The Eve of Destruction – Part One
by Lois Lane
METROPOLIS, DECEMBER 31 —
They look up to the sky to see the symbol. It happens every year. Citizens of Metropolis flood the subways and buses toward Lexcorp Circle to pack themselves in like sardines, shoulder to shoulder, hermetically sealed inside their oversized, obnoxiously puffy coats, frustrated by the bad breath of the old man standing to their right and the loud banter of the drunk college kids attempting to start a mosh pit of sorts to their left. But when the countdown starts, it’s always the same. They forget their surrounding for ten seconds, form a smile of unknown origin, and they look up to the sky. And they see Superman’s symbol.
Or at least that’s what usually happens.
In the interest of complete honesty, I had no desire to be there. I’d like to think I’ve spent the majority of my life finding a way to stick out of the crowd, so when my editor assigned me to the puff piece of recording Lex Luthor’s latest stop on his goodwill tour, the “rocking” New Year’s Eve version of a paid advertisement for his makeshift superhero program, the Everyman Project, I have to admit I didn’t exactly achieve goose bumps at the prospect of jamming myself into a stalled person parade. Even though the general public is enthused with the project, I have my qualms. The idea of waiting in the cold for three hours without the slightest hope of finding a place to sit or access to a bathroom just didn’t seem to have the same appeal as it did when I was a little girl. I guess that’s the cynicism that comes with aging in the big city. But at least this year there were plenty of things to look at to take my mind off my numb fingers and my ever insistent bladder.
The air was literally swimming with teenagers. It was a fireworks display of spandex and Kevlar, an aquarium of naïve young human fish in the sky. These Everyman alumni were casually displaying abilities from the wildest imaginations, while wearing clothing that left little to anyone’s. “Heroes” by occupation, not by deed. A perfect representation of Modern America.
I was lucky enough to meet one of them, a fitting spokesman for his ilk, a hero worshiper turned functional homage, Booster Pack. After a brief introduction, Booster filled me in on his super origin. “I was always a big Booster Gold fan, even before people knew who he was. I was like the first,” said the young man, his blue and gold uniform barely visible under the barrage of Soder Cola and Stagg Industry logos. “People say he sold out, but I don’t care man, that guy was awesome. Like the surfer of the Justice League, you know? Took it easy, knew how the world worked.”
When I questioned him further about how exactly the world does indeed operate, Pack said, “It’s like, you get in, you take what you can, and you get out. You don’t let anyone get in your way. Step on who you have to.”
And with that, Booster Pack gave me a Tom Cruise smile and the old “wink and the gun” and took off into the sky in the direction of two scantly clad females more in his age bracket, puffing up his chest as he did so. But unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the last impression Booster Pack would leave on me.
After all, it was almost midnight.
To be continued…