… … … … :: Duty Log: Catwoman :: … … …
Let’s be clear about one thing: Batman is an unmitigated jackass.
He’s wonderful, and I do love him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a jackass. I’m a thief at heart, I’m a bad girl, and I’m a cat. Crimefighting isn’t my kink. Never has been; never will be. But somehow, that shifty bastard has me covering for him for the month and a half it’s going to take for his back to heal.
It started before I even left the house. I was on my way upstairs. I still keep the catsuit under my bed, and often I’ll leave from there, going straight out the window and down this big elm tree. It’s the balcony; I love starting a prowl from a balcony. It reminds me of my old apartment, the old prowls… even if I am just dropping to ground level and crossing the lawns to the carriage house to drive into town, that one touchstone with the past is just… right. It’s the best way to begin and end a night in Gotham.
Tonight, I found a note pinned to the bedroom curtain.
Stop by the study on your way out.
That’s my Bat. It wouldn’t be him if he mentioned it at dinner. It wouldn’t be him if he said “Please” or worded it as a request. But a terse little note pinned where I had to see it on my way out: “Do this. –B” That’s pure Bruce and that’s why I love him. So, down to the study I went.
“I know you’re not going to be leaving through the cave,” he said in that deep Bat-gravel, “but it would be a good idea to stop at the Batcomputer and look over the At-Large list before you set out.”
I told him I already have a pretty good idea who’s out there and who isn’t on any given night. The Iceberg grapevine tells me all I need to know, and I’m not going to change now.
He countered with “The Batmobile is on autopilot, and the patrol route is drawn from the At-Large list. It would be best if you note where it’s going to be. To the world, that’s where Batman is tonight.”
In other words, he’s thinking it would look suspicious if I appeared to cross Batman’s path during the night but the car didn’t stop and no Batman got out. That’s also pure Bruce. Everybody but him knows that I can avoid Batman just fine without inside knowledge of his patrol route.
I softened the refusal with a kiss on the cheek. Told him I’d be fine. It was just another night in Gotham, a prowl like any other, and he should stop fretting. That should have been that, but he moved his hand up to the small of my back and pulled me in closer, deepened the kiss, the other hand went wandering and… well, I agreed to stop in the cave and look over the At-Large list on my way out. I guess I just felt like there was no reason not to. He’s Batman. And he’s stuck in that chair. The last time, I couldn’t do a thing for him. This time, I can. I would rather give him a sponge bath with rosewater and Dom Perignon, but this is what he wants. So why not?
That’s why I began the night in the Batcave, staring at the names of my former colleagues on the At-Large list. Some were friends: Eddie, Matt Hagen, Oswald on a good day. Some weren’t: Scarecrow, Ivy, Catman. Even so, they’re not enemies. It didn’t feel right, sitting there looking at those names on an enemies list on a little sidescreen under a bat emblem. I’m not going to become “Batwoman,” not ever.
I was going to go out there to… fight crime.
And, since any decent stint crimefighting begins with a solemn vow, I paused right there in the dim glow of a Batcomputer hologram and I vowed that if anyone, friend or foe, so much as whispers the words “Gotham Post,” I will claw out their fucking eyeballs and make them into earrings. I will claw out their intestines and feed them to Shimbala, and I shall send whatever is left over to Etrigan for his demon pals in the ninth circle of hell to play scheol soccer with their skulls.
Anyway, that was getting out of the house. Once I made it into Gotham, I’ve got to say, this city is a lot bigger if you patrol instead of prowl. I began in my usual territory: uptown. Museum Mile, down Park Avenue to the Fifth Avenue jewelers, Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels… It’s the kind of crimefighting I’m most comfortable with, because there is one particular type of criminal I dearly love to pummel: the overreaching amateur. In crime as in everything else, everyone has their level, and if you’re a mediocre nobody, you simply have no business attempting Catwoman targets. The Gotham Museum of Art, The Whitney, The MoMA, Cartier, Tiffany, these are only to be attempted by master thieves for whom the act of thieving is an art.
Any time I have found one of those presumptuous no-talent wannabes attempting to break into Cartier, I have happily introduced them to their own inadequacies by way of the cat-o-nine tails. I was quite prepared to add the museums and the other Fifth Avenue jewelers to the list of targets worthy of that protection. I was quite prepared to add a call to the GCPD after the pain and humiliation of the physical beating. In my experience, overreaching amateurs are inherently stupid and unbelievably slow to learn, even at the business end of a bullwhip. Quite possibly, learning their value in cigarettes would show them how worthless they really are.
Unfortunately, there were no overreaching nobodies trying to break into the museums tonight. None attempting the Fifth Avenue jewelers, either—or even the modest little jewelry store near the opera house… Not the Park Avenue penthouses… not the park front condos on the Upper Eastside… and not the park front condos on the Upper Westside…
Since I was there, I checked the park itself. Not that I’m overflowing with goodwill towards anyone wandering Robinson Park that time of night. Safe as the park’s become during the day, it still has the hangover of its old reputation after dark. It’s mostly just hustlers, drug dealers, and drunken debutantes in there after midnight, and you have to figure they knew what they were getting into. As far as I’m concerned, they can get themselves out.
But it did occur to me that Poison Ivy was the reason Bruce was hurt—and therefore the reason I was out playing crimefighter. Plus, there were a number of unanswered insults from the Two-Face episode, and the park is the quickest route from the westside to the east. If, in the course of stopping a mugging or something, I just happened to trip over a good reason to beat Pammy’s head into a tree for a few minutes, that would be a detour worth taking. If I found a reason to set her on fire, that would be a night well spent.
Unfortunately—again—I had no such luck. I did scare away a few drug dealers. After all, the hotels and condos off the park are among my chosen protected targets, and desperate junkies fall into the same category as overreaching amateurs: they do not belong in my part of the city. So, I picked three of the scummiest looking dealers, and we had a frank chat about the food chain. Namely, how big criminals eat little criminals. Left them tied up for the police, just as an example to the others. I think I made my point, but we’ll see how many return tomorrow.
Midtown was next. I checked the MoMA (on the same principle as the uptown museums). Didn’t find anything happening there, but a couple wiseguys were torching a restaurant right down the block. I had NO qualms about taking them out. Fires have that nasty potential to spread. They get out of control, and even if all the people manage to get out of the way, the Van Gogh next door might not!
The Van Gogh naturally reminded me of Bruce, so I did a pop through Wayne Tower while I was in the neighborhood. Call it enlightened self-interest. After all, the penthouse is my home too, WE is Bruce’s bread and butter, and it’s built over a Batcave. Between what Bruce started with and a few little suggestions I’ve made along the way, the security is the best in the city. And, as long as Catwoman prowls the night, I’ll be testing myself against the best security setups I can find.
I tried breaking into the R&D floor to begin with, and I was happy to see that I couldn’t. Then I tried the executive suites, and found I could get into Lucius Fox’s office on the first try. Normally, I’d set up a short in one of the outlets rather than bother Bruce. Building maintenance would find the exposure when they opened up the wall to patch the wiring. They’d have a few meetings with their security consultant, and fix the problem themselves without ever knowing Kitty was involved. But with his back injury, Bruce is frustrated. This will give him something to do.
I spotted the Batmobile as I passed Embassy Row. Gave that neighborhood a wide berth and headed further downtown. I obviously wasn’t going to demean myself going near the East End, but there were plenty of catworthy areas to look in on: the lofts and galleries in SoHo, the clubs letting out in TriBeCa, and finally, the cutting edge of bohemian chic, the meatpacking district.
Where I hit paydirt.
These two wonderful old landmark buildings had been joined behind their original facades into an ultra-modern studio, showroom, and corporate headquarters topped with a “diamond penthouse” for meetings. The new HQ for one… meowwwwwwwwrrllllll…. Diane von Furstenberg. The place is all about lighting; it’s an art thing. Lots and lots of glorious natural light streaming in every which way, i.e. plenty of glass, plenty of mirrors, plenty of reflective white and silver, i.e. the dumb ass roaming around inside in basic catburglar black didn’t have a prayer. I watched for about five minutes, just to see how he’d negotiate the DMZ between the Phoenix 2000 protecting the showroom stock, and the 4000 that secured the priceless store of fabrics in the warehouse—not to mention the priceless secrets in the offices and design studio above.
It looked like he was using a Plymouth bypass, which certainly isn’t how I would have gone about it, but it got the job done. While he was covering his tracks, I checked the street for a vehicle. Since there wasn’t one, I knew he couldn’t be there for the fabric. He would need at least one partner and a good size truck to make off with enough merchandise to make the break in worthwhile. So he had to be there for something more portable, like the sketches for next season’s designs.
Figuring he was headed for the studio, I went all the way up to the roof and came in through that “diamond penthouse.” It was an 8000 up there, and even Batman wouldn’t have been able to get past it quick enough to head off a burglar who was already inside—but then, Batman would just swing in through the glass and let the alarms be damned.
Me? I cut my teeth on the Phoenix 8000. My claw-tip wire splice is the reason there’s a Phoenix 9000. So I got to the studio in plenty of time, while he was rolling out the sketches to photograph. I un-holstered my whip, lined up my shot, and as soon as he snapped the first picture, I struck.
I bantered a little, cat and mouse stuff, but not because the mouse was any fun. I only wanted to get a look at his camera without his realizing. It was a digital, so it was easy to see any shots he had taken. My goal had been to jostle his arm and blur the picture. I wanted to leave evidence of what he was doing, but I did not want to risk a clear image of even one DVF design remaining in that camera. It would only wind up floating around some godforsaken evidence room at the 38th Precinct, and Diane would be no better off than if I’d never caught my mouse.
Cops simply can’t be trusted that way. There’s a reverse snobbery. Because a dress that costs thousands of dollars is beyond their means and experience, they simply don’t recognize its value. They would take no pains to protect DVF’s designs and would probably ridicule any attempt she made to secure that protection. I’ve never met Diane von Furstenberg personally, but her clothes exude poise, self-awareness, and class. She deserves better than dealing with some missing link with a badge just to keep her secrets under wraps.
Once I was sure that there was no exposure, I pummeled the mouse. Left the would-be fashion spy hanging on a streetlight outside, and I left DVF a note, which I’m going to copy here, just to see if I’ve got this Link Document menu figured out.
(Ref: Duty log: Catwoman, supplementary file name, section designation §, seal yes/no, encrypt yes/no)
Found a creep snapping pictures of your sketches. Turned over to the GCPD, but it’s a simple misdemeanor B & E. I'm sure you’ll want to sic your lawyers on the corporate espionage angle. LOVE LOVE LOVE the willow print from the fall runway. Meow.
P.S. Peeked at your look book for fall ready to wear. Must have 2, 6, 9 and 10.
(/end embed document)
Boy, that looks messy. That can’t be right. Why does he make it so complicated to attach a file? He writes these things up at 4 o’clock in the morning. Wouldn’t you want everything to be shampoo simple: wash, rinse, repeat?
Screw it. I’m going to bed.
… … … … :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: … … …
Selina usually returned to the manor the same way she’d left, though the bedroom window. Coming in through the cave felt natural enough until she closed the clock passage behind her, but moving through the house so late at night, that evoked… something strange. It wasn’t déjà vu exactly, it was more like… muscle memory. Moving through those gilded cavernous rooms in the dead of night and in costume, muscle memory shifted her balance and modified her walk to make no sound. Her hand hovered over the whip handle for a quick draw in case she was surprised, and even her eyes logged the angle of certain cameras in relation to specific paintings and ornaments.
It was all unconscious, until she reached the bedroom door…
“I’m awake,” Bruce said softly—and this time she was aware as muscle memory shifted her balance to tilt her pelvis ever so slightly outward, licked her lips, and stretched the fingers of her right hand, flaring her claws. “In case you wanted to turn on the light,” Bruce concluded.
“I figured you might be,” she purred, pulling off bits of her costume as she strode across the room. “I don’t need the light. Big house, dark room, middle of the night, that’s what I do best, remember?”
He grunted, and she slipped under the covers. They curled together, and the room was silent for a full minute before they both spoke at once, her “Aren’t you going to ask…” overlapping with his “How did it go?”
“Well,” Selina began, stroking an old claw scar on Bruce’s chest, “since this is a full partnership, share and share alike, then while you were lying here unable to sleep, you managed to bag one and a half drug dealers in the park, an arsonist trying to torch a restaurant near the MoMA, and half a corporate spy breaking into a fashion house in the meatpacking district. You also pinpointed half a vulnerability in the Wayne Tower elevator shaft leading to the executive suites.”
“Impressive. By my yardstick. Your half of the partnership measures the success of an evening differently. Did you have any fun?”
“There was one entertaining moment. Costume flameout. The arsonists weren’t newbies; I would say they had a nodding acquaintance with the Falconi family, but they’d never had a run in with a mask before.”
“Believe it or not, I’ve seen worse.”
“No. It was a total trainwreck. At one point I was addressed as Cheetawomanlady-no-fuck-catpussybitch.”
“That’s impressive too.”
“Yeah, it’s gonna be with them for a while. First big moment with one of those mask people and… flameout. Being wiseguys, I’m sure they’ll be out on bail by now and drinking heavily.”
To be continued...