All Along the Watchtower Part 5

A SMALL BOARDING HOUSE IN MINEHEAD, BLUDHAVEN

"Hello? Mr. and Mrs. Grayson, is it?" Hippolyta asked kindly, greeting the young couple in

"That's right, yes" Dick answered in a posh European accent

"Well come on in, excuse me not shaking hands, but I've just been putting a bit of lard on the cat's boil" Hippolyta explained

"Very nice" Dick said, he and Amy entering

"Well you must be tired, it's a long drive from Gotham, isn't it?" Hippolyta asked

"Yes, well, we usually reckon on five and a half hours, and it took us six hours and fifty-three minutes, with a twenty-five minute wait at Gotham Cottrell to stretch our legs, only we had to wait half an hour to get on the M5 near Droitwich" Dick said, Amy nodding

"Really?" Hippolyta asked in curiosity

"Yes, there was a three-mile queue just before Bridgwater on the A38, only normally we come round on the B3339 just before Bridgwater you see…" Dick continued

"Really?" Hippolyta repeated

"Yes, but this time we decided to risk it because they're always saying they're going to widen it there" Dick added

"Are they?" Hippolyta said in amazement

"Yes, well just there by the intersection, where the A372 joins up, there's plenty of room to widen it there, there's only the grass verges. They could get another six feet… knock down that hospital… Then we took the coast road through Williton and got all the Taunton traffic on the A358 from Crowcombe and Stogumber…" Dick rambled

"You must be dying for a cup of tea" Hippolyta asked sweetly, politely interrupting

"Well, er, wouldn't say no, not if it's warm or wet" Dick answered, Hippolyta escorting Amy and Dick to the lounge

"Come on in, Mr. and Mrs. Grayson, oh this is Mr. and Mrs. Rayner" Hippolyta announced, referring to Kyle and Jade sitting in the lounge

"Good afternoon" Kyle greeted politely, Dick shaking his hand

"Thank you" Dick said

"It's their third year with us, we can't keep you away, can we?" Hippolyta asked, giggling

"and over here is Mr. Hilter" Hippolyta added, directing Dick and Amy to Black Mask, Hush and Hal sitting at a table dressed like Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Ron von Ribbentrop

"ach, good time… good afternoon" Roman said in a thick German accent

"Ooh, planning a little excursion, are we Mr. Hilter?" Hippolyta asked giddily

"Ja! Ja! We make a little…" Black Mask said, before whispering to Hush in German

"Hike" Hush spoke

"We make a little hike for, for Bideford" Black Mask corrected

"Oh, well you'll be wanting the A39 then… no, no, you've got the wrong map there, this is Stalingrad, you want the Ilfracombe and Barnstaple section" Dick said, correcting the maps

"Ah Hein… Reginald you have the wrong map here you silly old leg-before-wicket American person" Black Mask chuckled

"I'm sorry Mein Fuhrer. I did not… Mein Dickie old chum" Hal corrected after Roman thwacked him up the head

"Lucky Mr. Grayson pointed that out, eh? You wouldn't have had much fun in Stalingrad would you?" Hippolyta asked, unaware of the glare from Black Mask

"I said you wouldn't have had much fun in Stalingrad would you, hehe?" Hippolyta giggled

"Not much fun in Stalingrad, no" Black Mask grumbled through clenched teeth

"Oh I'm sorry I didn't introduce you, this is Hal… Hal Vibbentrop" Hippolyta introduced

"Oh, not Von Ribbentrop?" Dick joked

"Nein! Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein! Oh! Ha, ha! No, different other chap. No I in Bludhaven am being born Von Ribbentrop is born in Gothamstrasse 46, Dusseldorf, West Eight. So they say!" Hal spoke fastly before Roman shoved him back down

"And this is the quiet one Mr. Bimmler" Hippolyta added

"How do you do, Mr. Bimmler?" Amy said, politely shaking Bimmler's hand

"How do you do there squire, also I am not Bludhaven, lad, but I in Peterborough, Metropolis house was given birth to, but stay in Peterborough Metropolis house all during war, owing to nasty running sores and was unable to go in the streets, er, play football, or, er, go to Nurnberg. I am retired window cleaner and pacifist without doing war crimes~ and am very glad Bludhaven win World Cup- Jim Gordon, Dudley Soames~ and eating lots of chips and fisch and hole in the toads, and Dundee cakes on Piccadilly line. Don't you know old chap I was head of Gestapo for ten years. F-five years! No, no, nein, I was not head of Gestapo at all…er, I made joke" Hal babbled as Black Mask sat him down

"Oooh Mr. Bimmler, you do have us on" Hippolyta chuckled giddily before hearing a telephone ring.

"Oh, excuse me, I must just go and answer that" Hippolyta spoke, leaving the room

"Er, how long are you down here for, Mr. Hilter? Just the fortnight?" Dick asked

"WHY DO YOU ASK THAT?! YOU A SPY OR SOMETHING? GET OVER THERE AGAINST THE WALL, AMERICAN PIG, YOU'RE GOING TO DIE" Black Mask hollered, drawing his revolver at Dick and Amy as Hush and Hal restrained him

"Take it easy Dickie old chum" Hal said calmly

"I'm sorry Mr. Grayson, he's a bit on edge. He hasn't slept since 1945" Hush said apologetically

"Shut your cake hole, you Nazi" Black Mask snarled

"Cool it Fuhrer cat" Hal said rapidly

"Hahaha, the fun we have" Hush chuckled nervously

"Haven't I seen him on the television?" Amy asked

"Nicht! Nein, nein, nein, nein! Oh no" Hush said fearfully

"Television Doctor?" Dick asked

"No, no" Hush answered

"Telephone Mr. Hilter, it's that nice Mr. Brown from the Bell and Compasses. He says he's found a place where you can hire bombers by the hour" Hippolyta piped up

"IF HE OPENS HIS BIG MOUTH AGAIN… IT'S LAMPSHADE TIME" Black Mask screamed

"Shaddup!" Hush quickly barked, shoving Roman out the door

"Hahaha hire bombers by the hour, haha, what a laugh he is, that Irish person! Good old Arthur" Hush giggled, exiting

"He's on the phone the whole time nowadays" Hippolyta explained

"Is he in business?" Amy asked

"Soon, baby" Hal replied smugly

"Of course it's his big day Thursday. Oh, they've been planning it for months" Hippolyta gushed

"What happens then?" Dick asked

"Oh it's the North Bludhaven by-election. Mr. Hilter's standing as a National Bocialist candidate. He's got wonderful plans for Bludhaven" Hippolyta answered

"Like what?" Amy asked

"Well, for a start he wants to annex Missouri" Hippolyta answered

"Oh, North Bludhaven's Conservative isn't it?" Amy asked

"Well, they get a lot of people at their rallies" Hippolyta added

"Rallies?" Dick and Amy said in unison

"Well their Bocialist meetings, down at the Axis Café in Rosedale Road" Hippolyta answered

"I AM NOT A RACIALIST… BUT, UND THIS IS A BIG BUT, WE IN THE NATIONAL BOCIALIST PARTY BELIEVE DAS UBERLEBEN MUSS GESTAMMEN SEIN MIT DER SCHNEAKY ARMSTRONG-JONES. HISTORICHE GOTHAM IST VOLKERMEINIG VON BLUDHAVEN" Black Mask screamed, Hal at his side with Hush down below passing out flyers

"MR. HITLER… HILTER, HE SAYS THAT HISTORICALLY GOTHAM IS PART OF BLUDHAVEN" Hal announced

"He's right… do you know that?" Hush asked a yokel

"UND BRIDGWATER IST DIE LETZTE FUHLUNG DAS WIR HABEN IN BLUDHAVEN!" Black Mask bellowed, the crowds chanting Sieg Heil as Hal shoved Black Mask out the door

What do you think of Mr. Hilter's policies?

"Well I don't like the sounds of these here boncentration bamps" Superman drawled, dressed as a yokel

"Well, er, I gave him my baby to kiss… and he bit it on the head!" Amy squawked

"Well, er, I think he'd do a lot of good for the American Stock Exchange" Batman said

"No… no…" Nightwing answered flatly

"Oh yes American pals he is wunderbar… ful. So" Hal said in a thick disguise

"I think he's right about the coons, but, er, then I'm a bit mental" Hippolyta giggled

"I THINK HE'S GOT BEAUTIFUL LEGS" Red Hood hollered

"Well, speaking as Conservative candidate, I just drone on and on and on and on and on… never letting anyone else get a word in edgewise until I start foaming at the mouth and falling over backwards" Superman rambled, eventually dripping foam from the mouth and collapsing backwards

THERE WILL NOW BE A SHORT INTERMISSION

"Oo, I don't like this, ooh I don't like that. Oh I don't think much to all this. Oh fancy using that wallpaper. Fancy using mustard. Ooh, is that a proper one? Ooh, it's not real. Oh I don't think it's a proper restaurant unless they give you finger bowls. Ooh I don't like him. I'm going to have a baby in a few years" Amy babbled as a long-suffering Superman and her faced Hush

"Er, please excuse my wife. She may appear to be rather nasty but underneath she has a heart of Formica. I'm sorry" Superman apologized

"That's all right sir, we get all sorts of lines in here. The head waiter will be along to abuse you in a few moments, and now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and commit suicide" Hush said eloquently

"Oh, I'm sorry" Superman apologized

"It's all right, it's not because of anything serious" Hush chuckled, walking off before a gunshot rang out

"Quite frankly I'm against people who commit suicide, I don't like that sort of person at all. I'm plain people and I'm proud of it, my mum's the salt of the earth, and I don't take the pill 'cos it's nasty" Amy babbled just as Black Mask entered, wearing a head waiter's suit

"Please excuse my wife, she may not be very beautiful, and she may have no money, and she may be a little talentless, boring and dull, but on the other hand…. Sorry I can't think of anything" Superman apologized

"Fine. I'm the head waiter, this is a vegetarian restaurant only, we serve no animal flesh of any kind. We're not only proud of that, we're smug about it. So if you were to come in here asking me to rip open a small defenceless chicken, so you could chew its skin and eat its intestines, then I'm afraid I'd have to ask you to leave" Black Mask started

"No, no, no" Superman apologized

"Likewise if you were to ask us to slice the sides of a cow and serve it with small pieces of its liver… or indeed drain the life blood from a pig before cutting off one of its legs… or carve the living giblets from a sheep and serve them with fresh brains, bowels, guts, and spleen of a small rabbit… WE WOULDN'T DO IT… not for food anyway" Black Mask said to the camera

"Quite frankly I'm against people who give vent to their loquacity by extraneous bombastic circumlocution" Amy babbled, Superman and Black Mask staring at her

"Ooh, I don't like that" Amy said

"Sometimes, Amy, I think you're almost human" Superman said, stealthily delivering an insult

"Do you know I still wet my bed?" Black Mask said, to no-one in particular

"Once I married someone who was beautiful, and young, and gay, and free. Whatever happened to her?" Superman asked in wonder

"You divorced her and married me" Amy snapped

"I met my second wife at a second-wife-swapping party. Trust me to arrive late" Black Mask added

"Always were late, weren't you Roman?" Nightwing said

"Hello Headmaster. What are you doing here?" Black Mask asked hopeful

"Fine, fine, fine, thank you. Fine, thank you. No more sherry for me don't you know. Sionis House beat Wayne House for the Second Cuppa, remarkable. We had to put most of the second form to sleep. No padre, bad business. They were beginning to play with themselves. Still… you haven't seen my wife anywhere have you?" Nightwing asked

"No" Black Mask answered

"Oh, thank God for that" Nightwing exhaled, exiting

"I don't like him. Do you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean. I mean do you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean. I mean do you know what I mean. All men are the same" Amy repeated as Two-Face dressed in Grecian robes appeared

"Imagine not that these four walls contain the Mighty Owl of Thebes. For, gentles all, beauty sits most closely to them it can construe" Two-Face spoke

"No… it… DOESN'T!" Black Mask hissed

"Sorry" Two-Face apologized

"Fine. Would you care for a glass of blood? Oh what a proper giveaway" Black Mask gasped

"No, we'd like to see the menu please. I don't think it's a proper restaurant unless you have a proper menu, and anyway I might be pregnant" Amy ranted

"Perhaps you'd care for a drink?" Superman asked sarcastically

"Ever since you married me, Clark, you treated me like an albatross" Amy squawked as a nude Hush on a platter was wheeled out

"Evening" Hush said, taking the apple out of his mouth

"Good evening" Superman said nervously

"I hope you're going to enjoy me this evening, I'm the special. Try me with some rice" Hush added

"I beg your pardon?" Superman asked

"A Hush au gratin a la chef" Hush introduced himself

"Ah, uh, how do you do..." Superman said, leaning in to shake his hand

"Don't play with your food" Hush giggled

"I don't like that. There's dust on here. I don't think it's a proper meal without a pudding. My husband's an architect" Amy bragged

"Oh, one word of warning, sir, a little tip. Don't have any of the vicar over there. He's been over here two weeks and nobody's touched him. Nuff said?" Hush said

"Yes, thank you" Superman thanked

"Well, I must get on or I'll spoil. Linda, to the kitchen!" Hush ordered, sticking the apple back in his mouth as he was pulled into the kitchen

"There's a dead bishop in the lobby, sir" Robin said

"I don't know who keeps bringing them in here" Black Mask hissed

"Oh I don't like that. I think it's silly. It's not a proper sketch without a proper punchline. I mean, I don't know much about anything, I'm stupid. I'm muggings. Nobody cares what I think. I'm always the one that has to do everything. Nobody cares about me. Well I'm going to have a lot of bloody babies and they can bloody well care about me. Makes you sick half this television. They never stop talking, he'll be the ruination of her- rhythm method!" Amy ranted

"Hello, er, no, wrong number I'm afraid, this is a psychiatrist speaking. Next please. Er, come in" Black Mask said, just as a disgruntled Hush dressed in a Napoleon suit entered

"Bow, wow, wow" Hush moaned apathetically

"Ah Mr. Elliot, come on in. take a seat. Now what seems to be the problem?" Black Mask asked

"No, no, no. No. No" Hush said, shaking his head

"I'm sorry?" Black Mask asked

"Oh can't you do better than that? I mean it's so predictable, I've seen it a million times. Knock, knock, knock come in, ah Mr. Elliot take a seat. I've seen it and seen it" Hush drawled

"Well, look, will you please sit down and do your first line" Black Mask pleaded

"No. No. I've had enough. I've had enough" Hush grumbled, exiting

"…I can't even get it started" Black Mask said to himself

"Albatross!" Hush hollered offscreen

"SHADDUP!" Black Mask shouted

"Oh it drives me mad" Black Mask growled

"A mad psychiatrist, that'd be new" Green Arrow smirked

"Next please" Black Mask sighed, just as a knocking on the door was heard

"Cross the threshold, arrive, ingress, gain admittance, infiltrate" Black Mask said, reading through a dictionary as Green Arrow entered

"Ah, Mr. Queen. Come on in, take a seat. What's, what's the matter?" Black Mask asked, Hush blowing a raspberry in Limbo

"Now what's the matter?" Black Mask asked as Green Arrow sat down

"I keep hearing guitars playing and people singing when there's no one around" Green Arrow explained

"Yes, well this is not at all uncommon. In certain mental states we find that auditory hallucinations occur which are of a most…" Black Mask started before pausing as the song we're all going to the zoo tomorrow was heard

"Is that we're all going to the zoo tomorrow?" Black Mask asked

"Yes, yes it is" Green Arrow answered

"Is-is it always that?" Black Mask asked

"No" Green Arrow answered

"Well, that's something" Black Mask remarked

"But it's mostly folk songs" Green Arrow added

"Oh my God" Black Mask gasped, looking very concerned

"Last night I had I'll never fall in love again for six hours" Green Arrow continued

"Well, look, I think I'd better have a second opinion on this. I want you to see a colleague of mine, a specialist in these sort of things, who has an office very much like this as well" Black Mask instructed

"No, no wrong number I'm afraid. I'm a colleague of his, a surgeon, who specializes in these kind of things. Yes, thank you very much" Superman said over the phone, hanging up

"Next please" Superman said as Green Arrow knocked on the door

"Come in, ah Mr. Queen, come in, please take a seat" Superman said politely, as Green Arrow sat down, we're all going to the zoo tomorrow playing faintly in the background, Hush smacking his forehead irately

"My colleague who has a similar office has explained your case to me. Mr. Queen, as you know, I am a leading Metropolis Street surgeon as seen on television" Superman said dramatically, playing Dr. Kildare on the gramophone record

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to operate. It's nothing to worry about although it is extremely dangerous. I shall be juggling with your life, I shall be playing ducks and drakes with your very existence, I shall be running me mitts over the pith of your marrow. Yes! These hands, these fingers, these sophisticated organs of touch, these bunches of five, these maulers, these German bands that have pulled many a moribund unfortunate back from the very brink of Lazarus' box. No, it was Pandora's box wasn't it? Well, anyway these mits have earned yours truly a lot of bread. So, if you'll step through here I'll slit you up a treat" Superman monologued dramatically

"What?" Green Arrow asked, mortified

"Mr. Queen, there's nothing wrong with you that an expensive operation can't prolong" Superman stated

"Right, I'm prepared to make the incision. Knife, please, sister" Superman ordered as Livewire took a small knife and handed it to him

"What's that supposed to be? Gimme a big one" Superman barked, snatching a big knife and strops it on a steel sharpener

"…oh I do enjoy this" Superman said excitedly with manic glee

"Right" Superman said, cutting the slit open

"Oh, what a great slit. Now, ladies, I am going to open the slit" Superman said, opening the slit and to his surprise, an LSD squatter popped up

"Too much man, groovy, great scene. Great light show, baby" Kyle babbled, apparently stoned

"What are you doing in there?" Superman asked

"We're doing our own thing, man" Kyle answered

"Have you got Mr. Queen's permission to be in there?" Superman asked interrogatively

"We're squatters, baby" Kyle answered

"What? Nurse, wake him up" Superman ordered, Volcana lightly slapping Green Arrow

"Don't get uptight, man. Join the scene and other phrases. Money isn't real" Kyle droned

"It is where I'm standing and it blows my mind, young man" Superman said sternly, leaning in closer to the slit

"Good Lord! Is that a nude woman?" Superman asked, shocked

"She's doing an article on us for 'Nova', man" Kyle answered

"Hi everyone. Are you part of the scene" Jade said, popping open

"Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?" Superman asked just as Green Arrow woke up

"What's going on? Who are they?" Green Arrow asked fearfully

"That's what we're trying to find out" Superman stated

"WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN MY STOMACH?!" Green Arrow squawked

"We don't know. Are they paying you any rent?" Superman asked

"OF COURSE THEY'RE NOT PAYING ME RENT!" Green Arrow snapped

"You're not furnished, you fascist" Kyle shot back

"GET THEM OUT!" Green Arrow squawked

"I can't" Superman said

"GET THEM OUT!" Green Arrow squawked loudly

"No, I can't, Not, not without a court order" Superman stated

"Shaddup! You're keeping us awake!" Blue Beetle III piped up, popping his head open

ONE COURT ORDER LATER….

"You are hereby ordered to vacate Mr. Queen forthwith. And or" Black Mask ordered

"Piss off, fuzz!" Kyle snapped

"RIGHT! THAT'S IT, WE'RE GOING IN! RELEASE THE DOGS!" Black Mask barked, diving into the slit

FACE THE PRESS

"Hello. Tonight on Face the Press we're going to examine two different views of contemporary things. On my left is the Minister of Home Affairs who is wearing a striking organza dress in pink tulle, with matching pearls and a diamanté collar necklace. The shoes are in brushed pigskin with gold clasps, by Maxwell of Bond Street. The hair is by Roger, and the whole ensemble is crowned by a spectacular display of Christmas orchids. And on my right- putting the case against the Government- is a small patch of brown liquid… which could be creosote or some extract used in industrial varnishing. Good evening. Minister, may I put the first question to you? In your plan 'A Better Gotham For Us', you claimed that you would build 88,000 million, billion houses a year in the Greater Gotham area alone. In fact, you've built only three in the last fifteen years. Are you a bit disappointed with this result?" Amy finally asked Batman

"No, no. I'd like to answer this question if I may in two ways. Firstly in my normal voice and then in a kind of silly high pitched whine… you see housing is a problem really…" Batman started

"well, while the minister is answering this question I'd just like to point out the minister's dress has been made entirely by hand from over three hundred pieces of Arabian shot silk especially created for the minister by Vargar's of Bludhaven. The low slim-line has been cut off the shoulder to heighten the effect of the minister's fine bone structure. Well, I think the minister is coming to the end of his answer now so let's go back over and join the discussion. Thank you very much minister. Today saw the appointment of a new head…" Amy continued

"Don't I say any more?" Batman asked

"No fear! Today saw the appointment of a new head of Allied Bomber Command- Air Chief Marshall Sir Sinestro "Kill the Qwardrians" Forster. He's in our Metropolitan studio…" Hush started

"Hello Sailors! Listen, guess what? The Minister of Aviation has made me head of the RAF Ola Pola…" Sinestro said flamboyantly as Helena shut off the TV and answered the door

"Hello? Mrs. Rogers?" Joker asked

"No… Ooh! I must be in the wrong house!" Helena gasped, slamming the door and leaping out the window and walking over to the house next door

"…so from now on, we're going to do things my way. For a start Will Magnus is going to design the bombs and I've seen the plans…" Sinestro continued before the doorbell rang

"Ooh, that must be the new gas cooker!" Helena gasped excitedly, walking over to the door and opening it

NEW COOKER SKETCH

"Morning. Mrs. Grace Crump?" Black Mask asked, Giganta behind him

"No, Mrs. Helena Queen" Huntress said

"This is 46 Egernon Crescent?" Black Mask asked

"No, no, Road, Egernon Road" Huntress corrected as Black Mask looked through the paper

"Road, yes, says here, yeah. Right, could I speak to Mrs. Grace Crump, please?" Black Mask asked

"Oh, there's nobody here of that name. It's Mrs. Helena Queen, 46 Egernon Road" Helena repeated

"Well it says Crump here, don't it Doris?" Black Mask said, turning to Giganta for approval

"Yeah~ it's on the invoice" Giganta answered in a butch masculine voice.

"Yeah, definitely Crump" Black Mask added

"Well there must've been a mistake because the address is right and that's definitely the cooker I ordered – a blue and white CookEasi" Huntress complained

"Oh, well, you can't have this, this is Crump" Black Mask said

"Oh dear, well, what are we going to do?" Huntress asked worriedly

"well I dunno, what we can do for you is take it back to the Depot, get a transfer slip from Crump to Queen, and put it on a special delivery" Black Mask offered

"Yeah- that's best. We'll special it for you, we'll get it down there today and you'll get it back in ten weeks" Giganta added

"TEN WEEKS?!" Huntress squawked

"Can't you leave this one?" Huntress pleaded

"What this? What, leave it here?" Black Mask asked, doing a double take

"Yes" Huntress squawked

"Well I dunno. I suppose we could" Black Mask wondered

"Oh, but she'd have to fill out a temporary dispatch note" Giganta replied

"Yeah we could leave it out on a temporary dispatch note" Black Mask concluded

"Well that's sorted out then. What a mess, isn't it?" Huntress asked, chuckling

"I know, I know it's ridiculous really, but there you are. Glad we could be of such a help. Right, would you sign it down there Mrs. Crump?" Black Mask asked as he and Giganta wheeled the cooker into the house

"Queen" Helena corrected

"Queen. Listen, just for the books, er, make it a bit easier, could you sign it Crump-Queen?" Black Mask asked, offering Helena his pen

"Right" Helena replied, signing away

"Right. Thank you very much, dear. The cooker's yours. Right. Thank you very much dear. Sorry about the bother… but there you are… you know…Cheerio!" Black Mask cheered, walking out

"Cheerio, Mrs. Crump" Giganta added rather dimly as Helena looked back and forth at the passing Giganta and the not installed cooker

"Heh, excuse me! Cooie! Er, can you put it in the kitchen?" Helena asked

"…you what?" Black Mask said, him and Giganta rushing back

"Well I can't cook on it unless it's connected up" Helena said

"Oh, we didn't realize you had an installation invoice." Black Mask said, walking back in

"An MI" Giganta added

"No, we can't touch it without an MI, you see" Black Mask said to Helena

"Or an R16" Giganta piped up

"If it's a special" Batwoman piped up, popping in

"Nah- it's not special… the special's back at the Depot" Giganta replied to Batwoman

"No, the special's the same as installation invoice" Black Mask spoke

"So it's an R16" Batwoman suggested

"What's an installation invoice?" Huntress wondered

"A pink form from Reading" Black Mask said

"Oh- we wondered what that was. Now these are the forms" Helena gasped, handing Black Mask the forms

"That's the one, love. Yeah, this should be all I need. Hang on, this is for Queen. Mrs. Helena Queen" Black Mask said

"That's right, I'm Mrs. Helena Queen" Helena said

"Well we've got Crump-Queen on the invoice" Black Mask added

"Shall I sign it Crump-Queen then?" Helena offered

"No, no, no- not an MI- no" Black Mask answered

"No- that's from Area Service at Reading" Giganta added

"No, Cheltenham, isn't it?" Hawkgirl asked, coming in

"No, not this side of the street" Giganta answered

"LOOK I JUST WANT IT CONNECTED UP" Huntress squawked

"What about Gotham Office?" Batwoman asked

"Well, they haven't got the machinery" Black Mask answered

"Not now" Giganta answered

"What?! The Hounslow Depot?!" Roulette gasped, rushing in

"No- they're still on standard pressure" Hawkgirl replied

"Same with Twickenham" Cheetara added

"But surely they can connect up a gas cooker?" Huntress asked

"Oh yeah, we could connect it up, love, but not unless it's an emergency" Black Mask explained

"But this *IS* an emergency" Huntress squawked

"No it's not. An emergency is 290 where there is actual or apparent loss of combustible gaseous substances" Black Mask said

"Yeah, it's like a leak" Giganta commented

"Yeah, or a 478" Superwoman said

"No- that's valve adjustment" Batwoman corrected

"BUT THERE CANT BE A LEAK UNLESS YOU'VE CONNECTED IT UP" Huntress shrieked

"No, quite. We'd have to turn it on" Black Mask added

"Well can't you turn it on *AND* connect it up?" Huntress asked

"No, but what we can do, and this is between you and me, I shouldn't really be telling you this, we'll turn your gas on, make a hole in your pipe, you ring Hounslow emergency, they'll be around here in a couple of days" Black Mask explained

"WHAT?! A HOUSE FULL OF GAS?! I'LL BE DEAD BY THEN" Huntress squawked

"Oh well, in that case you'd have the South East Area Manager round here like a shot" Black Mask commented

"Really?" Huntress asked

"Ah yes. One or more persons overcome by fumes, you'd have Head Office, Holborn round here" Black Mask answered

"Really?" Huntress repeated

"Yes, that's murder you see" Black Mask answered

"Or suicide" Giganta commented

"No, that's S42" Roulette corrected

"Oh" Giganta said

"Still? I thought it was Hainault" Circe said

"No- Central area and Southall Marketing Division, they're both on the S42 now" Roulette answered

"And they'd be able to connect it up?" Huntress asked

"Oh, they'd do the lot for you, love" Black Mask answered

"And they come round this afternoon?" Huntress asked

"…Well what is it now…11:30…murder…they'll be round here by two" Black Mask answered

"Oh, well that's wonderful" Huntress said giddily

"Oh, well, right love, if you'd like to lie down here" Black Mask said, Huntress lying down on the floor

"All right" Huntress replied

"Ok, Doris, gas on" Black Mask barked

"Gas on" Giganta echoed

"Right, deep breaths love. Ring Head Office will you, Shayera?" Black Mask ordered

"Shall I go through maintenance?" Hawkgirl asked in particular

"No, you'd better go through Bludhaven maintenance" Roulette said

"Peckham's on a 207…" Cheetara added

ETHEL THE FROG

"Good evening. On Ethel the Frog tonight we look at violence. The violence of American gangland. Last Tuesday, a reign of terror was ended when the notorious Trigger Twins, Tod and Tad, after one of the most extraordinary trials in American legal history were sentenced to four hundred years imprisonment for crimes of violence. Tonight Ethel the Frog examines the rise to power of the Twins, the method they used to subjugate rival gangs and their subsequent tracking down and capture by the brilliant Superintendent Harvey "Snapper" Dent of Q Division. Tod and Tad Trigger were born, on probation, in this house in Kipling Road, Southwark, the eldest sons in a family of sixteen. Their father, Arthur Trigger, a scrap-metal dealer and TV quizmaster, was well known to the police and a devout Catholic. In January 1998, he had married Kitty Malone, an up-and-coming East End boxer. Tod was born in February 1999 and Tad two weeks later, and again a week after that. Their next door neighbour Mrs. Jade Rayner" Black Mask spoke

"Kipling Road was a typical sort of East End street. People were in and out of each other's houses with each other's property all day long. They were a cheery lot though" Jade explained to Roy as a line of cooker saleswomen was behind her from the Cooker sketch

"Was it a terribly *violent* area?" Roy asked

"Oh, ho, ho… yes. Cheerful and violent, I remember. Tod was very keen on boxing, until he learned to walk, then he took up putting the boot in the groin. Oh he was very interested in that. His mum used to have such trouble getting him to come in for his tea. He'd be out there putting his little boot in, you know, er, bless him. You know kids were very different then. They didn't have their heads filled with all this Cartesian dualism" Jade giggled

"At the age of fifteen, Tod and Tad started attending the Ernest Pythagoras Primary School in Clerkenwall" Black Mask spoke in a voiceover as Helena interviewed Tod and Tad's teacher Crispin Viney.

"Crispin Viney. You taught the Trigger brothers English. What do you remember most about them?" Huntress asked, Crispin answering through ASL and mute body language

"…Crispin Viney" Huntress finished

"When the Triggers left school, they were called up but were found by an Army Board to be too mentally unstable even for National Service. Denied the opportunity to use their talents in the service of their country, they began to operate what they called "The Operation". They would select a victim and then threaten to beat him up if he paid them the so-called protection money. Four months later, they started another operation which they called "The Other Operation". In this racket, they selected another victim and threatened *not* to beat him up if he *didn't* pay them. One month later they hit upon 'The Other Other Operation'. In this the victim was threatened that if he didn't pay them they would beat him up. This for the Trigger brothers was the turning point" Black Mask announced

HARVEY "SNAPPER" DENT

"Tod and Tad Trigger now formed a gang which they now called The Gang and used terror to take over night clubs, billiard halls, gaming casinos and race tracks. When they tried to take over the MCC, they were, for the only time in their lives, slit up a treat. As their empire spread, however, we in Q Division were keeping tabs on their every movement by reading the colour supplements" Two-Face spoke

"A small time operator who fell foul of Tad Trigger was Victor Snetterton-Zsasz" Black Mask said

"well, er, one day, I was sittin' at home threatenin' the kids, and I looked out of the hole in the wall and I saw this tank drive up and one of Tad's boys gets out and he comes up, all nice and friendly like, and says Tad wants to have a talk with me. So he chains me to the back of the tank and takes me for a scrape round to Tad's. And Tad's there in the conversation pit with Tod and Charles Paisley, the baby crusher, and a couple of film producers, er, and a man they called Kierkegaard, who just sat there bitin' the heads off whippets, and Tad says 'I hear you've been a naughty boy, Clement' and he splits me nostrils open and saws me leg off and pulls me liver out, and I said my name's not Clement, and then he loses his temper and nails my head to the floor" Zsasz spoke in a thick Cockney accent

"He nailed your head to the floor?" Mera asked off-screen

"At first, er, yeah" Zsasz answered

"Another man who had his head nailed to the floor was Eel O'Brian" Black Mask announced

"Eel, I've been told that Tad Trigger nailed your head to the floor" Linda Park-West said to Eel

"No, no, never, never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to give his mum flowers and that. He was like a brother to me" Eel spat, outraged

"But the police have film of Tad actually nailing your head to the floor" Linda said

"Oh, yeah, well- he, er, he did that, yeah" Eel answered honestly

"Why?" Linda asked

"Well he had to, didn't he? I mean, be fair, there was nothing else he could do. I mean, I had transgressed the unwritten law" Eel explained

"What had you done?" Linda asked

"Er… well he never told me that. But he gave me his word that it was the case, and that's good enough for me with old Tadsy. I mean he didn't want to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. There's nothing Tad wouldn't do for you" Eel answered

"And you don't bear a grudge?" Linda asked

"A grudge! Old Tadsy? He was a real darling" Eel spat

"I understand he also nailed your wife's head to a coffee table. Isn't that right, Mrs. O'Brian?" Linda asked, turning to Silver Swan who had a fake coffee table nailed to her head

"Oh, no. No. no" Silver Swan denied

"Yeah well, he did do that. Yeah, yeah. He was a cruel man, but fair" Eel finished

"Zsasz, after he nailed your head to the floor, did you ever see him again?" Huntress asked offscreen

"Yeah... after that I used to go round to his flat every Sunday lunchtime to apologize, and we'd shake hands and then he'd nail me head to the floor" Zsasz answered

"Every Sunday?" Huntress echoed

"Yeah, but, er, he was very reasonable about it. I mean one Sunday when my parents were coming round for tea, I asked him if he'd mind very much not nailing my head to the floor that week, and he agreed and just screwed me pelvis to a cake stand" Zsasz finished

"He was the only friend I ever had" Hush said, affixed to a coffee table and a standard lamp

"I wouldn't hear a word against him" Kyle mumbled, his face sealed in a stone block

"Lovely fella" Neron's disembodied voice echoed

"Clearly Tad inspired tremendous loyalty and terror amongst his business associates, but what was he really like?" Black Mask asked

"I walked out with Tad on many occasions and found him a most charming and erudite companion. He was wont to introduce one to many eminent persons, celebrated American singers, members of the aristocracy and other gangleaders" Hippolyta said sultrily in a bar

"How had he met them?" Giganta asked off-screen

"Through his work for charity. He took a warm interest in Boys' Clubs, Sailors' Homes, Choristers' Associations, Scouting Jamborees and of course the Household Cavalry" Hippolyta answered

"Was there anything unusual about him?" Giganta asked

"I should say not! Tad was a perfectly normal person in every way. Except in as much as he was convinced that he was being watched by a giant hedgehog named whom he referred to as Spiny Neron" Hippolyta added

"How big was Neron supposed to be?" Giganta asked

"Normally, he was wont to be about twelve feet from nose to tail, but when Tad was *very* depressed, Neron could be anything up to eight hundred yards long. When Neron was about, Tad would go very quiet and his nose would swell up and his teeth would start moving about and he'd become very violent and claim that he'd laid Stephen Baldwin. Tad was a gentleman. And what's more he knew how to treat a female Amazon monarch" Hippolyta finished

A CRIMINOLOGIST

"It's easy for us to judge Tad Trigger too harshly. After all, he only did what most of us simply dream of doing…" Superman started before developing a tic before controlling himself

"I'm sorry. After all, a murderer is only an extroverted suicide. Tad was a loony, but he was a *happy* loony. Lucky bastard" Superman finished

"Most of these strange tales concern Tad, but what of Tod? One man who met him was Bruno Mannheim" Black Mask announced

"Well, er, I had been running a successful escort agency- high-class, no really, high-class girls… we didn't have any of that. That was right out. And I decided. Anyway, I decided then to open a high-class night club for the gentry at Biggelswade with international cuisine, cooking, top-line acts, and not a cheap clip and one night Tad walked in with a couple a' big lads, one a' whom was carrying a tactical nuclear missile. They said I'd bought one of their fruit machines and would I pay for it" Bruno explained to Vicki Vale

"How much did they want?" Vicki asked

"Three quarters of a million dollars. Then they went out" Bruno answered

"Why didn't you call for the police?" Vicki asked

"Well, I'd noticed the lad with the thermos-nuclear device was the Chief Constable for the area. Anyway a week later they came back, said that the cheque had bounced and that I had to see Tod" Bruno said

"Tod?" Vicki asked

"Tod. I was terrified of him. Everyone was terrified of Tod. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Tod. Even Tad was frightened of Tod" Bruno shakily answered, taking a sip of water

"What did he do?" Vicki asked

"He used sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire" Bruno answered

"By a combination of violence and sarcasm, the Trigger brothers by February 1996, controlled Gotham and the Diamond District. In February though, Tad made a big mistake" Black Mask announced

"Latterly, Tad had become increasingly worried about Spiny Neron. He had come to the conclusion that Neron slept in the aeroplane hangar at Luton Airport" Hippolyta addressed the camera

"And so, on February 22, 1996, at Luton Airport…" Black Mask started, the camera cutting to stock footage of a H-bomb explosion

"Even the police began to sit up and take notice" Black Mask finished

"The Triggers realized they had gone too far and that the hunt was on. They went into hiding and I decided on a subtle approach, viz, some form of disguise, as the old helmet and boots were a bit of a give-away. Luckily my years with Gotham Rep stood me in good stead as I assumed a bewildering variety of disguises. I tracked them to Crime Alley posing as the Reverend Smiler Egret. Hearing they'd gone back to Metropolis, I assumed the identity of a pork butcher, Roland Desmond. On my arrival in Metropolis I discovered they had returned to Crime Alley. I followed as Gloucester from King Lear. Acting on a hunch I spent several months in Buenos Aires as Blind Pew, returning through the Panama Canal as Ratty in Toad of Toad Hall. Back in Crime Alley I relived my triumph as Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha which the Bristol Evening Post described as a glittering performance of rare perception, although the Daily Planet was less than enthusiastic. In fact it gave me a right panning. I quote:

As for the performance of Superintendent Harvey "Snapper" Dent as Sancho Panza, the audience were bemused by his high-pitched Welsh accent and intimidated by his abusive ad-libs

"The Western Daily News said…" Dent continued

Sancho Panza (Mr. Dent) spoilt an otherwise impeccably choreographed rape scene by his unscheduled appearance and persistent cries of what's all this then?

"Never mind, Harvey, love, you can't win 'em all" Hippolyta said as she and Harvey applied makeup

"True, constable. Could I have my eye-liner love?" Dent asked

"Telegram for you, love" Black Canary announced, walking in

"Those flowers are for Sergeant Lowery- from the nice young lady waiting outside" Dinah added

"Thirty seconds, superintendent" Hawkgirl said

"Oh blimey, I'm on. Is me hat straight, love?" Dent asked, standing up

"Oh, it's fine" Hippolyta answered

"Right, here we go then, Hippolyta" Dent barked

"Oh, merde, superintendent" Hippolyta exhaled

"Good luck then" Dent replied as both exited the station just as Joker dressed as a city gent passed them by, doing his silly walk

"Read all about it! Trigger Brothers escape" a young paperboy announced, the crowds screaming and fleeing the streets in panic.