Shuffle alley dating

At the moment, he's chatting with a uniformed PATROLMAN.

At the mouth of the alley, we find ALEXANDER KNOX -- thirty, hyperactive, a crime reporter for the Gotham . KNOX Great, but tell me: is this another you-know-what?

EDDIE You shouldn'ta turned the gun on that kid, man. Standing at the edge of the roof, bathed in moonlight, is a BLACK APPARITION. EDDIE stands rooted to the spot, a choked gurgle in his throat, as if he's just seen his own death. Or rather, its WINGS: GREAT BLACK BATWINGS, flapping in the wind. He scuttles around the periphery of the roof, his feet skidding on the gravel as he searches for a way down. A BLACK BOOT catches EDDIE high on the chest -- -- LIFTS HIM CLEANLY OFF HIS FEET -- -- AND SENDS HIM FLYING THROUGH THE AIR. And then -- casually, without a moment's hesitation -- STEPS OFF THE LEDGE OF THE ROOF, INTO MIDAIR. He runs a hand through sculpted hair, checks out his Albert Nipon ensemble.

where, at the end of a line, a STRANGE BLACK SILHOUETTE is dropping slowly, implacably, into frame... Almost as an afterthought, THE BATMAN heaves him roughly back onto the roof. JACK checks his watch, reaches for his topcoat, and stands in front of the vanity. EDDIE THE PUNK goes past on a stretcher, catatonic.

Mercifully, the DERELICT doesn't seem to be following. The DERELICT races across the street to join his confederate, the STREET PUNK, who's already searching for DAD's wallet. They can see she's about to snap -- so the STREET PUNK, still in a crouch, trains his gun on JIMMY.

By the time he reaches the corner JACK has swaggered up alongside him.

They've just come out of a bit show two blocks over; the respectable theatre crowd has thinned out, and now -- Playbills in hand -- they find themselves adrift in the predatory traffic of Gotham's meanest street. DAD surveys them nervously, gestures toward the subway map.

MOM For God's sake, Harold, can we please just get a to get a -- (shouting) TAXI!! MOM grimaces in frustration as LITTLE JIMMY consults a subway map.

Amid the chrome and glass sits a dark and ornate Gothic anomaly: old City Cathedral, once grand, now abandoned -- long since boarded up and scheduled for demolition. MOM yanks him off down the street and glowers at DAD. MOM, DAD, and JIMMY take a deep breath and march down the darkened street.

On the rooftop far above us, STONE GARGOYLES gaze down from their shadowy, windswept perches, keeping monstrous watch over the distant streets below, sightless guardians of the Gotham night. The pulsing heart of downtown Gotham, a neon nightmare of big-city corruption, almost surreal in its oppressiveness. Street hustlers slap high- fives with three-card monte dealers. with one conspicuous exception: A TOURIST FAMILY, Mom, Dad, and little Jimmy, staring straight ahead as they march in perfect lockstep down the main drag. TWO COPS lean on their patrol car outside an all-night souvlaki stand, sipping coffee and chatting with a HOOKER.