August 22, 2018
How long has been it since I slept more than one hour a day? I barely remember.
It feels like I have been Superman since forever.
“Clark,” Lois muttered, half awake, half slurring.
Lois stirred, checking the alarm clock by her bedside table.
“You are late.”
I smiled. Lois was nothing, if not taciturn and punctual.
“I was waiting for you. You looked peaceful today.”
“Thanks. Must be the bags under my eyes.”
Lois stared, pokerfaced. She looked cute when she did that. She looked old, too, older than she liked. Her microexpressions told me a story her words never could.
I am already twenty seconds late. But it’s 5:25 AM. Lois needed me for another minute or two.
The world could wait.
“Since you are still here, you might as well be useful,” Lois smirked, fetching her laptop and powering it up. “Do some speed reading, Smallvile. Tell me what you think of today’s pages 5 and 6.”
She is two months away from completing her third year as the Planet’s City Editor. She takes it just as seriously as Bruce does with his own Gotham beat.
She needed to be, to compete with CNN and online publishing. Jimmy and Cat chafed under her reigns at times, but they knew what they signed up for when they chose to cover urban crime under Lois Lane’s watch.
I looked at the drafts. I felt a quiet pride going over the headlines. Manaheim, inner city squalor, sectarian violence and domestic abuse. Gnarly stuff, as usual. But these were problems that required human collaboration, and human ingenuity, to solve.
Every time the headlines were less about metahuman fisticuffs and more about solving the city’s problems, I felt like I was doing my jobs- both as Clark Kent and Superman- right.
“Good stuff, “I said, typing quickly, but not fast enough to ruin her keyboard. “I underlined three typos. Cat shouldn’t have missed those.”
Lois’ lips twitched. She thought of smirking, but decided against it.
“I also included some comments about future angles your team can pursue…” I looked at Lois’ clock. 5:26 AM. “I should get dressed.”
Lois nodded, smiling. Her face looked less worrisome, and her vitals were a touch better.
Her day was off to a good start.
“Before you go,” Lois said, rising from her bed, staring bewilderingly as I got dressed at super speed. “Dad asked about our plans for the weekend.”
I laughed. “It’s Dad now? Not Sam or General Lane?”
Lois’ lips frayed. “He’s turning over a new leaf. Or so he says. For once, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
I nodded. I trusted Sam Lane, but Lois didn’t, to put it lightly.
“We could try Saturday. The Thai place?”
“He hates Thai. Japanese, on 8th Jurgens St. That would be better.”
Lois pulled on her sleeping gown, heading towards the washroom.
“Sure. That’s Sekigahara. Good reviews. 2 PM?”
I straightened the edges of my cape, frowning when I noted the faint scuff marks. Zod and his heat vision. Synonyms for overkill, that’s what they are.
Lois turned, nodding. “2 PM it is.”
“Thanks,” I headed towards our balcony, opening the sliding glass door. “See you at 9.”
The metropolis skyline was dim and hazy, populated by a stray drone or two. The skies looked clear, and there were no rain clouds in sight for the next hundred miles. I focused, surveying my flight path, spotting the distant sun rising in a small town in Philly. Three hours left till sunrise in Metropolis.
I looked up at the sky, and smiled.
The electromagnetic spectrum flashed for a second before fading away. Sounds blared in random spikes, before stabilizing. All I heard was my heartbeat. Thumpa thumpa thump. Like a raging superbull from Thanagar.
I lifted off and jumped upwards. Once I cleared Johns Tower, I began my upward thrust. Air resistance prickled against my skin, before turning into a burning sensation. My tactile shield activated a moment later, and all I felt afterwards was a cool, tingly breeze.
I wish I could write a book on mastering superhero flight. It’s easy to start flying, but doing it efficiently is another thing entirely.
I started humming Hall and Oates’ You Make My Dream Come True. At subsonic speed, that’s a hum that only I and a few dozen others can recognize. I looked over my shoulder, spinning and changing my orientation as I ascended past the troposphere.
Metropolis looked good today. It always did, but today, it felt especially good.
I looked at my brownstone for a second, accidentally taking a peek at Hannah Cross cuddling with her highschool sweetheart, Ram Forrester.
Hannah is a good person. She hits the bottle a little hard every once in a while, but she’s doing well in the MTA. I rented my old brownstone out to Hannah almost five years ago. Can’t believe it’s been five years since Jimmy and I celebrated Krypto’s first birthday in our room.
It’s probably been just as long since I moved in with Lois. We bought the penthouse two months after she got the editor job. How long had I been Superman by then?
I still couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter. I looked back at our penthouse. I caught a glimpse of Lois going through her morning workout routine. She will be heading out for jog in an hour or so.
Time for me to start my workout, too.
I kicked my thrust into overdrive. A controlled sonic boom sounded in the distance. At an acceleration of 500 miles per second squared, everything looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. Then my senses overcame inertia and caught up, slowly, over the next five seconds. Blues and whites flooded my eyes before giving way to a black backdrop. The deafening roars of split clouds and passing jetliners trumpeted my ear drums. Adrenaline flowed like mercury from my head to toe.
When it finally came, the weightlessness of space felt like an old friend. The familiar ball of flame floated majestically towards my north, and the arms of distant Andromeda twinkled like stars.
I don’t know if I can keep doing this superhero thing forever. But if I know one thing, it’s that I will never get tired of flying.
Up, up and away.