“Yeah, he’s right,” said Ryan. “We’ve all got to use our nicknames, so what do people call you?”
“People do call me other things,” said Mick. “But we’ll be doing battle in front of women and children. I can’t be using any of those names.”
“Then we’d better roll with Mick the Magnificent,” said Glen.
“It’s too long,” said Pat.
“How about M.M?” said Nick.
Mick pursed his lips, waiting for the end of the group’s deliberation. He’d agree to whatever they decided, if only to move them along.
“What about… Mr Magnificent?” said Jordan.
“Great,” said Mick. “Mick the Magnificent. Okay…”
The group stiffened dutifully.
“I imagine Shotgun’s crew shouldn’t be too hard to find when the time comes. Now, we know what they’ve got and what we’ve got. I’m not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers. So before we start… do any of us have ideas on how we are to attack this?”
Jordan stepped forward. “The chaff is always much lighter than the heads of wheat.”
Mick paused respectfully for the explanation that would never come.
“Yes, I see your point,” Mick lied, making a monumental effort not to sound sarcastic.
Listening to Jordan’s sayings, were like subliminal messages interrupting the flow of a TV show.
“Alright,” Mick said. “Jordan, or should I say Captain Pedantic? Imagine I am Politically Correct.”
Jordan screwed his face. “You can’t be. In order to be politically correct, one must flow with the mindless accordance of popular belief.”
Mick overheard a few staggered “he’s got a point” statements from the group.
“No,” Mick said with strained patience. “I am not politically correct.”
“He’s right,” said Ryan.
“Shut up!” Mick barked.
“Oooooh,” said the group sarcastically.
“Okay, let’s start again,” said Mick. “I am Politically Correct…”
Jordan opened his mouth to speak.
“… Not the concept, but the supervillain,” Mick stressed firmly.
He refrained from rolling his eyes as the group muttered statements of revelation.
“Now,” he said, adopting what he thought might be the stance of a martial artist. “Just like Politically Correct, I am an expert fighter. I will teach you to be ready for him.”
He circled warily around Jordan, then lunged delivering a chop to his shoulder. Jordan casually caught Mick’s wrist, and locked it, forcing his arm straight. A yelp escaped Mick before Jordan threw him over his back. Landing hard on his back, Mick groaned, heavily winded. He gradually rolled over onto his knees, when he felt himself jerked from the ground. Nick dangled him by one hand, the back of his shirt bunched in the strong man’s fist.
“Are you alright?” said Nick.
“Yeah,” Mick wheezed.
Before he could say anything else, Nick raised him above his head and tugged his ankles.
“Aah,” yelled Mick with the cracking of his back.
Nick placed him on the ground. Working his back at different angles, Mick found himself pleasantly surprised at the improvement.
Jordan adopted a fighting stance, causing Mick to shudder.
“You seem to have the basics down pat,” said Mick with authority. “Stretch and go for a run somewhere. Later on, I’ll give you some advanced training.”
“Like the crane who stretches by the pond, I have already done so.”
“Well, yeah, good. Go for a run then.”
Jordan broke into a jog.
“Make it a long one,” Mick called after him.
Glen approached Mick, leaning close to his ear.
“Mick, it might be better if the super types spar against each other.”