"Chill in the Air": After the murder of his parents, Bruce Wayne became obsessed with finding out why they were murdered. He was sure that his father's power and importance had won him enemies that had led them to have him killed.
- It wasn't over nothing. I won't - I can't believe it was over nothing.
- -- Bruce Wayne
Appearing in "Chill in the Air"
- Joe Chill
Synopsis for "Chill in the Air"
After the murder of his parents, Bruce Wayne became obsessed with finding out why they were murdered. He was sure that his father's power and importance had won him enemies that had led them to have him killed.
Thomas Wayne had often said that there is a reason for everything, and that by looking for the pattern in chaos - nobly searching for meaning - one can find out what is true. That, he used to say, is what sets humans apart from animals.
Bruce couldn't remember much about the incident. He remembered a shadow in a stained baseball cap, the flare of the gun's muzzle, his mother's pearls showering across the alley outside the Monarch Theater on Park Row. One day, he squirmed out one of the manor's windows, and returned to that alley, in hopes of finding something there; something to point to the truth. Off to the side, he spotted a man sleeping within a pile of garbage, and asked him if perhaps he saw something that night. The old homeless man remarked that it would make sense for Thomas Wayne to be murdered, given how powerful he was. In exchange for information, the old man asked for the watch on Bruce's wrist. Bruce begged for the man to let him come back later with money, as the watch meant too much to him, but the man's refusal to help led him to reluctantly give it up. However, once he had it, the man kicked him into the garbage, and told him to get lost.
Some years later, Bruce would spend time talking to an older maintenance man who worked at Wayne Tower. Bruce was still convinced that his father had been killed for a reason, and his companion agreed that this was likely, given the fact that the Wayne family had built a legacy on ethical business. As a corporation, it had evaded dealing with the mob - and in the process, made the mob angry. Bruce resolved, then, to go over every business transaction in the records; to follow the trail to the suspects. His companion warned that if Bruce continued his search, he might not like what he found.
Bruce spent his school days excelling in the athletic martial arts like pugilism and fencing. During his classes and free hours, he would often work on establishing connections between his parents and others that might lead to the reason they were killed. So many people, though, had a reason to take down the Waynes.
After graduating high school and turning eighteen, Bruce returned to Park Row, looking for the man who had cheated him before. Another homeless man informed him that the older man with the cloudy eye had moved to the river, under the bridge. Bruce found him, older, and in worse shape. When he realized who had found him, the old man was speechless. Bruce leaned over him, warning that he would hurt him if he did not tell him what he saw in the alley that night. Pleadingly, the old man sputtered that it had been Joe Chill who had shot the Waynes. Before leaving, Bruce demanded his watch back.
The name Joe Chill had never come up in all Bruce's years of researching. He had heard that Chill spent time in a particular bar, and demanded of the patrons that they give him an address. They were disinterested, and made for to attack him. Unexpectedly, Bruce beat them all senseless, and got an address out of them.
Afterwards, Bruce took a pistol from the wall of his home, and kicked in Joe Chill's door. The man was a drunk, living in squalor. Bruce introduced himself, and all the man could muster was to say that he didn't mean to do it. Angrily, Bruce demanded to know who had hired him, and they had wanted his father dead. Confused, Chill explained that he hadn't known who he had killed until the next morning when it was printed in the papers. He hadn't planned a thing. He had just been short money for his next drink, and spotted Martha Wayne's pearl necklace. When she had screamed, he got scared, and shot. The string on the necklace had broken, and he never did get the pearls. Unwilling to believe that his parents death had been over something so simple, Bruce pulled his pistol out, but his father would never have condoned such a crude form of vengeance. Sadly, Bruce lowered the gun, and left Joe Chill to his drinking.
It hadn't been the mob. It hadn't been the Court of Owls. It had only been a drunken, broken man. There was no meaning behind it; just chaos with a few good people trying to struggle through it.
Not long after, Bruce took a flight to Tibet, hoping to learn what else the world has waiting in its dark alleys, waiting to kill.
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