Sunday, March 19, 2006

241. The omniscient narrator

"All right, here's yer damn signs," said Brother Wolf, holding up two crudely lettered pieces of poster board each bearing the single word "FAGGOT."

"Stick 'em on their bodies," said one of the other men. "Stick 'em on there real good, so's they don't fall off."

"Well, THAT's dumb," said another. "How's anybody s'pozed to read it after we burn 'em up?"

Great, thought Dick. I"m going to be set on fire. What a perfect way to start the day. He wondered why he was taking such a cavalier approach to the matter of his imminent demise, then realized he was slipping into his old Robin routine, a wisecracking persona he'd adopted as a means of self-defense. Any port in a storm, he thought to himself.

The robed and hooded yokels continued bickering throughout his moment of self-awareness.

"All right, goddammit, we'll just burn ONE of 'em. Happy???!!! The pretty boy. The 'Green Arrow' dude'll die pretty soon anyway, after the beatin' we just gave him, and on accounta hangin' upside down for so long an' all."

"But we gotta have TWO SIGNS. Stick to the script! People gotta know what was wrong with EACH ONE of 'em. They gotta know the one that burned up was a faggot, too."

"Okay, okay--we'll take th' other sign and put it next to the tree so people know it was for him."

"But it'll just fly away in the wind, you dumbass."

"NOT if we put a fucking ROCK on it, shithead."

"Or the bat! We could put the BAT on the paper, with all their blood on it."

This mention of bats--albeit a very different kind--struck Grayson as more than a little coincidental. There are no accidents, Bruce had said time and time again. No coincidences. There are only signs--signs we must learn to read, or ignore at our peril.

"Let's just get this fucking OVER with," said Brother Somebody or Other. "Throw the gas on him and I'll get the match."