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The Curious Incident of the Man In the Batman Suit

By Samuel Doyle

Eddie's eyes opened slowly. He yawned groggily as his eyes adjusted to the dim light. He surveyed his surroundings. It took a couple of moments for him to truly comprehend where he was. This was because he did not exactly know where he was. All Eddie knew was that he was not sleeping where he normally did, and he was dressed in a Batman costume-mask, cape, and, he was horrified to discover, tights.

What Eddie did not know, was that he was sleeping in an old abandoned subway stairwell. Most people preferred the shiny new entrance around the corner that was installed during last year's renovations. In Eddie's town (which shall remain nameless) even the subways were gentrified. The place was fully covered in grime, with broken pipes hanging out of the sides of the walls and trash collecting in the corners. Eddie was lying under what seemed to be an anarchy symbol spray-painted on the wall.

At first, Eddie was not worried about lying in the exit in a Batman suit. He figured he had probably had too much pizza to eat last night, and this was all a horrible, surreal nightmare. He closed his eyes, waiting to drift back into the real world, but nothing happened. Slowly, and horribly, it dawned on him that he wasn't dreaming.

His eyes darted around and landed on a small green sign with a picture of a small man running towards a door, presumably an exit. Ed wondered if he should do the same. To tell the truth, he would've, but then he remembered what he was wearing and moaned.

Ed had no recollection of what had happened the night before. He honestly didn't remember a thing. To his knowledge, he had never before been where he was now lying. One thing he did know for certain was that he had never worn this ridiculous outfit before.

Sitting up, he tried to see if there were any indicators of what had happened last night. There were none. He didn't see his clothes, or any other people in similarly odd situations. Even though he had no history of drug or alcohol induced blackouts before, he decided to check for broken bottles just the same. There were none.

Deciding that he would wander around and try to see if he could get out of this dump, he stood up, and started walking up the stairs. Suddenly, self-conscious that someone might see him in his bizarre attire, he stopped.

A thought occurred to him. Maybe it was Halloween, and there had been a wild party, and he had come as Batman. But, it wasn't Halloween, and even if it was, that didn't explain why he was in an old subway entrance. Plus, he didn't even like Batman, and if it were Halloween, he certainly wouldn't have chosen Batman. Everyone knows that Wolverine was way cooler. Yes, it would have definitely been Wolverine.

When he reached the top of the stairs, he looked around for someone who might be able to fill in the blanks for him.

Eddie ran up to a woman walking with a small boy. Quickly, she crossed the street, dragging the boy. "Don't look Billy," she hissed.

He then ran up to a bearded man. "Could you please tell me where exactly I am right now?" Ed asked politely of the man, trying hard not to sound too desperate. Ed's face went beet red as the man shoved past him and muttered, "Freak."

Ed started over hopefully towards a man in a black trench coat, hovering over by the mailbox. The man quickly averted his face and disappeared before Ed even got close.

Eddie decided he was going to have to try something different. Rats, where was Robin when you needed him? He always was a worthless sidekick.

Eventually, Eddie found his way out of the station. He was hoping he would recognize the outside, but it seemed unfamiliar, and weirdly alien. Something didn't seem right; he was sure he had never been anywhere near here before. Eddie sat down outside the station, dismayed, confused, tired and desperate, on the verge of tears.

Hanging his head in his hands, he decided that he would go out and buy new clothes. There was no way he would walk around in tights all day.

Suddenly, a horrifying thought occurred to him. "Where's my wallet?" he shrieked. Luckily, after a quick pat down he located it safely hooked onto his utility belt.

He dashed into the first store he saw that had clothing in the window and went directly for the men's section. He tried to look casual in his ensemble, and ignore the weird looks. He picked out a nice pair of pants, and a shirt. Not too casual, not too formal, nothing shiny and cape like.

Eddie brought the clothes to a change room, more to avoid the suspicious salesmen who were circling than to try them on.

Ed sat on the bench and began to think about what might have caused him to end up where he was. He had already ruled out drinking and Halloween. But still, Ed had a nagging suspicion something wasn't right. At first, he had just assumed it was a prank, a cruel joke played by one of his buddies. But then he wondered how they got a Batman suit on him. Surely it would've woken him up, because he was quite a light sleeper. The gears inside his brain began to turn, but came up with nothing plausible. That left conspiracy theories. Maybe it was the government, using him in some weird CIA brainwashing experiment. "I've seen The Manchurian Candidate," he muttered to himself as he began to try on his pants. Or maybe aliens had abducted him and performed sick and perverse tests on him. Perhaps he had been turned into a vampire and the subway was now his lair.

In a panic, he looked in the mirror to see if he had any bite marks on his neck. None, he saw with relief. He also checked for scars, telltale marks and bruises. None, again. Ed twirled in the mirror, and checked out his reflection. "Not too shabby, if I do say so myself." Ed remarked.

He quite liked his clothes, so he paid up, and left the store wearing them. He paused, holding the costume over the trashcan, contemplating whether or not it could be used next Halloween. Then he gave himself a shake, and violently threw it into the receptacle. "You suck, Batman!" He stormed off, purposefully ignoring the startled glances of the onlookers.

Ed aimlessly wandered the streets, until he noticed a charming-looking diner with the original name of The Diner. He walked inside, and sat down. He ordered a cup of coffee, black. He needed something to wake him up from the nightmare this day was. His mind just wouldn't let the mystery go. Why couldn't he remember?

His mind was probably wiped, that was it. Maybe the aliens were intercepting our TV transmissions from the sixties, and after the experiments they put him in the Batman costume because they thought that most humans dress like that. Or maybe the government took him in his sleep, and used nano-technology on him. That was why there where no scars!

More of these crazy ideas chased round and round through his head until he was dizzy. All of it was complete balderdash. He couldn't think straight.

Wait. Maybe, HE WAS BATMAN!

Ed sat there in the diner, leaving his coffee untouched, just thinking for two hours. Then, suddenly, he got up, paid and left.

Eddie had decided that it didn't matter what had happened to him. As far as he could tell, he had all of his body parts. He could walk and talk, and function normally. No harm, no foul. He decided he could just forget about all that had happened; throw it away just like the costume. Immediately, he felt better. A sense of calm washed over him. He squared his shoulders, and headed for home.

He began a happy-go-lucky whistle as he sauntered down the street. He was feeling almost carefree. So carefree, he didn't even notice the man in the black trench coat behind the lamppost, watching him.

Did You Know

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