Friday, September 16, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Possible Origins for Him. 17.

Click the button on the left to hear this story, or click this text to download the MP3.

That isn’t a skyline. It’s Babel’s legacy. These people got so big they don’t know right from wrong anymore. Bernie Madoff and Oswald Cobblepot. Global Warming and Mr. Freeze. Rome’s burning and they don’t think it’s their fault.

He’s the worst of it. He’s not a registered bounty hunter, and if he was he’d have lost that registration years ago. Go down his file. Uncounted cases of breaking and entering. Possession of weapons-grade technology. Assault and battery. His car doesn’t even have license plates.

He savaged his suspects. Broken ribs. Shattered femurs. Dozens of mobsters leaching workman’s comp and state services. His first week he tossed someone off a building for not talking soon enough. Those tactics don’t work, and even if they did, do you really think it isn’t a crime just because he catches them before they hit the concrete?

The funniest thing about it was the hypocrisy. He’s just a man, and just one man. He can only be one place. When some masked jackass is threatening to gas a billionaire’s party uptown, he couldn’t and didn’t appear as two dozen sailors were held at gunpoint by Kahndaqi terrorists at the harbor. Shows you his interests.

I was the second man into the warehouse. Security cameras caught our charge. Flashbangs and suppressing fire, all high efficiency behavior. No hostage fatalities, and we took two terrorists alive. I collared both of them.

That night we were the second story from the top, beneath a vigilante's rescue of a bunch of rich socialites.

The next day, though? I was the top story.


Had I tackled one of them too hard? Was the taser necessary? Kicked the poor mercenary too many times? They went from “terrorists” to “victims.” Suddenly the fact that a guy with an AK-47 had been seventeen under his ski mask mattered to this city.

They wouldn’t even cover my handcuffs as they led me outside. Mayor wanted a public example. My arraignment was the same day that he busted the other sleeper cell. Beat all three of the Islamists into unconsciousness and earned an op-ed about his effectiveness. He was, according to our city’s paper of record, the hero we deserved. We shared one copy in lock-up after the guard was done with it.

Even buried under his cape and press, there was no lenience for us brutal officers. The D.A. refused to meet me. I was probably helping his career, a prime example of how he rooted out evil in the department.

You want to know where I got these scars? You have the department disown me and the D.A. toss me into general population. My first week in Black Gate, I had three visits to the infirmary. I took seven of them with me, so no hard feelings. We laughed it off eventually. I vowed not to take any of this too seriously. This city certainly wasn’t. We’ll all laugh it off - you, me, this whole city – at his funeral.


  1. No good trying to compare himself to the cape crusader, it sucks when one day he's a hero and the next the villian! I hope his scars heal real soon!

    PS: I loved the manic laugh at the end of the recording! ^__^


  2. It's sometimes a very thin line between hero and villain!

    Excellent writing as always!

  3. John, I love how you integrate real people/events into your fiction:)

  4. This series continues with razor-sharp insight.

  5. Poor guy! Great emotion in this John.

  6. Oooh i really enjoyed this, loved the last night. great stuff!!! :)

  7. Now there's some Tough in this one. Makes me want to break out my brass knuckles.
    Good 'un.

  8. Helen, glad you listened to the recording! I was dying for voice at that point and figured, what the heck? Let's use this for a decent laugh. Hopefully this lung issue will pass soon.

    Craig, it's an especially thin line if you want it to be.

    Anne, it was fun to mix them up into this one. He's largely stayed in Fantasy worlds, but it felt appropriate to expand this time.

    Tony, was there any particular insight you took from this one?

    Deanna, did you listen to the recording, or did the emotion manifest from his bitterness in the prose for you?

    Tammy, the last night, or the last line? Regardless, thanks for reading!

    Cathy, and what would Super Cathy do in this world?

  9. I love this within the context if his relationship with Gotham PD- why can they never catch him/never hold onto him? Cause he's their friend. Probably thought he got a raw deal, feel bad for him, want to get back at the damned mayor for screwing him over.
    I love these- they bring more angels to thus character than even the graphic novels do and I hope you keep writing them.

  10. No good deed goes unpunished. The cops are thrown under the bus and the vigilantes are paraded as heroes, what's this world coming to?

  11. Some nice home truths in this John.

    It's a good thing that we all don't take the media's word for who are the real heroes, villains, or victims.

  12. An ex-cop treated badly then goes rogue after the fact. Beautiful. This is one of the better ones, but it would be difficult to choose any of them to be "worse."

  13. Another great installment in the series. I love the variety you've worked up.

  14. The cape crusader and excop - nice!!!

  15. Nice perspective. It's unfortunately plausible, and he comes across somewhat sympathetic here.

  16. Great idea to pair your flash with a recording of your reading it - I really enjoyed that :)

  17. hmm interesting... very interesting.
    Some great thoughts included here

  18. Well you know what they say, one man's terrorist is another's hero. Always has been, always will be.


  19. I never realised exactly how rubbish Batman was until you started reading these...keep it up!

  20. I'd like to know who this villain is, since I'm not familiar enough with the batman world to have a fighting chance.

    Anyways, I thought this was well done.

  21. Bev, that is great insight! I love that you read his relationship with other police into the potential future of the piece. I will keep writing them; there are seven more lined up before it ends.

    Stephen and Steve, given what he's become, would you consider him the hero at this point?

    Mr. FAR, what makes it stand up as one of the better ones for you? Especially curious as I'm reflecting on the series as a whole.

    Tim, thank you very much. It's gotten a little difficult to keep it up, especially in the reading voices. Only a few more to go, though.

    Sonia, something you particularly like about that dynamic?

    Aidan, L'Aussie and Michelle, it felt about time to set one of them within the crimefighting realm. Ever since high school I've felt dubious about Batman's legality.

    Madison, will you be doing audio versions of yours?

    Icy, he's actually turning you against Batman?

    Michael, the entire series is about just one villain. He's by far the most famous, and I think if you read or listen to the first one it'll be entirely transparent. Since I make such an effort not to mention his name, though, I'd feel the villain for outright telling you. Capricious Me?

  22. This has been a brilliant series with such unique voices and perspective. Tour de force.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  23. John, when I saw what you'd done, I thought I might like to. I hate the sound of my own voice on recordings, but it might be a good way to get over it, lol.

  24. This is the first I've read of the series and I loved it. You have such range with regard to style and subject matter, it's just so darn impressive and inspiring. Loved the flow of this piece and the storyline, his comparison between his work for the sailors vs. that of the big guy saving the billionaires. And then the way he's treated like a villian while they sing the other's praises. An awesome read.

  25. Fantastic - thanks Wiswell another great piece for this series - this is what superheros/villans are all about

  26. Another good one, and plausibility speaks to us. Enjoyed the audio, one of the better ones, laugh included.

  27. Adam, much appreciated. Did anything stand out about this voice for you?

    Madison, do you have a mic setup at home?

    Richard, what an enthusiastic reaction! I hope the other entries stand up as well for you. I try to keep a wide range on the blog, to keep my prose limber.

    Brainhaze, haha, well hopefully the superheroes have a little more going for them than the villain makes out.

    David, thanks so much for both the RT and the praise today. Really appreciated it.

  28. you have such a way of drawing me in... I need to go back and read the others because I'm late to the party.

  29. There's this wonderful deadpan voice in this piece containing within it the seeds of chaos. A sense of resignation to the inevitable.

    "I took seven of them with me, so no hard feelings..." encapsulates it for me.

    Excellent writing.


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