"Yes I know," he repeated into the phone again. "I got it, you don't have to keep saying it over and over. I'll take care of it." With that he hung up the phone. Standing up in his hotel room, he looked outside his window. As the rain continued to pour, Arthur Brown smiled to himself and rubbed his hands together. "Now, little Stephanie," he said aloud as he crossed back over to his bed. "It's time you and I have a little talk." He picked up his Cluemaster outfit from his suitcase. "Because you're gonna help me catch a Robin…"*
*To be continued in Robin #8-Kelen
The two men stood alone in the room, yet they were worlds apart. Or maybe it only seemed that way due to the large conference table in the room's center. One man, large and portly, exhaled his cigar smoke and leaned back in his chair.
"You do realize what you're suggesting, Mr. Jacobs?" he asked before taking the cigar back into his mouth. "The repercussions, the steps that need to be taken to pull off such a feat?" he asked again.
The other man just looked out the window at the downpour. He was tall, skinny, but clearly muscular underneath his business suit. He turned away and took a pull off of his cigarette. "Yes, I clearly know every nook and cranny of my plans, Mr. Williams," he said as he moved closer. "Now I ask you to look at the big picture," he motioned with his hand as he 'played' with a wad of hundred dollar bills.
Williams scoffed at Jacobs' smugness and then folded his hands across his stomach. "But show me your credentials my boy. You aren't a Luthor or Desmond. Tell me, where's your controlling hand over a city? Or better yet, a nation?" He slid the suitcase of money away from himself. "You want to come in here spouting promises and throwing money, but you are nothing to me. Hell, you haven't even accomplished what that Nigma boy has," he snorted. Jacobs' head rose at this.
"Surely you know of my power, Williams," Jacobs said as he put his cigarette out angrily. "I can kill anyone, anytime, anyplace, and I can have it done or do it myself," He leaned against a nearby bookcase. "You want to talk of power, well I know power, Antonio, and I am its master," he stated.
Williams took the cigar out of his mouth and smiled. "Now, if that's not the funniest thing I've heard in awhile. You call being a mob leader power?" He put his cigar out and tossed one of the packs of bills at Jacobs. "You're a fool if you believe that, Thomas," he snarled.
Jacobs caught the money and ran his finger through it. "Ahh, but what plans do you have for the superheroes running around, Antonio? Simply send more wannabe-metas out, only to have them destroyed by police and heroes alike?!"* He reached into his pocket and looked into the old man's eyes. "Tell me whether you are with or against me," he demanded.
*See GLAD #5 and Aquaman #85 for two small examples.-Kelen
"This is much greater than just Luthor and I, you know that now. New alliances are being formed and old ones are crumbling at their foundations." He looked back into the younger man's eyes. "Now you tell me, do you really believe you are more than a pawn in this great game?"
Jacobs removed his hand from his pocket and rubbed his chin. "Yes, I do. So much more than you know." He slammed his hand onto the table. "But tell me, what solution do you have for Batman? He wants to bring Luthor down. And what about Aquaman? Or even more, the Flash, now that it's a he again. He had a few choice words about our esteemed President as well,"* he reminded. "Are you just going to let them interfere with the great game as you call it?" He was nearly in Williams' face.
*Way back in Flash Annual #1, Wally told Batman he was with him when the time came to bring Luthor down.-Kelen
"I will just say, that the situation is currently being worked on. Now please, remove yourself from my breathing space," he snorted as he slid his chair away from the table. With the help of his cane, he stood and walked towards his safe. "Come here and see what it means to have power," he remarked as he twirled in the combination and opened the door.
Thomas peered inside then stood and looked at Antonio incredulously. "It's empty you fool," he said.
"But that's where you are wrong! While the safe may be devoid of material objects, it represents more. It shows that regardless of what I have, I know that I am taken care of. That, my friend, is real power," he slammed the safe door and looked at Jacobs triumphantly. But the look turned to one of shock.
Thomas was doubled over in laughter, not being able to contain himself. "You call that power?" he asked as he tried to catch his breath. "That is not real power. I will show you real power, but first, I demand to know my answer," he said as he picked up the briefcase of cash.
"You dare come into my home and make demands of me?! The answer is no, if I haven't made that clear enough!" he shouted, hurling a glass of brandy at Jacobs. "No man makes me a pawn, especially not you!"
The glass flew towards Jacobs at a high speed, then just as suddenly, it shattered into a million pieces.
Williams froze, scared to death. "You're one of them…" he whispered.
Jacobs sneered as he looked at Antonio. "Not quite," he replied. He took a sip of his own brandy and said nothing else.
Williams tried to move his frail body towards the security button, but he was not quick enough as he slumped to the floor, dead.
Seconds later, the room filled with men as they carried out various jobs. One man shot Williams directly in the chest; another shattered a glass of brandy on the table. Two more men hauled a beaten, dirty innocent man into the scene, where they forced him to hold the gun and place various fingerprints around the room. He was then instructed to shoot himself, which he also did without much resistance. Within a matter of minutes, what was a meeting between two business colleagues had turned into a homicide slash suicide. The motive: a kilo of cocaine that had been placed upon the table. The result: a drug deal gone horribly wrong.
Thomas Jacobs watched the men clear the room as quickly as they had entered. He soon followed suit, but not before remembering to pick up the ten million dollar suitcase.
"JLA: Drinking Night"
~This story takes place a few weeks after Robin #5, but before Aquaman #85.~
I hate monitor duty, Batman complained to himself at the JLA's Watchtower. Not only did it keep him away from Gotham, but also, it regularly gave him too much time. Time to think about things he didn't want to. Like Tim. There was so much there that he wanted to explain, but just couldn't…
"What's wrong with you, Bats? Oh wait, you always look like that," Green Lantern joked from across the room. "Cheer up, man, we all have to do monitor duty." He turned back to the green, construct television.
Batman whirled around and stared hard at Kyle. "What are you doing here, Lantern?" he asked. He noticed his constructed pillow and blanket. "Women problems?" he almost meant jokingly.
"If you must know, Jen and I did have a little argument," he snapped back. "But at least I have a woman to have problems with," he retorted.
Batman had a few choice words, but Aquaman and Martian Manhunter came in abruptly.
"It looks like you two are having a party here," he joked, noticing the tense scene between Bruce and Kyle. "Let me guess, Bats you have monitor duty, and Kyle you got kicked out," he assumed.
"I did not get kicked out! I left!" Kyle corrected.
"Whatever," the Sea King said with a wave of his hand. "We're only here for Oreos anyway." It was then he noticed Green Lantern's six-pack of beer. "You mind tossing me one of those, Kyle?" he asked. As the cold beverage hit his hand he easily popped the top and took a long drink. "Want any, J'Onn?"
The Martian shook his head. "I've never enjoyed alcohol," he said. "But I will go look for the Oreos," and with that he disappeared.
At that same moment, Superman arrived. Instead of his traditional red and blue, he was sporting sweat pants, a tank top, along with a pillow and blanket. He looked at Arthur who looked ready to laugh. "Not a word," he commanded. His gaze then fell upon Kyle. "And especially not out of you!" he accused.
"What? I was only trying to help!" he said as he shrugged his shoulders.
"Yeah and look where it got you," Clark pointed out.
J'Onn re-entered the room and tapped Arthur on the shoulder.
Aquaman looked into the Oreo bag to discover 2 cookies left. "Who ate all the Oreos?" he asked.
"Diana," Kyle quickly answered and he turned back to his TV.
"The least you could do is toss me another beer then, Oreo thief," the Sea King suggested.
"I can't," Kyle answered.
"Why not?" Aquaman demanded.
"Supes just drank the other 4," he said.
"What?" Superman asked. "You guys is just jealous because I can drink so fast," he stated, the beer quickly affecting his alien system.
Aquaman had had enough. He stormed out of the room and returned with two bottles of vodka.
"Arthur!" Batman scolded. "You had that in the Watchtower?"
"Yeah and so what," he snapped back. "It's not like I drink on the job. But if you wanna drink Superman, let's drink," he quipped as he placed shot glasses down on the table.
"Oh, I can't…" Superman began.
"Boyscout," Aquaman said.
"I'm in," Clark gave in.
"Me too!" Kyle said leaping over the couch.
"I, too, since the Oreos are gone," J'Onn added with a look at Kyle.
Aquaman and Kyle stood unaffected. Manhunter was now curled up on the couch with Superman's blanket. Clark was ready for more.
Clark used his super-speed to quickly occupy the bathroom for the next few hours.
"Silly boyscout," Arthur joked as he poured him and Kyle two more shots. "I knew he wouldn't last long,"
Kyle had made his way back to his construct TV, where he promptly passed out, leaving just the Sea King and the Bat.
"One shot, Bruce. It won't kill ya," Aquaman asked still holding strong.
Batman refused. "I don't drink," he scowled.
"Fine, you just sit there and brood about whatever it is you brood about then," Aquaman added.
"Fine, you convinced me," Batman said as he joined him at the table.
"Well, Brucie," Arthur began, quite drunk. "We have enough for one more round," he guesses as he spun the bottle in his hand.
"Then let's do it, friend of mine," Bruce responded as the alcohol spoke for him as well.
Batman was asleep, quickly accumulating a puddle of drool near his lips.
Arthur smiled in his drunken stupor. "Well, what do ya know, it looks like I'm the best. I'm the king of the JLA! What were they thinking, challenging a fish to a drinking contest. Like I was gonna…wait, what's that? Diana?" Aquaman asked. He walked over to the green construct and hugged it. He then passed out on its shoulder.
Green Lantern chuckled to himself as he laid back down on the floor. You may be the best drinker here Arthur, but at least none of us will wake up hugging a coat rack.