Authors: Dustin Brubaker
Gotham After Dark:
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It was a grisly crime scene. Three people were dead and they were not discovered until the next morning when the maid came over from the servant’s quarters to start her shift. She was the of the staff up in the morning, cause she had to prepare breakfast for the rest of the staff as well as the family before the kid went to school the master took off for work. When she came into the foyer, the maid could tell something was wrong. There was a putrid smell in the house and she thought someone had thrown up and left it there to reek overnight. That rotting smell she was experiencing was one of death and she had no idea until she found her employer in his den. The old man was sitting in the chair with his face and arms on the large wooden desk. Yet it was and a large knife sticking into his back which was visible from the door. She let out a loud shriek, hoping that it would wake up the other members of her master’s family and send them down the stairs to see what the hatter was. The fact that no one came down horrified the woman who then ran to wake up the butler.
The Butler arrived on the scene and left the maid in the foyer to wait for the police who were already called from his bedroom. After taking a quick glance inside the den, he ascended the staircase to see why there was no response from the rest of the family. He quickly got his answer as he walked into one crime scene after another. He held a handkerchief to his mouth and then quickly came back down the stairs. He sat down on a bench beside the maid and comforted her despite the fact she had been spared the worst of it. He needed a hard drink but that would have to wait as they sat there waiting for the sirens to come closer. Finally the sirens did come as did the flashing lights. The police knocked loudly on the door and the Butler in his pajamas and his bath room strolled to the door and answered it, aware it was likely the last time he ever would formally welcome someone into the house.
Four uniformed members of the police were there, the city’s finest. The first officer looked over at the Butler. “What have we got here, old man?”
“Murder.” The butler replied.
“Are you sure it’s murder?” another officer asked.
“I’m rather confident.” The butler answered as he swung the door open. “Unless you think he stabbed himself in the back.”
The officers walked into the den and took a quick look of their own and then back at the butler. “Where’s everyone else?”
“Upstairs.” The butler answered. “They’re all dead; the madam as well as the children.”
The maid was finding this out for the first time and she began to sob even louder. Two of the officers went up the stairs to inspect and confirm the crime scenes being reported, while one of them staying in the den to preserve that scene while the final officer went outside to access the radio in his car. He picked up the mic and pressed the button.
“Gotham Central, this is Officer Jones at Grisham Manor.”
“Jones, this is Central. What have you got?”
“We have four homicides.” Jones replied, “The entire Grisham clan has been smote; two adults and two young children. We need detectives out here as well as the meat wagon.”
“We’ll send someone out as soon as possible.” The radio responded after a short pause. “How bad is it out there?”
“No homicide is good.” Jones snapped back at the station. “But warn the detectives, this one is pretty brutal.”
They had been in the car for close to thirty minutes and neither of them said a word. Tony had no idea what was going on but he preferred to stay quiet because it was still his first week on the job. Working with the district attorney’s office was a dream come true for Tony. He was all about justice, fighting for the people and making sure the bad guys got what was coming to them. So when the city’s best Assistant DA asks you to take a ride with on your first week, you don’t say no. You grab your coat and go along for the ride. No questions asked.
It wasn’t until they were outside the downtown area when Tony began to wonder what was going on. At first he thought the boss was going to take him out for breakfast and give him a good first talk about how things are done. Yet they passed by a few places, Tony know that wasn’t their reason for being out of the office. Finally Tony felt like he had no choice but to ask a few questions.
“Mr. Dent…” Tony started as he looked over at the driver. “Where exactly are we going?”
“To a crime scene.” Mr. Dent answered. “And you can call me Rich.”
“What kind of crime scene?” Tony asked.
“Murder.” Rich replied, “This is going to be your first case. You’re going to be my second in command for this one.”
“I am?” Tony responded, shocked to hear that.
“Yes, you are.” Rich confirmed, “And what I’m doing for you right now is what my mentor did for me. On the first case that I second chaired, my boss brought me to the crime scene. The reason is simple; the people we are about to see are our victims. The people we’re about to meet, informally of course, are the victims who are in need of Justice. In order to fight for them, you have to witness what happened to them. See it with your own eyes. That’s what gets your blood going, Tony. Nothing drives a man more than passion. I promise you after you see what we’re about to see, nothing will drive a man harder to seek justice than to look upon the grisly results of evil. Seeing my first murder is what drove me to keep fighting for the people. I’ve turned down over a dozen high paying jobs at private firms and it’s because they are the enemy. I despise them and their clients and will fight them till my dying breath.”
“It had that much of an impact on you?” Tony asked.
“It did.” Rich confirmed, “And if you’re half the man I think you are Tony, it’s going to ignite a fire in your belly that will burn for decades. I see potential in you so this is my way of handing you the torch. I’m not going anywhere but I have ambition. I want to ascend to the throne. In order to do that, I need a knight to take my place when I assume greater responsibilities.”
“How can you be so sure I’m your guy?” Tony honestly asked.
“I admire your humility.” Rich replied as his eyes never left the road. “But I’m a very good judge of character. I know what I have here and I’m eager to mold you like my mentor did for me many years ago. This is a rite of passage. What you are about to see will change the way you look at everything and that’s the point; I want you to know what we’re dealing with and who our client is.”
“Gotham is our client.” Tony offered.
“Yes, that’s true.” Rich concurred, “But at the same time, for each case there is another client, the victim. I want you to meet this client so that you’ll have a fire in your belly that no water will ever extinguish. Mine is still there, from the first day I was taken to a crime scene for the first time. If you’re half the man I think you are Tony, you’ll be the champion this city needs. You’ll step up like a gladiator and defend the people with zeal.”
Rich pulled the car over and parked it. He looked out the widow and sighed. “We’re here.”
Tony looked outside at the big house. “This is the Grisham estate!”
“It is.” Rich said as he got out of the car. Tony wasn’t able to speak as he followed Rich down the long driveway where there were several squad cars as well as two ambulances. Tony chose to remain silent as he walked behind his boss as they approached the officers at the main door. “Gentlemen, I take it the scene isn’t pretty?”
“No, Mr. Dent.” One officer replied. “It’s not.”
“How many vics do we have?” Rich then asked.
“Four.” Another uniform replied, “Mr. Grisham is in the den. The wife and the children were killed in their rooms, hopefully while they slept.”
“Hey,” The first officer said as he noticed someone else was there. “Who’s the rookie?”
“Very perspective.” Rich said as he slapped Tony on the back. “This is my new protégé, I’m personally taking him under my wing. This is Anthony Gordon, but you can all call him Tony.”
The young man sat on the bench, waiting with sweat palms as if he were waiting for the principal to come out a tell him off. Given the situation, he probably would have preferred that. His childhood friend had vouched for him a few weeks ago and after two weeks, the young man had assumed his chances for employment were up the creek. But there he was, sitting in a high class Italian restaurant, watching people eat their food while he sat there nervously waiting for his interview. On more than one occasion someone offered him food but his stomach wouldn’t be able to keep anything down. He might feel better after he spoke with the boss but at that moment in time there was no way he was going to eat a thing. The kid was also wearing his best suit and the last thing he wanted to do was show up with spaghetti sauce on his white dress shirt. It wouldn’t be a good first impression, especially since he really needed the work. He continued to sit there while people all around him stuffed their faces with cannolies, stuffed shells and pounds of garlic bread and bottles of wine to wash it all down. Just smelling it was trying his stomach up but it was only a matter of time before his friend returned from the back room. After sitting there for what felt like hours but was only a few minutes his friend Josephino, who he merely called Joe, came back out to see him.
“All right Cecil, he’s ready to speak with you.” Joe informed him.
Cecil stood up. “Let’s go then.”
“Follow me.” Joe said as he started to walk back from whence he came.
The two men ventured to the back through a door that was reinforced as well as guarded by two large and very well armed men. Once they were in the room, the smoke was almost as thick as the bull that was being tossed around amongst the goodfellas that were in the room. In Gotham City, this room was the underbelly of organized crime. The two men stopped in the middle of the room, almost as if they were presenting themselves for battle. It wasn’t really far from the truth.
The man at the back of the room pointed at Cecil. “Is that him?”
“It is.” Joe said with a smile. “This is Cecil.”
“That’s not my name.”
The old man looked over at his guest. “What is your name then?”
“It’s Carmine.” The young man replied.
“What’s your last name?” the old man then asked. Joe had tried to answer for him but the old man slapped a hard hand on the table beside him. “Was I talking to you, Josephino?”
Joe stopped talking and stiffened up, aware he had crossed a line. “No.”
“Then shut that hole in your face!” the old man snapped back, his voice crackling like a whip.
“It’s Falcone.” Carmine replied, “Carmine Falcone.”
“That’s a strong name.” the old man replied. “Why is this fool calling you Cecil?”
“Because he is a fool.” Carmine replied, “And because he doesn’t listen.”
“That’s right, he doesn’t.” the old man confirmed. “What about you? How are your ears, son?”
“They’re fine but my memory is a tricky thing.” Carmine replied.
“I seem to forget things whenever I’m in a police station.”
The comment sparked a lot of laughter in the room as the gangsters in the room all understood what the kid meant. He doesn’t rat anyone out, and never would. That was one of the details that Joe has passed on when giving the old man his recommendation. Carmine was arrested doing a delivery for Joe’s old man. He could have been a free man with no time served and all he has to do was point a finger at Joe and his old man. He didn’t remember and ended up doing two years for his loyalty. It was something the old men in the room respected and he was making a very good first impression.
“I like you kid.” The old man said as everyone else remained quiet. “Do you know who I am?”
“I do.” Carmine said as his face remained emotionless. “You’re Johnny Sabatino, the man at the top of the ladder. You’re the man.”
“I sure am.” Mr. Sabatino said as he finally heaved himself out of his chair with a soft grunt. He slowly walked up to Carmine and had a smile on his face as he playfully slapped the young man’s cheek with jest. “You are just the kind of new blood we need in this outfit.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity, Mr. Sabatino.” Carmine said as he could barely contain his excitement.
“You can call me Uncle Joe.” Sabatino said as he stepped closer and gave Carmine a hug. “Welcome to the family.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Carmine said with a smile on his face.
“Just one thing.” Sabatino said as he slowly started to walk back towards his seat.
“Name it.” Carmine said, ready to do anything for the old man.
“Cecil is dead.” Mr. Sabatino said as he looked at Joe specifically. “From now on we’re going to call you by that impressive surname you possess. Everyone from this point on will simple refer to you as Falcone. Understood?”
“Yes, Sir.” Falcone said as it was a name he used often when doing business. It wasn’t going to take much adjustment. He would have changed it if the old man asked him to. He was just happy to have a job. To make some money for his wife and his own family but this was just the beginning. Now the real work was about to begin. Falcone could hardly wait as he was eager to make his mark not only in the family but in Gotham as well.