The Man and the Bat
As it is expected of the winter, it was cold in Gotham City. So cold that nobody would dare walking the streets without the proper clothes. For any spectator, this was the scenery of an ordinary metropolis in America, but its inhabitants knew there was much more about about that city.
In some street corner, a fat and short man ran as quickly as his tiny legs could. Somebody chased him. Tired of running, the persecutor pressed the trigger and shot the little man, who simply fell dead in the snow. .. At least, the victim should have done it.
“Oh, crap,” whispered the thug scared, while looking for some movement above the buildings in the area. On the ground, he could see a bullet, and a few meters away, a small metallic object that looked like… A bat. At this point, he knew it was too late.
“Wait! I won’t do it again! I swe-” he felt a sting in his neck and quickly lost consciousness.
“Scum like you, capable of killing innocent men, will always do it again,” said a tall man in dark clothes. Among the dark of the night, he could barely be noticed. “Are you alright?” he asked the other man on the floor.
“I… I’m alive. That’s something, isn’t it?” the chubby man answered, standing up to see his savior. “Thank you…” but the vigilante was already gone.
Nearby, someone drove an amazing black car though the streets of Gotham. This isendless, thought the man inside, every night is the same thing. He turned a few corners and, once far from the center, drove towards a sign that said “under construction”. Soon the sun rose.
. . .
“Master Bruce,” called an old man in fine clothes, “it’s four in the afternoon. I’m afraid this is too much, even for you.”
“I was awake until six o’clock, Alfred…” said Bruce Wayne, failing to open his eyes.
“That is almost six hours out there. How many men did you put in jail?”
“You know I don’t count,” he answered, a lot less sleepy, “but maybe nine or ten.”
“Gotham can go on with street crime. You, sir, can’t go anywhere without some regular rest.”
Bruce seemed too tired to agree or disagree. He just stood up and said “I need to check something in the cave.”
“But what about your meeting at five with Miss Mercy, from LexCorp?” Alfred questioned.
“Reschedule it. And don’t forget do tell Lex Luthor he better discuss business transactions with Lucius. And in person.”
“Very well, sir.”
A few minutes later, the butler entered the Batcave to check on his master.
“Do you need anything, Master Bruce?”
“Come here, Alfred. I want to show you something,” he said, staring at a huge computer. “Can you see these stats? They represent Gotham City’s illegal activity in the last three years.”
“It appears that crime rates have greatly diminished,” Alfred observed.
“In general, you’re correct. The problem is that only organized crime has decreased, while street thugs seem to be springing up from thin air. I’m having trouble figuring out why.”
“I’m afraid the answer to this question is quite obvious, sir. You see, as the Batman, you stimulate fear in every criminal’s heart. Since the mobs, for instance, have a lot to lose, your strategy works perfectly…”
“But those men have no choice but robbing,” Bruce completed. “You’re right. But if fear isn’t enough to stop them, what else could I do?”
“I believe that, in order solve this problem, Bruce Wayne can be a lot more efficient than the masked vigilante. He, more than anyone else in Gotham, has the power to make a difference.”