Superman sat in his fortress of solitude in the icy mountains of Antarctica, at the farthest most reaches of the Southern hemisphere. He sat high above the floor stacked on top of rectangular blocks of ice shaped into a roughhewn throne. Above him, a dome of icicles hung like stalactites.
He sat slouched on his ice block throne, elbow resting on its arm, hand balled into a backward fist tucked under his chin. A look of sleepy unrest darkened his eyes as he looked blankly at nothing in particular. Beside him, on a smaller frozen block sat an old Royal manual typewriter, ink ribbon, PICA 10 characters per inch, with a ream of bonded white paper, clean and blank. The old Royal had a single sheet looped around its carrier, completely blank but waving occasionally from the icy wind that howled outside.
He heard a young girl scream more than halfway around the world. His super hearing still just as impeccably sharp as it ever was from the first day, when he crashed landed in Smallville en route from Krypton. The girl was screaming because she was being apprehended in Chicago by an armed lunatic. But hers was not the only one. Another scream came, this time from an old man in Dubai, surrounded by knife wielding ruffians who were after his money. Still more screams from Rio De Janeiro, Juarez, Singapore, Kentucky, Moscow. Yet, Superman sat. He shifted slightly in his seat uncomfortably having to listen to their torments and pleas for help. He knew they would be dead soon, and he could have stopped it. But yet…he allowed it to go on.
A lot of time had passed since the Daily Planet closed, a victim of the age of the Internet, electronic blogs, instant news, and Facebook. The paper suffered a slow leak, like a faulty tire going flat, in paid subscribers and distribution. Once a globally renowned place of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, but the concept went extinct, without meaning these days. Once a dignified and recognized source of news, Clark Kent found the paper he used to work for going down the tubes. And with it, so was Clark Kent, going down the tubes. Clark Kent wandered through the double glass doors of the giant building with the ringed globe of the Earth crowning its top for the last time to a very uncertain future. And in the end, he just faded away. He found it strangely ironic, nobody knew where he came from, nobody knew where he went. No one cared either. So he just … well, as far as Superman was concerned, Clark Kent just wandered away and died. Just as he knew the little girl in Chicago would soon be dead, the old man in Dubai, and all the others. These days he saved himself, and his powers, limited only to world saving events like a nuclear deterrent. Those other individuals in crisis? They would just have to fend for themselves. The world had gone crazy, and there were simply too many of them these days for him to keep up with.
Superman adjusted himself again and looked at the typewriter. The blank piece of paper blowing gentle in the breeze. It made him think of Lois. He had not seen her in thirty years, ever since she married Jimmy Olsen, the human that could give her what she needed. Together they had a couple of freckled, red-headed kids, and eventually retired to a old folks community in Melbourne, Florida. He didn’t attend her funeral in ’82 but watched it from afar with his telescopic vision. Privately he wished he had a superpower to stop torturing himself about what might have been. No amount of kryptonite could hurt him as much as watching the only woman he loved be with someone else. She had grown old, then she had died. Just one more thing, despite all his powers, he could not do.
He went to his typewriter now, as he had when he was an investigative journalist for the Planet. He wanted to type his life story. He wondered if anyone would care about it enough to read it, over watching monkey’s pissing in their own mouths on YouTube, partisan political commentary on MSNBC, or heavily caked make-up transvestite twinks on Tik Tok.
Unfortunately, probably not. He was just another lonely voice in sea of too many other voices.
Writing was such a lonely business, maybe a useless endeavor, but it was all he had these days.
At least until the bomb dropped.