I don’t really know why I’m writing you this. I mean, I’ve just spent the last twenty minutes or so boring you with news of my new job but apparently I think you just haven’t suffered enough. Man, that was pretty funny, though. I was yakking away at you in here, one of the nurses goes past, takes one look at you: gives me this look like I’m crazy. Damn near cracked me up. I mean, she’s a nurse, right? Surely she knows that the sense of hearing is the one most likely to still be active during a coma.
Eh, maybe she’s new and I’m being unfair. But I still don’t see why she singled me out, I mean, I am just one of your cavalcade of visitors. I can see from the cards. Hell, that was why I started writing this. I took one look at your mountain of presents, one look at the stuff I’d got you, and realised I needed to do something… more. I mean, would you look at this crap, Eddie. You’re one popular boy. Ozzie’s card (the one next to the crystalline bottle of Chateau de Grand Prix, circa the Cretaceous Period, or something) is studded with real Cartier diamonds. Diamonds. My card doesn’t even have tinfoil on it. I feel like such a tool; didn’t even get you a real present, just brought you your old scrapbooks. I had a flick through them last night, actually, brought back some great memories.
Dee and Nina got in here early, of course, left you matching purple cards written in green pen, which I think is a real nice touch. They got you a present too, it’s in black wrapping paper and appears to have spikes, so I probably won’t approve and you’ll probably love it. I like Jack’s card, too. Plain white, handwritten (in ink no less). I haven’t pried but it looks like he wrote you a small book in there. He has surprisingly nice penmanship. The handmade cards from Selina and Harley look great too; Selina’s painted hers in that poster-art style you love, and Harley’s is all playing cards and puns. They made me smile. They got you something too, but it’s in a box so I don’t know what it is without snooping, which I won’t. I know how much you love surprises.
Just in case they’re gone before you wake up, I just wanna say: you got flowers, too. Lots. One set of roses from… Jack, actually, and yellow carnations from that Dick Grayson. He knew your favourite without being told. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that boy’s a keeper. He and Bruce were just wrapping up their visit when I came in. Dick and I had a little chat, he’s a great kid. Remember the night you first introduced us at that gala; God, how long did we spend talking about the force? But, it’s funny, this time, we couldn’t think of anything to say to each other without you there. There talking, I mean. But I asked how he was. He’s doing well, apparently. Blüdhaven’s been good to him, he just got promoted. Bruce is crazy proud of him. He didn’t say, but you could tell. He just wouldn’t stop grinning.
Dick could barely crack a smile, though. Kept staring at you, then back at the LSM. I’ve never seen him look so worried; I had to do something. So I patted him on the shoulder to get his attention. “Don’t you worry kid, my Eddie,” I said, “my Eddie’s a fighter. He’ll be up and about soon enough, and you’ll be looking back on this time as the halcyon days when you could get a word in edgeways!” You know something Eddie? I know it’s not possible, but… I swear Dick’s got Bruce’s smile.
So anyway, I guess I should wrap this up, I mean; I’ll be back here tomorrow. And the next day. Don’t worry about the inconvenience, I just moved. My new apartment’s maybe a block away from Gotham General. At most, it’s a five minute walk.
So, see you tomorrow, I guess.
You’re taking your sweet time, aren’t you, Ed? Well, all the worse for you as you missed a great Fall. Gotham Park has never looked so good. No, I’m just yanking you; I found your polaroid and took some pictures. They’ll be there for you when you wake up. So, you got to hear a new voice today, didn’t you? Crane was released from Arkham last night, got on the phone to me as soon as he was in his new digs to ask if he could come up and see you. He didn’t mention it, but, last night, he said he wanted me there too, ‘just so it feels less awkward’. He was worried about coming up here today. Said he always liked you, but never really got talking to you as often as he should. You could tell it was really eating him up inside. He kept saying, “I just wish I’d gotten to know him better,” so I said that he’ll have plenty of time once you wake up. Again, I’ve been saying it to you for years, but I said it to him this time; that you two would get on like a house on fire. He’s left his contact details with his card and the pile of bound books he left you. They’re from his own collection, but he said they’re yours to keep now. He thought you’d appreciate them the most. Hope you like ‘em.
Jeez, the amount of stuff you’ve got you read and use and watch is really piling up, isn’t it? I see Dick’s left another cartoon boxset. “Futurama”, sounds like something you’d like. I was thinking of asking the nurses if I could play you some on your TV when I visit- I know it’s not the same as being able to properly watch it- but I thought it’d make a nice change from the incessant peeping of machines. You must be bored to tears, poor kid.
See ya tomorrow,
So just what do you think you’re doing, skiving off our Christmas celebrations? You better have a good excuse! I was telling Dick the other day, my theory is you’re playing the best video game you’ve ever imagined, and it’s so addictive you just can’t tear yourself away. Is this going to be like the time I had to cancel your subscription to World of Warcraft? Just kidding, hope you’re having a great time, whatever you’re doing.
Here’s looking at you, kid!
Love Harv xx
(PS: when you wake up and you see that there aren’t any Christmas presents from me, don’t freak out: I’ve got them, I just kept them at my place ‘cause your room’s already too damn full of presents.)
I regret to inform you that you are late to your own Christmas party! Fortunately, such a lack of punctuality is so uncharacteristic, I will be forced to forgive you, but just this once.
Don’t make me open the Bordeaux without you!
Christmas wishes and all that,
I hope you are having an enjoyable Christmas, and that you one day will get to read this letter and laugh at how pessimistic I sound. Don’t mind me; I am just prone to worry. I’ve left you some more first editions, and am looking forward to discussing them with you, hopefully not too long after the New Year.
Season’s greetings and glad tidings,
Professor Jonathan Crane
Quit fooling around, okay? It’s not cool for you to go this long without visiting us, and I’m sick of always having to come to yours.
Get up, ese!
Love Nina & Dee xxx
To E. Nigma,
You know, if you wanted to skip out on the Christmas visit this year, you could have just said.
Merry Christmas (and apologies for my attempt at humor),
It feels weird having to write what I’d planned to tell you in person, but I don’t think that invite to the Wayne Foundation Christmas Fundraiser is ever going to get an RSVP so… here we are. I just wanted to say thank you. For everything. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for always making me laugh, even way back when. Thanks for coming up to Blüdhaven, and thanks for staying. Thanks for being one of the people in our crazy lives I can share stuff with. Everything with.
I’m sorry this card is so… well, unfestive, I guess; but what with you in here I’m finding it hard to get in the Christmas spirit. I miss you, I think we all do. Nobody wants to say it, because if we acknowledge it, then we have to acknowledge the other elephant in the room, and I don’t think anyone wants to do that, but… I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Blame it on my training, but I’ve always been taught to hope for the best, whilst planning for the worst.
I’m not gonna give up hope, Eddie,
See you soon,
Love Dick Grayson.
Well Eddie, you’ve finally achieved your lifelong goal of sleeping through the cold snap. Just try not to slumber through the whole of spring too, kid. You’ve already missed April Fool’s day. That really tore Jack up. I visited him in the asylum, he was looking pretty glum. Kept asking after you, telling me these jokes he thought you’d like. I told him you and Dick introduced me to Futurama, that made him smile at least. Then he said something weird.
“Never thought I’d live to see the day I’d say this to you, Harvs, but I envy your optimism.”
I said what optimism? People come out of comas all the time, and you’ve been through a hell of a lot worse and bounced back. Your dad, that truck crash, cancer, that scumbag Hush, Poison Ivy, the whole freaking League of Assassins out for your blood… there’s no way a little bop on the head from Shining Knight of all people is gonna take you down.
You know, it’s funny. Whenever I’ve seen people on TV shows in a coma, they always make a point of making them look close to death. Well, I guess they got it wrong, because you look anything but. Sitting by you now, counting the number of machines wired up to you, I’d expect you to look- well, pretty beat up, but you look fine. Not peaceful, but like you’re sleeping, or about to wake up. Your face is full of color, your hair’s all neat, and… are you grinning under that respirator? That’s what it always looks like to me anyway. You look happy. I guess you’re in your element here. I remember when you were younger and whenever something went wrong and blew up in your face, and I’d have to take you to see Matt to get you patched up. I always hated going into his clinic- I’ve never been comfortable with machines- but you loved it. You were always asking him what piece of equipment did this or that, and guessing at the others. I’m sure you remember getting most of them right.
Well, I know this must be fun for you, but… hurry it up, okay? You’re starting to try the nurses’ patience.
See you tomorrow,
Eddie. You’re 26 today, do you even know that? 26… it still weirds me out that you’re old enough to drink. You’ve got so many presents, it’s just easier to store them at my place now, they’ll be there for you when you wake up.
Oh, Eddie. I’ve tried to keep going, tried to keep this light, but today was the last straw. It’s been eleven months now, and… I just can’t keep this up anymore, I just can’t. I’ve tried so hard to act like nothing was wrong, seeing you every day, keeping you up-to-date with what’s going on, but it’s been driving me crazy. I miss you so much. Gotham’s not the same without you. Arkham’s too manic; Jack’s gone into overdrive and won’t come down. They’re thinking of keeping him on tranqs. Every time I go into the Iceberg Lounge Ozzie and I just bicker, which I know is the opposite of what you want but we can’t help ourselves. Conversation with Selina and Harley is stilted, awkward. Conversation with Jonathan is just depressing. Nina and Dee won’t talk to me, as much as I want them to. I guess they don’t want me dragging down their mood, which is fair. The only people I can talk to are Bruce and that Grayson kid. Bruce worries about you too; says he remembers how much of a fan of his you are. He’s started contributing to your hospital bills. And Dick… just understands. I think we feel the same way.
I’ve danced around it for so long, but I need to level with you, now more than ever. You know about my past, know what I had planned. You know how much fate, and my own faults, and Gilda have taken away from me. The worst thing ever happened to me in my whole crazy life wasn’t Maroni’s attack, it was knowing that my daughter was growing up somewhere without me. Knowing that the twins are gonna remember their dad as a newspaper headline, and not as the one who tucks them in at night, that’s what tears me up inside. But the one thing that kept me going through the worst of it was knowing that I had one kid that Gilda could never take away from me. You, Eddie.
I know it sounds mawkish and hokey, but you’re like a son to me. From the first time I caught you stealing my cargo- what, ten years ago now?- you’ve been a part of my life, and I’m so grateful for that. I feel like I’ve watched you grow up, and hopefully helped you along as best I can. I know I haven’t been the best; there have been times when you were trying to better yourself, or going up against something bigger than all this, when I wasn’t there for you, and for that I am so sorry. If I could do anything to go back and help you, go back and protect you, I would. If I could make myself better, make myself well, I’d do it in an instant. You deserve more than I can give you. But you’ve done me proud. You’re a smart kid, Eddie, and- though you don’t believe it sometimes- a good one, too. To have come through all this crap, and still be… you, you’re a damn good kid. If you hadn’t been around people like me all the time, I don’t know what you’d have done. The sky’s the limit.
Which is why I’ve been thinking; I remember the times when you tried to end the game, hang up your hat and live the honest life. And each time, I failed you. I either was too busy in my own messed up head or I dragged you down. Well, not this time. You know I’m clean, Eddie, and from the work in the attorney office I’ve kept back a bit. Enough for therapy: for you. We can get you set up doing whatever you we want,
if when you wake up, and I’ll be there for you, every step of the way. I promise.
So please, please, just wake up.
I’m gonna try to keep this brief. I’ve already talked to you for way too long on the phone, and I know you’ll be coming round as soon as your case is over, but then everyone else will be here and I’ll get tongue-tied so I need to write this down. Also, if I tried to say it I know I’d screw it up.
Thank you. Thank you so much for being here for me all this time. You didn’t need to come see me every day, I know how much you hate hospitals, but… thank you. Reading your notes, seeing the stuff you’ve left for me… I don’t know what to write, let alone what to say. You’re right, Dick is a keeper, you probably know this already but when I woke up the first thing I saw was a fresh vase of yellow carnations. Next to your novella, a bottle of fine wine and all the DVDs and books I could ever want (best visitors ever.) Everyone’s been so good to me, I’m tongue-tied. Hopefully I can untangle it before they all come round… (eep.)
But on a more serious note, I’ve been thinking a lot about your last letter. I’m not gonna lie (not that I can, but you know what I mean) it may have made me tear up. A bit. But really, wow. I’m not good at saying this sort of thing, but if I tell you this I think you’ll get what I mean. My actual childhood, my actual parents, I’ll never forget them, but I’ll never miss them, either. I know they’ve abandoned me, but I don’t feel abandoned. Whenever the news talks about a fatherless generation I feel like they’re talking about someone else. No matter what you think, you’ve always done right by me, Harv. And you haven’t ‘led me astray’, or whatever you think you did. I’m close to the others, and we’re all family at Arkham, but you… you’re the one I go to when I need advice, and you’re the one I look up to. I’m not talking about Lurker, because he’s not you, I mean Harvey Dent; the brilliant attorney who took down Gotham’s mob with Batman and Commissioner Gordon. He’s inspired me. You’ve inspired me.
And you’re right, I wanna get out of this crime game, it’s rigged and I’ve been playing the odds too long. So I had an idea. After I got off the phone to you, I had a little talk with Dick, got his two cents on this, and he supports me. So anyway: my idea. I was thinking about how I want to make an honest living, but how I’ve hated every honest job I’ve ever had. Delivery boy. Office clerk. Carnie. Blergh. Blergh. Double blergh. But then I started thinking about your job, and Dick’s job, and how much good you guys do, y’know: upholding the law. And then I thought about Batman, because, you know: Batman. So I got to thinking, and… I’d quite like to be a private detective. What do you think?
See you soon,