The detective bellowed at the forensic investigators. "Well, you guys findin' anything, or what?"

"Nothing much to find, Harvey," one of them said. "It's clear they each took a single gunshot point-blank to the heart. We'll run ballistics later, but it probably won't tell us anything useful. There's no murder weapon around here. The kid said he didn't know of any enemies, couldn't think why anyone would do this. And there aren't many prints other than the family's. We'll run them, but I doubt we'll come up with anything. Probably just friends. The kid said he had a friend over earlier this evening, then they went out."

"Went out? What, a couple of ten-year old kids running around at night in this neighborhood? What kind of parents would allow that? What kinda kids would be that stupid? What do we know about the kid, anyway? Does he have a record? A verifiable alibi? Anything?"

"Harvey!" scolded his partner. "You're not seriously suggesting the boy had anything to do with this, are you?"

Jimmy was sitting against the apartment's right-hand wall, in the corner where it intersected the short wall that partitioned off the kitchen area. His knees were folded up against his chest, arms around his legs, face buried in his knees. His eyes kept watering up, but he was doing his best to keep silent while the police did their job. Suddenly he started laughing a little under his breath, almost indistinguishable from his quiet sobs.

"Harvey," he said in a small, weak voice, and giggled. "Harvey's got his scar, now! No need for acid, no no. Maybe the scar's good enough. Sure, yeah, I bet it will be! Or maybe he'll have to change his name to Scarface!" He giggled a little more, then went back to sobbing, a bit more audibly than he had before.

"What the hell is he talkin' about? Was he talkin' about me?" The detective walked over and squatted down in front of the boy, lifted his head up to look him in the eyes. "Hey. You talkin' 'bout me, kid? What scar you talkin' about? Tell me!"

"Leave him alone, Harvey!"

"Harvey Harvey, but what's in a name? Every name is Rose! Ha!" said Jimmy, and switched again to giggling.

"You remember me, kid? I came in a while ago and introduced myself. Harvey Bullock. Remember? What scars are you talkin' 'bout?"

"Not Bullock! Harvey Dent!"

"You mean Two-Face? What's he got to do with this?"

Jimmy burst out laughing. "He's my friend! You'll find his prints! I think you already did. That's who I went out with earlier, Harvey. And Riddler, Penguin, and Poison Ivy. I'm the Joker! We went Bat-hunting. Harvey got a scar. Well, he got cut. I suppose it will scar. But we never saw the Bat, just heard him. And Man-Bat, too. Man-Bat got to have all the fun with Batsy, tonight!" He was silent for a few moments, then suddenly started sobbing uncontrollably.

"The kid's nuts!" declared Bullock. "His parents get killed, he finds them like this, and he's sittin' here pretendin' to be some psycho clown! Hey, I bet that's it! He got it into his deranged head he's really the Joker, so he killed them as part of that delusion."

"Why would he kill his own parents?"

"If he thought he was the Joker, he'd kill anybody! That's what the Joker does is bump people off. Don't even need no reason."

"So why didn't he make a joke out of it?"

"He's not really the Joker, Montoya! He's ten years old. Whatta ya expect from him, some elaborate prank on the Joker's scale? He can't do that, but he's sittin' here laughin'! Anyone can pull a trigger and laugh about it. Anyone who's nuts, anyway."

"He's obviously in a state of shock, Bullock! How lucid would you be if you were his age and just found your parents like this? Why don't you cut him a little slack? Give him a little time."

"Sure he's in shock. Which is why he answered all those questions when we first got here. Seemed lucid enough then."

"Well... I think shock can work more than one way. Could make you numb, detached. Could make you incoherent, make you sound a little nutty. Anyway, look at the fridge. He's got a few school papers stuck there, all 100s. Obviously he's a smart kid, and his parents are proud. Seems like a good home life to me, so he wouldn't have a reason to kill them. And maybe he had enough presence of mind to hold back his pain long enough to tell us whatever he could. When we didn't seem to need him anymore, he let it all flood over him."

"You studyin' ta be a shrink, Montoya?" He waved his hand dismissively. "Anyway, if his home life's so good, where'd he get those bruises?"

"Like you said before, it's not a real great neighborhood. This could've happened to him anywhere. Even school. Alot of smart kids get picked on, you know."

"But they won't anymore," said Jimmy. He'd sobbed himself pretty much dry, by this time, and was back to laughter again. "No, 'cause now Two-Face can help me out. Or is it Scarface? I dunno how much good a dummy will do me, but I'm sure his Tommy gun... would come in..." he glanced over to where the bodies still were. "...handy," he finished, in a quiet voice. Then he looked back up at Bullock, and smiled a big, loopy grin. "Harvey. Jay is Harvey one and Bullock is Harvey two. or Harvey one is Harvey two-face, I dunno. Hmmm..." and he laughed some more. "The world is full of Harveys, isn't it? Maybe some of them are six-foot invisible rabbits! I wonder if Harvey will help Harvey and Harvey fight evil? Harvey, Harvey, Harvey. Harvey, Harvey, Harvey! He's got his scar, tonight, he has. Maybe I'll get one, too! One, two, one, two, one, two, buckle my- nevermind, that's just silly. Silly willy nilly. Hi, Harvey!" He started laughing again, but there was a barely perceptible sadness in his laugh, which Bullock pretty well failed to perceive.

Bullock looked at Montoya. "Nuts. Shocked. Or just plain insensitive, or desensitized. I don't think he cares what's going on here."

Montoya was tired, and it was hard for her to deal with the kid's rambling, not to mention this debate with her partner. She sighed, stood up, and said, "We probably shouldn't be talking about all this right in front of him, anyway." Then she went to talk to the forensics cops.

Harvey watched her walk the few paces across the room, then turned back to Jimmy. He lifted the boy's head again to face him. Jimmy's giggles were mixed with random sobs. "Kid! Shut up and listen to me." He reached into his pocket, rummaged around, and pulled out a bullet. "You see this? Take it." Jimmy was silent again, but his head was swaying as if he had no strength to hold it in one place. He strove to focus on Bullock's face, and to maintain his silence. He looked down at the bullet in the detective's fingers. But he couldn't find the strength to lift his hand to take it. Bullock did it for him: lifted Jimmy's hand, put the bullet in it, and closed the boy's fist around it. "This is like what's in your folks' hearts, kid. This ain't nothin' to laugh at, this is serious! You ever forget that, you take this out and give it a good hard look. Understand?"

Now Jimmy's head stopped swaying, and Bullock released it, as well as Jimmy's hand. Jimmy held his fist up before his eyes and opened his hand. He stared at the bullet long and hard, and found some more tears to shed. He didn't care how loudly he cried, and he didn't laugh again for quite awhile.

Bullock got up and went to talk some more with Montoya and the other cops. There wasn't anyhing more for forensics to tell them. They'd done all they could, and got ready to leave. Montoya glanced back toward Jimmy, who was still crying quietly in his corner. She pulled Bullock away, led him into one of the bedrooms where she hoped they could talk out of Jimmy's earshot. "In case you still think he had anything to do with this, another thought occurred to me. Where would he have gotten all that money?"

"Money?" asked Bullock, confused for a moment. Then he hit the side of his head. "Oh yeah, the money! Believe it or not, I'd momentarily forgotten about that. ...Well, anyway, you never know. If he was criminally nuts, he could've been doin' other stuff before this to make some quick dough."

"But why dump it over his parents' dead bodies?"

"Why does a head-case do anything?" Then another thought came to him. "Hey, wait a minute! He said he and his friends went out bat-hunting, right? Said they were all these local nutjobs like the Joker and them?"


"I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner! Haven't you ever heard some of the beat cops talkin' about a group of kids who go out roaming around some nights, dressed up like their favorite bad guys? I never seen any of them, but the stories always bugged me. I guess that answers my earlier question. That's what kind of stupid kids would go out at night in a neighborhood like this. And roam around much worse places, too. I bet this is one of those kids."

Montoya had heard the stories, and was also surprised that hadn't occurred to her. And while she'd never discussed the matter with anyone before, let alone Bullock, she knew what he'd think of any children who liked to play such games. She figured he'd see that as a big reason to suspect the kid of murder, and wanted to say something to forestall that line of thinking. "Well, yeah, I've heard the stories. And from what I recall, the police I've heard talking about them seem to think they're basically a decent bunch of kids just tryin' to have some harmless fun. Don't cause any trouble that I've ever heard of. They treat the police with respect and trust. Anyway, lots of folks root for the villains in movies."

"There's a big difference between movies and real life, Montoya." But reluctantly, he had to admit, "But you're right, from what I hear, the idiot kids don't really idolize the nuts they like to pretend to be. It probably is a harmless game and nothing more, even if it is stupid, misguided, offensive, dangerous, annoying..."

"I get the idea, Harvey."

"Yeah, well, anyway. Maybe the kid's innocent. Or maybe his friends are just playing, but he takes it more seriously than they do. You never know. Anyway, I'm sure social services are gonna want him to talk to a shrink about his loss. Maybe they could kinda try to figure out just how innocent he is, while they're trying to comfort him."

Montoya sighed. "I still don't buy that he's involved. But I suppose it's not impossible. And we shouldn't ignore any possibility."

Neither of them could think of anything else to say, so they went back into the other room. The guys from forensics were ready to leave, just waiting for Bullock and Montoya to get back. When they did, the others left. People had arrived from the coroner's office to take away the bodies, and after a brief exchange with Bullock, they did so.

Meanwhile, Jimmy had finally stopped crying. He put the bullet in his pocket. Harvey started to follow the others out of the apartment, then stopped in the doorway and turned to see Montoya sitting beside the boy again. "C'mon, Montoya, what're ya waiting for?"

She looked up at him. "We can't leave him all alone. Why haven't human services shown up yet? We have to wait for them to take him."

"Oh, right, right. Yeah. So, he ain't got no next of kin, or nothin'?"

"No," said Jimmy, looking up, sniffling. "They were the only family I've got... had. Detective... I'm sorry. I usually control my emotions pretty good. Desensitized pretty much, yeah. But I couldn't handle this very well. I'm sorry."

Bullock looked kind of embarrassed, rubbed the back of his head. "Look, whatever, kid. It's okay. Just remember what I said before. Okay?"

"Yeah. I will."

Just then, someone brushed in the doorway past Bullock. "Sorry I'm late. One of those nights, you know? I'm here to take the boy." She kneeled in front of Jimmy. "It's Jimmy, right? My name's Mary. I'm going to take you somewhere to stay until we can find a permanent place for you, okay?"

"Okay." Jimmy turned to look at Montoya. "Thanks for staying with me."

"No problemo. Come on, now." She stood, took Jimmy's hand, and helped him stand up. Then she turned him over to the social worker. "You go with the nice lady, okay?"

"Yes..." Jimmy sighed, and walked out ahead of Mary, with Bullock and Montoya right behind. He was exhausted beyond words, both emotionally and physically. He was eager to get to a bed.

He fell asleep in the car; when they arrived at their destination, Mary carried him to bed and got him out of his shoes and jacket. Jimmy didn't wake up till well into the afternoon.

part 8