MEANWHILE, BACK AT INSPIRATION HALL, NICOLAS C. PATE HAD SHOWN MAYOR MIDDLING TO THE DOOR, AND MAYOR MIDDLING WAS ENTRANCED BY IT. EVENTUALLY HE FORGOT WHAT HE WAS DOING AND WANDERED OFF INTO THE STREET TO PLAY WITH THE NICE KITTY CARS. NICOLAS RETURNED TO SIMON P. SYNAPSE'S PRIVATE QUARTERS TO CONFER WITH HIM.
"Of what we are in need is the raiment of a warrior, the garb of a hero," Simon P. Synapse declared, flinging open his wardrobe and ruffling through the myriad outfits. "Something to impress upon all that bestow their glance upon us that we will stand forth as a beacon of strength and hope for all! I must have something that says that in here. I'm a millionaire. I have clothes I've never worn. I have clothes I never even intended to wear."
"How about those orange tights?" Nicolas suggested.
"Perfect! I certainly never intended to wear those. I can be a superhero, and I won't get shot in the woods during hunting season! Go over behind that dressing screen so I can change."
"Do you got anything in my size?" Nicolas asked as he toddled over to the dressing screen.
"I'm sure I do!" Simon called back. "I'm a mild-mannered millionaire! All right, what do you think? Is it me?"
"I like it, but I think you should wear something on top."
"I suppose you're right. Ah, this blue sweater should do."
"I don't think heroes are supposed to wear sweaters. It's not done."
"My dear Nicolas, I can't cast blame upon you for failing to capture the peculiar nuance of my mission, but we must be reinvented heroes. We must break tradition so that our beloved city will find cause for hope! We can't inspire hope by trying what's been tried before and expecting a superior yield. Wow, I say, that was rather insightful of me."
"All right, blue sweater and orange tights it is. What should I wear? Can I wear a cape?"
"A cape!" Simon exclaimed, slapping his forehead. "All heroes wear capes. I need a cape! Here's a bright green one. Yes, that goes nicely."
"Aw, nuts, you took all the good colors."
"Nonsense, Nicolas, what simpering balderdash. There's red, yellow, and purple. How's this? Red denim jacket, yellow chaps, and...oh dear, no purple capes. How about a purple scarf instead?"
"Won't that be silly? What about shoes?"
"Eh, just stick with the running shoes. They're comfortable."
"What are we going to call ourselves, then? The Rainbow Duo?"
"Nicolas, I deliberated long on that very thing while you were escorting the Mayor without, and I came upon a veritable epiphany! A hero is defined by what he fights. What are we fighting?"
"Your arch-nemesis, Neuron Shortstop."
"Yes, we're fighting Neuron, but the greater precept we're standing steadfastly against is idiocy! And a proper name for a champion, for a crusader against the forces of idiocy, can be none other than Smart Man!"
"Smart Man," Nicolas repeated, nodding in satisfaction. "But what should I be?"
"Well, you'll be my sidekick, so, um...."
"I got it. How about Sidekick Man?"
"Brilliant! As Simon P. Synapse and Nicolas C. Pate, we will be ordinary citizens, except for me, because I'm a millionaire, but as Smart Man and Sidekick Man, we will be champions of cognition everywhere! But we must make this our secret, Nicolas."
"If people found out we were Smart Man and Sidekick Man, why, then they'd know."
"Don't you think people will recognize us?"
"Indeed, our secret identities are prone to discovery as they are. These tights conform too well to the contours of my legs. Someone's bound to place them."
"Oh, well there's that, but I was thinking more about your face."
"Alack!" Simon cried and whirled to face the mirror. "You've hit something upon the head of the nail, Nicolas. What rotten luck -- I look just like me."
"We'll have to find some way to disguise our faces. I could wear a black mask with eyeholes cut in it."
"An excellent product of inspiration, Nicolas," Simon praised. "As for me," he continued, gazing thoughtfully in the mirror, "I think I'll shave my mustache off. No one will recognize me then."
"There's something else, too," Nicolas offered.
"Something else? Whatever other susceptibility might persist?"
"Your speech. You talk complicatedly."
"What? You mean my flourish, my penchant for eloquence, my predisposition for verbiage is distinguished amongst the company of my peers?"
"Yeah. Talk different."
Simon's eyes narrowed as he considered. "I shall keep your vexations in the fore of my consciousness."
JUST AT THAT MOMENT, THERE CAME A FATEFUL KNOCK ON THE FRONT DOOR. IT WAS NONE OTHER THAN SIMON P. SYNAPSE'S FIANCEE, MISS SALLY SCONCE!
"Make haste, Nicolas, and attend my betrothed!" Simon directed. "I shall sheer my follicular decor at once and test my new guise with her!"
Nicolas set aside his costume and hurried toward the door.