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September 15 is Batman Day

 

There will not be a parade. Mayor Hill made that abundantly clear. There would be no parade celebrating the career of a vigilante, especially one wanted by the police. Once you laud these men and women who take crime into their own hands, the mayor said, the rule of law goes out the window.

“For all we know this kook sleeps hanging upside down and drinks blood,” Mayor Hill said in a press conference. “And you want a parade for that weirdo?” That got a laugh.

Commissioner Gordon had stood next to the Mayor as he said this. Gordon didn’t speak to the Batman, about whether he deserves a parade or not—it seemed silly, quite frankly. What would it possibly look like? People dressed in capes and cowls? Giant balloons of evil clowns or ill-intentioned penguins? Floats, ridden on by people dressed like the mentally ill?

That reminded him; he hadn’t called Joan in awhile. It took him a few minutes of shuffling papers on his desk until he found the number.

“Arkham Asylum. This is Dr. Leland.”

“Joan, it’s Jim.”

“Jim! Have you found Waylon?”

Gordon suppressed a sigh. “No, the Killer Croc is still at large, I’m afraid. How are things at the Asylum?”

“Same as usual. I’m understaffed and underfunded. We’re expecting a check from the Wayne Foundation today, and that’ll help. But it only goes so far.”

“You get checks from the Wayne Foundation often?”

“Once a year. Every September 15, like clockwork.”

“Huh. That’s funny. I guess you’ll be flush on Batman Day.”

“It is Batman Day, isn’t it? I’ll be celebrating by buying bedpans. Maybe if I get really excited, I’ll go over to Rosie’s and have the special.”

“Rosie’s Diner does a Batman Day special?”

“You should go and order it, Jim. I won’t ruin it by telling you about it.”

The Batman Day special at Rosie’s Diner is a cheeseburger on a specially-made squid-ink bun. The black bread accented the radioactive-yellow cheese that leaked between the burger’s two patties. Gordon ordered his with “Robin fries,” which appeared to be sprinkled with paprika and parsley.

“Maria,” Gordon said to the waitress as she placed his lunch down. “This is all…I mean, don’t you find this kind of…silly?”

 “It’s a good burger. You barely taste the squid ink.”

“No, I mean, is this a way to celebrate Batman?”

Maria shrugged. “I’m going to light a candle after my shift, if that’s what you mean. I have ever since he stopped me from being mugged all those years ago. I know Al on the grill is going dancing later tonight.”

“Going dancing? For Batman Day?”

Maria leaned in close, he voice low. “His wife was almost murdered by one of those costume maniacs. For the two of them, Batman Day is Christmas.”

That night, Gordon climbed up the old, rusted stairs to roof the Gotham Central Police station, and flipped the switch on the massive bat-emblazoned spotlight. He didn’t have to wait long.

“You in the neighborhood, or…?”

“I was headed here. Killer Croc has been apprehended and deposited at the 39th Precinct.”

“So that’s how you spent your Batman Day, huh?”

“It’s how I spend every day. I don’t need a holiday.”

“No. But I think we do. To say thanks. Even me.” Gordon held up a to-go bag from Rosie’s. “Batman Day special. With the Robin fries. Unless you would prefer blood.”

Did Batman smile? Impossible. It must have been a trick of the light. But Gordon could have sworn it happen when he handed over the bag.

“Not tonight. It is Batman Day.”


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Jared Axelrod's picture

Jared Axelrod

Jared Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, and a world changer. Throughout her eventful life she has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that she’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. She is the writer and producer of “The Voice Of Free Planet X” podcast, were she interviews stranded time-travelers, low-rent superheroes, unrepentant monsters and other such creature of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as the podcasts “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor. She is not domestic, she is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.