Deal 1005: Stewed Birds and Open Fire

You always want to begin with a clean workspace and a stable source of heat. If burning wood, you will need a heavy cast iron pot to spread the heat from the fire to all sides, and hold it hot as the fire burns down. You won’t need to put the pot directly in the fire, balanced at one edge is often preferred because it can be turned occasionally, or moved closer and further as wood is added and consumed.

If potatoes are handy, tuck a few at the edge of the fire, in the ashes so they don’t burn. Turn occasionally and let them roast for a while before adding them to the pot near the end.

Butter and herbs will form the base. Other fats may be used, of course. Use what is at hand as long as it isn’t rancid. Rub the bird in salt and pepper too, and brown it in the hot fat before adding anything else. If the goal is a stew and time is not on your side, you can always break the bird down into pieces that will cook quicker and render more flavor into the broth.

Of course you can even spatchcock it if you’re feeling fancy. No one really enjoys picking around the backbone anyway.

Chop a few roots, rinse ashes off your potatoes and break them into chunks, and add to the pot along with more salt and pepper and some water. If some beer is at hand that won’t be missed immediately, add it in place of half the water or so. It will cook down and make a richer broth.

If you have time to simmer them until cooked, you can always drop chunks of biscuit dough into the top of the pot. Little fluffy bombs of bread will steam in the broth in no time at all.

To serve, all you need is enough large bowls and an appetite.

More of that beer you raided for the broth would probably go well too.


Deal 898: Stain remover

The laundromat provided the best cover.

It gave Eugene a view into the steamy undergarments of a broad selection of society. The business did its part to clean up the community by providing the usual array of self service coin-operated machines, a small dry cleaning plant, and a full service laundry that was the germ of the original business. They could even send nearly anything out for mending, and usually had a shoe-shine on duty as well. Everyone in the metropolis needs a clean shirt, and the laundry was there to provide it.

Eugene appreciated the anonymity of the laundry counter. No one wants to discuss their stains with someone memorable, or to be remembered for their stains. That meant that he could people-watch with impunity.

And then, when the situation warranted it, step through the false-front of one of the industrial dryers into his lair where he had taps into the information flows through the whole city, and could often influence the increasingly automated infrastructure of the city to give critical assistance to those who deserved justice.

He could watch traffic ebb and flow in real time, and most of the traffic lights would respect his whistle. He could see security camera views of most public spaces, and far too many private spaces. License plates on cars were easy fodder for his systems to read and follow. Facial recognition would often let him spot individuals. And everyone carries a phone these days, which all chat continuously with their carriers, identifying themselves to the network so that calls can be routed.

All of this information came to Eugene’s lair and whispered in the background like a flock of gossiping pigeons.

But above all, Eugene kept his activities a secret. He helped the police far more often than they knew. Often it was as simple as nudging traffic signals and crossing gates to influence the paths of suspects to be more available to police. In extreme cases he had arranged for hints about the movement of a suspect to be anonymously emailed to a junior detective assisting the investigation.

Eugene simply did not want to become known, did not want the limelight, did not want the public recognition.

He merely wanted to remove the stains he found in his community.


Deal 892: Bruce’s new gig

Sometime last year he quit alcohol.
It was a crutch he no longer
Needed. High society
did not understand but
then he didn’t care.
Black tuxedo,
black cars, black
cave, black
his fate. Fate
he thought at first
would be short-lived. Now
he stands athwart his fate.
Welcomes it to his hidden life.
Does his duty to all Gotham
City. For he has become Batman!