Dear Mr. Wayne,

Let’s not beat around the bush. I know who you are, you know who I am. You are the billionaire vigilante Bruce Wayne, and I am the super-intelligent Edward Nygma, who has spent the last couple of years teetering on the precipice of the gig economy. While I would love to fulfill my obligations to you as a member of your Rogues’ Gallery, I must sadly inform you that following my financial decline over the previous year, I can no longer devote as much of my time and money towards creating elaborate multi-step riddles that take you about three minutes to solve.

The past couple of years have affected us all. Perhaps some more than others, given that you have family wealth and a car that turns into a plane, whereas I am $73,000 in debt with a degree in Applied Puzzles from Gotham University, a qualification that did not help me pass the LSAT.

But I digress. What I mean to say is that the new and improved Riddler will be sharper, more devilish, and most importantly, funded by 20 hours of part-time data entry per week.

With the cratering of Gotham’s economy during the pandemic, I had to look myself in the mirror and tell myself a few harsh truths. No pastries with my morning latte. Find a cheaper gym membership. Stop bribing a pilot with $2500 to write “Tick tock, it’s crime o’clock” in the sky. It doesn’t work and you thought it was Calendar Man. Calendar Man! Before Labor Day! It’s absurd.

Now, I will admit, part of the blame for the situation we find ourselves in lies with me. When the idea first came to me to place a dozen white doves inside a backgammon board which enclosed a fiendish riddle and mail it to Wayne Manor, it was all part of a grand scheme to break you psychologically. What my scheme did not foresee was that I would have to make a generous $2000 donation to the East Gotham Bird Sanctuary in order for them to turn a blind eye, and then a pay a further $1500 to feed and house the birds for two weeks while I thought of the riddle, “What’s black and white and board all over?!”, which it only occurs to me now would have made more sense if I’d mailed a chessboard.

Incidentally, do you know how much a backgammon board costs? It’s $79.99! It’s made of friggin’ wood!

Let’s face it, I’ve been throwing money away. I make riddles, you solve them. I make more riddles, you solve them even quicker. I spend $352 dollars and two full days, time which I could have spent polishing my resume on Indeed, creating a crepe paper reconstruction of the alley in which your parents were killed, you immediately tear the crepe paper that Michaels would not let me buy in bulk into shreds. I write a begging letter to my parents insisting that this time I can beat the Bat, you date a stunning Australian psychologist. It has to stop.

But I promise you, as a villain, I will grow and change. Newer riddles will still be there to challenge and astound you. They are just more likely to derive inspiration from the “Ages 10 and Up” section of the book of riddles I stole from a Gotham Spencer’s Gifts. What has two thumbs and is currently living with four roommates in a converted warehouse? This Riddler!

And now, my dearest Bruce, to BUSINESS. AHAHAHAHAHA. I HAVE KIDNAPPED COMMISSIONER GORDON SOMEWHERE WHERE YOU WILL NEVER FIND HIM. SOLVE “INSIDE THE _LD CL_CK T_WER” TO PROCEED. TICK TOCK.


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