Knocked Off His Perch

The prompt at our writers’ group tonight was to write a piece beginning with the line “It was the first time I killed a man”…..

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It was the first time I killed a man. I’d fought villains for years, of course, wrestling with the Penguin, struggling with the Joker, grappling with Catwoman.

And I’d fought their henchmen. With Robin by my side I had engaged in many a punch-up, filling the air both audibly and visibly with “Pow!”s, “Thwack!”s, and “Shit, that really hurt!”s.

But no-one ever died. The henchmen ended up in a pile, the villains ended up in a cell, and the Batpistol ended up unused in the Bat Utility Belt.

Then came that awful night. You could argue, of course, that I didn’t actually kill him. The Batsignal lit up in the night sky, Robin rushed into my room to tell me about it, and I hastily pulled up the sheets to cover my modesty and the fact that I was once again grappling with Catwoman.

Robin stepped onto the rubber suit that I had discarded on the floor, slid halfway across the room, tripped over the pair of pyramids presented by Catwoman’s equally discarded outfit, and shot out of the window.

I’m not sure why we had picked Robin as a name for him, but it certainly wasn’t because he could fly.

You could argue, of course, that I didn’t actually kill him, that it was an accident, but that didn’t make me feel any better. It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t succumbed to Catwoman’s womanly wiles. It wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t strewn our clothes all over a polished wooden floor. It wouldn’t have happened if I’d given Commissioner Gordon my mobile number, so that he didn’t have to use that stupid Batsignal.

I raced down the five flights of stairs and out the front door of Wayne Manor. Robin lay sprawled on the gravel drive, surrounded by five letters spelling out the word “splat”.

You could argue, of course, that I didn’t actually kill him, because he wasn’t dead. This was Gotham City, after all, so as I stood looking sadly down at him he suddenly sat up and said “Holy High Dive, Batman!”

I hated it when he came out with crap like that, so I hit him. With a bat.

You could argue, of course, that I did actually kill him, except that being hit with what’s essentially a winged hamster doesn’t do a lot of harm, so fear not, the Boy Wonder will still be stunning our enemies with his fists, and our audience with his clichés next week at the same Bat-time, on the same Bat-channel.

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