I had delivered a car in southern Louisiana, and was looking for the Megabus stop to get me to Texas for my next pick up. While I hate riding Greyhound with a passion, I have come to like the Megabus very much. I stopped at a McDonalds for a chicken snack wrap, and since it was crowded inside I went out to eat at one of the tables outside. The weather was pretty nice for a February day.
Two elderly women came outside clearly looking for a spot to sit down. I offered them my table, and they were most grateful. As I looked for another place where I could at least lean against a wall while I finished eating, I was approached rather suddenly by an extremely odd looking man in a costume. Well, more like two costumes actually. It was partially Batman, and partially Aquaman. It was as if this person had bought two of the cheapest Halloween costumes you could possibly buy and somehow made a hybrid out of them.
"You are a very good American citizen, my friend," he said to me.
"I am? Well thanks."
"No thanks necessary. You gave up your seat for those old bags, and in my book that makes you a hero."
I laughed. "Trust me, I'm no hero."
He pointed a finger at me. "No, you trust me, you are a hero. And I would know, because I'm a hero. You might say I'm a superhero. Name and designation, please?"
"Me? I'm Bill Thomas, nice to meet you."
He nodded. "Hello, Bill. I'm Aqua-Bat."
"You're...? Did you say Aqua-Bat?"
"That's right, you heard correctly. I'm sure you've heard of me and my exploits."
"Come on now Bill, don't kid a kidder. I'm the guy who protects the streets and the innocent and the lame."
"And the innocent and the streets," he added emphatically.
"You said you are a superhero?"
He demured. "Well, I don't like to brag."
"What are your super powers?"
"I'd call that a personal question, Bill."
"I can see that you are, but there's an old expression that goes 'You don't tug on Superman's cape'."
"Oh, I'm not tugging. I have no desire to tug."
"Then we've reached an accord. What I can tell you is that I can call upon the mightiest fish in the sea to come to my rescue if I need back up."
"Even when you're on land?"
He winked at me. "There's the real genius of it. When I'm on land, the Bat part of me steps up and takes over. While there are no super powers, I have genius ideas and tons of crazy gadgets for crime fighting. And having a billion dollars in the bank lets me build pretty much anything I want to."
I was surprised. "You have a billion dollars in the bank?"
"Bill, I don't like people prying into my business. But if you must know, I'm not quite as rich as billionaire Bruce Wayne. However I do have much more money than a homeless man living on the streets."
"Good to know."
"Now I need you to forget what I told you." He waved his hand in front of my face and said "Forget."
I regarded him with some consternation. "Are you trying to pull a Jedi mind trick on me?"
"Yes. I mean, no. I'm Aqua-Bat, you're talking Star Wars. Two completely different franchises."
"You don't have to get all snooty and stuffy with me."
"Nothing could be further from my mind, Aqua-Bat."
He cracked his knuckles. "So who is the bad guy?"
"Who are we fighting today? What corrupt criminal is trying to take over the world?"
"Probably someone in the middle East."
He shook his head forcefully. "No, I can't get over there. How about closer to home, someplace nearby."
I shrugged. "Sorry, no idea."
"But I'm a bad ass superhero, I need to fight crime."
"And I admire you for that."
"Really? Truly? You give me ample reason to doubt you."
"Ample? Like what?"
"Bill, if you want to be my sidekick you should hop into the Aqua mobile with me and help me to cruise the mean streets and rid them of scum. My fight is for truth, justice, and... uh, I'll have to get back to you on that last one."
"Sounds like fun."
"No fun at all, its a serious business."
"OK then, where's the car?"
"In the shop."
"How about the boat? The plane? The motorcycle?"
For the first time this strange man laughed, and it was a deep loud laugh. "Bill, you obviously watch too many movies. I go green, and that means riding the city bus."
"Of course it does." I smiled.
"Wipe that smile off your face or I'll call one of my dolphin friends to come smack it off your face with his tail fin."
About that time, one of the elderly ladies I had given up my seat for got up and started inside. I assume that since she picked up her purse she was going to the restroom. Just as she got to the front door, a young punk ran by her and grabbed her purse. He kept right on running, and Aqua-Bat continued our conversation. "Hey Aqua-Bat, that lady just got her purse stolen."
"What? Where?" I pointed at the runner, and he spun around to rush after the crook. Then he tripped over his own cape and fell down face first on the sidewalk. "I'm OK, I'm OK," he stammered as he got up and began to stumble after the perpetrator. "Aqua-Bat to the rescue!" He tried to run, but the blow to his head was making him swerve treacherously along the road. I almost hoped he wouldn't catch the crook, as he had no chance of overpowering the man. But its good to know there are still people out there protecting the innocent if they can just keep on their feet.