It looked like a comic book convention at the Morrison Hotel, but the caped and costumed throng seated in the main ballroom were not fans, but actual superheroes. Kelly Mair, executive director of Heroes for Hire, gently blew on the microphone before welcoming everyone and introducing herself.
“Our company recognizes that while saving the world is a great thing, it doesn’t necessarily put food on the table,” Mair said. “Plainly put, we get jobs for superheroes. We match your unique skill sets with those that employers are seeking.”
Just then the THWIP! sound of webbing attaching to the enormous chandelier in the center of the room startled everyone as Spider-Man swung from his webline, spun in midair and landed smoothly on his feet next to Mair.
“To paraphrase my Uncle Ben: ‘With great power comes great responsibility . . . and maybe a great paycheck!’ ” Spider-Man said. The room erupted into laughter as he took a seat onstage next to Wolverine.
“That is not really our motto, but we do realize that presenting a bill to the city after defeating Magneto or foiling the Joker is just not done. Crime-fighting is your mission, but you still need a job,” Mair said. “Here to demonstrate a success story, please welcome, from the X-Men, Wolverine!”
While the audience applauded, a huge machine that looked like a baseball pitching machine was wheeled in to the right of the stage and two barrels were placed about 30 feet away from it. Wolverine stepped between them, about 2 feet from the barrels.
“Now, Wolverine’s adamantium claws are tailor-made for butchery. Our innovation was to help him make money and get a workout,” Mair said.
She nodded to a man in a white lab coat, who turned on the machine. Wolverine faced it and the metallic SNIKT! sound of his claws extending reverberated throughout the room. The attendant loaded a huge chunk of beef into the machine and it shot at Wolverine, who sliced it in midair with one swipe of his claws. The machine was turned off and Mair reached into the barrel.
“Perfectly cut steaks!” she said, holding one up for the clapping audience. “Thank you, Wolverine. We have also found jobs for Captain America giving motivational speeches, Wonder Woman selling replicas of her bracelets online and on QVC and we even helped Thor start his own religion. Now please let me introduce the founder of Heroes for Hire, Mr. Luke Cage!”
Luke Cage took the stage to thunderous applause and talked about his employment struggles and how founding the company helped him and countless others.
“We guarantee every hero will get a job,” Cage said. “As you see, the long line of employers we’ve invited are eager to talk with you. Each of you has a card that . . . ”
Luke Cage was interrupted by a shouting match between The Thing from the Fantastic Four and a rather slender man in the back of the room. They were arguing over who should get the last doughnut at the refreshment table.
The Thing pushed the man aside brusquely and suddenly the man started to grow, turn green and his clothes started to rip and fall off, except for his purple pants.
The Incredible Hulk then grabbed The Thing and, with one arm, hurled him 150 feet toward the front of the room. If The Flash hadn’t zipped in and grabbed Kelly Mair, she would have been crushed. The Thing peeled himself from the far wall and announced loudly that it was “Clobberin’ Time!”
The Hulk had already grabbed the chandelier (with the webline still attached) and hurled it at The Thing, but the Invisible Woman blocked it with a force field and it shattered into a million pieces.
The ensuing super-superheavyweight battle completely wrecked the ballroom and it took the combined strength of Superman, Thor and a binding device made from Green Lantern’s ring to corral The Hulk and calm him down enough so he changed back to his alter-ego.
True to their guarantee, Heroes for Hire got Bruce Banner/The Hulk a job with Acme Demolition as well as a modeling gig with Junk In The Trunk Big and Tall Fashions.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.