04/15/2013 12:24 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2013

Iron Man vs. Iron Lady

Sometime in the 1980s: Billionaire playboy Tony Stark is vacationing in the south of England. Suddenly, he receives an urgent alarm -- some arch fiend is destroying Great Britain's social safety net. Donning his famous red and gold armor, he transforms into the invincible Iron Man! Then he flies to 10 Downing Street, where he confronts...

"Margaret Thatcher?"

"You were expecting maybe the Mandarin?" the first female British Prime Minister and notorious Tory politician replied.

"Why, yes, as a matter of fact I was."

"I've studied his managerial techniques. There is much we can learn from the East. Now if only I had his ten rings of power, I could rule the world!"

Tony Stark winced; if there was one thing he hated, it was the Mandarin and his ten rings of power. "Listen, Madam Prime Minister, I've been fighting crime since the early 1960s. Believe me, that 'rule the world stuff' never works out. Besides, I thought England gave up its empire after World War II. My buddy Captain America told me all about it."

The Iron Lady's eyes flashed angrily, and Tony Stark was reminded of what French President Francois Mitterrand had told him at a diplomatic cocktail party/orgy: she had the mouth of Marilyn Monroe and the eyes of Caligula. If looks could kill -- say, she was Modok in disguise -- he was already dead. "Surely as a businessman, Mr. Stark, you understand the need for retrenchment. England once ruled the waves, and it shall again. That's why we invaded the Falklands."

"Uh oh, we are definitely getting into Dr. Doom territory here. What do you care about a chain of under-populated islands off the coast of Argentina? All that's there are a bunch of lonely shepherds and nervous sheep. Even Reagan thinks it's a bad idea, and we both know Mr. 'We Start Bombing In Fifteen Minutes' is no peacenik."

"It's the principle that counts. Would you give up a piece of U.S. territory without a fight?" Again there was that flash of fire in her eyes; Tony Stark set his repulsor shields to 100 percent.

"It depends. Parts of Texas, possibly. Florida, certainly..."

The Iron Lady shook her head disappointedly. "It seems odd that an arms merchant should turn into such a lily-livered pacifist. Where is the mighty Avenger I've read so much about in comic books?"

"Lady, I got out of the arms business in the 1970s. As to avenging, I only do that when the Earth is threatened by Loki or Thanos or somebody cosmic like that."

"What about fighting terrorists like Nelson Mandela and his criminal gang, the ANC?"

Tony Stark was getting a headache. He set his armor to soothing massage mode. "Look, we're never going to agree about geopolitics, so let's talk about the social safety net instead. That's why I'm here in the first place. Now who's trying to destroy it?"

"Why, me, of course," Thatcher replied sweetly. "England cannot continue with all this bloody Mary Poppins state. We'll wind up as bad as Scandinavia. Privatization and deregulation are in, socialism and free milk for needy school children are out."

"Wait, doesn't Scandinavia have some of the highest standards of living in the world? At least they have the greatest blonds. I know this pair of twins from Sweden, they're contortionists, they... "

"That is besides the point," Thatcher said coldly. There was that stare again. "We hurt the poor by helping them. They become reliant on government aid. They must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, assuming they have and bootstraps. Surely as an entrepreneur you understand."

"I got a head start from my father, who was also a billionaire. Listen, I'm all in favor of free enterprise and all that, but what about those who are incapable of helping themselves? Not everyone's a scientific genius inventor businessman, you know."

"As one of our greatest writers once said, 'are the prisons and workhouses all closed?'"

"Charles Dickens, right? A Christmas Carol? I don't read much -- I pay people to read for me -- but I'm pretty sure Dickens was satirizing living conditions in nineteenth century industrial England. What about basic fairness? What about decency?"

"Decency? I do not recognize the meaning of the word. The bloody poor can go sod themselves, for all I care. Free markets are best when they are self-regulating. What's the worst that could possibly happen?"

Tony Stark turned up the volume on his inner-sound system and put on a mix of Gang of Four and the Clash. "Well, speaking as a capitalist, I know what a lying bunch of cutthroats we are. We can't regulate ourselves -- it's the financial foxes guarding the chicken coop."

"History is on our side! The Soviet Union is collapsing. It's only a matter of time before China follows suit."

"Says the gal who gave Hong Kong back to the Chinese!"

"Says the guy who gave the Chinese script spproval on Iron Man 3!"

They stood there for a moment glaring at each other. You could cut the sexual tension with a unibeam. Suddenly, Thatcher tugged at the oversized bow at her throat, and all of her clothes slid off. She stood before him in all her naked glory. "I may be a Prime Minister," she said huskily, "but I am also a woman. Despite shattering the glass ceiling, I have no use for libbers. The lady is for churning."

Stark considered it. This was how he had turned the Black Widow from KGB spy to SHIELD agent -- some good old American all-beef hotdog. (The Cold War wasn't all bad.) And there was that Marilyn Monroe mouth. But there were also those Caligula eyes, boring into his soul...

"Maybe if you were played by Helen Mirren instead of Meryl Streep."

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry, inside Hollywood joke. Anyway, no sale. I won't do to you what you're doing to England. It would make me feel cheap." Then he kicked in his repulsor jets, and flew away; maybe he could find the Hulk or somebody more appealing to fight.

Thatcher sadly put back on her clothes and resumed her depredations. Britain was forced to suffer through several more years of the Iron Lady's benighted rule, until she was forced out of office by her own party. Today a memorial burns perpetually to her memory in Brixton. Rust In Pieces.