January 2005 –

 Professor George Lore stands alone in one of the darkened laboratories of Ghost Town University.  Some veteran law enforcement officials might remember the intellect as the villainous Giggler, but to Professor Lore, that seems like lifetimes ago.  He’s dedicated the past few years of his life to science, and he’s felt happy and enriched as a result.  It’s amazing how quickly your life can change in the matter of a decade.  It hasn’t been quite ten years yet, but to the Professor, it might as well be 30.  It feels like that long ago.
 “Professor, I’m heading out now,” says an attractive young lady as she peaks her head into the otherwise empty room.
 “Alright Glenda, get home safe,” advises Professor Lore.  It seems like a bit of a moot point, though.  Crime in Ghost Town has been pretty much non-existent in the past seven years or so.
 “Thank you,” she says with a giddy grin.  “You’re the last one here tonight.  Be sure to lock up afterwards.”
 The two scientists exchange smiles before Glenda leaves the room.  Professor Lore cannot help but wonder if she was flirting with him.  The two have always been friendly with one another, and while Professor Lore may not be the traditional epitome of handsome, he’s by no means unattractive.  He’s also always thought that Glenda appreciates an intelligent mind more than most women.
 As Glenda steps outside of the science department building, she reaches into her purse and takes out her car keys.  Unbeknownst to her, she’s being watched from a short distance.  Before she reaches her car, she’s violently grabbed and aggressively shoved down to the pavement.  She looks up and sees the weathered face of a homeless man.  His teeth are dirty and yellow, with a combination of food and enamel stuck between his teeth.  He’s got a long, bushy and filthy beard, and a mop of greasy long hair.  His clothes are torn and ragged.  He’s wearing fingerless wool gloves, exposing his dirty, discolored fingernails.  Despite the distance between them, Glenda can still smell his offensive odor.  He reaches into the inside of his ripped jacket and takes out a switchblade.  Glenda screams with terror.
 “That was a mistake,” warns the homeless man.  “Give me all your money, bitch!”
 “HELP!” Glenda yells again.  The homeless man grabs her by her jacket, and slaps her in the face, knocking off her thick rimmed glasses.
 “Give me the fucking money!” the homeless man yells.  He grabs her purse out of her hand, breaking the handle.
 As the homeless man rummages through her purse, he finds her wallet and discovers that there is only thirteen dollars inside.
 “What the fuck is this?” he asks.  Angered, he approaches her with the knife.  “I’m gonna cut you up.”  Glenda screams again, and just as the homeless man grabs hold of her arm, he is thrown down to the ground.
 “Glenda, run!” commands Professor Lore.
 “But Professor….” she begins to say as the homeless man gets back to his feet.
 “Hurry!  Get out of here!” he orders.  Glenda sprints to her car, jumps inside, and drives away.  Professor Lore turns his attention back to the homeless predator.  “Listen buddy, I don’t want any trouble,” he says as he takes a defensive fighting stance.   “Just take the money you took from her and don’t come back.”
 “Fuck off, dickwad,” says the homeless man as he holds out his blade.  Professor Lore reaches into his inside breast pocket to take out his cell phone.  The homeless man takes a swipe at the Professor, making a tear in his blazer.  “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”  Professor Lore puts his hands up, as if submitting to the mercy of the homeless person.  It’s the safest thing he can do, he assumes.
 “Like I said, I don’t want any trouble,” Professor Lore reiterates.  “I don’t have much money on me, but you’re welcome to take what I have.”
 “You better bet I will,” he says as he reaches into the Professor’s pant pocket.  He grabs his wallet, and takes the cash out.  He then throws the wallet to the ground as he starts counting the money.
 “It’s all I have…” insists Professor Lore.
 As the homeless person shuffles through the cash, Professor Lore takes advantage of the distraction by trying to grab onto the switch blade.  The two wrestle over the weapon for a few moments, before the homeless person shoves Lore to the concrete ground.
 “For a smart guy, you’re making a whole lot of stupid mistakes,” warns the homeless man.  He grabs the Professor by his necktie, and lifts him to the ground.  He pushes Lore against a parked car, and holds the blade against his neck.  “Prepare to die, asshole.”  The homeless man laughs sinisterly, as Lore’s face cringes with familiarity.  He looks into the eyes of the homeless man, and sees something he recognizes.  Before the homeless man has a chance to slit his throat, Professor Lore utters a name he thought he would never say or hear again.

“Multi-billionaire William Bux is still attempting to finalize his proposed acquisition of his main competitor, Basilo Enterprises.  Basilo Enterprises’ Chairman, Bruce Basilo, has not been seen or heard of from the public eye in nearly ten years.  It is reported that he makes monthly consultations with Basilo Enterprises’ CEO, who is the only person who has heard from the billionaire since his unexplained and sudden seclusion,” reports Channel Six News Anchor David Grayson, formerly the Superhero known as Falcon, as William Bux sits in his overly spacious office, with his feet rested on his marble desk.
“So I have to wait til the end of the month to know whether or not this guy is going to accept my offer?” Bux asks one of his top advisors.
“I guess so, sir,” his advisor answers, a bit intimidated.  William Bux is a hard person to please, and when he’s not satisfied with something, he’s a force to be reckoned with.  Bux stands up from his leather chair and walks to the wall-sized window, staring out at the busy streets of Ghost Town.
“I’m going to own this town soon, Leonard,” Bux says to his advisor.  
This isn’t Bux’s first attempt at running Ghost Town.  He is remembered by some as the rogue Mr. Moneybags.  His early attempts at financial domination failed miserably.  After a short prison sentence, he continued his attempts, each time getting just a little closer.  Unlike many of the other villains, Mr. Moneybags had a mutual enemy in Mattman and Bruce Basilo, as Basilo was the only citizen of Ghost Town that surpassed him financially.  With both identities gone, Moneybags’ bank account grew.  Soon enough he had so much money that he felt comfortable becoming a public figure under his given name, William Bux.  His charisma and good looks won over the public and media, just as it had with Basilo, giving him even more power.  Some people have joked that he’s Bruce Basilo, Version 2.0.  He’s never cared for that moniker, though.  He doesn’t want to be the next Bruce Basilo.  He wants to be the first William Bux.  Buying out his competition—the man people modeled him after—would show everybody his undeniable dominance.  These “monthly consultations” haven’t made the acquisition easy, though.
“Sir, you have a scheduled press conference in half an hour,” Leonard says.
“I know,” says Bux as he looks at himself in a mirror.  His short cut platinum blond hair is slicked back, revealing his handsome face.  He’s also decked out wearing a black Armani suit, a gray shirt, and a silver tie.  “I was hoping to announce my acquisition by then.  Where is this Basilo guy anyway?  Should we be worried that he’s going to turn into the next Unabomber or something?”
“I hope not, sir.”
“What kind of self-respecting billionaire…  Is he a millionaire or billionaire?” asks Bux.
“A billionaire, sir.”
“Still?  Damn.  Well what kind of self-respecting billionaire goes into isolation?  I tell you, those are the people you need to be worried about,” he says as he straightens his tie.

A homeless John Yagglesworth—once known as the dangerous and devilish Yoker—sits in Professor Lore’s apartment eating as he reads a Time magazine article from 1997, giving in-depth details about his supposed death and a timeline of some of the heinous crimes he had committed.
“They never found your body, but everybody assumed you were dead,” Professor Lore reports from the kitchen as he prepares more food for his very hungry former partner in crime.  “They didn’t think there was any chance that you survived that gunshot wound and the fall off the bridge.”
“You know what they say when you assume things,” says Yagglesworth, with sheer enjoyment as he continues to read the intriguing article.  He laughs callously after reading about his murder of Charles Morton.  “I barely recognized you earlier.  Aren’t you supposed to be in the asylum?”  Yagglesworth asks as he drops the magazine on the table.
“I got released early,” Professor Lore states as he returns to the living room.  “Good behavior.  After your death and the disappearance of Mattman, it just didn’t seem worth it anymore.  I started rededicating my life to science, and after a few years they released me.  I was on probation for two years, and after a flawless record they just warned me that they’d keep an eye on me.”
“You’ve gone soft on me,” Yagglesworth says.  “With us back together, and Mattman gone, we can finally take this town over.”
“When you died, that part of me died also.”
“But I’m not dead,” reminds Yagglesworth.  “And neither is that part of you.”
“Yes it is,” insists the Professor.  “I’m happy now.  It’s the first time in my life I ever have been.  I don’t feel this need to taunt some guy who is only trying to help people.  I don’t feel the need to hurt people that are innocent.  That part of me is gone.  The Giggler is dead.”  There’s a moment of silence as neither man says anything.  Finally, Professor Lore stands up.  “Stay here tonight,” he offers.  “Take the couch.  Tomorrow I’ll wire you some money so that you can get a fresh start.”
“Thank you,” Yagglesworth says quietly.  Professor Lore smiles politely and then heads to his bedroom.  “Oh, and George?” Yagglesworth says as he looks down at the cover of Time magazine, which is a close up shot of his ghastly, clown painted face.  “Never forget who you really are.”