Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Female of the Species, Part the Fourth

Cut to:

Interior -- Selina Kyle's Apartment

Camera pans around an elegant, though spartan, apartment done up in art deco shades of black and white. There is very little here, a couple of chairs, a couch, a desk with a computer. There is no art on the walls, no TV in evidence, nothing extra. However, what few furnishings there are are of the highest quality. The camera ends its pan on a window which opens and admits Catwoman. She is followed in by two cats, one black, one white, almost as if they are part of the decor.

She hops down from the windowsill silently and picks up the white cat, nuzzling it.

CATWOMAN: Hello Eris.

Then the black cat.

CATWOMAN: Mmmm. Hecate.

She sets the cat gently back on the floor. Then pulls out the Sunkeeper gem from the small pouch at her belt.

CATWOMAN: Look what I found.

The cats do not seem interested. She smirks and then removes her cowl. Just to be clear, this is the Bob Kane original Catwoman with long black hair that spills out the back of her cowl. She shakes her hair free then saunters past the cats into her bedroom. Like the rest of the apartment, it is devoid of any extra clutter. There is a large, luxurious bed, a make-up table, a closet door with a mirror and just about nothing else. The bedroom is also cast in black and white.

She crosses to the mirror and examines her costume at the shoulder where her cape was torn away and frowns a little at it. Then she holds up her whip handle and gazes at the spot where the batarang severed the lash.

CATWOMAN: Batman ...

She opens the closet door. It seems larger than one would expect space to allow. The first thing to catch the eye are several more Catwoman costumes hanging, but there are also other garments, including what appear to be a number of expensive designer dresses. There are only a few pairs of shoes; no ditzy "Sex and the City" cliches for her.

She examines the jewel again and then tosses it carelessly into the closet on the floor. When she does, we see for the first time that the closet floor is scattered with loot, gems, cash, all tossed in as if they've been discarded and never thought of again. She places the whip handle up on a shelf then turns, closing the door behind her with a kick.

She returns to the living area and sits down at her computer. The cats both join her, leaping up on the desk and insisting on attention. She Googles "catwoman" and smiles at the results. Then she touches her ear.

CATWOMAN: You still there?

There is a brief pause, then ...

VOICE: What happened to you? You deliberately shut me off, didn't you?

CATWOMAN: I sure did. It was him.

VOICE: You're not calling from the hospital, are you?

CATWOMAN: Ha!

VOICE: Or prison?

CATWOMAN: Please.

VOICE: Well, don't take any more unnecessary risks. Especially not with him. The meeting goes down in three nights and I need you there.

CATWOMAN: You worry too much.

VOICE: You don't worry enough. Don't cross his path. He'll put you in jail. Or worse.

CATWOMAN: What's worse than jail?

Cut to:

Exterior -- Arkham Asylum

Close up on sign over the gate, all gothic iron work. There is lightning and it has begun to rain.

Sign: ARKHAM ASYLUM

Maria Falcone's black limousine wends its way under the sign and up a steep twisting drive to the imposing edifice ahead. The asylum looks like a Bavarian castle, all stone and iron with turrets and barred windows. The limo pulls up to the front door and the driver scurries out holding an umbrella. He opens the car door for Maria and holds the umbrella over her.

DRIVER: Are you sure they're gonna let us in? It's after midnight.

MARIA: They'll let me in.

Maria and the driver walk up the steps to the front door, an imposing gun-metal gray double door that recalls the museum entrance, though much gloomier and more drab. It opens as she approaches.

ATTENDANT: Ms. Falcone?

MARIA: Yes.

The door opens fully and admits her. Cut to:

Interior -- Arkham Asylum

The inside is no more pleasant than the outside, looking like a medieval dungeon with a few anachronistic touches; computers at a reception desk, incongruous track lighting. There are a few plants; someone's comically inadequate attempt to "spruce the place up."

ATTENDANT: You're late.

MARIA: (Glares at him)

ATTENDANT: I ... I just mean ... I go off-shift soon. You're not going to have a lot of time.

MARIA: It will take as long as it takes. Where is he?

ATTENDANT: Through here.

Maria admires one of the flowering plants but when she touches it ...

MARIA: Plastic?

ATTENDANT: Yeah. There's someone in here who ... Well, the real thing could be dangerous.

MARIA: I see.

ATTENDANT: Look ... um ... I'm not telling you what to do or anything but we have some protocols to follow and it can be a bit ... disturbing in there.

MARIA: Let's get on with it.

ATTENDANT: Right. No weapons of any kind. No guns, no knives, nothing sharp or pointed at all including pencils and nail files.

The Driver places two guns and a dirk in a bin at reception. Maria reluctantly does the same with her purse.

ATTENDANT: You'll have to leave that umbrella here. No eyeglasses ...

MARIA: No eyeglasses?

ATTENDANT: We had an incident a month ago. No plant life of any sort ... like I mentioned earlier.

MARIA: I believe we're ready.

ATTENDANT: (as they begin down a long corridor) Most of all, don't talk to any of them. Try not to look at them. I know it sounds a bit excessive, but ... It's not.

They come to a thick dungeon door which the attendant unlocks with a series of computer codes and physical keys. The door creaks open and the sound from within roars up at them. There are shouts of gibberish and screams and gales of mirthless laughter. There are threats and pleas. The party walks briskly past a number of cells (some of which may contain recognizable individuals). Maria is rattled but struggles not to show it.

MARIA: Freaks ...

Finally, they arrive at one particular door and the Attendant unlocks it.

ATTENDANT: He's not dangerous. At least, he hasn't been. He doesn't do much of anything.

Maria pushes past him and goes directly to a straitjacketed figure crouched in the corner.

MARIA: Carmine? Oh my God, Carmine.

The figure in the cell is Carmine Falcone, once the undisputed head of Gotham's most powerful crime family, now a gibbering maniac, his mind destroyed by the Scarecrow's fear toxins. Maria hugs him but he seems not to notice.

MARIA: Carmine? What have they done to you, my brother?

She sheds a tear which she immediately wipes away.

MARIA: Help me with him.

The Driver, the Attendant and Maria all struggle to get Carmine up on his feet. Once they have, she begins determinedly ushering him out of his cell.

ATTENDANT: What are you doing? You can't take him out of here. I thought you just wanted to talk to him.

Maria nods a command to the Driver who shoves the Attendant into Carmine's cell and slams the door shut.

ATTENDANT: No! Wait! You can take him! Just don't leave me here! Come back! Come back!

As Maria and the Driver slowly walk Carmine down the line of cells and towards the door, the Attendant's cries mix with and are echoed by the rest of the inmates, soon becoming just another howl in the cacophony.


Well, that one took a little longer than I thought it would, so you'll have to wait until the next installment to check in at Police headquarters and Wayne Manor. All coming soon in the next entry in The Female of the Species. Be there! And by "there," I mean "here."

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