Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Knight Eye

This is a bit of a cheat since in his arsenal of multiple skills, Batman is considered a highly trained detective who has a super analytical computer and full lab in the ol’ Batcave to aid him in assessing clues.  But what if Bruce Wayne didn’t come from money?  What if after the tragic murders of his parents before his eyes he couldn’t afford to go away at 14 and train with the world’s greatest experts in martial arts, criminology and so forth?  But that such an incident birthed in him a burning desire to seek justice in another way.

For a moment I thought I’d be entering another time zone but my car finally made it around the gentle curve past the tended shrubbery and let me out into a circular drive bedded with gravel.  The mansion before me was a little less than the size of Buckingham Palace and looked to have been built in the same year as that edifice.  I parked my six-year-old Grand Am and got out. 

I was wearing my dad’s bat-shaped tie clasp along with my blue serge suit.  A peacock walked past me, ignoring me regally.

From the broad porch bordered in river stones I looked back at a stone fountain in the center of the circular area.  In its center was a statue of an alabaster angel gifted with a body to make a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model jealous.  She was tastefully draped and upholding a sword toward heaven.  She looked righteous and alluring as hell.  She was my kind of woman.

“Mr. Wayne?”

I turned from the celestial beauty to the wry face of a shallow-faced butler in a pin-striped suit that was a better cut than mine.  He had thinning hair and a trimmed mustache and stooped slightly.

"The general called me,” I said, taking off my snap brim.

“Yes, sir.  General Gordon told me to expect you.  This way, please.  He’s in the hothouse.”

I stepped inside to the foyer larger than my apartment.  Sunlight drenched the walls and shiny floor, and the aroma of lilacs was an invisible fog of fragrance.

“So you’re the detective,” a woman said from the winding stairway.  She was dark-haired and dark eyed, part of her hair hanging over her glittering feline eyes.  She was in a grey dress than came down past her knees with a slit that went all the way up the other way.  A tiny red belt complimented her taut waist and there was a sparkling tennis anklet around one lower leg.  She rested a purple nailed hand on the rail.  She put the statue to shame.

"I try.”

“Hard?” she asked huskily.

I forgot how to breath for a minute.  “Now and then.”

“If you will, Miz Selena,” the butler interrupted, sounding bored.  “The general is anxious to see Mr. Wayne.”

She smoldered him with a look.  “Very well, Alfred, take him along.”  She made a shooing motion with her hand.  “Go on, away with you.” 

As I turned away, she gave me lopsided smile and my knee stared to give.  But chalking that up to an old college football injury, I summoned my determination not to gawk and began to follow the manservant.

“Oh, Mr. Wayne?” Selena called from behind me.

I looked back at her over my shoulder.

“I wouldn’t believe much my husband tells you.  He’s getting on you see and has become quite a joker.”

Alfred the butler made a disapproving sound in his throat and we went into the hothouse...


lil Gluckstern said...

Very clever. Very fiendish imaginations from all of you. I just finished "Orange County Noir." and I could not put it down. I think it was all those freeways :) Very nice work.

Gary Phillips said...

Thank you, kindly, Lil.