In the sprawling city of Gotham, there are a few things which are so reliable, they no longer draw much attention from passersby–street crime, poverty, and despair, for example. Anyone who has lived in the city for any period of time has seen innocent blood spilled in their line of vision at least once…many Gothamites had proudly developed a sense of humor about the unceasing violence, and most had a friend or relative who had been given a “Gotham Retirement,” ie. a fatal bullet or knife wound.
…To say nothing of the more exotic ways to end it all, such as a face-full of acid from a novelty squirting daisy, or perhaps a sucking chest wound administered by an umbrella-wielding maniac. Gothamites rightly present themselves as unshockable.
And yet, even in this city, where homicide causes as much ennui as terror, a glimpse of the Batmobile is reason to pause, to hold your loved ones a bit tighter to you, to stand in awed silence. And at Christmas, with the blanket of white everywhere, the matte black vehicle is even more impressive in contrast.
Batman drives on specially-designed tires through slush that would intimidate even the most experienced cold-weather driver. He is alone, and yet his masked face betrays nothing, no emotion at all. He does not look over at the very expensive two-way color monitor to the right of the steering wheel, and this is perhaps the only indication Nightwing has that the road his former mentor is driving is treacherous, indeed.
NIGHTWING: Batman, I have the information you asked for. You were right. In the last two months, there’ve been five reported muggings in that two-block radius.
BATMAN: I suspected as much. Any description of the perp?
NIGHTWING: Oh, yeah. Big guy, 210-225 pounds, caucasian, sandy blond hair. Checked, and couldn’t find a match for any known felons fitting that description in that area. Gordon put a police artist sketch on the local feeds, but so far, nada. It’s a low PD priority, I assume.
BATMAN: Hmm. Anything else?
NIGHTWING: Well, yeah, all the victims got hit over the head with a blunt object–a blackjack or something, but nothing too serious. First victim had a mild concussion, which is about the extent of the damage. We’re not looking for Killer Croc, here. Maybe a user in need of a fix.
BATMAN: There was a small-time hood named Danny Stone who used to use that MO for light B&E and assault–if he put on a few pounds in prison, he’d fit the description. He might be out on parole, and working from a different base…I remember he was married when he went inside.
NIGHTWING: Want me to check?
BATMAN: No, it’s Christmas, and I’m sure you have plans. If he’s prowling tonight, I’ll find him. Good work, Nightwing.
NIGHTWING: You should thank Oracle. She did the legwork. I’m on my way over to her place now.
NIGHTWING: Yeah, we’re having a regular Christmas bash, just Barbara, Cassandra and me. Barbara’s showing Batgirl how to cook a turkey. Should be a real Kodak moment, if she doesn’t accidentally kill Barbara while carving the thing.
BATMAN: Barbara’s cooking a turkey?
NIGHTWING: Oh, yeah. You might not know it, but Babs can COOK, Bruce. I mean, she’s got apple-walnut stuffing, and garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, and home-made rolls, and fresh peach cobbler. It’s going to be…
NIGHTWING: What was that?
BATMAN: …I didn’t hear anything.
NIGHTWING: No, I definitely heard something. Does the Batmobile need a tune-up?
NIGHTWING: Was that your stomach, Bruce?
BATMAN: … No.
NIGHTWING: Bruce, when was the last time you ate? Don’t tell me you haven’t eaten since Alfred went on vacation!
NIGHTWING: What was that?
BATMAN: I didn’t know where the kitchen is, all right? Satisfied? I thought I’d try to make a sandwich or something, but I couldn’t find the kitchen. Big laugh, the Dark Knight can’t make a sandwich cause he CAN’T FIND THE KITCHEN.
BATMAN: So, about the third day, I ate all the decorative chocolates in the foyer, and I think on the fourth day, I actually ate some of that hideous fruitcake Lucius Fox’s wife sent. brrr… Alfred usually cooks for me, Dick. Alfred’s ALWAYS cooked for me! I’ve never made toast in my life…I don’t even know HOW you make toast!
NIGHTWING: This is…this is just sad, Bruce. Couldn’t you just order take-out?
BATMAN: NO! We’re outside of the delivery range! I’ll… I’ll be all right, Dick I ate a package of those Ramen noodles once I finally found the pantry.
NIGHTWING: Did you cook them?
NIGHTWING: Bruce, did you boil them in water?
BATMAN: I don’t want to talk about this any more.
NIGHTWING: Oh, this is absurd. Can’t you have dinner with Tim, or Lucius?
BATMAN: I THOUGHT they tasted rather dry and bland. It should say on the package that you’re supposed to cook them in some fashion. What, do you use that microwave thing, or do you barbecue them somehow? Can you boil noodles on a barbecue? I know we have a barbecue by one of the pools…I’ve been there. I’ve seen it.
BATMAN: Well, I’ve always been wealthy, Dick. Where would I learn how to cook? I spent the whole morning yesterday trying to find my closet so I could leave the house.
NIGHTWING: Well, there’s nothing for it but for you to come over to Barbara’s place. You can have Christmas dinner with us. I’ll just call Barbara and tell her to set an extra plate.
BATMAN: I guess that seasoning packet wasn’t supposed to be eaten raw either? It tasted like a chemically-recreated chicken. It was like poultry-flavored poison. Hey, remember how Alfred would spend all day cooking my favorite soup, vichyssoise, and I’d take one bite, and then he’d get all huffy? Heh.
NIGHTWING: You’re scaring me, Bruce. I’ll clear it with Barbara. In the meantime, stop at a Burger King, or something. Eat something. That’s an order.
BATMAN: No. NO! I’ll…I’ll be fine. The Batman needs to be feared, Dick. You know that. No one’s afraid of a man in a cape ordering tacos or whatever it is poor people eat. You go on and have your party. I’ll be fine. I think I have some saltines in the glove box. I’ll be all right. I have a job to do, and I’m used to being alone.
Batman begins pounding on the dashboard of the Batmobile…
BATMAN: Oh, man. I’m SO HUNGRY. I HATE Christmas! It SUCKS!!! Oh, Alfred, why did you desert me? I’m STARVING, GODDAMN IT! I want some crudités! Some veal brouchettes! Calamar a l’Americaine! I WANT A QUICHE! I WANT A QUIIIIIIIIIICHE!!! **sob! sob!**
VICTIM: Please…please don’t kill me! It’s Christmas, for God’s sake!
STONE: I ain’t gonna kill you, pops. I’m gonna tap you once on the head, lights out, and then I’m gonna leave here wit’ your wallet, awright?
BATMAN: I don’t think so, Stone. Not in my town. Not tonight.
STONE: Oh, Jesus! The BAT!
VICTIM: Oh, thank God!
BATMAN: Beating up old people on Christmas day is pretty low, Danny. Even for Gotham. Now, are you coming along quietly, or…?
Panicked, the mugger swings at Batman, using muscles toned by hundreds of hours of prison yard weightlifting. The Batman sidesteps almost imperceptibly, adjusts his stance, and throws out his left arm , allowing his wrist to go limp…the dead weight of his Kalari Payat sidehand blow slamming into the Stone’s face with astonishing force, causing the man to drop to his knees, devoid of both strength and courage. Perhaps Batman uses a bit more force than is called for by the situation…
In one smooth motion, Batman places his boot on the fallen man’s calf, grinding into the senstive muscle slightly, rendering Stone immobile as Batman puts the cuffs on the mugger’s outstretched hands. Momentarily, the man regains some of his senses, but finds himself quite unable to move…
STONE: Please, Batman, please…don’t take me in. I can’t go back. I’m on parole as is! I tried to get straight work, I swear…I can’t break parole, man! PLEASE…it’s CHRISTMAS!
BATMAN: You should have thought of that before mugging people in Crime Alley, Stone.
STONE: What was that?
STONE: Anyways, I ain’t kidding, Batman, PLEASE. My wife…she’ll leave me if I go back. She said one more stretch for me an’ we’re quits! She’ll take my kid, Batman…please, don’t do this!
BATMAN: Look, Stone. This is MY TOWN. You know the rules.
STONE: Aw, fer Chrissakes. She don’t even know I’m out here. She thinks I went to the store fer some ice cream.
BATMAN: …Ice cream?
STONE: I’m s’posed ta get some ice cream. You know, for the chocolate cake. It’s my son’s favorite.
VICTIM: You sure got him good, Batman! Guess you’re gonna take him downtown, huh?
BATMAN: Shut up! Now, Stone…what about this cake you mentioned?
STONE: Well, it’s for dessert, you know? My Tricia, she’s the best cook in the state. Yeah, she’s been cookin’ this honey-glazed ham all day, and she’s got some string bean casserole…
BATMAN: …Does she have yams? With those little teeny tiny marshmallows?
STONE: Oh, yeah, absolutely! She makes ’em, well, I don’t know how, but I tell ya, thinking about them yams is what got me through my sentence. Getting home to Tricia’s cooking, I mean.
VICTIM: Now, really, Batman…I hardly think…
BATMAN: WILL YOU FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT UP!?!? I’m TALKING here!
VICTIM: He HIT me in the HEAD! I’m BLEEDING, you’ll notice!
BATMAN (Reaching for his wallet…): Don’t be such a baby. Here’s a thousand bucks. Get lost!
VICTIM: But…but you always say there can be no crime in your city on your watch!
BATMAN: …That’s not a hard and fast rule. Scram, bloodyhead, before I pop you one myself.
STONE: Hey, Batman…can I call Tricia and tell ‘er we got company? Honest, you’re more’n welcome. No one should be alone today, of all days.
BATMAN: Well, I…I didn’t bring anything. You think your son would like a Batarang for Christmas? I’ve got an oxygen re-breather. Oh, hey, would your wife like some smoke bombs?
BEST HOLIDAY WISHES FROM YABS, AND SAVE SOME LEFTOVERS FOR BATMAN!!