Thursday, September 20, 2007

292. The omniscient narrator

Scarecrow snapped his scrawny fingers. A split second later, a loud buzzer sounded, triggering two things: first, each of the four bound men on stage moved almost mechanically to their knees. It was clear that this was something they had been trained to do--they did it not quite willingly, but fully aware that disobedience would bring harsh punishment.

As the captives sank to the floor, four uniformed members of the militia marched out onto the stage and took positions directly in front of them. The hooded heroes' faces were at crotch level and they waited silently as the Honest Men slowly unbuttoned their breeches, sliding them toward the floor while leaving their duty belts in place.

"As you can plainly see," Crane intoned, "not all of the hoods allow for oral contact. That is no matter. These four understand now that they must serve their superiors in a number of ways. Sometimes that involves their mouths. Sometimes it does not. For the purposes of today's demonstration, their heads will do just fine."

The Honest Men wore black leather jockstraps emblazened with the initials "HM." At Crane's cue, they pressed the pouches into the hooded faces of their captives. In a choreography of humiliation, they rubbed them up and down, side to side, as the heroes kneeled passively and accepted their fate.

Monday, September 03, 2007

291. The omniscient narrator

The four men stood with their heads bowed. Each was bare-chested and wore dull gray uniform pants. Lacking their more familiar clothing, the best way to tell them apart (other than Robin's mostly hairless torso) was by the hoods pulled over their heads. While each shared a basic color and design--jet black, covering the entire head, no eyes or mouth currently visible--the material and/or certain details varied from one wearer to the next. Robin's was pure spandex, clinging so tightly to his skull that it revealed traces of his hairline and eyebrows. Green Arrow's was a rough cloth, tied in the back. These two were designed without openings of any kind, though the wearer could still see and breathe in a limited way. Both Batman and the Magus had been outfitted with leather hoods--the latter possessed only the tiniest of holes to allow in little pinpricks of air and light, while Batman's featured removable panels to expose or cover the ears, nose, and mouth, all of which were currently snapped shut.

"You are seeing the latest phase of a long and slow process during which their old costumes were removed and their new uniforms introduced," Crane said from the podium. "As soon as they were captured, we removed all their tools and weapons, of course. In the days that followed, we took away one item every three days: gloves, capes, belts, tights, and the like. At your request, they were all unmasked in a dark room, their true faces seen by no one yet, They've been wearing these hoods for almost a month now. The lower half is lifted slightly once a week so that the prisoners may be shaved. Their beard growth is fed to them in that evening's meal as a regular reminder of their defeat."

"Now that's a perverse touch," HateMonger said.

"Thank you, Sir," Crane replied, smiling slightly. "Perversion is my business, after all."

HateMonger's expression darkened. "Your 'business'--one for which you are being paid quite lavishly, I might add--is to break these men, totally and completely. Nothing you've shown me thus far convinces me you've done that."

"Be patient, my good man," Scarecrow said. "The fun is just beginning."