A Superstitious and Cowardly Lot

You’re at home playing with your train set when your dad bursts in with a big smile on his face.  “Say, sport!”, he says, lifting you up in his firm, rugged arms, “How’d you like to take in a movie with me and your mom tonight?  The Mark of Zorro is playing down at the Gotham Rialto.  What do you say?”  You turn it over in your eight-year-old mind.  Usually, you’re the first to line up for an exciting night at the cinema, but there are dark clouds gathering in the steel-gray sky tonight, and you’ve got an ominous feeling you can’t quite put your finger on.

Choose!  Do you:

- Tell your dad that if it’s all the same to him, you’d rather stay home and play with your trains instead of going to see some creaky old movie that was made fifty years before you were born?

- Ask if maybe you could watch a movie at home instead of going to some grody inner-city theatre in the rain, seeing as he’s a multi-millionaire and all?

- Go see the damn movie anyway so the old man doesn’t spend the rest of the weekend pouting?

***
As it turns out, the movie wasn’t half bad, even though it was in black and white and that guy Fairbanks is clearly a fruit.  It had some awesome swordfighting sequences, and it’s pretty cool to see someone carve a big ‘Z’ on a dude’s chest.  And it looks like you’re even going to avoid the rain!  But just when it’s shaping up to be a wonderful evening, some jug-faced homeless dirtbag lurches out of an alleyway and tells your mom to hand over her pearls.  Your heart beats a mile a minute as your father stands up to the beady-eyed thug with steely resolve. 

Choose!  Do you:  

- Tell your dad to just give the guy his wallet, because after all, he’s the richest man in the city and it’s not worth getting his head blown off by some low-rent shithead over thirty bucks and a string of old pearls he’ll never be able to hock?

- Run like hell and leave Mr. Macho to deal with this situation himself since it was his bright idea to come all way the hell dowtown to see a freakin’ silent movie in the first place?

- Close your eyes and hope your dad, who spends all day writing prescriptions and novelty checks for children’s charities, can somehow manage to punch out an armed criminal without getting himself and your mom killed?

***
Well, that’s great.  You’re not even nine years old and both your parents just had their faces splattered all over the sidewalk right in front of you.  Thanks a lot, dad.  This is terrific.  I mean, the movie was okay, but it wasn’t worth losing your whole family over. Now, a lifetime of therapy awaits you, after you spend the next ten years being raised by the goddamn butler, for Christ’s sake.  Most kids your age are worried about whether or not they’re going to get to go to summer camp, and you have to spend the rest of your life replaying the brutal, eminently avoidable murder of your mom and dad in your mind’s eye.

Choose!  Do you:  

- Not really worry about it that much, because sure, sucks being an orphan, but on the upside, you just inherited a big fat fortune, and with that pushover Alfred doing the job of raising you, it’s nothin’ but good times for the kid from here on out?

- Go see a shrink, like a normal person?

- Spend the rest of your youth wandering aimlessly overseas in the company of lowlifes and monomaniacs, burning through your inheritance, obsessing over every last minute detail of the crime while training yourself to the peak of physical perfection for reasons you can’t quite put a name to, essentially developing into an affectless psychopath with disassociative personality disorder?

***

It’s finally time to return home to Gotham after a long sojourn abroad.  You’ve honed your body into a living weapon, you’ve trained your mind to a razor’s edge, and you’ve devoted a large portion of your vast personal fortune to creating a bunch of technological geegaws toward some dark purpose that has yet to coalesce in your mind.  Just as you’re sitting in your study trying to figure out what to to do next, a gigantic bat crashes through the window and flaps around like a spastic pigeon. 

Choose!  Do you: 

- Call that goldbricking Limey shit Alfred out on the carpet and chew his sorry ass out for letting the place go to hell, I mean, seriously, a fucking giant bat flies through the window, for God’s sake, what is that all about?

- Check into a mental institution because you’ve clearly and understandably gone completely bonkers?

- Decide that this is some kind of a sign from God that you should dress up in a crazy outfit and punch out criminals in the middle of the night, just like your dad did that one time before he got his face shot off?

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