With Halloween right around the corner, the great playground debate to determine the ultimate superhero was once again on the hotplate. Every one of us seemed to identify with a different comic book character and the discussions could become quite animated. I was convinced that Batman was the coolest cat around and nobody could tell me otherwise.
“I like the Green Hornet,” Jeff said.
“C’mon, the Green Hornet is a sissy. Why do you think he has that Japanese guy beating up all the criminals?” I said.
“Nobody can run faster than the Flash,” Greg said.
“Big deal. After he runs around all day, what did he prove?” I countered.
“Yeah, what about Superman? He can do anything,” Richard said.
“No, he can’t. All I would have to do is put some Kryptonite in his cereal and he would be toast,” I said.
“What’s so great about Batman?” Richard said.
“First of all, he lives in a house with a cave. What could be cooler than that? Second, he has the Batmobile, the slickest ride on earth. Third, he has the Bat-Chick. Need I say more?”
“Then why is he always in such a foul mood?” Richard said.
“That’s just an act. He just pretends to be pissed off to scare people,” I said.
To prove my point, I recruited Richard for the Robin role and we headed to Don Kringle’s house.
“Why are we going to Kringle’s house?” Richard said.
“We are going to be Batman and Robin and Kringle is going to be the Joker, although he doesn’t know it yet. I’ll suggest we go into the crawlspace to get his hockey game and when we’re in there we’ll give him a Bat-thrashing. If we thrash him in the crawlspace, his mother won’t be able to hear,” I said.
“Why are we thrashing him?” Richard said.
“Because the Joker has penetrated the Batcave and Batman is disturbed by that kind of stuff.”
“But it’s his crawlspace,” Richard said.
“Just pretend. It’s all in good fun,” I said.
The unsuspecting Kringle entered the crawlspace, and we followed him into the lair. “You’re trespassing, Joker,” I said.
“What’s that?” Kringle said.
“BAM!” I delivered a Bat-karate chop to the back of Kringle’s neck. “KA-BOOM!” Robin tackled him and the three of us wrestled around on the floor until we crashed into the wall and sent the books from the outer bookshelf tumbling to the floor.
“Hey, what’s going on down there?” Kringle’s mother shouted. She poked her head into the crawlspace.
“You boys get out of here and don’t come back!” she said.
“Sorry, Kringle. Next time, you get to be Robin,” I said.
“Sounds good! That was fun.”
Preliminary sparring was over, and we were ready for prime time at the Kennedy grade school annual Halloween party. Richard and I outfitted ourselves in our 5 & 10 Ben Franklin Batman and Robin costumes and were ready to rumble.
“Hey, Alfred, how about a ride in the Bat-Rambler to the party,” I said to my father.
“What did you say?”
“Don’t be a square, we’re ready to go,” I said.
“I’ll give you the square of my shoe if you don’t watch your mouth,” he said. My five year old brother suddenly appeared as an apparition that resembled Casper the Ghost.
“We’re the Caped Crusaders. We can’t be hanging out with Casper the Ghost!” I said.
“No Casper, no Bat-ride,” my father said.
We all piled in the car and headed to the party. “Now behave yourselves in there. I don’t want any phone calls tonight,” my father said. We ejected ourselves from the Batmobile and entered the gymnasium.
“Look here Casper, you can hang around for a little while, but when we enter the spook house make yourself scarce. We have serious business in there,” I said.
We mingled with the general population of Gotham City for fifteen minutes and then strapped on our eye-masks in preparation for the spook house. Remember last year when the Mummy jumped out of the sarcophagus and scared the hell out of us?” I said.
“Ditto,” Robin replied.
“This time when the lid flies open, you poke him in the eyes like Moe does Curly. After that, I’ll give him a good Bat-kick to the stomach. He won’t be able to scare his little sister when we’re done with him,” I said.
We stumbled through the darkness of the spook house until we reached the sarcophagus. “Get ready, it’s showtime,” I said.
The lid flew open and the Mummy growled, “ARRR!” Robin quickly put his hand in the Bat-wing V formation and gave him a poke between his bandages.
“Ouch,” the Mummy groaned. As he crouched over in pain, I gave him a good solid drop kick to his ancient gut. “KA-POW!” The Mummy murmured something as we slammed the lid on him.
“No more scaring people band-aid brains,” I said as we fled into the night.
Blending into the crowded gymnasium gave us a false sense of security. “Will Batman and Robin please report to the principal’s office,” the PA system echoed.
“Hey, that’s you guys,” my brother said.
We began to sweat under our capes as everyone looked in our direction. “Better go downtown and see what the Chief needs,” I said to Robin.
Mr. Albert, our principal, was awaiting our arrival. “Riddle me this Bat-boys. Why is the Mummy in the first aid office?” he said.
“Ditto,” Robin said.
“Ditto this. The next two weekends you will be using your super powers to pick up trash on the school grounds. If you don’t like that, I can suspend you for a few days.”
“No problem, chief,” I said.
“Yes sir, Mr. Albert.”
Picking up trash was a long, boring process, but it gave us time to reflect. “What do you want to be next year for Halloween?” Richard said.
“I think I’m changing superheroes,” I said. “That Batman has too foul a temper for me.”