A group of inmates were lined up outside their cells, ready to receive work duties from Matron Frisk. They were all identically dressed in black and white striped dresses and rubber sandals.
The prison matron walked past, checking them over.
"Zelda and Anagram, I want you mopping up in corridor 25. Marsha and Undine, you can go and work in the prison garden. Siren and Sea Hag, you can help out in the kitchen preparing lunch," she instructed. "Get to it and look lively, girls!"
"Yes, Ma'am," replied the inmates wearily, as they trudged off to their chores.
Matron Frisk smiled with pleasure at their obedience. These women needed firm order and discipline. They needed shaking out of their glamorous criminal lifestyles. No more fast cars, fur coats and champagne every day. Just rules, routine and hard work.
"Good morning, Matron," came a cheerful voice.
It was Batman, dressed as always in cape and mask. The caped crusader had visited the prison before, but his visits were always a surprise to Frisk.
"Batman, what brings you here?" she asked, after all it was her job to know who was on the wing.
"I've come to visit Catwoman and to see what progress she's making in her reformation," he replied.
Frisk shook her head sadly.
"She's a sinful woman if ever I met one. She was in the punishment cell again last week. I don't think we'll ever train that kitten to play nice," she said regretfully.
"You must never give up on her, Matron," said Batman, before pausing. "The reformation of an hardened criminal may take many years. It is a process that may see many missteps and it is the a challenge for the finest minds of the educational and sociological faculties in our universities. Yet it is a challenge that must be pursued with firm dilligence and devotion. I am convinced that you can make any delinquent woman into a model citizen."
"Thank you for your confidence, Batman. It's easy for you, just catching them and leaving them for us to take care of. It doesen't help that Warden Crichton is too soft with these ladies. This place would be run a lot tighter if I were the warden. The inmates don't know they've been born!"
"Warden Crichton has a difficult challenge balancing the need for discipline with the need to allow the inmates the chance to develop. Perhaps he does at times lean too far to the latter," said Batman.
"I'll say he does!" exclaimed Frisk. "These wild women need a tough line drawn to get them into shape. They're used to having what they want, when they want it. You know, Batman, I blame the parents. They've been brought up to soft and sent to these modern schools with their progressive ideas. If you bring your kids up the way they do these days, is it any surprise if your daughter dresses up in a catsuit or joins the Riddler's gang?"
"Your criminalogical insights are much to be admired, Matron," said Batman. "Now I must go and see your charge."
"You'll find her in cell 302. Don't expect her to be polite to you," advised Frisk.
As Batman departed, Frisk shook her head. Batman was good at catching crooks, but he had no idea about how to run a prison. These do-gooders knew nothing.
Catwoman snarls, "Selina is long dead, Batman." She sits up, turns her head to face him, slowly moving her gaze up to his eyes. "You're looking well." She chuckles, "but then again you always have." She shifts her eyes back and forth and notices Batman is by himself. "No Robin? Does he have show and tell in nursery school or did the two of you have a bat-fight?"
His sly smile fades into a look of exasperation. He exhales a heavy sigh. "He...did not wish to accompany me." He pauses and chuckles, "in fact, this is one of the rare occasions in which my pearls of wisdom..."
Catwoman interjects "...fell before a swine". She tosses her head back and belts out a long "meow".
"That's not a bit funny"
"So you said when I had you trapped under that giant magnifying glass".
"Robin held firm in his opposition to my visiting our former opponents."
"For once in my life I actually agree with him. What brings you around here, anyway."
"I've heard complaints from Warden Crichton as well as a comment from Matron Frisk."
"Oh, yes, the punishment cell. What exactly did she say about me?"
"Merely that you were in the punishment cell once again last week."
Catwoman rolls her eyes and sneers. "Oh, she's such an old stick in the mud. She reported me for refusing to take on a job. I didn't refuse, really, I merely opted out. So sue me, I thought job assignments were voluntary."
"Catwoman, to become a proper citizen, you will need to learn to labour for an honest day's work, so that you no longer need to steal from others," said Batman. "That is why work is an essential part of the reformation of criminals and this most execellent penological institution."
Catwoman rolled her eyes. Batman did not have a clue.
"So why don't they pay us an honest wage for the work assignments we get asked to do?"
Batman did not seem to have a reply handy.
Catwoman stretched out on the bunk.
"I've seen the way it always ends with you and me. We play our game of cat and mouse. Then I give in and you act really sweet and nice and tell me how you believe I can reform. And then you send me to this dump," commented Catwoman.
"Dump? This is an advanced and modern prison. No penitentiary in the country compares in its amenities and progressive methods," protested Batman.
"So advanced they make us wear these stupid stripey uniforms," she said, pointing out her prison-issue smock. "And run by sophisticated professionals like Matron whiskery Frisky, who likes nothing better than making inmates feel small. And all those progressive methods, like making us work in the prison laundry for hours."
Batman had never once considered such notions. As far as he was concerned, Gotham Penitentiary was a quite wonderful place. At times he had almost felt envious of the criminals he sent there.
"Catwoman, you have to drop this negative and rebellious attitude. You will never reform if you keep on complaining and sulking about the discipline and order that we require of you. I do not understand why you can't submit to the program of re-education and correction that we offer you here."
"As for correction, it is I who must correct you. And I have - or at least I made darn good attempts."
"If you mean 'nice tries', you're not even close."
"I sicked a tiger on you"
"Which I defeated with the decibels of my bat communicator".
"So you think you're pretty clever. You and Robin needed to be corrected for that roguish ruse regarding...what was it - oh yes - that stupid canary stature you thought I'd like to steal. I resent people telling me what I can and cannot purr-loin. Why do you think I shot you and had you tossed out of that window?"
"Which we survived by spreading nets outside just in case you tossed that statue out. Now, tell me, if you were so clever as YOU seem to think you are, why didn't you design those darts to be lethal? You could have had us out of the way in a cat-snap. Why didn't you notice the nets on the climb up to that proverbial window?"
"Proverbial means hypothetical, which means it would exist only in theory. I'm afraid you need to consult your batasaurus."
Batman snapped his fingers, "A- HA! Once again I trumped you at this cat and mouse game. I purposely misused the term proverbial to reel you in,,,like a catfish - to see how far you would have gone in this obsession of my so-called correction. The correction is on you, I'm afraid. There is no such word as batasaurus."
Catwoman rolled her eyes, "well you name everything else a bat this or a bat that. Why didn't you dress that boy blunder up as you and call him a bat boy?"
"Robin, for your information, was an acrobat in his pre-crimefighting days. That was the costume he wore as a trapeze artist. I thought he looked like Robin Hood, hence that name."
"Did he have that prize winning attitude of his back then as well?"
"Prize winning attitude?"
"Yes. I never let onto this before because it's such small cat-tatoes, but...he seems to hate me. All I've ever done is teach him as well as you to not stand in my way."
Batman grins and is given paws - uh, pause. "Robin...is at heart a virtuous young man, BUT impetuous. He acts instinctively. He associates his feelings for the act with the person committing such an act. I assure you he does not hate you, but he abhors the evil you perpetrate."
"Well, I'm not very fond of HIM, either, I'll say that."
"Is this a continuation of the ploy in which you would like to join up with me and eliminate him because he gets in the way?"
Catwoman softens her tone to a coo - "You said it, Caped Casanova - not me."
Batman folds his arms across his chest and chuckles. "I"
His former nemesis squints her eyes and slightly tilts her head. "You...what?"
Batman points at Catwoman. "There, now - don't you see? No matter how clever, crafty and cunning, there is one very common cat clinker committed by crooks - over confidence."
Catwoman walks away, pretends to yawn, "please save the lectures for Robin! I need a cat nap."
"Those on the wrong side of the law are no more or less intelligent than those on the right - YET, they forsake foresight and forgo fecundity by hatching a get-away-quick scheme first and foremost. If you were on the right side of the law, or at least didn't go against it, you wouldn't leave a trail of crumbs for Robin and me to follow. The same would go for your life in here. You put your mind into the tasks you're assigned and you will excel. You wouldn't be temporarily sentenced to a week of isolation either. You could be a model prisoner while you pay your debt to society, leave no stone unturned, IN FACT - leave nothing behind except for your greed and your lust for vengeance. May the two of us meet one day without my having to call on my gadgets of defense, of which I possess many."
"Well, it is rather tiring to have to come up with new ways to combat you." She ponders momentarily, then nods her head. "Very well. I'll submit to my duties here. I'll try it your way."
"And one day it will be your way as well." He doffs his cowl. "Good day - for now." He turns to leave. Catwoman watches him walk out - not ony for obvious reasons, but to make sure he makes it out of ear shot.
"Yes - one day your way will become mine - but not the way you're thinking of, Blue-Boy."
"Did she give you an hard time, Batman?" asked the prison matron.
"No, I found the errant Catwoman most charming and sociable, despite her criminal outrages," he replied.
"I am surprised. She's normally got a lot of cheek, that girl."
"I think you will find her much more agreeable," said Batman. "I have had a conversation with Catwoman about the errors of her negative attitude. She has promised to be more co-operative with the prison authorities and will make more effort to perform the duties required of her. I believe she is well on the way to becoming a model citizen."
"Well if that's the case, we all owe you our thanks, Batman," said Frisk, a note of scepticism in her voice.
Frisk would believe it when she saw it.
Batman had a heart of gold, but he didn't know prison women like she did. What a woman like Catwoman needed was somebody to bark orders at her and a punishment cell to threaten her with.
Matron Frisk hoped Warden Crichton knew how fortunate his prison was to have somebody sensible like her on the team to keep those dreadful female villains in order.
Nah, this was a friendly suggestion, but not one that interested you. Fair enough, but of course I knew it's an idea and that I'm already free to write it.celestialhost wrote:That's an idea. Feel free to write it.
I look at it this way: not everybody has a comment for everything. Although I enjoy getting feedback on my fan fiction here, I noticed that there are a handful of regulars that comment and a few others who may comment only once or twice on my story. I don't take it personally, but yes I do enjoy hearing from my friends here on the Bat Board. That said, you must remember one thing: Elmgraham is STILL assisting the Sea Hag in her rehabilitation she has renounced her wicked ways, and with the help of Elmgraham, she is going to be a good citizen from now on! So open up a box of Crispy Critters Cereal and enjoy it with her---Dr. Shimel recommends it as part of a good breakfast as well as rehabilitation ; Yo Ho HO!celestialhost wrote:Thanks. I thought with the lack of comments, nobody was liking this. It is a bit different to the usual Bat-fiction.
I had sort of concluded it with Batman's departure and Matron Frisk's head-shaking.