Saturday, July 31, 2004

49. The Tempest

When it rains, it pours.

I admit I flew into a rage when that new brat materialized and started untying Batman, but then it occured to me that having him around might work to my advantage in the long run. He was certainly no match for my Rod, and I decided I could torture Batman a while longer by separating the hero from his would-be savior.

The new one--after receiving several unfortunate shocks to his neck and side--says his name is "Robin." Not much of a fighter, if you ask me. I could break him in half if I wanted. But he means nothing to me, except as a way to further hurt the Bat. The devices I've been saving up for Batman and my other nemeses could be used just as effectively on this "Robin."

Fortunately, he is much lighter than his apparent mentor, and thus easier to drag away. I had him tied to a cot most of Thursday; every time he started to come to, I gave him another jolt until he was back in cloudland.

Late Thursday evening, after "Robin" had had a good rest, the torment began in earnest. He woke to find himself locked in my Cold Room. As the temperature dropped lower and lower, I expected he'd be more and more willing to talk. Instead, he simply grew sluggish and tight-lipped. Much as I enjoyed watching him shiver in his skimpy little outfit, I was getting nowhere. I needed to know what his connection was to Batman, and how to contact the big buffoon.

Next came the Wind Tunnel. It was hilarious watching the red-and-green-clad idiot clutching at whatever he could find to keep from being blown away, banging into one thing after another until he got the bright idea to lash himself to a post with some rope from his belt. (He didn't seem to know he had it, he was fumbling around so much, but then I suppose the hurricane-force gusts didn't help his concentration much.) I was growing weary of his resistance by this time, so I shut off the wind machine and walked over to him with the Lightning Rod in my hand. "You've done a good job tying yourself up, Blunder Boy," I told him. "You just saved me a lot of trouble." By this point he was so tender that it only took a few more blasts with the Rod before he started telling me what I wanted to know. Turned out there was a cell phone--imagine that, an ordinary cell phone--tucked in his belt, and with the push of a single button I had the Caped Crackhead on the line.

I arranged a meeting at 4 A.M. Friday at the abandoned air force base on the outskirts of town. A simple exchange--his new buddy's life for his own.