With apologies to James Joyce
Bruce stood on the side of the GCH as Dick worked feverishly at putting on the spare. He peered with his binoculars at the cityscape in front of him and cursed under his breath. The newspapers were right: snow was general all over Gotham. It was falling on every part of the dark central park, on the unlit skyscrapers, falling softly upon the strait of Arkham and, farther eastward, falling softly into the dark, mutinous Atlantic waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard where Jason Todd lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns where Pamela Isley had once righted everything that was wrong with him. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the multiverse and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
Behind him, Dick let another one loose, the gas rippling against his green short-shorts.
“I will kill you,” promised Bruce.
Over the police scanner, he heard a panicked Gordon calling for all available units.
“Holy Montezuma’s revenge,” shouted Dick, grabbing at his backside. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t—”
And there went another foul blast.
A cruiser approached then, flashing its blues. It skidded to a halt just shy of Bruce’s left foot and he made a note to kill this statie as soon as he was through with Dick.
“What the hell are you guys doing?” the trooper asked from his rolled-down window.
“What’s it look like?” said Bruce. “We lost a wheel.”
The cop crinkled up his nose, sniffing. “And, man, pardon me for saying so, but why do you smell so bad?”
Bruce jerked a thumb toward Dick. “Someone insisted on burritos tonight.”
“I can’t believe he got away,” said the trooper. “Of all the lunatics to be chasing when you lose a wheel, why’d it half to be him? Why not Nigma? Or Cobblepot?”
“Hadn’t you better be going?” asked Bruce.
“You want a lift?” said the trooper. “We could sure use you.”
“I’ll be there soon,” said Bruce, looking back at Dick and having no confidence he could make good on his promise.
The trooper tipped his cap, rolled up his window, and drove off toward the city, Christmas music blaring underneath the sound of his siren.
“Goddamned ‘Jingle Bells,’” said Bruce.