Greg James and Chris Smith Read an Extract from Kid Normal and the Rogue Heroes
It was a Friday evening in the 1980s, and multimillionaire Wayne Blaze was making a snack in the kitchen of his mansion. He sang to himself as he buttered two slices of bread, dressed in nothing but a black silk dressing gown embroidered with a huge dragon, satin pyjama bottoms and a pair of unacceptable slippers with straw soles.
Blaze slipped one of the slices of bread into his very latest high-tech gadget, a brand new sandwich toaster. He added a few pieces of cheese, followed by the second slice of bread, and closed the lid. He started to sing louder.
‘Is everything OK, Master Blaze?’ came a voice through the doorway. It was his butler, Butler.
‘Ah, Butler! Come in here and take a look at this!’ marvelled Blaze as smoke began to stream from the sides of the toaster. Butler slid into the room, dressed as usual in an impeccable black suit. He looked at his employer’s dressing gown with mild alarm.
A ping sounded. Blaze flipped up the lid of the toaster.
‘Incredible,’ he enthused. ‘It’s toasted both sides of the sandwich … at the same time! And look at the delicate seashell-like pattern that it’s branded on to the bread. Modern technology is incredible!’
‘Most impressive, sir,’ agreed Butler insincerely, thinking how difficult it was going to be to clean.
Wayne Blaze was now trying to extract his cheese toastie from the hot metal plate to which it had become fused. He managed to get a knife underneath, but then half the sandwich came away with it, spilling molten orange 1980s cheese all over the marble worktop.
Just then the phone rang.
‘Blaze Mansion, one Friday evening in the mid- 1980s,’ began Butler. ‘A hostage situation, you say? He’ll come right away. Goodbye.’
He turned back to his employer, who had burned his tongue trying to bite into his hot sandwich too soon.
‘Wha’ wa’ tha’?’ Wayne Blaze asked, flopping his tongue out to try and cool it off in the air-conditioned atmosphere of the kitchen.
‘Apparently there’s an emergency at Nakamura Tower,’ replied Butler.
‘Tha’ sows li’ a ’ob for ’andy wan,’ mumbled Wayne Blaze dramatically, still with his tongue out.
‘That sounds like a job for the Dandy Man?’ clarified Butler helpfully. ‘I couldn’t agree more, Master Blaze.’
Together they raced through to the oakpanelled room next door, delayed only slightly when the pocket of the black silk dressing gown got caught on a door handle.
Butler strode over to a huge bookcase and pressed the spine of a large leather-bound volume entitled THE WIT AND WISDOM OF GARFIELD.
All at once, one of the wall panels slid smoothly to one side to reveal a gleaming fireman’s pole and, arranged on a chair beside it, the costume that would transform Wayne Blaze into his alter ego. Butler politely turned away as the dressing gown slid to the floor like an unfashionable snake and the slippers were kicked away into a corner, where they belonged. Within moments, they had been replaced by gleaming black riding boots, tight trousers, a white shirt with huge frills down the front and a massive highwayman’s hat.
‘Time to save the eighties once again,’ yelled the hero as he shrugged himself into a militarystyle coat with epaulettes on the shoulders and adjusted his black eye mask. ‘The Dandy Man is coming!’
With a final incomprehensible shout that sounded something like ‘Da diddly qua qua!’, he leaped on to the fireman’s pole and dropped out of sight.
Butler rolled his eyes and went to try and scrape congealed cheese off the kitchen.
Several floors below, the Dandy Man was struggling to open the complicated doors of his sports car. Instead of opening sideways like normal doors, they flapped upwards like beetles’ wings. Finally he located the handle and just managed to step back in time to avoid being hit on the chin as the door sprang up.
It knocked his hat off as he sat down though, and he had to lean uncomfortably out of the low driver’s seat to pick it up. Then he realised he couldn’t reach the handle to close the door and had to get halfway out of the car again to grab it.
Eventually though, the Dandy Man was ready to roar into action. He pulled out a small lever marked choke and turned the key in the engine. After mere minutes of making an odd coughing noise, the powerful car burst into life and sped out of the secret garage into the city night.