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Author Topic: A Riddle  (Read 710 times)

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Offline KristenTopic starter

A Riddle
« on: March 08, 2012, 09:20:33 PM »
I wonder if anyone would be interested in knocking down a quick riddle. It'll be a riddle with a 'writers' twist. I'll try to generate a scene from a popular movie or show (with characters that should be fairly universal) and I will try to generate a script that turns the basic riddle question into a scene you can try to visualize.

Generally, the setting would be a Batman-Riddler confrontation. It's a quick one-shot riddle which I'm modifying from an original. There are probably a few better combinations I could think of but they just don't come to mind right now so I'll use these 2 characters for the riddle set-up. (It was this or Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty - lol!)

The basic premise is that the Riddler is robbing a bank and batman has caught him in the act. Being a fairly new villain at this point, Batman has been incapable of piecing together who this man is. Hints and clues are left like calling cards by this shadow of a slanky figure who just seems to irritate and annoy with his hit-and-run tactics while constantly manipulating wording and circumstance to frustrate our 'Gotham city hero' and embarrass the authorities who always seem to be yet another step behind.

The Riddler seems to be unable to help himself out of the 'rush' he feels when proving his mental superiority over his pursuers. As a result, he often finds himself putting high stakes on a gamble that one cannot solve his riddle. He's even gone so far as to offer to turn himself in if his riddle can be answered correctly. At first... the fist-minded Batman could only bring himself to shun the ridiculous mindset of this man... but try as he might, he could never catch him.

This time... batman approaches but just frustratingly late again. Engaging a quick fist fight with a few accompanying goons leaves Batman stationary as our villain Riddler scales the steps nearing the surface of the building where a hovering helicopter waits to give him escape.

"Until we meet again my caped crusader-..."
he mocked preparing to exit the door only to be interrupted by a low growl of a voice.

"Wait-..." Batman called out, not desperate, nor accentuated, but rather with such a disciplined tone of expectancy that the Riddler could not help but arch an eyebrow and curiously engage this dominating figure who was now verbally interacting with him. Studying the scenario as Batman spoke, the Riddler became more content than ever that he could not be caught. He was literally one foot out the door, a few flights of stairs out of the reach of even the impeccable Batman and the hovering sound of the chopper was even more encouraging.

"I know who you are."

The remark was subtle... near quiet. It earned an enhanced gaze from the masked Riddler who proceeded to close the door behind him and lean on the rail nearest him to look down at the Batman who's composure and stature also seemed to be relaxed and casual. The immediate cut-down of helicopter noise seemed to work into the Riddler's element of comfort. He was a master of words and manipulation, mental torture was his game and he wanted to be able to hear every word Batman said clearly in order to turn it against him.

"You know who I am? Well of course you do. Batman...
" - The Riddler proceeded to gesture down towards the dark caped hero... then used his hands to gesture towards himself... "-... Riddler."

The mockery was clear, they had spent time engaging before, they were two characters with ego's no doubt. It was certainly the attraction to this type of crusader who would pursue him like this.

"No no no..."
Batman shook his head slowly, tilting it up towards the villain above him. His voice teased with a sigh of irritation shifting briefly to annoyance.

"Not-... this... not this mask you wear... I know who.... you.... are."

The Riddler's fingers lifted and dropped with miniscule motions rolling against the bar he leaned on as he glanced down. His pinky, ring finger, middle finger... index finger... each lifted and fell in turn against the cool bar of rail his hands rested upon. His head tilted as he glanced down.

"Poor bats... it's impossible. If you knew who I was... I'd have easily been arrested-..." he caught himself in the statement, being ever the perfectionist that he was in terms of word games.

"Well perhaps not immediately, but my accounts could be frozen, my living accommodations could be wrecked, you could really put a severe cramp into my lifestyle."

Batman's head now tilted as he slowly stepped towards the beginning of the first staircase. It was still such a distance away... and didn't seem to bother the Riddler exactly, in fact the Riddler seemed to welcome a closer understanding of whatever the Batman might mumble.

"You believe I'm lying?" Batman prodded... it really seemed to take the Riddler by surprise. He was not used to having this much of a dialogue with his dark masked pursuer.

"Batman... you are a special kind of person... no doubt indeed. That being said... you are not exceptional. The generic image of a nerd... or a geek being bullied and beaten in school by the more muscular and powerful jocks is so engraved in our culture. You are the jock Batman... no doubt about it... but against the Riddler, your strength serves you no purpose. You have nowhere to direct it, nothing to accomplish with it."

The Riddler spoke of himself in the first person as though it were only appropriate to do so because the immediate topic of conversation was his personal identity. Distinguishing that from his 'Riddler' persona meant that he was now analyzing what he as 'The Riddler' had done to frustrate and defeat his cloaked nemesis of a hero.

"Here's what I'll do Batman... you tell me my name. You tell me my name and if you're right... I'll turn myself in."

His tone for just a moment became almost argumentative, as though he were offended by having to acknowledge that he couldn't prove that Batman wouldn't know his name. Being a master of mind trickery, he had no way of proving a negative and as such, the more batman claimed to know his real name, the more the idea bothered him to the point that he had to prove him wrong somehow.

The Riddler brought his left hand to arch ahead of him slightly and gesture down towards the Hero... his lips twitching into a sinister grin as he continued...

But-... if you're wrong, my next crime will be to kill someone... someone at random with that same first name you've guessed."

Batman's head tilted as his posture readjusted and his approach to the staircase ceased. Reading into the body language as much as the Riddler cared to, he couldn't help but feel anticipation curl in his stomach. He did have a bit of a God complex, he knew this... he considered himself to be such a superior mind that he could accept this. Batman however had a hero complex... and as such, there was no greater mental torture to inflict on the Batman than to make him feel responsible for the death of an innocent victim.

The Riddler had just upped the stakes considerably in Batman's opinion. The one thing found to be true was that in every clue at every site where the Riddler had been present, there was never misleading or outright false invitation. This man was such a powerful mind that he felt entirely secure in his ability to toy with others mentally.

"That's too easy... my friend..." Batman gave a dark tease of his own, regaining his posture and taking his first step up the staircase, nowhere near fast enough to spook the Riddler at the top. He did however want to set the tone by referring to Riddler as something else (in this case, 'my friend') to inflict some kind of annoyance in the villain that he wasn't just 'The Riddler' to him anymore.

"Let's make this even more conclusive... I won't tell you your name. I'll write your name down. One guess... irrevocable... no stuttering... and I will give you the paper."

The Riddler's sinister grin now gave way to a stifled chuckle.

"I think you've taken one blow too many batman..." He gestured to his forehead briefly by removing his right hand from the rail. "-... To the head... yeah?"

His shoulders rose however as his arms spread in a 'why not' posture.

"Very well then... we have terms Batman. You have to write my name down... ball the sheet of paper up briefly and toss it up here. If you're right... I'll turn myself in. If you're wrong, you have to accept the fact that somewhere out there... maybe tomorrow... maybe the next day... a man with the name you've written down will be found dead. The cause may or may not be known... the investigation might be short or long... but you'll have an idea."

Batman shook his head slowly, fully engaged with his mind-game against the seemingly more energetic and enthused Riddler.

"There'll be no investigation. You won't be killing anyone. I guarantee you... I will write your exact name on this piece of paper."

He spoke with a disarming confidence that could only rile the Riddler up a little more. As Batman took out a pen and mini-notepad, the Riddler could only silently count down the seconds before putting this stoic solid figure of a man in such a blatant embarrassment.

The fact was... no matter what name Batman wrote down, he could deny it if he wanted. Sure he couldn't actually lie... but there was an out... a sneaky out... a conniving out.

The sinister Riddler all but watered at the mouth as the idea of slamming the notepad back in Batman's face and abusing the technicality of missing a middle initial or something of the sort. It wasn't possible that Batman would know his name... but now, even if Batman somehow did... any spelling error, any mistake however small... however irrelevant could be the justification for saying that Batman lost.

This idea to write down his exact name rather than just shout it out now stacked the deck entirely in the Riddler's favour and given how much the Riddler loved plays on words, he was now salivating as the Batman underlined a defiant stroke on the notepad and placed his pen back in his pocket.

With a frisbee-like toss... Batman sent the notepad gliding through the air towards the Riddler who caught the item effortlessly and turned it in his hands to look at the markings made by the Hero below him.

It all came down to this moment... If Batman was wrong, he'd have his official victory over Gotham's knight in pitch black armour. If Batman's guess was somehow right, but there was the slightest error in spelling, the victory was still his. Batman had to be spot on... with everything.

The Riddler glanced at the marking... his lips twitched, his eyebrows curled downward in a perplexed gaze as he glanced from the sheet down to the figure below him. Batman hadn't moved... his eyes piercing what seemed to be mind and soul of the Green brain-wonder of the city.

Turning his eyes from Batman back to the marking on the notepad... his head tilted slightly to the side, his eyes then fixed on a random point of the building. His lips separated as though to voice a though... Riddler often thought out loud. No words came out however. A harsh and quick inhale abruptly followed the first attempt to voice a thought; but that also simply resulted in a closing of the mouth as he slowly rose his jaw-line.

What-...? What is thi-...?

His mind clearly at work... analyzing some kind of detail... reliving conversations he had... how had Batman done this?

Batman had won the bet.


Thank you all for your patience if you've read through this scenario. I'd love some feedback on the quick scene written work if you've recognized the pure form of this riddle. Likely you've heard it before.

Those who have can probably tell me what Batman wrote on the pad to obtain such a result from the Riddler.

You can ask me any questions you like... all questions you like. There is no limit to what you can ask, but I can only answer with 'Yes'... 'No'... or 'Irrelevant'.

Offline johns1994

Re: A Riddle
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 09:52:52 PM »
I suppose its not the obvious answer of Edward Nigma, right? :P

Offline sexhaver

Re: A Riddle
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 12:15:02 AM »
I imagine the piece of paper said something like While we were talking about this, the police homed in on my signal and now have snipers trained on your helicopter pilot

I don't suppose he wrote down the phrase "your exact name", since that's what he promised? Probably not.

So I guess my question to start narrowing things down is: Was it a person's name written on the piece of paper?

Offline johns1994

Re: A Riddle
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 03:02:35 PM »
Haha that was my next guess :P

Offline KristenTopic starter

Re: A Riddle
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 04:22:14 PM »
To johns1994: - No sir. You are right in assuming it is 'not' the obvious answer of Edward Nigma lol!

To Sexhaver: Great question. No it wasn't a name... But...

You are right... Batman wrote down: "Your exact name" on the paper which confounds the Riddler because that's exactly what he promised.

You're good at this!

- Kristen -
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 04:24:01 PM by Kristen »

Offline sexhaver

Re: A Riddle
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 10:06:22 PM »
That certainly fits the clues that you gave about him being very concerned with perfect semantics. The objection I would have is that given such an answer, any sane person would simply ridicule Batman for it. The Riddler, were he not crazy and pedantic himself, might respond along the lines of, "You stupid shit, this proves nothing! You don't know a damn thing about me!" I would expect Batman to win in a more direct way, by playing to The Riddler's ego and keeping him talking while his escape routes are slowly being cut off. That's usually how these abstract masterminds are defeated - they're so focused on whatever mind games they're playing that they forget about the big picture. They win the mind game, only to find that they've lost the real world battle.

This sounds like a type of riddle that might have appeared in 1001 Arabian Nights, involving genies and eefreets, or something similar. Is that where it's from?

Regarding feedback of your writing style for which you asked, it seems good enough for me. It keeps the flow going well, which is most important. My only suggestion would be that when you have dialogue going between two people that you also include some detail on the motions and mannerisms of the speakers, first because it helps pad out the paragraphs so it doesn't look so skeletal, and also because such information might further enhance one's appreciation of the characters doing the speaking. A simple exchange of dialog characterizes a chat log more than it does a real conversation. A real conversation is physical as much as it is verbal. I see you describe the physical in some spots, and I encourage you to do it more. Though I understand if you were writing quickly and didn't have time to dwell on such things.