Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Am Batman

Cold night. City looks good. Cathedral in the distance. Black spear stabbing at the sky. Overcast. Grumbling. Sparks of blue lightning to the east. When will it hit? The roofs will be slick tonight. Have to be careful.

Static in my ear. Oracle.

"Batman?"

"Yes?"

"Reports of a robbery downtown. Three armed thugs. One clerk dead."

Sirens in the distance. The sounds of my city. The din of controlled chaos: feet clapping on the the pavement, wheels tearing through glistening, wet streets, honking horns, angry mouths shouting vulgarities. The silent hum of the wind, washing over my chin, gliding along the cloth of my cape. How I love to hear it snap in the breeze, turn taught in my hands as I take off over the rooftops.

"Did you hear me?"

"Yes." The city distracts me. So beautiful. So terrible.

"I'm on my way."

Rushing through the sky. Grapple gun feels good in my hands. The grinding leather of my gloves. Never let go. Never stop. Running on the rooftop now. Big jump ahead. Too big to make. But I will make it. I will make it. Make it. Hovering now, arms spread, reaching, legs coasting forward. Hit the opposite ledge. One inch from a nasty fall. One inch from a common man's death. Over the skylight. Through the pipes up ahead. Cut through the construction site, yes, that's where the sirens are headed.

Drop. Down. Down, a down, a down, and the lights and the windows pass by. Eyes closed. So much better with eyes closed. Ground is coming. Need to fire the grapple. Need to swing to safety. If only I didn't have to. If only I could be falling forever, feeling the wind rush over my face and arms. If only I could feel the smack of the pavement. My body crumbling into red mist. If only I could feel the world stop without having to die.

Open my arms. The cape spreads, cradles the descent, fire the gun, swing to safety. Pedestrian on the sidewalk screams when they see me. Fear. Good. Smile at the fear.

There they are. Cops curving down an intersection, sirens wailing. Their sirens are a cry for help. They cannot fix this world. I can.

"Be careful, Batman."

Oracle. Barbara. Your voice. Will always love it. Always need - - -

The car. A red car. Thugs shooting from the windows. Too easy.

Swing above. They will not see me.

The roof is weak. Boots almost crash through. The driver jerks the car to the right. Up on the sidewalk. Stop this now.

Batarang. Slide to the side, hurl the blade into the front, right tire. The car lifts into the air, tipping over. Leap off, fire gun. Get away. On a ledge now, smiling in my mind. I feel my teeth smile. The car skids harmlessly into a newstand. A fire hydrant bursts. Papers and water, trickling down on the vermin. The cops pull up next to the car. Drag them out, cuff them, read rights. What rights do they have? The cops look up at me. Is that envy in their eyes?

Gone. Up to the rooftops where I belong.

"Nice work."

"Thank you. What's next?"

"Crime Alley. As usual."

"As usual."

Back to where it began. This is a good night.

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