A/N: So what brought this on was lack of sleep and my second watching of the TDK. Loved it, again, surprise, though NPR almost ruined it for me due to a discussion of "is George W. Bush Batman?"
But anyway, that's besides the point. Don't own any of these things, though that -- like most fangirls -- would make me so happy I might start prancing about in a tutu.
It's not that this boy has a fucked-up childhood or anything.
So maybe it's a little different from the guerre de nom; maybe a few little black spots here and there but hey, don't we all have those, somewhere?
And it didn't kill him, anyway. Just made him – you know – stranger.
(Stronger is the right word, but that's as not funny, isn't it? He thought about it once, wrote it on paper but scribbled it out because you know what? If you go with predictability, it loses its punchline.)
This kid, well, he's smart.
But not, like, grades-smart (though, to some extent, he is that).
He's not exactly a teacher's pet, a popular kid, a playboy or a nerd. He's not intensely hated or well-liked. The kids enjoy him because he's friendly, he's not terribly bad-looking and he doesn't smell funny.
But the boy doesn't feel the same way. And as he slides from group to group, reads each and every one and carefully takes stock of the names and the playing field, he begins to set up game pieces.
Everyone is just a plaything, anyway.
(We're skipping something here; the boy's mother pops pills like they coming a vending machine disguised as a medicine cabinet, but shhhh, let's keep this to ourselves and sometimes when Mommy's gone to an NA meeting that won't really change her habits, Daddy comes home occasionally drunk or sometimes bringing some bitch that he fucks in the room next door.)
(But that's not terribly important, so we can ignore it and move on.)
There are two games this boy loves more than anything else in the world:
The first is chess.
Sometimes he plays against himself in the basement, in the dark (because, the atmosphere is just so much richer) and he tells himself, think like your opponent, think like the opposition. When he first started playing, he'd get headaches from squinting in the dim light, but after a while, he's adjusted.
He can even beat himself, now. Surprises himself with new tricks, shocks himself with a thing called improvising (but he's eight, and the word, while on the tip of his vocabulary, might not quite be there yet).
He likes chess, and – for the most part – it's really fun.
But after a while, playing against yourself is boring. Disappointing thing is, he can't really think of anyone interesting to play against.
(Not yet, anyway).
The second game is one that might have a name. He hasn't given it one, though he's probably creative enough to.
He walks around a schoolyard. He sits, sometimes, near a shaded wall and watches the kids during recess. Watches his little pawns work out their worthless and silly little lives with their silly little fights and lies and friendships and breakups.
It's really entertaining, though, at this point, the boy only comprehends vaguely what makes it so damn funny.
Maybe it's the fact that this is so easy to mess up. Maybe it's the fact that these kids are playing tic-tac-toe with fingerpaint when he's playing chess against himself and he just knows, knows, why Mitchie Alvowitz isn't playing with Jonny.
(He told both of them that the other said something mean. Of course, they didn't ask for clarification. They just stopped being friends.)
Boys are fun to screw with. Girls – cliques – those are pretty great. They're just so tight-knit, so ridiculously meshed in one another that cutting one of the strings sends them all spinning in a nasty knot.
This game, this manipulation has no end.
But whatever its name, this boy enjoys it.
(The truth is, he loves it, but that'd be a little, like, overdramatic and overstated, wouldn't it? He likes underestimation, anyway. Makes the victory so much more of a kick-in-the-ass.)
This boy grows. Elementary school is boring, predictable.
So is middle school.
And high school.
Of course, the boy perfects his craft of fucking with people at this point. He's read enough facial expressions, listened to the music of the lies said and truths unsaid to get an idea of how to mess with everyone.
Except...kids his age get boring. They're testing their own boundaries, figuring out their own limits and how-can-I-do-this-and-get-away-with-it. There are a few anomalies here and there (and oh, the boy loves watching these guys – so damn fascinating), but for the most part, kids are easy.
It's the adults that this boy starts eyeing. The teachers. The administration.
They're so bound by their rules to preach bullshit and plastic smiles and live with their false hopes that every kid will grow up to be a star.
They all get broken down, eventually. The boy has already picked out the veterans – lined them up in his scope and put his finger on the trigger.
Some of the adults are fun. They can box and weave just as well as he can.
Others don't get the game. They can't play too well, and often they go through three stages after the boy is done with them. The first is a false calm, the second is a handicapped vow/threat, and the last is full-blown rage or disbelief. Usually fear is thrown in there, too, but that's expected, of course.
The boy enjoys stringing adults up like puppets that he can play with.
The first teacher the quits after he's in there class is nice.
The one that commits suicide is even better.
(We didn't skip something here; we might've purposely omitted it to give you a minute to breathe. Mommy tries to kill herself when this boy is just entering middle school. Pretty botched job though. Stained all the spotless white carpets with blood and blew off half her jaw. By the boy's standards, it's pretty pathetic.)
(A few months later, her attempt is better. In fact, it's successful.)
(Daddy gets more drunk, but he doesn't bring women home because they always ask where that weird rust-colored stain came from in the bathroom.)
Does he go to college?
Eh. He goes through the motions. With good grades, all the colleges seem pretty open to giving this boy a big hug and a scholarship. Since he's had such a...troubling...childhood, the sympathy factor is pretty high.
He's essentially taking advantage of everyone, and – of course -- he just runs with it.
More fun for him, anyway.
So what is it? Medical school? Journalism? Stand-up comedy in some dipshit bar?
He likes medical school. That sounds fun.
(But he doesn't last longer than two years there – too many people start getting in fights and trying to kill each other and he's always floating in the background, laughing on the inside because he's not at the point, yet, where he can laugh on the outside.)
He studies psychology.
It's a load of bullshit.
Sociology, now, that's a little more interesting.
The brain is pretty bad-ass. Even he will admit this, to himself, in his shitty apartment as he's playing chess.
He also likes dissection.
(Now don't make any assumptions, here – he never was into the whole catching-cats-and-dissecting-them-when-they're-alive thing. In fact...he's never liked hurting animals. It's not their problem that they're so simple. He doesn't see a reason to make them feel pain, anyway.)
And it's not like he's a serial killer. Of course, he read up on Howard Holmes in Chicago, Ted Bundy in Washington, BTK in Kansas...etc.
But the more and more he's thought about it, all those guys were pussies.
They were fucking pathetic. They had to put people in traps and hotels by themselves and they were always women (booooring) and they never challenged themselves.
And they got lazy. They got stupid. They looked at people as things you can physically wound and maim instead of considering how absolutely delightful (and truly beautiful) it is to watch psychological breakdown in action.
Now, granted, someone torturing you is bound to make you go through a nervous breakdown, but it's not the same. No, no, no, it's all wrong and pathetic and terribly unoriginal.
Stupid motherfuckers. Idiots, all of them.
A fake friend teaches him how to fire guns.
Another fake friend tells him where to find guns.
So this boy wanders around for a while. Picks through various cities. Soon he's a man and, well, quite a lot has changed since those days but, to a greater extent, it's still the same.
(People used to ask him how he got the scars. He told the first ten people that he did it to himself which was the truth, but after a while it became more fun to make up these elaborate stories. He already scared the shit out of people anyway. Why not work on his story-telling skills while he was at it, ya know?)
(And of course, that was the best part – the night of his unveiling. The night he looked in the mirror and decided, today is the day you start over. The day he took a knife to both his cheeks and started cutting.)
(His blood was crimson and it ran into a white sink. Dejavu, anyone?)
(He stitched it up himself, courtesy of medical training. He was proud of himself, anyway. Looked Frankenstien-ish but not quite. A fashion statement of his own creation.)
After a while, this man hears about a place called Gotham and a creature called Bat Man. Something so dark yet so pure that the townsfolk are all squirming with happiness that now the dirty-work is being done for them and they can sit back and watch the show.
This man decides that he should change that.
So he decides to take a ride to Gotham.
(And after that?)
(The rest, as they say, is history.)