Scam

Five superheroes sit in a pub and bicker over the importance of names. Meanwhile, The chairman eavesdrops and marvels at the way their tight costumes show off their sculptured physiques.”

“Isn’t it nice to see them getting on so well?” said the chairman of the impulsively-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we enjoyed a couple of pints of Hodgson’s Choice at The Latest Blast From The Recent Past. “Absolutely,” I agreed. “Although I bet it’s only a matter of time before they start bickering again – must be something to do with restricted blood flow.”

We were staring at the occupants of one table in a corner of the pub, which is not quite as ill-mannered as it sounds – after all, it’s not every day you walk into a drinking establishment to see five superheroes dressed in brightly-coloured and very tight-fitting costumes. Okay, so for the chairman and me it might be every couple of months – but certainly not every day.

It has been almost a year now since The Spandex Four of Argoman, Supercart, Hexman and The Incredible Res expanded by a quarter but, time being a great healer and everything, they finally seemed to have come to terms with this unexpected form of inflation – apparently not even superheroes can escape the effects of the economy.

Their new housemate at Bothwell Towers came, of course, in the extraordinarily sculpted shape of Maia and please don’t ask me why she doesn’t have a more superheroic nickname – I just report the facts. And the better to do so – and because the chairman and I get very nosey when The Spandex Five are talking – we began inching our own table in their direction.

“Look, Res, it’s just a name,” Hexman was complaining. “I really don’t know why you had to call a house meeting.” “Well, I’m sorry you see it that way,” The Incredible Res replied primly. “But I happen to think names are extremely important. How would you like it if they’d decided to call you Spockman or the Mighty Shoulder-Pad or something?””These aren’t shoulder-pads,” huffed Hexman. “It’s a little thing called fashion – not that I’d expect you to know anything about that. And I can’t believe you’ve taken a pop at my ears, I …” “Okay, Okay,” said The Incredible Res, holding up his hands. “I apologise if I caused offence but I really think we’re getting off the point here.”

“So there is a point, is there?”said Supercart. “Oh, don’t you start,” sighed Argoman. “Let’s just hear what the Res has to say.” “Crawler,” hissed Supercart. “Bullethead,” retorted Argoman. “Thunder …” Supercart began. “So help me – if you mention my thighs, I won’t be responsible for my actions,” growled Argoman rising to his feet.

“Boys, boys,” Maia said conciliatorily. “Argo and Soops have just demonstrated names can be important but what I think dear Ressy really means is if they can change a whole brand just like that, where will it end? “Thank you so much, Maia,” ding-donged the Incredible Res – although the most incredible thing about him at this point was the soppy look on his face.

“You put it so much better than I ever could. So, setting to one side for a moment the quality of a name like ‘Ignis’, the worrying trend for Latin words – presumably to add a bit of class – and the precise number of seconds it took to pick this one out of a list of off-the-shelf management consultancy brand clichés, the key issue is what we are going to do about this.”

“Well, I’m off for a nice hot bath,” said Supercart. “My legs are due a good wax,” added Argoman and the others all duly chipped in with similar excuses. “But this is serious,” The Incredible Res almost whined. “What do I do about replacing the ‘R’ on the front of my suit? These superhero costumes don’t just make themselves, you know?” But by now he was talking to thin air and he soon flew off himself.

“What a splendid chest,” remarked the chairman as we returned our table to its usual place. “Steady on,” I said. “What’s the matter?” the chairman asked. “I was merely about to wonder how often the Incredible Res works out to get pecs like that. They’re just so – what’s the word? – incredible.” “Oh,” I said. “That’s all right then … I think.”