Agent 07 for Batman Inc.
"So, it is farewell, loser.
The loser like no other.
But even losers must make do.
Make friends with disaster. Misfortune is your cousin.
'The big man for the safe'. Leave your regrets behind.
Your third eye will open.
Tomorrow it could be you."
I’m tired of having this blog linked forever to my wrestling account. Time to start fresh. I’ll post a link to the new blog where I’ll try to move as much of this as I can over there.
I have a new lappy and now I’m going to re-devote myself to my craft. And before I get to right my self-righteous memoir of all my part relationships, I want to post something I know is good. This is getting published in Subtext Queer Arts Magazine in a few months, but I don’t reckon there will be an online component.
This started as something for a friend. Now it’s mine.
I give you Georgia, Part 1.
I. The First Day (Dawn)
“I said ‘shit’, alright?”
I did say ‘shit’.
“Please don’t speak like that around me Adam. And don’t yell so loud, you’ll wake up Papa.”
My mother always loses her nails over words and things. I mostly do it to get a rise out of her. I’m such an asshole, really I am. She’s going to have a heart attack one day and there’s going to be an autopsy and the police officers or whatever are going to say it was because she had an asshole kid who liked acting like an asshole around her by swearing all the time for no reason at all. I swear they will. I swear on my mother’s autopsy. Dammit I’m an asshole.
And yeah I’m a girl named Adam. The less said about that the better.
“All apologies, Mom. I think Papa is awake anyway.”
Papa was my grandfather. Or is my grandfather, I should say. He’s not dead, yet anyway. We call him Papa. It makes sense for my mom to call him that because that is her father and all, but I still call him that. So we don’t get confused. With what I don’t know, but I can just remember always calling him that. Then my old Papa started hobbling out.
“It’s okay sweetie, I’ve heard things that you kids don’t even say anymore. I don’t really give a shit.”
Papa is such an asshole. We must have like asshole genes or something.
“Is this what you want Jesus to hear out of you when he comes back? “
Mom never really meant anything when she said that. I mean, it’s not like she’s religious or anything like that. She was raised some kind of Christian, but she gave it up for the most part when I was born. Anyway, she still says it, but it’s more to ask us if we want to be this person that swears all the time and doesn’t care what big important people like Jesus think. Not Jesus him or herself of course, but people like Jesus, which luckily is nobody as far as I know except maybe magicians. And I don’t know any magicians, neither does Papa, so we cuss as much as we like.
“Thank God I’m going to Hell then, right?” Papa says.
Papa was always saying smart assholey things like that. He thinks he’s really funny. Hell, I think he’s really funny, but I’m pretty corny myself. I remember growing up he used to always say awful jokes at me. Whenever I passed by, whether I wanted him to or not. He’d say things like ‘hey Addy what do you call an impoverished dolphin?’ and I’d say ‘Go away Papa I’m trying to study Marine Biology” and he’d say ‘A POORpoise’ and I’d make a threat upon his frail life.
Mom snickers under her breath and cleans it off her face to talk to us seriously. She does this every morning, get’s really serious because she’s going to ask us what we’re going to do today.
“So, what are you two going to do today?”
I told you she would.
“You know what I’m going to do, I do the same shit every Saturday.”
He really does, that Papa. What he’s going to do is, he’s going to drink gin and watch Jeopardy! recordings. He watches them during the week, but he records them anyway. He likes to watch them twice, says it helps him remember the answers better. He likes it better than books. Sometimes I think his fake rivalry with the host is the only thing that keeps him alive. That and the dozens of medications that he takes.
“I already know what I’m going to do,” I say.
I just stood there after I said that. She was staring at me and drumming her nails on the counter. I’ve never gotten why she does that. She spends all this money to get those done and she drums them on the counter every chance she gets. I used to think that she did it in public just to draw attention to the nails she spends so much money on, but she does it indoors too. Even when she’s by herself, reading Cosmopolitan magazine or something and she’s reading about all kinds of people and all the money they spend on their nails. It’s crazy. If she ever was taken by some murderer or something, the first thing she’d beg for is for him to not rip her nails off. That would be a waste.
“I don’t know mom. I think I’ll go out and get murdered.”
I was out the door after I said that. I don’t know what her reaction was, Papa will tell me later, but I bet whatever she did or said, she stopped drumming her nails. God, she really should have married a magician.
I’m going to go to the record store.
Or at least, I decide to go to the record store. I don’t think I need to go right now or anything, but I do want to go. I linger on the doorknob, trying to decide if I want to leave one more parting verbal gift, but I decide against it. Sometimes you gotta let go of the throttle. Plus I might make Mom’s nail polish chip off.
I thought I would head down to Suck Lake. They called it Suck Lake on account of how most of what people do there is suck stuff. Each other when it’s later, popsicles when it’s early. Sometimes popsicles when it’s late. I’m a riot, I’m telling you. Don’t even get me started on airline food. Sometimes I think it’s called Suck Lake because it seems like the whole ground and everything around it and all is being sucked up by the lake. I keep getting bigger, not anymore of course, I’m all done growing, at least I hope for the sake of my shoes but anyway I keep getting bigger and the lake gets bigger too.
Some say it’s erosion but I say it’s those grade school kids eating the dirt on the side. They’re always pushing each other into the lake and just horsing around and being real assholes. I remember one time I wrote something in my notebook when I was out and my pen ran out of ink. And so I licked my pen because sometimes you just gotta lick it and this kid starts acting like I just stabbed his lizard in the eye or something. I kind of wanted to write “eat butt” or something on the paper with my tongue pen and rip the page out and rub it against his stupid face until I smeared ink all over.
That’s the thing about people, kids especially, you never know what’s going to set them off until you do it, and by then it’s too late. Every time you lick your pen, somebody, somewhere, is twitching their eye in the unconscious knowledge that you’re doing something they think is gross that they don’t like. I think that’s the problem people have with me being queer and all. They just know that I’m doing something with some girl, as If I’m some ladies lady, but there they go telling me what a hellbound demon I am even though I’ve hardly so much as ever held hands with a girl, much less do whatever they think I’m doing all the time. I can barely say the word sex out loud without giggling. I’m not sucking anything, not like those kids there at Suck Lake late at night. Those kids will suck anything you put in front of them. Like a fish sucks up water, I’m serious.
Anyway, I get to the lake and I decide I want to feed the birds. I don’t see anybody else around. You gotta feed the birds, right? So I go down to the market to get some bread. I pass by these grade school kids talking about some dead body they found somewhere or something, I don’t know really. That’s the problem with these kinds of small towns, they’re polluted with the hopelessly young and the depressingly old with us inbetweens sprinkled through out it. I mean, I lean towards the former, but I guess I have elements of both. I don’t know. Maybe my dress is a part of it. I do wear collard dresses and all. Sometimes I think I look like a damn table cloth. Sometimes I only feel like one.
I walk around for a bit in the market, I like to look around at nothing in particular sometimes. I always look around to see if they have these gummie bears that I like, but they never do. And they never will either, they’ve never had them and I don’t know why I ever keep asking. So I walk up to the cashier.
“Will that be all Miss? Just the bread?”
I’m not holding anything else, does he think I took up smoking?
“Yes, unless you guys have those gummie bears I’m looking for. The german ones.”
“You know we’ve never had those, you ask every day Miss. I’m telling you, it’s a supply and demand thing, you know.”
I know what supply and demand is you cash mongrel, I am the demand now supply me and stop being such an asshole.
Sorry, I know I’m being an asshole too. I just really wanted those gummie bears, you know? This girl I knew, well, know I guess I should say. Well, I mean, I don’t know her if you must know, but I know her name anyway. Her name is Georgia. Anyway, she really liked those gummie bears.
To sort of kid him, and because I had no cash or plastic on me anyway, I wrote him a check for the amount of the bread. I had to lick my pen before I could do it. It was like a dollar and some change but I wrote it all out anyway. I have these cute checks that have roses on them. They match this one dress I wore one time. I don’t wear it so much anymore, it kind of depresses me, but sometimes I look at it in the closet and think of all kinds of stuff. I write the check for a dollar and some change and slide it over to him with this big goofy grin on my face. Almost laughing, I tell him that I’m good for it and quickly shove the checkbook right into my tiny purse.
I grab the bread and walk back out to the lake. Those kids from the store are poking at something in the bush. It’s usually goose nests that they’re poking at, because those kids are assholes too. It upsets me, really. I mean, they’re youth and they go around killing would be youth. They are the very definition of life and all they do is kill goose eggs and lizards and ants. But I’m not trying to wax poetic or anything.
So I’m feeding the birds. Man, the birds were everywhere. It felt like there were thousands. These must have been like what that Jesus fellow felt like, except he probably didn’t buy his bread. Or maybe he did, I don’t know, magicians never tell you their tricks and there wasn’t any tricks and tips section in the bible that I could find. I got a little tired and I went to go feed another group of them on the other side of the Lake. After I did that I came back to the first group and saw a kid with a BB gun in the distance. One of the kids from the market. He was pointing it inside the bush, but when he saw me, he whipped it around and pointed it at me. I stand there with my arms to my side and watch him, the kid is shaking. He lowers the gun and shoots one of the birds. The pellet knocks the bird dead and clear into the lake, bobbing in the water like he was trying to drink it.
Sirens were approaching in the distance and the kid threw the gun to the ground and ran off through the woods. His friend stays by the bush, I think I see him crying. I stare at the bird floating in the water, watching every ripple it’s last death gasps make. I guess it knocked it almost dead. Finally the bird dies and the water is still again. I hope the Lake sucks him up soon. Before the police get here anyway, in case they’re assholes and drain the whole damn thing.
I thought it best to get out of the crime scene and head over to the record store. Somehow word had gotten out and people were running towards the lake. I had to walk against the current of this entire crowd, it was terrible, it was like everyone in the town had a HAM radio or something.
A part of me wants to talk about how a bunch of living alive people are running to see a dead guy and a couple of now dead-inside kids and a dead bird, but really, I have no time for that I just want to go to the record store okay?
Anyway, I’m standing outside the record store. I like to just stand outside it sometimes, you know, I like to stand outside of places and make sure I know why I am there and what I’m looking for. So I don’t look listlessly. I’m not above loitering, but it’s a place of business and in truth, the owner is actually a pretty intense guy. He likes you to find what you’re looking for and move on. I think it’s because he always has records turning.
I guess I like loitering because it usually works out pretty well for me. My town is small enough that if you stand in one place long enough, people find you. It’s never like rich people or anything, nobody has ever walked up to me asking me if I wanted a bunch of money before handing me a sack of money with a big money sign on the side of it. Yes I call dollar signs money signs. No, you are not going to change me any quicker than my 1st grade teacher.
Anyway, loitering worked out for me one time, and I’m going to tell you about that in a second, but first I have to tell you why I’m going to tell you about it.
See these two cops, police officers, sorry, came marching up to me like baby blue incidence. I like talking like that sometimes, my physics teacher would always describe himself as “sweaty incidence” or as “depressed incidence” or as “pudding filled incidence” after his fiancé left him. He was a real sad guy.
“We need you to come with us ma’am.”
“But sir I need to go buy a record, it’s really important.”
Dammit Adam don’t be an asshole to the police officers too, they don’t even wear nail polish. Well, they might wear clear nail polish, I don’t know.
“I’m sorry miss, but there was an incident at the lake and we need you to answer a few questions”, the other officer say.
Now I was sad.
“Well…” the officer trailed off. He trailed his foot on the sidewalk like he was embarrassed or something.
“There was a body in the bushes. Young girl, had to be about 13 or so.”
“It truly is horrific miss…ma’am…”
I think mister officer sir has a daughter.
So they take me to the police station, and here’s where I tell you about when loitering worked out for me, because clearly it didn’t here. But it worked out for me when, shit I forgot the important part. There’s a “no smoking” sign in the police station, I’m staring at it right now and it’s reminding me of this time where I was loitering by a similar sign outside a gay bar. I hate that term, kinda, because I don’t like describing places or things as gay. Not like that anyway. It was one of those places with benches and what have you where you could sit outside and avoid all the smoke inside. I was kind of an assbackwards place where everyone smoked inside and there was no smoking allowed outside.
So I’m standing by the sign and I see this girl at a bench drinking vinegar. Hand to your magician, I swear. She was sipping vinegar and winking at me. I got this knot in my throat and probably looked like I was coughing up my central nervous system, and it’s not like I could blame it on the smoke. So she gets up and walks towards me.
“ Didn’t you see the sign?”
I had no idea what she was talking about but that didn’t mean that I didn’t like watching her talk. Her lips loved words.
“The sign, above your head? It says no smoking.”
I nodded with my mouth open. I don’t remember why it was open.
Well you are clearly in direct violation of that”
Them is looked like she was going to slide her hands into my pockets and my body jerked to the side and I hit the side of my face on the pole of the sign like a big goof, she got a laugh out of that. She had a thick soupy laugh with floating snorts and hiccups in it.
“If you need a name for the police report, it’s Georgia.”
God, she probably would have drowned in my saliva if I hadn’t shut my mouth then. We’d gargle and die in it. She offered me some vinegar and that’s how we met. I didn’t hold her hand for a month.
yep I knew I wasn’t gonna like RHaTO #0. Just…stop, Lobdell. You are the worst thing.
did he….. REALLY……
I am so fucking done with you Lobdell.
A person’s backstory is their roots, their essence of characterization. By turning the gutsy tire-jacking Jason Todd into this drug-stealing ass, you’ve managed to rob him of what makes him fundamentally Jason.
There is something distinctively different about trying to nab the tires off of the batmobile and taking drugs from someone offering you advice and second chances. Pre-52 Jason’s act shows his one driven by survival and taking from someone who could make do without a tire or two. The kid willing to fuck with Batman, the iconic image with the crowbar - that was a hell of an intro.
On the other hand, 52 Jason knows it’s morally wrong to take drugs from Leslie. A woman who did something good for him was getting screwed over. The original reason Jason died was over his mother, a woman who did nothing good for him, but was still someone he sought and fought for. No way Jason would take advantage of someone who believed in him so much.
Pre-52, Batman’s first reaction was to take Jason home. This decision was his alone, not the result of someone else’s wishes. Bruce saw something in Jason that reflected a part of himself. 52 Batman acts like a morally incompetent legal enforcer, whose first reaction is to arrest Jason (an act itself that I call bullshit — would the world’s greatest detective really arrest a minor on attempted drug charges when they don’t appear to be addicted and brawled like he needed them to survive, likely by selling them? Perpetuating poverty isn’t Batman’s style.)
Alfred’s reaction to Jason is the most heart-wrenching. Jason should have been welcomed and treated like family. Barely contained disdain for a street orphan isn’t the Alfred we know. There’s no warmth in his interactions, and that’s terrible to read. Everything was. If the preview was this bad, I pray for those brave enough to read the full issue.
Can everyone just like, write a letter to this dude.
Because I feel like he actually doesn’t get it. There’s no way someone could be this evil on purpose.
yep I knew I wasn’t gonna like RHaTO #0. Just…stop, Lobdell. You are the worst thing.
I’m sorry, but I disagree. As vengerturtle eloquently put it, “Lobdell writes Jason like the only thing he’s ever read about Jason is all the message boards complaining about how he was always a bad kid, the worst Robin, about how he was nothing but a bad temper and an arrogant attitude. This new Jason has no depth. He’s just sucked everything good out of him and in turn it makes his relationship with Bruce lesser and really the entire Robin legacy lesser.”
Erasing Jason’s humor, warmth, and bond with Bruce denies the trauma of what he has been through. It makes it so Jason has “always” been this “bad”, and that he was “destined” to end up a “bad” guy. I’m using these quotations because this is the argument that I hear most often when people discuss Jason. Reducing Jason to a “bad” kid that will take advantage of anyone, that crosses the line because violence is all that comes natural to him, effectively files away all of the nuance that made him interesting to me. Jason made Bruce laugh. That’s what Robin is supposed to be—-the light that keeps Bruce on his path. Whether it is intentional or not, Lobdell is mangling most of the traits that I associate with Jason Todd. The implications of those decisions are gross. So yeah, I’m going to stand by my statement.