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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Superman vs. Metropolis
By Sherrie Jackson
07/12/07


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Superman flashed a smile to the cheering crowd as he hovered above them. Traffic on Forty-Third Street in Metropolis had come to a halt, and people leaned out of their car windows, straining for a look. A car chase had ensued while he was cruising below the clouds; he’d swooped down to intercept the beat-up Camaro and eased it to a halt just before the criminals were to plow through an intersection.

People along the street were jumping up and down and waving, hoping to be singled out. Superman chuckled, gave them his patented wave, and soared into the sky. He had twenty minutes left on his lunch break.

*****

The Daily Planet was abuzz when Clark returned. He hurried to his desk and looked up at the flat-screen televisions mounted to the column nearest him. They were all tuned to CNN, and star journalist Julianna Diamond was reporting breathlessly.

“For those of you just tuning in, a story is developing in Metropolis concerning the outcome of a car chase. Delivery man Sam Shaker is suing Superman for damages to his vehicle. It’s not clear at this point the extent of those damages…”

Clark grabbed a pencil and squeezed until there was a pile of shavings on his desk.

“Let’s go now,” Julianna was saying, “to the scene of the accident where Metropolis mayor Red Pierce is making a statement.”

The crowd on Forty-Third had grown, and Mayor Pierce stood amongst a cluster of news cameras and microphones. “The incident today only exemplifies the growing problem of Superman versus Metropolis,” he began. “There’s no denying the good that he does, but what of the aftermath? What of the good people who have property destroyed due to the careless manner in which Superman dispenses justice? Which,” he said, eyes gleaming, “is beginning to look more like braggadocio than altruism.”

Clark sank heavily into his chair, and it cracked in protest. How had this gone wrong? To make sure the criminals didn’t crash through the windshield, he’d needed to add a few seconds and a few feet to the stop and as a result, had tapped a van that had the right of way. Its sliding door had a Superman-sized indentation, but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed, and he had assured the shocked delivery man it would be.

I should have checked, he realized, and the sounds of the world faded to this one singular thought. I should have made sure he was okay with it.

The mayor had never been a fan. But Clark was blindsided by this – a public attack on his methods. It wasn’t that he was careless. He had a quiet agreement with Met Insurance that all damages incurred in the course of duty would be taken care of by him; many times he made the repairs himself. But the public didn’t know this, and with the mayor grandstanding in the middle of Metropolis, what could they possibly think? Would they believe Pierce, and revolt the next time Clark smashed something up?

As troubled thoughts tumbled in his mind, gradually one sound grew louder and more insistent. It was the sound of a runaway train.

Clark leapt to his feet – and stopped.

What if he did more harm than good again? What if he couldn’t solve this problem without breaking something else? Clark was filled with an uncommon sense of dread.

He heard their screams.

This was ridiculous. He couldn’t stop doing what was right because of technicalities, because of opportunism or political manipulation. Saving people was what he was put on Earth to do.

Be confident, he implored himself, walking quickly to the stairwell. Be confident!

Superman zoomed down thirty-six flights of stairs, out of the building and into the sky without pausing.

The elevated metrorail’s brakes had failed, and instead of making its final stop was speeding toward the end of the rail, below which was a fifty foot drop. His indecision back at the Planet required an extra burst of speed and, as he latched onto the head car, a bit more force to bring it to a stop right at the edge. Instantly, ripples formed in the metal of the train’s first two cars. The damage was done.

The terrified passengers shouted with joy and chanted his name.

Superman didn’t linger. He flew to Forty-Third and landed smoothly; the news cameras turned to him. He walked briskly through the parting crowd.

“Mayor,” he boomed, “I’d like to have a word with you.”


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This article has been read 536 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 07/12/07
What a fun story, and one doesn't have to dig too deep to find the parallels--people who rob us of our confidence. Extremely creative!
Dee Yoder 07/12/07
What fun to read and a great point without being too obvious. How creative you are with this!
terri tiffany07/13/07
Very good! Great action and good to the point ending!!
Lynda Schultz 07/14/07
Superman with a confidence problem — now that's imagination. Good work.
Joanne Sher 07/17/07
How creative is this? Love it - and a message too!
Benjamin Graber07/17/07
I love it; another extremely creative entry this week. Everyone must have stored up several weeks' worth of creativity in the break!
Kristen Hester07/17/07
What fun. Who would have guessed Superman could have confindence problems? I'm so glad he regained it so he could continue to take care of Metropolis! This was great.
Virginia Bliss 07/17/07
Loved it, loved it! And oh how true, too.
Lisa Holloway07/18/07
This is good, creative writing and an easy read. Good, satisfying resolution, too. (But I couldn't avoid a heavy sigh when I read about the suing. Isn't it just so typical!)
David Butler 07/19/07
Yeah! Go superman! Politics vs Saving Lives. I get so worked up about political opportunistic ambition that makes the work so much harder for the REAL contributors to our community.
Great to hear someone championing their cause in such a masterly fashion. Well done. Fun read, too.
dub W07/19/07
Very creative, fun read. Only thing I would suggest would be to reduce the speech tags.
Patty Wysong07/19/07
What a fun read that's got a great message packed in it! good job!! :D