tunnel @ factory entrance on Via Grizzaga, Maranello
Lamborghini factory tour, Sant'Agata
Maserati –private collection open to viewing by
appointment, Via Corletto Sud n° 320
Bruce checked his map and scratched arrows on his list as the train sped from Frankfurt towards the Swiss border. He was scruffier than the other passengers. He’d expected to fit in better: a college kid backpacking across Europe. There were dozens at the station when he bought his ticket, but obviously none of them were going to Milan. Apart from the woman with the dog and the harried mother with the toddler, he was the only passenger in blue jeans. The rest were button down shirts, with or without ties, or suede jackets over polo shirts. The inner critic that would become Batman’s constant monitor of mission status began his background notes: It was an error. He wasn’t so horribly down market that he looked out of place, but he was just enough below the norm that he could be noticed and remembered. It didn’t matter in this case; he’d only been in Germany to study jiu-jitsu, but one day it might.
He glanced up from the guidebook map of Italy to the lighted one at the front of the car detailing the train’s route from Frankfurt to Milan, and again the future Psychobat second guessed him: Stuttgart wasn’t far out of his way. It would have been more efficient to go there first rather than going all the way to the Motor Valley to see Lamborghini, Maserati and Ferrari only to come back into Germany to hit Porsche... But he didn’t want to. For the first time since Kyoto, the discipline that he’d always applied to his studies, the discipline that the dojos honed and weaponized, clashed with the new imperative to let instinct guide him.
The imperative was learned on Red Tail Mountain. The dojos in Tokyo and Noda were similar, and with the arrogance of a student not yet twenty, he’d approached Red Tail Mountain believing himself a seasoned expert at studying a martial art in Japan. But the particulars of dojo etiquette and routine hadn’t prepared him for Maki-sensei. His teaching, his teaching style, and even his senior students were completely different, and Bruce had struggled for weeks—until the mutō dori. Until that one morning he went to the dojo intending to use the freestyle sparring session to work on tanto dori and instead found himself facing a “guest student” with speed abilities. The freestyle randori was now “mutō subarashi chikara dori” fighting unarmed against one with a sword or superpower, and it took nine speed-propelled flops onto the mat to push the realization into his body: technique wouldn’t work. The conscious application of technique was not going to work. It wasn’t simply that the fight overruled any preference of his and what he would like to work on; the very idea of technique was simpl–smack– The speedster was simply too f–smack–ast. He could outrun the very im–smack–ulse from Bruce’s brain to his musc–smack–
His body and brain resisted as long as they could, but as his back hit the mat the ni–smack–tenth time, something gave and a kind of instinct took over. There was a tide. To his body and the speedster’s body and to their fight. An intersection of the three created a unique moment, a unique collision of force and movement that gave rise to the perfect response. There was no technique involved; there was only being in that moment and therefore doing that thing.
But it was impossible to be there if he was thinking about it. He could only surrender and let it happen. If he let go and let instinct guide him—no intention, no technique—then somehow the movement came. Over and over it came. It was easy. The natural result of surrendering to the tide. No thought of a wrist reversal or unbalancing the attacker or defense against a strike from a lower position…
Being led by the no-thing within him that felt—that was part of—the tide—
That’s meant for fighting, not daily life, Psychobat chided. When you’re fighting unarmed against a superpower or a magic user or a sword and conscious thought is too slow.
The idea bored into his psyche as the train reached the Swiss border and a customs agent did a spot check of passports, singling out him because he had dressed down too far. Rather than allowing his inner-critic to underline the clothing error, Bruce addressed the previous point:
Didn’t Musashi’s Book of Five Rings say the Way is found in everything? If Strategy was to dominate all aspects of his life, if everything done as Bruce was to be done with an eye to the Mission, didn’t that mean instinct was also for those non-fighting aspects of life?
The customs agent returned his passport with a nod, and as Bruce put it away, he doubled down on the mental argument: Maki-sensei taught that in the whole life of a sword it will spend only minutes—maybe only seconds—in violence.
Meaning prepare! Psychobat thundered in his mind. You cannot wait until the sword is in motion or the super-powered fist is coming at your face. You must structure your defense to the whole life of the sword or super-powered being attached to the fist.
While the subconscious tug o’ war raged, Bruce returned his attention to the map and rearranged his list to form a northwest-to-southeast itinerary between Parma and Forli and the dozen private collections of supercars to be found along the way. This is why he postponed Stuttgart, and the whole subliminal argument validated his choice: Germany had been a transition, from dojos and inscrutable senseis, from kwoons and inscrutable sifus, and from endless, punishing days on the mat. He’d practiced jiu-jitsu in Frankfurt, but it wasn’t a way of life for the sensei or his students. It was something between a hobby and exercise for men who all had jobs and most of whom had other hobbies, who seemed to regard having a beer together after class as much a part of the evening as their time on the mat. After the years in Asia it was a necessary step, integrating martial arts with “real life” before beginning the next phase of his preparations. Leaving martial arts behind in Germany and coming to Italy to start on the car made a clean break in a way that stopping in Stuttgart would not.
Maybe it didn’t make a lot of sense—and maybe the whole idea was a smokescreen because he had drooled over Ferraris since he was twelve and couldn’t wait to get to Maranello—but it’s what he wanted to do. Maybe it wasn’t instinct he was following but a young boy’s excitement that he’d reached the point in his adventure where he was going to the Ferrari factory at Via Abetone Inferiore where he would see the actual Renzo Piano wind tunnel where engineers honed the aerodynamics of the world’s fastest racecars.
Bruce looked down at his list and playfully lengthened the top of the F in “Ferrari” to extend over the entire word as it did in the Ferrari logo. He did the same thing to the F in factory… and then winced at the thought of Sifu Lin’s scowl. Maybe it would have been more disciplined to start the automotive research in Stuttgart, and maybe he had failed his very first test applying martial arts discipline to his real life.
Discipline. Discipline… To make up for the lapse, he rummaged in his backpack and found the pertinent clippings for a workshop entitled “Science and Technology for a Safe Car,” a “Specialized Master in Racing Motor Engineering,” Ducati’s “Physics in Motion” Laboratory, and Guidare Pilotare’s driving courses as well as Lamborghini’s driving academy. All took their place as less glamorous but mission-critical entries to his itinerary, and the sheer number of hours involved should squelch any idea that he was using the sacrosanct dictates of The Mission to indulge a boy’s love of fast cars.
As the train crossed Switzerland he read up on the Maserati brothers and Alfa Romeo, even though it wasn’t that interesting… Italy’s dominance of the Grand Prix and the history of European racing after the war, even though he didn’t think it would ever be useful even for making conversation with his fellow tourists… He reviewed the more polite use of the verb volere: vorrei “I would like” vs. the more… demanding… even though… the polite form vorrei instead of the more demanding voglio “I want”—though the train had stopped and a trio of beautiful girls his age were boarding—all brunette—and were moving through the car: laughing, smiling, gorgeous legs—voglio vs vorrei, the coarser “I want” and the politer “I would like”—the calves on that one on the right, wow—Vorrei telefonare Gli Stati Uniti...
The girls left the car and Bruce returned to his studies—discipline!—Psychobat squelching the thoughts before they could form... Vorrei noleggiare una macchina. Thoughts of following the girls Vorrei indicazioni per la pista da corsa. Of changing his seat Vorrei partire in quarta… No.
Bruce saw the girls again at the train station in Milan, and with his freshly drilled vocabulary, he thought “fare battere il cuore” as his eyes gave those amazing legs a final, longing caress (though it was meant to be a ’62 Ferrari GTO that quickened the speaker’s heart, not a pretty brunette’s perfectly toned calf).
He hoisted his backpack and endured a new round of Psychobat taking in the kind of detail an aspiring detective should be noticing: though the girls were no older than him, they clearly had a sense of the city’s fashion focus. Like virtually everyone bustling around the platforms, they were chicer than their counterparts in Tokyo, Hong Kong or Berlin. The girls knew, and they were no older than him, so this probably wasn’t their first trip to the city. There were boarding schools in the part of Switzerland where’d they joined the train. If they were students there, they probably made the trip regularly. Shopping for the day—Enough leggy girls!—or maybe a weekend, meet some boys, flirt, What else could be deduced—make a date, enjoy the night life and back for class Monday—that might conceivably be useful?
He sighed as the girls turned under a sign reading Piazza Luigi di Savoia and disappeared into the thickening crowd. What could be deduced that might be useful? Well… Milan’s fashion industry wasn’t a niche apart from the rest of the city… He considered the shops that dominated this part of the station, the stacks of fashion magazines on the news stands, the other passengers on the train and platform apart from the girls… It wasn’t like Gotham; ordinary people spent more of their income on clothes than in other places. Also the pace was brisker than expected. That was more like Gotham, more than one imagined in an Italian city. Even the traffic rivaled Gotham for density and aggression…
Bruce made his way through the chaos to a pedestrian-only thoroughfare near the Duomo, and to the family-run inn he’d booked for the night. At least he hoped he had. No actual sign marked the 19th century building where his directions led, and nothing through the unmarked doorway or the scrolled iron gate beyond gave any hint that this was the place… Nothing up several flights of dark, unmarked stairs offered a clue… leading the future detective to wonder, as all first-time visitors wondered, what he had gotten himself into.
He would eventually learn the “inn” scattered its handful of rental rooms through three buildings that consisted mostly of offices and residential apartments. His room, when he finally reached it, was a pleasant shock. It was small but light and airy, with high ceilings, tasteful furnishings, and homey touches like a bowl of fruit and stacks of books and magazines. There was also a thin balcony with stairs that led to the roof and a dizzying view of a small park and the city beyond. He acclimated quickly to the height, and did all he could to memorize the neighborhood backstreets and absorb the tempo that had been so baffling when he was caught up in the street traffic.
Dropping off his bag, he embarked on one of the more bizarre days he would experience before costumed rogues entered his life: a blitzkrieg of fittings such as the stores arranged for VIPs during Fashion Week, changing in the back of cabs to appear plausibly clad at the next stop, and finally returning to his room under an embarrassing load of Zegna, Dsquared, Etro, Armani, and Pal Zileri bags. In a day, Goal One was accomplished: he could never again feel ridiculous. Whatever poses of foppish vacuity were required of him when he returned to Gotham, this baptism by single-breasted, notch-lapeled fire would make it as effortless as blocking a suwaisho strike.
The new, impeccably cosmopolitan Bruce now left the inn and checked into the ultra-posh Hotel Principe di Savoia. He had the concierge arrange a series of private viewings of the collections at Versace, Tod’s, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and of course Prada, followed by another round of fittings. At the end of this, Goal Two was completed: he had one outfit that screamed “I am obnoxiously rich and here to buy an obscenely expensive car” and a dozen combinations of quiet, casual clothing that would go unnoticed unless an observer recognized the one detail of particular quality that distinguished a Ferrari buyer from the dreaming enthusiast.
The clothes were packed into a new Prada duffel while the vagrant backpack that had seen him through the most punishing kwoons in Asia was folded up without a thought and dropped at a youth hostel on his way out of town. Back at the train station, the young man boarding the Express to Bologna would have been unrecognizable to anyone who saw him arrive a few days before.
Doctor Fibrosi was an American who’d gone to medical school with Thomas Wayne before moving to Bologna. He was happy to meet Bruce at the train station and help him get his bearings, as he often did with the children of old friends taking a semester abroad. He’d heard that Bruce “wasn’t going back to Princeton,” so he assumed this wouldn’t be the usual meet-and-greet with a student from Yale heading for Rome, from Harvard going to Trento, or girls from Smith, Barnard and Bryn Mawr “perfecting their accents” in Florence. He therefore planned a walking tour that focused on food—even Italians came to Bologna for the food, after all—and figured he would let Bruce’s interests shape the rest.
He was mildly surprised when the interest turned out to be cars. It was a shock when Bruce walked up to him: his father’s coloring and carriage, no extra luggage (the non-student Americans always had too many bags for the train or the trunk of a small European rental car) and a pair of driving gloves he’d obviously bought yesterday and was still breaking in.
Bruce’s lack of interest in the food was also a surprise. Even to a transplant like Dr. Fibrosi, the reluctance to spend time munching their way through the Quadrilatero market was peculiar, and to be planning weeks in the region without luxuriating in the rich butter-based cuisine was almost sacrilege. He did get Bruce to sit down for a Negroni and an hour of people-watching as they talked, which made it bearable. He advised Bruce on the ins-and-outs renting a car in Italy: having a ready supply of one and two Euro coins for tolls and parking, the necessity of a chipped credit card to gas up at mechanized pumps, and so on.
After a pleasant hour they parted ways, Fibrosi leaving Bruce with new notations on his map: the Maserati collection housed in a farmhouse that also made the best Parmesan cheese in the region, and the old ducal court in whose 700-year old cellar, perfectly situated on the Po River for curing meat, they made “culatello.” After a brief litany about this legendary ham made from special black pigs and seasoned by the magic fog that came in from the river, he gave Bruce one additional recommendation for a modest bed and breakfast that he would find near the car rental office.
He would have been astonished to see Bruce heading instead for the 18th Century palazzo that was the region’s only 5-star hotel, and more astonished still to see him emerge the next morning: not the unassuming young man on his way to rent a car for a roadtrip but a Eurotrash nightmare waiting to be picked up for a crass motor coach tour.
The Enzo Ferrari Museum silenced Psychobat almost immediately. There was too much to absorb in the mechanical workshop: the experimental engines, eight and twelve cylinders, in which you could see the ideas evolving from design to design; the lines of those Pininfarina chassis, different ideas evolving there, different from the engine but still ideas about speed… There was too much to take in to monitor how Bruce might appear to others, if he was memorable or how his behavior might impact the future mission…
After the workshop was the museum proper and The 212-E. Built in 1952, a scant five years into the company’s existence. The lines of it! Seeming poised to roar into motion even as it was sitting there… Angle after angle as you looked at it: from the front, it suggested a horse impatient with your nonsense, aching to rear up, break its reigns and run! Then as you moved around it… the back wasn’t that interesting, but the sides—the sides! The car he was looking at belonged to Roberto Rossellini, and it was black. The gallery lights reflected along the sides gleamed like stars in the inky depths—like the lights of the city would at night—and Bruce couldn’t restrain a smile imagining how they would race across it as the car moved. The magical effect was hinted at as you walked beside it, changing your angle just that much it promised the wonders to be achieved when it raced through a city after dark…
“…a wedding gift for his wife, the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, and the couple used this car quite a lot to travel around Europe.”
Oh who cares! Psychobat growled. More about the two shades of black, please. And the problems Enzo Ferrari and Battista Farina had communicating in the early years. That would be useful to know, how a partnership like that developed, since he would have to establish a dialogue with creative makers if he was to get the kind of car he craved…
Hm, and the Dino 246 GT, named for Enzo’s late son. (Who cares!) Six-cylinder. Central engine. Low. A masterpiece. And light. It was so light, and with that engine’s central position in the chassis allowing such a fluid shape, it was fast. On only six cylinders, it was so fucking fast. The aerodynamics around the rear windshield, those wings! Engine access from the rear… So many possibilities.
Paradoxically, he tuned out when the tour turned its attention to Gotham and the rather dreary history of importer and Le Mans driver Luigi Chinetti who pioneered the super car’s entry to the U.S. market. The 250 GT might be coveted by collectors, but it had little to offer his mission (though he did note its influence on the “racing style” of the GTO and “perfect proportions” of the GT Road: its ultra-long and flat hood leading to a steeply inclined windshield framed by thin, sleek columns). He shook his head at the buffoon calling it “flimsy,” contrasting it—contrasting a Ferrari 250 GT universally recognized as a masterpiece—with what sounded like a miniature tank that would have all the aerodynamics of a dead rhinoceros.
The second Ferrari museum was more useful: its Formula One focus laid out the challenges of cramming enough power into a vehicle to generate the target horsepower, kilometers per hour, and acceleration while keeping enough weight in the front so it wouldn’t “take off like a rocket.” He learned the importance of carbon, titanium and magnesium in maintaining the desired body mass index, and tried to drill in his understanding while his tour mates enthused about the tortellini and local cheeses of their “typical Emilia-Romagna lunch.”
Bruce ate little. And despite the pretense of organizing his thoughts, he couldn’t really think of anything besides the next stop: The Autodromo. A F458 Challenge Ferrari. How could he care about noodles in cream sauce when he was going to drive a supercar.
A supercar. A F458 Challenge, 570 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, 390 pound-feet of torque, 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds, 62 to 0 in 107 feet. 7-speed Getrag dual clutch transmission…
Approaching the man with the clipboard, Bruce flashed on his first day in his first dojo, trying to convince himself he didn’t look as hopelessly young as he felt. He snuck a glance at his reflection, the flash of the Milanese clothes pushing a little more “money” into his gait. Aggressive money: he wasn’t some kid about to buy a Ferrari the day he got a learner’s permit (Alfred had put a stop to that); he was a grown man who liked fast cars and had the means to indulge himself. The mantra pushed into his muscles just as technique had pushed out the remnants of his insecurity in the dojo, and in the remaining steps to the clipboard, Wayne the Playboy was born.
The “Driving Experience” he’d purchased began with a safety briefing and introduction to the equipment “conducted by a professional driver.” Today that driver was Stefano Fanti, who handled all of the English-speakers, and as he spoke about situational awareness and race craft, the nascent playboy absorbed his smooth Italian charm and king-of-his-world mannerisms. The particulars would come later, in London, with the first year analysts hunting Sloane Rangers at Annabel’s and blowing through 5-figure bonuses in the South of France, but the foundations were laid in that safety briefing. While the future Batman heard “the theoretical limit of adhesion in a corner” and the future actor logged the tone and tempo, the ease of Stefano’s body language... “Engineering competence, balance and discipline” …the tilt of the head and warmth of the smile.
After the briefing, Bruce put on the white cowl-like hood that would form a disposable barrier between the borrowed helmet and his hair and sweat. As the sleek fabric flattened his hair against his head, it was as though it also sealed away the playboy nonsense as well as the insecurities that persona was created to mask. There was no time for it… as the helmet came down over the hood ...not with 570 horsepower at his command. He had to focus.
And focus he did. Everything nonessential started shutting down as he walked towards the car. It was, of course, Ferrari Red. Two mechanics with shirts of the same hue stood in front of the open hood. He realized later that while they appeared to be doing a “final check,” the hood was really raised in case he wanted to have a look before getting in. At the time, his mind was prioritizing what he would focus on, and a man in the tan jump suit commanded his attention. The suit was covered in racing patches, and the man stood beside the car looking at Bruce and holding the door open. Naturally Bruce followed that lead and sat…
…non pensare d'essere la macchina comoda sociale aimette la cintura… A barrage of Italian rolled by as the jumpsuit fastened his seatbelt for him, and still leaning in, pointed to the dashboard …Non si puo lasciare roma ma e gia al massimo non e una machina fatta preso il sole molto a questa—
What? ‘Can’t leave Rome’? The best something. ‘La machina’ is ‘the car.’
…allenato da Stefano cerca di andare in progressione e di mettere la macchina dritta…
The part of the mind that realizes ‘this is your ass’ snapped into gear, and in a heartbeat the instinct of the dojo took over—VOID! Norepinephrine flooded his brain, tightening his focus.
…questa costa peccato.
Bruce laughed at the colloquialism about the price of the car and answered in easy Italian with a joke of his own. Then in answer to a question, he introduced himself more fully and the jumpsuit shook his hand, then they chatted for a minute more as he offered a pair of driving gloves. Bruce took them rather than wearing his own. He was putting them on as Stefano got into the passenger seat next to him.
The hood of the car slammed down, and one of the men in red shirts now wore a white jump suit over it, with red highlights, identical to Stefano’s. He held a matching red and white helmet—so, not mechanics. They were other drivers. The reality of where he was reasserted itself: the Autodromo di Moderna in Italy’s Motor Valley, the bays around him filled with Maseratis and Lamborghinis, while he himself sat behind the wheel of a Ferrari F458 Challenge.
He started the engine. The roar echoed in the vibration under his thighs and buttocks. Stefano watched as the jumpsuit walked him through a brief lesson on steering— lo stresso a sinistra a sinistra giro alla destra, a centro—and precisely 1 minute and 26 seconds later his foot touched the gas to ease the car onto the track.
For a quarter of the first lap, Stefano talked him through accelerating and turning at moderate speed, and then… Time dilated. All sense of himself disappeared: no Bruce, no playboy, no mission. Only action and awareness. The dashboard—black, leather—the car beyond extending out from his legs—red, bizarrely red—and into the road.
Dopamine flooded his brain, tightening focus—The dash, the car and the road, all a part of him, an extension of him… Stefano, not a part of him but a resource, information.
Anandamide, serotonin, and endorphins flooding his brain—and power, the roar of the engine, and speed, no time for technique. No intention, no thought. Surrendering to the tide.
Opening it up on a straight stretch, then slowing for the turn. Fusing the sound of that engine into his being, feeling rather than sensing its hiccups, the car a part of him, not an outside thing… Opening it up again, not slowing so much on the next turn. Feeling the edge of the road and where it would be, just like the speedster in the dojo. His body and the speedster’s, a unique collision of force and movement… Five times around the track. Being in the moment gave rise to the perfect response.
Bruce had no chance to process the experience at the Autodromo. The tour went on: the wonders at the factory and assembly line barely penetrated. The Formula One simulator was a pale, dead experience, the knowledge that it was a simulator preempting any firing of hormones and neurotransmitters. It was interesting, and another day it might be exhilarating, but after the F458, it was a bumpy TV show. Even seeing the famous wind tunnel couldn’t get him back “on mission,” though the emerging Psychobat logged the basic principles: reduce drag in ways that will not cost more in lost downforce than is gained.
Even the wording was clunky, but he couldn’t be bothered to string the awkward translation into a better framework to make it memorable. He returned to his room in Bologna exhausted, and he slept hard. If there were any dreams before the Crime Alley nightmare that woke him, he didn’t remember them. Indeed, the only thought he had opening his eyes was that his ambivalence to the local cuisine was catching up with him. He was famished.
The only sensible course was to throw on clothes and go down to breakfast, but Psychobat squelched that idea before it could reach his consciousness. DISCIPLINE was the watchword of his new life, and he was not going to start bending his habits less than a week out of the dojo. The day started with meditation, period.
He knelt in seiza on the floor of his room, closed his eyes and focused on his breathing, in and out, in and out, noting and dismissing the ambient sounds—when his eyes snapped open. April 8. It was Alfred’s birthday.
Calculating that it was nearly 1 a.m. in Gotham, he had time. A quick breakfast was followed by a trip to the car rental to make arrangements for his road trip. Predictably, all the Ferraris were red. There were a number of options for the Maseratis, including a blue GranCabrio convertible that would be a treat. But then… Lamborghini. A Gallardo, dark blue; a Huracan Spyder, dark grey; and a Murciélago in a deep, rich black called Mezzanotte. It was love at first sight.
He returned to the hotel to work out how to call the United States…
Bruce was unsure how it happened exactly, but after the birthday wishes and a cursory overview of his life over the last year, the conversation understandably turned to where he was now and, somehow… Of course he would be happy to see Alfred again, happy to get caught up face-to-face, but Alfred coming to join him simply wasn’t part of the plan. Even for a part of these mission-prep travels, he didn’t… hadn’t… he just never saw himself having company. Especially now when he was, essentially, attempting to rejoin society after literal years living as a dojo tramp.
Yet the passing reference to Dr. Fibrosi’s fixation on the food in Bologna and then to his fellow motor-tourists’ wild admiration for the tortellini—one passing reference in a ten minute phone call—and here he was, he and his Midnight Bat Lamborghini, speeding back to Modena, and not to the Enzo Ferrari museum but to the train station a scant 500 meters away.
Psychobat grumbled a little as he parked and a little more as he waited, all these deviations from the plan is what he objected to, one after another. It was such a bad habit to get into… but all that was squelched the moment he saw Alfred again.
“Buongiorno, Master Wayne,” was all he had to say and Bruce couldn’t restrain a smile, though at the same time, it hurt. The flash of home in that voice, after all this time running away from it. The manor was still “with him,” he learned that his first weeks in Tokyo. He carried it inside him, but he’d grown used to it. The sudden dial-up was disconcerting—
“I see you finally got your Ferrari,” Alfred said when he saw the car.
“A Lamborghini,” Bruce corrected, “A Murciélago; it means ‘bat.’”
“Bats again,” Alfred muttered, looking worriedly at the passenger seat and then noting the roadster was “not exactly designed for cargo, is it?”
Bruce opened the trunk with a boyishly mischievous smile. “I have it on good authority you can store two million in cash in here; I think it can handle your suitcase.”
The reaction was odd. The disapproval that always seemed to hang over Bruce’s talk of fast cars, but with something new. Bruce swallowed hard as Alfred handed over his luggage, realizing it was acquiescence. The words of his greeting belatedly sunk in: “Buongiorno, Master Wayne”, not Master Bruce. The dynamic was changed forever.
To be continued…