Welcome to the 2022 April A to Z Challenge! Each day (minus Sundays) in the month of April will feature a short work of fiction based on a random word beginning with the corresponding letter of the day. Those random words will be provided by various friends and family members throughout the month. Today’s word, nuisance, was provided by my blogging friend, Ely. Go check out her blog! Then come back here… Each story is loosely connected to the one before but will make more sense if you read them all in order. To go back to the beginning to see where this madness began, click here…
Bruce Wayne sat down at a table for three, just outside of a small café in Metropolis. He ordered an espresso and wondered how long he would have to wait for the rest of his party.
In some ways, he loved making the trip to Metropolis. Something about this city was so optimistic and hopeful. A stark contrast to his own hometown, which seemed dark and gloomy even on the sunniest of days. But that was always the difference between Superman and Batman. One existed to instill hope in mankind. The other, to strike fear in the hearts of humanity’s criminal element.
Then there was Diana, who could somehow do both at the same time.
As Bruce took a sip from his small cup, Clark Kent arrived and took his seat, his smile beaming down at the billionaire from Gotham. “What are you so happy about? You look like you just got some really great news,” Bruce observed.
Clark shook his head. “Nothing like that,” he said. “I’m just glad we’re doing this. It’s been a long time since the three of us were able to just have a social visit.”
Bruce made a noise that sounded like part laugh and part clearing his throat.
“Come on,” said Clark, “you know you look forward to these get togethers, too.”
It was harder for Bruce Wayne to glare without the bat cowl over his head, but he tried anyway.
“We get to just hang out and talk. No alien invasions. No natural disasters. No super powered androids knocking down buildings.”
“Speaking of which…” Bruce began.
But then Wonder Woman walked up in her Diana Prince civilian disguise. “No,” she told Bruce firmly. “We promised no shop talk for at least the first ten minutes.”
Clark laughed. “She’s just trying to win a bet. I said it would be under five minutes before you brought up League business.”
“Technically,” said Bruce, “you brought it up.”
Clark looked to Diana, “He’s got me there,” then handed her a crisp one-dollar bill.
The Amazon happily accepted her prize and ordered a caramel macchiato from the waiter. “Those drinks are so delicious!”
“If you say so,” Bruce muttered as he sipped his bitter espresso. “Well, if we’re to keep things light, let’s get to it. How’s Lois?”
“She’s fine,” said Clark, “but why don’t we just get to what you want to discuss first? Let’s just get it all out there and then we’ll have time to catch up on our personal lives.”
“As long as Diana agrees,” Bruce said as he looked toward the princess as she was caught mid-sip. She laughed and nodded her agreement.
“Fine. We need to discuss the nuisance that is T. O. Morrow.” Bruce was glad they were getting down to business. His mind was too preoccupied by recent events to be able to enjoy small talk. Even with Superman and Wonder Woman.
Diana gave the recap that they each knew but needed to hear again to have a fresh perspective. “Three simultaneous attacks by three of Morrow’s most dangerous androids: Red Inferno, Red Torpedo, and Red Volcano. And at each site, an android version of Morrow himself.”
“Any clues to what he’s playing at?” Clark asked Bruce, the world’s greatest detective.
“Nothing concrete. The Reds all went into auto-destruct mode when it was clear they would be defeated. The Morrow duplicates were just there to observe. I’ve got Tim working on tracing a signal back to the source, but so far he hasn’t come up with anything.”
Diana set her cup on the table. “What are you thinking, Bruce?”
“Something bigger is happening. Something we’re not seeing.”
“Do you think the Joker’s escape last week is connected to all of this?” asked Clark.
“I honestly don’t think so, but it’s too soon to rule it out as a possibility,” Bruce sighed.
A look of concern crossed Diana’s face. “Are you getting enough rest?”
Bruce looked up at her. “Rest? What’s that? I’m not familiar with…”
“At least we know he still has a sense of humor buried beneath that scowl,” interrupted Clark. Then it was his turn to show concern for their friend. “Seriously, Bruce, you don’t have to feel like you’re doing this by yourself. If you need help with anything, all you have to do is ask.”
Bruce closed his eyes and began rubbing his temples, a sure sign that he was dealing with a headache, in spite of the flawless façade he’d been trying to put on for his friends. “Fine. I actually could use some help trying to locate the clown. He may not be connected to the Morrow incidents, but he’s still out there and we have no idea what he could be up to. Clark, can you do a sweep of Blüdhaven to see if you pick up any sign of him?”
“Of course,” Clark said, “I’ll fly over there as soon as we’re done here.”
“What can I do?” asked Diana.
“Check on the kids in San Francisco. They all came within minutes of losing their lives yesterday. Tim tells me that most of the team is barely holding it together.”
“I can do that,” she said. “I’ll bring Canary with me. She’s an excellent listener.”
Clark stood from the table. “So, we all have our assignments. Diana will check in with the Titans. I’ll head over to Blüdhaven. And Bruce will go home and take a nap.”
“Sure I will,” said Bruce, throwing a fifty down on the table.
These characters are not my own. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman and all related characters are the property of DC Comics. This is a work of fan fiction and is just for fun. Please don’t sue me.