Chapter Ten: ‘Travel for most super heroes is never a problem,’ thought Mallory Flowers as a crowded and delayed train from London Euston station took him towards Manchester.
He pondered how Batman only had to sort out problems in Gotham City, a short drive from Wayne Manor in the Bat-mobile, whilst Superman could simply fly wherever he wanted to without having to bother arriving hours early to clear security at an airport. Even Spider Man lived in Forest Hills, close to central Manhattan where all his action invariably kicked off.
However Mallory could hardly dress as his alter ego, IDentiman, and then queue up to buy a ticket at a railway station because super heroic, badge making geniuses dressed in a metallic blue body suit, mask and cape simply did not do that.
So at Manchester Piccadilly station, he slipped into the men’s washroom and pulled his IDentiman outfit from his small rucksack and Mallory Flowers once again became the legendary badge hero rushing past startled commuters on his way to the nearby offices of the city’s leading advertising agency Stern, Foster, Kowalczyk, May and its chief creative director Sebastian May, with the rucksack discreetly hidden beneath his cape.
‘Great to meet you, IDentiman, I have heard so much about you,’ said a casually attired May. ‘Do call me Seb and can I get you a mineral water or maybe a latte or a macchiato?’ IDentiman declined, keen to get to the root of May’s problem and back to the station.
The firm had the reputation for giving the glitziest Halloween parties in the North West of England where numerous clients were invited to partake in a lavish show of the company’s hospitality and this year was no exception. The problem was not all the staff were keen to come along.
‘We have problems with our IT staff,’ explained Seb, ‘some of whom regard a great night out as being at home playing the latest game on their iPhone and accounts are not always keen to get up as warlocks and witches but we want them all to come, or at least know who hasn’t. It is important for us that the clients who attend have a chance to meet everyone at SFKM.’
The party was to be held in a local art gallery so entry badges were needed. It was then that IDentiman played his trump card. ‘Seb, I will set up one of your laptops with my ComPic Badge & Track software. The name badges will have either a barcode or a QR code on so that party-goers can scan themselves in or, if the badges are given out on the night, someone can scan them in at the entrance. A beep will tell you that the code has been picked up.’
‘At the end of the party you can print a report that will show you who has attended and even what time they arrived and, as far as you are concerned, who hasn’t. I will also provide a scanner, tethered or not as you require. Oh, and one last thing, the software works offline just in case there are any problems with the venue’s WiFi. All information is stored on the hard drive of the laptop. Now how does that sound?’
‘It sounds as though I should pour you a glass of Champagne,’ replied May, ‘I usually have one about now.’
‘That’s kind, but I have….’ at which point IDentiman almost admitted that he had a train to catch, but managed to correct himself in time, ‘things to do and people to see and after all, this is just part of a day’s work for IDentiman.’ With that he swept out of the office looking out for the nearest men’s toilet in which to get changed.