Pride of Gotham:  Mister Blake’s Neighborhood

Pride of Gotham: Mister Blake’s Neighborhood

Synopsis:  Thomas meets with an associate from the law firm that his family does business with to make a purchase in the East End of Gotham.  The associate finds the location of the purchase bewildering despite the fact that Thomas assures her that it’s for a legitimate endeavor.  Towards the end of their meeting Thomas takes notice of a situation that he feels requires his attention.


This was something different. At least that’s what Thomas told himself while he walked through the building.  He glanced around considering everything he had been told.  He wanted to be elsewhere, but right now there was business to take care of.   Things that needed to be done.  Life needed to be live.  He didn’t need to see Mason to hear.  The sounds of her heels crossing the floor along with the scent of her perfume told Thomas exactly where she was it.

He was standing near the entrance having already passed through.  He wanted to meet with Nyah, but she sent her associated to work with him. It seemed that she had other business that needed to be taken care of.

“This is…”  She started.

“Is what I want. I want the entire building.  Bottoms fell out a long time ago. Taxes are what they are. I’ll handle it. The bank wants to offload it.  They want it off their books.  Doesn’t look good to hold pieces of land like this in East End,” he reminded her.

“And you do?”  She glanced at him.

“May I remind you that Ms. Richards is not in the habit of involving herself in criminal enterprises, Mister Blake. I understand that your family has long standing ties with the firm, but we rather avoid problematic individuals if we can.”

Thomas took no offense.  It’s not like he hadn’t had his fair share of run ins with the law, but he wasn’t looking for that type of legal representation.

“I requested Nyah’s assistance, because she’s good at what she does.  The firm that you work for has always done right by my family.”  Not something that he opted to talk about, but this was different.

“This is a legitimate acquisition.   I’m sure you’ve heard many things, but I assure you that I do not intend to involve the firm in anything that would damage their reputation.”  Though doing business with him, probably already did that, but some ties can never be broken.

“I looked over several properties and this one best suits my needs.”  Thomas went as far to wear a suit which he normally did not do even when meeting with one of the legal eagles from the law firm.  He had several meetings with several different realtors, but it took some time to find the right one, the one that would bring him where he wanted and get the information as quickly as he desired.

“I will admit, that I’m a bit confused as to why you would want to purchase a building in this area. Surely the Diamond District or someone where in between.  The assets that you’ve maintained would lend itself to an area of better opportunity,” the associated counseled.

Her choice of words made Thomas smirk.  That was cute she was trying to help guide him in the right direction.  Investment in this area was like dropping stacks of bills into a money hole.

“Perhaps, but the intended purpose of this place wouldn’t do me any good in those areas.  Besides I tend to avoid the old stomping grounds.  People get nervous and I don’t feel right there.”  He only went into the Diamond District if he had too.  He went in search of information and he got it.  Perhaps he went further than most would suspect, and he wasn’t hanging around a bar, but he didn’t need booze at the moment.  He had other things to take care of, other things to do.

He took some time to himself just to drift about.  See what the fall out was, and it had already started.  So, Thomas did what he felt was necessary.

Olivia Mason would not go so far to say that she was impressed by the by Thomas Blake, she would say that she was confused. Many had described him as a bit unhinged, but then again, they did live in Gotham and one person’s unhinged was another’s sane.  Given the number of individuals that he could be compared with there were worse individuals, but then again this was the first time she met with Mister Blake.  The only thing that seemed a bit out of the ordinary was he wanted to purchase a building in one of the worst areas in Gotham.

One had to be skeptical about the area.

She glanced at Thomas while she continued to tap on her tablet sending through a few emails.

“You would like to put in a bid then.  You could do that through the realtor.”  She reminded him.

“Yes, but the funds that I want to use for this project are Blake family funds and that requires me to involve the attorneys.”  It was something that he established to prevent himself from doing something foolish which was always possible given his inclinations from time to time.

“I would like to place the bid, and I want you to work with the realtor.  In addition to that I want know everything about this building.  Everything I can about the surrounding buildings. I want to know who my neighbors are and I rather that you put the firm’s resources to work at doing so.”  He could look into it, but it would probably send the wrong kind of message.  Again, this was supposed to be legitimate.

It was true that he took jobs whenever they arose, but right now this was something that needed his attention.

Wetting his lips Thomas stepped through open room that stood near the front of the building looking out into the street.

“It’s going to take some time.  I’m going to have to see what can be saved and what can’t.  What fits and what doesn’t.”  It was going to take time, and while he did have resources, he didn’t want to squander it all.  He wanted it done right.

“Are you planning on flipping this,” Olivia queried.  “There are better properties that would move faster than this one, Mister Blake.   The only kind of people that would be interested in property here are…”

“Are?”  Interrupting her Thomas turned to face the woman.

“Criminals?  Unsavory?   Thieves?  Killlers?  Insane?  Oh, wait I know.  Undesirable.”   Did that make him insane? Did that make him a killer?  “Dangerous.  Unstable?”   He took a step towards her tipping his head ever so slightly.
“Those kinds of people are spread all throughout the city, Ms. Mason.  I’m sure you were aware of that.  The city is also filled with other kinds of people.  Desperate.  Downtrodden.  Hard working.  Down on their luck who can’t help where they live. They see no way out, can’t figure a way out. Circumstances stand in the way preventing them from doing with some can, but they keep trying. And sometimes the two are not mutually exclusive.”   He shrugged.

“The cracks in Gotham can be as wide as the largest of canyons.  One or two people don’t slip through them, dozens.  Those people are here too and the only choice they see are the ones they’re presented with.  If all people are given is trash, then they’ll start to accept the trash.   Sometimes it’s not enough to offer someone a way out, sometimes you have to be the way out.  Sometimes you have to be an alternate choice for those with limited options.”

He stopped short of bumping into her.  “Even if it means that you have to make some a little uncomfortable from time to time.”  With a smirk he turned away stepping back towards the window.

“I know the process. I know the length of time it takes.  I also know that retainer your firm is paid should help expedite the process.   Please do put your best foot forward.  I rather enjoy doing business with you all.

“Think of it as doing your part to give back.”

Olivia almost scoffed at the statement.  “From what I was told.  You are neither a good or nice man, Mister Blake.  Are you trying to turn over a new leaf?”

Thomas chose not to turn towards her.  Instead he looked through the jagged pieces of glass of the broken window as several older kids dragged another into the nearby alley across the street.

“Never claimed to be a good man.   Far from nice.  Truth be told, good people in Gotham tend to die.  Nice people forgotten.”  Walking over towards the door he pushed it open.   “I’m far from dead and I tend to make an impression of some kind apparently.”  He let the door close behind him heading across the street.

“Told your mom that the pills weren’t free, Jay.  Stealing isn’t tolerated. Sadly I couldn’t find her so you’ll have to do. Question is does she get a warning or does she get a message.  You know.  Hood style.”

There was going to be a message, but not the ones this little gang was hoping for.   What was it about being good or nice?  Maybe he would ask them when this was all over.

Pride of Gotham sounds like a good name. It will probably get mocked, but it sounds nice.  It was what was going through Thomas’s mind as he disappeared into the alley to be a “nice” prospective neighbor.

The Killing Joke:  Cats Rule…End of Story (Thomas Blake P.O.V.)

The Killing Joke: Cats Rule…End of Story (Thomas Blake P.O.V.)

Synopsis:  Thomas Blake looks into what’s happening in Gotham since one of the Bat crew crossed the line and finds a few things up leading him to the Murder Circus on the Water.  (Nothing riveting, but people outside of the heroes and the cops are taking notice of what’s going on).


What has Thomas Blake been doing since everything went to shit? Retracing steps. Checking out old haunts and probably if he did not know any better, contaminating crime scenes, but luckily for the over worked, stressed out men and women of the law especially the CSI techs Thomas knew a thing thing or two about not contaminating crime scenes. For Thomas it was about getting what he needed references, deconstructing what happened, but what was in front of him.

Whether it was a broken table, skylight or anything else that was out of place. Scents that blended together that made for a nightmare for most could be pulled apart by Thomas. It was like looking at after images. He didn’t see people, his brain could fill in the images, but his sense of smell, his olfactory senses were on fire. Things that were familiar and those that were.

Birds of a feather and who flocked and didn’t flocked together could be made out. As could ninjas (he was being kind, because in the beginning it was kung fu mutha #$@%ers.) Those were new, but he was becoming familiar with them and their arsenal of weapons. They certainly liked their smoke bombs. If anything he was looking for clues, clues to help him piece together where to go next, what questions to asks.

The Joker was involved. It was evident by his pirate broadcasts. Word on the street is this is where it happened. He needed to be able to distinguish scents not to go running out into the city, but to add them to a growing and never ending repository of information, but these quiet moments of the lone cat slinking through the night allowed Thomas to organize information in a way that allowed him to ask simple questions. Questions that some would overlook, but others might go hmm.

Of the scents there were some that were unfamiliar. One that was expensive, yet exotic. The fragrance wasn’t anything you would find stateside, it was definitely outside the United States. It had to be the dame. Then there were others that were local could be Joker, but another, this one that was neither ninja, goon or Cobblepot made Thomas wrinkle his nose.

He knew that scent. He smelled it before. He tucked that away. The scent had no name attached to it, but the nose never forgets. Still, this is where the dame was snatched. It’s what he was thinking about as he left one crime scene for the next. There were people to talk to. This was normal. Insurance rates would go out for Oswald, but he’d reopen.

He always did. Why was he involved? Why did it matter? Firefly wasn’t anyone to him, not really.

Perhaps it was the nagging feeling of…where was the justice? If it had been him he’d be in jail, being told what a harm he was to society. Ninjas were in the streets menacing anyone that was caught in their path that happened to have some interaction with those that had been classified as the enemy, because they might know something. Bat’s was an asshole, but he was their asshole and there was something. This…this bullshit was something….Gotham was hitting new lows, even for Gotham and given that he was from Gotham Thomas Blake could say that.

In the middle of all that something stuck out.


 Thomas had been to the Iceberg a few times, it was usually for upscale clientele. He was familiar with most of the female staff in one way or another. He rather not go into how he knew them, but he was familiar with most of their scents and the clothing that Cobblepot had them wear. It was familiar. However, there was something that didn’t stand out, something that was more along the lines Joker’s people.

Quinn. Not that he didn’t have a frame of reference, but anyone that was there that talked said nothing about her. Despite all her problems, Quinn was not a shrinking violet. She was loud, obnoxious and usually draped over the Joker like a cheap suit. At least that’s what Thomas had observed and heard. However, this time there was no mention of her…at all.

Even more, he couldn’t recall seeing her during the Joker’s broadcasts. That didn’t add up. Not one bit. What’s a guy to do? Ask questions. Questions that could get him in trouble if he asked the wrong people, but there were people he could ask. Had they seen the Joker’s best gal. True they had their differences, and they sometimes went on the outs, but there was nothing on the street said that they were on the outs. What he had a was a peculiarity. One ne needed to uncover.

Here’s the thing. He was working at the deductive reasoning business. If the Joker and Harley weren’t on the outs then where was she? There was nothing from the regulars about her being seen or brought into the police department and she’s not someone you would overlook on the street. She stood out just like the clown.

However, everything about what happened at everyone looking at the Joker focused on what he was doing. Their attention was to the left, but what was happening to the right? What was she up to? Why wasn’t she noticed? Because she didn’t want to be. Took of her face and put on a mask.

She blended in. Change of pace. Less asking about Harley and more about Harleen.

Thomas would not go as far as to say that he cracked the case, but he had something he could work with. It’s not that he didn’t have other resources, but he rather not tip his hand if he didn’t have to. He also was unsure about where he stood. Could this be contained? If so, what then? If not, what then? Gotham hadn’t grinded to a halt, but it felt like a city had seized a bit with everything that happened. The wheels of progress were once again off the track in the worst way.

Even if this had the best possible outcome and Talia al Ghul was rescued there were individuals who weren’t too keen about the way things went down. If the ninjas had been acting alone at the command of their master it would be one thing, but there had been too many reports that the Hood had been at the front. The same Hood who was galivanting around with the Joker.

Everyone saw how long that lasted, in the progress someone last their life and yes everyone knew the Joker was insane, not excuse a fact and he may find his way to Arkham again to repeat that cycle, but what about the Hood? Is this the Justice people should expect now? Are the rules being rewritten? A new order.

The Bat had been seen, but…Thomas told himself to focus. He needed to take a step at a time. Rather than asking if anyone had seen Harleen Quinzel he asked if anyone had seen this woman. If they didn’t think about or she would be a random person.

Anywhere. Somewhere. Someone had to have seen the woman. He was hoping. Whether Gothamites wanted to believe all of Gotham was touched by crime. Some violent, some not so violent some that used the upper echelons of population to bring their operations into the light. They went legitimate , we as legitimate as they could. Others had understandings, which is why he spoke with everyone showing the picture of Harleen from an old newspaper article. They didn’t need to know that she now went about as Harley Quinn.

It was a simple, “Have you seen this woman.” Type of situation. She was running a scam, and someone got burned and Thomas was doing work to track her down, for a friend. It took a little time, because he slow walked it, he didn’t want to tip off the wrong people. If word got around that he was looking for Harley it could quickly get back to the Joker and he wanted to avoid that.

However, he got what he needed eventually. She had been spotted, in Sandy Hook of all places.

This was the last place that he thought he would find himself. When people came to visit Gotham it was usually this area that they visited. It is where Gotham Stadium was located. It was the part of Gotham that people wanted to have showcase across the world and it got its fair share of television time sadly Crime Alley and the like also got their fair share. If Crime Alley was the hideous child that you wanted to keep hidden under the steps then Sandy Hook was the one you wanted to show.

In other words, Sandy Hook was Marcia Brady, while Crime Alley didn’t even rate Jan, it was Cousin Oliver.

If Thomas had more to go on he might know where to start in this area of the city, but while he had something he didn’t know exactly what it was. There could have been a number of reasons why Harley had come to his part of town. He could ask around, but that would take time and time had been running out. Though when one thought about it despite the fact that Talia al Ghul had been snatched in the Iceberg, Sandy Hook would definitely be an area she might have been residing in.

It was a leap, but one thing that Thomas knew was that no one had heard anything about the Joker setting up shop in the usual areas. Maybe there was a reason for that. Perhaps to disappear they needed to hide in plan sight in the last place anyone would look for them. It was possible. Anything was possible. It could explain why Harley had been in the area.

Perhaps it was as simple as that. Not only had she removed the armor to appear as a regular person they needed something innocuous and wouldn’t draw attention to themselves. So many assumptions, but now that he had an area there were different questions that he could ask.

Was there anything out of the ordinary. Anything, nothing was too big or small. Was it business as usual in Sandy Hook or was something out of place? That was the question and while there had been no explosions, no terrible threatening people roaming the streets, there had been something.

Noise complaint. Nuisance. Noise pollution. Apparently, all was not well in Sandy Hook. Neighbors weren’t getting along. Perhaps they were having a bit of spat, but as Thomas dug into it apparently this had been going on for quite some time. Two weeks. Two weeks and nothing, but then again, the wealthy tended to handle certain matters amongst themselves. At least that what he was told, but two weeks. It was true that al Ghul had been missing for a week, but perhaps he should.

It’s what brought Thomas to the Admiral Docks in Sandy Hook. The source of the noise pollution. Thomas had seen it before they all had. It was a jewel of Gotham, but by the time he arrived it had gone from jewel to something out of a nightmare. If there was any doubt about where the Joker had set up shop it had vanished.

Apparently, the murder circus had set up shop on the water.

Despite what this meant the first thought that Thomas had was, property values are about to hit the basement.

Quiet Night at the Stacked Deck

Quiet Night at the Stacked Deck

I was supposed to be a stand-up guy, a true law-abiding citizen.  Someone that had been rehabilitated at least to the best of the abilities of the state of New Jersey and considering the current governor that was saying a lot, but either way I was paying taxes, taking jobs that were legitimate even if they took me out of the country from time to time.  I had a house. I had a picket fence, honest to God, a picket fence.   Just this past weekend I was out there mowing my lawn and a few hours later I was watering it. I was living a normal life, because that’s what I’m do when I’m at home.

I try to be normal. I try to put the past behind me, and if I can’t do that I slide it to the side and move on. This is my life, this is what my neighbors know about me.  It’s all I care to let them know about me, because there’s some things that people don’t need to know.  I’m sure the rumors swirl about talking about what I’ve done and who I am. I don’t get any trouble, I don’t cause any either.   I’m a stand-up guy. I’m the guy you come to if you want to borrow a piece of lawn equipment.  I’m the guy that you come to if you want to borrow a cup of sugar from.

I’m the guy you come too if someone is giving you a problem and the police can’t be bothered and the heroes…the masked ones that give my kind a rough time when they break the laws can’t find the time to notice the small things. It’s enough of them out there.  They always say they can’t do it all, but it’s no longer an army of one.  Don’t let them tell you otherwise it’s gotten bigger and it’s only going to get bigger and the underbelly of the underbelly is always going to slip through the cracks or there’s a line that can’t be crossed, because there’s always a bigger fish, bird, multiple personality or clown freak that catches their eye first.  Let alone the bosses and made mean, because Gotham puts out bad problems like a devout Catholic births a litter of kids.

So, where does that leave a chum like me?  With decisions to make.  People to talk to and problems to solve the only way I know how.  Does it get me a bad rep? Probably.  Does it fix what needs fixing?  Definitely.  Will I eventually get a visit from some asshole in a cape or whatever their wearing these days?  Maybe.  Either way it’s life.  It works. I’m living and despite the police knocking at my door ever so often there’s nothing being done, because the witnesses that should be stepping forward don’t.   They’re the victims. The ones that slip between the cracks of cracks who come to me, Thomas Blake.

It’s a life. It’s my life and I like it.  I go for a couple of days, a week and handle a job that I’ve been hired to do and return and start the cycle all over again.  Mow the lawn. Water the lawn.  Grab a beer at home or sometimes at some of my old haunts.

However, this is when it’s different, when things are different.  No, not the bar, the bar is the same. Stinks of cigarettes and tale beer.  The crack of the cue ball striking another.   Voices getting loud over the fight on the set.   Old Maggie telling someone that if they don’t pay up she’s going to break their hand.  One crook giving the deets of a job gone right or wrong to another.

That’s what should be happening, but tonight.  That’s not what went down.  It started out that way, but it was different because instead of the regular order of business there’s people who are missing a thumb or a finger.  Blood is on the table and I’m pretty sure a few people got cut and a few others got shot.  Surely someone’s called the cops?  Maybe.   Could be another night at the Staked Decked except instead of the regulars you have another group that’s come in.

Out-of-towners.  They’re not trying to muscle their way in they’re looking for information and there’s nothing new about that except they were turning my night out into a fucking pain.  P-A-I-N.   Already heard about the Hood doing his thing, but it seemed that he had gone a bit extra, with shaking people down for information.   Lost his shit people said, but really can you tell. Is there a ‘Lost Your shit’ meter out there that I don’t know about?  That’s how it started, the day before, but tonight it got incredibly worse, because not only do you have everyone’s favorite red masked fuck up putting the screws to everyone you have ninjas.

Shit you not.  Fucking ninjas which means this is either a high or a low for Gotham.  Depends on you ask.  Weird shit happens. Dumb shit happens, but I wanted a beer. Just a beer. Shoot the breeze. Ask a few questions and now…now…fucking ninjas.  What next Power Rangers?

Now, I consider myself a rather observant individual and there is a possibility that there could have been ninjas in the city and I had no clue.  Which means they were doing their job, but the shit ton that have climbed out of the woodwork is a bit much.  Now, I have to remind myself why I was here.  To get a beer, right?

Partly.  I haven’t been at the Deck for a couple of months, partly because of work and then work.  So, I have been a something for some kind of eyes, because I just don’t fit the sight for sore eyes type. There were a few that would have preferred I not show up, because the last time I was in things didn’t go well.  Couldn’t help it that someone was cheating at cards.  I don’t appreciate that, and I simply let the individual know the only way I knew how.


I let them know that it was going to hurt them a who helluva lot and I could give a rat’s ass about it, but people got to learn. If I’m the one that has to crack along the knuckles, then I’m the one.  It was just done with a pool stick instead of a ruler.  If they’re lucky.   However, right now with everything that’s happening I tell myself it’s going to be one of those nights.  I reach for my bottle of beer to enjoy what’s left of my night.

I saw the broadcast. I knew better than most what was right around the corner.  One-part chaos, one-part bullshit, several parts Joker induced jig.  It didn’t matter.  What mattered was finding out what people knew without causing too much of a fuss.  People shoot the shit at the Deck, when they feel comfortable enough.  Amazing what you can learn during a game of cards.  You don’t push it you let it happen.  You don’t go in like tense or intense you talk a good game which means you let the bullshit run like lava when you need to, and sometimes you keep quiet.  You freak them out a bit especially when you’re known to be a little talkative.

People like to talk and whether or not people would believe it, criminals are gossips.  They love to gloat even when it seems like they’re not gloating.  That’s what I was here for.

”Did he snatch from her house?”

”Idiot! Talia al Ghul don’t live here.  Had to be from a hotel.  What was she doing here?”

You let it fly and keep playing your cards and encourage them to finish the game.  You could find your way into a nice little pay day if you’re lucky.  If you’re really lucky you’ll hear something that sounds a little more like the truth.

Someone would have been there to witness the entire event play down.  Someone that was present for one reason or another. They had to tell someone. It was the honest to God Joker in the flesh.  I you make it out you count yourself lucky.  You don’t want to blab, but you have to tell someone especially if you’re a nobody. Someone that no one would blink at.  Then again that can get you killed, because you might talk.

You never know what might be going on, but you pick up a few things here and there until you wind your way around to the person that knows enough to fill in the blanks, connect the dots and get you to point B without turning the underbelly right side up.

I was there, I was drawing the information out when everything came to a halt and I was enjoying my beer.

They showed up not to long after the Joker’s send up to American Horror Story: Gotham City.  That had everyone talking, but only for a moment, because enter ninjas which brings me back to where I was before sipping my beer.  Draining the bottle, I found myself looking across at the man that I was speaking with who was there with his gal who was sure he was going to pop. Maybe they were there for him, maybe they weren’t. It didn’t matter.  I was still drinking my beer instead of being a good little compliant hostage or whatever they thought we were.

This is where I tell myself that maybe tonight will be a better night. Perhaps one of the knights will show up perhaps even a little squire. I don’t know.  That’s what they do?  No, not really.  Who gives a fuck about a bunch of low lives?  They barely care enough about themselves to do the right thing, but what is the right thing?

I don’t know, but I do know one thing, two things actually.  One I’m never going back in.  That’s a fact.  Second? The guy I was talking to is going to need therapy.

In the movies one of two things happens with a beer bottle.  Someone cracks it over someone’s head or they break it against someone ready to use it as a weapon. I am capable of doing either.  There are a few things that I am known for.  Someone might think I will go for the knives I am known to carry, but at the moment, I know the number probably far more than anyone wants t

Bottle goes down on the table and the cards are displayed.  I had a full house.  That alone should piss me off, but easy come easy go.   There’s still fight left in everyone in here.

People who know me best know that when backed against the wall it’s not a matter of escape it’s a matter of attack and that can come in any shape or form.  Those two things are still on my mind s I make my move. It happens quickly one that earns me a cut along the side, but not before I throat him using the blade I carry to catch the reach of his.

I don’t bite I sink my teeth in and tear, ripping the skin and muscle open pulling not stopping until the shocked man is pulling back adding to the pain and shock which spreads across the entire bar, but gives everyone the moment they need to restart what had ended.  I move down and finish what I’m doing letting the flesh slip from my teeth even as the coppery lick lingers in my mouth and on my tongue.

Blade’s out and the entire bar descends into chaos.  Surely the cops will be here soon, but truly it was all self-defense.   The guy will live, he might not be talking any time soon, but he’ll survive.  You don’t get that chance often, but when given the opportunity you remind that Gotham breeds a special kind of person.

When people need something done they come to me. It’s going to be a long ten or fifteen minutes.  Maggie’s going to be pissed.  I also have a conversation to finish that’s if the guy’s done puking and keeping his head down.

Ninjas.  Fucking ninjas.