s a waitress, Chuck, they get paid to be nice," Drury murmured.

Brown tutted. "Cynicism isn’t healthy, y’know," he winked.

"Oh? And I suppose doe-eyed optimism is?"

"You would know…" Chuck muttered under his breath. "Wait, Drury-"

"I’m going back to the van," Walker said harshly, as he rose to his feet, and slammed the door behind him.

"So, I suppose I’m paying…" Chuck groaned.

Outside, the Misfits had gathered a stack of deck chairs around the truck- Blake, Mayo and Flannegan each lay shirtless, sunbathing. Dressed in a neatly ironed sweater, Reardon was ironically left as the sole guard.

"Nice ride!" a voice called out.

Blake turned over, his eyes bulging- a woman, in her mid thirties had approached the Bat-Truck, and was now placing her hand on the bat logo. Concerned, Tom looked to his partners for guidance.

Mayo, cleared his throat. "We’re actually an Alt-Rock Batman tribute band. We’ve had a few gigs in Minnesota, nothing too big, but we’re really hoping our luck’ll change with this next bit."

"Yeah, that," Blake nodded.

"Alt rock?" Reardon hissed, pulling his partners towards him. "We don’t know any songs!"

Blake smirked. "Yes, we do."

Ten shook his head, aghast. "No, please," he begged tiredly.

~

Half an hour later, Chuck re-entered the trailer, a plastic bag of full shopping in his hand.
"Yellow American!" he announced, as he reached into the bag and handed Flannegan the packet of cheese. Otis held it in his hand suspiciously, and promptly struck him across the face with it.

"I hate Yellow American," he complained.

"What happened to you?" Chuck said, nursing his bruised cheek, as he turned his head to Blake- a dark purple bruise beneath his right eye.

"He tried to serenade some girl," Reardon lamented.

"Oh, god, you didn’t sing did you?" Chuck said anxiously.

"Wouldn’t be much of a serenade if he didn’t," Mayo sniggered.

~

As night fell, the truck finally arrived in Keystone City. Drury looked out the window, and nudged Rigger’s arm. "Stop here," he said.

Confused, Rigger took a glance outside; nothing but a dense forest, and a single, long abandoned house. "What, why?" he asked curiously.

"Just… Please," Drury moaned.

Joe nodded, and drove into the side. As the door swing open and Drury stepped out, Gar’s eyes flashed open, and he looked out towards his surroundings. "I am not sleeping in there," he said firmly.

Drury walked around the muddy path, and finding a good spot, opened his bag, placing Suit’s silver gauntlets on the ground. Smiling softly, he began digging a hole beneath a large oak tree.
His work done, he wrapped the gauntlets in a red cloth, and buried them beneath the tree, delivering a brief eulogy before returning to the truck.

"Goodbye, Dell," he said softly. "Thank you. For being there for me when no one else was "

Posted by Duncan C. Young on 2020-11-15 23:50:24

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