Saturday, November 19, 2011


ID: You mentioned a while back that Hush seemed to have inserted himself into your life in a very peculiar way. I’d like to talk about him, today, if that’s all right. You met him as a boy.

B: His parents were friends of my parents. Wealthy, influential, socialite types, you know, running in those kinds of circles. Tommy was a, well, he was just another kid trapped in that particular glass bottle of wealth.

ID: Sounds horrible.

B: It’s not, and I know it’s not. But there are obstacles that come from that kind of affluence, the expectations that come along with it. Both of our parents, they pushed us, put a lot of pressure on us. We were expected to succeed, in a way few other people really are.

I think overall we benefited from the pressure. Although…

ID: What?

B: I dress up as a bat and he murders people. So I can’t objectively say that it was the best way to parent.

ID: Are you actually questioning your parents?

B: No. Because I don’t know how things would have happened for me. I think the persona I built Bruce Wayne into, the foppish, vain, shallow playboy, I think he was in part who I was afraid I was going to become. I mean, if my parents hadn’t died, it’s entirely possible that would be me. I think having to pretend to be that, reminding myself of what I very nearly became, it kept me grounded.

But if my parents hadn’t been murdered, I don’t know. My upbringing wasn’t much different from Tommy’s. I wasn’t abused, and that might be the salient factor; I’m not saying rich people’s children are likely to become murderous Machiavellians. But that’s just the direction that Tommy’s dysfunction grew- it’s entirely possible I would have been just as dysfunctional in a likely less criminal and violent direction.

ID: I think we’re wandering. Um. What happened between your family and Tommy’s?

B: I think when we were born, our families were on a relatively even keel. But as we grew, I think his dad did worse. I think it was just in the industries where Tommy’s dad had most of his money, they were doing poorly, whereas my dad and his tech and industry holdings just kept increasing in value.

I think that’s why Tommy’s dad started hitting his wife and child. He and my dad, they were friendly, but also rivals. And at almost the same time he had to put up his home for sale, dad put a whole new wing on the manor. I mean, dad actually bought Tommy’s house and gave it right back to them- but that only strained their friendship further. And he actually got arrested that time, he beat Tommy and his mom so badly.

That same night, my dad bailed Tommy’s dad out. And he tried to talk to him, to understand what had happened. And it went very badly. Tommy’s dad took a swing at him. And I came upon my dad, in his study, a few hours later. It was one of the few times I got to see my father, as a man. He was shaken. He couldn’t understand that kind of mindless violence, against his own wife and child, from a man he’d loved as his brother. He had a scotch in his hand, but he wasn’t drunk, and I remember what he said to me, because he’d been pondering it for a while, but he said, “Sometimes the only thing a man can do is admit that he doesn’t know what to do.”

Let that sink in. It’s profound. Because it, for me it made it okay not to know an answer. I mean, for me, the implied second clause became that it’s also a man’s duty to do everything he can to figure it out. But I spent a lot of nights like that one with my father, puzzling over what to do to help people- people who maybe didn’t think they wanted my help.

Not much time passed after that before Tommy’s parents died. At the time everybody thought it was an accident; even I did, until later. My parents offered to take Tommy in, but he was shipped off, along with his family’s fortune, to Europe, where he trained to be a surgeon.

A few years ago, Tommy came back into my life. I got myself pretty badly injured, and he fixed me up. His timing was impeccable. I think I was just glad to have him back in my life, because I didn’t question that at first.

But then Hush entered the picture. He set in motion a series of events that nearly killed me, and succeeded in killing several other people. What was strange is at first the two were diametrically opposed. Hush was manipulating and murdering. But Tommy was being friendly, and helpful. He even volunteered to try and fix Harvey’s face- and succeeded.

And in the end, that act of kindness proved to be his downfall. Harvey had been seeing therapists for a while, anyway, so he’d made a lot of progress, but having his face fixed, it solidified for him something that he’d been struggling with. He missed being one of the good guys. And it was Harvey, when Hush had me, dead to rights, who saved me. He shot Hush twice.

ID: All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

B: But he saved me instead. And evil limped away with a couple of fresh bullet wounds.

ID: Is that when you fell in love with Harvey?

B: I think it’s hard to track exactly where a friendship ends and a romance begins. I mean, I’m sure you’ve had relationships that started as friendships. And I’m sure there was… flirtation. Suggestion. But at the same time, there’s a gray area in there, where it’s not romance but it’s progressed beyond a friendship. I think for me what that moment was was notice. It made me take stock of Harvey, and ask myself if he was the same unbalanced guy I’d been worrying over for years. And I remember thinking, maybe this was the new Harvey, that he was going to be an asset like he’d been back when he was district attorney.

ID: And is it safe to assume you wouldn’t be with Harvey if he hadn’t had his surgery?

B: I don’t think that’s fair. On several levels. Would Harvey be attracted to me if I didn’t look like this? If the mafia had been convinced I was the Holiday killer and was the one with horrible scarring because of it, I imagine most of my adult relationships would have gone differently. Attraction is a big part of relationships; I think we’ve been socialized in such a way that it plays perhaps an unhealthily outsized role. But I’m not going to apologize for being attracted to beautiful people, that’s an asinine insinuation.

ID: So, I’m going to consider that a yes, preachiness to the side. So in a very real way, you owe your relationship with Harvey to Hush.

B: Accidentally, perhaps.

ID: Of course, he stole Selina away from you. So at best that would put you even, and- no offense to Harvey- but he’s no Ms. Kyle, at a minimum in the pulling off a cat suit category.

B: He does look quite smart in a suit, though. But comparing them isn’t really fair or even sensical. People aren’t trading cards; you can’t compare their stats on the back to see who’s better. They’re different. And Harvey’s who I’m with right now.

But I do feel bad about how things went with Selina. Me, and people I care about, we’ve been paying for the things Tommy’s dad did forty years ago, the proverbial sins of the father.

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