The New Director

By Adrian Tullberg

Alfred Pennyworth glanced at his employer, who was taking breakfast.

"Something you want to say, Alfred?"

"I seems somewhat out of character for you to endorse … this particular woman to take over Arkham Asylum, sir."

"Let's just say I've got a good feeling about this director, Alfred ..."

Jennifer Walter's face was firmly planted on the surface of her desk. "Why am I here?"

"The presiding judge revoked your licence to practice law for a year after the Wrecking Crew barged into court during that divorce case, and this job was the only one available?"

She-Hulk raised her face. "Do you know what 'rhetorical' means, Derek?"

"We here in Arkham prefer literal statements of our reality, ma'am. It prevents us from being infected with the worldview of the inmates."

"When exactly did this job suck the life from you?"

"Three weeks, two days and four hours, ma'am."

"Oh God. Let's get started..."

"You're not supposed to escape, Mr. Dent."

"Yes you're quite right! We've been naughty! Very naughty!"

"This will involve a revoking of your privileges until ..."

"The Hell with our privileges! Punish us! Spank Us! Lay your discipline with those strong yet graceful green fingers..."

"Ah ... okay ... Derek, show him out..."

"Put a leash and collar on us...!"

"That... was strange..."

"I'd like to be the first of the Inmates to formally welcome you to Arkham, Ms. Walters."

"Thank you Mr. Tetch."

"I also managed to scrounge up a little gift ..."

Jennifer smiled as she took the box wrapped in newspaper. An inmate becoming polite and civil on her first day might be a sign that this wouldn't be so bad after all.

"Why thank you! It's ..." She removed the item, hopes dashed. "…a jump rope."

"The exercise yard is deserted roughly about 6 a.m. if you wish to use it. Particularly if you face the western wall."

"Facing the cells and just enough sunlight, Mr. Tetch ...?"

His expression was astonished innocence. "Well, yes, if you put it like that. I never thought of that before..."

"I won't waste any more of your time, Mr. Tetch, Derek ..."

"You can talk to me. Any time..."

"Derek, tell whoever's in charge of Mr. Tetch's therapy that he needs a girlfriend. Stat."

"The budget doesn't allow for miracles, ma'am."

"A letter from ..."

Jennifer massaged her temple. "... the Gotham Star Trek fan club?"

"I assume you've received similar letters before, ma'am."

"Let's just say they can't afford enough to pay me to dress in an Orion Slave Girl costume."

"You've been trying to steal my puddin'!"

"Dr. Quinzel, nobody wants your pudding. We've lost more staff and lawsuits to your pudding than any other patient ...!"

"I've seen the way you've been looking at him!"

"Backed against the wall? With my fingers in the crucifix position?" Jennifer demonstrated with her index fingers.

"Oh yeah, well take this!"

A hand produced a bottle, and a violent motion flung the contents on her face and blouse.

Jennifer looked at her dissolving top, and then at Harley, green fingers strumming angrily on the desktop

"... eep ..."

"You really didn't do your homework, Harley."

"That's pure sulfuric acid ..."

Jennifer stood up. "Derek, lock Ms. Quinzel in solitary for the next ten days. Then revoke all privileges until the cost of this blouse is recouped."

The remains of her blouse and the underwear beneath it fell to the floor with a wet splat.

"Yes ma'am."

"Eyes up Derek."

"I wish I could ma'am."

Jennifer slumped to her chair. What a first day …

"It seems Ms. Walter's appointment has been a resounding success, hasn't it Alfred?"

"Noticeable escape attempts drastically down is a good sign sir."

Alfred handed over a bunch of envelopes. Bruce rolled his eyes, and started opening the many, many requests for money that he received despite the repeated notifications that they'd have better luck contacting his charitable foundation.

After opening the first one, he was mildly surprised.

After all, this was the first time he'd been contacted by the Gotham Star Trek fan club ...