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Bad: Superhero whose secret identity is just staggeringly obvious, but nobody picks up on it for various implausible reasons.

Good: Superhero whose secret identity is just staggeringly obvious, and everybody “knows”, but in spite of countless people’s best efforts nobody can actually prove it.

“Literally everyone knows that Bruce Kent is the Masculine Mongoose,” said the woman sitting across from me in our candlelit dinner. “The superheroes know it. The villains know it. The guy on the street knows it. Uncontacted tribes in the Amazon know it. The Enquirer doesn’t break the mask code when they print your picture because they don’t even bother mentioning who you are. If I need to have conversations with you pretending not to know that Bruce is the ‘Goose, we’re going to be the only two people on the planet pretending that.”

My expectations for this date’s viability were starting to sink. She was saying intelligent things, and saying them with remarkable confidence and self-possession for somebody who thought she was talking to the Masculine Mongoose himself. It was impressing me and more than slightly turning me on. But the conversation had taken a turn I’d been down before, and not a promising one. “I don’t want to get into a relationship under false pretenses,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said. “Like if I slept with you under the impression that you were just an ordinary playboy millionaire, instead of a superhero.” She sipped from her champagne glass, visibly trying not to smile.

“Look,” I said, trying to make my voice as persuasive as I could. “Just like you say, everyone knows that Bruce Kent is the Masculine Mongoose. People have believed that for eight years. And in all that time, nobody has ever managed to prove anything – never mind suggestive evidence, nobody has ever shown it for certain. Shouldn’t that give you pause?”

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I would read an entire novel series about this concept. 

To her dying day, reporter Terri Green would remember the look on Bruce Kent’s face as the assassin stepped out of the crowd, holding the gun.

He just nailed it perfectly.  The look of shock, of horror, the way he reacted almost as slowly as a normal human, how he instinctively raised his arms to protect his face.  It was incredible acting, every bit as good as you’d expect from the Masculine Mongoose himself.

The assassin managed to fire three times into Bruce Kent’s chest before a completely nonplussed police officer managed a tackle.

Bruce Kent fell to the ground and didn’t move.

“I did it!” shrieked the lunatic, even as he was being slammed to the ground and cuffed.  “I did it!  I proved who Bruce Kent really is!  They may take me away, but they’ll always remember the Smart Guy With A Gun as the man who finally proved it!  Let’s see you get out of this one, Mongoose!“

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#storytime #superheroes #oh look an update

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