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In Gotham, Christmas was two months gone. And winter had gotten stuck at slightly above the freezing point, producing storms not of snow but of sleet and rain and slush, leaving street corners slick and puddle, leaving traffic a mess. Mayor Borg’s corruption trial had also stalled, parades of witnesses from both sides offering little useful testimony. Knox guessed that the attack on Harvey Dent had some unexpected resonance in the federal courthouse, and neither side felt like giving it their all.

The reporters camping outside Dent’s hospital (where Maroni could also be found) began going home when it became clear that no one would talk about Dent’s injuries or recovery. Not that the story was over. It was exceedingly odd that Dent hadn’t been sent home yet. Speculation was rife as to whether reconstructive surgery had been performed, whether there were complications, and what Dent’s mental state was. Rumors about Dent having tantrums in the middle of the night persisted, but no one confirmed a thing. There was simply silence, from the DA’s office and from Dent’s wife, Gilda Grace Dent. So the vigil changed to a daily non-briefing with smaller numbers of reporters every day.

The one thing that kept anyone’s regular interest at the hospital was Boss Maroni’s recovery. Maroni was making remarkable progress for a man shot three times at point blank range. He was reportedly asserting his authority as boss from his hospital bed despite the round the clock police presence outside his room. A mistrial had been declared in his racketeering case, of course, and he was ready to plead guilty to assault, which would carry a fairly short sentence and only reinforce his position as the most powerful crime lord in Gotham. Any day now, Maroni would roll out of the hospital, go back to the courthouse for arraignment, and then home after making bail. It was going to be yet another circus.

And it made Knox’ blood almost boil. Dent is hurt badly, scarred, perhaps shattered, and all his efforts are undone by an act that should have ended Maroni’s life instead. It was unfair. Unjust. And unsurprising in Gotham.

Knox spend his anger on two columns, and then went off to the Bar for a much needed holiday with Rapunzel and Allie. He left all the frustration at home, and not once mentioned Dent or Maroni or Borg or Batman. He was grateful for the break. But he had to go back home, and had to start the waiting game again.

But there was still no word about Harvey Dent. He was able to confirm that a Doctor Paul Eckhart from Coast City had flown in to oversee the repair of Dent’s face and left hand. He was able to confirm that Mrs. Dent had been staying with her sister for two weeks and avoiding not only the press but anyone outside of family. And he was able to confirm that a protégé of Dent’s named Vernon Fields would be named the new DA by a very reluctant Mayor Hill. These were each important pieces of a puzzle, and he shared them with Marty Yan, who would in turn try to form news from them. But he was sure that they were all missing something.

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November 2011

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