Mr. Li's Drycleaner
Mr. Li has run a dry-cleaning service for over a decade. Mr. Li used to help his father with the shop in the summer and after Mr. Li senior retired, he inherited the business. Mr. Li washes and repairs his customers’ clothes five days a week from nine to six. He isn't very rich, but he makes enough to have food on his table and to be able to pay the bills. Mr. Li lives in a humble apartment above the shop. Every morning a little before nine he climbs down the stairs, switches on the lights, unlocks the front door and puts the first load of washing into the machines.
Customers come and go. Someone has an important meeting and needs their pinstripe suit to look neat, others have their daughters wedding to attend and a gravy stain left on their dress from the last party. Mr. Li serves all his customers politely and smiles as he hands them their clean and repaired clothes hung on wire hangers, wrapped up in a plastic bag that has the name of the shop, it's contact information and a little picture of a smiling washing machine printed on it in red.
At night Mr. Li locks the front door, shuts off the lights, makes sure that he hasn't left the iron on and goes into the backroom through a door behind the washing machines. There he switches on the lights, unlocks the backdoor, and waits for his next customers. During the day, Mr. Li's customers are businessmen, mothers, and fine ladies with their fine coats. Ordinary people.
At night his customers are superheroes.
They save the world from evil and cunning criminals and make sure that ordinary people can sleep their nights safe. They come to Mr. Li's door under the cover of darkness, their costumes torn, scorched and covered in the weirdest of stains. They can trust Mr. Li, he will never tell on who visits him during the night. Mr. Li is the only one who can repair invisible costumes, and handle fabrics that are made from thread that is alive. He can remove kryptonite stains and repair damage made by laser beams.
In Mr. Li's cellar there are bales of brightly coloured fabrics, shiny satins, odd materials that are enclosed in glass jars and fabrics that are invisible to the naked eye. Against the back wall there is a washing machine and a thing that once might have been a sewing machine, but is now something very different. At night Mr. Li washes and repairs the superheroes' costumes as they're off fighting crime. He gently removes stains from the costumes as their owners are battling their enemies, hangs the clean and repaired costumes on wire hangers and covers them in a plastic bag that has the name of the shop, it's contact information and a little picture of a smiling washing machine printed on it in red. When the heroes have conquered their enemies and caught their villains, they return to Mr. Li's shop to pick up their costumes that have become like new in Mr. Li's gentle care.
After the last customer of the night has left, Mr. Li locks up the backdoor, makes sure he hasn't left any of the machines on, switches off the lights. He quietly climbs the stairs up to his apartment, makes himself a little late supper and reads the paper. Once again a superhero has saved the day. Mr. Li smiles as he looks at the picture of the mighty hero, in his splendid costume posing for the camera.
Mr. Li can now go to bed, safe in the knowledge that his job is done for today.