Sunday, July 11, 2004

22. Dick

I knew something was up when the phone rang at midnight on the dot. The caller ID read "123-456-7890," which told me that the person on the other end of the line had access to fancier blocking equipment than most. Guess who.

"Meet me on the corner of Adams and Kirby in 10 minutes," a familiar voice said. "I've got a surprise for you."

I hadn't really expected to go out, so I threw on a pair of socks and shoes, locked the apartment, and headed to elevator and then out onto the street.

At the precise moment I got to the corner of choice, a jet-black sportscar came roaring up to meet me--obviously the vehicle the local media had dubbed the "Batmobile" with their usual flair for sensationalism. No idea what make or model, but I'd say it looked like some kind of souped-up vintage Mustang. The windows were tinted so dark I couldn't see inside. I reached for the handle to the front passenger door and started to open it until I heard a voice say, "Get in the back seat."

Batman's tone rubbed me the wrong way once again, but I realize it's all part of the guise he's adopted for self-protection. Or maybe it's force of habit, the way some cops can behave like real assholes when they're in uniform--and even when they're not--probably after years of dealing with the worst of the worst.

I closed the front door and opened the one behind it. "Mmmmm, leather seats," I said. "Nice touch."

Batman didn't play along. "There's a blindfold on the seat next to you. Put it over your eyes, then lie down."

I hesitated for a moment. Mama always told me not to get in the cars of strangers with candy; she didn't say anything about strangers with masks and handcuffs.

This wasn't the first time in my dealings with the man that I had to ask myself whether I'd lost my mind, of course, so I slipped the blindfold on, shut my eyes tight, and settled into the soft upholstery for a ride into the unknown.