The Incredible Hulk: A Hulk grows in Brooklyn

-Oo-

Doctor David Banner, physician, scientist, was searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have, when an accidental overdose of gamma radiation alters his body chemistry. And now, when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs. The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter.

"Mister McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

The Creature is wanted for a murder he didn't commit. David Banner is believed to be dead, and he must let the world think that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him...

-Oo-

Chapter 1: Paraprofessional

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn 1979

"Jimmy, Jimmy open the door, it's David."

"No, no, I'm doing things!"

"Jimmy, you know it's not healthy to lock yourself in there, this is a public bathroom and the other clients have to use it."

"No, they can use the one somewhere else. I'm busy."

David let out a big sigh and put his ear to the door. The water was running for the last five minutes and he cringed upon hearing the hard thumps against the wall.

'Here we go again, toilet paper wads.' He thought, slightly exasperated.

"Jimmy, you don't want me to call a code green do you? How about a yellow for a missing Jimmy? Everybody will come running in here, and you won't be a happy camper. I'm trying to make this easy for you. You know Junior has the keys; he can come in any time he wants. Now I want you to make up your own mind, and open the door for me."

"But David, don'tchya understand, I'm doing things!"

"What things are you doing, Jimmy? Never mind, look, there are other clients waiting to use the bathrooms. I don't think it was very nice that you tricked me and locked me out. I thought we talked about this. No more Mr. Jimmy Mischief, alright?"

There was silence on the other side and then the door opened partway. Jimmy stuck his blonde head out, nervously chewing his lip with his overbite.

"David, I was just having fun with the toilet paper, honest. The toilet paper's clean! I promise!"

David looked at him firmly, and then waved to the young receptionist, Virginia, to call for a custodian. He kept his hand on the door and slowly pushed it in. Jimmy moved further back, revealing his entire mess, and David slumped his shoulders. All the green tiled walls were covered in bulky wet wads of tissue and one immediately fell on his head. This prompted laughter from the other clients and their Paras. David pulled it off with a nod and put it in the trash; he had to laugh in spite of the embarrassment.

"Ha, ha, ha! Very funny guys! Very funny. Just don't let Junior see you laughing when he gets here." He put an arm around Jimmy's shoulder. "Now, we are going to start picking up this mess until Junior comes with the mop, do you understand?"

Jimmy was about to protest and David tilted his head, staring him down. The young man let out a loud groan.

"Yes, David, I understand."

"Good Jimmy, and when we're finished we are taking a walk to see to Ms. Gallagher, no arguments."

-Oo-

David let Jimmy walk ahead down the bright hallway. Lana Gallagher's office was just past the reception area, adjacent to a large, gray conference room. In that room, employees also kept their lunches stashed in a locked refrigerator from the prying eyes and sticky hands of some of their more frisky clients. They stopped in front of her door, which was ajar, and Jimmy attempted to barge in.

David put his arm across the entrance. "No, remember what we have to do first?"

"Oh yeah, knock! But it's open anyway. Hey, I like that song, David, 'knock three times on the ceiling if you want me, twice on the pipe, if the answer is no…' He busted out into song, wagging his head. "What does that mean, David?"

"Well, ahh, it means, he wants to see his friend, if she's not busy…doing things. Okay, never mind that and just knock politely."

Lana heard the voices from outside, but she waited for Jimmy to follow David's instructions.

"Ms. Gallagher, it's Jimmy, David says I need to come talk to youuuuu. Please?"

"Of course. Come in, Jimmy."

He carefully opened the door and they stepped into the cheerful office. The walls were painted a pale blue color and decorated with the colorful artwork from some of the talented clients. Lana stood up from her swivel chair with a charming smile for both of them.

"Welcome, Jimmy, David. How can I help you?" She gave David a knowing look, having already been informed by the harried custodian.

Jimmy inched forward and took a seat in front of her black desk. He clasped his hands politely and stuck out his lower lip, trying his best to look innocent. David shook his head with a grin and folded his arms while standing behind him. Lana came around and took the seat next to Jimmy, giving him her undivided attention. This act impressed David very much. Lana was the head Clinician at the newly established, Clark Fitzpatrick Center. Despite her title, she always managed to find a moment for a friendly intimacy with her clients. She wasn't like some professionals he had seen in his years in the medical field. Lana didn't keep a cold distance and had no arrogance, as was sometimes the case in dealing with the mentally disabled. She seemed to give herself completely to her clients and they loved her for it. She gently listened to Jimmy's admission of guilt and even held his hand when she kindly, but firmly explained why what he did was wrong.

"So, Jimmy, please promise me you will never do that again? Otherwise, we'll have to make your Para go into the bathroom with you and you didn't like that the last time. I know you want privacy, everybody does in the bathroom, right?"

Jimmy laughed sheepishly and ducked his head. "Yes, Ms. Gallagher, the bathroom is a private place, and it's only for two, no three things. We do number one, number two and wash our hands. Oh yeah, I made up number 4, sometimes we have to vomit when we get real sick."

Lana chuckled. "That's very good to keep in mind. Okay, you can go back to your workshop, but first I think you need to say something to David."

Jimmy stood up. He was a very tall twenty-two year old with a bashful slouch and constantly fidgeted side to side. He held out his hand to David.

"I'm sorry, David. Thanks for being patient and not getting me in too much trouble, even if you did squeal to Ms. Gallagher." He admitted honestly.

David shook his hand firmly. "I'm just doing my job, Jimmy. Apology accepted, now go on. Michael is waiting for you to come back and finish your bookmarks for the sale on Friday."

"Oh right! I forgot! Bye guys!" Jimmy cheerfully bounded down the hall and back to his class.

David turned to Lana and smiled. "And so the morning begins! I'm sorry for bringing him here; I just know that it was an issue you were dealing with before. I suppose I can be very grateful. I heard the previous bathroom horror stories from Nick and Ron."

Lana's blue eyes widened and she laughed aloud. "Oh yes! We've gotten Jimmy way beyond that point, I wouldn't worry too much about that. I meant to thank you, David, for taking him on as a one to one Para. I know he can be a handful."

"Oh, don't fret about it, Jimmy's a good kid, when he's not 'making mischief' as he says."

"I also wanted to thank you for taking this position, I know I kind of forced you into it." She laughed again.

David liked her laughter; her voice had a rich and musical ring to it with a slight Texan drawl. He wondered what drew her all the way out to Brooklyn, New York, but knew better than to ask personal questions.

"Force? You call that weak arm twisting and threats to hang me by the toenails, force?" He joked. "Seriously Lana, now that I think about it, this is a much better deal for me. I need to thank you for taking me on without asking too much about my credentials. It makes me feel good that I can be trusted."

They stared intensely at one another for a moment, until Lana's gaze faltered and she checked over some paperwork. In the two-weeks since he'd arrived, David sensed a deep attraction developing between them. Lana Gallagher was an intelligent and very attractive forty-year old. She had wavy red hair that layered past her shoulders, supple, pursed lips and alluring cheekbones. All her features were distinguished, but soft. David appreciated that she wasn't too tall alongside him, though it hadn't bothered him with Caroline, his second wife. Lana was a pleasing five foot four. She carried herself with dignity, but she wasn't afraid to show her feminine vulnerability. It had been a long time since David felt so taken with a woman.

"David, I know it may seem unprofessional on my part, but I absolutely trust you. You don't have to prove yourself to me. I don't know where it comes from, but you have an inclusive professionalism in your manner, much more than I've ever seen even in the higher ups. And you are just a kind soul. I've only met a handful of people like you, and they are all from back home."

David took this as an opportunity to get more personal with her. "Back home wouldn't be Texas, would it? I don't mean to pry, I recognized the drawl."

"Wow, I thought I had lost it all these years in New Yawk." She mocked the city tone of voice and chuckled.

"Ah, no, sorry. It's still there, but I won't tell if you don't."

David wanted to continue the conversation but realized he had to get back to work. He was about to make an offer for lunch when Virginia's voice sounded a 'Green to room 2' over the loudspeaker. Lana rubbed her temples.

"That has to be Betty, it's always Betty in that room."

"May I offer a humble opinion?" David asked as she accompanied him toward the classroom. They could hear Betty's shouts frantically echoing down the hall and picked up the pace.

"Of course, David. You are extremely humble, and that's very rare for a man with your intelligence."

David appreciated her small hints of praise; he had needed that boost lately. "Thank you, well, I…I notice her outbursts come when she doesn't have her morning coffee. You've seen how volatile she gets when she's denied it. Lately the other Paras haven't been letting her drink it. Would there be any harm in letting her have that one cup when she comes in off the bus?"

"David, I wouldn't mind, but she tends to go overboard. Remember how she scared Virginia out of her chair, running up to her, begging and demanding it? She was ready to drink it right from the boiling pot! Betty has a severe case of mental retardation, but, I think…I think you're right. She's still a grown woman, even older than me and we must respect her as one."

David nodded satisfied as they approached the class. Lana was correct in her assumptions; Betty was now running around the room screaming her head off. When the Paras tried to grab for her, she backed into a corner, red-faced and crying hysterically for her coffee. Lana went up to her Paras and spoke quickly with them about giving her the cup. David picked it up and gently eased his way toward her, holding it out in front of him. Betty's tears subsided and she inched her way forward. She put her hands out to grab it. Her sullen gray eyes became wild and her mouth opened wider with delight. David shook his hand at her.

"Betty, wait a minute! Ahh…ahh…ahh…don't start crying again. What do we say if we want something?

"Gimme coffee! I want coffee!" She bellowed in her limited vocabulary.

"Betty, you can have the coffee, but first what do you say? He demanded again.

"Coffee please! Coffee please!" She finally sputtered, her face contorting desperately as she watched the steam rise tantalizingly from the Styrofoam cup.

David came nearer until he was finally alongside her and gently took her arm. He placed the cup in her trembling hand and she smiled gratefully. Her long, yellowed teeth jutted out. He patted her shoulder.

"Now, that's good, drink it slow, it's hot, Betty. Only one cup a day, do you understand that?" He held up his finger like the number.

Betty nodded, completely immersed in the warm liquid, and David knew that they were going to have to deal with this situation tomorrow. He caught Lana's eye and winked at her. Lana had been observing him with wonder. She felt there was there something so familiar about him, but she just couldn't figure it out and shrugged it off. The other Paras thanked David for his help and went back to assisting the rest of the class. They had started to get antsy and tried to roam out of the room. Lana came over to Betty and escorted her to her seat. She pulled out Betty's book bag and took her hairbrush. She gently combed Betty's silvered hair into a semi-decent style and offered her some comforting words. David suddenly heard his name paged to come to the front desk.

He approached the desk with a flourish and Virginia smiled. "The hero of room two!"

"Hey Ginge, what can I do for you?" He bowed and she blushed with a giggle.

"David, Vincent Donatello is here with his sister, the new student, Joanna. He's kinda on the job right now and called to see if someone can come outside to escort her in." She said disappointed.

David caught her look and knocked the table. "I'll go get her and Ginge, I'll tell him you said 'don't be a stranger, big boy…" He attempted his best Mae West and Virginia tossed a paper airplane at him.

"David! You wouldn't!" She ducked her head into her filing.

"Why not? Is there something wrong with him that he can't come and meet a lovely, young, lady who happens to adore him?"

David enjoyed making Virginia blush and smile. She was a sweet and pretty girl with curly black hair in a Farrah Fawcett hairstyle and vivid green eyes. David knew she was embarrassed over her full figure. Vincent Donatello was no Jack Sprat himself, being six-foot three and slightly husky. Since he signed his sister up for classes last week and dropped her off, Virginia had been unable to take her eyes off him. It seemed to David that love was in the spring air in this place, but he kept that fleeting and silly thought to himself.

-Oo-

Vincent kissed the top of his sister's head and adjusted her Yankee baseball cap over her dark curls. She nervously clutched her book bag to her chest and was hesitant to leave the car.

"Janna, what's the matta? I thought you loved comin' to CFC? Is someone bothering ya?" He peered at her through the rearview, his dark brows arched intensely at the thought.

"Nooo, I'm just scared." She shrugged.

"Why are ya scared? Everybody's gotta go to school sometime. You're doin' so well there, even your teachers said so. Don't you think you're doin' good?"

"Yeah, bu Vinnie, there's too many crazy people!" She complained and twirled her finger by her head while Vincent laughed.

"Hey, the kettle shouldn't call the pot black there, Janna-banana!"

"What's that mean?"

"Nuthin,' C'mon kid, I have work to do, If I don't work I can't buy your favorite snack."

Joanna's brown eyes grew wider. "No Twinkies? Vinnie, you gotta buy them!"

Vincent smirked and waved his long hands with a shake of his head. "No way, why should I buy them if you're not helpin' me out and doin' what you're supposed to? I'm not rewardin' bad behavior." He was thinking of some pointers he learned at the school's orientation.

Joanna started to giggle uncontrollably. "Vinnie, I'm not baaaaaadddd! I just want Twinkies!"

He turned to face her and pinched her round cheek. "Look chipmunk, if ya don't go to school, we won't have nuthin! We won't even have an apartment and I'll have to send you away!"

As quickly as she laughed, Joanna burst into tears. "No Vinnie! No! I'll be good! I promise."

He groaned and pulled out a tissue from his glove compartment. "Here, blow. Alright, Janna, I'm not gonna send you away." Vincent's eyes clouded over and he scratched his temple. That very thought had been eating away at him for the last few months. He didn't let her see his disappointment. "Hey, look, here comes your teacher. Is that your teacher?"

Joanna cupped her eyes and peeked out the window to see David strolling toward them. She grew excited and bounced around the backseat.

"That's David, he's my favorite! David is so nice, on the first day of school he bought me Twinkies, cuz, cuz…cuz, Louie stole them! Can ya believe it? He stole my Twinkies and ate them in my face. I was mad! I almost hit him and his ugly glasses right off."

"I probably would of." Vincent muttered under his breath, but gave her a smile. "Good job controlling the Donatello temper. So what did ya do?"

"I told David and he got a time out! Then David bought me more. Hi David! Hi! It's me! It's…"

"Joanna! You think I'd forget about you?"

Vincent was amazed that the older man's mere presence got her out of the car. She ran to him happily, but David stopped short of giving her too big of a hug. There were still various rules about bodily contact between the Paras and clients. After taking a tour of the small school, Vincent understood why. Some of them grossed him out and it was explained that they all had different levels of hygiene with their cognitive functioning. The school tried it's best to teach that too, but it demanded patience and a lot of Lysol and tissues. The other reason was to keep emotions in check. Vincent made sure his sister kept herself very clean, and she liked to be, so that made his life just a pinch easier.

David approached the window after sending Janna into the building and shook his hand. "Thanks for dropping her off, I know you're busy. We'll take good care of her."

"I'm sure ya will. Hey, I don't mean to be a jerk, but I gotta run, I…" His CB went off and the dispatcher began asking, 'Car 54, where are you?'

Vincent picked it up. "Car 54, I'm here."

"We have a pick up at 1250 West 10th, and after, Donny wants ya back in his office, he has a delivery for ya."

David noticed Vincent's fingers clench over the steering wheel and his expression darkened. "Uhh, okay, but you tell him I'm very busy, and I can't make anymore today, and umm, I've been meaning to speak to him about those."

"No problemo, just hurry up to the West side."

Vincent's dark mood passed as quickly as it came and he smiled at David. "Oh, here, take this for the Twinkies, you didn't have to do that. Joanna has to learn that we don't always get everything we want, even if we lose it."

David shook his head. "Nah, keep it. It was my welcome to school gift."

Vincent shoved the dime back in his jeans. "Alright, but please, ya don't have to give her any more 'gifts.' She can start to get spoiled, that's the last thing I need."

"I got you. Okay then, have a good day at work."

David patted the windowsill and Vincent drove off quickly, obviously very distracted over the sudden dispatch. David folded his arms and watched his dark blue Peugeot disappear around the corner. He took a deep breath and scolded himself.

"This is none of your business, Banner, if you want to stay here, just stay out of it!"