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Ruse.

Ruse.

Deep in the ocean, living within the coral reef, is a curious creature.

It has a reputation for establishing a symbiotic relationship with various fish in the region.

In exchange for the sustenance provided by parasites and dead tissue, the bluestreak cleaner wrasse provides a service of benefit to its clients.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Imagine, for a moment, the method in which this service takes place.

Looking for its next meal, the wrasse puts on a little show, appearing to dance to attract the attention of a client to clean.

After a moment, a fish swims by the cleaning station, taking to the dance and looking for the service.

Ah, the miracle of nature.

Only there’s a trick being played here.

The wrasse is not the only fish in the sea with a blue streak and capable of doing this dance.

And here, we see a clever ruse set into motion.

This is the combtooth blenny, more specifically the species commonly referred to as, well, the false cleanerfish.

And its purpose is right there in the name.

Fooling this visitor to the cleaning station, the blenny approaches…but instead of removing parasites or dead tissue, it takes one solid bite out of the victim’s flesh.

One of the most remarkable tricks on the planet belongs to such a clever fish as this.

It knows how to blend in and act friendly long enough to get what it wants.

It’s a practice you can see taking place in a whole different ocean.

The Slaughterhouse.

The faces change but the routine remains the same.

Albert Shaw, the blenny of OSW.

A false cleanerfish.

Aligning himself with whoever will pay him, acting friendly for the sake of doing the job assigned.

But as soon as that job is done?

The teeth come out.

Shaw takes the bite of flesh that satisfies him, and he moves on.

Looking for his next victim.

The next sucker to fall for his ruse.

But ol’ Simon isn’t fooled, Albert.

I can see those teeth from a mile away.

It was me who paid you to do a job, once.

Do you remember that?

I hope so, because you never finished the task.

And if there’s one thing the Taskmaster can’t stand, it’s when his task is incomplete.

So now, I will take the pound of flesh that is owed to me.

I will be refunded for services not rendered.

And in front of your newest patsies, the folly of your mimicry will be exposed.

Luke Storm and Zero won’t save you, not when they recognize that the relationship is one-sided.

You will no longer have someone to reel into your clever tricks.

One good turn deserves another.

And I’ve got just the turn in mind for you, Guv’nor.

And when I’m through, you’ll realize just how painful missing fingers can be.

Because that’s my level of petty.

You made a fool out of me, teaming with the bMf.

You won’t make a fool out of me ever again.

Simon