me that in his younger and more vulnerable days, before
the murder of his parents tempered him, his father
gave him some advice. “Whenever you feel like
criticizing anyone just remember that all the people
in this world haven’t had the advantages that
you’ve had.” Because of this Wayne takes
studious efforts to delay judgments. The abnormal
mind is quick to detect and attach and attach itself
to this quality. The result being Wayne, and later
I too, was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown
Like Wayne I lost my family while still young. The
Graysons were something of a prominent clan in the
circus trade. They kept alive a tradition of aerialist
learned from their Eastern European grandfathers.
I never saw my great uncle but I am supposed to look
like him – with special reference to the rather
hard-boiled show card paintings that announced our
After my parents' death I was alone in Gotham. The
show had to move on and I felt I could not continue
with them. I met Barbara Gordon at a shelter. Perhaps
as the police commissioner’s daughter she felt
a soft spot for orphans and strays. She invited me
out to East Egghead Village to the home of her girlhood
friend Selina Kyle.
By the time of our next meeting I had rented a small
house, an overlooked eye-sore, in the less fashionable
West Egghead Village. And so I was able, upon keeping
my date with Barbara, to answer my hostess’
query “Where do you live, Dick?”
“Across the water. West Egghead Village. Near
Selina laughed. Perhaps “near the tip”
made my residence sound more ridiculous. She had an
absurd charming little laugh and she purred over slow
syllables. Her voice was full of money.
“How p-perfect. You must know Wayne.”
I confessed I knew only the name but that Wayne Manor
was my immediate neighbor.
“He throws quite the party. You’ll have
to go Dick.” Added Barbara.
“Gordon here is quite the party girl. Out all
night most nights.”
Selina smirked at her friend as if she knew more
than she would tell about her night times.
This began my curiosity with the man, Bruce Wayne,
so much of Gotham buzzed about. That night back at
my meager house I looked out across the water toward
Selina’s dock. The silhouette of a moving cat
wavered across the moonlight and turning my head to
watch it I found another figure doing the same. He
was darkly shadowed but his posture suggested this
was Wayne himself come out to determine what share
of our local heavens was his. Then I saw he gazed
at a light glowing in the night above the dock. The
pale yellow spotlight had caught a bat in its ray
and the shadow cut the center of the circle neatly.
When I looked down the silhouette of my neighbor was
gone and I heard the roar of a powerful car from the
drive next door. I was alone again in the unquiet
The next morning a butler from Wayne Manor, named
Alfred, rang at my door. Mr. Wayne would like me to
attend his party that evening.
The world and its mistress were at the party. I knew
no one and no one seemed to know where our host could
be found. I settled into the library, as it was one
of the cooler, quieter rooms. An owl-faced man was
sitting somewhat drunk at a table pouring over some
of Wayne’s books. He looked up through his eyebrows
as I entered.
“They’re all real.” He said and
threw a volume at me to prove its existence. “Even
cut the pages on most of them. Every subject you can
imagine. Lots of science, police forensics and law
With that the owl stood and tottered to the door
as if he’d prefer to use his wings but had forgotten
where he put them. “I’ll need another
drink. I’ve been drunk for days.”
Alone in the library I inspected its collection.
I soon discovered my inebriated guide had misascertained
the authenticity of the gathered tomes. I pulled at
a volume on vigilante justice and found, while it
had the appearance of a book, it had the function
of a doorknob. An entire section of shelving gave
way on a hinge and revealed a fireman’s pole
descending through a hole in the floor.
I slid down the length of it and arrived in a damp
grey cave lit by the diodes of dozens of computers.
A ten-foot high penny echoed the light with a dull
copper glow. Near the closest computer I found a schedule:
6.00 AM - Rise from bed
6.15 - 8.15 – Dumbbell exercise and wall scaling
8.30 – 4.30 – Detective work
5.00 – 6.00 – Study needed inventions
My reading was interrupted by a voice behind me.
“I see you’ve discovered the secret laboratory,
old chum. Unusual isn’t it?”
I’m sure I jumped and intermittent beads of
sweat raced cool down my back. I was looking at an
elegant young rough-neck.
“This is an unusual party for me. I live next
door and this man Wayne sent his butler to invite
me, but I haven’t yet met the host.”
“I’m Wayne. I thought you knew old sport.
I’m afraid I’m not a very good host. You’re
Grayson. Weren't you with the Flying Graysons?”
I admitted I was.
“I do a bit of work on the rings and trapeze
myself. There’s a decent gym in the manor. You’ll
have to come and give it a proper work out. Any time
The butler Alfred appeared and seemed slightly surprised
to find Wayne not alone. He informed Wayne that Coast
City was calling him on the wire. Wayne excused himself,
adding, “You won’t mention this place
to anyone will you old chum?” And his smile
confirmed my unspoken answer. It was one of those
rare smiles that concentrated an irresistible prejudice
A few days later Wayne appeared at my drive in his
rumbling powerful car.
“It’s pretty isn’t it? Let’s
go for a drive old chum”
It was more than pretty. Its monstrous length was
swollen here and there with triumphant tool-boxes,
and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields.
As we sped through the streets of Gotham he confided
that his parents were murdered by a street thug. “I
came into a good deal of money.” His voice was
solemn as if the memory of that sudden extinction
of a clan still haunted him. He asked about a rumor
that my own parents were killed. I confirmed it was
so. Something in his manner shifted. It seemed to
convey that a similar confluence of cowardice and
greed had orphaned each of us.
I heard the familiar “jug-jug-spat!”
of a motor cycle. A stunning purple bike shot past
us and the lady pilot waved hello.
“There’s your friend Barbara Gordon.”
said Wayne and his automobile roared to life as he
“She drives recklessly.” I ventured.
“She’s safe enough old sport. Unless
she chances on another driver as dangerous as herself.”
A police sedan was gaining on us. Its lights and
sirens imploring us to the curb. Bruce pulled the
monstrous car to the side of the road. Before the
officer could begin to question us Wayne handed him
a small white card.
“Right you are. Know you next time Mr. Wayne.
Wayne explained, “I was able to do Commissioner
Gordon a few favors.”
After his car reclaimed its top speed he added, “Speaking
of the Gordons and favors, I understand Barbara is
friends with Selina Kyle. I’d like you to arrange
a lunch for the four of us. There are things between
Selina and me that no one can ever know, things that
neither of us can ever forget.”
I was now his confidant. I had discovered he led
some sort of life apart from Wayne in another world.
It was my induction into a golden age. An age of thrilling
nightlife and crime fighting. We discovered Selina
was incurably dishonest. Barbara was as athletic,
heroic and clandestine as Bruce. They were careless
people, Bruce and Barbara and Selina – they
smashed up things and creatures and then retreated
back to their caves or mansions hiding from the world.
A world Bruce saw as dark, dangerous and full of death.
But Bruce was at the wheel, so we drove on towards
death through the twilight.