The Marvel Family
Lord Batson’s Adventure
by Dan Swanson
The Billys and the Marys aren’t the only Batsons with exciting lives, as proven when Posh Mary Marvel eavesdrops on her father, Lord Batson, regaling his wife with a ribald tale of wit!
Posh Mary Marvel’s father, Guillaim, Lord Batson, was a professor of English at Oxford, and he enjoyed his wild nights out at a public house as much as anyone. Why, just last week he had an exciting adventure, although he wasn’t quite sure whether he should tell his wife or not. Still, they had been together for a long time, and she had always been very forgiving in the past. He thought he ought to take the chance. Of course, if he had known that Mary was eavesdropping, he might have thought twice.
“As you know, my dear, I dined with Doctors Seaton, Challenger, and Savage last week. If I’d known how the evening was going to proceed, I might have suggested a more sedate choice of restaurant, but at the time, The Bull seemed a good choice. As you know, we are working on a treatise on collective nouns, such as herd of cattle, pride of lions, or gaggle of geese. We are actually breaking new ground, and the going has been rough, but as they say, when the going gets rough…
“Anyway, we had encountered some unexpected difficulties, and tempers, I’m ashamed to admit, were rather high. Still, nothing some good pub food and a couple of pints couldn’t cure. All in all, a successful evening. Yet, the most exciting part came on the way home.”
He paused to gauge his wife’s reaction. So far, she was listening calmly, so he decided to continue.
“It was on our way home, and I’m afraid, after our exhilarating discussion in the pub, that we were somewhat animated. We managed to attract the attention of three… umm.. ‘women of the evening.'”
Hidden around the corner, Mary’s interest picked up, and she leaned forward to hear just a little better. Yes, he was just getting to the good part.
“They chatted us up for a few minutes and then made their pitch. I could tell that young Clark was mildly interested, but he had some important research to complete that evening, and he couldn’t bear to stay away any longer than necessary. Still, as we watched them go, he felt compelled to comment.”
He could almost hear his companion’s voices as the three ladies wriggled away.
“My, what a fascinating encounter, eh, fellows? A clarion of strumpets!” said Clark Savage.
“Perhaps, or perhaps more appropriately, a dollop of trollops!” Seaton sounded ever so proud of himself.
“Quaint, my good fellows. I would say this was an encounter with a trey of tarts!” Challenger was especially proud of his double entendre.
Lord Batson, back in his dining room, by this time had forgotten to be worried about his wife’s reaction. In a strong, triumphant voice, he repeated his show-stopper. “Fellows, your descriptions are clever, but that’s what I call a moving passage of English pros!”
To Posh Mary Batson, this incident was a reminder that her parents were human, too. Given the thigh-high boots and short skirts she wore when clubbing, she wasn’t all that shocked, but it also reminded her that her parents had high moral values — part of the reason, she was sure, that she was the person she was, and that old Shazam had decided that she was worthy of bearing his powers.
Still, the incident did give her some doubts. Her father, after all, often worked late, counseling students, grading papers, and writing to textbook publishers about grammatical errors in their books. He always walked home, usually alone, and that meant he often walked through the same area where he and his fellows had had their prior encounter. She approached her mother and discussed her fears.
“Aren’t you at all worried, Mumsy? After all, Daddy is a man, and men have needs.”
Her mother smiled smugly. “Don’t you worry, dear. Your father’s needs are quite satisfied here at home. Besides, those women are certainly not his type — he could never be attracted to any woman who ended a sentence with a proposition!”