Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Female of the Species, Part the Sixth

Well, I've finally got my garage dried out from Fay, so it must be time for another major storm or three. After Hanna, Ike and Josephine -- all of which are headed my (Florida) way more or less -- come sloshing on shore, we'll see when the next update here will be. While I have a brief weather window, let's pay a quick visit to Stately Wayne Manor, under construction. And still Cher-free!

Cut to:

Exterior -- Wayne Manor. There has been a full year's worth of the best, fastest construction money can buy since the events of Batman Begins. But there is still clearly a long way to go. The facade of the mansion has been erected, more or less, and the old house is recognizable in silhouette on a drizzly gray morning. The rain is enough to have delayed the day's work and it is only one lone figure we see standing, inspecting the progress. It is Bruce Wayne and he stares out at the site, protected from the rain by only a hooded sweatshirt. The hood is up and we cannot see his face. A car pulls up behind him on the construction access way and Alfred the butler emerges carrying a small cardboard tray with two coffees and an umbrella.

ALFRED: (as he trudges up to where Bruce Wayne stands) Bit early sir. Not like you to be up before the crack of noon.

BRUCE: (face still unrevealed) "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree."

ALFRED: Ah. Been reading some Coleridge.

BRUCE: No. I was just thinking about my mother. She used to read me poetry. She liked that one. I did too.

ALFRED: A woman of excellent taste. (He hands Bruce a coffee) So planning on having some pleasure in this particular dome? That would make a change.

BRUCE: (he drinks, still huddled under the hood) You're the second person today to accuse me of not having enough fun.

ALFRED: Well sir. Not to be indelicate but in the past year you've gone from billionaire socialite to reclusive eccentric. The papers are already making Howard Hughes comparisons.

BRUCE: Walk with me.

The two of them begin touring the construction site. A few workers straggle in as they survey the area. Along with construction on the house, the camera also discovers preparations for a celebration of some sort on the Manor's lawn.

BRUCE: I get out.

ALFRED: At night. Late. And not for pleasure.

BRUCE: Haven't felt much like putting on that show this past year.

ALFRED: I know sir. I feel the absence of Miss Dawes as well.

They walk silently for a bit. They stop at a stage on the lawn, its decorations covered in plastic.

BRUCE: It's ridiculous to hold a housewarming when the house isn't finished yet.

ALFRED: But that's just the sort of person Bruce Wayne is. Any excuse for a party.

BRUCE: Any excuse for a party ...

ALFRED: Besides, people are less likely to connect a frivolous, spoiled, rich, trust-fund brat ...

BRUCE: Hey.

ALFRED: ... with the Batman. Keep hiding and tongues start wagging.

BRUCE: I suppose.

They walk some more, back toward the house.

ALFRED: And speaking of hiding (he indicates the hood), why this particular sartorial choice, sir?

Bruce stops, takes a quick look around to make sure none of the workers are in eyesight, then pulls back the hood to reveal the slashes left on his right cheek by Catwoman the previous night.

ALFRED: Ooh. Ran into some trouble last night.

BRUCE: Yes.

ALFRED: Wait. Does this mean ...?

BRUCE: Yes.

ALFRED: You met her?

BRUCE: Yes.

ALFRED: Up close? Well. Obviously.

BRUCE: Up close.

ALFRED: The Catwoman?

BRUCE: Yes.

ALFRED: What was she like?

BRUCE: She was ... interesting. She fought from an entirely defensive posture, all taunting and dodging. I'm so used to thugs bludgeoning away at me that I really wasn't prepared to ...

Alfred looks at him blankly.

BRUCE: That's not what you meant, is it?

ALFRED: No sir.

BRUCE: She seems very attractive.

ALFRED: (all starstruck) I knew it! These grainy photos in the Gazette ... just a second. (he hands Bruce his coffee and fumbles in a coat pocket, eventually producing the morning newspaper, the same one we saw in the previous scene) They don't begin to do her justice, do they sir?

BRUCE: (examining the paper) How did they get pictures from last night so soon?

ALFRED: Is that really a whip?

BRUCE: Yes. The claws are real too. And sharp. (He pulls his hood back up).

ALFRED: I'll bet they are.

BRUCE: Alfred. She's a thief. A criminal.

ALFRED: What? Oh yes sir. Quite right sir. Reprehensible behavior. Oughtn't to be allowed.

Bruce walks on. Alfred takes another furtive glance at the paper, then carefully folds it and returns it to his coat pocket where he gives it a loving tap. They come to one of the more finished portions of the construction, what looks like a small bunker. There is yellow tape around it marking it as a "Bio-Hazard." Bruce and Alfred step past the tape without hesitation. Bruce produces an electronic device and uses it to open a hidden door. They look down into the Batcave.

BRUCE: Think we can convince them it's a wine cellar?

ALFRED: More like caverns measureless to man.


Next up -- I complain about the weather some more. The new D.A. Catwoman's day job. And a long-awaited party. Be there.

Aloha.

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