Stan Lee is about to write. He ponders the topic in his office, leaning on a dark wooden cabinet with his arms folded. He’s an older gentleman, yet radiant with inner youth. He has silvery gray hair, a distinguished mustache, and wears aviator sunglasses.

The room is a cataclysm of cluster. There are papers and artwork piled everywhere. Hazy light drifts through the thick, pulpy atmosphere. Stan stares down at his computer and uses his index finger to push his trademark shades up on his nose.

This is serious business, Stan thinks to himself. I’m a writer. I… write. He lifts a glass of liquid off the desk beside a carton of apple juice and takes a swig.

It’s a tough gig, but somebody’s got to do itI… CRASH! Stan snaps out of his inner dialogue. An ear-piercing disturbance rocks the office. His eyes dart toward the door. What now? He thinks, before shaking it off and moving his focus back to the computer.

Stan pulls his desk chair out. He sits but does not place his fingers upon the keyboard. Stan gazes deep into the blank document on the computer monitor. But what will I write…? How will I bring joy to millions? What character will I create next? Stan muses. He lifts his hands, ready to place them on the keyboard, when he hears yelling outside of his office.

“You’ll never defeat me! Not while I hold the power of Element X!”

“Oh yes I will! I’ll just zap you into the Zork dimension!!”

Stan’s momentum is stifled once again. He looks to the door and clenches his fist, about to holler back in protest… but then he reconsiders. Stan calms down and slowly breathes in and out. He folds his arms across his chest and leans back in his chair. He looks up to the ceiling.

Inspiration. She’s an elusive mistress. I must find her. But where? Where can I discover the stimulus to… KABOOM! The loud explosion sends a tremor through Stan’s office, toppling the towers of paper. Smoke drifts in from underneath the door.

Stan leaps to his feet. He bounds across his office and whips open the door. Outside of his office is a large and open workplace. Desks and filing cabinets are overturned and papers are strewn about the floor.

There is a crowd of superheroes standing in the middle of the workplace, all wearing colorful costumes. In the center of the group is one supervillain in a dark cape and cowl holding up one of the superheroes by the neck with a robotic arm. They all freeze and look at Stan with guilty faces.

“That’s it! I’ve had it!” Stan exclaims. “How do you expect me to dream up iconic new characters with all this racket going on out here!? I’m hiring a new Office Manager!”

With that declaration, Stan slams the door to his office. SMACK! All of the superheroes stand speechless and stunned. A new Office Manager? They wonder who could ever manage them.

You’ve reached the end of this chapter