Batfiction (Japanese Breakfast and the dark night of the soul)

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The silence of the Batcave is disturbed by the roar of the eight-cylinder engine returning from a night of danger. The car stops on its platform and the gull-wing door opens to reveal Batman in the driver’s seat. The engine is turned off leaving an echo that dissipates into the depths of the cave, the upset bats return to their roosts to try and sleep. Batman takes his time getting out of the car. His body is sore after a night fighting the city’s growing crime. Batman slowly limps back to his workstation as he removes his cowl and drops it on the damp floor of the cave. He sits at the desk and the computer turns on as it perceives his presence. The cold blue light from the monitors reveals the exhausted face of a dissatisfied man. Batman laboriously removes his gloves and armor, dropping them on the floor before resting his head on his calloused, bloody hands. Slowly, Batman breaks as he begins to cry, in his mind nothing he does night after night is making a difference. His Kevlar armor is nothing compared to the weight of the responsibility he has bestowed upon himself as the city’s guardian. Batman opens a drawer and takes out a pair of tweezers, with which he proceeds to remove shards of glass from his side. The wounds bleed, but that’s nothing new. One wound larger than the others won’t budge so Batman cauterizes it with heat. It hurts, but that’s nothing new. After mending what remains of a body worthy of Frankenstein’s creature, Batman holds his arms tightly in an embrace, like apologizing to himself for the violence, his body shivering with cold and pain. Batman feels alone.

Batman turns to the open drawer and sees a bag marked ‘evidence’ with the seal of the Gotham City Police Department. He opens the bag and pulls out a joint and a lighter. Batman places it on his lips and lights it by taking a puff. He had saved this for a moment like today. Batman accesses the news on his computer to find the headline ‘Joker Escapes.’ How easy they make it sound, summing up a whole week of chases and torture by the clown. The people who write the news have never smelled the rot of the sewers of Gotham, they have never seen into the eyes of a drug addict willing to do anything for another dose, these vulnerable people are only cannon fodder for the clown. Batman takes another puff of the joint, he’s going down a bad trip and he can tell after years of fighting the scarecrow and his substances.

Batman turns off the monitor and walks to the elevator that will take him to Bruce Wayne’s studio, lost in his mind, he thinks of Sailor Moon’s transformation and he hums the theme. Batman must also put on a mask to be Bruce Wayne, he wonders if lately the mask is Bruce or is it Batman, but his thoughts are interrupted by the arrival at the studio. The elevator opens behind an antique clock. The studio is spotless and Batman feels a little guilty about bringing everything dark and horrible about the city to this place that Alfred cared for so devotedly. Batman takes off his dirty boots and walks upstairs to his room. On his way he hears noises in the kitchen, Alfred is starting the day and he’ll be up any minute with a delicious breakfast.

Batman’s bedroom is as dark as his cave, as his life. Batman turns on his dad’s old stereo and plays a record, it’s Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast which starts with the big breath of fresh air that is Paprika, but Batman is not ready for this yet and fast-forwards two, four and five songs until Posing in Bondage. Batman takes the last puff of the joint, tosses it in the trash and steps into the shower, in the song Michelle Zauner’s voice sings “Can you tell I’ve been posing this way alone for hours?” Batman loses himself in the song as the water runs over his body washing away the blood and dirt, taking away the violence of the night. The song has reached the chorus “Closeness, Proximity, I needed, Bondage.” Batman thinks of Selina Kyle and yearns for the feeling of intimacy, of being touched. For a long time the only contact his body has had has been the beatings he receives night after night. His hands run over his skin feeling the bruises and scars, Batman acknowledges the history of his body, the scars and the blows are part of a language, a whole series of past events related to someone or something. When he reaches his shoulder he finds what he was looking for, four parallel scars, a scratch from when he met Selina, the two of them dressed as nocturnal animals, posing in bondage. The feeling of absence returns to Batman along with the refrain of the song, “When the world is divided into two people, Those who have felt the pain and those who haven’t yet, And I can’t stop seeing you even though I’d like to, Posing in bondage, I hope you come home soon”. Batman allows himself to feel the song and the longing and begins to slow dance.

Parenthesis(

Outside, in his room, Alfred, the other person who understands him just arrived. He brings with him a breakfast tray which he places on the desk. Alfred notices the song and understands what kind of night it has been for Batman. Alfred opens the curtains and the night ends, warm, welcoming light floods the room. Alfred doesn’t realize that asides of being a routine, it is a much deeper metaphor for care and affection. On top of the breakfast tray the newspaper announces the Joker’s escape. Alfred notices the headline and removes that page, leaving the funnies on top; for Alfred, he is still that vulnerable child who needs to be protected. The header page goes into the trash where Alfred catches a glimpse of the joint, nothing gets past Alfred. He picks up the joint and sniffs it, he’s surprised it’s been so long before Batman turned to a stimulus, but he’s even more surprised at the poor quality of the weed. Alfred makes a mental note to ‘forget’ a stash of better quality in some nook of the Batcave. The song is coming to an end and Alfred knows that’s the cue to leave, it was one of those nights.

)Close parenthesis

Batman steps out of his shower to find another panorama, the light warms the atmosphere and the smell of the breakfast tray is so inviting, but before that, Batman goes back a couple of songs on the record to Be Sweet. He sits at the desk and finds the funnies section of the newspaper waiting for him. He opens the tray to find a lovingly made breakfast and lets himself feel the day and the song reminds him “I can feel the night passing by like a mistake waiting for me.” Batman is pretty sure that Michelle Zauner wrote this record specifically for him.

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