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joe jones was an adventurer.
joe smith had a hot dog stand on the boardwalk on the beach outside gotham city.
he sold joe's special hot dogs. he also had joe's special mustard to put on the hot dogs.
it was a nice sunny afternoon. business was pretty good. joe was cleaning the grill and he looked up and saw a big guy in a camels hair coat staring at him. the coat looked too heavy for the nice sunny afternoon.
"special hot dogs, huh?"
"yes", joe replied politely, "i think you'll find them pretty special."
"do you want mustard on it? or anything else, onions, whatever?"
"are the onions special?"
"no, they are just onions," joe answered .
"no thanks, i just want special. i'm a special type guy."
"that will be five dollars please."
the man in the camels hair coat reached into his pants pocket and slowly peeled off five one dollar bills and handed them to joe.
joe put some mustard on a hot dog and handed it to the man in the camels hair coat.
the man bit off half the dog and began chewing slowly, staring intently at joe.
"i'm sorry, but there is nothing special about this dog. it's ok, but special? i don't think so." he put the other half of the dog into his mouth and slowly masticated it.
"nothing special about it at all," he said when he finished.
"i'm sorry." said joe. "if you liked it, i would given you a special deal, if your family and friends wanted to try them. maybe the people you work with, too."
"i work for myself thank you. and you know what?" the man put his face in joe's. "i think you should give me my money back."
"sure, no problem." joe handed the man back his five bills
"and i suppose you think that makes it ok?" the man in the camels hair coat looked at some citizens passing by.
"hey, hey! listen up good people!" he shouted at them. "this guy is a fraud! he is defrauding the public! he's selling hot dogs as special and there is nothing special about them! what do you think about that?"
the people - a woman in a gray pants suit with a little dog, two men with briefcases, three teenage girls in designer jeans and a man pushing a shopping cart with a broom sticking up out of it - ignored him.
"a tough crowd," said joe.
"that's right, joe. they are a tough crowd. and do you know why? because they are just like you - happy to go through life as worthless pieces of detritus, lying and cheating their way through their endless procession of meaningless days!"
"isn't that a little harsh? excuse me, i have a customer."
a young woman had stepped up to the hotdog stand. she wore pink wraparound shades and a long green t-shirt with a picture on it of virginia woolf eating a carrot. she had a small orangutan on a leash. the orang was wearing a cubs cap with an arrow through it and had a harmonica on a strap around his neck.
"good morning, joe'' said the young woman. "one for me and two for octave, please." she handed him a twenty dollar bill.
"morning, duchess. only two for octave today?"
"he's on a diet. he shouldn't be having any, but you know, they are so special."
joe gave the orang two dogs with mustard pickles and onions and the duchess one dog with mustard and five dollars change.
the man in the camels hair coat had been waiting politely. now he spoke.
"still a big tipper, hey?"
the duchess pushed her shades down on her nose and looked at him, "joe jones. i did see you, joe, but i was trying to be polite by ignoring you." she shook her head. 'you look like trash, like really shameful detritus. you should find a better dumpster to sleep in."
she looked at joe smith. "don't take any debris from this clown. if he bothers you, come see me." she walked off down the boardwalk with the orangutan. when they were halfway down, the orang looked back and blew the opening notes of the battle hymn of the republic on his harmonica.
"you have powerful friends," said joe jones. 'but i knew that. it doesn't change anything. you are still a lying worthless piece of inert ectoplasm."
joe smith began cleaning his grill again.
the young woman took her hand out of the bag with a tiny atomizer in it, pressed it between hank/ali/ike/sergei's eyes and pressed it down.
he turned into a pink dove and flew up into the station roof.
before reese/mehmed/mike/sir guy reacted - he kept his hands on his knees - she turned and waved a blue embroidered handkerchief in his face.
he turned into a purple and gold lizard and scampered off in the direction of the ticket counter.
the station clock read 9:59.
where were the two other bad guys? there was nobody else in the station.
hatfield put the tube of toothpaste back on the shelf. the girl behind the counter was watching him. she was answering an elderly customer's questions about drugs for varicose veins but she was was watching him. he could also feel darker and the gang waiting for him outside the store
the girl behind the counter was named delilah davis. she lived with her mother and grandfather in a trailer park beyond the stately symmetry of the city.
the customers name was japhet johnson. he was descended from hiram johnson, the founder of the city.
they watched hatfield as he stepped out into the sunlight. the shadow of the guard tower fell on him.