Clark Kent’s Last Day

SupermanBy the time Clark Kent reaches his desk, the clock that serves as the heartbeat of the Daily Planet reads, 8:05. He is late for work.  Again.

Editor-in-chief Perry White is, as always, furious. He barks, “KENT!!” but quickly softens to “Clark, please step into my office.”

The man of steel threads his way through the phalanx of metal desks toward Perry’s office. As he passes Lois Lane, he gently runs a fingertip across her shoulder. Her body quakes. She is crying.

She looks up, her eyes red and moist, “Oh Clark!”

“We’ll talk later,” he whispers.

That’s when she loses it.

Jimmy Olsen rises from his desk, “Clark, I just want to say…” then he too loses it.

Throughout the newsroom, typewriters fall silent. Co-workers stare or look away. Catherine “Cat” Grant cries openly. She always had eyes for Clark but never could hold a candle to Lois. It is too late now, her light is going out. Only one reporter is having a good day, Clark’s rival, ace reporter John Corben.

The irascible Perry White gestures for Clark to hustle but his heart isn’t in it.  As Clark enters his office, Perry places a hand on his shoulder and softly closes the door. “Son, I hate doing this but I’m not going to pull any punches. You’re out.”

“But why?”

“Why? You are never here, that’s why?”

“But boss…”

“Kid, you’ve missed fifty of the last fifty Superman stories. How can we hang onto a guy with such a sorry track record?”

“I could do sports.”

“There is nothing to say, Clark. We’ve had our differences but that’s not it. It’s no secret the newspaper business isn’t what it used to be.” Perry hands Clark his severance envelop and motions for Gus from security to escort him out of the building.

“Gus, give me a moment would you?” Clark asks.

The guard checks over his shoulder, “Sure, but just a moment.”

Clark approaches Lois. She hides her face in her hands. Her fingers glisten with tears.

“Lois, don’t worry everything will be fine.”

She refuses to look up.

“Honey, you know what I do part-time. I’m taking it full-time. I’ll be saving the world 24 x 7.”

She still refuses to face him. “How are you going to do that, Clark?”

“Huh?”

“Who will pay?”

“For what? Saving the world?”

“It’s a hobby, Clark, a HOBBY!!.”

“I’ll make it pay, Lois. I’ll get corporate sponsors. Heck, with a little twist of graphics the letter ‘S’ could stand for SONY.”

“Oh Clark, it’s your dream, not mine.” She breaks down completely. “I can’t take it anymore. You always flying off to chase your dream. I want a life, Clark, a LIFE. We are through,.. through…” Her voice trails off.

The clack of John Corben’s typewriter stops abruptly. He glares across the newsroom at the old man in the security uniform. ”Gus?” he says. His tone is unmistakable.

Gus’s demeanor remains gentle but his grip is firm. “Time to go.”

At the door, Clark takes a final look around. The hub-bub of the newsroom has returned to normal. Life goes on.

Lois picks up a blank sheet of paper and attempts to feed it into her typewriter. It crinkles on one side and catches in the roller.

John Corben comes to her aid.