Author’s note: another story based on a writing prompt. I wrote this one some time ago so I’m not actually sure the exact prompt or source. Something about getting a secret mission after going to the dentist:
“Good Morning Mr. Sanvidge.”
Keith looked around in bewilderment, his bald head glistening like a beautiful diamond in the sun, He didn’t have a horrible comb-over that looked like a dead racoon, although he could have if he wanted. Instead, Keith had selected to be prematurely bald-by-choice so that he could claim it was by choice in a few years when it really wasn’t anymore.
He looked in the backseat of his prius but saw nothing.
“This weekend is Dragon Con. I’m sure I don’t have to explain what that is to you. The Russian government has just blocked all access in and out of the convention center. Since everyone inside is a social outcast they either have no friends or family who will notice they are missing, or their friends and family are inside.”
Keith realized that the sound was coming from inside his own mouth. The root canal! The dentist must have put something inside his mouth.
“This might seem like a blessing considering we won’t have to deal with their unwashed bodies any longer, but this is a situation that could have a calamitous effect on the world as we know it.”
As the recording played, Keith opened and closed his mouth to listen to the sound difference.
“EVERY HACKER IN AMERICA Is inside that building. Every coder. BASICALLY, EVERY SMART person in the country is inSIDE.”
Keith shouted in protest, “But I’m not in there!”
The recording continued, “Like I said, every smart person is inside that building. It was bad enough we elected Trump, but after this? We might as well be back in the dark ages.”
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, infiltrate the con and free the prisoners without letting the Russians know the United States government is involved. Use any means necessary, but save as many of the prisoners as you can. Our hackers and coders are our top priority. You need to save all of them if you can.”
“This message will self destruct in 10 seconds.”
Keith jerked upright in his seat. “But the recording is inside my mouth!”
Frantically he dug around with his fingers and tongue. He searched all sides of his mouth but it was to no avail. He knew his time was up. He braced for the explosion.
He heard the buzz of his cell phone and looked down to see a text message from an unknown number. The message read: “We deleted the file. Did not explode device. Idiot. SMH.”
Keith knew there was no way he would fit in inside Dragon Con. His clothes fit properly, were stain free, and he even looked reasonably attractive in a certain light when you squinted one eye and poked the other with your finger really hard. If he was going to get in, he was going to need help.
He was going to need a costume. Nothing too elaborate, but clearly he had to fit in. Plus, it was on the government’s dime.
He knew what he had to do.
Inside CIA headquarters an analyst ran down the corridor. She leaped over a desk and rolled into the director’s office. The director looked up in surprise at the panting figure.
“Yes, what is it?” He snapped.
“Sir he just bought a High-End Batman costume for over $1,000.”
“Of course he did. I don’t see what the problem is?”
“Sir he also bought a working replica of the batmobile for over $200,000.”
“Keith, you magnificent son-of-a-bitch. That’s why you’re the best.”
The batmobile screeched into the parking lot. A trail of debris followed in it’s wake. Keith’s depth perception wasn’t the best, so driving something this large wasn’t exactly the best idea. Especially not at the speeds he was travelling. He carefully cut the wheel and parked the replica as best he could.
As he climbed down from the cockpit (at least he assumed that was what you called it in the Batmobile), his cape flowing in the wind, he realized that he had managed to park on top of a small SUV. Oh well, he thought. I’m Batman.
His face lit up.
“I’m Batman” he growled in a hoarse whisper. He repeated the mantra over and over to himself as he walked towards the convention center.
Now to get in. He would have to find an unguarded entrance somewhere. Maybe a skylight or a window. He would find a way in. Batman always did.
“Hey, you! Get in here.” A man with an uzi stood just outside waving it in Keith’s direction.
All working according to plan, Keith thought.
He was led inside by the armed man. He knew that if he had ever been to Dragon Con in real life he would be able to describe the inside of the building and or buildings when he inevitably wrote a short story about it, but as it was he was a con virgin. The room was packed with people sitting on the floor. Their costumes and novelty t-shirts were in disarray and somehow they smelled even worse than he imagined.
It was difficult to sit in the Batman costume, so Keith settled down with a heroic sideways plop/shuffling that ended with him in the traditional heroic pose: splayed out on the floor with arms, legs, and cape entangled in a mass.
Eventually he was able to straighten himself up. He glanced around and spotted a girl nearby dressed as the Death Star. “Hi. I’m Batman.”
“Uh….yeah I can see that.”
Keith flexed his arms, “This weapon is fully operational too.”
She shook her head in disgust and looked away.
Oh yeah, she wants the B.
He turned to his opposite side and asked a man in a Naruto shirt, “What’s going on?”
“They’ve rounded up everyone with any coding experience and taken them over to that roped off area over there.” He pointed at a cordoned off area that was devoted to Star Trek autographs. “They made everyone else sit here. Where were you?”
“I got here late. Batmobile got stuck on a mailbox.”
Now it’s time to enact my plan.
Keith said, “Listen buddy, truth is I work for the con. This whole thing is just part of a contest. Those aren’t even real guns. Did you notice how bad that guys Russian accent was? It was as if the author was just using some writing prompt to come up with a quick short story and couldn’t be bothered to look up how to write an accent.”
“Wait? So we don’t have to stay here?”
“Well you do if you want to win.”
“What’s the prize?”
“A working batmobile. Fully decked out replica.”
“Seriously, I drove it here myself. Watch this.”
Keith lifted himself up a bit, not quite standing as that would have taken a bit of work and probably would have resulted in a gunshot. “Hey Russian guy! Didn’t I drive here in a Batmobile?”
The Russian goon replied, “Dah! It was awesome! Now shut up before I kill you.”
Keith settled back into place. “See?”
“So how do we win?”
“It’s easy. You have to prove you are the most Batman-like and stop the ‘Russian’ plot.”
The man turned to a female next to him and began whispering. Soon there were whispers going in every direction. The whole crowd was getting excited. They didn’t know exactly how this was going to work, but for a fully loaded batmobile these people would play along with almost anything. Fake russians. How were they going to beat this at next year’s con?
Keith heroically scrambled to his feet. After a few failed attempts and a couple of helpful hands up, he stood proudly. Cape tangled but still heroic.
“Excuse me! I went to Georgia Tech as a Computer Science major. I didn’t finish, but I do have some coding experience.”
The Russians looked back and forth at each other. One shrugged his shoulders and pointed his gun at the roped off area. “You go zere.”
As Keith entered the roped-off area, a shaggy looking man with at least a dozen chins said, “Why would you volunteer that? They are clearly going to do something to us.”
“Because I’m Batman.”
He paused for effect but no one laughed.
Keith gestured at the cheesy Star Trek props. “No but seriously, I’m here to rescue you. I just need you to all stay down. No matter what happens, don’t move. Don’t do anything. Just stay here in your fantasy land and you’ll all get out of here alive. Can you do that?”
The man nodded his head, his chins shaking like pools of re-congealed velveeta. The others in the group made vague affirmative noises.
“Good. Just seriously stay down. This is all going to be over soon.”
It was now or never.
He cleared his throat and shouted, “Ladies and Gentleman of the Con! The Batman contest begins……now!”
The people in the convention center, including the Russians, looked at him in confusion. The crowd began to realize what he meant, but the Russian’s were still at a loss.
“Hey you, shut up or I shoots you, Batman!”
A woman in the crowd shouted, “That’s not Batman. I’m Batman!”
A man near the Russian shouted, “She’s not Batman! I’m Batman and so’s my wif-”
His words cut off as his throat was shot out. Blood sprayed everywhere.
Keith knew that this would be the real test. He crept through the crowd and changed his voice and shouted, “That guy was part of the contest Look at the fake blood! So fake!”
He crept a few more feet and changed his voice again, “Let’s get their guns! I’m batman!”
A roar filled the convention center as almost everyone in the room shouted “I’m Batman” and swarmed the shocked Russians. Bullets flew and blood spewed in every direction, but in the end, there were far more people in the crowd than there were Russians. It was a bloody mess, but eventually the Russian’s were pummeled to death by a frantic and confused crowd. They still weren’t sure if any of this was real, and were they supposed to hurt the actors?
Keith walked out the door, his head held high. Batman never killed anyone. Batman always had a clever plan. Maybe he was Batman. Either way, he still had the keys to the Batmobile so clearly that meant something.
He wasn’t sure what would happen with the people inside. They’d probably get pretty angry when they realized there was no Batmobile prize. But maybe the real prize was the friends who got killed by the Russians along the way.
As he turned the key in the Batmobile he let out another whisper.