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The order was to maim him emotionally, not to terminate. Back then, he and the Kitty-Kat had a litter, and one of the girls grew up to play superhero. An easy dig. She danced across the rooftops, her purple spandex shimmering in the pale moonlight. She had one of those domino masks. I lined it up like a target: in one eye and out the other. I adjusted the butt in the crook of my shoulder and wormed my eye into the scope. My finger stroked for the trigger. And then…
I squeezed on thick air. It was thick – no cool breeze of a skyline, but the mold of a padded room. My cheek rested on a cushion, my eye lined up with a buttonhole. There was a little slot in the door you could see out. Across the hall, a man looked out his slot and babbled about the importance of today’s date.
“April Fool’s Day. Mark your calendar.”
If you visit that asylum today, it’s got bulletproofed glass walls. No singular doors with slots. I don’t even think the calendar guy exists anymore. The purple spandex girl isn't somersaulting around anywhere, either. Everything's new, except me.
He's still flapping around the belfry. Hates me every time. How much angrier he’d be if he could remember all the times I’ve killed his kids. Instead, he’s grumpy over things I never did. Keeps trying to psychoanalyze me with history that never happened. Who gives a damn about psychiatry? Last time, I seduced a psychiatrist into a sidekick. I think she’s on Suicide Girls now. Not sure what our relationship is supposed to be.
I have no problem hating him back. Self-righteousness in a drab wardrobe. If you stretch your mind, you’ll remember me fighting him in Spring of nineteen-forty. But go to the local archives of your favorite metropolitan paper of record, and the first headline that mentions either of us is from nineteen-eighty-seven. Did every journalist miss forty-seven years of a blood feud? Were they all home sick the times I actually killed him?
You don’t believe me because I smile too much and am too white. Permanently pale, except at least twice, this was make-up. It damned sure was originally. But fine, I embrace the life of an entertainer and that somehow makes me unreliable. There’s a punk out there now – I beat him into a bloody paste, then blew up the building for good measure. Today he’s skipping along the rooftops with vigilante strippers. And I’m the crazy one?
Here’s my litmus test for madness.
Do you remember when he drove everywhere in a blue car with eyes for headlights?
Do you remember when the Amazons wiped out Washington, D.C.? Because I do. Dislocated three ribs laughing. They still ache at the sight of a magic bustier.
Do you remember when I finally offed him? Thought that was actually the purpose of all this. On top of the WayneTech Building, every floor wired to blow, showering the highways with glass as I strangled him and he struggled not to slit my throat with a batarang. We were both carried aloft by the explosion and his cape. We were both dead before we even began to fall.
Never got to finish that fall, neither. I landed in a brightly-lit subterranean office, talking to Lex Luthor about forming a league of villains. There was a wall of monitors behind my head. To my immediate left, Groundhog’s Day was on.
If Bill Murray has taught me anything, it’s that my purpose in life is not killing one man. The three other times I’ve done it and didn’t stop the universe rebooting were just scientific confirmation.
My purpose is about a fuller experience. It’s kryptonite smiley faces, crippled sidekicks and poisoned water supplies. It’s about a joyous history of histories. It’s about spending as much of my account as I can before God changes banks on me.
As a little boy I always thought science was the best evidence of God. Atoms are the smallest. No, electrons are. No, gluons. Time’s linear. Or it bends. Or it forks. Or it’s a web. He makes it up as He goes along, and we just presume that’s the way it always was since that makes you look sane to the others.
In a year, or five years, or ten years, you won’t even remember we had this conversation. I’m going to blow your head off, and maybe next week God will get bored and you’ll pop up as mayor. And you’ll pour tax payer money into a committee to discover why my fingerprints and DNA aren’t on record, groping after an origin story that got erased decades ago.
Yeah, I’m the crazy one because I remember back when he had just one sidekick and JFK’s assassination made sense. You all go on pretending this is how it’s always been and I’m just a pathetic headcase. I don’t suffer from this insanity. I enjoy the clarity.