Kent

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Superman is lost. Despite his humanity, he can never forget his status as an alien: is he to be adored, to be feared, to be watched? As he looks for understanding in our world, Superman finds a break with his violent past may just offer him the very human future he seeks.

Submitted: July 17, 2012

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Submitted: July 17, 2012

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The sun – red – flooded the sky. Its magnitude shimmered on his eyes. Its light spooled at his feet.

He held out a stubby finger. Wanted to speak. But as yet could not. He discerned sunspots, though he did not know that they were called as such. He traced with his index finger the gas that looped up and over the surface of the sun, though he did not understand that this surface was hundreds of thousands of miles away.

Saliva ran down his chin.

“Gooohh,” he said.

He flapped his arms and feet. Smiled, though he did not know that this was what he was doing.

Instinct dictated his movements. His fingers curled. His toes next. He beat his chest.

“Gooohh,” he said.

He was picked up. A hand patted his back. He burped. Vomited slightly. All done without shame. A hand, holding a handkerchief, wiped the vomit from his lips. From his chin.

He looked at the sun. Smiled.

He was placed back on the soft sheet, his eyes never leaving the sun. Red.

He yawned. His body spasmed. One last look and his lids shut.

He slept the sleep of babies.

 

“Sir? Sir?”

He opened his eyes. Focused on her.

“Mr Hackman. He’ll see you now.”

“Thank you, m’am.”

 

“Well. This is an honour. Yes, sir. I couldn’t quite believe it, when Janet – the secretary – when she told me. Shit!”

Hackman smiled.

“Cigar?”

“No.”

“They’re good. Cuban.”

“No. I don’t smoke.”

“Course not. Silly me. Did Janet offer you anything? You know. A drink? She can be real forgetful. So easy to fluster. But she has a heart. Yes, sir. A heart as big as the state.”

“I’m okay. Really.”

Hackman leaned back in his chair.

“Shit! You here! What…what should I call you?”

“Superman is just fine.”

“Of course. Right. Thought maybe you had another name. Like Trent, or Leroy, or Maximillian. See this photo? That’s my son, Maximillian. Yeah. He’s put on a bit of weight recently. Eating too much shit. We try and make him eat his greens, but believe you me, competing against McDonald’s is hard work.”

Superman said nothing.

“Yup. He just loves those burgers. Yes, sir. Not doing too well at school either. To be honest, we’re a little worried that he’s hanging out with the wrong crowd, as they say. Started to dress different, too. Yes, sir. Maximillian. Well. What can I do for you?”

“I’m looking for a career change and I thought you might be able to help.”

“A what?”

“Career change.”

“Career change?”

“Yes.”

“You want to do what exactly, given that you are Superman?”

“Well. I thought maybe I could act.”

Hackman laughed.

“Act?”

“Yes.”

“Act? You can’t act. No, sir. You’re Superman. Why would anyone be interested in you playing a... a fishmonger or a teacher with a drug habit, or a reforming alcoholic, or a transsexual. No. Leave that stuff to Dustin Hoffman. No. Not possible. You sure you don’t want a cigar?”

“Positive.”

“How about the circus?”

Superman raised an eyebrow.

“Okay. Sorry. Can you write?”

“I reckon.”

“Yeah. Most people reckon they can. But they can’t. Why you never sold your story?”

“I’m not a brand.”

“Right. Well. We could make you one. All those toys. All those t-shirts. You get any cash for that?”

“No.”

“I got a lawyer friend. Let me speak to him.”

“It’s not the money. I just want to do something different. I’ve been Superman a long time.”

“Kinda like being a politician. Only way out for them is a book deal. How about: Superman – the Man Behind the Mask. Not that you wear a mask. I mean, metaphorically. You know? Now this people would read. Yes, sir. We could make it big. Like Clinton’s. Bigger even. Three parts. Let’s get to know you. Start out in Krypton. The school you went to…”

“We didn’t have any schools in Krypton.”

“No? Shit! Maximillian would love that. You ever done any bad stuff? I don’t mean like real bad stuff, we don’t want you in prison. I mean, small bad stuff, preferably of a sexual nature.”

“Look. This is…”

“We could get you to do public readings. Cape flapping in the wind. Wait a second. Janet? Janet, get me a contract…”

Superman stood up. His frame filled the room.

“Forget it.”

“What? Come on! Sit down. Please, sir.”

“No. this wasn’t what I came here for.”

“Listen…”

But before Hackman could find another word, Superman was gone.

 

As he came level with a passenger plane, Superman waved to a kid on board, her chubby face pressed to the little round window as if peering into a sweet shop. Humanity always had time for Superman. Perhaps it was because they just couldn’t understand the thread of good that ran through him. Or, more likely, found him a convenient alternative to effective social policy and government. He had noticed though that increasingly people seemed to be waiting for him to slip up, for a crack in his moral armour to surface, that the press could then prise open.

They had ignited the flames that still flickered surrounding 9/11 and his absence. He had been elsewhere. Saving others.  America was unable to tally that one of its citizens flatly refused to become embroiled in politics of any shape or form. How he regretted the rash statement he made when he first arrived, the truth-justice-and-American-way crap. They had thrown that back in his face come the first editions on 9/12. Yet he ignored their demands for public explanation. Bush had called him into The Whitehouse, an offer he reluctantly accepted, the pressure perhaps finally taking a hold. Behind closed doors, away from flashing cameras and false smiles, he had stood firm, surprising even himself. Bush demanded Superman’s help in hunting down the perpetrators of the heinous crime. In hunting down Bin Laden. Superman told him no. Bush demanded information on the weapons of mass destruction. Superman refused. There was Iran. There was North Korea. Superman shook his head. Bush told him that with his help thousands of deaths could be averted. US soldiers. Innocent civilians. If he did nothing, blood would be on his hands.

Time had taught him to take a big step back: let humans try and rectify the ills that they themselves had brought about. Invariably, somewhere across the planet, one group held Superman aloft as a bastion of goodwill, whilst their neighbours burned his effigy. Such was the world Superman found himself in.

Of course, his very existence had initially thrown the world into turmoil. Here was an individual who was capable of annihilating the human race, a terrifying and humbling notion. He possessed the very power man sought to harness. And because of this he was to be feared.

Scientists were unable to find any evidence of the planet Krypton. Superman would not let himself be studied, nor the vehicle he claimed he had arrived in. The CIA didn’t like this. Not one bit.

Project Zod was established in 1974. It had an initial annual budget of fifty million dollars. Secret facilities were built two hundred metres under the Gobi Desert. Some forty-eight employees were permanently resident there. The goal was to find Superman’s Achilles Heel. However, the project quickly metamorphosised as the CIA came to realise that Superman was a wholly unprecedented phenomenon.

Religious leaders were quick to claim Him as their own. Millions found faith. Millions lost it. Cults sprung up in their thousands. Virgin births ran into the tens of thousands. Mr Universe was abandoned. Then the Olympics. Children fell to their death as they called on Superman to save them. The poet Laureate Vincent Del Rocco took his own life, for as he wrote in his suicide note: without His cape, there is no one to catch us when we fall. Actor Taylor Weston, who had agreed to star in a Warner Brothers production of Superman, overdosed on sleeping pills. Or so some said.

Anthropologists from the University of Gotta? found cave drawings in Southern Gabon. They depicted a stickman flying over the heads of some other stickmen. The flying stickman, however, was painted in red and blue. Had Superman been here before? Or was he one of many? Carbon dating proved the drawings were made two weeks ago. By who? None other than Professor Edelbak…from the University of Gotta?, who confessed all when drunk to his beleaguered wife, who in turn sold her story to a British tabloid. On hearing this news, her husband promptly threw himself from the university clock tower. Gotta?’s student newspaper carried an illustration of the unfortunate event on its front cover. Profesor Edelbak was drawn falling from the tower: a matchstick man, in red and blue.

It is unknown as to whether Superman was ever aware of the CIA’s facilities. The Soviets were though.

“Superman is an agent of the enemy class! An enemy of the Soviet people!” chided Comrade Sergei Andreiovich Makarov, State Chancellor and People’s Representative of Marxist-Leninist Thought. “A capitalist spy!”

Applause rang out in the House of the Soviets.

In a moment of foolishness, fuelled by a bottle of vodka, Comrade Anton Sergeivich Perenekov, Deputy Head of the Department for Agricultural Expansion, Development and Non-Exploitive Research of the Soviet Republic of Marxistan, turned to his neighbour, the renowned State Controller of Eastern Fisheries on the Quiet Don, Andrei Vladimirovich Pugachov, and whispered:

“Comrade Andrei Vladimirovich, do you suppose an American spy would disguise himself by wearing red pants over a pair or blue tights?”

Comrade Andrei Vladimirovich smiled, winking at his colleague.

The next day, Comrade Andrei Vladimirovich Pugachov, State Controller of Eastern Fisheries on the Quiet Don, denounced Comrade Anton Sergeivich Perenekov, Deputy Head of the Department for Agricultural Expansion, Development and Non-Exploitive Research of the Soviet republic of Marxistan.

On May 8, Comrade Anton Sergeivich Perenekov, confessed in court, and in front of the State’s media, that he was leader and co-founder of the Anti-Soviet Superman Terrorist Organisation. He named thirty-eight other Soviet citizens as active members of the organization, including Comrade Andrei Comrade Andrei Vladimirovich Pugachov, State Controller of Eastern Fisheries on the Quiet Don.

EXT: MOSCOW PRISON COURTYARD – DAY – 6.50 A.M.

SNOW gently falls. Silence. TWO MEN are led out into the courtyard by a GROUP OF GUARDS. We see the TWO MEN’S dirty boots, stained clothes, their worn coats.

COMRADE PERENEKOV’S face is lined by time. His hair, grey and limp, hangs in his face. He is blindfolded, as is COMRADE PUGACHOV. Bald and terrified, PUGACHOV mumbles what could be prayers to himself.

THE MEN are tied to posts. COMRADE PUGACHOV falls to his knees.

 

PERENEKOV

(softly)

They say bullets bounce off him.

 

PUGACHOV

They say that he can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

 

PERENEKOV

That he can fly faster than a speeding bullet

 

PUGACHOV

That he works whilst we sleep

 

  PERENEKO

Who?

 

PUGACHOV

Superman.

 

PERENEKOV

Superman?! I was talking about Our Great Leader Brezhnev.

 

SHOTS ring out.

 

Meanwhile…

 

Superman arrived home. He lived on the top floor of a thirty-four-storey block in the outskirts of the city. He never used the main entrance. He never used the lift. He never met the doorman. He never saw his neighbours. Or at least his neighbours never saw him.

He went into the bathroom and undressed.

His neigbours, like all humans, made the erroneous assumption that Superman was physically like them. But, skin and bone met in between his legs. No cock. No balls. No flaps. No hole. His internal biology was far-removed from the human body. The heart was bigger. Lungs were one. There was no intestine. Instead, a distributor of sorts that sent food and water to the right organs, organs that man did not possess. There was no waste. No need for an anus.

He let the water run over his wiry hair, his perfect face, the toned muscles. He knew neither hot nor cold, indifferent to the joys humans found in a hot shower: it was merely part of routine.

He pulled on a pair of pajama bottoms. Popped on a vest. Padded into the front room.

Feet up, he opened his laptop. A new file. Typed: Book. Opened a new document. Saved it as chapter 1. Then waited. For inspiration.

The cursor blinked.

The cursor blinked.

He typed.

Once upon a time…

Nah!

He tried again.

In a galaxy far, far away…

Nah! Naff!

It began to rain. Each drop a musical note on the window pane. He looked out over the city.

His psychologist had given him a little notebook on their first meeting. Told him to free-associate. Write down what came into his head. Whatever it was, absolutely whatever. Thoughts. Feelings. Ideas. Observations. It was for him alone. No one else. Just Superman. He had lost that book. When flying. He had never done that free-associating.

The cursor was still blinking.

Alright. Let’s begin.

Is it a curse or a gift being who I am? Would you want to hear and see all that I do? I hear and see what you choose to ignore. The death. The poverty. Loss. Hate. Self-loathing. Prayer. Fear. Destruction. You bathe in your own glory. Your own sense of self-importance. Yet you are sick…

 

The agent, Hackman, looked up.

“Excuse me, sir. But: is this it? This the beginning?”

“Yes.”

“Excuse my French, sir. But: Holy shit! You are fucking jerking me, right?”

“No. This is it. Chapter 1.”

“This isn’t what people want to hear! I feel depressed! I don’t want to feel depressed! People! We… we don’t want to feel depressed. We’re tired of it. Our shit, empty lives. Let me ask you something. What is the biggest selling book of all time?”

Superman shrugged.

“The Bible. You read it?”

“Yeah.”

“What did you think?”

“Too many characters…perhaps. Bit like War and Peace.”

“War and what?”

War and Peace. Tolstoy.”

“Never heard of it. How did the Bible make you feel?”

Superman shrugged.

“Hope. That’s what it makes you feel. It’s a fucking get-out-of-jail card. Yes, sir. That’s what you gotta write. The Bible. Part 2. But with pictures. Not this…this shit. Give us HOPE!!”

“But this is how it is for me. This is how I live.”

“Well, we don’t need to hear it. No, sir. Tell us about that first time you swept down, out of the clouds. How you saved the chick. How her breasts heaved in your arms…”

“That’s not me. I don’t have those feelings.”

“…How people wept when you caught that plane in that African country. Saved those Africans.”

“I didn’t save them. Not all of them. There was only so much I could do.”

“You… YOU suffer for US. That’s it. You are… Jesus Christ.”

“I just want people to know it’s not easy being who I am.”

“Yeah. Yeah. You try tellin some punk doing twelve-hour shifts down at the docks that you have it harder than him. His wife’s left him. His kid’s on crack…”

“I’m not responsible for your failings. That’s what I’m trying to make you understand. There is only so much I can do.”

“Yeah. You said that already. Listen. Jesus never whinged. He just got on with it.”

“And look what you did to him.”

“Yeah. Well, we can’t do that to you, can we?”

Drake stood up. Stretched. He walked to the window. Parted the blinds. Outside city life breathed. The cars. The people. The dirt.

He lit a cigarette.

“Can you see my lungs, sir?”

Superman could.

“I coughed up blood last week. I’ve got cancer, right?”

Superman said nothing.

“Knew it. Shit!”

Drake sucked on his cigarette.

“Can you do anything to help me?”

Drake turned. His eyes were wet.

Superman stared.

“So you can’t do anything?”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. I thought… shit. I don’t know what I thought, sir.”

 

The quake that hit the Chinese province of Danjang registered 7.9 on the Richter scale. By the time Superman arrived, thousands were already dead. Many more injured. The main industrial town of the province was blanketed in a thick cloud of dust. He was shouted at in Cantonese. Hands reached out. Pulled at him. Begged him for help. He understood nothing of what was said to him.

One woman shouted. Constantly. He followed her outstretched finger. A pile of rubble. Her home. He buried down quickly. Dead bodies. Two. One a small child. Her mouth was full of dust. Her lungs had collapsed. Her heart had stopped. He laid her at the feet of her mother. She beat Superman on his chest and screamed.

He scanned the ruins for survivors. There weren’t many. Why did the people build here knowing what could happen? 

The Chinese army turned up: little men in big uniforms. They shouted at him. Some waved guns. Hundreds of eyes rattled in their sockets. He kept repeating: I don’t understand. I don’t understand. But no one cared.

State TV arrived. A helicopter flew over head. A Chinese official ranted at the TV camera. He pointed at Superman. The helicopter flew close to him. Dangerously so. A survivor was pulled from the rubble. By the army. They laughed. Clapped their hands. Superman hovered idly.

“Wankee wo home,” someone shouted.

Another joined in.

Then another.

A chorus.

“Wankee wo home!”

“I’m not a Yankee,” Superman said.

“Wankee wo home!” A dozen voices.

“Wankee wo home!” A hundred.

His ears stung.

“I’m not American,” he said.

No one listened to him. No one.

 

Growing up in Smallville, the Kents had been careful to make sure Superman never gave himself away. This wasn’t easy when he was young. His first day at school, the child Superman hospitalised the boy who had tried to steal his lunch. On the second day, he crashed through a wall when fleeing some older boys. There was to be no day three. The Kents decided to home tutor their boy.

It quickly became apparent he knew more than his tutors ever had or would. He knew more than anyone the Kents had ever met. More than the men on the telly even.

By the age of ten, he had read everything in the Smallville library. Everything Tolstoy had written. Hugo. Dostoevsky. Dickens. He read Tennyson in the time it took him to drink a can of soda. He rarely passed comment on what he read. The Kents had the impression that words were simply building blocks of knowledge for him. He never laughed or cried when he read. Simply stared, blank-faced. Pages turned as fast as a humming bird flaps its wings. It was disorientating to watch. There were no bedtime stories, not just because the child Superman had read everything, but because he never seemed to sleep. He went to bed after them. When they got up, they found a fresh breakfast of pancakes and eggs on the table. Coffee brewed. He rarely played. He was quiet. Never alarmed. Nor afraid. Always alert. Observant. He was fascinated by the nature that surrounded him. He could spend hours watching wheat heads bend in the wind or swallows dart and dive overhead. When it rained, he put out pots, collected the water and studied it. He would dissect dead field mice and frogs. He drew extraordinarily intricate biological drawings of their bodies, internal and external. His hand was steady, fast, almost one continuous, unbroken line. It gave nature a holy feel, a perfection of form, line and shape.

His memory was rich. Every single second of his life seemed to be labelled and compartmentalised, readily at hand should the need arise. As he worked on physics through the books the Kents had bought for him, he used his recollections of school to calculate his strength and speed given specific parameters. He got out a map of the state. He pinpointed the Kent farm. He pinpointed Martha Kent’s place of birth just outside Sendrill. He measured a distance of fifty-nine point two miles, as the crow flies.

Kent stood behind him.

“What ya up to, son?”

The child Superman pointed.

“I can run from here… to here in four minutes, thirty-two seconds. Approximately.”

“Well… that’s a mighty long way. When I drive there with Martha, well it takes nigh on an hour and a half, two hours, what with all the dirt tracks. If it’s rained, well, it’s gonna take a good deal longer…”

“I can run it in eight minutes thirty-two seconds. Maybe faster.”

“Son, there’s no car that can travel at that speed. None that I know the likes of.”

“I know.”

“I know you’re quick. But that? That sure be something else, son.”

The child Superman stood up. He flexed his hands.

“I’m going to try. Now. Right now.”

Kent put his hand on the boy.

“No, son. No, you can’t.”

Superman looked at the hand. At Kent’s face lined with time and disappointment.

“I can.”

“No, son. You can’t.”

The hand felt heavier.

The child Superman stared out of the window. Swallows dived.

“If someone sees you.”

“They won’t. Well, they will. But they won’t discern my face. I’ll be going too quickly.”

Kent squatted down. Rested on his heels. He looked into the boy’s eyes.

“Let’s go chuck a ball about outside. How about you show me that curve ball of yours? What do ya say?”

 

The psychologist looked up from his notes.

“What did you expect them to do?”

“They hid me away.”

“They did what they thought was necessary.”

“I never got to play with other kids. When I really needed to. It was just me. Just me.”

Superman ran a hand through his hair.

“When did you last see your mother?”

Superman looked up.

“A while ago.”

“When did you last talk to her?”

“A while ago.”

The psychologist indicated the phone.

“Call her.”

Superman shook his head.

“I don’t know.”

“What don’t you know? Call her.”

The psychologist picked up the handset. Held it out. Both could hear the dialing tone. Underneath, Superman discerned the crackle of millions of voices.

“Maybe later.”

“No. Now.”

 

The child Superman watched the sun set. Winter was coming.  

In the distance, a silhouette broke across the horizon. Superman stayed seated, watching. Hands across knees.

It was a man. He walked with a heavy stride. Black coat open. Face scared by acne. He chewed on a blade of grass. He smelt of decay.

“You live down at that there farm, boy?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your mama in?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your pops?”

“Yes, sir.”

The man removed the grass from his mouth.

“Ain’t safe out here, boy. What ya doin all alone like this?”

“Thinking, sir.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes.”

“What ya thinkin about? Something good?”

“You wouldn’t understand, sir.”

“You sure about that?”

“Yes.”

“You’re awful big for ya boots, boy.”

“I don’t have any boots, sir.”

The man laughed. He walked away towards the farm.

The sun shimmered.

 

“Son? Son? Is that you?”

Superman held the handset close to his ear, nestling it there.

“Yes.”

“Oh, son. I miss you. So much.”

Superman said nothing.

“How are you?”

“I’m okay.”

“Good.”

“I worry for you. Miss you round the farm. Gets to bein kinda lonely here. Just me.”

“How’s it looking?”

“I’m too old to keep it, son. Chris’s a great help but… I was talking to Richard Singer today and he reckons he could get us a good price for the farm, help me get some money for a place where I can rest me weary legs. I don’t need this big ol’ place. I don’t think ya’ll miss it, will ya?”

“No. no, I won’t. Maybe I could come over. Help you with the repairs; knock the place into shape. If you’re going to sell it.”

“That would be real nice.”

Superman looked down. His hand trembled.

“I’ll come over. When it’s dark. When the sun’s set.”

“Okay.”

“Okay. When the sun’s set.”

 

He let the sun lap at his face. An edifying force of yellow brilliance. He wanted to run. To jump. He was sure that given time, the jumps could become something more. Something much more.

A scream.

Strangled.

Broken.

His earth mother’s.

He stood.

Turned.

The farm.

The scream came again. This time with his name.

He moved in bounds.

Feet dented ground.

Colours slid.

Time shifted.

He stood in the kitchen. Kent lay on the floor. He bled from his head. From his neck. He did not breathe.

The sitting room. His earth mother’s mouth was open. The scream hung on the air, a composition of vibrations that the child Superman could have reached out and touched should he so have wished. The man held a knife. Blood ran from the blade, gravity pulling a single, fat drop down, down, down to the floor. The child Superman watched it fall. Watched it hit the dry, wooden floor. Disperse. Inevitable.

The man reached at her top, tearing. A button popped. Turned in the air. Propelled towards the child.

His earth mother looked at the child Superman. Called his name.

The man turned as if weighed down by led. His face was the ugliest thing the child had ever seen.

“Fuck you want, boy? Can’t ya see I’m busy?”

The knife splashed more blood.

“I told you, thinker. It’s dangerous out here.”

The man breathed deeply.

“Run. Run. Run before I kill you, thinker.”

His earth mother’s bra showed. Her skin soft. Succulent. He could smell her. He could smell him. The child Superman vomited.

“Son? Son? Do something!”

The man grabbed the child. Tried to lift him. But couldn’t. Sweat was in the man’s hair. Tobacoo stained his teeth.

“I don’t understand why you are doing this,” the child Superman said.

“Because I can,” the man replied.

“There are so many things I can do that I don’t”, the child said.

The man struck him with the knife. The blade turned on itself.

“I can move faster than anyone or anything. Yet I don’t. I can propel myself up. So as I can fly. But I don’t. And I have strength that allows me to take life at will.”

The child’s hand reached into the man’s chest. His hand cut through the ribcage. Fingers wrapped around the man’s heart. Tore it free. Snapping. Blood spurting. Sucking. Pulling. Life. Going. Gone. In the blink of an eye.

“See? See what I can do, sir?”

 

“Maybe you should spend more real time with people.”

“Like this?”

“No. This is artificial. Why don’t you rent out a room? Join a social club?”

“No.”

“You keep telling me you understand so little of human behavior. How you just fly in, then fly out. How that normal, everyday human life is just a concept. That you’re lacking something. You were nurtured on earth, irrespective of how good or bad that nurturing was.”

“Yes, I know.”

“You say your earth parents didn’t give you your freedom. You say you wanted to run, jump, fight. Be you. Yet I think… I think you wanted to be one of us. Therein lies the freedom you speak of.”

“I want to be a human: that’s what you’re telling me?”

“Yup.”

“But I’m not.”

“True.”

“I can’t deny who I am.”

“No.”

“And where I have come from.”

“And who you have created.”

“What does that mean?”

“You needn’t have revealed yourself to us.”

“That’s bullshit. What was I supposed to do? Go to college, university and get a job?”

“Not a bad plan. Worked for me.”

“I couldn’t have done that.”

“Why not?”

“Just couldn’t.”

“Stop closing doors.”

“My earth parents knew. They told me. They said I had a purpose.”

“And you believed them.”

“Of course.”

“Because you were flattered. A very human feeling, if you don’t mind me saying.”

“Shit! All this noise. You hear that? Cause you don’t. Very easy imagining what it’s like being me. But that’s all you can do - imagine.”

“How’s the autobiography going?”

“It’s not.”

“Given up?”

“I don’t give up.”

“You never showed me those first pages.”

“The agent said they were depressing.”

“I’d like to see them.”

“I don’t know.”

“Listen. I have an idea. How about ditching the outfit for a day? Just one, measly day?”

“I couldn’t. If something happens.”

“Forget about saving humanity for twenty-four hours. We’ll still be here when you get back.”

“What would I wear?”

“Something human. Something that would let you blend in.”

The psychologist used a finger to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Glasses.”

“Sorry?”

“I’ll wear glasses.”

“Well, it’s a start.”

“And a suit. Like they wear over in Wall Street.”

 

He looked at himself in the mirror. The first word that sprung to his mind was: alien.

The clothes felt tight. Restraining. The white shirt. The black suit. A tie. Such a stupid invention.

His hair was gelled back.

He slipped the glasses on.

“I am…”

He thought.

“I am Kent, “he said.

He left the flat. Through the front door. For the first time ever.

 

Kent took the lift.

A man sat inside. On a stool.

“Which floor?”

“The first,” Kent replied.

“You new, man?”

“Erm. No. Yes. Just visiting. Someone. Who lives here.”

“You a big son of a bitch. You play football?”

“No.”

“Man, you should give it try. Looks to me like you built for that kinda shit.”

“This your job?”

“Sure is.”

“You have to press the buttons?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah.”

The lift stopped. The doors opened.

Kent turned.

“Is it true Superman lives here?”

“The guy in the cape?”

“Yes.”

The liftman shrugged his shoulders.

“If he does, I ain’t never seen him.”

 

Kent stepped out onto the street.

He would never fly again. Never save another human life. Never respond to the name Superman again.

But for now, all he knew was that it was raining. When it rained, humans opened umbrellas. So he did just that.

A guy in a suit. On his way to work. Under an umbrella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Daniel Winters. All rights reserved.

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