Supes and Dee
Superman floats 30,000 feet above the ground, listening to the voices of humanity.
“…taking the dog for a walk…”
“I don’t know, honey, I guess it was a wrong num…”
“…is the greatest threat to American…”
“…this week on the countdown…”
His hearing is thousands of times better than a human’s, but he still has trouble distinguishing the various voices. He wants to help these people, wants to make their lives safer--better--but there’s so many of them. When Superman first arrived at his adopted home, there were 2 billion Earthlings. Now there are more than twice that many in Asia alone. How can he hear who...“Superman, HELP!”
And the Man of Steel is off. Even within the thunderous noise of humanity’s collective voice, a simple “help” is easily understood. Jetting through the clouds, he stops every few seconds to pinpoint the troubled voice’s source. “Help! Help! Superman!” It’s a woman, and American, judging by the accent. The drawn-out “help” (it sounds like “heyl-puh”) narrows it to the south-east. He shoots off again towards his goal.
Ten seconds later and he’s there--a lower-class neighborhood in rural Tennessee. It’s midday, at least 100 degrees, and children are playing in the littered, dirt-covered street. The woman’s shouts seem to emanate from a small white siding-covered house at the end of a cul-de-sac. He uses his x-ray vision to peer inside, but no image comes back. “Hmm, must be lead paint,” he decides. “Ah, well. No time to delay.”
X-rays do reveal that no locks are bolted, so rather than burst through the wall, he decides to simply use the front door. He opens it with a flourish, hoping to surprise any would-be attackers. “Get back!” he shouts, but looking around, he sees no one but a woman sitting on her sofa, watching television with remote in hand.
“What the…?” Superman begins. He looks from side to side.
“Superman!” the woman yells. She is enormously fat and unkempt, wearing a nightgown and smoking a cigarette. “Thanks bunches. Will you grab me a coke from the fridge? It’s just so hard to get up, my ankle and all, and I wanna see the end of American Choppers.
For a second, Superman looks confused, but comprehension dawns on him and anger shows on his face. “Coke?! You were calling for help!”
“I know, but I can’t get up so good and…”
“So there’s nothing wrong?” The Man of Steel folds his arms across his chest.
“Hahahaha!” The woman bursts out laughing, which leads to a coughing fit. “Well, hell, got lots wrong. Diabetes, hepatitis. I ain’t got no job cause our Muslim president has seen fit to give it to a Mexican, plus there’s the-”
“The ankle, yes,” says Superman, his hand covering his eyes in controlled irritation.
“Yeah,” continues the woman, “but I ain’t in no immediate danger if that’s what you… hey where ya going?!”
“Ma’am, I can’t be everywhere at once. Please don’t call me again.” He turns toward the door, stepping around the cat that purrs at his boot.“Well pardon me, Mr. Super Hero. It was just a little favor. Sorry I’m not a big important person. We can’t all be Sarah Palin or Carrie Underwood. I won’t bother you ever again. I hope my house don’t get broke into by some illegal immigrant in the night.”
“Dee… just Dee.”
“Dee... I don’t care what your social status happens to be--I help presidents and dishwashers, children and soldiers, but only when they’re in danger.”Dee waves her hand dismissively, “Well what about a cat up in a tree? I seen on TV once how you did that.”
“Well, sure, a little girl needed my help, and...”
“Needed your help? Well I sure am glad nobody was bein’ murdered or raped or anything at that particular time, so you could do the work of a single fireman and save that poor kitty cat.” Dee takes a drag off her cigarette. “Yes, sir, a busy man like yourself has to prioritize. I’m glad to know a sick old woman ranks lower than a kitty cat to such a big important man.”
The boyscout in Superman is too strong, and he relents.“Mrs. Dee…please feel free to call me whenever you need help… real help. I’d be happy to come by if…”
Dee suddenly looks away towards the TV. “Oh, It’s coming back on! You can stay and watch if you want, but no talking."
“I better go…”
“Oh! Since you are already here, you mind…?”
Superman’s shoulders slump as he walks into the kitchen, grabs a can of Coke from the fridge, and hands it to Dee, who never looks away from the TV. “Goodbye, Ms... goodbye, Dee.” whispers Superman. He turns back again, and stumbles over the cat, who meows.
“Shh!” Dee hisses.
Superman closes the door behind him, and flies away. He can’t be everywhere at once, after all, and there are so many voices...