I have a thing for Jim Gordon.
Well, you say, that’s not so unusual given that cutie Ben McKenzie is playing Jim Gordon in Gotham. But I’ve had a crush on Jim long before Gotham. No, not the bumbling police commissioner from the 1966 Batman television show. The Jim I adore first showed up in the classic Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in 1987. As in Gotham, this was a younger Jim, still only a lieutenant, and the one honest cop in Gotham. Jim is a good guy, a former special forces veteran, a leader, and the man who becomes Batman’s conscience. Jim Gordon is the last line of defense inside Gotham’s establishment and the one who prevents Batman from going over to the dark side.
When I decided that I wanted to write my first police officer hero, I knew he would be modeled after Jim Gordon. My hero would be the cop holding back the tide of chaos in a crumbling city similar to the fictional Gotham and reflects the real issues in many American cities such a Detroit. So was born Police Lieutenant (then Captain) Aloysius James aka Detective Fixit. The biggest change I made to the archetype was that Al was African-American. That seemed only right given the racial make-up of many major American cities.
Al first saw print as the hero of Luminous, in which he first encounters the vigilante Noir, a woman who can literally make herself invisible. A romance ensued, of course, and Ghosts of Christma Past is the story of their first Christmas together. It does not go as planned at first but, it being a holiday story and a romance, I think I’m not spoiling anything to say that it all ends well, with a special nod to Dickens.
Here’s my favorite scene involving Al in the holiday story. At the time I wrote this, I thought I was going too far in making some of the police officers so incompetent. Then Ferguson happened.
“A flashbang? You used a flashbang in an enclosed space full of people?” Al pushed past the team to confront Petit. A flashbang. Which could start fires. Idiots. “Why the hell would you do that, Petit?”
“We have a solid tip that an illegal and dangerous business, potentially drug manufacturing, is operating in the basement area below these stores.” Petit lowered the megaphone. “Get out of my operation, Fixit.”
“You tossed a grenade into a potential drug-manufacturing business that could contain flammables? Are you insane?”
Petit raised the shield on his riot helmet, his face in a scowl. As far as Al had ever been able to tell, that was Petit’s permanent expression. They’d clashed many times. Usually Al had to back off because Petit had superior firepower.
“I gave them warning,” Petit said.
“Knowing you, I doubt that,” Al said.
“Get the hell out of my operation and go back to playing with stiffs, Lieutenant James. Whatever business is being run down there, we have every right to shut it down.”
“So now we use SWAT for enforcing zoning laws?” Al asked.
Someone snickered behind Al, and he hoped it was a SWAT team member because that meant not everyone was on Petit’s side.
Al lowered his voice. “Why are you really here? Who are you after? Who did your city hall masters sic you on?”
“I’m arresting those inside, whether you like it or not, whether I have to burn them out or not.” Petit stepped closer until their chests were nearly bumping.
“I’m ordering you to stand down,” Al said.
“You don’t have the authority.”
“Remember? I’m Captain Fixit now, Lieutenant. One last chance. Stand. Down. That’s an order.”
Petit spat in Al’s face. “Get. Out. Now. Before you ‘accidentally’ get caught in the crossfire, Detective Fixit.”
That did it.
Al drove his shotgun butt under Petit’s chin. Teeth crunched. Petit spat out blood, his eyes rolled into his head, and he dropped to his knees on the cracked sidewalk.
Al held Petit steady so he didn’t fall and knock his head against the concrete. That would sting, even if Petit was wearing a helmet.
“You just refused a direct order from a superior, asshole.” Al turned to the team. “Does anyone else want to question my authority?”
The five of them collectively took a step back.
“Good.” He pointed to the two on the end. “You two, take your lieutenant and transport him to the ER for treatment. Looks like he might need some dental work.”
Petit groaned and rolled onto his back.
“You clocked him good, Captain,” Alvarez said. “He might need to stay in the ER overnight.”
“Excellent idea. You two, suggest that to Doctor Leslie. Tell him Captain Fixit recommends it. He’ll know what I mean.”
“Uh, yes, sir.” The two men stepped up. Between them, they dragged Petit over to his unmarked cruiser. Al didn’t spare him a second glance. Leslie would keep Petit out of his hair for a bit. The doctor was good that way.
Al picked up Petit’s megaphone and glared at the remaining SWAT team members. “Someone run down this situation. Did you just fire a flashbang for the hell of it?”
“Uh, no, sir, Captain.” A kid stepped forward. God knew how Petit had gotten someone this green approved for SWAT. “Lieutenant Petit said a dangerous criminal was hiding out in an illegal flophouse. He was lying, though. He said we gave them warning. We didn’t.”
“So you toss in something guaranteed to cause panic. Great strategy.”
The men shifted. “Uh, what next, Captain?” the kid asked.
“Know the name of this very dangerous criminal who requires a SWAT team assault?”
“Salvatore Giamatti,” the man answered.
Bingo. Petit must be part of the group benefitting from what was being stolen from the museum.
“Did you know Giamatti’s a city employee? An office drone? You all descended on this place in riot gear for an accountant.”
While the remaining SWAT team murmured among themselves, Al held the megaphone up and directed it at the dry cleaners. “This is Captain Aloysius James of Major Crimes. I apologize for the zealousness of the officers. There will be no more flashbangs. I’m coming in to speak to you and ensure no one was injured.”
He handed the megaphone off to Alvarez. “Use your radio. Call this in to Major Crimes, tell them what happened. Detective Jacobs will know what to do.”
“Captain are you going down there alone?” she asked.
He leaned closer. “Do you trust SWAT to behave if both of us are gone?”
“No,” she whispered.
“Call Detective Jacobs,” he said loud enough for everyone to hear.
Al grinned. “Cheer up, rookie. Now we’re having fun.”
So that’s my Al. I created him and his heroine, Noir, out of love for Gotham City and Jim Gordon. He’s become one of the favorite voices incise my head and thus was one of my first choices for a holiday story. If you want a digital copy, I have a few available for free. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank Corinna for stopping by to share her fun story! What about you, dear readers? Love the Batman? Love Gordon? (I always had a soft spot for him.)
I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.