Bruce and the Flash
It had been a long night of extrajudicial murder for Batman; riding out the
adrenaline just barely got Bruce Wayne back to his lair under the river.
“Does NyQuil make a dent in that stone head of yours?” Alfred wondered aloud. “If
you take these two NyQuil and a brandy and soda—will you get to sleep tonight? Or will
that cause liver failure? Would liver failure be so bad for us, Master Bruce?”
Bruce had stuck a flash drive into the supercomputer mounted in the granite walls
of his "study" and fallen asleep. Alfred shuffled off with the NyQuil in search of a drink.
Minutes or hours later, Bruce startled awake to his computer monitor exploding in
front of him, swirling in front of his eyes into a galaxy of noise and light and someone
screaming at him. That someone began to materialize from out of his monitor.
“Who the fuck are you?” Bruce yelled at the wall.
Bruce had a couple of knives on him and some bat-shaped throwing stars(throwing
bats) on him but he’d like his suit, he’d really like his suit right now, he’d like to be wearing
his suit, his big bulky suit that no one can break, his suit that will keep him safe.
“THE—FLASH—” yelled the kid. “I—CAME—TOO—SOON—”
Yeah, the poor kid does look like he’s being torn apart because he fucked with the
force of the space-time continuum.
“This isn’t going well for you!” Bruce yelled back.
Bruce woke up, for real this time. His computer was fine. The young androgynous
ghost disappeared. Alfred had left two NyQuil next to a glass of water. The kid in the
computer made him tired. It was nice to talk with someone, face to face, without killing
them immediately after—even for just a moment, even if it was just a dream.
Perry White’s late night at the office
Dammit, he’s missing Black-ish right now. That handsome straight-talking
grandfather really told it how it was. He could Dropbox this file and finish it at home, but
he hated bringing work home.
If Perry’s home, he’s sitting on the couch with a drink and with Jonah, catching up
on whatever mess Food Network has decided to marathon that night. They would share
a bottle of red wine and try not to lament the collapse of journalism, something that
already consumed both their waking days.
So much has changed since they were young and hungry in this business.
I’ll be another hour, Perry texted Jonah. Gotta justify Intrepid Ms. Lane’s five very
expensive ballistics tests on this ONE BULLET. Controller’s gonna have my ass for this.
Take the train, Jonah texted back. Batman blew out our side of the bridge again. Does he know people use that thing? Every day???
Lol don’t tempt me to look at places out west again.
Come home soon, before the vigilantes wake up.
Superman goes to the mountain
Superman went to the peak of a mountain to get away and there he found his dead
father. His father wanted to tell him a story about the time he and his family accidentally
killed some horses while trying to save their farm.
He and his father were a lot alike that way, getting lost in their own heads to work
stuff out. Not to sound too Kansas, too Earth, but man, why did his own super-powerful
subconscious bum him out like this?
“Remind me again,” Superman said. “Which ones are horses? Four legs, long face, right?”
“That’s not funny,” his dad said.
“I know, Dad.”
“All right, it’s a little funny.”
“I know, Dad.”
Wonder Woman’s picture gallery
Bruce Wayne cracked the encryption on that hard drive—that didn't surprise Diana.
What did surprise her? Bruce Wayne found her email address and sent her the photo she
sought from the drive. He included a dozen incomprehensible variations on who are
you??????? after the photo, because mortals didn’t quite have a handle on being awake
after 2 AM.
Photographs weren’t the worst thing mortals had invented over the centuries, but
they—oh, they caused her an ache that she couldn’t name. How many allies, friends,
lovers had she taken over the centuries? She could remember their faces, their spirits,
their adventures together, but photographs—they were something new entirely. This
photo was a second-hand reproduction of the blurry original. That one was taken in the
rush after a battle when they could only stand still for the moments it took them to catch
their breath. This was still too sharp an entry into her long, long memory.
Diana wondered who had the original, whose collection she would have to raid to
find this object. She has to see it again up close. She has to touch this memory again
with her bare hands. For now she smiled at her friends, all looking too serious for their
too short lives. She remembered Steve Trevor.
Steve, in this photo, thought standing closer to her would show off the whole inch
of height his hair had on hers. Steve would steal her a coat and a hat from someone’s
still-warm body in every city they visited, as if she needed coats and hats. Still, he did
look so proud whenever he could offer her something. They were nice coats. He even
left the money in the pockets for her.
She found what she’s wanted; she’s done. It’s time to shut down this life and return
to Themyscira. She won’t find overgrown children there, destroying cities in a battle for
each other’s attention. She won’t find photos or hauntings. She’ll find her home and her
women, and there Diana will rest.
Michelle Vider is a writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in The Toast, The Rumpus, Strange Horizons, Open Letters Monthly, and elsewhere. Find her at michellevider.com.