Let’s admit some criticism of Squattedman. That his flight is not a paragon of elegance like that of eagles or seagulls? That he goes naked and that circumstance is not very decorous? That his propulsion mode is unsatisfactory? That this kind of thing discourages New Yorkers from boasting of a superhero? That when he catches thieves he often keeps the loot to deliver it to the poor? That he is not the most graceful man in the world, nor is he the most cultured or the most intelligent? Why deny it? … Any other objection? No? That is to say there are no criticisms as to its effectiveness in combating crime? Well ladies and gentlemen, what more do you want?! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! And speaking of efficiency, I’m going to tell you one of Squattedman’s greatest feats. Nothing less than the salvage of the Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1910, Vaudeville Houses abounded in New York City. For a reasonable price you could attend an entertaining and varied show consisting of twelve or more performances of about ten minutes each. There were comedy numbers, musical performances, tightrope walkers, contortionists, ventriloquists, illusionists … and even a guy named Matt Freigisman capable of causing a fire and extinguish it instantly. You will understand that the competition between professionals of the same specialty was brutal. Main theaters only hired the best. And to be the best, you had to constantly innovate and get publicity by whatever means. Well, there was an illusionist called The Great Salam or Salam the Great or something similar. This guy was specialized in a novelty at that time: the “disappearance trick”. By the simple procedure of covering it with a cloth, he could make disappear anything that was put on the stage, from a coat stand to a spectator of the first row of seats. (In fact there was a long list of missing persons for this cause, a list that the police kept secret so that the alarm did not spread and so that the Great Salami did not stop paying the corresponding bribe.)
Well, it seems that Salami the Great had decided that his career towards stardom needed a boost. And he couldn’t think of anything other than to make one of the two towers that support the Brooklyn Bridge disappear. With this purpose, he commissioned the preparation of a gigantic canvas capable of covering the entire tower. He had hyped the event through the New York press, and the scheduled day there were thousands of journalists and photographers waiting at the foot of the chosen tower, which was the one on the side of Manhattan.
Thanks to some archers and some arrows tied to one of the ends of the canvas, it was possible to completely cover the tower and, in passing and by pure chance, execute Bloody Dolan, one of the most wanted hitmen in the state, who didn’t want to miss the show and ended up pierced by one of the arrows. Battery Park was brimming with curious people. Of course, nobody believed that the tower would really disappear. They thought it would be an optical effect or something similar. Well, they were wrong. No one knows how he did it, but Salim the Great Rascal made the tower disappear, literally. Of course, being deprived of one of the two pillars that supported it, the bridge began to tilt dangerously. Fortunately, Squattedman was in Battery Park among the curious people who witnessed the show. He undressed, made a ball with himself and instantly was off like a shot towards the end of the bridge that was about to collapse. He arrived just in time to prevent it. He stood under the bridge and held it on his back. However, he had to keep clenched his muscles continuously so that his super-strength did not decay, which forced the authorities to mobilize the army urgently to build in a few hours a structure made of steel framework to replace the missing tower.
Everything ended well, but it could have happened a tremendous tragedy had it not been for Squattedman’s quick reflexes and super-strength. As for the illusionist, he was arrested and sentenced to fifteen years of forced labor or eight years of voluntary labor, letting it of his choice. But the rogue chose to escape making himself disappear.
And finally, one piece of advice: when someone, no matter who it is, even if it’s an illusionist on stage, wants to make you disappear, call the police immediately!