“Wow, look at this!” the Flash said to his friend, looking out over the vast room. “I haven’t seen this many colorful costumes in one place since the Crisis!”
“Not even then, I think,” Green Lantern replied. The two longtime friends stood in the Central City Auditorium, where a special event was being held. It was Halloween night, and the vast auditorium was filled with costumed partygoers. Super-heroes and super-villains, especially those native to Central City, were by far the dominant costume theme. Wally West, the second Flash in Central City, counted six Mirror Masters, four Captain Colds, and even one very poor imitation of Gorilla Grodd. The Flash and his foes were not the only superhumans represented, though; Green Lantern spied a chubby Aquaman chatting up a bespectacled Batgirl at the buffet table, among many, many others.
“Flash, so glad you could make it!” a pretty blonde woman said cheerfully, coming up to the pair. She wore a skintight outfit of red spandex, trimmed in a yellow lightning-bolt motif. “And Green Lantern! Wonderful of you to come!”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, Ms. Spivot,” Green Lantern said. “It’s for an excellent cause.”
“Indeed it is,” Ms. Spivot said. “But please, call me Patty. Or, for the evening, Ms. Flash!”
“Yeah, nice costume,” Flash said. “Kind of classically themed, isn’t it?”
“It’s actually based on a sketch your Uncle Barry showed me once,” Patty said. “Back when I was his lab assistant. I can still hardly believe, I never knew he was the Flash!”
“When his secret was revealed,” Green Lantern said, “it kind of touched off a little celebrity for you, didn’t it? As his partner and all?”
“I had my fifteen minutes,” Patty said with a slight shrug. “The People article, the appearance on David Letterman. It helped give me the clout I needed to convince the city to do all this.” The young woman waved her arm, indicating the room filled with partygoers. In the center of the huge auditorium stood a giant glass sphere, twelve feet tall and twice as big around. It was half-full of green paper currency, and partygoers were adding more all the time.
“Just think,” Patty said, gazing at the giant glass sphere filling with cash, “all that will go to pay for the Barry Allen Forensic Science Laboratory!”
“That’s a great thing you’re doing, Patty,” Flash said, “for Uncle Barry and for the city.”
“Tell me more about this forensics lab you’re building,” Green Lantern said. “I mean, Central City already has a police lab, doesn’t it?”
“Oh, sure,” Patty said, “the best 1975 had to offer. I mean, science is advancing in leaps and bounds! Our equipment is more outdated than an eight-track player! And more breakthroughs are being made every day! In ten years’ time, solving crimes with DNA evidence will be commonplace. And with the Barry Allen Memorial Lab, Central City will be leading the way!”
“DNA evidence,” Flash said, shaking his head. “I dunno, that sounds kinda science-fictiony to me, Patty.”
“That’s pretty much what they said about dactyloscopy eighty years ago,” Patty pointed out.
“Dacto-what?” Green Lantern asked.
“Fingerprinting,” Patty translated.
“Oh,” Green Lantern said.
“I see you’re getting the sales pitch from our devoted Ms. Spivot,” a voice from behind said. Flash and Green Lantern turned and gasped to find themselves staring into the face of Doctor Light. But in a moment they realized that this man was not Arthur Light, despite the costume.
“Mayor Pinchot,” Patty said. “You know our famous guests, of course?”
“I’ve had the pleasure,” Mayor Gene Pinchot said formally. “Flash, Lantern, glad you could make it. Hopefully your presence will keep any of Central City’s colorful criminals from becoming emboldened by the ostentatious display down there.” With a nod, the mayor of Central City indicated the giant sphere and the armed police walking around it. “Really, Ms. Spivot, I don’t know why you insisted on such a lavish method of making donations. Have you never heard of a checkbook?”
“Americans need bells and whistles, Mayor,” Patty pointed out. “Look at the sheer volume of cash in there!”
“Still, Mayor Pinchot has a point, Patty,” Green Lantern said.
“He does?” Flash asked.
“Certainly,” Green Lantern said. “Any of Central City’s criminal element would have three good reasons for making a strike at that money. The obvious reason being the money itself, as well as striking a blow against improved crime-fighting methods in the city, and thumbing their noses at Barry’s memory.”
“I never thought of it like that,” Flash admitted.
“Certainly,” Mayor Pinchot agreed. “It would be too easy for one of the so-called Rogues Gallery, too, to slip inside in his costume, pretending to be just another costumed partygoer. Hopefully, the presence of two very real super-heroes will warn them off.”
“It was supposed to be three,” Flash said. “Uncle Barry’s other closest friend, the Elongated Man, would have been here. But he decided to take his daughter trick-or-treating instead.”
“She’s going as Wonder Woman,” Green Lantern said with a smile. “Diana would have been proud.”
As the two super-heroes discoursed with the two civil servants, no one noticed the costumed man inching closer and closer to the glass sphere.