Rating: PG

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Rantings of a Sane Man
By Arlene

First off, let's get this straight. I'm not nuts. Really. All I want is a little recognition, my fifteen minutes of fame, as it were. An' maybe a small reward. I mean, the Man Who Saved Bruce Wayne deserves a little something, don't ya think?

So, okay, I didn't actually do it yet, but I will. Y'see, it's all part of the Master Plan.

/You idiot! You've never been able to do anything right. Why start now?/

Shut up! Where was I? Oh yeah. The Plan. First, I kidnap Wayne, in disguise of course, stash him somewheres, then "discover" him and free him. Presto! Instant hero. Yeah, the cops'll be all over this and they'll run a check on me. Let'em. I don't got nothing to hide. No rap sheet. Not even a speeding ticket.

/Ya moron. Not gonna happen!/

I said shaddup already! See, here's the difference between me an' those other crooks. They're crooks, I'm not. Hey, it's Gotham. You got the gangs, druggies, muggers and all that. They want money, power. I don't need that. I got me a steady job, and I got enough money, well, for now, anyways.

Now, this Wayne guy, he's got all that, an' then some. I'm educated. I read the papers. Got bucks up the wazoo, spillin' outta his ears even. He's giving dough left and right, this orphange, that charity, blah, blah. An' all those benefit parties! I figure, I rescue him, he's grateful, I maybe get a little reward, get a little famous. Maybe even a better job than I got now. Wait a little while, I'm not so famous anymore, but s'okay. I mean, at least it'll show my Ma I'm somebody, y'know? Prove I'm competent and capable. An' the guy can afford it. Hey, I'm doin' him a favor. Show him he needs to beef up personal security.

/You loser! Ain't gonna work./

Just shut yer freakin' trap, 'kay? Cuz I ain't listenin' no more.

I love Ma, really I do. No, I don't have no Freudian thing going on with her. Ha. Surprised you, didn't I? Told you I was educated. Ma always wanted me to be somebody important, makes lotsa money an' take care of her. She's a harsh, no scratch that, strict woman. Had to pinch pennies when I was growing up. Pop wasn't around, so it was just me an' her. She used to compare me to Bruce Wayne all the time when I was growing up.

/Ya can't hold a candle to him, ya putz!/

Sh! Now that guy, that guy has it all. Only thing is, he ain't got no parents. No discipline, Ma says. Now Ma believes "spare the rod, spoil the child." Said it was in the Bible somewheres. Okay, I admit it, I got my backside tanned but good by that hair brush of hers. I wasn't no saint. But y'know, it was cuz she loves me.

/Mama's gotta punish you for your own good. She loves you an' don't you forget it!/

She wanted me to learn right from wrong, an' honestly I was a pretty bad kid. But Ma put up with me an' she still loves me. God bless her soul for that. There's a expression, "You only hurt the ones you love," an' it's true. I mean, if you didn't care about someone, you'd ignore them right? Turn yer nose up and turn yer back on them. You wouldn't take the time to guide them and teach them if you didn't care, would you?

Yer prob'ly wondering about the Bat. "Urban myth" my Aunt Fanny. Yeah, he's out there. But c'mon! Wayne is one guy. He's powerful, yeah, but there's a whole lotta other things to worry about. Hey, it's Gotham. Ya got the Joker, Two-Face, Poison Daisy or whatever the dame calls herself and that Cat chick. An' a whole buncha others. They're all nuts, whacko, 'round the bend, couple sandwiches short of a picnic--you get the idea. Keep them suckers up in Arkham, but they bust out. I'd say odds are pretty good one of 'em busts out the night I save Wayne and starts killing people.

See, I'm not cracked. /Yeah, right./ I'm sane. I didn't get dunked in a vat fulla chemicals. I don't wear spandex or any other rags that scream, "Yo Batman! I'm right here!" An' I sure don't advertise my next move. The Riddler has got to be one of the stupiddest mooks alive.

/No he ain't. You are!/

Now think about it, is Bats gonna go for a playboy with fuzz between the ears, or is he gonna save all those innocent bystanders, huh? Anyways, the thing with Wayne'll just take a couple hours. An' he'll be okay. The tranqs are supposed to wear off in three hours. Label says no side effects. Amazing what you can get from mail order, ain't it? He'll be so grateful I saved his bacon. An' Ma'll be proud, finally. Hey, maybe I'll even get the key to the city. That'll show her.

/You shameful little boy. You really think Mama would approve?/

Alright. Party's winding down. Wayne's coming out alone. Good, don't have to deal with no broad. He ain't walking straight. Drunk, maybe? Even better. Old guy's helping him in the car. Prob'ly pushin' sixty. Cripes, a good stiff breeze'll knock him right over. Night's gonna go smooth.

/Why don't *you* have someone driving you around? Why weren't *you* at that party?/

Lessee, they're drivin' almost outside city limits. Dark, no lights for miles. Not safe here, pretty boy. My lights are off too, but I been practicing this so driving in the dark's no big deal for me. Covered up my license plate too. Prepared for everything. They're gonna get to that dead dog I put in the middle of the road soon. Couldn't find a black dog so I had to spray paint it. Harder to see it coming up. Them rich people always feel sorry for animals. Dumb flea bag almost bit my hand off. I hope the old guy runs it over. Would serve it right. Good, car's stopping. Both of them gettin' out to check. Gonna be easier than I thought.

First, shoot Wayne with a tranq. He'll prob'ly wanna play hero and rush me or something. So he goes down first. Not bad. Got him in the shoulder. See, I been practicing that too. Now the old guy. Remember to lower the voice, don't want him to tag me on that.

"You! Tell Wayne's people I want $100 million dollars by tomorrow 6 am, or he's dead meat. Ya got me?"

"You, you villain--!"

"Shaddup already, or I do him right here." Cute. He called me a villain. I point the rifle at Rich Guy's head. It ain't loaded no more, but the old guy can't tell. "Now turn around on face the floor. Count to a hundred loud so I can hear." Guy's got guts. Ain't budgin'. "Now!!" I shift the gun so it looks like I'll shoot for real. Don't wanna hurt the old guy. If I kill him by accident, who's gonna deliver the message?

His shoulders sag an' he gets on the ground. He counts.

"Louder! Start over, I can't hear you!" I can hear him just fine, but them Brits are way too proud. Think they're superior. Gotta take'm down a peg.

I try to lift Wayne to the car. Cripes, he's heavy!

/You shoulda thought 'bout that moron! 'Prepared for everything,' huh? Whatcha gonna do now? Bet that old, dried up limey in the dirt can do it easy./

Uh, crap, okay, drag him. Only way. I take his arms and pull. Sorry about the suit, Wayne, but you got plenty more of those in your closet, don'tcha?

In the car, finally. I ever do this again, I swear I'm gonna put myself through weight training. I speed off before the old guy can get up. Little ways more, headlights on an' slow down, don't want no cops sniffin' around cuz I'm drivin' stupid.

/You're already drivin', Stupid!/

I take him to the docks an' drag his sorry carcass to that shack I found. Geez, I gotta take a breather, all this dragging. But I can't, not yet. Remember the discipline Ma taught you. 'Course, thinkin' of Ma gives me the boost I need.

So I drag him in and tie him up on the floor. Hands behind the back. Knees and feet together. Then duct tape. Okay, it's overkill, but I don't want him going nowhere till I come an' save him. Tape the mouth, don't tape the mouth? Let's say I hear him screamin' (prob'ly a girly scream) an' come a runnin'. Somebody else can hear him too an' then they'll get him first. Right. I fix a piece of tape over his mouth, don't block his nose cuz a dead guy ain't worth nothin', see? Then I kick him just cuz. Just cuz he's so perfect. Just cuz he's so rich. Just cuz he's got everything he wants. Just cuz I coulda been him. Just cuz...

"Ma always loved you more!" Whoa! Who said that? I look around. I know I'm the only one here. I checked. An' I'm shakin'. When did that start? Yeah, okay man, calm down. Think about Ma an' how proud she'll be when you save Wayne. 'My darling boy,' she'll say, 'You were right, you always were. I'm so proud of you. I love you so much, baby.'

/You can't be serious! You? Save *the* Bruce Wayne? Liar! Come to Mama for another spanking!/

He's moaning. Time to get outta here an' cool my heels. Coupla drinks at the bar, see an' be seen then come on back. Break the door down, I'm a hero. I leave fast an' drive a little ways down. Into the bar. Toss a few down, trade a few laughs. Yeah, that's me. Just yer average Joe Schmoe, hangin' with the guys. Lessee, time's almost up, tranq'll be wearin' off. I leave the car at the lot an' walk back. I think how it's all gonna play out.

'See, officer, I had a few drinks an' I thought I'd walk'em off before goin' home, cuz drivin' and drinkin' don't mix, y'know? I ain't that kinda guy. Anyways, I see this guy comin' out of this shack, an' he's wearin' a ski mask, see? An' I think to myself, this ain't kosher. Huh? Oh yeah, big guy, maybe six feet, maybe a little taller. Crap, he looked so buff I'd prob'ly get hurt takin' him on. So I let him go, an' I check out the shack. I hear some scufflin' inside an' peek through a window. I says to myself, hey, he looks familiar...'

Waitaminute. I closed the door, right? Aw, crap, don't tell me someone else found him first! I can hear something moving inside. I take out a tranq dart from my jacket pocket an' hold it like a knife. Stupid, stupid! Left the rifle in the car. Next time take a weapon along just in case! The dart ain't much, but I can do a lotta damage if I have to. 'Kay, slowly, slowly, peek around the side of the doorway, don't attract no attention to yerself. My eyes kinda look in and--

Oh My--Holy--It's a demon! Th-those white glowing eyes! It ain't human! They lied! It ain't no Bat! It's-it's all black an' blue in the middle an' it's liftin' Wayne like he was a feather. Hafta-hafta get away! No! It saw me! Run, run, run, run... Ow! It's wrapped around my legs! Can't move. On the floor, so dark, think my ankle's broke, it bit my chest! No, it's the tranq dart, and the monster's pullin' me down, down, can't keep my eyes open, deeper, deeper...

Mama was right, I'm gonna be punished, cuz I'm bad, I ain't no good, I'm a screw up, Mama I'm so sorry I hit you so hard, but I love you, and you always hurt the ones you love, right? and I'm so so sorry Mama, I'm an idiot, I ain't no Bruce Wayne, Mama why don't you wake up? so sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you so bad, wake up, please Mama...


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