I was nine the first time I stole something.
Jacked the money from out of my teacher’s purse at school. She had fifty dollars in there. I was able to afford school lunch. It was the only time I ate that day and when I brought home the change, my step-mom was so happy that I didn’t even get beat that night.
My parents kept the money, of course. Forty bucks? You can get crack, meth, or like two tabs of acid for that.
I think she got acid, and even split one of the tabs with me. It’s kinda fuzzy from there.
Yes, my step-mom gave me acid.
Yes, I was eight.
If I’m the piece of shit people tell me I am, this is probably why.
The Batman says it gives me perspective. Like, he actually said it that way. Perspective. What the fuck ever, man. What does that even mean?
I think it makes me different. Different from the Batman. Different from Nightwing. They see criminals and its all black and white. Right and wrong. Criminals did them wrong, but they’ve never been so low that wrong was the only choice left.
Case in point, there’s two reasons you’d be stealing baby formula. One, apparently the shit is like powdered gold. Shortage? Its expensive, I guess? I don’t really get it, but stealing baby formula is apparently a thing.
But, because its expensive, hard to get, and all that shit, you might steal it so you could feed your kid.
So which is it tonight? Holy teet-suckers, Batman. Let’s find out!
The man exploded from out of the pharmacy, a case of formula clutched to the chest, as the doors popped open. He was barreling down the sidewalk with the store manager shouting and a few feet behind.
A couple of good Samaritans made a lunge to try and stop the thief.
Overhead, a grapple line shot across the sky, as a shadowy caped figure swung around to the other side of the building.
Yeah, how bored was he that he was on baby formula theft patrol?
Letting go of the line, the boy tucked and rolled as he hit the fire escape running up the side of the next building. Popping back up to his feet, a second soft pop came as he fired another line to swing up to the roof.
Somersault and roll. It was a technique Dick had shown him. Reaching back to his utility belt, the boy pulled a pair of mini-binoculars free, bringing them up to his face to peer down at where the thief was loading his stolen goods into the getaway car that had been parked around the back.
There was an infant’s rear-facing car seat in the back.
Sirens were starting to come down the street. With his free hand, the boy reached back to his belt and pulled free a batarang.
The car was pulling away, tires screeching as the patrol unit was racing toward.
With a flick of his wrist, the boy sent the batarang spinning down toward the road. He’d been aiming for the windshield of the cop car.
“Shit,” the boy cursed between gritted teeth.
The batarang skipped off the black top, connecting with the wheel hub of a passing Prius, which slung it sideways into a box truck parked on the street, where it ricocheted downward into one of the rear tires of the cop car.
Sirens blaring and lights flashing, the patrol unit was now burning rubber as it started to fishtail.
“The fu…” the boy uttered, in a mixture of confusion and disbelief, just before the cop car swerved off the road and crashed into a light pole.
Okay, that shit was hilarious.
Was this how it was when Dick was Robin?
Don’t know. Don’t care.
He was Robin now. He knew this city. Batman patrolled the streets, but Jason had slept on them. He knew all the sounds. Ambulances racing from horror to hope. Gunshots turning happy moments into tragedies. Cops who were just criminals with a badge. And maybe a criminal or two who was just trying to do the right thing in a city that didn’t even know what that was anymore.