Dick hummed happily. Ever since he'd been old enough to have showers, he'd been trying to find a way to fill a shower cubicle up with water. This was, of course, the dream of all children. Everyone had tried to do so at some time in their life. Like so many before him, the eight year old had discovered that if he put a face-washer over the plughole he could get the water as far up as his ankles, but it always ended up leaking out through the gaps in the door.
However, he was certain that Roy had finally helped him find the answer - Bruce's silicone gun. They'd plugged up the plughole, sealed up the shower-screen door and even filled in all the cracks in the tiles. The cubicle was completely watertight and the water was already up to their knees. And the best thing of all was the fact that they had all night to enjoy it. Bruce had invited some of the members of the Justice League over for dinner which meant they'd be talking all night. It hadn't been a surprise to the youngster when several of them had brought along children which he was then expected to entertain.
"It will be like a slumber party," Bruce had stated. "It will be good for you to spend more time with them." Dick guessed the reason it was supposed to be so 'good' was because they shared something rather unique in common - all of them had a guardian who had the type of job they couldn't discuss with people outside the ‘family.’ A little bit like the mafia, Roy had told him when they’d first met.
All in all, the evening hadn't been too bad. Roy, who was Green Arrow's nephew, was funny and Dick’s partner in solving the shower cubicle problem. Then there was Wally, who was quiet but couldn't stand still. Not surprising considering he shared his uncle's super speed. Finally there was Donna, who was Wonder Woman's adopted sister. Roy had carried on about girl germs and not wanting to sleep in the same room with Donna, but she had picked him up and launched him across the room and since then he had refrained from making any further remarks. The truth told, Dick appreciated being able to relax with these other kids because he didn't need to watch what he said. They knew Bruce was Batman and so there wasn't any chance of letting that important secret slip out. Over the last couple of months he had become close to all three of them.
Alfred had appeared at about 10:00pm and told the children to hit the showers and then bed. Despite the fact that Wayne Manner had six bathrooms, the children were restricted to using the bathroom in the wing they were going to sleep, which was directly above where their guardians were having a meal.
Wally and Donna had already had their separate showers which meant Dick and Roy could spend as long as they wanted. The point was, this wasn’t about having a shower. This was about achieving a dream and Dick had invited Roy along for the ride. True it had been Roy’s idea to ‘borrow’ Bruce’s silicone gun rather than using the traditional and floored method of using a face-washer. The two little boys were in swimming trunks and watching with happy fascination as the shower filled up with water.
Banging on the door interrupted the pair’s off-key version of "Rubber Duckie".
"Have you almost finished, Dick?" Donna called.
"No. I think we’re going to be in here a while yet," the boy replied, staring around at his and Roy’s handy work. Soon, he would be able to swim around in the giant bath they had created.
"Can you hurry up?"
"But you already had your shower," Roy pointed out, curiously.
"I need to clean my teeth before going to bed."
"Okay, we'll be out in a minute."
Dick smiled. Roy always said that and it was the truth... sort of. He would be out in a minute; he just wasn't specifying which minute it would be.
The cubicle was filling with thick white steam, just the way Dick liked it. Alfred was always telling him how important it was to turn the fan on when having a shower, but Dick couldn't see the point. A shower without steam didn't make sense.
"You might as well go and stand out in the rain," he had once grumbled.
Roy splashed some of the water at Dick and sat down on the bottom, but the water was now up over his head. Happily he stood up and grabbed the small rubber duck some friend of Bruce‘s had given Dick. Dick had been horrified to think anyone would think he’d play with a rubber duck. Roy had been teasing him about it since spotting it sitting on the shelf.
"This is it," Roy cried. "Just you and us going where no boys - or rubber duck - has ever gone before!" Both of the little boys laughed. The duck, with its bill raised in a sort of smile, looked happy.
“He looks like he’s enjoying it,“ Dick commented.
“Let’s face it, there probably wasn't isn’t much excitement in the life of a rubber duck... except that you'd get to see everybody without their clothes on!” This caused the boys to giggle.
Donna banged on the door again.
"Roy, Dick, pleeeeeease. I can't go to bed unless I've cleaned my teeth."
"Okay," Roy called. "We'll be out in a minute."
"You said that a minute ago," the girl called with annoyance.
Dick glanced around the cubicle. They couldn't stop now. His life long dream was about to be achieved thanks to Roy’s ingenuity. "I'm washing my hair."
"But you've been in there for at least half an hour. Neither of you have that much hair."
"He's using a new sort of shampoo. He's got to wash it strand by strand, right, Dick?" Roy added.
"Yeah, right," Dick chuckled.
Donna made a disgusted sound and stormed off.
“You‘ve got hand it to me, Dick. This is one of my best ideas."
This statement caused Dick‘s cautious nature to prickle. Roy always had some ‘great’ idea and most ended with disastrous results. Like the time he had thought it would be a ‘great’ idea to turn the fountain outside the Justice League headquarters into the biggest bubble bath on the planet. Soap suds had spilled everywhere; needless to say, all of the children hadn't been popular. This idea, though, couldn’t get them into trouble... could it?
The water was almost up to boys’ belly-buttons and thoughts of the day they had turned the fountain into a bubble bath gave Dick an idea. The only thing missing from this bath was bubbles. He measured out a capful from the bottle sitting on the shelf above his head and tipped it into the water. It produced a few bubbles but nowhere near enough.
“More,“ Roy encouraged. Dick added another cap... and another... and another... one more for good measure... another for good luck. Egged on by Roy, he kept adding bubble bath until the bottle was empty. The bubbles rose up over their heads.
"Coooooool. It's like I'm being eaten by an enormous white fungus," Roy laughed. Dick considered the statement in light of the recent Justice League mission Bruce had been on and decided that being eaten by an enormous white fungus, which was what had almost happened to Wally’s uncle, would probably be quite uncool... but it was still a lot of fun.
"If you two don't get out of there right this minute, you're going to be sorry. I could break this door down you know." Donna was persistent, but Dick knew how to fix that. He'd use his old 'what did you say?' routine.
"Pardon?" he called. "What did you say?"
"I said you're going to be sorry."
"What? I can't hear you."
"I said get out of the shower so I can clean my teeth!"
No reply. Dick grinned. It always worked. Abruptly, the water went hot! Donna must have flushed the toilet, taking all of the cold water. Dick and Roy jumped back against the shower wall, at the same time grabbing the cold tap and turning it on full.
“Not fair, Donna!” Roy shouted. The hot water disappeared leaving only freezing water spraying into the cubicle. Dick cursed. They were going to have to turn both taps off and start all over again to get the temperature right. Being a pioneer wasn’t easy.
Dick turned the hot tap off, but the cold wouldn’t budge.
“I can’t get it to move,“ he commented, battling with the tap.
“Let me try,“ Roy stated, shoving his friend out of the way. He grabbed it with both hands but it was stuck fast.
Dick stared at Roy wishing at least one of them had strength like Donna. Spotting the silicone gun hanging off the shower nozzle, he picked it up and slammed the tap with it. After two bashes, the handgrip shattered.
“Ohhhh, shit. Alfred’s going to kill me.” The pieces disappeared into the soapy water leaving only a thin metal rod coming out of the wall... and the water was still flowing full blast.
“It’s okay. I’ve got an idea,” Roy announced. He crouched and clamped his teeth over the tap rod but the tap felt like it was rusted into place.
“Roy, don’t be stupid. Your teeth will crack before it moves and then Alfred really will kill us!”
Dick frowned, his young mind searching for a solution. There was no steam left. The bubbles had been flattened and the freezing water was almost up to his chest. For the first time, he considered that this wasn’t such a great idea.
“Time to bail out,” he decided. Dick took a deep breath and dived to the bottom of the shower. Reaching for the plughole, he tried to remove the silicone before the shower filled up completely. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get it to move. He couldn’t poke through the rubbery slab or get his finger nails under it. It was times like this he wished he didn’t bite his fingers nails, of course it was like this that caused him to bite his finger nails in the first place!
Dick stood up gasping for air. “No good. It’s stuck tight.“ The water had risen to his neck. Roy began to panic. He grabbed the doorhandle and tried to wrench it open but the silicone there was thicker than the plughole.
“If you ever need anything sealed tight, I can recommend Bruce’s silicone gun. This stuff stays stuck forever,“ Dick commented, trying to calm his friend.
“Dick we are going to drown!” Roy grabbed the silicone gun and began to bash it against the shower door. However, the reinforced glass didn’t budge and the water continued to cascade into the cubicle.
Dick drew in a shaking breath. “Calm down. There’s no need to panic.“ He was now both cold and just a little frightened. “Donna? Donna, you out there?!”
“Have you finished yet?” the girl’s voice came from beyond the door.
“Donna, we need some help,” Dick called, trying his best to keep a level head. Bruce had told him that panic solved nothing.
“We’re drowning in here!” Roy screamed.
“I’m not surprised,” Donna yelled back. “You’ve been in there long enough.”
“Donna, we’re not kidding. Help us!”
“What did you say?” she called. “I can’t hear you.”
“Be serious. Dick’s siliconed us in here.”
“Pardon? I can’t hear you, I’ll come back later when you’ve finished.”
“Donna! DONNA!” Roy continued to shout for some time.
Dick stared around the small prison. They were now treading water, their heads very close to the top of the shower.
It was obvious that the only way to save himself and Roy was to get rid of the water and the only option he could see was to drink it.
“We’re going to have to drink the water.”
“What? Drink it. You’re crazy. I’m not drinking dirty, soapy shower water. I’d rather die.” The water nudged the tip of Roy’s nose. “On second thoughts, I’d rather drink the water.” The little boys looked at each other and then began swallowing.
“It’s working!” Roy cried.
“We just...” Dick swallowed another mouthful. “... have to drink...” Another mouthful. “... as fast as the shower...” Mouthful. “...is filling up.” And if they could drink even faster then they might out of this mess alive.
“Actually, the water doesn’t taste too bad,” Roy commented pausing to catch his breath. “It’s only been three days since my last shower.”
Dick shot his friend a look of deep disgust. Both boys continued swallowing... and swallowing... and swallowing.
“Uh-oh,” Roy whispered.
“I can’t believe this.”
Dick stared at his friend. “What’s wrong?”
“I need to go to the toilet.”
“Well you can’t!” Dick cried firmly. He was prepared to drink dirty, shower water, but no one could make him drink that! “You’ve got to hold on!
“I can’t, I’m busting!”
Dick’s head bumped against the roof of the shower. It was getting harder to breath.
“Did Clarke come tonight?” Dick asked Roy.
“His super hearing could have picked up our calls for help.”
There was more banging on the door, but it sounded like it was coming from a long way away.
“That’s it. I’m going down to tell Alfred. Is that what you want?” Donna called.
“Yes, Donna. Yes! Please hurry,” Dick shouted.
Everything became quiet apart from the two frightened little boys’ panted breathing.
“Well, at least we solved the problem of how to fill a shower cubicle with water.”
“Shut up, Roy.”
“We may be going to die, Dick, but at least it will be a hero’s death. Future generations of American children will thank us as they float around in their sealed-up shower cubicles.
“Roy, we...” Something was pressing into the top of Dick’s head. He tipped his head back and spotted the little fan. “That’s it! Help me.” Dick began to yank at the grill covering the small fan. The hole was only tiny, but it should be big enough for them to climb through. The grill came off easily and between them, Roy and Dick rocked the fan back and forward until the bolt holding it gave away. “You go first,” Dick ordered. Roy thrust his arms and head up into the hole and with Dick’s help hoisted himself up into the roof. He then reached down and pulled his friend up.
Both boys lay panting on a yellow insulation batt in the roof of the manor. The glass fibres were prickly on their skin but neither was complaining.
Dick peered down into the hole. “Alfred is going to kill me.”
“Relax. Just blame me. Tell him it was my idea.”
“It was your idea!”
Roy joined his friend peering down into the shower below. “It’s like one of those fishing holes that Eskimos cut in the ice, but there ‘s no fish. Just your rubber duck.” Roy reached down and drew it out. “The three of us are in this together. We can’t leave you there.”
Dick glanced at his friend and rolled his eyes. “Come on. We need to get down and get some help.”
“I thought that maybe we could just sneak back to our bedroom and make out that Donna and Wally did it.”
“Okay, okay. It was just an idea. Yep, I’m dead. Ollie told me if I caused any trouble tonight that...”
“There’s a manhole above the kitchen. We can climb down there,” Dick advised. The pair set off, Dick leading, Roy following carrying the duck in one hand and using the other hand to feel his way along the roof beam.
Behind Dick he heard a cry of pain. Glancing back over his shoulder he saw Roy trying to pull a splinter out of one of his fingers. “You okay?”
“Hang on. I have to get the duck.” He had tossed it aside when he’d grabbed at his throbbing finger.
“Forget the stupid duck,” Dick cried.
“We can’t do that. It’s been with us all the way.” Roy crawled out across the insulation batts.
“Roy, that isn’t a good idea. That section of the roof is unsupported and...”
“You worry too much, Dick,” Roy called. “I’m not that heavy. Besides, it’s not as if I have any clothes on to weigh me down.”
Roy continued to edge his way toward the duck. Finally he reached out and picked up the small plastic toy. “Come on, little duck.” The duck creaked. “Hey, I didn’t know it could talk.”
“It’s not!” Dick cried, realizing the creak had come from underneath Roy where the ancient ceiling of the manor was giving away. Dick lunged forward to grab his friend but the ceiling caved in.
The next thing Dick knew, he was lying next to Roy in the middle of the dinner table - their fall broken by an insulation batt. As the dust from the ceiling plaster settled, the two little boys saw a host of familiar faces staring down at them. Donna was standing next to Bruce, her back turned toward the uninvited guests and she was so busy complaining that she didn’t seem to notice what had happened.
“...I’ve asked them a million times, but they just won’t come out...”
“Oh dear,” Diana murmured, flicking her eyes to Bruce.
“Yes, well...” Barry commented, suppressing a smile.
For once in his life, Ollie was speechless.
“Oh, no,” Alfred commented stunned.
“Oh, yes,” Donna continued. “And I’ll tell you want else...”
Bruce stared at the two little boys, astounded. He blinked several times. “Would one of you like to explain?” he asked in his soft, but deep voice that could rip paint from walls.
“Ummmm,” Dick mumbled. It was only then that Donna turned. Her eyes grew wide with alarm.
Roy swung his legs over the edge of the table and stood up. “I beg you pardon, Dick and I were looking for the kitchen. Come on, Dick.”
The other little boy didn’t move. Bruce inclined his head and Dick climbed down off the table trying to gauge how much trouble he was in. Nobody actually said anything. They were all sitting staring at the boys, their faces and clothes white from plaster dust.
Roy grabbed Dick’s arm and dragged him toward the exit. Just as they were about to walk out the door, Roy turned to Donna. “Well, what are you waiting for? Bathroom’s free.”
© May 2004 Aussie Nightwriter : This relates only to the creative property in this story. The distinctive way the story unfolds, the specific dialogue and unique situations are mine. I acknowledge that some of the characters and settings belong to DC comics and thank them sincerely for turning a blind eye so I can borrow them. (g) No infrigement of copyright was intended and no profit has been made from this story... so, please don't sue me. It wouldn't be worth your while.