How Batman Got Fat [Short Fiction]

This week, I decided to give another shot to writing something that would make my 8-year old cousin laugh (as mentioned before, he’s difficult to impress). It also has the potential to annoy my Batman-obsessed brother. If anyone is wondering where I came up with this, it came to me at around 3:00AM in the morning when my brain wasn’t functioning too well. I’m fairly happy with most of it, but atm I’m feeling like it’s hit and miss. If anyone reads, let me know what you think.
-Imran

 

DISCLAIMER: The following is a non-profit fan-based parody. Batman, the Justice League and all characters mentioned in this post are owned by D.C. Comics.

Don’t sue me please.

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How Batman Got Fat by Imran Lorgat

Many are familiar with the tale of the Batman, the hero of Gotham City. If you were to ask them about it, they would tell you. They’d tell you how the Batman stalks the rooftops until the crack of dawn, silently watching for acts of crime and terror. They would tell you how he fearlessly takes on armed men, powerful drug-lords and deranged murderers without ever resorting to killing his foes. They would tell you how his mission is his life; how he sacrifices any hope of happiness or companionship so that ordinary citizens don’t have to live in fear. And, most importantly, they’ll tell you that he’s a man; just an ordinary man, without any powers or magic, that somehow manages to do extraordinary things.
     But a man is only a man, and no man, not even the Batman, is infallible. All men suffer, all men experience pain and, when they do, all men need reprieve; we all need to find some way to relax and let off steam. For some men, it is the comfort of their wives and families that get them through the day. For others, it’s football, video games, television or playing sports. For Batman it was food.
     Few knew about that side of him, but as it has been said so many times in the history of mankind: “A man must eat”. In his all-night vigil across the rooftops of Gotham, Batman often got hungry, and certainly no one could blame him for this. It was perhaps unfortunate for him that the only places still open in such dead hours of the night were KFC and McDonalds. The criminals whom Batman put behind bars would often remark of how skilled Batman was as a fighter. They told stories of how Batman would easily dispatch eight men with one hand… while the other hand was holding a Big Mac. Indeed, it was quite common for his fellow Justice Leaguers to chance upon Batman wolfing down a Zinger and a two-litre Coke on some abandoned rooftop in the early hours of the morning.
     But the eating did not stop there. For you see, it wasn’t just the take-away burgers that Batman consumed with relentless hunger. The Dark Knight had a dark secret; he was a comfort eater. Whenever Batman suffered a hardship or survived an ordeal by the skin of his teeth, he would cure his unhappiness with dessert, usually of the most decadent kind. If one of the criminals he was hunting got away; he’d get an ice cream. When Catwoman broke up with him; an entire cheesecake. When one of the Robins died; a box of donuts. And Batman’s sweet-tooth didn’t stop there. Even as Bruce Wayne, he was packing on the pounds. He would fly across the Atlantic Ocean in his private airplane just so that he could have real Belgian waffles in Belgium. On the way back, he’d even stop in Switzerland to get a crate or two of fresh Lindt. And I, as the teller of this story, sincerely wish that I could stop there but I am sorry to say that Batman’s bad habits only continued to get worse with time. Between the milkshakes and the Swiss Rolls and the Strawberry Macaroons, Batman just let himself go. In the start, Alfred would remark that Batman was becoming ‘hefty’ or ‘plump’ but eventually there was no denying it: Batman had just gotten fat.
     And as one might imagine, unless one is a sumo-wrestler, being fat is hardly an advantage. In fact, obesity presents a problem to most careers, especially to the career of a crime fighter. Because with great weight comes great difficulty and Batman could no longer carry out his mission with the same vigour. Jumping between rooftops was now a definite no-no and if the old Bat ever needed a scale a wall he had to use not one grappling hook but two. In a chase he wasn’t much use either. In fact, it wasn’t all that uncommon for criminals to outrun him, or even to simply out-brisk-walk him. Especially to the psychotic criminals who enjoyed pushing Batman to his limit, his obesity was a major buzzkill.
     It wasn’t long before they decided to do something about it. The Riddler set up a puzzle whereby Batman could only save Gotham’s television networks if he completed a military obstacle course. But Batman couldn’t fit into the crawlspace and he broke the monkey-bars when he tried to swing across them. Two-Face tried a more direct approach next by bombing all of Gotham’s bakeries. But Batman simply responded by ordering his cakes online. The Scarecrow even used his fear toxin to make Batman frightened of anything that contained sugar or chocolate. But Batman just moved onto pancakes and nachos and the result was the same. It was starting to get quite ridiculous. No matter how hard the villains tried they could not get Batman back to his old self and, without Batman as an adversary, most of them had pretty much no purpose in life. The villains were beginning to get desperate and in their desperation they turned to the one man who could get inside of Batman’s head: the Joker. Involving the Joker was a dangerous game at best, but the others had become so despondent that they were willing to do anything to get Batman back in the game. The Joker’s price was heavy, but all paid. And from then on, the Joker made it his mission to bring the old Batman back.
     The Joker’s plan ended up being quite simple though. The first step was to capture the Batman alive. This proved to be quite an easy task since Batman was now about as quick and agile as a walrus; although carrying him back to their lair was quite the problem until the Red Hood suggested they load him onto the back of a truck.
     What awaited Batman back at the Joker’s lair is almost too horrible to describe; but I’m going to describe them anyway. Batman was subjected to the most horrid tortures that the human mind could conceive. The Joker locked Batman in a cell where, all day, images of scrumptious foods and delicious cakes would flash on the massive screen before him. Sometimes the sight of a caramel cheesecake would bring the Batman to tears, but it was all part of Joker’s plan to teach him restraint. His meals, of course, were about as bland as one can imagine. Sliced carrots, boiled broccoli, grilled (not fried) chicken; if he was lucky then sometimes he’d even get half an apple. But as for anything that tasted better than an old sock, Batman got nothing. The Joker also forced him to exercise by running on a treadmill that gave him an electric shock every time he slowed down. Even after Batman broke several of the machines with his weight, he was forced to keep on running. In short, the program was amongst the worst treatments that a man could endure; even Batman, who had a willpower unmatched by any superhero, found his resolve being withered day by day.
     But despite the horrible treatment something very strange was happening: Batman wasn’t losing any weight. In fact, if anything, he even seemed to have gained a few pounds since he’d been admitted to Joker’s program! Neither the healthy food nor the diet pills seemed to be working. That was until the Joker found out that Batman was eating seven times the portions of a normal human being; sometimes he’d even eat the plate if he was feeling peckish. There was just nothing the villains could do to curb his relentless hunger. Even the Joker, who thought he understood Batman inside and out, was starting to become worried. And it was with this worry, that the villains resorted to the last measure that they’d ever imagined using.
     When the day finally came to use it, they put a sack over Batman’s head and led him from his cell. Through the twists and turns of the complex they were in, they brought him to a dimly lit room dining room with wooden floors and strapped him into a chair. The henchmen behind him used belts to tie him in place before they removed the sack from his head. What awaited Batman when he opened his eyes was the strangest thing he had ever seen.
     “Dearest Batman,” the Joker greeted him from the opposite end of a large rectangular table at which Batman was seated, “This is an intervention.”
     Batman looked around in horror. He was seated at the one end of the table, Joker was seated at the other and in all the seats in between sat the fiercest of his adversaries. There was Harley Quinn and the Riddler, Two-Face and Bane, Scarecrow and Killer Croc. There was Mr Freeze, Man-Bat, Hugo Strange, Hush, Black Mask, Red Hood, Penguin, Poison Ivy and Clayface. Even Calendar Man had made an appearance (Although no one really cared about him). Batman was outnumbered and outgunned, he was trapped and there was no way out.
     “Of course you know, Bats,” the Joker started, “That we’re gathered here because each and every one of us has a personal grudge against you. And each of us here would love nothing more than to fulfil that grudge and get even with you. But… it just isn’t any fun if you’re not at your usual standard. And well, you’re just not quite there anymore. Now how do I put this delicately… hmm?”
     “Just say it,” Batman commanded, “Tell me what you want.”
     The Joker smiled with his trademark sickly grin, “Well you’re out of shape bats. You’re overfed. You’re overweight. You’ve got more chins than a Chinese phone book. When you go to the movies, you sit next to everyone. You’re so fat that if you could jump into the air, you’d get stuck. Heck, if you got any fatter, the Earth would start orbiting you. Just face it, you’re not the Batman anymore, you’re the Fatman.”
     Batman gave the Joker a glare that would have struck fear into the heart of a lesser man.
     “Did you know that 82% of all fat people get diabetes and AIDS?” the Joker continued, walking around, “Did you know that 100% of all fat people die? You’ve just got to do something about that weight bozo!”
     “I’ll never give into your sick games Joker!” Batman answered in a deadly whisper. Most of the villains at the table recoiled from his voice alone.
     “Batman,” Hugo Strange interjected standing up, “We are only concerned about your health.”
     “I don’t need your concern,” the Dark Knight answered.
     “Screw this,” Red Hood cursed, his feet on the table, “I say we just give him liposuction.”
     “I say we destroy all the sweet stores in Gotham!” Black Mask called out.
     “I say we beat the fat out of him!” Killer Croc snarled.     “We could freezedry all his blubber,” suggested Mr Freeze.
     “Or let’s make him afraid of food!” Scarecrow hissed.
     “Didn’t you try that already?” the Penguin asked.      Calendar Man stood up, “I say we rob a bank on the 12th of every month and then steal cars on public holidays,” he shouted out.
     Silence filled the room. Everyone was staring at Calendar Man with looks that ranged from annoyance to bewilderment. Calendar Man slowly sat back down.
     “Well that’s enough of that,” the Joker commanded, “If Bats won’t play nice then let’s see how he likes this!”
     The Joker slammed a silver serving dish onto the table and ripped off the lid. Lying there on the silver platter was the most beautiful chocolate cake that Batman had ever seen.
     “Triple chocolate ice-cream fudge cake,” the Joker taunted Batman with a grin, “with sprinkles.”     The entire room had their eyes fixed on the heavenly cake, taking in its magnificence.     “The dry ingredients have been thrice sifted to give it a moist spongy texture,” the Joker continued, “The layers in between are made of melted chocolate mixed with real ice-cream. Oh and the icing on top is a lovely concoction of Swiss chocolate, whipped cream and molten fudge. It’s cake-lover’s dream. Do you want it Batman? Do you want it?”
     Batman didn’t reply, but the longing in his eyes and the drool running down his chin told a different story.
     The Joker gave Batman a dark look, “Well let’s see what happens to your cake when I do this!”
     “NO!” Batman cried.
     But it was too late. The Joker lifted a giant mallet and brought it down with full force directly into the cake. The beautiful confectionary exploded as the mallet rammed into it. Spongy cake and chocolate icing went flying across the room, staining the table and splattering the assembled villains. A tear rolled down Batman’s cheek at the site of the ruined cake; a feeling of loss, deep and hollow beyond despair, began to fill him. It was though he’d lost something dear, something he could never get back. And then sorrow turned into rage.
     “I’ll never forgive you for this Joker!” Batman roared.
     He thrust his arms out, breaking the belts that held him with a mighty display of strength. The Joker stared at him in horror, the other villains were too shocked to even move. Batman leapt onto the table and ran across it as fast as his fat body could carry him. When he reached the other side he hurled himself straight at the Joker, his body poised for a deadly belly flop.
     “Oh no,” the Joker whispered moments before Batman’s blobby frame engulfed him completely. There was an awful crunching sound and not a fragment of the Joker could be seen under the flobbering mass that was Batman’s body. Seeing how easily the Dark Knight had dispatched the Joker, the other villains fled the room without so much as a second glance. Batman rolled off his adversary and breathed a sigh of relief. Somehow, he had gotten through the ordeal with his life. But when he finally stood to his feet, what he saw horrified him.
     “Help me…” the Joker cried out feebly. He was lying on the ground, crumpled and twitching. Batman was sure that the belly flop had broken his legs. Batman was distraught.
     ‘I could have killed him!’ Batman thought to himself. Dark thoughts began to cross the Dark Knight’s mind. Thoughts about death. Thoughts about easily it was to cross the line and become one of them. And thoughts of fear that he had come so close. Days later, after the Joker was safely back in Arkham Asylum and Batman had recovered from his torture, he sat quietly in the bat cave and thought to himself. He though back to that moment when the Joker had destroyed the cake and how badly he had wanted to hurt him. He remembered how he had hurled himself off the table and nearly crushed the Joker to his death. On a different day, if he had landed differently, the Joker would have ended up in a morgue instead of a hospital. And killing was just not something that Batman was prepared to do. It was his unbreakable rule; the law that made him who he was. And he would do anything to uphold it. From that day on, Batman realized what he had to do.
     In the days that came, Batman went easier on the sweets and worked tirelessly in the gym to lose his flab. He wouldn’t leave his room in the morning until he had done 1000 push-ups and he wouldn’t go to bed at night until he had done 1000 sit-ups. Whenever he was faced with the temptation of chocolates or candies, Batman would quietly turn away and will himself to be strong. Within a year, he was back to his old self; fast, strong and built like an athlete. And when he regained his old build he swore never to go down that dark path again; never again, would he be the Fatman. Because being fat was too much of a burden. The power of weight was too great; the temptation to use it was even greater. In his fat state, he could have injured someone just by landing on them; now, back to his old self, he could rely on punches and kicks once more.
     So a year later, when Batman waited on the rooftops for the sun to rise, he felt proud that he hadn’t had KFC or McDonalds once that night. His fat days were behind him. He had not grown larger, but wiser.
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