So I got the long-awaited email from My Guy. That’s how he works, you send a package to his P.O. Box, and he sends you an encrypted email that you descramble with My Guy’s custom software, which gives you an address for a private chatroom, where you log in and talk business. It’s all very crypto, I love it.
My Guy designs, repairs, and modifies my armor; he makes my custom weapons and generally keeps me set up with whatever crime-fighting gadgets I need. He’s expensive, but his gear is first-rate, and highly customized. He’s like my Q, my Whistler. I’ve never met the guy. I just place an order via email, wire money to an offshore account, and then receive a package within 4 weeks.
He picks up clients by referral only; Wombat introduced me to him two years ago and he’s been my gear guy ever since. I often wonder who else uses My Guy, aside from Wombat. I’m pretty sure Night Hunter and Major Domo are clients, maybe Boomslang.
My Guy’s brand is his secrecy and exclusivity. You wouldn’t think that he would need a brand, but in the broadest definition of the term, everyone has a brand identity. He doesn’t have a logo or even a name – My Guy’s non-brand is his brand. He doesn’t advertise or need a brand per se, but he has one regardless. The client projects the brand on to the company, gives the company a name, an identity. For instance, I think of My Guy as a barrel-chested Scot who runs a workshop out of an ancient farm on the moors with his three gear-head sons. I’d cast Brian Blessed. For all I know, My Guy could be a woman, or a garage full of guys, or a super villain or something. I don’t know. He may not have an identity, but he has a brand.
Back to the email – I decode it, get the chatroom URL and password, log in to the chatroom and there he is.
I wanted to cut and paste my whole chat with My Guy, but he wouldn’t let me. My Guy’s paranoia is actually a plus for me as a client; it just reassures me that my own secrets are safe.
My Guy says that he’s disappointed with the performance of my suit’s outer shell, so he’ll replace it at a 25% discount. I accept. He wants to put on a new skin made of Nomex and Kevlar, says it’s tougher and more fire-resistant. Sounds good.
I ask him about getting a scanner built in. He says no problem, he can do that. For a few dollars more, I can get a ‘com suite’ installed. It’s a hands-free cel phone, scanner, and MP3 player with headphones and a mike built into the cowl. The unit and controls are housed in a rigid ballistic nylon pouch on my utility belt. Sounds awesome.
We settle on a price, I say I’ll wire him the money. I’ll have my suit in one week.
Hurry, I write. My old suit is chafing.