Tuesday, August 24, 2004

64. The Riddler

Batman was a good little puppy and walked straight into each one of my traps this weekend in exactly the correct order. First came the snare, which wrapped around his ankle and held him upside down from a tree outside the shack until he cut himself down. He landed with a thud, RIGHT on the patch of twigs covering a nasty hole in the ground, which was absolutely FULL of mud. It took him a while to crawl out of that one, and he was one big muddy mess when he finally made it to the front door. The doorknob gave him one hell of a nasty shock but after twitching and falling to the floor for a minute or two he kept on going, just like the trouper he is. He doesn't give up easily; that's why I love him so.

The big lug was so dirty by this point that he must have appreciated the trapdoor that plunged him into a giant tank of water. I know I, for one, enjoyed watching him swim around, gasping for air, until I arrived at last to greet him.

"Looks like you've solved the riddle of why I've had to resort to robbery," I told him. "All this equipment is very, very expensive. But it's worth every penny of somebody else's money to torture you." I doubt he could hear me, but I know from past experience in these kinds of situations that he's an excellent lip reader. He pounded on the glass to be set free, but I could plainly see that he'd already located his rebreather, or whatever he calls it, and could hang out in the tank for at least another half hour before his oxygen gave out. I decided to let him stay in there as long as possible, tormenting him with riddles even though solving them provided not a single bit of useful escape advice. (Q: What kind of fish can't swim? A: A red herring!)

Just when it looked like he couldn't take another minute in the water, I scooped him out of the tank and watched while he lay on the floor, gasping for air, his costume sopping wet and clinging to his body even tighter than before.

"Hi, sweetheart," I said with a smile. "Welcome home."