By Bella <email@example.com>
Submitted November 1998
Summary: Who, what, and why am I: these are the great questions of mankind, whose answers are most of the time more academic than not. But this time, the answer to these questions is a matter of life or death for Clark Kent.
Author's note: This little vignette came to me as I was walking home through a flood of heavy rain. I thought this was the end of the world. Thinking of good and enjoyable things, I jumped to the first season's ep "All shook up". And from there everything went without any of my doing.
It was just a mind game to divert me from noticing getting wet to the bones. Anyway, coming home wet like a drowned cat I was surprised that a full story had developed. I sat down and began to write. Because if you have an idea, and sentences formulate themselves in your head, you just have to write them down or they're lost for eternity as my fellow writers will confirm.
Legal fuss: None of this is mine, apart from Clark's thoughts.
Comments: Hey, you should know by now how much I love feedback.
I look around.
<How the hell did I end up in a pit in my underwear?>
I look up at the homeless man.
He talks to me about the Salvation Army and breakfast. He throws down a bundle of clothes. I thankfully accept them, not dwelling in fleas and bugs for long.
<Why am I not cold?>
He gives me glasses lest I look stupid, he says. And then he asks something fundamental, monumental.
<I don't know. I don't know WHO I AM!>
We're standing in the row for breakfast.
<How did I end up in such a mess? This can't be my usual neighbourhood. I must have been knocked out and mugged. But why was I around the first place?>
Someone's calling somebody. Someone grips my arm and turns me around.
<Who's Clark? Am I Clark?>
I try this name.
<Clark…Clark…could I be a Clark?>
I don't know and I'm afraid. He looks at me intently.
<Inspector Henderson? God, am I a criminal on the run?>
He doesn't look angry and doesn't shout at me to put my hands behind my head. He seems concerned.
<Do I know him? Are we friends?>
< My name's Kent. Clark Kent. And I'd like to have my martini stirred not shaken.>
<Get a grip, man!>
<Amnesia? You've got it, buddy.>
I remember a fair room. An old ventilator tries to cool down the air. At least I think it's hot. I can't somehow remember this. A man enters the room. He's sweating. I can see dark patches on his chest, armpits, and when he turns around, on his back.
"Come on, Clark. You've got to see the knob-tailed gecko, if you want to write about it."
<So, my name's really Clark Kent. And I seem to be really a writer.>
Henderson tells me something about a doctor and a Lois.
<Who's Lois? My wife? Can't be. I don't wear a wedding ring.>
<You've been mugged, remember?>
<I'd love to, buddy.>
At the police station a woman asks me a lot of questions. About myself. What I remember. What I think makes me tick. In my gut spreads the feeling of total failure. I did something and it failed. Why is it so important that I do whatever it is I had/have to do? She leaves eventually. Now I have time to look around. There's a mirror. I look at the guy in the reflection. He's me, Clark Kent. I look not bad. White, regular teeth. Healthy. Or I have an excellent dentist. I seem to be doing fine. A door opens. Lois is here.
The name melts on my tongue, leaving a sweet taste in my mouth. I'm really looking forward to meeting her again.
<Wow! Buddy, you've done something right in your life. Whatever it was.>
I glance at her hands. No rings.
<We're not married. Or even engaged. What are you to me? My girlfriend?>
She doesn't greet me like one.
<So we're not lovers either. Why not?>
She tells me.
<Partners. At the Daily Planet.>
I try it in my muddled mind. Sounds good.
<I must be good at whatever I do at the Planet.>
<Stop that! You're driving yourself up the walls and into insanity, if you don't stop this. My memory will come back in some time. Soon.>
She looks concerned.
<Welcome to the club, lady.>
I feel vulnerable. Everybody knows more about myself than I do. That's very scary. Somehow I don't think I'm particularly used to feeling scared.
At the Planet she shows me around. We both hope something's going to trigger my memory. But nothing. The doctor said I have to do familiar things in a familiar surrounding. But it doesn't trigger anything. And I learn her habit for babbling.
<So, I like donuts. Do I like them? Yes, I think so. But I'm not hungry yet.>
She gives me a spare pair of glasses.
There's no difference between with or without glasses. I hesitate slightly.
<Why do I wear glasses, when I have 20/20 vision?>
My gut feeling tells me to take them without asking. There must be a reason for it.
<Everything's very strange.>
<You're on top? And I'm on the bottom?>
<We're equal partners. That sounds more like it. Fine. That's okay with me.>
Lois presents me to a blonde. The society reporter. Flimsy outfit. She pulls me a few steps aside.
<We're lovers?! >
<I'm not attracted to you, Cat.>
Why doesn't Lois know? She's my partner. Wouldn't I tell her?
Am I together with both? Nah, I'm not the type for stuff like this, I think. I don't feel any attraction towards her.
<But why should you lie about something like that?…>
Our awkward embrace gets interrupted by two men. I learn the older one is my boss, Perry White. And the other one is Jimmy Olson. I like them. They talk about a press conference we're supposed to attend.
<You're helpless. You don't know how to handle the situation. Well, surprise, neither do I. God, I want my memory back. And fast. >
The press conference is exciting and familiar. I have the distinct feeling I've done this often. I'm shocked to learn about the meteorite and Superman's failure, whoever this guy is. The thought that the world comes literally to an end in just a few hours, days, frightens me. As much as the not-knowing about myself.
<How can Lois be so unconcerned? >
She tells me about this guy…Superman. What kind of a name is that? And what kind of guy wears it?
<Superman…sounds like some tacky and ridiculous comic hero. Like Batman.>
But she's confident about him. Everyone is. Maybe he's better than his name. He will come back from where ever he is and finish what he has begun. At least I hope so. He must be remarkable. Lois doesn't stop praising him.
<You seem to have a crush on him. Where does this leave me?>
<I'm a friend of his? Strange.>
<It's weird. I'm without memory. And the world comes to its end in less than forty hours. I wish I knew what I'm going to leave behind. Have I any relatives? Parents? Siblings?>
We enter my apartment. Nice. Cosy. Unfamiliar. Doesn't surprise me at all. What puzzles me is the fact that Lois knows where to look for the spare key.
<How close are we?>
I start to look around. On a shelf I find a football. I sniff it. Lois says I played at college. I remember cheering crowds, a stadium, a bulk of men thrown over me. But I'm not afraid of being squeezed flat under their weight. Why am I not afraid? My glance falls upon a picture. My parents. Lois confirms my hunch. Their faces hold no meaning. They're nice people, she says. I feel alone all of a sudden. I haven't just lost my memories, I have lost my roots, too. I don't think I will ever meet them again.
<Hi, I'm Clark. You must be my parents. Pleased to meet you. Just a pity we're going to die before we can get reacquainted.>
<Will my memory be gone forever?>
It shouldn't hurt too much. Forever has become an awfully short amount of time. But still I'm lonely. Over there's Lois. She talks about going home. I don't want her to go.
<What are we to each other?>
<Are we more than friends?>
I voice that question, it has been going round and round in my head since the moment I saw her.
She's flustered and answers almost incoherently. I love to listen to her babble.
<So we're just friends. Close friends. But that's not enough for me.>
If we aren't lovers, why do I want to take her in my arms and never let go?
<God, help me. This is all so confusing.>
I stare at the door. I still hear the shut after she has gone.
The next morning Cat's caught up with me. She wants to spend the last night with me.
<You feel frightened. But even if you're my girlfriend, what I doubt more and more, I can't spend the last night, the last minutes with you. I need to find myself first. I'm sorry.>
Lois puzzles me. That means our relationship. How did it all start? She tells me over the coffee pot. But her story gets interrupted by a sudden memory. We discuss food. Obviously she's very concerned about her body and getting fat, like every other woman on Earth. But my opinion surprises me. If I really constantly eat like I indicate, then why aren't my arteries clogged yet? Do I try to kill myself with a cooking spoon? How can I be so uncaring about myself? And something else. I'm not particularly vain. But thinking back to my nude reflection in my bedroom mirror last night, I can't help but wonder, if I was teasing her then. I didn't find any fitness equipment or a membership of a health club in my apartment. Nobody stays in such a shape when eating like an eight-year old.
<Where did this come from?>
My parents are here. I couldn't reach them. And miraculously they manage to get a flight to Metropolis, when the whole world falls apart. They're really nice people, even if I feel awkward around them. Particularly vulnerable. They know everything about me, I know nothing about them. Lois called. I thinks she's feeling lonely, too. Her parents aren't going to make it. I wonder, if I should spend the last hours with her. Will my parents object? I hang up on her.
<Maybe this Superman will come back to save us.>
We see the missile fail the asteroid.
<He's our last chance and hope. And mine, too. I don't want to die before I have regained my memory.>
<Where is he? Why doesn't he help us? Everybody says he always helps us.>
Mom and dad say he's not missing. How can they say that?
<WHAT?!? I AM SUPERMAN?!? Are you crazy? What kind of mind games are you playing? I don't know anything about you, apart from what you have told me about yourselves. And that wasn't much. Are you my parents at all? But Lois told me so. Why should Lois lie? What's going on here?>
I feel paranoid and lash out at them. Does an animal feel like this when cornered? I'm scared. Lois, help.
<Oh, my GOD! My so-called dad just crashed a baseball bat on my chest. And it doesn't hurt a bit!>
<I guess I'm Superman after all, and that these people are really my parents.>
I'm really Clark Kent aka Superman. But that tells me short of nothing. I don't feel super, pardon the pun.
<Have I always had these powers they say I have?>
Mom and Dad say the world needs me.
<May I introduce myself? I'm Clark Kent, reporter and off-time superhero. Saving the world's my speciality. Nice to meet you. God, what a mess!>
Mom tells me what I normally do when I want to fly. I can't remember how. I want to help, but how? I look down into the little alley. They want me to jump, so I'd better fly.
<What if I'm not that invulnerable and crash to my death? It's awfully high.>
I'm worried. Mom gives me a countdown. I'm going to do this. After all, it doesn't matter. I'm going to die anyway. Either now or in a few short hours.
<Oh, boy! I'm not hurt! I'm NOT hurt! I AM SUPERMAN!>
I burrow my way through the trash.
<What are you doing here, Lois?>
She doesn't know about me being Superman. Or she would have already told me so. She makes fun of me. I guess it's funny how I try to explain. It's pretty familiar. Dumb excuses seem to be a common occurrence for me.
<Help me, Lois. Please.>
She starts to tell me about Superman. Not what he does or did, no, the essence of him. And a floodgate opens.
<Just how often did I rescue you?>
Everything's coming back to me. I'm back.
<Oh, Lois. You don't know what you've done for me…and the world.>
I have to thank her. She's really my best friend, although that doesn't change the fact that I have a major crush on her.
<She loves me?!?>
<Oh, just as a brother. Well, now that I know we have time again, I think I'm going to change that. Where will it lead us? Should I engage in it at all?>
These are questions that need to be thought over carefully. We part with the promise to see each other at the Planet. But first I have to finish a job. I take off as Superman.
At the Planet I'm greeted by a horde of loose maniacs. They celebrate life. The next glass of champagne is mine. I'm celebrating a new birth in more than one way. Cat attacks me again. Lois swoons over Superman and puts me, Clark, down.
<Some things never change. But it's good to be back.>