My wife and I were driving home from the new blockbuster movie Barbie. It is a transformative journey, a sneakily subversive movie, a women’s anthem that may help us male types too. We began to muse about it, and fanciful tales arose, like this one. May all our stories be rewritten.
Batman was driving home from seeing the Barbie movie. Across from him in the Batmobile was Batwoman. He was silent for a while. Alfred, his stalwart keeper of the Bruce Wayne mansion, had suddenly died recently, and his death had set forth a disquiet in Batman’s heart. He had begun to realize all the ways Alfred had made his career as Batman possible, all the invisible as well as visible ways Alfred took care of him, keeping the home a true sanctuary, preparing the Batmobile and Bat-weapons, sending him forth with good luck and good cheer. Batman felt a bit lost.
He turned to Batwoman. “During the movie” he asked, “did you think about Alfred and all the ways he has helped me and my mission? “
“Yes,” she replied quietly. She had often thought about how she wished she had an Alfred too.
“I’ve been thinking about stepping back as Batman, and you taking the lead,” he said to her quietly. “I’m weary of the load my Bat-activity and Bat-fame has placed on me. I think I’ve become a slave of my own belief in my invincibility and irreplaceability. You have been more than ready to take my place for a long time.”
She listened and thought.
“I was wondering,” he said, “if I could be your Alfred. I would take care of everything in the background, keep the Batcave ready and Bat weapons in tip top shape and let the world see all you can do. I can’t wait to see you wipe the smile off the Joker’s face. I’ve already started redesigning the insignia on the Bat Light that will stream across the sky.”
She smiled. She had her own ideas about the design, as well as a redesign of her Batwoman costume, one a little less intended for the male gaze.
“I’m ready,” she replied with more confidence than she would have expected, “but do you think the world is ready?”
“I’m sure they are,” he said. “Look at all the women in major places of leadership these days, and they are putting to shame the bungling job men have been doing. Why are so many millions of people flocking to see Barbie? I think that’s a sign. And as for all those little men huffing and complaining about the movie, their time and their ways are drawing to a close.”
“When will we start?” Batwoman asked.
“What do you want for supper? Batman said.
Stephen Shoemaker serves as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C. He served previously as pastor of Myers Park Baptist in Charlotte, N.C.; Broadway Baptist in Fort Worth, Texas, and Crescent Hill Baptist in Louisville, Ky.
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