The ancient Chinese man gummed small mouthfuls of cold rice while watching Batman reruns on the bulky black-and-white television wedged against the walls of his tiny, crumbling apartment. He couldn’t understand the words being said, nor could his failing eyes distinguish hero from villain, but the colorful sounds of the action on screen were somehow soothing in an otherwise empty space. Periodically he rose from a creaky wooden stool and then made his way to the kitchen window, where he took deep breaths of bitter night air that felt only slightly less stuffy than what he was breathing inside. On his final trip across the room before retiring for the night, his elbow bumped an empty flower pot balanced on the window sill, hurling it into the darkness. Two minutes before and thirteen stories below, a hulking man adorned in an expensive pinstripe suit towered over the pale, delicate girl he’d just backhanded to the ground. Her nose broken badly, she cowered in the rancid filth of the abandoned alleyway, seemingly frozen with terror, as the man, sweating heavily, spoke to her slowly while reaching for the shiny new switchblade in his jacket pocket. “I’ve got you now, bitch. It’s fucking over.” The girl, her vacant grey eyes displaying no trace of life, managed a weak nod before he flicked the blade from its handle and spoke again. “You’re about to feel unimaginable pain. I’m good with knives and I know the human body very well. You’ll suffer a great deal of agony before slowly bleeding out. You’ll die alone in this horrible shit-hole. You’ll rot here. Do you understand that?” Again, the nod. The man knelt down, knife at ready, eyes gleaming with anticipation, and considered where to make his first cut. Then the empty flower pot fell upon his head, shattering everywhere. He tumbled to the ground, stunned but conscious. Before what had happened became clear to him – before he regained his senses – the dead-eyed woman snatched up the switchblade. In one swift move she sliced open his jugular and stabbed through his heart, then took a few quick steps back to watch blood spurt from his neck and chest as he gasped and sputtered on the ground, his life draining away. Smiling deviously, she spoke. “You want me to taste the pain and terror I put your sister through, which was far worse than what most of my victims have experienced. Far, far worse than what you’re experiencing right now.” She took a few careful steps forward, stood directly above him, and made sure their gazes met.”I want you to die knowing that you didn’t avenge your sister’s horrible demise. You failed. And I assure you that I will kill plenty more, starting with that sweet mother of yours. Grace is her name, isn’t it? Do YOU understand THAT?” Thirteen stories above the ancient Chinese man watched the Joker get the best of Batman in a black-and-white struggle, but in the end his failing eyes just couldn’t distinguish hero from villain.