A VISIT FROM AFAR (1)

For Easter, Miss Penny Clearwater invited François de La Rochefoucauld to accompany her on the Fifth Avenue ritual parade. The two had met in Central Park by the mediation of a fox terrier named Triggy. Triggy was Miss Clearwater’s pet as well as her close confidant, who handled all of her affairs. La Rochefoucauld saw Triggy hurriedly running away from its owner and, unaware that the dog was precisely going to handle one of its owner’s affairs, he chased him until catching and returning him to Miss Clearwater, who in gratitude slapped him. (Slapping was the norm of etiquette established by the NYC high society’s guru of good taste, Ward McAllister, to show deep appreciation.) Carried on by the fashionable and well-to-do crowd, the couple spent Easter Sunday’s afternoon strolling at a crawl up and down Fifth Avenue, from Madison Square to Central Park, without the fox terrier taking his eyes off of them. Triggy didn’t trust La Rochefoucauld, as if he could guess that he was Squattedman in disguise and that, hidden underneath his sober black suit, he wore his odd-looking superhero uniform: nudity.

There was a huddle of people around a kind of safe box lying in the middle of the avenue. Miss Clearwater and La Rochefoucauld made their way through the densely packed group and inquired what was going on.

-This box has suddenly popped up

-It has come out of nowhere

-Look! The box, it’s opening!

One of the sides of the box opens suddenly and a heavily muscled man jumps out. He wears a yellow cape and a purple costume which is fitted to his entire body covering also his head.

-Behold!

Around him the same questions are repeated: “Who are you?”,“Where do you come from?”

-I am Woody Nightshade. But in the future where I come from, everyone calls me Woody

-Do you come from the future?

-Yes I do. I represent the superheroes of the future and come here on a mission: eliminate Squattedman, who is a disgrace to our profession

-You mean the jester that saved the Brooklyn Bridge?

-I understand that he goes around naked, and crouched, as if he was constipated…

-You better believe it

-Shame on him! Now, behold the elegant bearing of a true superhero…

Woody Nightshade strikes a pose for the onlookers; arms akimbo, looking determined, his gaze locked into the distance. A murmur of admiration rises from the crowd.

-And what are your powers?

-You mean my superpowers…

“Behold!” he suddenly exclaims, and starts pirouetting. Triggy, Miss Clearwater’s Fox Terrier, who is deeply disliked by superheroes, barks and pounces on Woody Nightshade biting him in the leg. The superhero from the future lets out a squeak and falls like a tree, as if dead.

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