Short Story Saturday: And Affleck Wept
Take a break from the hectic news of Hollywood with our weekly look into the world of "what if". Freshly foolish fan fiction happens every Saturday here on Cinema Blend and this is our first short story entry... "And Affleck Wept".
He turned his back on the wind as it tousled his hair, picked up his phone and dialed a number he’d almost forgotten. It was a number he thought he’d never dial again but, just now, it was the phone number of the only person in the world who could possibly understand.
It rang only once before he heard a raspy, smoker’s cough and then, “hello?”
"Hi Kevin, it's Ben,” he said.
"It's 2015 motherfucker and I've had caller ID since I got my first Miramax paycheck back in 1994. I know who the fuck this is and you gotta lot of nerve callin’ here."
"Look man, I'm sorry and I want to make amends." Ben said it with all the sincerity he could muster, but it didn't help.
"Amends? You want to make amends? What, you're done hanging out with all your cool friends and now you want to reconnect with that fat fuck from your past? You're gonna have to do better than that if you want me to suck your cock."
"Kevin, you have to understand I signed a contract. I promised I wouldn't talk about it and you just kept calling and calling and asking questions! I had to cut off contact, had to block your calls...”
“That excuse might have carried water a few months ago, but you finished filming back in March motherfucker or don’t you know I read Cinema Blend?”
“Hey, things have been tough. Jen left me, she took the kids. I’ve been busy. You know I didn't want to cut you off, but I had to. You’ve always been my friend.”
The other end of the line was silent again and Ben took a moment to stare at the sun setting over the city and wonder if the sun was setting on something else too. The wind whipped around him as though trying to force him to move forward, even if he didn’t want to.
“Kevin, you still there?” he said carefully.
"Oh I’m here. I’m just wondering where you get off calling me your friend? I'm your friend? Well then maybe you might have noticed your friend is the biggest Batman lovin’ motherfucker on the planet, or did you think I based Bluntman and Chronic on motherfucking Ace and Gary, The Ambiguously Gay Duo?”
Kevin was rolling now and barely paused for a breath before yelling into the phone, “You were IN Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back bitch! And even knowing that you decided to cut off your friend, the biggest Batman lovin’ motherfucker on the planet, right after you became the mother fucking Batman! Of course I had questions for your Bruce Wayne ass! I had questions and you cut me off! That’s like taking ice cream away from a fat kid, and I know a little something about that." The words spilled out of the receiver in a raging torrent and when he finished, Kevin wheezed into the line, out of breath.
"I know, I know, but I want to make it up to you." Ben tried to keep his cool.
"Make it up to me? Unless you're planning to cast me as the world’s first husky Robin in the sequel then I don't see how that's possible." Ben heard a bubbling sound in the background followed by another raspy cough, and hoped that might help Kevin calm down.
“There’s not going to be a sequel. I’m done with acting. I have a different job now. Come on man, there has to be something I can do, I miss you buddy.” Ben caught a pleading note in his own voice as he spoke, and knew that was a mistake. It smacked of desperation, because of course he was desperate, and he knew Kevin would attack it like a cheetah taking down a wounded antelope on the Serengeti.
“Don’t buddy me you Spielberg wannabe, you want to make up then you got to earn it motherfucker. Tell you what, you can start by giving me that costume you took with you from the set. Cape, cowl, shiny-ass boots, everything.”
“Um, what costume? You know they don’t let you take those with you…”
“Don’t play coy with me asshole.” Once Kevin got an idea in his head, there was no turning him from it. “You may not have been talking to me but you weren’t the only friend I had on that set. I know you took one of the costumes with you when you left.”
Ben sighed a heavy sigh, took a deep breath and tried to plead his case again. “You don’t understand, I’d do anything to get you back in my life. I need you man, I need you in ways you can’t possibly understand right now. If you’d only let me…”
"Goddamn you Affleck, don't you toy with my chubby heart, you already broke it once."
"No, I mean it Kev, I need you."
“Tough shit. Then you’ll have to prove it to me. Hand over da cape."
“Wait, Kevin… Kevin?” Ben pulled the phone away from his face and gazed down at the screen. Kevin was gone and with him was his last chance at staying connected to man he’d been.
He turned the phone off, slipped it back in his utility belt and paused for a moment to look out over the city. His city.
No one would ever understand. Kevin might have, if he’d been able to forgive him for his mistakes, but there was no hope of that now, not if it meant giving it up. It wasn’t just a costume, it wasn’t just a mask he wore, it was who he’d become. He could no more give that up than he could an arm or a leg.
It had started with him taking it home on the weekends from the set. He’d told Zack he just wanted to stay in character, convinced him he was getting all method with it. That was true for awhile, but it didn’t take long for it to become so much more than that.
Eventually his work on the movie ended, but this, whatever this was, hadn’t. Jennifer had been tolerant at first, even thought it was sort of sexy, but eventually the long nights had taken their toll. He’d come home with two broken ribs, she begged him to stop and when he wouldn’t, she got scared and left.
For awhile he’d still had Matt. He’d been able to keep it a secret from him, but eventually his best friend had become suspicious and Ben had been forced to cut him off too, lest he discover his secret. Now he had no one left and the one man, the one man who might have understood what all of this meant, was no longer his friend.
Ben took a moment to wipe the tears away from his eyes before pulling his cowl back over his face. The city had become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. He couldn’t stand by and watch as Los Angeles destroyed itself. There was no more room for self-pity and doubt.
Taking aim Ben fired his grappling hook across to a neighboring building and, with one last longing look out at the city he loved, leaped off the roof and swung away into the night. The man he’d been was gone and now he was something else. He wasn’t the hero Hollywood deserved, but he was the hero they needed. A silent guardian. A watchful protector. A dark knight.
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