"Bruce," the video image of Tony Stark said with a nod. "You old sociopath, you."
"Tony," I said back, propping my video phone against a dresser while I tied my tie. "Are you calling because I bought a stake in Brown-Forman? No, I will not hook you up with free bottles of Jack Daniel's."
"I'm more of a scotch man, to be honest. No, I'm actually calling because of something else. Batman and Iron Man business."
"What about Batman?" I asked, stopping momentarily from tying my tie.
"Calm down, I'm not a narc. The phone line is secure. I mean, I'm using a Stark phone, for god's sake."
"In that case, hang up right now."
"Cute, but it actually involves our mutual frenemy Sebastian Shaw."
"What about him?"
"Well, I've been keeping track of his whereabouts, and it appears that he and his little club of kinky freaks are starting to buy up some major land in Kazakhstan."
"For what purpose?" I asked.
"Hell if I know. That's your job, isn't it? Doing that thing I hate."
"You mean investigating?"
"I'll get on it tonight after this charity function I have to go to, I assume the tux gave it away."
"Speak for yourself," he said, panning the camera down to show he was wearing a tuxedo as well.
"Why are you wearing one?"
"Please. It's after six. What am I, a farmer?"
I rolled my eyes and picked the phone off the dresser.
"I'll look into the Hellfire Club and let you know when I do. Later, Tony."
"Laters," Tony said with a mock salute.
I hung up and tucked the phone into my jacket pocket. Adjusting my cuffs, I stepped out into the penthouse's living room where Alfred was waiting with a jacket in his hands.
"Here you are, sir."
"Thanks," I said, taking the jacket. "Ready?"
"Yes, sir. The show starts at eight and we'll be at the fair ground in fifteen minutes."
"Here are the tickets I got from the office. Hold on to them for safe keeping."
Good, I said, handing Alfred the tickets. The Martha & Thomas Wayne Foundation's Second Annual Charity Circus. Nearly five hundred dollars a ticket, all of that going back to the foundation for funding with the homeless shelters, youth outreach, and job centers.
"I heard this year's circus is supposed to be top draw."
"All the people at the foundation said that Haly's Circus was the way to go, we'll find out."
"And I must remind you, sir, this is your event being hosted by your foundation. No sneaking out. At all."
"Let's just go," I said, shrugging off Alfred's suggestion. "We'll talk about that later."