“Red tie or green tie?” he asked, wiping sweat from his brow. “Which is it?”

“Relax, James,” N said. “I’m sure they’ll hire you.” (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include Ancient Carnaubans and The Papal Primary Debate. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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“Bomb,” he said, extending his hand. “James Bomb. Double-oh seven … six … five … four….”

“Pleased to meet you,” Dick Rage said, adjusting his eye patch. “I see you’re here to interview for the Just Us League opening.”

“I am,” James said, pushing the tiny button on the clasp holding his red tie. “I see you’re carrying a Mont Blanc pen in your shirt, under that jacket. A friend put a miniaturized CT scanner in my tie clasp that transmits images to my dashingly blue contact lenses.”

“Very good,” Dick said. “Come with me and we’ll meet the rest of the team.”

James followed Dick down a dramatically lighted corridor to a room where two men and the obligatory woman were sparring. “Guys,” Dick said, “meet James.”

“Bomb,” James said. “James Bomb. Double-oh seven … six … five … four….”

“Do you turn big and green when you get to zero?” a dark-haired, lantern-jawed, deep-chested, broad-shouldered, piercing-eyed man asked.

“No,” James said. “That’s someone else. Who are you?”

“Tony Severe,” the man said. “CEO of Severe Industries. We build most of  the gadgets for the Just Us League. When I’m not doing that, I’m Peppers Man.”

Tony waved a hand at James, who burst into sneezes.

“Pretty impressive, huh?” Tony said.

“Rather annoying, actually,” James replied.

“You’ll get used to him,” a raven-haired, full-lipped, buxom, slender-waisted, piercing-eyed woman said. She offered her hand. “I’m Lana Craft.”

James kissed her hand. “And what’s your special power?”

Lana squared back her shoulders. “Well, I can poke your eyes out with these.”

“That’s how I lost my hair,” a bald, lantern-jawed, deep-chested, broad-shouldered, piercing-eyed man said. “I’m John McAlley. Former New York cop in L.A. Then an L.A. cop in D.C. Then a New York cop again, in New York and Canada and New Jersey and D.C. and West Virginia and Baltimore. Yippie High Way, as I say.”

“That sounds … confusing,” James said. “And your super ability?”

“I clean air conditioning vents,” John said.

Dick’s eye patch began to glow. “No time to waste. They just sunk a jet ski in the Reflecting Pool.”

“Who did?” James asked.

“Does it really matter?” Tony asked. “There’s Just Us, and there’s Them.”

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Have fun!