***The following story is a response to a thread on the sub-reddit, r/writingprompts.
View thread HERE.***
ONE DAY AT THE WATCHTOWER
Kal slurped his coffee loudly as he sat in the lounge of the watchtower reading the news on his tablet.
“Do you have to be so loud?” Diana asked. “Also, put on a goddamn shirt -this is a common area and we have a dress code.”
Kal began scratching/caressing his chest and belly as he looked over at her. “What’s the matter? You never seen a real man’s body before?” He then put two fingers to his tongue and began mockingly rubbing his nipple while giving her seductive eyes.
Diana shuddered. “You’re gonna turn me into a fucking dyke, you know that?”
Kal smirked, but before he could offer some pithy comment, Bruce walked in with a serious look on his face.
“Kal… Diana…All is well I presume?….” Kal shrugged as if to say ‘meh’ and Diana rolled her eyes and returned her attention back to her tablet.
“What is the status of next week’s operation?”
“Do we have a belligerent to attack Munich?”
“Guys! What the fuck? We have a plan and we’re supposed to stick to it. Why haven’t you scheduled any belligerent?”
Diana cleared her throat. “Nobody wants to work with us. They are all scared since Kal broke Zod’s neck.”
“Oh fuck them and fuck you for saying that!” Kal snapped, indignant.
“She’s right, Kal -you fucked up. Have they flat-out refused?”
“Some did…Brainiac gave us his ‘fuck-you’ price.” Diana said as she turned her tablet in Bruce’s direction for him to see.
“Jesus! We could level the city to the ground, buy it for peanuts and still lose money if we paid him that.” Bruce looked disapprovingly at Kal, who stared intently at his tablet, pretending to be unaware of the negativity focused on him. Ever the pragmatist, Bruce swallowed his anger, “We need to purchase that city. I’m open to ideas.”
“Well, you’re Bruce Wayne -you could always pay ful….”
Before he could finish, a pillow thrown by Diana hit him with the force of a moving car, exploding into a blizzard of white plumage as it hit his cheek.
“Pth pthh!….well that was unnecessary.” Kal retorted while spitting out the goose down feathers now fluttering about his head.
“I told you, we pay full price as an absolute last resort. With the sheer number and scale of acquisitions we are making, we can’t afford to pay market price -I CAN’T afford market price.”
“Well, me and Diana coul-”
“Diana and I…you stupid fuck.” Diana interrupted.
“Diana and I,” Kal resumed. “We could toss on black masks and dark clothes and just go wreck shit.”
“No! Too risky. We’ve had to endure too much scrutiny the few times we resorted to that.” Bruce sat at this and let out a sigh. “We need a clear-cut villain and not some mysterious man in black with suspiciously Kryptonian abilities, otherwise it’ll be the fast-track to registration, ankle bracelets and panoptic surveillance like they’re dealing with in 616.”
At this, Kal and Diana looked at each other, then at Bruce. Bruce remained looking straight ahead, only his gaze was fixed on something which seemed thousands of miles away. At length, he blinked and seemed to awaken. “Kal, do you still have it?”
“The motherbox? Yeah…. but are you sure you wanna ask for their help? Just think about what they’ll ask for in return.”
“It’s true,” Diana chimed in. “But at least we know it won’t be money.”
“Listen, I know I’m not the smartest one here, but it seems we’re opening up a can of worms that we may not wanna open. What if they want us to fight on their behalf in their universe someday?”
“It’s true,” said Bruce, standing with resolve. “But we can set the terms for such a payment, and if we set the terms far enough off in the future we may negotiate some wiggle-room. And who knows: when they call on us it may be to champion a cause we can actually get behind.”
“Ugh, I feel so dirty”
“Do it!” commanded Diana.
Kal left at a grudging pace, decidedly well slower than he was capable of. When he had gone, Diana walked to Bruce who was now staring out at the vast expanse of space and the world below them. She stood beside him and watched the world twinkling below them. A skin-coloured object moved incredibly fast past their field of view and seemed to terminate somewhere in the Arctic circle.
“The idiot didn’t even bother to put a shirt on.” observed Diana. “…Bruce. Do you think it’s really worth it? Buying the world?”
Bruce grimaced. “You know I do.”
“Do you ever feel like we’re becoming the villains?”
“So does the end justify the means?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m not justifying anything anymore. I’m stopping crime.”
“By destroying cities?”
“If necessary, yes! I spent years, Diana -YEARS- beating the shit out of petty criminals and the mentally disturbed. But they weren’t the problem -they were symptoms. Every city that Wayne Enterprises has bought has been completely overhauled -better infrastructure, better connectivity, integrated agriculture, energy independence, decentralization for greater local autonomy, universal standardization for greater compatibility and cooperation with all other cities…..ABUNDANCE, Diana. People in my cities no longer want for things. And as their circumstances have changed and they’ve been freed from drudgery, their values have changed too and we’re are seeing a marked increase in innovation, virtually no crime, a flourishing in the arts. There is a veritable renaissance going on below and it’s all thanks to-”
Bruce caught himself and took a breath.
“What I mean to say is that we are already seeing the fruit of our labours. Besides, the cities that are destroyed are typically those we can’t afford because the people have become so soulless and speculative that they no longer view domiciles as homes, but as assets. Their loss is a sacrifice I gladly make for the greater good.”
They both stared out again at the Earth. The glass in the window darkened in a split-second as the sun peeked over the Earth’s horizon.
“You really hate gentrification, don’t you?” Diana asked.
“Not as much as I hate yuppie scum!”
Then they had sex with no condom.