It was 10.30 PM in Gotham City and all was quiet. Batman was reading the Gotham Inquirer in the Batroom, while Batilda, his wife, was knitting up black leather socks in the chair across him.
‘Bruce…?’ Batilda asked on a tone that was a little dark around the edges, as a cloud on a sultry summer afternoon, ‘… I must say that I do get a little weary of always and ever that black leather … everywhere!’
She held out her handiwork demonstratively. ‘Look!’
Batman suppressed an inward sigh, put the paper down and asked in his most husbandry tone ‘yes, dear?’ – for he feared Batilda’s rare, but vicious temperamental outburst more that the worst the Joker could possibly do.
‘Just look, willya?’ Batilda continued, her eyes shooting little sparks of indignation from behind her stylish little batmask ‘Leather socks. Black leather socks. They’re Batricia’s, but Batrick also wears them!’
‘Really, dear?’ Batman said in his most neutral and (as he hoped) most conflict-avoidant timbre ‘they’re very nice!’ and he added a little half-hearted smile.
‘Nice!’ Her voice would have stopped an incoming ICBM. ‘I’m knitting up holes in Black Leather Socks, with -‘ she waved a black ball at him ‘ – with black leather string!’ Our children wear Black leather outfits to school, leather socks and gloves and masks – because … because this STUPID paragraph in your superhero contract!!’
Her eyes were now shooting sizzling holes in the walls.
‘Er, yes, dear. That’s, erm, true. It’s because we need to present a consistent unified presentable image to the outside world, as I’m sure you will know.’
‘To the outside world! Aha! So, tell me, Mr. “Bruce Wayne the Superhero” – why then do we all need to wear black leather undies? Why do we have black leather towels? Black leather tablecloths and black leather handkerchiefs and even black leather wallpaper??!’
‘It’s not real leather…’ Batman began, but was immediately swept off the table: ‘… as if I don’t know!! That doesn’t matter! You know what the kids are called at school? “Batricia the Kinkydinky” they jeer at her! And Batrick’s called “The Gay Microbear”!’
I would want to know what YOU are going to do about that, Mr. so-called Superhero?!? Whah!!’
At that moment, they heard the door of the Batroom opening, and there stood Batricia in her black leather pyjamas, holding a black leather doll representing a laughing Joker. “I can’t sleep when you are yelling like that!”, she pouted towards her parents, whose faces had immediately lapsed into an expression halfway between “Me, The Responsible Parent” and “Who, moi?”
Batilda smiled sweetly: “Batdad and I were just having an .. enthusiastic talk, dear!”.
Batman nodded in unison and turned on the smile that set him miles apart from the average run-of-the-mill superhero.
Batricia trotted towards him and climbed on his lap, clasping the Joker doll against her breast, causing a plethora of squeaky-leathery noises.
“Batdad, tell me again about that time the Joker’s girlfriend was breaking up with him? Pleaase?”
Batman straightened his back, adapting a classic tell-your-kid-a-story pose. Batricia enthusiastically clapped her hands in anticipation, and Batman, gleaming sideways, noticed that Batilda’s face was thawing behind her mask.
When the leathery squeaking had settled down, he scraped his throat and started to speak with his trustworthy bronze voice, while Batilda resumed her handiwork.