Friday, March 17, 2006

239. The omnisicient narrator

Dick stared helplessly at the still-unconscious body of the Green Arrow hanging upside down, swinging ever so slightly--first clockwise, then counterclockwise--in response to even the slightest breeze.

There wasn't much else he could look at, under the circumstances: the ropes holding him to the tree trunk did not permit him to move his head very far in any direction. Up until now, he had not seen the men responsible for this awful turn of events. They were only disembodied voices--snarling, drawling, cigarette-damaged voices that sounded like they came straight from Deliverance. Under other circumstances, Dick would have held off the temptation to stereotype them as rednecks, but he had little inclination to think of them as anything else.

"Hey, Bobby--this one's kinda cute," one of the men now yelled with drunken sarcasm, taunting his companion--

--who was quick to silence him. "DON'T FUCKIN' CALL ME THAT," he barked. "Not when we're wearin' these. We gotta stick to the script, dumbass."

"That's BROTHER Dumbass," the third man said. "Stick to the script."

This seemed to be some kind of catchphrase--or at least a running joke, Dick thought. What "script"? Who the hell are these guys, and what do they want from Ollie?

The deeper answers were not fast in coming, but Grayson soon got his first glimpse of his captors when they began to gather beside the Green Arrow. They were wearing off-white robes now, their faces covered by hoods. The robes were made of something that looked like burlap and bore a stylized logo Dick had never seen before. ("Very KKK," he thought to himself, though there was something distinctive about this particular version--it looked mass-produced, along the lines of the pre-manufactured protest signs conservatives always seemed to wave at demonstrations of any sort.)

"Brothers," said the second man, now adopting a stilted tone that bore little resemblance to the one he'd just employed. "Let us have a look at this man who has been such a thorn in our side of late."

"Hear, hear," said the third man, all of them laughing at their own pretension. "Remove this 'Green Arrow''s mask, Brother Wolf."

The first man reached down and grabbed the sleeping Arrow's mask in his right hand.