Friday, December 7, 2012
Batwing Head Guy.
Jimmy was walking home from school when he heard a loud hiss from the alley beside Cross’s Pharmacy.
Jimmy drew up short at the sight that greeted his eyes.
“Wow,” was all he said. “Whoa!”
“Kid! Come here for a minute,” said the strange apparition peeking around the red brick corner of the building.
His instincts aroused, but curiousity piqued, Jimmy drew a little closer. He stared at the Batwing Head Guy suspiciously, with eyes as round as saucers.
“What?” he said.
“Is there a big black limousine parked in front of the salon?”
Jimmy took a quick look down the street.
“Nope,” he said. “Who are you? What’s this all about?”
The person stuck his head around the corner and took a good, long look for himself. He sighed deeply.
“It’s a long story, kid,” the Batwing Head Guy told him. “I can sign an autograph for you, if you like. Looks like they’re gone anyway.”
“No, that’s all right. Why are you all dressed up like a woman?” asked Jimmy, taking in the stretchy jump-suit, the high stiletto heels, the ruby-red lips, plucked eyebrows, and a few other bothersome details, including a long, red silk cape.
“It’s a long story, kid.” replied the itinerant transient superhero.
“I got plenty of time,” Jimmy said.
The superhero grinned appreciatively.
“So you’re after the Tic-Tac-Toe Gang,” murmured Jimmy in pure speculative style.
“I can neither confirm nor deny that I am after the Tic-Tac-Toe Gang,” Batwing Head Guy said. “Anyway, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. But why the crazy get-up?” asked Jimmy.
“Look, kid. It’s a kind of tradition. Superheroes have to dress crazy. And pretty much everything else has already been done,” patiently explained the Batwing Head Guy. “I have to be honest, it was a bit strange at first. But you can get used to anything, given a little time.”
“And the mask?” asked Jimmy.
“Would you wear this get-up without a mask?” asked Batwing Head Guy with a short grimace. “Anyway, I have a full-time day job. Sometimes adults have to do things, and maybe sometimes work in places, for people they don’t like too much. And I guess maybe adults need those jobs, and don’t want to get fired. Maybe.”
“I wouldn’t wear it with a mask,” said Jimmy. “Are you telling me that you wear support hose, and that they’re just really good for your varicose veins?”
“I’m not going to lie to you, kid. They’re surprisingly warm, and I guess I just like the feel,” admitted Batwing Head Guy. “It’s a way of getting in touch with my expressive, nurturing side. Real men do like babies and stuff, you know. Otherwise there would be no good fathers.”
“Are you married?” asked Jimmy.
“Er, no,” admitted Batwing Head Guy.
“Got a girlfriend?” asked Jimmy.
“Well, no,” admitted Batwing Head Guy.
“That’s a surprise, considering your fashion sense,” said Jimmy. “Are you queer?”
“No!” sputtered Bat Wing Head guy. “Look, kid, shouldn’t you be playing hockey? Or something?”
“Well, that’s what I was trying to do…when you so rudely interrupted me,” said Jimmy. “I was just going over to my friend Mark’s house and play hockey.”
“Well, why don’t you run along then?” suggested the Batwing Head Guy.
“You’re the crazy old man that runs that little greasy spoon diner, down near the corner of Eglinton and Bloor.”
“No, that’s not me, kid. Besides, everyone in the world has a twin, didn’t you know that?”
The Batwing Head Guy was beginning to sweat just a little under the boy’s interrogation. He should have known better, in this neighbourhood. And the kid was definitely interested in this strange and unusual occurrence. You could hardly blame him, really.
“I don’t take orders from you,” Jimmy said. “This is my street. Who the hell are you? Some guy in red leotards with a crazy mask and bat wings sticking out of his head.”
“Yeah, okay. I guess I can see that,” admitted Batwing Head Guy, somewhat morosely.
Now that the Tic-Tac-Toe Gang were finished their morning ‘metro-sexual’ shave, trim, mud-pack and pedicure, he figured they were heading to the cop-shop in this rinky-dink little town to make the monthly payoff.
Batwing Head Guy was at something of a loss. How could he penetrate the cop-shop and get the goods on these creepos? And how do you explain to a little kid, ‘send a thief to catch a thief?’
“Mister?” he heard.
The boy was still there, observing him with a kind of editorial detachment.
“Why don’t you just wait by Wharf Three and take a picture of them dumping a body?”
“What?” gasped the Batwing Head Guy.
Jimmy repeated the suggestion.
“Do they do that?” he gasped. “When? How often?”
“About once a week, usually on a Sunday morning, just before sunrise,” Jimmy said. “I deliver papers, but the government deducts the money off my grandma’s disability.”
That would explain just why the kid was up so early on a Sunday morning. He was done delivering papers, and just wanted to play some hockey.
Batwing Head Guy grabbed the kid’s shoulders.
“Are you sure about this?” he queried forcefully, then relaxed his grip as he didn’t want to traumatize the boy.
“Sure as shooting. Sure as God made crack-pipes,” allowed the boy. “Sure as the Pope’s Catholic. Sure as…sure as your momma must have had some sour milk.”
But Batwing Head Guy stopped him right there.
“No need for blasphemy,” he allowed. “Anyway, thanks kid. I may just do that.”
He stood there, with a faraway look in his eyes.
“Can you fly?” asked Jimmy.
“What?” asked Batwing Head Guy a little impatiently.
“Can you fly?” Jimmy repeated.
“No, I can’t fly,” admitted Batwing Head Guy.
“Superman can fly. Johnny Flame can fly. Wonder Woman can fly.”
“Yes, I know,” said Batwing Head Guy a little ruefully. “I know.”
“Well, you ain’t much of a superhero, if you can’t fly,” said Jimmy.
“I’m saving my Air Miles for a trip to Jamaica next winter,” noted the Batwing Head Guy in a wistful tone.
“That’s not the same thing!” said Jimmy.
Batwing Head Guy sighed deeply.
“I suppose you’re right,” he admitted. “It’s not the same thing.”
Jimmy stood there regarding him.
“Well, I just think it’s a little weird,” he informed the Batwing Head Guy.
“All right kid. It’s weird,” said the Batwing Head Guy in resignation. “But I got to be honest with you. This is the first time I ever seriously considered retirement.”
“How the hell do you run in those shoes?” asked Jimmy.
“I shouldn’t have to run anywhere,” patiently explained Batwing Head Guy. “I use my head. I think things through. I shouldn’t have to wrestle around on the ground with these people. My knees aren’t too good. If I over-exert myself I get hypoglycemic. Anyway, law enforcement is about following proper procedures and stuff like that.”
“So you have a notebook?” asked Jimmy. “A pen? A piece of paper?”
“No. Look, kid, it’s in my other purse,” he explained.
How could he shake off this kid?
“How did you get here?” asked Jimmy.
“I took a cab!” said Batwing Head Guy peevishly.
“Well, it takes all kinds to make a world,” noted Jimmy. “Anyhow, you’d better get going before you have some kind of wardrobe malfunction. Honestly, you’re a walking violation in this town. You better get off the streets before city council gets on the cop’s backs for some kind of sweep.”
“All right kid…” sighed the Batwing Head Guy, cheeks flushing in embarrassment. “Listen, I try to look good on a limited budget. I do my best, and why don’t you just try to find high heels in a man’s size eleven these days…”
“Yeah, yeah, red’s your colour. I’m just saying, you might want to consider some kind of fashion consultant, some kind of image consultant,” said Jimmy. “Perhaps a higher neckline to obscure the unshaven chest. How about some long sleeves. To cover up those bulging biceps?”
Batwing Head Guy nodded in some inner pain. There was nothing here he hadn’t already considered a time or two in the past.
“All right, kid, and thanks,” he said, sounding distinctly ungrateful.
“Just remember, the Tic-Tac-Toe Gang doesn’t take prisoners,” noted the kid. “The cape has a kind of slimming effect, if that’s any comfort.”
“Thanks, kid, I’ll try to remember that,” agreed the Batwing Head Guy. “I always figured I had pretty good legs…?”
“No comment!” blurted the kid. “Let’s not go down that road!”
Batwing Head Guy took a deep breath and prayed for it to be over.
Finally the boy was done, and with one backward glance, Jimmy was gone.
“Whew,” said the Batwing Head Guy. “Mother warned me there would be days like this.”
And Batwing Head Mother was usually right.
Editor's Note: The Management regrets its inability to find an appropriate copyright-free, royalty free photo of everyone's favourite cross-dressing superhero. But we're on a tight budget and just doing the best we can.