YOU SEE I have been sure about who IDentiman was for ages. I just knew it was you.’ Susan Shapiro swivelled on her bar stool and took a sip from her raspberry gin.
Mallory Flowers had rather fancied a pint of decent beer but when the star reporter from ‘What Badge Week’ had invited him out to conduct an interview he had not realised it would be to a really smart bar called GinMixa so he had to make do with a Mexican lager that he was not enjoying very much.
He said nothing as Shapiro continued, ‘So,what was the first clue? Well the simple fact that whatever presentation where IDentiman was you were never there, even when your company had a trade stand set up and you were down to be working on it. And then there was your voice, however deep you tried to make the badging super hero sound, I just knew it was still you and now I want you to confirm it.’
Mallory let out a deep sigh, and said, ‘OK, I’ll admit it, it’s me. I am IDentiman so now what happens?’
‘Three things,’ said Shapiro. She went on to point out that she had been invited to the Cutting Edge Christmas party, where Mallory worked, as had a number of people IDentiman had helped such as Max Bigg, Lady Persephone Root, Charlotte Fielding and Dr. Franz Schnellinger so she was going to run the unmasking of IDentiman in the story of the party supported by lots of photographs of the event. ‘It will make such a great story,’ she laughed delightedly.
‘Firstly, you are not the only clever boy at your firm you know. At the party it is going to be announced that they have designed a fantastic new piece of kit which is a self service badging kiosk based on the same Compic badging software that you invented.’
‘You mean that delegates can simply print their own badge and then check themselves into events without having to have someone standing at the entrance?’ asked Mallory, finally warming to the conversation.
‘Yes sir,’ replied Shapiro, ‘Just like you do at the airport, which means that companies can cut down on the number of staff they need on the door and also reduce the length of queues because they can have any number of kiosks depending on the size of the event. How cool is that?’
‘It pretty much makes me redundant,’ said Mallory somewhat sadly. ‘But I am looking forward to seeing it all the same and it does mean that I won’t have to get dressed up in my IDentiman garb as he has been invited too and we can hardly both go, if you see what I mean. Mind you in this dreadful wet weather we have been having turning up in a cape that was holding as much water as a small cloud was not much fun.’
‘No, no, no!’ said Shapiro, ‘Secondly you must go as IDentiman and then pull your mask off to show everyone who it really is. You will almost certainly be promoted and it would not even surprise me if the name of the company wasn’t changed from Cutting Edge to IDentiman, or at least something that sounds like that. Just think of the prestige.’
‘OK,’ said Mallory, ‘but you said there were three things, so what is the third?’ Shapiro leaned forward and kissed Mallory lightly on the cheek. ‘I want to have the first dance with IDentiman,’ she said and ordered the bill.
After she had left Mallory considered his year as IDentiman. ‘Nothing is forever and it had been fun’ he thought.
He left the remains of his Mexican lager in the bottle and went out into the night in search of a decent pint of bitter wondering to himself what the next year would bring.