The match flared after being struck, momentarily bathing Bullock’s face in a reddish glow. The flame died down a bit, letting his tilted down fedora shadow his eyes. The match lit the cigarette that dangled from his thin lips before a flick of his wrist extinguished it. Bullock flicked the burnt out match out of the open window and leaned back in his seat.
He was riding shotgun in a brown sedan and his partner, Jim Gordon, was driving. They were on their way to a crime scene, some warehouse on the waterfront. Bullock took a drag of his cigarette and blew the smoke out of his passenger window, looking out over the night draped city, Gotham City.
The Great Depression may have passed over the rest of the country but it had a stranglehold on Gotham. It was a pit of crime, filth and corruption. Harvey Bullock was a bad cop in a worse town, stuck with a straight laced partner. The two of them didn’t get along, but they didn’t have to. All they had to do was close cases and they both were good at that. So what if Bullock did it hung over most of the time? So what if he was a belligerent, violent alcoholic? Compared to the rest of the GPD, Bullock was a decent guy. That practically made Gordon a saint.
Bullock glanced over at Gordon, whose eyes were stuck on the road from behind those thick framed glasses he wore. They must have been heavy, since Gordon was always pushing them up his nose with his index finger. Gordon was in his forties, his hair was graying and his mustache was growing thick. Truth was, both of them should have been higher up the food chain by now, but politics held them both at detective.
It was all probably for the best, they worked homicide and they managed to do a little good from time to time. They got paired together because they were both on Chief O’Hara’s naughty list. They were easier to keep an eye as partners, easier to control. That was the theory at least. If only Chief O’Hara could see into the future, he would probably make sure the two never met.
Gordon pulled up to a warehouse a little past midnight. There were a few uniforms out front, standing around and trying to look busy. Bullock and Gordon got out of the car, both wearing rain coats. It had rained earlier that night, leaving the pavement wet.
A uniform approached them, a young Latino woman who spoke with a nervous voice. “Evening detectives,” she said, “I’m Officer Montoya, I found the bodies.”
“You did?” Gordon asked as he walked up to the open door of the warehouse. “Are they inside?”
“Yes, sir,” Montoya answered.
“I was on my beat when I noticed the door was open,” she explained. “I investigated and saw the bodies inside. I called it in right away. Chief O’Hara is already inside.”
Bullock sighed and tossed his cigarette into a puddle. “Great. You know what that means.”
“Yeah,” Gordon said, “just what we need.”
Montoya was confused. She was new to Gotham, but not exactly a rookie either. “What does that mean?” she asked.
Bullock grinned at Montoya, his round face was unshaven and his nose was crooked from being broken multiple times. He smelled of cigarettes and cheap whiskey as he leaned in a little closer to Montoya. “I’ll bet you a date with me that one of the stiffs is a lieutenant in Falcone’s crime family.”
Montoya leaned away from Bullock. “Why would Chief O’Hara care about one of Falcone’s lieutenants?”
“Good question,” Gordon replied. “Welcome to Gotham Police, Montoya.” Gordon then turned his attention to his greasy partner. “Can we go to work now?”
“Yeah,” Bullock said while turning away from Montoya, “why not?”
Inside the warehouse were three bodies under a single pale light that hung from the ceiling. The rest of the warehouse was drenched in darkness. Standing in that small circle of light over the bodies, was the tall, thin frame of Chief O’Hara, dressed in his fine blues and holding his hat. “I see you two caught this case,” Chief O’Hara said as he watched Bullock and Gordon approach.
“Must be heartbreaking for you, Chief,” Bullock replied sarcastically.
“On the contrary, Harvey, I’m quite happy two of my best detectives are on this.” Chief O’Hara looked down at the three bodies with an odd smile that Bullock couldn’t quite read. “Three of Falcone’s boys, one of them a lieutenant.”
Bullock and Gordon exchanged a glance with each other, a small smirk on Bullock’s face.
“I want the murderers found, gentlemen,” Chief O’Hara continued, “but don’t make any arrests without my direct approval.” When Gordon scoffed, Chief O’Hara held up his hand. “This could get bloody. The last thing this city needs is a mob war. Whatever you find, bring it to me. I want swift work on this, boys.”
Putting on his hat, Chief O’Hara offered both men a reassuring smile. After giving Gordon a pat on the shoulder, he left the warehouse, leaving Bullock and Gordon alone to do their work. Bullock shook his head in disbelief.
“We’re not making any arrests on this one,” he said. “We give him the names of the perpetrators and then we find them dead in some alley, a bullet in the back of their heads. Should we even bother to even see what’s being stored in this warehouse? We’ll be told to just ignore it anyway. I hate this job.”
“There’s something pinned to their jackets,” Gordon said as he knelt down next to one of the bodies.
It was a man in a green suit, a look of horror frozen on his face. The three men looked to have been cut down by a Thompson, which some called a Tommy Gun. All three of them had the same thing pinned to their chests. Taking out his handkerchief, Gordon pulled it from the victim’s green jacket. It was a playing card, a Joker card.