I was sitting on the balcony of my penthouse apartment block, downwind from the Dalmuir sewerage work, looking over the latest statistics from my feeble attempts to market myself and sell my novel Lily Poole, when Batman appeared. There were a lot of guys masquerading as footballers (now Brian Biggins has taken up golf, it’s golfers) in Dalmuir — and other Jokers, so me and Batman go back a long way. Before I could speak Superman flew in. Both of them were all ears, especially Batman, they were interested in my cloak of invisibility.
Batman said, ‘I only get a Batmobile and a purrfect girlfriend (although she’s not really my girlfriend) spill the beans.’
It was a bit cliched, but his heart was in the right place and you never look a gift horse in the mouth, so I did.
‘It’s simple Batman,’ I said. ‘You try to get a book published. There’s 50 000 books published in the English language every week. Ask people to support your work and — KAPOW– you become invisible and as threatening as a fart in a broken-down lift with two old people that want to chat about the good old days.’
‘I wish I’d thought of that,’ said Batman. ‘I better make a note of it.’
‘Publish it,’ I said. ‘It’ll no doubt become a New York Times bestseller. Even Bruce Springsteen’s getting into the act, publishing a book about a rift from one of his two million songs.
‘Whose Bruce Springsteen?’ said Superman.
‘Exactly,’ I said. ‘He’s already became invisible. But be warned, your writing voice is not necessarily your reading voice, or the real you.’
‘Look Jack,’ said Superman, ‘you don’t need ex-ray vision to know that. For God sake, I get changed in a phone box, or I used to before everybody had a mobile phone –’
‘Sorry,’ I said, cutting him off. Superman can drone on for Scotland. ‘I’m just a bit fazed. My marketing skills need upgrading. I don’t have the time to read or write much anymore.’
‘You need some superhuman powers,’ said Batman. ‘Apart from invisibility,’ he quickly added to make me feel better.
‘Maybe you should move to another planet,’ said Superman. ‘That’s what I did before I became all-American.’
‘Nah,’ I said. ‘I used to live in Paisley. That wouldn’t work.’
‘Maybe you should wear a cape,’ said Batman. ‘These pointy ears don’t happen by chance.’
‘Maybe,’ I said, ‘you could cut a deal with those goofballs you capture and let them off with a warning if they sponsor my book.’
‘I’d rather swallow Kryptonite,’ said Superman.
Batman laughed. ‘What kind of books do you write – fairy tales!’
‘What don’t you write something somebody wants to read?’ asked Superman.
‘Good point,’ I said, because I never argue with anyone wearing a cape. ‘I’ll stick with the invisibility.’