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Issue number four




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I am Batman by Don Barnfather


Because the people here are all so very nice I have to go away.
There's just nothing for the Caped Crusader to do. Nobody to save.
Yes, I must go away. Go away.


This job is very dull. Still, I have to do something while I wait to save this new city.
I sit on a little metal chair. I guard reams of paper farting through a machine. The machine is also metal. Like the chair.
Then I rip off the paper and carry it to a table. The table is not made of metal.
Somebody else takes the paper away but I do not know whom. I've never seen him.
Occasionally I fart in solidarity with my machine, although it isn't really my machine. I didn't buy it or anything. I just regard it as my machine.
I like it best when the printer gets stuck. I am not allowed to fix it when this happens, as the rule is I must call a special number- 767-7767. Then someone comes- always a different person. They always fix it eventually.

My boss tells me he's the boss.
"Remember that," he says.
He also has a nameplate that says BOSS.
I tell him I won't forget.
He tells me he's an equal opportunity employer but that some opportunity employers are more equal than others. (What can he mean?). Sometimes he pays me.
Today he tells me to "Go out. Socialize."
This is the chance I have been waiting for.


A fly poster tells me ANGUS AND ALBERT'S CIRCUS AND FAIRGROUND is in town.
COME AND SEE US, it says. So I do. A circus and fairground is the perfect place to detect villainy.
Batman is on his way.

I forgot how much a circus smells. It stinks. When I was a boy, the stench made me throw up during my one and only visit. My mother said I was very selfish because the tickets had been quite expensive.
But now I'm a man. Made of sterner stuff. A superhero can handle such things.
With a blue handkerchief wrapped around the lower half of my face, I investigate.
The sword-swallower looks guilty. Never trust a man that swallows sharp instruments. That's what I say.
I ask him lots of questions but get no answers.
"I can't understand what you're saying with that handkerchief around your mouth," he finally replies.
I remove the handkerchief. Then I vomit.
The sword-swallower gives me a drink of Tizer. Maybe he's not so bad after all.
But he still won't believe that I'm Batman.
"Where's your costume then, smartarse?" he grins.
"I'm in disguise," I tell him and move off to question the fire-eater.


I am back at my machine. Farting.
My BOSS pats me on the back. "Good job," he says. "Good work."
What can he mean?
He tells me that tomorrow is INVITE YOUR FAMILY TO WORK DAY.
"I have no family, what can I do?" I panic.
"No problem," laughs my BOSS.
"Bring a friend. You must have a friend. Bring one. Bring two. Bring them all."
I think of inviting my ex-wife (I bet you didn't know Batman was divorced) but decide against it because I really don't like her that much.
Then an idea comes to me. A brilliant idea. Such an idea that only the Caped Crusader could have thought of it.
I sit on my little metal chair and write the invitations.


My BOSS is very angry.
"Who told you that you could invite ANGUS AND ALBERTS CIRCUS AND FAIRGROUND to the INVITE YOUR FAMILY TO WORK DAY?" he screams.
"You did," I reply resolutely but he doesn't hear me because one of ALBERT'S lions bites off his head.
"He's only playing," says his keeper, Damian. "Wouldn't hurt a fly. Not intentionally that is."
All the employees and their families are screaming as the fire-eater torches every ream of paper in the place.
My machine farts with pleasure.
"Daddy, you work in a circus and fairground," says a little girl in rapture.
"And I thought you were a boring old office worker."
"I'm soooo proud of you," she continues and is then torn apart by a troupe of crazed baboons.
A bored panda looking for bamboo sits on the metal table as the Ringmaster cracks his whip.
"Let's keep the rest for later," says the Bearded Lady to the Dwarf.
"For supper."

Not in Gotham City at least.

Bring on the dancing bears. Bring them on.

Don Barnfather is an exiled Brit who has lived in Asia for the last ten years (Japan and now Hong Kong). He has had a number of poems published in Asian magazines (e.g., Poetry Kanto) and in various e-mags. He is now concentrating on short stories of the "irreal" kind.

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