Chapter 2: Batman in the Library
I arrived at the library five minutes early and chained my bike up on the bike rack. Then I walked into the cool, quiet, carpeted library through the automatic sliding doors. I sat at one of the tan square tables with their small chairs and the slotted backs. Only a few minutes after a small boy dressed up in a Batman costume walked through the same double sliding glass doors. He was with a tall stern looking man with graying hair and a shapely face. The man led the boy over to where I sat.
“Are you Henry Milo?” Asked the man with the sharp face, his voice was a stern as his face.
“Yes.” I stammered, intimidated.
“Good. He’s your problem now. Have fun with Batman.” He said the word “Batman” mockingly and looked down at the little boy who didn’t seem to be listening to a word his father said. The boy’s father sniggered, turned, and walked away leaving me with the boy in the Batman costume who I secretly envied.
The boy looked at me. He seemed like a quiet kid. His Batman costume had a rippled chest and I tried to ignore how much I longed to be able to dress like that. We sat in silence for a few moments. The young boy seemed to go from examining me to looking down at his boot clad feet pretending he wasn’t there.
“Do you have your books?” I finally asked. We’d been sitting there in silence for what seemed like hours but was really only about five minutes. The boy took a while to answer.
“I don’t like school. I like Batman! I am Batman!” He finally said. I recoiled a little bit at his reaction and tried not to laugh.
“Well… well… you have to study for school.”
“Why would I do that?” Asked the boy in a high pitched voice as if I’d asked him the most unbelievable question he’d ever heard and how could I possibly think he would ever want to study.
“Well because that’s what you’re supposed to do! Come on, please.” I was frustrated and almost pleading with him. How was I ever going to pass English?! This was impossible the kid wouldn’t work. But I did admire him for his Batman taste.
“I’ll read Batman with you! Do you like Batman?” He asked changing the subject quickly. I hesitated for a while and didn’t want to answer the Batman question.
“No.” I lied, “You have to read this book for your English class. Look it’s a book about a dog, how bad can it be?” I tried coaxing him into reading it.
“No! It’s not Batman! I don’t read anything unless it’s Batman!” The little boy was yelling now and I couldn’t make him stop.
“Whoa! Ok, ok.” I said pleading with my hands putting them out in front of me trying to get him to stop yelling. “Look, if Batman really had to he’d read the book for school and get it done with so he could go save the world.” I finally insisted in a last hope to get him to read the stupid book. He looked like he was considering it for a second.
“But Batman doesn’t have to read books about a stupid dog in a supermarket. All he has to do is save the world.” He persisted, doubting my Batman knowledge which angered me.
“Well he did when he was your age! Just read it. Batman would be proud” I finished, hoping he would take my lead. He sat in silence for a minute thinking the idea over and finally said:
“Ok. I’ll read the book if that’s what Batman would do.” He finally gave in, and a smile cracked over my face for my good work on getting him to read. I wondered if the kid could read. Well he did read the comics. I opened the book for him to the first page, and set it down in front of him telling him to read it out loud to me. And I was impressed; he whizzed through the book with excellent speed and had gotten through the sixth chapter in just about an hour.
“Wow.” I said when he was done. “Good job kid.” I added halfheartedly. The little boy smiled up at me and I ignored the smile, and the Batman costume.
“Can we read Batman next time?” He asked hopefully.
“Umm… well I don’t know. You need to finish this book and you’re so far behind… so no.” I said ending sternly, not letting the cute little kid in the Batman costume get to me. His face fell and I felt bad for a minute, but then I reminded myself I was dealing with some random nine-year-old kid and it was his happiness or my grades.
The boy’s father walked back in through the sliding doors and over to the table where we sat. ”Finally, I get to get away from this kid and get my head back.” I thought to myself as the stern looking man walked towards me.
“Did Batman do ok today?” He asked in the same mocking voice. I glared up at his father.
“Actually, he did. He even read almost half of his book.” I said snidely back to him. He didn’t look too happy and I thought he might say something like, “Don’t disrespect me boy!” or “You’re in trouble now kid!” but he didn’t. He just grabbed the kid by the arm, which looked like it hurt, and wheeled him around towards the door.
“Come on Kevin, you little brat, let’s go.” He said sternly as he pushed him towards the exit.
“Bye Henry.” The boy squeaked, turning around to me before he was pushed awkwardly out the door. I suddenly felt sorry for the little boy and I tried to hide it, but I wanted to cry. I swallowed all the feelings I felt for the little kid and walked out the sliding doors myself. I unchained my bike from the rack and wheeled it away from the library. The library that I would have to go back to again later that week to tutor the little boy so he could get away from his evil father. And once again I would have to feel no feelings or remorse for the kid, again. No thought of Batman, and no caring for the poor little kid who was helping me raise my nice, failing, English grade.chapter 2 of the Batman Book which is now called Henry's Batman.