All the Batmans gathered for a reunion, to reminisce about their time behind the mask. They drank late into the evening, sharing stories about battles and adventures. Across the bar, another man drank alone, stealing occasional glances at the heroes.
Late in the night, there was a disturbance: two men at the pool table nearly coming to blows. Before the Batmans could react, the man drinking alone jumped to action, making quick work of both of them and leaving them bloody messes in the corner. The Batmans cheered and raised their glasses. “Congratulations,” said Christian Bale, “You’re the next Batman!” They put him in a costume and spent the next several hours drinking with him, splatter still caked to his knuckles.
When the bar closed, they piled into Michael Keaton’s Batmobile and drove around the city, running red lights and drifting through corners. They found an abandoned building and took turns smashing windows with their batarangs. When the windows were all gone, Val Kilmer lit the building on fire and they all ran in, looking for people to save. They went back out into the city, driving slowly through the seedy parts of town and stopping to rough up shady characters lurking in the alleys, reminding each of them that justice is brutal and unrelenting.
Finally, the group dropped the man off at his house, but instead of going to sleep, he sat down in a chair and stared out the window. When the sun rose over the horizon of skyscrapers, he headed to the backyard and began digging a hole. His wife woke up and found him, still in costume, digging furiously. “What on earth are you doing?” she asked him.
He jumped into the hole, tired and drunk, and curled up into a little ball. “I’m Batman now,” he said softy. And then he began to cry.
Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom Review, Funicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review, among others. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He can be contacted at matthewjandrews.com. Twitter: @2glassandrews