Last night was a night off from The Comic's Lounge so I filled in my time by performing at two very different gigs and also checked out a show in between. First up was Fan Fiction Comedy, a show that is the brain child of some great kids from New Zealand. Wil Anderson brought them to my attention last year when he produced their show and we highlighted one of the gang each week at The Shelf. It is a delightful show that allows you to write some crazy fiction about something you love whether it is taking a literary character and giving them a spin or playing around with a new angle for a TV show given a new angle etc. Anything that informs pop culture is fair game and what I enjoy most about the show. This year I am performing on three consecutive Sundays writing the next three movies for Batman. These stories are set in the Christoper Nolan world and take place directly after the end of The Dark Knight Rises. You can check it out in a second just a little bit further down. I've not only continued the Dark Knight's tale but I've also incorporated nods (for you professional Batman nerds out there) to Frank Miller's "Batman Year One" and Grant Morrison's run on "Batman and Robin". I even managed to slip in a David Bowie lyric from one of my favourite songs off the Outside album. I attempted to continue the influence of the source material that inspired Nolan in the first place and Bowie was included as I know we both have that love of the Great Dame in common. I also attempted to adhere to the type of story telling that Nolan used in his movies with the end of "Batman Begins" meeting the ending of "The Dark Knight." This is as nerdy as it gets, let me know if you pick up on any of the Easter Eggs I've thrown in there.
Here's the story I wrote for Fan Fiction Comedy and underneath I'll tell you about my second gig for the night.
The Silent Knight
Maybe it’s all I deserve, now.
Maybe it’s just my time in Hell.
I peel the uniform from my body and reveal the nasty gash across my stomach. One inch deeper and I would have bled out on the street. Lucky amateur.
I return to the corner of the cave where I keep the medical supplies, removing the needle I’ve used over and over since taking on the mantle of the bat. My hands shake as I thread the needle and push it through my skin, puss and blood mingling in a swirl of regret.
I’m exhausted. The cave envelops me within its silence.
My fighting ability lacks the ninja skills my predecessor possessed; I’m an old-fashioned rumble kinda guy who lets his fists do the talking. I’ve had to rely more on the technology and my own innate detective skills to get the job done. If I’d attempted to emulate my hero I would have been wasted on the first night.
I wince as I rub the anti-septic cream into my wound, washing away the potential infection as my teeth grind against each other.
I fear I’m failing to live up to the legend.
I step from the shadows to continue my work but my legs buckle under me and it takes all my strength to stop from collapsing. Leaning against the wall I suddenly feel the pain in my shoulder. I run my hand across the joint and discover more blood and a chunk of flesh flapping against the end of my collarbone. I’ve been shot and didn’t even know.
In the vacuum of the cave I fear I have failed to live up to the responsibility I was entrusted with even with the good I have achieved.
Through hard work and subtle deduction I was able to take out the mobster Oswald Cobblepot, the ten-cent Mafioso that attempted to fill the vacuum left by the Marconi Family. Oswald; with his penchant for expensive umbrellas and humped back body; may have been disparagingly referred to as The Penguin by his rivals but it was this flippant dismissal that made him so dangerous. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake the criminals of Gotham made and instead treated him with the respect that he deserved. When the moment presented itself I revealed his nefarious ways to the police, his hands stained red with blood and the prosecution left with an airtight case. I hear Oswald is squawking about early parole but at least for now he’s off the streets.
The serial killer was tougher work. The heatwave that hit Gotham made the armour unbearable. The sanitation department were still on strike and the streets reeked of garbage, violence and death. The serial killer’s mocking letters to the newspapers spoke of an old school mentality, a desire to be famous for his depraved actions. He was clever and his riddles stumped everyone in the city. Stumped everyone but me.
I took him down just before he murdered his final victim. On the floor one of his victims had written in her own blood, “There is no Hell like an old Hell”. The police arrived just as I was making my escape revealing that the rumours and myth were indeed fact.
The next day the Gotham Gazette ran with the headline “Batman Returns to Answer the Riddler”. That night the bat signal shimmered against the shifting clouds. For once I answered the call.
As the heatwave broke and the clouds exploded with heavy rain Commissioner Gordon looked at me as I masked myself in the shadows.
“My men said you were back,” Gordon’s voice rasped, the long days and nights betraying his legendary strength.
“The city needs me,” I replied.
We faced each other, quietly making our secret deductions.
“Hnh. You don’t say much. I’m glad to have the Batman back,” said Gordon before adding under his breath. “Even if you are a little shorter.”
But I was gone.
Just like I’d been taught.
Now all those lessons are going to be lost if I can’t stitch up this latest wound. My head swims, my focus blanks before finding form again.
I think I may have to die tonight. I’ve tried to be patient; I’ve tried to wait. But I have to know. How can I live up to this terrible responsibility?
“It appears when you stitch yourself up you are very much like your predecessor and make a bloody mess.”
There is suddenly a familiar voice coming towards me from the dark. Nobody knows that I am here, I have been alone in the silent dark all these months but rather than being on guard, there is something about his tone that instantly relaxes me. Cool hands gently push me to a sitting position on the ground and in the half-light I can see an older face, a kind face.
“You’re the butler of Wayne Manor?”
“I was the butler but now…”
He cleans my wound and I feel pain lash the side of my neck.
“…Now I own the bloody place. Wayne Enterprises as well.”
“After Bane’s shock tactics ruined Wayne Enterprises it took us a while to prove fraud but after some very diligent work by Lucius Fox we’re back up and running.”
His hands are smooth as he stitches my shoulder, quick, efficient.
“How did you know I was here?”
The old man clears his throat.
“I was in Florence having a Fernet Branka when I saw…a ghost from my past. This ghost informed me of everything and with this knowledge came a new sense of purpose.”
“You’re here to help me?”
“Not on the street, I don’t think anyone would accept Batman with a partner, but yes, I am here to help you get this city back on its feet.”
I slowly rise and remove my cowl. For the first time in a long time I no longer feel alone, our voices echoing throughout the cave and filling the darkness that threatened to engulf me.
“My name is John.”
“I know your name Master Blake. I’m Alfred. Now come along, you need your rest, plenty of time to take up the good fight.”
He allows me to lean against him as we walk through the cave.
“I never had an opportunity to thank Mr Wayne.”
“Knowing Master Bruce, he would never have let you. He always preferred his role as a silent knight.”
After their show was finished I checked out Mike Birbiglia's stand up show. A very clever and skilled show that was beautifully put together and world class storytelling. There is only a couple of nights left to see his show so you should check it out ASAP. If you want to know more you can check out the latest podcast of "Helliar and Hammo Dig Flicks!" to hear him chatting about his work here.
That night I performed at George McEncroe's "Bad Comedy Gigs" show with Harley Breen, Dave O'Neil, Adam Richard and Nick Cody. A fun gig where we essentially had a group therapy session exchanging war stories. I told a story that I'd only told on my podcast "Can You Take This Photo Please?" and another tale that I literally hadn't performed in a few years. In fact I had so much fun performing this piece I might use it to start The Shelf tomorrow night. It is nice to be reminded of old material and it is amazing how we're all so adept at taking excruciating moments in our careers and turn them into tales of laughter.
All in all a busy but fun night!
31st of March, 2013