Too Many Long Boxes!
story and art by Jon Karl Haynes

Chapter Four: The revelation

Alex Pendleton grimaced as the Joker crept ever closer, holding a sledgehammer in his hands. His smile seemed almost artificial, as though it were wax lips stuck in an expression on his pasty face. Alex was strapped to a slab, held prisoner alongside Bruce Wayne and his female companion. Ironically, Bruce Wayne was the reason Alex was in this mess to begin with. Alex had discovered his secret identity through DNA testing, and was about to sell the information to the highest bidder. All those plans had now apparently gone awry.

The Joker stood his ground, moving only slightly. “Well,” he said, “What is it? What’s the big secret about the Bat? Did you find out where he lives? Did you find out where his supply of Robins keep coming from? I killed one of them, you know. Blowed him up real good, sir! Well, out with it, boy, before I ram this sledgehammer down your face! What is the secret?!”

“Okay! Okay! I’ll talk, but you gotta promise not to kill me! Also, I won’t say a word unless I’m untied first. Deal?”

The Joker turned away from the Senator, holding his head down low. “I’m hurt. You don’t trust me very much, do you?”

“I trust you, Joker. You just gotta trust me too. I’m a businessman.”

The Joker twirled around slowly. “A businessman, hmm? If you are a businessman, you would realize that you are not in a position to negotiate. Watch this.”

Sauntering across the room, the Joker moved in front of Bruce Wayne, still unconscious from the explosion earlier. He lifted the sledgehammer over his head and looked at Alex. Hesitating a moment, he turned to grin widely, and then swung the hammer with all his might.

Alex gasped as the sledgehammer swung down. In his deepest thoughts, he never actually believed the Joker would carry through with his threat. The hammer crashed downward, slamming into the top of Bruce Wayne’s head. A loud crack was audible, even as blood sprayed from the millionaire’s crown. Bruce Wayne slumped further, unbreathing as blood poured out from under his black hair. He was dead.

Alex was in sheer terror. “Oh my god! Oh my god! You killed him! Him!”

“So what?! He was just a rich guy. They come a dime a dozen.. I’ll get another.”

“No,” Alex exclaimed. “That wasn’t just a rich guy! That was Bruce Wayne! Thats the secret I had! He was the Batman! Oh My God!”

“Oh yeah, like I’m going to believe that Bruce Wayne was the Batman. Who would that make Superman? Jimmy Olsen?”

“No, he really was! And you just killed him!”

The Joker let out a small chuckle. “And how do you know that? Tell me how you can prove he’s the Bat and I might let you live.”

“Okay, okay….. I’ll tell you. I got a blood sample from the Batman and had it traced back to Bruce Wayne. The DNA matched perfectly.”

“Thats interesting. DNA? I think I know what that is….Building block of life and all that mess.”

Suddenly a voice echoed through the room. “Yes. DNA is the building block of life. But sometimes the tests can be wrong.”

The Joker turned, apparently surprised as much as Alex Pendleton. Standing in the corner of the shadowy room was the Batman. “That's right,” Batman continued, “Sometimes it can be wrong. You would’ve known that if you hadn’t killed your friend Dr. Cooper. Apparently he didn’t have time to tell you.”

Alex had a shocked look on his face, and the Joker looked to be mocking his expression. “How did you know I killed Dr. Cooper?”

“Well,” Batman replied, “I only had a hunch, but now that you have confirmed my hunch I believe I can come up with the appropriate forensic evidence.”

Batman then walked toward the Joker, who dropped his hammer and sat on the floor. “Don’t worry,” the Joker stated blandly, “I know the drill.”

The Batman then held his hand on Bruce Wayne’s neck. “He’s alive, but seriously wounded. I need to take him to get some medical attention, but then I’ll be back for you, Senator Pendleton.”

The senator watched helplessly as Batman carried a tied up Joker and a beaten Bruce Wayne out of the room. He knew it was over. He would be destroyed by the very man he had tried to sell out. If only he had left everything alone none of this would've happened.

Outside the room, Batman sat the Joker down and began to untie him. Beside him, Bruce Wayne stood up and looked around. Batman spoke quietly. “Thanks Clark. Thanks Alfred. You two helped me out of a serious problem.”

Clark Kent pulled off his Bruce Wayne makeup and the wig with the blood packets underneath it. “I was glad to help. We have to stick together sometimes, especially when it comes down to something like this. I just hope this fake blood comes out of my real hair.”

Alfred pulled the green wig from his own head. “I would say it was a fine act on all our parts. I don’t think we’ll have a problem from the senator again.”

Batman turned toward Alfred. “Thanks, old friend. This was all your show. Heaven help the next person to underestimate your detective skills.”

A moment later, Clark and Alfred were gone, and Batman went to go see the senator. It was all going to turn out right.

The End
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