All of the blinds and curtains had been closed. Finn tried to turn on his living room light, and frowned when it didn't work. He rocked the switch back and forth to no avail, squinting up at the ceiling.
Eyes started to glow in the far corner of the room.
He screeched and dropped his bag on the floor.
"... Bat... man...?" he asked finally. His answer was silence. "Are you... here about the show...? You're here about the show. We're — this is all above-the-board, legally speaking."
Batman stood. At least, that was what Finn assumed happened. The eyes moved from eye level to significantly above that.
"Also legalities aside I think we've done a good job of being as respectful as we can within a satirical context," he added hastily, backing toward the door. "And at this point it's out of my hands so I couldn't put a stop to production even if I wanted to. Which isn't to say that you couldn't find a way, because you're Batman, it would just be really nice if you didn't do that."
It took him a minute to realize that Batman had spoken, to register that they were words in a specific order with a specific meaning. "... convince...? You want the elevator pitch?" Finn wasn't getting a lot of useful feedback and he was trying really hard not to burst into fear tears and he didn't understand how anyone could possibly jaywalk in Gotham.
He took a deep breath. "Right. The elevator pitch. I can do that, no problem, not a problem." He clapped his hands together. "So it's a show about, uh, Batman — it's a show about you — not the real you, obviously, it's — I'm just going to say 'Batman', I think you probably get that I mean Batman as an idea and not — anyway." Finn cleared his throat, tried to swallow the lump in his way.
"The core of the idea is, uh, what if — what if Batman was just a guy. Some guy. No powers, none of, uh—" He flailed his arms into the darkness in an attempt to gesture at whichever part of it was Batman. "Just, you know, a guy. So our story is about, uh, he's a guy named Johnny Butler — we wanted to name him Johann, you know, for Die Fledermaus, but that seemed a little on-the-nose so we went with Johnny — and he's this blind guy, and he's an inventor! He invents, uh, this thing, and it lets him echolocate and he can see all this stuff other people can't see, and he makes this thing so he can fly, and, you know, other stuff. He lives in Gotham with all these crazy villains, so he decides he's going to use his inventions to fight them! Because, uh. He can? And Robin is this child prodigy who can talk to birds, he's sort of, he's the Marty and Johnny is Doc, or like Penny to Inspector Gadget. That's. That's the basics, basically. Is that okay so far?"
"Yeah! Yeah. It's, uh, because of Johann? I already told you that. And how, you know, a batman was like a kind of valet, like a butler, so we were trying to do sort of a pun thing? There's going to be a lot of puns. I mean, you probably saw the fake intro we made on YouTube? With the theme song? It's all going to be like that, with the retro aesthetic and camp and the cheesy effects, we're keeping all of that for the real show. I have this brother, my little brother, he's really into Batman, uh, you, he collects articles and stuff, and he's eight, and I wanted to make something that he could watch. So it's going to be kind of a show for kids, like a funny show — not making fun of you! I can show you a script, if you want."
"Yes! Yes sir, absolutely, not a problem, sure." He bent, and tried to dig through his bag in the dark. "I, uh — here, I think this is it." He offered a thick stack of paper to the darkness, which took it.
"Rowsdower's Revenge," the shadow read.
"Wrong script!" Finn said, snatching the script back. "Sorry, sorry, ignore that, sorry. Here, this one, I think this is the one." He handed off the other script. "I would turn on the light, but..."
Finn squinted, trying to make out a face in the dark. He would have thought that the light from those weird white eyes would have had more of an impact. But while there was definitely the pale lower half of a face, everything else was just a shape, darker than the rest of the room.
He could make out the sound of pages flipping. And another, different sound. A pen?
"Holy homicide, Batman." It wasn't quite a question.
"Yeah, it's, uh, kind of like a catchphrase? Thing?"
"Y... yeah. It's like — I mean, you have the batmobile and those batarangs — I don't know if you actually call them that, but, uh. We thought, you know, wouldn't it be funny if Batman just puts 'bat' in front of everything? As a joke."
"Batman and Robin consult the giant lighted lucite map of Gotham City, parentheses, labeled."
"Obviously you don't actually go around putting labels on everything, it just, uh." Trying to explain jokes to Batman was the most painful thing he had ever done in his entire life and he wanted to die.
"Johnny Butler is blind."
"The actor isn't blind."
"He... is not."
"He's — casting is — that's not really how we—"
"We're trying to get Rami Malek but he's been pretty busy but I'll make sure we get someone Egyptian because I can tell it's important to you."
"The theme song."
"We can get a new one!"
"No." Batman handed the script back, and Finn took it, hands shaking. "Robin likes it."
"He does? The, the na-na-na-na-na—"
Finn shut his mouth so fast his teeth clicked.
"I said Robin likes it."
"Right." He looked down at the script in his hands, or tried to. His eyes were adjusting, but still not enough. He brought the paper close to his face, squinting. Had Batman written notes on his script? It smelled like permanent marker. He could barely make out a few crossed out words. "You know, if Robin ever wanted to come by set after we start shooting, we could—"
The lights came on.
"Augh!" Finn shut his eyes, then blinked furiously. His apartment was empty and the window was open. He looked back down at the script, and flipped through it. The notes looked like they'd been left by a monk, taking a break from illuminating Bibles. They sat next to words crossed out and sometimes replaced, saying things like 'mental illness is not a joke' and 'don't use this word' and 'words with more plosives are inherently more humorous'. A note beside the description of Batman's lair mentioned a carefully labeled 'Historically Inaccurate But Well-Meaning Tyrannosaurus Rex'.
Finn hit the speed dial on his phone.
"Marco. Dude. You are not going to believe the notes I just got on this — okay, wait, first of all, we need to recast Batman. We need a blind guy. No, like a real blind guy. A tall one. Really tall. And Robin needs more screentime, we've got to curry favor with Robin. No, the real Robin. I have never been more serious. Making sure Robin likes this is going to be vital to not getting our asses kicked."