My favorite film of all time is The Dark Knight. Growing up, Batman was my favorite superhero. I won't have a nerd-gasm all over you, but I can go on and on about how no superhero holds a candle to the Caped Crusader. But this isn't a buzz feed list, this is a blog about humiliation and disappointment.
And so here's the story of how I got to play Batman:
It was August of 2008, when The Dark Knight was at the height of it's popularity. Off the mystique of Heath Ledger's untimely death, Christopher Nolan's follow-up to the 2005 franchise reboot, Batman Begins, obliterated box office records and was widely regarded as the greatest superhero film of all time. I had seen it four times in the theaters, as well as twice on bootleg.
It was also a period in my life where I was hyper-focused on my acting career, spending hours submitting my head shot and resume to casting calls every day. Every aspiring non-union actor knows the grind that's freelance auditioning. You sit there, submitting and submitting and submitting, sometimes over 100x per day, only to get a handful of responses... if you're lucky. That's where I was. Many times, when someone emailed asking to schedule an audition, I would have to go back and see what the hell it was that I submitted for. One day, I get an email from "Party Time Princess" with "birthday parties" in the subject line.
I call the number, and a young woman named Angie answers. She asks me a bit about my experience with children, then about my acting experience. I was working as a teacher at the time, so I was a perfect candidate for...
Angie - "Okay, would you be interested in playing Batman at one of my children's parties? Pay is $50 cash per hour."
Doorman - "Come again?"
Angie - "I need someone to play Batman at one of my parties on Saturday. Would you be interested?'
Doorman- "Wait, so you're telling me that you want me to play Batman AND you're going to pay me cash to do so?"
Angie - "That's what I'm telling you, yes."
Doorman - "Ma'am, it would be an honor."
OK, turbo. Take the enthusiasm down a notch.
Angie - "Great. See you then."
OH MY GOD.
I bragged about it to my co-workers all week while working on my graveling, Christian Bale Batman voice. It was perfect, and still is to this day. In the days leading up, I promised myself that I wouldn't break character once the suit was on.
I arrived twenty minutes early to a beautiful Staten Island home. The mother, straight out of Mob Wives, answered the door:
Mom - "Can I help you?"
Doorman - "Yeah, I'm here for the party."
She looks at me like I'm a pedophile openly soliciting a victim, then behind me to see if I had brought any children.
Mom - "Whose dad are you?"
Doorman - "Nobody's. I'm the... entertainer."
I don't know why I was being so secretive, being that there were no children in the fucking house.
Mom - "Oh, YOU'RE the Batman?"
Doorman - "Yes, ma'am."
Mom - "You're not very tall."
Doorman - "I don't think the kids will notice."
Well this isn't a good start.
Mom - "Alright, the suit is in the bathroom. Your boss isn't here yet."
Doorman - "Thanks."
The party was in the backyard, which wasn't good for me at all. It was a heat wave in the middle of August, and the suit they gave me was completely made of leather, which I had to put on piece by piece under a black leotard. I was sweating in the air-conditioned bathroom with only the bottom half of the suit on.
While changing, I hear a knock a the door:
Angie - "Doorman? It's Angie."
I let her in, and she is SMOKING hot. Apparently, she gets dressed up as Disney princesses for girl parties. I didn't know Sleeping Beauty had cartoonishly fake tits. But whatever, this is my big day.
Doorman - "Hi."
Angie - "You okay?"
Doorman - "Yeah, I just can't figure out how to adjust the pants."
She gets within an inch of my face and adjusts the pants without hesitation. My mule stands up at attention immediately. I try and think of burning buildings and starving children and starving children in burning buildings to get my erection to go down.
Angie - "I thought you'd be taller."
And that'll do it.
We get the rest of the costume on, and I take a good look at myself in the mirror. I am the Batman. I would speak only in my perfected Batman voice for the remainder of the time in the suit.
Angie - "How do you feel?"
Batman - "Excellent. What do you want me to do?"
Angie - "You don't have to talk like that."
Batman - "Yes I do."
I can see that she instantly regrets hiring an over-eager fanboy, like myself.
Angie - "Just hang out with the kids and show them some moves."
Batman - "Moves?"
Angie - "Yeah, Batman moves. Are you okay with that?"
I don't know what the fuck she's talking about.
Batman - "Of course."
Angie - "Let's get this over with. I have another party to be at in two hours."
Angie makes a face-painting stand and brings out a radio with Hans Zimmer's Dark Knight soundtrack ready to go. She carelessly pops in the CD and presses play, then announces me. The first track on the album is "Why So Serious?", which is the fucking Joker's theme.
So now I'm being announced as Batman to the Joker's music. I hate this.
Angie - "We have a very special guest, kids!!! Here's BATMAN!!!!!"
I walk out, and the kids go fucking ape shit. The boys are shoving the girls out of the way, kids are falling and jumping all over the place. It's pandemonium. The relaxed atmosphere of shy children suddenly turned into a Harlem Shake video. My opinion of this situation has quickly made a 180. I'm a fucking rock star.
This does not last long.
I pass by the adult table, where everyone is getting hammered. One of the guido Dads yells "He's too fuckin' shawt to be Batman!"
I'm 5'10, you fucking assholes.
All the kids are jumping all over me at once, and I can't move. I hear Angie trying to yell something, but the mask is too big for my face and I can't turn my head. In an attempt to turn my whole body around, my knee bumps into one of the smaller kid's faces, which sends him flying onto his back. The lollypop that he's holding is now covered in dirt. He starts whaling.
When you pummel your first kid by accident, I'm guessing they give you a pass. The mom quickly comes to retrieve him.
I remember having Donatello from the Ninja Turtles at my 4th birthday party. If he had kicked me in the head when I tried to embrace him, my world would have came crashing down. That was the look on this poor kid's face.
Batman - "I'm sorry, ma'am."
Mom - "It's okay Batman! See, Anthony? Batman didn't mean it."
She holds him up to me, and the kid has a fucking conniption. He starts trying to claw at my face, then buries his head in his Mom's breasts. She takes him away.
That's one kid damaged, and I've only been outside for sixty seconds.
Angie instructs me to do a lap around the back yard and have the kids follow. They begin tugging on my cape to keep up. I nearly black out from heat stroke and asphyxiation, simultaneously.
Angie - "YOU DON'T PULL ON BATMAN'S CAPE!!!"
All the kids are having a blast. Though the problem with children is that they don't have much of an attention span, especially with amateur party entertainers. So after the thrill of seeing The Dark Knight stroll through the backyard, they become bored, and resort to other things.
And that's when the beatings began.
There's always one little fuckhead in a group of children that needs to impress the herd by disrespecting an adult. I was always afraid of adults when I was a child, because I was unaware that if they assaulted me, I could have them locked away for a long time.
I spotted him right away. "Tommy", a little punk with a summer mohawk, came charging at me. The kids must have been afraid of him, because they cleared a path. I should have known what he was going to do, because it wasn't my first time at the rodeo - bad kid sees man in costume, kid will ruin man's day with his fists.
His first blow was an uppercut to my scrotum.
The second was a kick to my shin.
The kids look around at each other like they just heard glass breaking for the first time.
I'm busy trying to catch my breath from the blow to my testicles, and unable to defend the next shot from Tommy's sidekick "Billy".
A quick stomp to my foot.
An all-out assault begins. All of the adults were pounding margaritas at the table, and Angie is busy at the face-painting section with all of the little girls. I can't scream out for help, because I'm fucking Batman...?
A quick yank to my cape.
A swift kick in the ass.
Batman - "You don't... hit... Batman..."
A kick to the kneecap.
Tommy grabs a wiffle ball bat.
Batman - "Put... the wiffle ball bat... down."
I hear the Mom scream "HEY, KNOCK IT OFF!!!"
Tommy ignores this, and swings the bat like Jose Canseco in his prime. Straight shot to my stomach.
Mom - "ALRIGHT BOYS, THAT'S ENOUGH!!!"
Oh, thank god.
Mom - "TIME FOR THE EGG TOSS!!!"
I watch this fucking idiot pass around eggs to a group of little demons that just spend the past ten minutes ruthlessly beating the Christ out of me. They all partner up, and there's an odd number of children. The lone kid to be partnered up with someone was... fuckin' Tommy.
Then, genius struck.
Mom - "Batman, do you want to be Tommy's partner?"
You bet you ass I do...
Batman - "Yes, ma'am."
The blood all of a sudden drained from Tommy's face. He knew he was fucked.
We all line up, and I take the egg into my gloved hand. I cherish it. Hold it gently. Caress it.
I stare Tommy down with a devilish smirk. He stands there, with his eyes already half-shut, as if he's anticipating getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson.
Mom - "Okay, ready?"
Mom - "One... two... three!!!"
I used to be a pitcher in a Sunday morning softball beer league. My underhand toss precision was brilliant, to put it lightly. Even with the leather suit, the cape, and the 100 degree sun as opposing factors, my accuracy was on-point on that afternoon. I watch my fragile white treasure float through the air with perfect velocity.
Tommy was too fucking slow, as expected, and I watch a yolk-infused explosion burst onto his stupid face. Bullseye.
He immediately starts crying. Remnants of eggshells and goop drip from his super-moosed mohawk. His mother takes him away, and looks at me with contempt.
Angie - "Okay, I think it's time to go."
Mom - "Say goodbye to Batman kids!!!"
I wave goodbye and get a half-assed send-off. The mom doesn't tip me. I get into the bathroom, take off my costume, then wring out about a gallon of sweat from my undershirt into the sink.
On the way out, I see Tommy, with his mohawk turned into a newly-washed comb-over, sulking on the couch. He doesn't recognize me in my street clothes.
Doorman - "Later, kid."
He does a double-take, but says nothing.
Tommy learned valuable a lesson that day - you don't fuck with the Batman.
And needless to say, Angie never called me to work again.