Sunday, June 3, 2007


It had been a long day.

More than that, it had been an important day.

The meeting with the senior leadership of Wayne Enterprises' German operations and with the German Ambassador was important, and so was the meeting with the president of Gotham Bank that came later in the afternoon. They were definitely both important to his business, but not to his other business -- at least not yet. And, right now, his other business was all he could think about.

His meeting with Nygma was important for his other business. The two of them had more to talk about. The good news is Nygma was looking for a job, and Wayne Enterprises had just the job for someone like Nygma to do. Nygma would be reporting at 8:00 the next morning to begin work at Wayne Enterprises.

It was late now, nearly midnight, and he was exhausted. But, he was often up at odd hours of the night, right about this time. That, coupled with everything that was on his mind, had him wide awake. He should be resting, but there was no way.

All his martial arts training, including the training he had in meditation, yet meditation is the one thing he never really mastered, and it was the one thing he wished he had mastered at times like this... he smiled to himself as he thought about the irony.

"A penny for your thoughts."

"Just thinking about business," he answered. "Sorry, Vicki."

"Don't worry about it, Bruce. We're friends. There's nothing you can't tell me if you want to talk, and nothing you have to tell me if you don't want to."

He smiled. That was certainly true, up to a point....

"I'm going to the restroom, and I have a quick phone call to make. I'll be back in a few minutes. Please order me another drink when the waiter comes back."

"Will do, Vicki," he smiled again as she got up and walked away. She was quite understanding, and many were the times he needed that: acceptance without pressure.

Alfred had occasionally suggested that he should change the nature of his relationship with Vicki, but that would ruin what he and Vicki had, and what he and Vicki had was something they both needed. Alfred was wise, but not infallible.

"Excuse me, are you Mr. Wayne?" a voice asked.

He looked up. It was one of the waiters, but not their waiter; it was a waiter he had noticed working the other side of the restaurant.

"Yes," he answered, thinking the waiter must very well know exactly who he was. Why was he asking?

"Mr. Bruce Wayne?"


"Sorry to bother you, sir. That young lady across the restaurant sent this over for you." The waiter handed him a pink envelope, the kind a greeting card would be in.

"Which young lady?" he asked, looking over to where the waiter had been working.

"I'm sorry, sir," the waiter hesitated. "She was at that table a minute ago." The waiter looked around. "There she is, heading out the door."

Wayne turned toward the entrance. He caught a glimpse of reddish hair and a medium build, covered in a gray coat. He had seen her earlier, though she had her back to his and Vicki's table, and he hadn't seen her face.

"Thank you," Wayne answered the waiter, who excused himself back to his own customers.

He pulled the card out of the envelope. A picture of a big, fluffy cat lazily sprawled out on a rug was on the front of the card. He opened the card. In big letters, the pre-printed greeting on the inside was "Meow!" But what was written above in neat handwriting caused him to freeze.

It was another riddle!

Detectives listened to an illegal bug,
But didn't report the criminal plan.
Crime covers up crime, swept under the rug,
All merely for wont of an honest man.
The truth is hidden by towers of lies,
But the crime of the towers is exposed in riddles.
What really happened is quite a surprise!
Dirty cops, a deal with the devil... the man in the middle.

He looked again in the direction of the door, but the reddish-haired woman was long gone. His waiter noticed him looking, though, and came over.

He looked down at the card again, and re-read it. Wayne was so sure that Nygma had been sending him the riddles. Maybe he was. Maybe the redhead was just a messenger.

His waiter arrived. "Is everything okay, Mr. Wayne? Anything I can get for you?"

Just at that moment Vicki came back, and the waiter moved to help her with her chair.

"I'm back," she smiled, then, noticing the card, continued, "a secret admirer?"

Wayne looked up at the two of them, speechless.

"What's the matter?" teased Vicki. "Cat got your tongue?"

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