He flipped the switch on the grinder and waited for the wheel to get up to speed. He lowered the goggles over his eyes and picked up the flat square of metal. Bright orange sparks flew off the wheel and into the black space around him in all directions.
First he ground out the shape, then set about filing the edges to razor sharpness.
He sensed the old butler behind him, but kept at his work. When he finished, he lifted the goggles onto his forehead, blew off the stray filings from what he had made, and held it up to the light to examine it. He turned it over in his hand, felt it to be sure it had the weight and balance he was looking for.
He grasped the newly ground blade between his fingertips and flung it into the limestone wall. One of its spikes penetrated the rock and held it there.
Happy with his work, he picked up another square of metal and held it against the grinder wheel. This one, too, he began to methodically shape into the form of a leaf.
“Why arugula, Master Bruce?” the old butler asked.
Bruce switched off the grinder and pulled his goggles up. “Arugula made me uncomfortable once,” he said. “I ordered a salad in an Italian restaurant a few years ago, expecting lettuce or spinach . . . I wasn’t prepared for the strong, peppery taste.” Down came the goggles, and the grinder started back up. “I’d like to return the favor.”
After a minute, he noticed Alfred still standing there. He switched off the grinder and swiveled on his stool to face him. “What is it?”
“I just can’t help but think you might pick a better symbol for yourself. If your goal is to strike terror into the hearts of criminals.”
Alfred looked up at the ceiling, which undulated from the movements of the bats which hung from nearly every square inch of its surface. He turned back to Bruce and raised an eyebrow.
“What, bats?” Bruce asked. “Bats.” He chuckled and turned back to the grinder. “You might know a thing or two about . . . vacuuming or washing windows, old friend, but leave the crimefighting to the experts, okay?”