Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.7: Unfortunate Circumstances

Angela managed to squeeze inside the door, behind the queue that stretched its way around the bank. She checked her watch, thinking ’10:30. It shouldn’t be this busy now’, but then stood and waited behind the man wearing the green jacket. She felt the presence of a large man behind her, who too managed to get completely through the door. After five minutes of not moving apart from a couple of steps forwards she began to think something wasn’t right.

The first thing she noticed was that no one was leaving. The door behind her was the only way in and out to the customer area of the bank. This in turn made her realise that she hadn’t felt the door slide open and close again since the man behind entered. She then realised how quiet the place was. Usually, the bank played gentle music for the customers as they waited, but today it wasn’t there.

Angela glanced over to the cashier desks that were along the side and back walls of the room, and each desk was in use. She noticed the people being served were all standing in a similar pose to each other, leant slightly forwards with both arms bent in front of them. As these customers also had quite large frames, she couldn’t see anything further in front of them, but just in the way they were all standing piqued her curiosity.

She glanced at the digital clock on the wall above the cashiers on the side wall, its bright red letters displaying 10:25. ‘Digital clocks shouldn’t stop’, she thought as she began to put things together. The bulky people; the non-movement; the lack of music; the stopped clock… She knew that something untoward was going on, but in a very orderly fashion. The man in the green jacket in front was blocking her view of the rest of the queue moving forwards, but Angela needed to see if she could gather any further details. She decided that she would leave the bank, and return as something very discreet. She turned to walk out through the door, but the bulky man behind her didn’t move to allow her passed. He stood, arms folded, and glaring at her. She stepped to one side to walk by him, and he moved in front of her. She smiled, and apologised for side-stepping the same way, and made herself step the other way. The man moved and blocked her again. He was deliberately keeping her in the bank. Angela glanced at the door, and saw three more bulky people facing the street outside, blocking the entrance. ‘That explains why nobody else is coming in’ she thought. She also noticed two large black boxes on either side of the door, and presumed they must be keeping the doors closed, otherwise they’d be constantly sliding back and to with the three people stood in front of them. She looked back at the man behind her in the queue who was still glaring at her, although he was now pointing some kind of weapon at her. He gestured that she turn around again. She did, but positioned herself so that she had a better view of the queue. She noticed there were about thirty people in the queue, and every fourth or fifth person was one of these bulky people. The people in between all stood compliantly looking forward. She presumed all of the bulky people had a weapon, as did the ones stood at each of the cashier desks. She glanced back at the clock on the wall, which hadn’t changed from 10:25, the colon between the 10 and 25 not blinking. The cashiers themselves weren’t moving, which Angela thought odd as if this was a robbery they would be doing something.

Angela discreetly checked her watch again, which now said 10:40. She pressed the outside of the watch face firmly into her hip, which caused the device to vibrate. The man in the green jacket started to sneeze. The bulky man from behind shoved Angela to one side as he barged passed her, and lifted the man in green off the ground, and flung him across the room into the wall next to the cashier. The people in the queue flinched, some jumping physically. It was then that Angela noticed a few other people lying by the edge of the room, in the corner that was hidden by the self-service machines, some seemingly in more pain than others. Three of the bulky people from the queue, including the one who had stood behind Angela, moved over to the corner and stood facing those who were on the floor. Angela saw the man in green crawl over to the others, before being hidden by the bulky trio.

Angela was now at the back of the queue, and no one was looking in her direction. She decided now was the time to act. As she set into motion her transformative abilities a very loud and unpleasant screeching filled the bank. The customers in the queue flinched again, some grabbing their ears. Others literally fell to the floor. The cashiers too reacted to the sound. None of the bulky people moved until the first one in the corner slumped to the ground, his head bursting with sparks. Then, in turn, each of the bulky people exploded in the same way in a chain reaction that spread around the room, and then out to the three outside.

Angela felt the doors behind her open again, the cool outside air a welcome change. Some of the customers at the back of a queue dashed out passed Angela. One woman quickly followed, looking at Angela in fear. Her face contorted as she screamed, and she cowered passed Angela. Other people escaping looked at her in the same way. Angela glanced at her reflection in the dark glass panel beside her and saw that her facial features had been grotesquely distorted. She had somehow got stuck mid-change. She swiftly tried to change herself back, and nothing happened.

To be continued.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.6: Rage

“Thank you for coming – please come again soon!” The waitress waved after the foursome as they left the Pyramid Lounge.

“She was friendly, considering we only had one glass of water each!” Gladiator said, looking back and smiling. Stealth, Parrot Girl and Crimson Songbird walked behind him, but couldn’t get him out of the way in time as he crashed into somebody walking into the lounge.

“Owww!” declared the red-head with a wince, before noticing with whom she’d collided. “You? Again?? Here??? Who are you? Walking-Disaster-Man?”

Gladiator was taken aback. “I’m sorry, Miss. Have we met before?”

“Oh come on. I’m not stupid. I’d recognise those baby blues anywhere. And those muscles. And that cute smile. It’s me, from earlier – Rage! You threw me over your back.”

“You must have me mistaken with somebody else, Miss.” Gladiator was flustered.

“Not. Miss. RAGE!” Rage declared with a face like thunder.

Gladiator noticed that she was now wearing different clothes; a tight-fitting blue silk dress and a pair of short ankle boots. “Sorry. I’ve been here with my friends all evening.” He lied.

“I’ve just heard you say you’ve had one glass of water each, and it’s only just gone ten. Please don’t lie to me…” Rage noticed the three others were standing directly behind Gladiator, instantly recognising another one. “Oh. I love those glasses.” She said, to Crimson Songbird.

“Thank you, but if you’d please let us through, we have a bus to catch.”

“Oh yes. Sorry.” Rage’s face radiated with a warm smile. She looked at Gladiator. “I must have you mistaken for someone else. I do that all the time.” She gushingly moved out of their way so they could leave the building.

“She knows who you are, Green Gladiator” Viridian said in Gladiator’s mind as the Stealth Gentleman touched his shoulder.

“No kidding!” Gladiator said aloud, causing Rage to furiously glare at him. “No, not you!” he said after her, as she stormed away. He watched as she walked into the lounge, and then turned again, only to collide with somebody else entering the building.

“Oof!” Declared the gruff-sounding gent who had also not been looking where he’d been going. “I erm do apologise.” It was Raymond Reide. “You. All of you. Here. Together. What on Earth erm are you up to?” He smirked.

“We’re moving on.” Gladiator said, without even bothering to apologise in return. Parrot Girl put her arm around Gladiator’s and pulled him away from Reide, toward the exit. Crimson Songbird waited back while the Stealth Gentleman then walked passed the Superhero Controller. Then Crimson herself walked by without saying a word.

“Such an erm friendly lot of people in this town.” Raymond said as he thrust his jacket over to the cloakroom attendant whilst glaring out into the street. He looked back at the attendant and smiled. He then walked into the Pyramid Lounge, admiring the decor.

Outside, Gladiator quickly turned to look at the entrance before looking back to his three colleagues. He noticed a bright blue light in the corner of his eye, but blinked a couple of times and it went away. “I can’t believe that!”

“I know. Here of all places. What was Reide thinking?” Parrot Girl asked.

“No, not that – me walking into the two of them like that. I’m so clumsy!”

“Don’t worry about that,” Crimson Songbird said, with a grin. “That woman – she seems to like you. How do you know her?”

“I don’t.” Gladiator said, his cheeks burning. “And it’s so embarrassing how we met. And then just now! Like that. I don’t believe it.”

“Love makes us fall apart, my friend.” Stealth said, now joining Crimson Songbird with a smile as he patted Gladiator on his back.

“And she still knows who you are, Green Gladiator.” Viridian once again spoke into Gladiator’s mind.

“I don’t think I’m bothered about that.” Gladiator replied, this time in his thoughts only. “I may not be a superhero for much longer anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.” The link to Viridian ended as Stealth Gentleman moved his hand away.

“Cheer up!” Crimson said cheerily. “Let’s make this into a proper night out! Drink away all of our miseries and misfortunes. Leave the world to itself for tonight, and forget everything to do with super-“

“GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!” A familiar voice shouted from inside the Lounge’s entrance.

“You know that you aren’t welcome in here, Miss.” the bulky doorman said, without emotion as he carried Rage in front of him, his arms curled under her shoulders, holding her aloft. Rage swung her legs in frenzy but she couldn’t get herself free. “I’m just doing my job and putting you out.”

“I’ll put you out as soon as you put me down.” Rage answered back. “NOW PUT ME DOWN!” She swung her right leg up just high enough to clip Gladiator’s left shoulder with it. He spun around quickly just in time to see the doorman drop her to the ground, where she landed with a graceless thud.

“Woah!” Gladiator said to the doorman. “You can’t treat her like that!” The doorman stared at Gladiator blankly, turned and returned into the building. Gladiator helped Rage up. “I’m sorry about that.”

“It wasn’t your fault this time,” Rage answered, having difficulty putting weight onto her right leg. “I’m sorry for kicking you just now. I didn’t mean to do that.”

“I know.” Gladiator smiled, holding her up on her right side until she could stand unaided once again.

“My knight in shining armour!” Rage gushed, looking into Gladiator’s eyes.

“We’re going to get going,” Crimson Songbird said, feeling the awkwardness of the whole situation. “Are you coming with us, G?”

“Yes. Just a minute!” Gladiator looked back at Rage. “Why don’t you join us?”

Rage looked at the three heroes who were patiently waiting. “Thanks, but no. I’m having an awful night, so I think I’ll just go home and call it a day. Thanks, anyway. Besides, I’m sure we’ll meet again.” They all watched as she hobbled off and got into a waiting taxi.

Gladiator looked back at Crimson Songbird who was grinning broadly yet again. “She likes you.” Crimson repeated. “And you her.” Crimson poked Gladiator in his stomach as his cheeks reddened once more, and she hooked her arm around his. “C’mon, let’s paint this town the same colour as your face!” She teased.

Gladiator smiled, and quickly glanced between the Stealth Gentleman and Parrot Girl, noticing once again the flash of blue light. “Let’s go and have some fun!” he said, and the group set off walking toward Mid’s Main Street. “I think we all deserve it!”

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.5: Whispers

The Green Gladiator, Stealth Gentleman, Crimson Songbird and Parrot Girl met in the Pyramid Lounge, as they’d arranged earlier that day, in their civilian identities. Viridian had opened a psychic link with the Stealth Gentleman, and was able to hear their words, and relay the conversation to Icewind and Sia Klath, who were gathered with him aboard Viridian’s spaceship on the dark side of the Moon.

“What can I get you all?” The waitress asked, as she approached, her face lit up by the brightest of smiles.

“Just a jug of water, and four glasses, please” Stealth asked, returning the smile.

“Nothing to eat?” the waitress jotted their order down on a small notepad, still smiling broadly.

Stealth Gentleman still smiled back as he shook his head. The waitress walked away and he looked back at the group. “OK. What do we do now?” he asked, the smile instantly becoming a frown.

“We’re still EFB members, regardless of what Reide has said.” Crimson Songbird commented.

“Well, you all are,” Parrot Girl commented, “although I’m still an honorary member, I suppose.”

“What do you mean?” Green Gladiator asked, somewhat confused. “Reide sent us all packing!”

“He did, but he obviously hasn’t read our by-laws.” Crimson Songbird continued.

“The Songbird is correct” Viridian said through the Stealth Gentleman. “All members remain members until they and only they decide to leave. They can’t be forced out of their place in the team.”

“But by us all walking, doesn’t that mean we have left?” Green Gladiator was still confused.

“No. Only by us declaring that we have officially left the team means we have left.” Songbird added.

“Even if we’re rubbish?” Gladiator asked, thinking of his recent performance on the team.

“We are a team to help everyone, Gladiator.” Stealth said, “Even ourselves.”

“OK. I think I get that now; but what does that mean now?” Gladiator had a lightbulb moment and felt very relieved… confused but relieved.

“Here you go,” The smiling waitress returned with a large jug full of water, and half full again with ice. Four glasses had been placed around the jug on the tray. “Would you like anything to eat? Our Aztec Burgers are out of this world.”

“Aztec Burgers?” Gladiator was confused again. “I thought this was an Egyptian themed place?”

“There are pyramids all over the place, sir,” the waitress answered with a smile although quite robotically, “not only in Egypt.” Her smile never left her face.

“I see. I just thought… never mind.” Gladiator felt his cheeks begin to burn. Songbird looked at him and smiled back, with a wink. “We’re fine with the food,” she replied to the waitress, who walked away leaving them to pour the water themselves.

“So what do we do now?” Gladiator asked, realising he was being of no help to the group whatsoever.

“I think we should just observe what is going on for now.” Stealth said. “Let Reide think we’ve gone, but just keep an eye on things.”

“Give him too much time and he’ll read those by-ways.” Gladiator felt proud of his comment. Crimson Songbird smiled once again.

“Good point, Glad. We need to give him enough rope to hang himself with, and not enough to tie us all into knots. The by-laws are written very clearly, so if he does check them it won’t take him long to find this clause.”

“I don’t think he’ll read them.” Stealth replied. “I think he’s setting up his own regime and not even thinking about us having our own regulations before today. But still, I think we need to find ways to keep him busy so he doesn’t have time to find them.”

“I have a way,” Sia Klath said through Viridian and in turn Stealth, “But it may cause some structural damage to the headquarters. It will probably also alienate me even further. But this is only one way of many more that are needed.”

“Whatever it is, Sia, do it.” Stealth replied. “Don’t tell us anything more. We should all act covertly. Cause frustration, delay. But remember our colleagues. We can’t tell them what we’re doing, but we mustn’t do anything that would harm them.”

“Agreed.” Songbird said, and together they all repeated “Agreed!”

Songbird looked at Parrot Girl, who now had a sad look on her face. “What’s wrong, PG – we’re doing this for the good of the team.”

“I know,” Parrot Girl replied, in a whisper, “It’s just that I have to lie to Firetop again.”

“You don’t need to take part, Parrot Girl,” Stealth said. “With you being an honorary member, you can step back. We wouldn’t hold it against you.”

“No, I know,” Parrot Girl said. “And that’s just it. I know. I’m already involved.”

“Reide will probably not be expecting us to join our own team,” Songbird commented. “But I think he will be expecting us to try something. He may look like a bumbling idiot, but it seems he knows what he’s doing.”

“I agree,” Stealth replied. “He’s obviously got a plan, but for what else I have no idea. Let us lie low for a couple of days, and then see what we can do to cause a little disturbance.”

“This actually sounds like fun.” Gladiator said, smiling broadly.

“But this is very serious stuff,” Stealth replied sternly. The Gladiator’s cheeks began to burn again.

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.4: Rejected

Green Gladiator left the EFB Building and punched the brick wall in frustration, hurting his knuckles in the process. “Owwww!!!” He wailed, swiftly looking around to see if anyone had either seen or heard him. “I’m such an idiot!” He muttered to himself, under his breath whilst massaging his hand. A discarded drink can lay on the pavement ahead of him as he walked, so he kicked it in anger, intending for it to move along the pavement, but somehow veering off to the left and into the wall. Once again he looked around for observers. Unfortunately, this time there was one.

“Looks like someone’s having a bad day…!” the scarlet-haired woman said, with an enigmatic smile. Dazzling green eyes shone in the evening light. “I can help you with that, if you like…”

Green Gladiator looked at the woman who was leaning against the corner of the building at the entrance of the alleyway that led to the Mid Recorder’s main entrance. He noticed her eyes first, then her hair, then the tight black silk dress she was wearing. His gaze continued down her legs (covered in fishnets) to her feet, delicately placed inside what looked to him like a pair of expensive shoes. He brought his attention back to her face very quickly. He caught a glimpse of his mask in the corner of his eye and thanked himself for not flinging it off, which was going to be his next move.

“Are you going to a fancy dress party?” the woman asked, looking at the Gladiator’s uniform. “What are you going as? Don’t tell me – a bush!” She giggled.

“A b-bush?” Gladiator was taken aback. “Do I look like a bush?”

“Well, you’re all green… with these bits bulging out here and there.” Gladiator noticed she was looking at the tops of his arms and his shoulders. “But you seem to be a little firm to be a bush. Let me try again. I know… you’re going as Envy!”

“Envy? How can you go from a bush to envy? I’m the Green Gladiator – the superhero.”

“Of course you are sweetness.” The woman giggled. “I’ll go to the party with you. You can be Envy, and I can be Rage.”

“Rage? Envy and Rage? No. Hang on… I’m NOT going to a fancy dress party!”

“I know you’re not, sweetness. Of course I know who you are. I do live in this town, you know. Can I take a selfie with you?”

“No. No selfies. No fancy dresses. Nothing.” Green Gladiator said sternly.

“I’ve upset you now.” The woman’s expression changed from excitedly happy to morosely sad.

“No. You haven’t upset me. You haven’t done anything. You…” Gladiator bit his lip to stop himself saying anything further.

“I can cheer you up, you know.” The woman’s friendly smile reappeared, her eyes big and bright again. Gladiator noticed something glistening in them; a pulsating light, pulsating at a constant rate… almost hypnotic. He quickly looked away, and over to the other side of the road to see if he could see where the light was being reflected from. The buildings were on the shaded side of the road, but there was nothing that would cause her eyes to sparkle the way they did. “Look at me!” The woman demanded, her voice filled with rage this time.

“I don’t know who you are, Miss, but I’m not getting a very good feeling about all of this.” Gladiator may not have had any superpowers like most of the others in the EFB, but he always trusted his instincts.

“I’ve told you who I am. Not ‘Miss’, but Rage!” She grabbed hold of Gladiator’s shoulders and tried to pull him around to look at her. He was too strong, and instead leant forwards, effortlessly lifting her off the ground. Gladiator had misjudged his stance however, and stumbled forwards, causing Rage to flip over his head and then fall headfirst down to the ground. Gladiator managed to somehow catch her before she landed, but in the process fell on top of her.

“You IDIOT!” Rage shouted “Get off me! What do you think you are doing?”

“I’m sorry. I fell…” Gladiator couldn’t believe what had happened. “You caught me off guard… off balance. Are you OK? Are you hurt?” He bumbled up from the ground and helped Rage up.

“I’m NOT hurt.” Rage now had a seriously sulky look upon her face. “And look what you have done to my dress.” She pointed to a large tear that ran from her thigh up the side to halfway up her body. “I don’t believe it! My underwear’s on show. And I’ve a hole in my stocking. Thank you Mr Green. Thank you very much.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”

“Stuff it!” Rage interrupted him. With her right hand, she tried to hold the tear of her dress together. She glared at Gladiator, looking squarely into his eyes. This time, her irises were a very deep green, almost black. “You’re just ridiculous. Just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t mean that you have to inflict it onto everybody else. Just get a grip. And get a better costume while you’re at it. Honestly.”

Gladiator stood open-mouthed as he watched the strange woman stomp away, stopping momentarily to take off her shoes, and then run around the next corner and out of sight. He thought about going after her, just to make sure she was alright, but then decided against it. He thought that he’d probably find himself being arrested for stalking her or something. “Besides, it isn’t dark, and she was in the alley on her own as I walked by before, so I think she can take care of herself.” He kicked the can again, this time causing it to veer right into the road rather than ahead along the pavement, and into the path of an oncoming double-decker bus.

“Oi! Idiot!” shouted the driver through the open window.

“Sorry!” Gladiator waved and rolled his eyes, shaking his head. He sighed. He caught a glimpse of his reflection in a window as he walked passed, noticing how ridiculous he looked in the mask and leather outfit he had on. He stopped and looked at himself a little closer. “It takes more than just muscle, leather and a mask to make a superhero. And I have to walk home looking like this. Maybe I should just give it up for good.” He laughed out loud at the evening’s events. “And I’m now talking to myself.” He looked around one more time, but once again there was nobody there to see him. With his head down and shoulders hunched forwards, he walked towards the High Street, not noticing the red-haired woman step out from a doorway after he’d walked by.

Green Gladiator and Rage

Tales from the Superhero Diaries 6.3: As and When Required

“Lycralad, take a seat here, beside me.” Raymond tapped on the cushion on the two-seater velvet sofa that had been installed in his new office. “So tell me, what do you think of this new office of mine?”

Lycralad squeezed himself into the space between Raymond and the arm of the sofa, aware that Raymond was deliberately encroaching onto his space.

“It looks OK,” Lycralad began to say.

Raymond interrupted. “It’s amazing what money can buy nowadays, isn’t it? Those workmen were given until the end of the week to finish this office, and just because I paid them a, erm, little bit extra, they worked constantly and thoroughly overnight and have finished it for today. Obviously, I had to pay them a little more for doing such an erm wondrous job, and I have told them to make sure that they take the rest of the week off as a goodwill gesture. I’ve even paid for the foreman and the main guys to have a few days away overseas – all expenses paid, of course. They were happy to take me up on the offer!”

“I’m sure they were,” Lycralad commented, although he didn’t feel entirely sure. Raymond pressed himself closer to him, and placed his left hand onto Lycra’s right knee. Lycra tried his best not to flinch, but he didn’t manage it.

“Now now, my boy,” Raymond sneered, “No need to erm be afraid. I have a little proposition for you, and depending on your choice you can either stay or leave the Elite Force of Britain. First though, I have something for you to watch. Stay seated here, and do not say a word.”

Raymond walked over to his desk at the other side of the office, and pushed a button on his console. Lycralad moved over slightly on the sofa, still feeling uncomfortable about what was happening. “Green Gladiator, please come into my office.” Raymond said, in his gruff voice. He looked over to Lycralad, smiled, winked, and then looked over at the door as it opened. Green Gladiator walked in, and nodded towards Lycra, who smiled back and discreetly shrugged.

“Sit down there, please.” Raymond pointed at the chair opposite his desk. The Gladiator now sat with his back towards Lycralad, but Raymond had him in his full sight. “Green is not my favourite colour, I must say.” Raymond looked repulsed as he eyed the Gladiator’s uniform up and down. “And I erm need to make changes to the team, to make it more erm streamlined. I’ve already dismissed one green member, the alien, Verdian,”

“Viridian,” the Gladiator said, helpfully.

“Do not interrupt. I am speaking.” Raymond’s face changed into a furious red colour, his eyes appearing like pinholes behind his glasses. “Now, before you so rudely interrupted me, I shall cut to the chase. Your days with the EFB are over. You are ordered to get out within the hour, and do not discuss this with anybody. This is in your new contract, which you signed, in effect, by calling into the headquarters today. The same goes for you, Lycralad,” Raymond looked up and winked at him once again, totally ignoring Green Gladiator who was sat before him. “What are you sitting there for? You’ve had your instructions, now get out.”

Green Gladiator stood up, taken aback. He glanced over to Lycralad, who too was shocked. Lycralad bit his bottom lip, and mouthed ‘sorry’ but Raymond noticed. “Not a word!” He shouted, his voice now filled with rage. “Gladiator – get out now before I have the EFB escort you out.”

Lycralad stood, and started walking over to the door to follow the Gladiator out of the office.

“Where are you going, young man?” Raymond’s voice had softened again.

“You said the same goes for me, Mr Reide. I’m getting out.”

“No. No. You misinterpreted my words. Ha ha ha! No. You, erm, aren’t going anywhere. Well, depending, that is. No, the same applies to you not saying a word. Shut the door. We have a new confidentiality clause in the contracts, which all members of the erm EFB sign automatically upon entering this building.”

“You aren’t very fa…”

“Silence! I am speaking, Lycralad. And what kind of name is that? I’ll have to get that changed. The connotations of it are just unbearable. I can’t have you linked to a name like that. No. I need you to be my erm personal assistant.”

“Me? A PA?”

“I asked you not to interrupt. You can speak when I allow you and not before. And no, not my PA, my assistant. My Tea Boy. You have control over your uniform, don’t you?”

Lycralad just looked at Raymond, wondering where this was all going.

“DON’T YOU?!?” Raymond snapped causing Lycralad to step backwards one step. “Er, yes…” Lycralad didn’t know really whether to answer or not, but decided to risk it.

“Good. Now you understand me. I think I’m getting to erm understand you more. With your power, I would like you to transform your uniform into an apron whenever I call you here to the office, to make myself a cup of tea. This may be at any time, so you must be at my beck and call.”

Lycralad stood and looked blankly forwards, his mouth open.

“It is that or you can join your Green Gladiator friend and get out of the EFB. I know exactly what I want you to do, and I have a feeling,” Raymond winked once again at Lycralad, “you know what you want to do as well.” Raymond’s eyes moved down to Lycra’s chest. Instinctively, Lycralad folded his arms across himself, and glanced back at the new controller. He thought for a moment.

“I’ll do it,” Lycralad said. “I’m not sure about the apron thing,” “its erm all part of the deal.” Raymond interrupted, “I knew you’d be in. Better in than out, wouldn’t you say?” He winked once again, and smirked with a sneer.

Lycralad said nothing.

“OK, then, my boy. Go and make me a cup of tea, and then you can go up to the gym or whatever it is you do to keep your body in such fine form. The kettle’s in the kitchen over there – that little room on the left.”

Lycralad walked into the small kitchen, and set to work on his new job with the EFB. He decided there and then that he would stay for the way how Raymond treated Green Gladiator and the others, watching, listening and eventually getting to grips with what was actually going on. This nasty man was in no way an ideal candidate to be running the EFB, and Lycra was determined to find something, anything, that would bring about his downfall.