|After seeing Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film that starred Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton, I felt that those accomplished actors should have been provided with a darker, less cartoonish script. In the year 2000, I penned this sequel, which I think is equal to what we've recently seen in the Batman films starring Christian Bale.
BATMAN: REVENGE opens in Gotham City, fourteen years after the Joker's "death." In the 1989 film, the homicidal maniac with the permanent grin died (supposedly) after losing his grip on the rope ladder of his helicopter while trying to escape from atop the tower of the old Gotham Cathedral.
At the end of the movie, I complained, "But Jack Napier already died in that vat of toxic chemicals. When the Joker returned to Boss Grissom's office after the incident at Axis Chemicals, he wasn't alive, so a fall couldn't have killed him."
Remember the Joker's reply when Grissom cried out, "Jack? Oh, thank goodness..."
The Joker wasn't speaking metaphorically when he said, "Jack? Jack is dead. You can call me Joker..." He also said, "I've been dead once. It's very liberating."
I felt Warner Brothers should have listened to Jack Nicholson's suggestion that they produce a sequel in which the Joker comes back for REVENGE.
How could he have come back? I cordially invite you to read and find out.
Based on characters created by Bob Kane for DC Comics and on the 1989 screenplay written by Sam Hamm, directed by Tim Burton, and distributed by Warner Brothers.
As dawn broke over Gotham City's Eternal Rest Cemetery, bright yellow police ribbon surrounded the final resting place of the most notorious criminal in American history. Strung from poles errected around the gravesite, the crime-scene tape rustled in the strong October breeze that brought a chill to the clear, fall morning. The night before, as a cold front swept through the area, a tremendous electrical storm accompanied by a large downpour turned piles of freshly dug dirt into mounds of mud lining both sides of the empty, six-foot-deep hole. The simple, no-frills coffin and remains of the Joker were missing.
An unremarkable, gray headstone marked the spot. In addition to his legal name, Jack Napier, the monument listed only his year of birth, 1937, and death, 1989. Ironically, Wayne Enterprises paid for the plot and the simple, carved stone - something they did for all Gothamites unable to afford a decent burial.
The city's oldest place of interment, Eternal Rest housed graves dating back to 1727. No longer regarded as a fitting choice for the well-to-do, the old cemetery provided the last stop for hardened criminals and charity cases. Oswald Cobblepot, known as “The Penguin,” and Harvey Dent, a well-known politician who went insane and became known as “Two Face,” were both buried here.
Who would want to dig up the long-dead body of this homicidal maniac? Why would they want to dig him up? What will happen next? Those were the questions that troubled Bruce Wayne.
The same thoughts tormented Police Commissioner James Gordon, who stood on the opposite side of the open grave from Gotham’s wealthiest citizen. Their eyes met and Batman's alter ego spoke first.
“I appreciate the early call, Commissioner, giving me a chance to meet with you before the press hounds bury us in questions.”
“Bury us?" The Commissioner looked confused. "A little graveyard humor, Bruce?"
“No," Bruce shook his head. "I don't see anything funny about any of this. Something's brewing, and I doubt that we’ll have to wait very long to find out what it is.”
Gordon sighed. “I know you must feel a lot of inner turmoil over these events, considering your history with Napier and the Joker. Earlier this morning we alerted Batman. He and I stood right here, before dawn, where you and I now stand, and discussed who we felt might be behind this and what they could be up to. Our best guess, right now, is that it’s a group of kids from one of the Frat houses at Gotham University, or hooligans who were friends of the Joker, maybe even members of his old gang. Did you know three of them were released from the Federal pen, last week?"
Bruce gave a solemn nod. "I heard."
"Yes, well, I'm sure the press will make the most of that angle. Whoever is responsible, I think they're after publicity. If so, they'll get plenty. But why would they want publicity? How would that benefit them? What other motives do they have, and what's their agenda?" Gordon paused, peered down into the grave, and back up into the the concerned eyes of the billionaire, philanthropist whom he had known for over thirty years. "There was one thing — kinda spooked me a little.”
“The first officers to arrive on the scene found a little, mechanical laugh box in the bottom of the grave," he pointed, "partially buried in the mud — identical to the one I took off the Joker's body, years ago, when he fell to his death from that helicopter's rope ladder. I don’t mind telling you, Bruce, it made the hair rise up on the back of my neck. I can still hear it laughing, Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha —”
“Commissioner," Bruce interrupted the laugh box imitation. "If you don’t mind me asking, how did the police find out about this?”
“An anonymous tip, called in about an hour after that big storm cleared the area. I remember being jolted out of my sleep by thunder and thinking this kind of storm could raise the dead." Gordon's bushy gray eyebrows rose as he stared back down into the grave again, his expression clearly revealed his thoughts. Maybe it did. When he looked back up he cleared his throat and said, "Anyway, the call came in about three this morning from a pay phone near here. The caller said strange things were happening at Eternal Rest Cemetery. He said he had grave concerns about what would be happening soon. He hung up before we could get anything else out of him.”
“Grave concerns? A pun?” Bruce asked, his brow furrowing.
“I don’t know, Bruce. . . maybe. But I do know I didn’t get much sleep last night and this cold front is chilling me right to the bone.” The Commissioner tugged his unbuttoned overcoat tight around his stocky frame. “I think I’ll head back to the station and leave this mess to the boys in forensics.” Gordon nodded and turned to go. Before he took more than a step or two, Bruce stopped him.
Gordon turned around. “Yes?”
“I will," the commissioner's shoulders sagged. He looked worn out. "I hope this turns out to be nothing more than a Halloween prank by some stupid college kids, but we’re taking it seriously. We’ll be doubling our downtown patrols at night for a while. Don't worry about me. These days I just sit my ass behind a desk, growing fatter and looking forward to retirement.”
With the unsteady gait of an old man, Gordon headed across the uneven grounds of the cemetery towards his car, where a crowd of reporters waited. Restrained from reaching the gravesite for fear of destroying evidence, they began to shout as the Commissioner neared the vehicle.
“Commissioner, is it true that the Joker's grave was desecrated last night?”
Another blurted out, “Is this the work of some new criminal? Should the public be warned? Are we all in imminent danger?”
Gordon flinched at the wording of the question. The damned press hounds always inferred the worst. These days all media segments were guilty of sensationalizing everything in their attempt to attract more readers, or viewers, or listeners.
Still another shouted, “Commissioner Gordon, are you aware that three of the Joker's old gang members were released from prison last week?”
Surprised that one hadn't come up sooner, Gordon shook his head and stared at his shoes. Dull and scuffed, they needed a good polish. Resigned to the inevitability of having to address the gathering, the Commissioner raised his head and waved his hands to quiet the pack of story seekers.
As the din subsided, he began, “We are looking into the desecration of the grave of Jack Napier, who became known as the Joker. We don't have any information that we can release at this time, other than to say we have been and will be investigating every possible angle. There's no reason at this time to believe that the people of Gotham City are in imminent danger, but Batman is aware of this development, and we are gladly accepting his assistance.”
Although the reporters clamored for more, the commissioner gave them a wave, got in his car, and drove off. He didn't like the way this felt. It felt bad; bad like fourteen years ago when the Joker went on his rampage and thousands of people died. Glancing in his rear-view mirror, he thanked his lucky stars for having Batman around to lend a hand when events like this brought the public to the edge of a full-blown panic.
~ ~ ~
Not much later that day, far below Wayne Manor, Bruce pulled up his Gotham Globe reports of the incident at Axis Chemicals that led to the creation of the Joker. Labelled as an intellectual thrill seeker, Jack Napier excelled in the arts, science and chemistry. Desiring the finer things in life, but lacking the patience to work and wait for them, he turned into a small time thug, a swindler, and then a murderer. A worthy candidate for lethal injection long before the Axis chemicals incident, he became...well, what did he become? The pasty white skin, green hair, the fact that he survived the fall into a highly toxic mixture of chemicals that should have killed any man. How could he have survived that? Bruce wondered.
Considering the events that lead to the Joker's demise, alone in the stillness of the cave, he whispered, “He fell about fifteen stories. His body left an imprint in the asphalt over three inches deep. The coroner said his skull was cracked like a hard boiled egg, but he said something else, if I remember correctly.”
When he found the coroner’s file, Bruce squinted at the small print. His reading glasses were becoming too weak.
The coroner claimed he never experienced anything like it before in his twenty-five years of working for the county. His notes indicated that the trauma and depression of the skull, as well as the fractures to the bone structure and compression of the body cavity caused by the impact with the asphalt road surface, became less pronounced the day after he arrived at the morgue. Although deceased, the subject's wounds appeared to be mending. Dr. Melvin Slaughter signed the report. His last known address showed up as 223 East Medical Avenue, in Gotham City’s hospital district.
Batman needs to talk to this man, Bruce thought, as he headed for his secret wardrobe closet.
In a perfect row, hanging like a business executive's wardrobe, were the caped crusader’s costumes. They were not all identical. Some were designed for underwater adventures, others were heavily armored. Some were light, for additional freedom of movement and comfort in higher temperatures. Some were a simple gray and black. Others were metallic and shiny. The last three were jet black. Each outfit featured special, hidden pockets intended to conceal the tools of his trade. In all, there were twenty-one suits.
The wardrobe closet opened into a combination dressing room and Bat- weapons arsenal. An astonishing array of advanced weaponry filled the room; weapons that forced the Joker, fourteen years earlier, to cry out in amazement, “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” The arsenal rivaled what might be used by special units of the armed forces.
There were three exits from this room. An elevator that delivered its occupant to lower, or higher levels of the bat cave, or Wayne Manor. A spiral staircase, which allowed access to lower areas of the Bat-cave, or, going up, to the lowest portions of Wayne Manor. The last was the fireman’s pole, providing a quick slide to the Batmobile.
Not far away, the Bat-plane waited in a secret hanger, invisible from the air. The hydroplane racing boats and submarine were docked in an underground marina that led out to the lake. Bruce and Alfred searched for, and finally found a manufacturer that constructed these marine, criminal pursuit vehicles to their specifications, then they labored together, adding special touches they envisioned.
With the added power of a jet turbocharger, the third version of the Batmobile could do two-hundred-and-sixty mph on a straightaway. Fitted with the big, wide tires of an Indy or Grand Prix racer, the low-slung 2-seater offered just enough headroom clearance for the ears of the caped crime fighter's costume. The first Batmobile, a cross between an off-road assault vehicle and an Indy race car, failed to provide enough clearance for the Bat costume's ears and had caused the Caped Crusader a considerable amount of annoyance, forcing him to duck every time the cockpit cowling closed.
The very latest, most advanced tools for fighting crime appeared in this model, along with every conceivable personal luxury. Loaded with laser-guided rocket launchers, satellite tracking systems, the finest communications equipment, and form fitting, hand stitched, black Corinthian leather seats, Bruce loved it. He was at his happiest when he and Alfred had collaborated on the conception, design and assembly. They worked together on the entire project, although Alfred’s advanced age and diminished energy limited the amount of labor he contributed as the new vehicle neared completion.
They fired the engine up and took it out for a test-drive only a week before Alfred died, at the age of 83.
Now, whenever Bruce drove it, he always felt Alfred's presence. He heard his admonishments to take it easy around the corners and to resist going faster than the speed limits unless in pursuit of a criminal. “You must set a good example, Master Wayne,” Alfred would say, wagging his finger as if at a schoolboy who hadn‘t learned his lessons.
Bruce missed Alfred, badly — every day — every time he reflected on who he was. He knew he would never have been able to achieve all that he had without the careful guidance, love, and patience that Alfred so willingly provided after the death of his parents.
Alfred had simply died in his sleep of heart failure. Although less devastated than by the murder of his parents, Bruce hadn't been the same since losing his long-time friend. He alternated between being unnaturally nice, and then edgier and quicker to anger. He thought less of his personal safety. He felt an urgency to complete some oblique task, yet he had no idea what it might be.
At night, his dreams were haunted by visions of his parents being gunned down as he stood helplessly by. Before puberty and during his early teens, he had often been tortured by the dream, but it became infrequent as time passed. Now, the dream returned almost every night.
Rooted to the cement by his own fear, staring into the leering face of Jack Napier, his parents' assailant, Bruce's dreams were haunted by the words, “Did you ever dance with the devil by the pale moonlight?” While his parents lay on the sidewalk, the light from the street lamp above glinted off the blue-steel revolver, pointed directly between his eyes.
At the very instant Napier's trigger finger twitched to apply the pressure that would result in his death — a scant millisecond before the bullet would be projected into the brain of the boy destined to become Batman, Napier’s accomplice called out and convinced him to leave before the police arrived.
Napier released the firing hammer and flashed a wide, toothy, grin at the terrified boy. “See ya around, kid.” The prophetic words hung in the air as he disappeared into the dark shadows.
In the dream, Bruce turned into a bat and followed Napier to his seedy apartment. He watched through a window as his parents' murderer counted the cash taken from his father, and additional money evidently stolen during a convenience store heist earlier in the evening. Gleefully, the man who would become the Joker brandished the string of pearls, which he snatched from Bruce’s mother and lowered them over his head, admiring how they looked around his own neck. In the dream, he would turn and peer through the window, directly at the tree branch that Bruce, still in the form of a bat, perched upon. Napier would spy the bat and break into the hideous laugh that would become the trademark of the madman who would kill thousands. At this point Bruce would awaken, feeling frustrated and fatigued, coated in sweat as if he had been running for miles.
Without Alfred, and since Robin had left Wayne Manor, he was lonely. Wayne Manor's size magnified his loneliness and the absence of those he loved. The employees at Wayne Manor did their best to make up for Alfred’s absence, but lately he barely noticed them as he wandered the halls of his sprawling, stately mansion.
For the first time in his life he began to question the wisdom of being single. Bruce promised himself he would look up Vicki Vale. He had almost done it, a dozen times or more, but this time he would, he really would. He wondered what she would say. He knew she remained single. He had followed her career far more closely than he would admit, if asked. If things had been different, he would... but things weren’t different. Right now he had finished getting dressed and needed to have a talk with Dr. Melvin Slaughter.
He slid down the pole to the waiting Batmobile, glanced around as if someone were waiting there for him, and said “C’mon Alfred, let’s go for a ride!” With that, he gathered his cape around him, hopped in, closed the cowling, gave the verbal command for the engine to start, (which also activated the seat driving position memory) flipped the switch to open the bat cave exit, checked the positioning of his side and rear view mirrors, gripped the black leather steering wheel and slammed the accelerator to the floor, sending an orange and blue point of flame out of the single rear jet exhaust.
The roar of the powerful engine and the spinning of the huge racing tires, rivaled a hard rock concert as the earsplitting wave of sound cascaded off the cavernous walls. Startled by the Batmobile, thousands of sleeping bats were awakened sending them in every direction at first, then into a massive, flying swarm, headed for the Bat cave exit. A satisfied smile spread across his face and he was out of there, following the swarm, then passing beneath them and leaving them behind, screaming down the road to Gotham City like a bat out of Hell.
The short, thin crystal stem protruded between the middle finger and bare ring finger of her left hand as Vicki Vale absent-mindedly swirled the remaining Chardonnay around, inside the goblet nestled in her palm.
Long and tiring, the day started with a fashion photo shoot. After rising at four that morning, she packed her photography equipment and drove to a remote location where she endured the antics of an inane group of moody, anorexic models that displayed less depth of character, brains, and common sense than dummies in a department store window.
Finished shooting pictures for the day, she could finally relax in one of the lounge chairs on her patio. She sighed, took another sip from the short-stemmed glass and, for a change, spent more than an hour drinking in both the wine and the breathtaking panorama of the city below.
She never tired of viewing what she deemed, "God's exhibit in motion," as the eternal artist lightly, almost experimentally dabbed at first to punctuate the passing of time and then, with increasingly bold strokes, liberally applied a wide, rich, purplish hue to his eastern canvas, imparting a lush, velvety texture to the early evening.
Standing on the balcony when the air was fresh and the sky was clear like tonight, twenty-nine floors above the ground, each star that appeared, twinkling in the sky above seemed to have an electrical counterpart far below. On evenings like this, when her mood was right and she was immersed in the fruit of the vine’s warm, mellow, memory-inducing glow, she sometimes imagined herself as a bird or an angel, magically suspended between two starry skies.
As her mind drifted, it floated back in time, settling on a bittersweet memory from which she could not and cared not to escape. The last time she had seen him, she remembered, closing her eyes and conjuring up the picture in her mind, it had been in late October, just as it was now.
They had not really wanted to part, but it had been as inevitable as the approaching dark. Too many obstacles existed to allow the relationship to work for either of them. She had her career as a world-renowned photographer and he had, well, besides his millions to manage and his philanthropic endeavors to oversee, he had problems - personal, emotional issues that in her estimation would require years of therapy and even then might not be able to save him from himself. Still, she cared deeply for him. After all these years she still remembered the tears they both shed, as they clung together one last time before she got in her car and drove away.
Reluctantly, as night folded over the city like a cape, she retreated from her terrace, driven inside by the increasing chill in the night air and closed the French doors behind her. After stooping to turn on her FM tuner, she stood, arched her back and groaned. Placing her regrettably empty wineglass on the coffee table, she surrendered willingly to the fatigue she felt and stretched out on her favorite sofa to enjoy some intelligent music. Anything would be better than the mind-numbing, bass saturated sounds, pumped through massive speakers during her fashion photo shoots in an attempt to animate and placate the highly paid models.
Rrring, rrring, rrring...
Her phone interrupted the cerebral riffs and rhythms of Spyro Gyra. Although she didn’t want to, Vicki opened her eyes and glared at it. Annoyed that it couldn't handle whatever problem waited on the other end, (it had to be a problem, wasn’t it always) she sighed and resigned herself to answering it since she hadn’t remembered to activate her answering machine. She sat up, turned around on the cream colored, leather couch upon which she had been reclining and lowered her bare feet to the plush white area rug that covered a portion of the hardwood floors in her study.
This was a great room in which to work. The paneled walls were decorated with tastefully framed enlargements of cover photos she had taken for highly recognizable magazines. There was the Corto Maltese cover for Time magazine that had been acclaimed as one of the most graphic and tragic, yet emotionally electrifying, covers of the 1980’s. Newsweek, Life and a number of her other favorites were represented as well. Yes, this room had everything required to inspire her, but right now she didn’t feel like working at all.
She wished her agent, the press, and the world in general would just leave her alone for a few days. Right, like that’s ever going to happen.
Vicki got up and crossed the room. The relationship she reminisced about had taken place fourteen years earlier and although she took many pictures associated the bizarre events surrounding that period, no pictures hung on the wall to commemorate the awards and accolades she received. The memories associated with that time still hurt too much to place reminders on her walls. But, without a doubt, it remained the most sensational story she ever covered. In fact, it continued to be regarded by most people in the press and law enforcement as the strangest and most horrific crime story in United States history. Ironically, the horror led to the brief, but unforgettable encounter with the only man she ever loved and for whom she still secretly longed.
Expecting the worst, she reached the massive desk in the middle of the study and picked up the phone. Wincing, she said, “Hello?” The voice on the other end, surprisingly, came from the same string of events and period in her life that she had been thinking of.
“Vicki, is that really you? This is Knox, from Gotham City.”
Prepared to sit in the burgundy, English leather, executive’s chair, custom-crafted to her exact dimensions, she stiffened as she heard and recognized the voice on the other end.
She stood, momentarily dumfounded by the effects of the wine and the unwelcome interruption before settling on what to say. “Knox, I don’t know why you're calling and quite frankly, I don’t really care. I’m very busy and don’t have time for the little skirt-chasing, credit grabbing, power-hungry Knox that I remember.”
“No, no, don’t hang up! This is a different Knox! This is the big, important Knox that is now the editor of the largest newspaper in Gotham City. This is the successful Knox, that has photographers for breakfast if he so desires. And by the way, Ms. Photographer, would you be available for breakfast tomorrow? I could be by to pick you up tonight, if you like, or I could have you flown here! We could watch the sunrise, together. How about it Vale?”
Knox heard a loud click, followed by a dial tone. He hung up in exasperation and paced around the room. Damn, he thought, as he picked up a cigar and clipped it. Now I have to call her back again and I’ll be lucky if she lets me get two words in. Let’s see, that’s 555-FOTO. What numbers are F-O-T-O? He glanced at the phone’s keypad, Oh, right, 3-6-8-6. He put the cigar back down and dialed the number. “Come on Vick, answer the phone!” Her answering machine greeted him after two rings.
“Hi, You’ve reached the offices of Vale World Photography, please leave us a message.” Beeeeeep.
“Vicki, this is Knox again. I get it. I came on too strong. Old habits are hard to break. Hey, listen, I have some important news for you, so please pick up. Vick? Vicki, are you there? Well, I just thought you would want to know that Jack Napier’s grave has been robbed! We don’t know why, or who did it, but his body is missing. We —”
Vicki picked up the phone at that point and shouted, “Allie, are you making up some wild story to get me to come down there? Because if you are, let me tell you something, you will regret it! Women today don’t have to put up with —”
“What you will regret,” Knox interrupted, “is missing the opportunity to be in on a great story of national interest that will be featured prominently in every newspaper and magazine, worldwide! I wouldn’t kid you about this Vick, my kid brother died as a result of exposure to the Joker's chemicals in a can of hairspray.”
Vicki replied with sincerity, “Allie, I’m so sorry. No, I didn’t know that. Nobody ever told me...”
“You didn’t know, because you didn’t stick around long after you broke up with Bruce Wayne and then dumped me without a word. My brother wasn’t one of the lucky ones that died right away. He lingered for over six months. The last few weeks he was under an oxygen tent with that hideous grin on his face, getting weaker and weaker, having those awful, convulsive, laughing fits. It was terrible. Watching someone laugh uncontrollably while they choke and spit up blood is not a pretty sight, particularly when it’s a member of your own family.”
Vicki felt awful. By now all of the venom in her system for Knox had vanished. “Allie,” she said, “you should have called me. Why didn’t you call?”
“Well, I was pretty shook up,” Knox said. “There wasn’t anything anybody could have done at the time. And after you left without even saying goodbye, I just figured you wouldn’t have come back, anyway.”
“No, I would have come back,” Vicki asserted, “if you had told me. I know thousands of people died. I was still there for most of that. I remember it was the use of a combination of products that caused the deaths. I took pictures of the sick and the doctors caring for them in Gotham Memorial hospital. I would go back to my apartment and cry every night, but I had no idea about your brother.”
“My brother,” Knox said, “was the kind of guy who bought a half dozen of anything that was on sale. This time it was hairspray, used in combination with other tainted products, purchased from a corner drug store. He said he figured it was the last one of the six cans he bought that had the deadly chemicals. The other five had been okay. It took him four months to get down to that can, so he became sick much later than most of the victims did.
"That was the thing. Nobody ever knew if this product or that product was safe. Every time a new combination of products was suspected we would publicize it in the paper. The TV stations were all over it, of course, but my brother never was one to watch the news or read the newspapers. He was only twenty-four. All he wanted to do was play, watch sports and chase babes. He actually died about ten months after the Joker. I try not to dwell on it too often. Anyway,” Knox brightened, “you need to come back now. I’d really love to see you again and I know you will find some great pictures that will have the magazines trying to outbid each other. Besides, wouldn’t you like to see Bruce Wayne again while you’re here? Hummmmmm?”
That hit a nerve. It was easy to tell from Vicki’s voice that the thought of seeing Bruce was at the same time both frightening and enticing. “Allie, I can’t just show up and say, Hi, how’ve you been? Long time, no see. Can I?”
“I don’t see why not.” answered Knox, “You have every right to be here to cover this story. And it’s not like you two hate each other is it?”
“No,” Vicki agreed, “I hope not anyway. But he didn’t even think to let me know when Alfred died. I found out through a friend who had seen the article in the paper about his funeral. I’m not sure he wants to see me.”
Vicki could hear a female voice in the background on Knox’s end of the line, after which he said, “Wait a minute Vick, one of my people is asking me to do something.” He turned away from the phone but his voice remained clearly understandable, “What do you want, you idiot, can’t you see I’m on the phone?”
Vicki figured the assistant must have been insulted by Knox’s rudeness. But it probably wasn’t the first time, and wouldn’t be the last, that she had to put up with his insensitivity. Shaking her head, Vicki heard the assistant say, “I have something here that requires your signature, Mr. Knox. We need to over-night this to London...”
Knox didn't sound impressed. “And it couldn’t have waited three more minutes, right? Give it here . . . My God, this is a damned book! What is this, a copy of an encyclopedia? Where, and on which page, do I need to sign?”
Vicki imagined the young lady dutifully flipping to the appropriate page and pointing to the line that required Knox's signature. He spoke out loud as he signed with a flourish, “Alexander Knox, there. Now, get me a cup of coffee and a Danish, and that won’t wait three minutes either, understand?”
“Yes sir, Mr. Knox,” the assistant replied.
Vicki wished she could tell the girl to stand up to Knox. What a jerk, she thought. He hasn't changed a bit.
Back on the phone, Knox said, “Sorry for the interruption, Vick. Here’s the plan. Hop on a plane. You can stay at my place tonight. I have a huge bed, although the two of us won’t need much space, and you can have bagels and Knox for breakfast in the morning!”
Again Knox heard a resounding click, followed by a dial tone. “She wants me,” he grinned and shook his head with approval. “Now, where did I put that cigar?”
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