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Library: BatMUD Forever

Books

Author: Aaleji
Date:Mar 19 1996

				  B A T M U D
			   F  O   R    E    V   E  R
 
			  An Epic Parody By Dave Kuhn

The Players:

Bruce "Wane" ................   Millionaire playboy by day, vigilante
				  by night

"Aal"fred ...................   Bruce's stuffy butler

"Yari" Dent .................   District Attorney, Bruce's best friend

"A. Naconda", Ph.D ..........   Wannabe game designer who happens to
				  be completely insane

The "Grifter" ...............   Archvillain who died in the first movie
				  but makes a cameo appearance in this
				  story for posterity's sake.

"Maia" Clark .................  The flighty blonde bank teller-turned-
				  seductress thrown in as a love interest
				  for no reason other than it makes
				  for good laughs.

"Katt"woman ..................  A kinky babe in tight leather that
				  says meow now and again.

Dick "Greyhame" ..............  Orphan taken in by Bruce as a tax shelter.

Our story begins in a stately office, where a stately man is addressing
a not so stately man.  You figure it out.

  "I'm sorry, Dr. Naconda," said the man in the suit, "But your games 
and puzzles are just too easy.  We're going to have to let you go."
The man in the suit sighed; Naconda had shown some promise when he had
been hired.
  "Couldn't you give me one more chance, sir, please? I have 
a wife, and three children."  That was a lie; he hadn't even had a date 
in four years, and that one had  ended in disaster.  Not that he cared, 
games were his one true love. 
  "I'm sorry," said the man.  "You have until tomorrow to gather your 
things." 
  "I'll gather my things, then!  Muahaha!  Someday, you'll be sorry!"
screamed Naconda's mind.  In reality, he just sat there, murmuring. 
  "Did you say something, Doctor?" asked the man in the suit. 
  "I just said that I would get my things." 
  "That's what I thought you said.  Good day, Doctor Naconda."

				   * * *

Now, we pan over to Stately Wane manor.  All of Bat City's uppity-ups 
are gathered there for Bruce's twice annual birthday celebration.  Just 
as the party has reached full swing, Bruce makes ready to leave.

  "The party seems to be quite a success, Master Bruce," said Aalfred, 
scrambling to keep stride with his millionaire employer.  "No few 
people have said as much."
  "As much your praise as mine, Aalfred.  More so yours; you did all 
the planning," replied Bruce, not missing a step.  Bruce Wane,
millionaire playboy, was always generous with compliments.  That was 
his way; pleasant, reassuring, a true man of the people.  At least 
that was his way during the daylight hours and into the twilight.  But 
when the moon took its full place in the sky, Bruce was anything but
pleasant. He was the Batman, the dark knight.  The avenger.
  "Master Bruce, surely you aren't leaving your own party?" asked
Aalfred, already sure of the answer. 
  "I have to Aalfred.  Crime doesn't stop just because I turn a year
older.  Criminals must pay." Bruce's tone made it clear he did not 
want to discuss the matter further.  He turned the corner and threw 
open the door to his study.  "Go see out the guests, Aalfred. Give 
them my regrets," he said, opening the grandfather clock that led 
to his top secret crime lab.
  "Take care, Master Bruce," said Aalfred as the millionaire vanished
into the clock.  Aalfred always said that.  It put him at ease. 
  Bruce nearly fainted when he ran headlong into Yari Dent halfway
down the passage to the Batcave.   "Y-y-Yari," he stammered, "What 
are you doing here!" 
  "I was looking for the bathroom, Bruce, but found your study instead.  
You really shouldn't label your secret entrances." 
  "Oh," was all Bruce could say. 
  "Don't worry about it, old friend.  Your secret is safe with me.
To think, though, that all this time you've been the guy in the pink 
bunny suit..." 
  "I only wear that one during the Easter season. Helps with all the
bad press us vigilantes tend to get," replied the blushing Bruce. 
  "Bet the women love it, too," laughed Yari.  "So, how about a tour?" 
  "Sure, Yari, sure."  The two men made their way down the stairs and
into the Batcave.

				   * * *

  "What does this thing do, Bruce?" asked Yari Dent, pressing several
buttons. 
  "That's my Super Ultrasonic Batawave.  It'll cook  anything in just 
15 seconds." 
  "What about this gizmo?" said Yari, pressing a few more buttons. 
  "My Superconductive Batallite," replied Bruce.  "It gets over 500
channels, and I don't have to pay to watch HBO." 
  "And this?" 
  "An eggbeater." 
  "Oh."

				   * * *

  Dick Greyhame rolled over in his bed.  Bruce was hosting Bat City's 
famous tonight, and he wasn't invited. That chaffed at him; he had 
done his best to be a good son for Bruce.  He wanted desperately to 
make the millionaire happy; wanted that more than anything else.  
Wanted that even more than he wanted to be a super hero. 
  He had tangled over that issue for quite some time, being a super 
hero.  He knew all about Bruce's secret; he had found the Batcave on 
his second day in the manor. Finding things in Stately Wane manor was 
easy; everything was labeled.  But he was sure that Bruce would get 
angry if he said anything, and that was the last thing he wanted.  
After all, crime fighting vigilantes weren't known for their longevity, 
and Dick was the person most likely to inherit the Wane family fortune. 
  He closed his eyes and tried to envision himself leading the life of 
a millionaire playboy.  Then he tried to picture himself in tight-
fitting Spandex with a big yellow bat emblazoned on his chest.  In 
both images, there were beautiful women fawning all over him.  He was 
fourteen, after all, and boys that age are always dreaming of 
beautiful women. 
  He sighed and made up his mind.  Tomorrow, he would start life as a 
crime fighter.  Millions of dollars might be fun, but tight Spandex 
showed off his assets.   "Besides," he thought, "chicks dig 
superheroes."

				   * * *

  Something chirped alarmedly in the Batcave.  "Excuse me, Yari,
I've got a call."  Bruce ran to answer the blinking red phone.
"Probably just Mom calling to nag me again." 
  "I thought your mother had been ruthlessly murdered by a nameless 
street thug." 
  "I just told the press that; I've actually got her in a home in 
Florida."  The phone chirped again just as Bruce picked it up. 
  "ACME Worm Farm, Today's Special, Nightcrawlers, 5 for $1!"  Bruce 
always answered the phone with something witty.  "Hello?" 
  "Is Batman there?" asked the voice on the other end. 
  "Speaking.  How'd you get this number?" 
  "I'll ask the questions here, you costumed freak. Riddle me this:  
What's big, red and eats rocks?"  The voice on the other end was
demanding. 
  "A big, red rock eater?" answered Bruce. 
  "Damn!" said the voice.  The phone clicked as the caller hung up.
  "Who was that, Bruce?" asked Yari. 
  "I dunno.  Some maniac telling riddles a three year old could
answer.  Time to get a new number; guess I'll get an unlisted one,
this time."  Bruce sighed. 
  "Hey, what's in this?" said Yari, picking up a yellow aerosol can.  
The biohazard symbol was painted on the side. 
  "18 molar Ultratoxic Batspray." 
  "What does it do?" asked Yari, spraying some of the mist into the 
air. 
  "It eats flesh, often driving the victim completely insane.  It 
smells pretty good, though; I use it as an air freshener, sometimes." 
  Yari began to scream and wail horribly as the mist settled onto 
his face.  Bruce realized what was happening far too late to stop it. 
"Bruce, help me!" screamed the agonized DA.  Eyeing the toxic green
vapor that wafted in the air near his friend, Bruce could only watch. 
  Ten minutes later, it was all over.  There was a fresh pine scent
near the fallen Dent, a rather pleasant pine.  Bruce ran to his dying
comrade.  "Yari," he said, turning his friend over.  He was about to
say "Are you all right?" but instead he just gasped.  Fully half of
Dent's face had been eaten away by the Batspray.  Worse, though, his
eyes had congealed into a single mass in the center of head.  "My
god!  You've only got one eye!" 
  "Check please," said Dent before he passed out.

				   * * *

  Naconda admired himself in the mirror.  After losing his job, he
had quickly lost his mind.  He dyed his hair brilliant purple--he 
had always liked purple--and donned a pair of sunglasses Elton John 
would be ashamed of.  He had taken to wearing bright green Spandex.  
"Now, what is this outfit missing?" he asked himself tritely.  "I  
know!"  He quickly sewed a large, purple question mark on the front.  
"From this day forward, I am not just a doctor!  I am a GOD!"  His 
maniacal laughter followed him out the door. 
  The looks his attire brought were flattering to him; no one had 
ever looked at him before.  His leisurely stroll became a strut as 
he made his way to Bat City Federal Bank. 
  The teller could barely keep a straight face when Naconda approached 
the counter.  "What (laugh) can I do for you (giggle), Sir?" 
  "You can riddle me this:  Why did the chicken cross the road?" 
  "You've got to be shitting me.  Am I on that Funniest Video show?" 
  "Answer me, you penny-counting whore!" screamed Naconda, earning
this story a PG-13 rating. 
  "I don't know," she replied cautiously, "to get to the other side?" 
  "Damn!  Give me all the money in the bank." 
  "No!  Security, take this guy out of here!" she shouted. 
  Reaching over the counter, he grabbed the teller. "One move, 
officers, and this little lady will get twisted into a Rubik's Cube."
  She slapped him across the face and pulled herself free.  The
security officers stepped up and dragged Naconda away.  As he was 
pulled out of the bank, he began to sob uncontrollably. 
  "You okay?" asked the well-dressed man standing next in line of 
the teller. 
  "Fine" she smiled, recognizing Bruce Wane.  So many times she had 
stayed up nights dreaming of the handsome young millionaire.  Made 
bold by her success against Naconda, she decided to press her luck.  
"You're Bruce Wane, aren't you?" 
  "Yes, yes I am," said Bruce. 
  "Would you like to take me out tonight?" 
  "Umm, busy." 
  "Tomorrow?" 
  "Still busy." 
  "Are you just trying to spare my feelings, Bruce?" 
  "What was that?"  He had fallen into a daydream; he and the teller 
were strolling hand-in-hand on the beach, madly in love. 
  "What about the day after tomorrow?" 
  "Sure.  What's your name, anyway?" 
  "Maia.  Maia Clark.  I'm the token love interest that almost tempts 
you to leave your life as a vigilante." 
  "You know I'm the Batman?  What gave me away?" 
  "Your still wearing your bunny ears." 
  "Oh," was all Bruce managed to say. 
  "Pick me up around 7:30." 
  "Will do," Bruce agreed, taking the bunny ears off.

				   * * *

  Bruce had taken Yari to the most expensive plastic surgeon he could 
find.  Dent had yet to wake from his coma, which was good.  No one 
could bear to find out that half their face had been burnt off, 
nonetheless that they had only one huge eyeball. 
  The surgeon promised to do his best, and Bruce promised to pay all 
the bills.  When all was said and done, though, Dent was still major 
league ugly.  Yari woke up, looked in a mirror, and started to laugh 
hysterically.  "They call me One-eye!" he proclaimed as he jumped to 
his feet.  "Bruce, old friend, thanks."  With that, he trotted down 
the hall. 
  "You aren't going to let him go out into the street like that, are 
you, Bruce?" asked the surgeon. 
  "That's the best that can be done, doc.  You said it yourself.  
He'll have to learn to live with it." 
  "I don't mean his face, you moron.  He's stark naked." 
  "Oh," said Bruce as he tore off after his friend.
				   
				   * * *

  "Nobody knows, the trouble I've seen..." came the bass droning from
cell 54.  "Nobody knows, my sorrow." Shortly after running naked down 
Main Street in Bat City, the hideously deformed Yari Dent had been 
committed.  Four days later found him hunched in a corner "singing" 
the only prison tune he could recall. 
  "You here that, Fluffy?" whispered a frantic voice in cell 53.  
"That's Yari Dent.  He's a complete psycho now. Not like us; we're 
perfectly fine.  Isn't that right, Paco?" 
  "Talking to your pillow again, eh, Naconda?" muttered Yari.  "You're
wasting your time, you know.  Pillows don't speak English." 
  "Show's how much you know, you malformed freak!  Fluffy isn't a
pillow, she's just dressed like one.  And Paco..." 
  "Paco's a toilet, you ninny." 
  "No he's not.  He's a Nicaraguan Freedom Fighter.  And he says that 
the rest of the Contras are probably negotiating for his and my 
release right now.  Contras are great negotiators, he says." 
  "Crap in, crap out," sighed Yari.  "Look, the only way you're 
getting out of this joint is with my help.  Take your pick, Naconda.  
You wait on Paco, and all you've got is time." 
  "You're just jealous.  Just because you and Claude..." 
  "Who the hell is Claude?" 
  "The guy you're sleeping with, as if you didn't know." 
  "Look, Naconda, I'm either gonna free you, or I'm gonna kill you.  
Either way, you're not going to be around tomorrow.  What's it gonna
be?" 
  "Liberty or death, eh?  Can I bring my friends?" 
  "Paco has got to stay and guard our escape.  Bring Fluffy if you 
have to, but she's your baggage."  
	
				   * * *
	
  "Why do you do it, Bruce?" asked Maia. 
  "It just feels good, I guess."  Bruce hated pillow talk. 
  "Fight crime, I mean." 
  "Oh, that." 
  Maia giggled.  "What did you think I meant?" 
  "I'd tell you, but then we'd have an R rating." 
  "Oh." 
  "I never really stopped to think about why," Bruce lied.  The truth 
of the matter was that chicks dug super heroes.  Besides, the sheer 
nylon of his costume always made him feel sort of tingly inside. 
  "Isn't it dangerous out there?  Don't you ever think about settling 
down?" 
  "I can't settle down, Marcia..." 
  "Maia." 
  "I said that." 
  "You said Marcia." 
  "I meant Maia." 
  "That's not what you said." 
  "Can we talk about the plot?" 
  "What plot?" 
  "Oh."  

				   * * *

  "So, is it true what they say about guys named Dick?" asked the 
woman in the form-fitting patent-leather Katt outfit.  She dragged 
her "paw" over his chest, purring ever so slightly. 
  "Depends on what they say, I suppose," boomed Dick, his voice a 
resonant baritone. 
  She knelt over and began to lick his face.  It was a peculiar 
feeling, but he thought he could grow to like it. "Mind if I find 
out?" she murmured, inching her way down his body. 
  "Not at all, my kitten, not at all."  Dick put his hands behind 
his head and closed his eyes.  The Kattwoman circled his navel with 
her agile tongue. 
  "That's it, boy-wonder, you just lie there and let me do my job."  
Boy wonder; he sort of liked the sound of that. 
  "Sure, whatever you say." 
  "I said, Master Dick, that you cannot just lie there all day."  
Aalfred's voice was demanding. 
  "Aalfred!" Dick shouted, rising from his dream.  Aalfred always 
seemed to wake him just as he was reaching the good parts. 
  "Yes, Master Dick?" 
  "Nothing." 
  "When you are showered and dressed, Master Bruce would like to see 
you in his study." 
  "Oh," muttered Dick as he climbed out of bed. "Thanks, Aalfred." 
  "My pleasure, Master Dick," said Aalfred as he turned and left the 
room. 
  Dick took his time waking up; he was sure this meeting with Bruce 
had something to do with last night's declaration. He lingered in the 
shower, quietly humming a mournful dirge. "I won't let hit stop me," 
he reassured himself, "No matter what he says or does."  He toweled 
himself dry, put on his clothes and steeled himself for the worst.  
				   
				   * * *

  "Dick," said Bruce, pausing deliberately after pronouncing the
name. "You're at that awkward age when certain changes start to 
occur."  Bruce had rehearsed this speech over and over again in his 
mind; now that he was actually giving it, it sounded all wrong. 
  "You mean..." started Dick, relieved that the conversation was 
about anything but his longing to be a superhero. 
  "Just let me talk, Dick.  You see, you're not like the other boys; 
you're a Barsoomian." 
  "What's a Barsoomian?" 
  "A small four-armed gorilla." 
  "But I've only got two arms." 
  "The special effects crew wanted four million gold for the extra 
arm work." 
  "Oh." 
  "You may notice some changes, though, as you get older." 
  "Like what?" asked Dick, beating his chest savagely. 
 
				   * * *
 
  The door to cell 53 splintered as Yari Dent threw the weight of 
his body against it.  "All right, Naconda, on your feet.  We've got 
fourteen guards to brutally murder and fifty alarm mechanisms to 
defeat--all before the dramatic escape music finishes.  We don't have 
time for long good-byes." 
  "Shut up, you cyclopean brute.  Paco and I are friends--in the 
biblical sense of the word--and I won't just leave him without a 
proper good-bye." 
  "Thirty seconds.  If you're not done by then, you will be done
--in the Chicago sense of the word." 
  Turning his attention back to his toilet, Naconda whispered his 
good-byes.  "Paco, no man has ever known me like you do.  I'm," he
paused, wiping a tear from his eye, "I'm going to miss you, amigo."  
Standing, Naconda took one last long look at his friend.  "Take care,
Paco.  And when the guards get here, don't take any shit from them."  
That said, Yari, Naconda and Fluffy made their way toward freedom. 
  Yari Dent guided the trio with consummate skill through the 
twisting passages of Arkham Asylum; he had navigated the corridors 
countless times before as DA.  He had chosen his path deliberately, 
carefully avoiding the most heavily guarded areas.  He had chosen a 
path that would take them by the Grifter's cell. 
  "We have to release an old pal of mine," said One-eye to Naconda.  
"I wonder if he'll be surprised to see me." 
  "I don't think he'll be surprised," murmured Naconda. "Revolted, 
maybe.  But not surprised." 
  "What was that?" demanded Yari. 
  "I'll ask the questions here, you monocular monstrosity!" 
  Yari sighed, making his way to the next door. "All right, Naconda, 
stand back.  This is his cell." 
  "Who's cell?" 
  "The Grifter's." 
  "Isn't he dead?" 
  "This story is set in the DC universe." 
  "Oh," said Naconda, stoically, just as Yari kicked the cell door in.  
Horrible laughter sounded from within as the Grifter strolled out. 
  "Mr. Dent, nice look for you," he began, "NOT!" Apparently amused 
by his cliche', the Grifter burst into a peel of thunderous laughter.  
"Who's the geek with the pillow?" 
  "I'll ask the questions here, you playing-card reject!" 
  "Ummm, sure," agreed Grifter, "I'll just call you Paco, then."  
Naconda burst into tears; the Grifter smiled a toothy grin. 
  "So, Dent, what gives?  You look like you've soaked half your face 
in 18 Molar Ultratoxic Batspray."  The Grifter giggled at the notion.
  "I did." 
  "Pine scented or lemon fresh?" 
  "The pine." 
  "Oooh, that must've hurt."
  Yari nodded in agreement.  "So, are you surprised to see me?"
  "Sort of; the last time we talked, you were walking the straight and
narrow.  I take it things have changed?"  The Grifter seemed pleased
with himself.
  Nodding again, Yari allowed a small smile to crease his lips.
  "All righty, then..." began the Grifter.
  "Hey," interrupted Naconda, "That's my line.  Didn't you see Ace
Ventura, Pet Detective?" 
  The Grifter suddenly bent over as if struck a blow in the stomach.
Holding his belly, he wailed in horrible pain. 
  "What's wrong with him," asked Naconda of Yari. 
  "They use Ace Ventura," he started, Grifter letting out an agonized
yelp, "As a punitive measure.  Grifter here has seen that film more
than 5000 times, the poor soul.  Talk about cruel and unusual." 
  Naconda snickered to himself.  "Hey, Grifter, guess what?" 
  Barely recovered from his ordeal, the Grifter managed a near-silent
"What?" 
  "I'm making a sequel!" 
  Howling in anguish, the Grifter slumped over, unconscious. 
  "Good going, Naconda.  He was going to be our diversion." 
  "Oh.  What are we going to now?" 
  Yari slumped dejectedly in the corner.  There were other ways to
elude the guards and escape the asylum; that much he was sure of.
The problem was that none of them had the eloquence of his original
plan.  "Damn," he said after a long moment, then "Damn!  Damn!
Damn!." 
  "Fluffy says you're not being very constructive." 
  Something clicked in the former DA's mind at that comment.  "You
know something, Naconda, she's wrong.  I'm being entirely too
CONstructive.  It's time to get downright DEstructive."  With that,
he kicked a hole through the drywall set.  "This may be our only
chance, Naconda, you coming?" 
  "What about the Grifter?" 
  "What about him?" 
  "I'll ask the questions," began Naconda as two guards charged into
the hall, guns blazing.  Not taking the time to finish his trademark,
he and Yari Dent made their escape.  

				   * * *

  The now unlisted Bat hotline chirped, startling Bruce. He had been
sulking in the Batcave since he'd finished his talk with Dick.  Bruce 
hated to be the bearer of bad tidings; breaking the news to his
adopted son had nearly brought him to tears. 
  "Batcave, what do you want?" he sighed in greeting. 
  "Shut up, you rodent-loving punk, I'll ask the..." 
  "...Questions here.  All right, go ahead."  Bruce had answered
similar calls throughout the afternoon. 
  "Why do firemen wear red suspenders?" asked the voice on the
other end. 
  "Um, to keep their pants up?" 
  "Damn!" exclaimed the voice.  The phone clicked as the connection
went dead. 
  "Who was that, Master Bruce?" asked Aalfred from the cave's entrance. 
  "That damn riddler again.  I'm going to have to get Caller ID 
down here." 
  "Have you been able to make any sense of his prattle?" 
  "No, but I haven't really tried to, either." 
  "Perhaps there is a hidden message in his riddles, Sir.  If I were 
an archvillian, I would have a hidden message." 
  "What makes you think this fool is an archvillian?" 
  "It's in the script, Sir." 
  "Oh." 
  "Good day, Master Bruce."  
				   
				   * * *

  Just as the clock tolled the evening hour, Dick Greyhame made his
way into the Batcave.  Bruce was hunched over a table in deep thought. 
"What are you doing?" asked Dick nonchalantly.  He was an expert at 
nonchalance. 
  "Oh, just trying to puzzle out these riddles."  Bruce answered 
before he realized whom he was speaking with. "Dick!  What are you 
doing here?" 
  Dick had thought of a million possible ways to broach this subject. 
Finally, he had decided upon the brutally honest approach.  "Well, 
Dad," he began, hoping that the "dad" would soften the blow.
"You're not going to live forever, and I figured I ought to learn 
the family business." 
  Bruce thought on it for a moment, then cleared his throat.  "Son, 
being a superhero, well, it's dangerous.  You could be killed, or 
worse.  Wouldn't you rather learn to be a millionaire playboy?" 
  "I've already seen the Arthur films; I know all about being a 
millionaire playboy.  I'll be honest with you, Dad, I'm really 
just looking for an excuse to wear Spandex in public." 
  "Oh," replied Bruce.  "I guess we ought to make you a costume, 
then.  What are you going to call yourself?" 
  "The Barsoomian Wonder," replied Dick proudly. 
  Bruce shrugged.  "Hmmm, too long.  How about Barso?" 
  "I like it!" 
  "Good.  I'll put Aalfred on costume detail." 
  Dick sighed.  "Fine, but no bunny ears." 
  "How about a fluffy white tail?" 
  Dejectedly, Dick resigned himself to his fate.  "If I  must," he said. 
  "I'll give him creative license.  What do you make of these riddles?"
  "A three year old could answer them," Dick snorted. 
  "I know that, but what do they have in common?" 
  "Read them to me." 
  "Okay, here goes.  Number one, what's big, red and eats rocks." 
  "A big red rock eater." 
  "That was my answer too.  Number two, what's black, white and red
all over?" 
  "A newspaper." 
  "Shrewd deduction, Barso.  Number five." 
  "Three, sir." 
  "Three.  What happened to the gray rock thrown into the red sea?" 
  "It got wet.  Bruce, are any of the riddles hard?" 
  "Not really, no.  The last is 'Why do firemen wear red suspenders?'" 
  "To keep their pants up.  I think I figured it out, Bru, er, Dad.
All of them have the word 'red,' and all of them are ridiculously easy." 
  "The little red schoolhouse!" exclaimed Bruce. 
  "Exactly!" 
  "And they told me you had a 'low' intelligence." 
  "I've got a full int boon."
  "Oh," Bruce said, smiling.  Dick would make a fine superhero.  

				   * * *

  After their daring escape from Arkham, Yari Dent and Doctor A. Naconda 
did not part ways.  Rather, using their collective criminal genius, they 
established a command post. Their plan was brilliant in its simplicity; 
their goal was to rule the world. 
  Looking over the plan's schematics one last time, Dent was unsure of 
their chances.  "You sure this will work?" he asked, gesturing at the
blue prints. 
  "Of course it will work.  And remember, I ask..." Interrupting Naconda
mid-sentence, Yari finished the trademark line. 
  "If I make my guess," continued Naconda, "Batman is on his way to the
little red schoolhouse.  Five of our best goons will waylay him there." 
  "You sure five will be enough?" 
  "No, but we've only got five goons, so it will have to do.  Anyway,
when Batman turns up missing, scads of wannabes will try to take his 
place; it's a well known fact that chicks dig superheroes." 
  "And that's why we've cornered the Spandex market." 
  Naconda smiled; Yari was catching on.  "Exactly, but remember, Spandex
alone does not an empire make." 
  "So we're really going ahead with the Acme(TM) Bunny Supply robbery?" 
Dent seemed incredulous. 
  "Most definitely," replied Naconda assuredly.  
  "And then..?" Yari wondered aloud. 
  "Then we sell our ill-gotten supplies to the new flock of heroes at
outrageously inflated prices.  We use our profits to purchase Disney.
Once that's done, world domination is just a feature film away." 
  "It will never work." 
  "You have a better plan?" 
  Thinking for a moment, Yari cleverly concocted his own scheme.  "We 
could systematically level cities which opposed our absolute rule."  
  "No we can't." 
  "Why not?" 
  "Leveling cities doesn't have any comedic value." 
  "Sure it does, didn't you see Godzilla vs. Mothra?" 
  Thinking back, Naconda had no choice but to agree. "Hmmm, I guess your
right.  We'll make that our plan B."  

				   * * *

  "I am terribly sorry, Master Dick, but this is the best I could do,"
explained Aalfred.  "I'm sure it will suffice.  When you are dressed,
Master Bruce has asked for you in the Batcave."  Aalfred left, closing
the door behind him. 
  Dick looked at the costume Aalfred had scraped together.  His initial
worry was that Aalfred would try to cover too much of him up, a worry 
that was quickly dispelled.  The outfit consisted of a pink Spandex
thong and a three size too small tank top.  To conceal his identity, 
Aalfred had thoughtfully included a furry black gorilla mask.  Looking 
at the ensemble, Dick could only barely muster the courage to put it on.  
"Being a superhero is not as I thought," he muttered as he stretched 
the muscle shirt over his frame.  "But it sure is worth it," he added, 
adjusting his thong.  He put on the mask and took a moment to admire 
himself in the mirror.  Blushing, he decided to go uncostumed for a 
while.  Changing into his normal grunge attire, he tucked the mask 
under his arm and headed for the study. 
  Aalfred was busily dusting the shelves in the study when Dick arrived.
"I expected to see you costumed, Master Dick," he said, continuing his
tidying efforts. 
  "Ummm, it didn't fit.  Thanks for the mask, though." 
  "I was afraid of that; too tight in the crotch?" Aalfred was the 
type of person that could say anything without embarrassment. 
  Dick shook his head.  "Is Bruce still down there?" he asked, 
gesturing at the secret entrance to the Batcave.  He was pleased 
to have changed the subject. 
  "I believe so, yes." 
  "Thank you, Aalfred. 
  "My pleasure, Master Dick."  

				   * * *

  "Dick, where's your costume?" demanded Bruce and Dick strolled into
view.  "You can't be a vigilante without a secret identity." 
  "Ummm, it didn't fit; I figured I'd just wear this gorilla mask."  He
held the mask up for Bruce's inspection. 
  "It will have to do.  You have your pilot's license?" 
  "I'm only fourteen." 
  "That's no excuse; get into the Hypersonic Ultralite Batwing, I'll 
take the Batmobile.  We'll converge on the schoolhouse at 23:00 hours." 
  Dick stammered a moment.  "B-b-but, I don't know how to fly."   
  "Look, do you want to be a superhero?" 
  "Um, yes," said Dick sullenly. 
  "Then get in the plane." 
  "Couldn't we, um, switch vehicles or something?" 
  "You've got to be crazy; I wouldn't get in that death trap for twice
my family fortune," Bruce laughed aloud. 
  Resigned to his fate, Dick Greyhame, Barso, the Barsoomian Wonder,
strapped himself into the Batwing.  He put his gorilla mask on, 
murmured a silent prayer, and pressed the red button labeled 'ignition.'  
Only after he had broken mach one did he notice the "Made in Hong Kong" 
sticker on the dash.  That, combined with the horrific speed of the 
vessel, caused Dick to lapse into unconsciousness.  
				   
				   * * *

  "22:59," said Bruce, eyes skyward.  "Where is he?" Truth be told, 
he did not have a pilot's license either.  The Batwing all but flew 
itself. 
  A thunderous BOOM ripped across the sky as the clock tolled eleven; 
the Batwing rapidly decelerating near the schoolhouse.  Bruce sighed 
his relief; a dead orphan did not a tax shelter make.  Climbing from 
his suped-up Camaro (the real Batmobile was trashed in Batman Returns), 
he skulked to where the Batwing had landed. 
  He gasped when he saw the slumped form in the cockpit. "Gasp!"  He 
threw open the hatch and dragged Barso to the ground.  "Dick!  Wake 
up, Dick!" 
  "You didn't have that problem last night," said a decidedly 
feminine voice. 
  "M-M-Maia, what, what are you doing here?" asked the bewildered Bruce,
adjusting his mask and ears. 
  "Bruce, I; that is; Well; What I meant to say; Um, don't do this 
anymore.  Please."  She grabbed the bunny ears from his head and 
crumpled them.  "Please, for me." 
  "Maia, we talked about this, remember?"  Bruce sighed. Sometimes, 
he wished he could abandon his darker side. 
  "I know we did, but, I, nevermind."  She turned and began to walk 
away. 
  "Maia, wait!" cried Bruce, chasing after her.  He left the unconscious
Barso by the hovering Batwing. 
  "What, Bruce!  You can't change.  You won't!  You've said it, and 
nothing I can..."  She stopped suddenly as Bruce began to kiss her deeply. 
  Three minutes later, they stopped to catch their breath.  "Maia," said
Bruce, kneeling.  "Will you marry me?"  He could hardly believe he had
said it. 
  "No."  She could hardly believe her answer.  "I can't Bruce, not until
you retire this other life." 
  "I will, Maia, I promise.  Just this one final act, and Batman will
quit the stage forever; I won't even take a bow."  He smirked. 
  "Just this?" asked Maia, staring deeply into his eyes. 
  "I promise," said Bruce sincerely. 
  "Scout's honor?" 
  He held out the two fingers of the scout oath. "Scout's honor," he 
smiled. 
  "Cross your heart and hope to die?"  She needed to be absolutely sure. 
  "Stick a needle in my eye." 
  "Swear on a bible?"  
  "Call me born again," Bruce whispered in her ear. 
  "Oh, Bruce, I love you so much!"  They kissed passionately.
  "Look, Dick's up," said Maia, breathlessly.
  "I love it when you talk dirty," smiled Bruce, goosing her.
  "That's not what I meant," she said, pointing at Barso.
  "Oh," said Bruce.  "I guess we had best get moving." He sighed, waved,
and made his way to the stumbling form of his crime-fighting companion.
  "Be careful, Bruce," said Maia.  As the duo made their way into the
schoolhouse, she smiled.  "He's going to marry me," she said, exiting
stage right.

				   * * *

  BIF!  POW!  KRAK!  SOCK!  KAPOWW!  OOF!  BANG!  THUD!

				   * * *

  Batman and Barso surveyed the havoc they had wrought in the
schoolhouse.  Four thugs lay unconscious amidst wrecked furniture 
and overturned desks.  The fifth was securely fastened to a chair. 
  "Are we going to interrogate him?" asked Dick, his voice muffled
by the gorilla mask. 
  "Of course.  Interrogation is what makes being a vigilante so much 
fun."  Bruce cracked his knuckles. 
  "I'll tell you whatever you want," pleaded the man in the chair,
glancing at his fallen comrades.  "Just don't hurt me, please!" 
  Bruce removed a portable radio from his utility belt. "You have a 
favorite station?" he asked the thug. 
  "Um, no," lied the man.  He was afraid to pick the wrong one. 
  "I do.  K-B-I-LLY.  Super sounds of the seventies."
  "No, really, I'll tell you what you want to know," stammered the thug. 
  "I thought you might," said Bruce.  

				   * * *

  "All right, Riddler!  Your gig is up!" proclaimed Batman as he stormed 
into the command headquarters of Evil, Incorporated. 
  "B-Batman, how did you find me?" asked the startled Naconda.  Yari 
Dent, asleep in a nearby La-Z-Boy, snorted in his sleep. 
  "I'll ask the questions here, you obnoxious twerp!"  Bruce was glad 
he had fired this yutz. 
  "Yes sir!" yelled Naconda, hoping to wake Dent.  The two of them would
surely be able to overcome Batman, he thought.  Yari began to snore 
loudly. 
  "Why have you cornered the Spandex market?" demanded Batman.  Realizing
he was alone in this, Naconda explained his twisted scheme. 
  Bruce listened as Naconda laid down his plans.  When the doctor 
finished, Bruce had a brilliant idea.  "You know, Naconda, you actually 
possess a modicum of business savvy. I've got a great idea."
				   
				   * * *

  Bruce Wane, trillionaire playboy, his wife Maia and their son Dick 
lounged poolside.  The handsome Yari Dent, who had undergone massive 
reconstructive surgery, swam laps. 
  "Phone for you, Sir," said Aalfred, carrying the portable to Bruce. 
  Picking up the phone, Bruce answered.  "Bruce here." 
  "Bruce, good," said the voice of Naconda.  "We've got Disney against 
the wall, they'll sell to us at 800 billion." 
  "All right, Nac.  Dip into the petty cash."  Bruce smiled at Maia 
as he hung up the phone.  "I love you," he mouthed, giving her a 
peck. 
  "What was that for?" she wondered aloud. 
  "For making me the richest man in the world." 
  "What about Bill Gates?" 
  "He's not a man; he's an alien invader." 
  "Oh," said Maia, returning the peck.   
  
				   -FIN-



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