I just had another dream weird enough to wake me up and make me want to write it down. This time it involved Batman. A very, very, very dark version of him. In my dream Batman had taken a hiatus from wearing the suit, choosing to operate in his Bruce Wayne persona. What made me wake up was coming to see just how close to evil he’d gotten. It’s been 10-15 years since I read the comics so he may have gotten just as bad, but this is beyond any memory I have of him.
The first scene was myself (as Bruce Wayne) having a brief meeting with Alfred, instructing him to take care of a few things. Then my dream shifted and I was in a college class, sitting along the right hand wall of a large lecture hall full of students. I was wearing a very expensive suit. A friend of mine was also there, also wearing a suit. So was a third person I didn’t know. That person kept messing with me. He took a seat that blocked my view, and when I went to move to another seat I had to move the chair, then turn around and do something before I could sit in the seat. As I turned back to take the seat he had come down and sat himself in it. I looked him in the eye, called him a dick, and found another desk.
As I moved to another seat the teacher announced a supermodel classmate was auctioning off a date to the highest bidder, with the money going to charity. I dropped a bid far above what anyone else could, and awarded the date to my friend who, being a bit of a geek, started to detail plans of doing homework with her. He’s not a complete geek though, so when she gave him the sex eyes he picked up on it. Good for him.
As I left the class I struggled to find may way through the throng of students to find where I’d parked. As I walked outside I saw a Zamboni that looked surprisingly like it was a Lamborghini underneath all the street-cleaner gear that was attached. I made my way to a pizza parlor that I owned in a mall on the same property. It was being run by a college-aged girl who’d written a number on the side of the pizza oven door in chalk. I erased it and wondered if her mind was cracking. If so then she’d need to be replaced. But In my mind I knew this pizza shop was part of a covert network I had built, and my control of her mind might be breaking her.
Alfred came in as I made myself a sub in the kitchen, and gave me a status report. As he did so he used some terminology, and then said somewhat proudly of himself, “…and I mean that in the third sense.” He continued, “I really enjoy the way we’re doing this, Master Wayne,” referring to how I was teaching him multiple levels of covert operations, multiple levels of speaking. His new-found knowledge was causing him to get smug, and needed to be reminded of his place. I got really nasty with him, saying, “You think you’re better than Gordon? You think you’re smarter than Gordon?” My dream then jumped to a scene of Christian Bale and Michael Caine between a dumpster and a cinder block wall (presumably behind the pizza shop), only visible from the chest up. Alfred had no shirt on, was shaking in fear, and you could tell by his eyes that he wasn’t mentally present. He shits himself off camera, and Bale/Wayne (looking at the camera) smiles, and pulls Alfred’s head onto his shoulder.
Cutting back to the pizza shop kitchen, someone else comes in and gives an update, then leaves. I don’t remember the next scene but I know it was another where I, as Bruce Wayne, go to check on a member of my covert organization, believe they need to be reconditioned mentally to be brought back in line, and in the process I have them do something that hurts them physically or mentally.
From there I skip to a third, similar scene. I’m behind a high-class restaurant with someone who works there. Next to us is a modified washer and dryer (for doing the restaurant’s linen) that has no door, so you could stick your hand in while the washer is on its spin cycle. I’m telling the man, “I really like running this place with you. You really know what you’re doing.” As I finish the second sentence, the person (who again doesn’t seem to be themselves) reaches over to the washer (which is on spin cycle), turns a knob that makes it spin even faster. He grins at me, then slowly sticks his hand in, breaking a finger. I walk away as he’s taking out his cell phone to snap a picture of it, saying, “Enjoy it, it’s your finger.”
This is where I woke up. Although the idea of a man intentionally (and happily) breaking his own finger for Batman was nauseating, more so was the thought of him using his capacity for psychological manipulation to control their minds. I got up, used the restroom, and moved to the couch, hoping I could fall back asleep. No luck.
I laid back down and started thinking about the dream. I went back in time, imagining a conversation between the Alfred and Bruce I used to know. Bruce was considering a move that would lead to the scenario above, and Alfred was cautioning him that doing so would make him not much better than the criminals Bruce wanted to save people from. Speaking of the criminals Bruce says, “They’re not going to ask people’s permission to kill them. I can’t take the time to ask their permission to save them.” Alfred posits that people have the right to refuse help, even if they know it means their own death.
I’ve always been interested by dream interpretation, and this is the moment where I understood the connection between the dream and my waking life: The NSA thinks they are Batman.