Being a superhero is not a plum job as many people think. Particularly in the case of Squattedman, who not only isn’t a vocational superhero (not even a vocational plain hero), but his super powers only manifest when he squats, which make it extremely awkward to carry any garment on. So he is forced to go naked when he practices as superhero. And a naked superhero is an embarrassed superhero.
Because, let’s be frank, nakedness is not a socially acceptable way of showing up in public. In fact, in the time of Squattedman (early 20th century), it was not even an acceptable way of showing up in private. A guy dressed as a cockroach or a worm was more tolerable than someone in his birthday suit. That is why Squattedman causes so much controversy in New York society. The League of Decency, for example, organizes daily demonstrations of rejection at the entrance to the apartment building where Squattedman lives. Fortunately, he uses to go out the window and tries to show himself as little as possible when acting as a superhero. He only lets himself be seen in public in his character as François de La Rochefoucauld. As such, he even frequents the salons of New York high society, whose members pretend not to know that La Rochefoucauld and Squattedman are the same person. However, there was an occasion when this identity was openly revealed.
It happened during a crowded party at one of the Vanderbilts mansions on Fifth Avenue. It was especially on such occasions when the ladies wore their most valuable jewels. To the point that many of them walked leaning forward under the weight of so many carats. The more bent, the more admired they were. There were those that were so bent that were sweeping the floor with their hair. The most loaded of all, and therefore the most bent (to the point that she even placed her head on the floor, so that she could only move forward turning somersaults) was Mrs. Astor. There was also the elderly Mrs. Clivenhorp who, unable to bear the weight of her jewels, was forced to be wheelbarrowed by her husband.
Well, it turned out that an European high-class jewel thief (better known by the nickname “The European High-Class Jewel Thief”) had sneaked in the mansion camouflaged among the guests (better known as “the guests”). When the party was in full swing, The European High-Class Jewel Thief presented himself as such and, wielding a gun, ordered that all the ladies take off their jewels and deposit them inside a bag that the thief had hidden under the frock suit as a corset. To claim the attention of everyone present, he began firing one shot in the air. There were fainting, protests and manifestations of disgust of all kinds, but the ladies have no choice but to parade one after the other before the bag and deposit there their jewels. Naturally Monsieur de La Rochefoucauld was on the lookout for the right moment for Squattedman to make his stellar appearance. But that moment was slow to arrive because The European High-Class Jewel Thief kept aiming his gun at those present and the superhero had to make sure that no one was injured.
Since the queue of ladies was decreasing and the time to act was running out, Squattedman decided to gamble everything on one throw of the dice. When the last jewel was dropped into the bag, Squattedman stood before The European High-Class Jewel Thief, who immediately pointed the gun at him. The European High-Class Jewel Thief had just crossed the Atlantic and therefore ignored the existence of a superhero in New York City. That ignorance was used by Squattedman to implement his Machiavellian plan.
“If I might make a suggestion, sir” Squattedman said.
“All this clothing that I wear is lined with diamonds. I don’t trust banks, that’s why I always carry my fortune on me. And since these ladies do the same, it wouldn’t be fair for them to be stripped of their fortune while I, by carrying it hidden, am allowed to keep mine.”
Before such a speech everyone was speechless, including The European High-Class Jewel Thief, who finally said: “You must be that William Shakespeare who I’ve heard so much about!”
“Okay, Mr. Shakespeare. Undress and deposit your clothes inside the bag, if you please.”
Squattedman did what the thief ordered, getting naked before the shocked glance of all present, most of whom had never seen a naked body including their own. But Squattedman had expressly left the socks on.
“Excuse me, sir” said The European High-Class Jewel Thief staring at the socks, with a greedy gaze that was probably the first and the last greedy gaze aroused by a pair of ordinary socks, from the tip of one of which a big toe protruded. “Don’t you forget something?”
Squattedman looked down: “Oh yes indeed”. And pretending to have to crouch down to take off the socks, he adopted the well-known fetal posture, prelude to all his exploits. Then, to the astonishment of The European High-Class Jewel Thief, he began clenching his body until he turned red. Suddenly, a blast sounded behind him and the superhero was off like a shot and lashed out at the off-guard thief, punching him to the floor.
For the sake of modesty and decorum, nobody ever mentioned this embarrassing episode, over which New York high society drew a discreet veil as if it had never taken place.