Written by Rip Harden :: [Friday, 17 August 2012 09:41] Last updated by :: [Thursday, 30 August 2012 17:07]
Lois slumped onto the straight-backed bar stool, the nip of scotch – neat – in a glass in front of her.
“Evenin’ Lois. Timin’ perfect as usual.”
“Hi, Roy. It’s been a real ...”
“Mmm. Landslide in Nicaragua. School at the bottom of a mountain, you know, usual thing. Everyone lives. Everyone is happy. Yeah, whatever.”
Roy had poured a second. He knew from experience that the public face of Ultrawoman would calm and become more sociable after about three.
“So tell me, Lois, you heard from Clark?”
She shook her head, pushing out a lip.
“He’s still ... in Earth-11 or Earth-12 or whatever it is now. There’s a reverse parallel universe there somewhere, Roy. Our boys are girls and vice versa.” She swirled the drink in her glass, shaking her head. “He seems to ... enjoy it there.”
She exhaled aloud. A tray of glasses rattled fifteen feet away.
“And Chloe?” asked Roy as he moved to rearrange his tray.
Lois laughed and scoffed the rest of the drink. Chloe Kent. The progeny of the super-couple and what science couldn’t do nature guaranteed: double the strength, double the speed, double the powers.
“She’s doing the same as she’s always done, Roy: whatever she wants. This week my beloved daughter has decided to stay with her aunt, Clara, umm, Clark’s sister, you know ...” he nodded, not that she noticed “... at least she can go down to Chloe’s school and front the Principal the next time some teacher’s car gets vaporized or the school bus ends up on the roof of the gym.”
It was a double nip in the third glass. Lois took a large gulp and allowed herself to slump into a dream – back to a time before she was mother to a super-teen, before she took on Clark’s powers in order to consummate their passion, when she was just plain ol’ Lois Lane. Memories of Perry White and the Planet, the Pulitzer Prize, the smell of the fresh newsprint, the adrenaline rush of scooping Clark. She smiled. As a journalist Clark was nothing without Superman. And as Superman ...
“How about some music, Roy? Let’s wake the place up a bit.”
“That’s the spirit, Lois.” Roy grabbed the remote to the 50s-style juke-box, pushed some buttons and the machine came to life; a Phil Collins CD moved into place.
Lois was pleased – he was a favorite – Roy sighed in relief and the other half dozen patrons nodded their approval. All was good.
The bar shuddered as if hit by a quake – plaster and masonry fell from the ceiling – dust filled the air – screams and panic as patrons tried to flee - Roy ducked under the counter, his hands over his head.
Lois didn’t flinch an inch. She put her glass down and swung in her seat to face the far wall – or what was left of it – with the mangled front end of a 12-ton Mack staring back at her.
In a blink the truck was gone. A loud crunch and squeal of brakes gave away its new resting place. A second later the familiar figure of a tall, thin teen girl in grungy T-shirt, jeans and Doc’s filled the breach.
“Hey mom. Thought I’d find you here.”
“You could’ve just flown in through the window, Chloe. It would’ve been a lot cheaper.”
“Nah, more fun this way. Eww, what’s that sound?” Two crimson beams turned the juke-box into a shower of yellow and white light. “Haven’t you guys even heard of Rihanna?”
Lois’s eyes flicked to a smouldering, blackened shell then back to the daughter now standing close enough to look down on her.
“This is unacceptable, Chloe. If your father was here ...”
“Yeah? As if he could do anything ...” her voice sardonic “... I’m twice as powerful as him, remember one plus one equals ...?”
Needing a physical emphasis the dark haired girl narrowed her cobalt blue eyes and scooped up the empty glass on the bar, crushing it as she made her hand into a fist and holding the pose a foot from her mother’s eyes. Lois watched the tiny grains drop toward the floor.
Like sands through the hourglass ...
A commotion could be heard among those who had gathered outside.
“Look. Up in the sky ...”
“It’s a bird ...”
“It’s a plane ...”
“It’s the freakin’ cavalry.” muttered Lois.
“Don’t worry, good people of Metropolis, Superwoman will help.”
The voice of Clara Kent: standing in the wall-breach with hands on the tiny waist of her classic blue suit, red skirt, boots, red cape fluttering in the breeze, amidst an aura of besotted fans.
“Chloe! Lois! What’s going on here?!”
“Chill, Aunty, I’m just showin’ mom a few powers she might’ve forgotten about. I mean, she’s not been usin’ hers too much lately.”
“Enough of this insolence!” cried Superwoman as she leapt in behind Chloe and twisted the left arm behind her back, lifting her off the ground at the same time. The teen struggled but was no match for this Modern Maid of Might.
“Oww! Far out, Aunty, let me go!!”
“No! We’re going home now ... Ultrawoman, err, your mom, can sort things out here.”
A turn, a step and a blue and red streak left the building.
Lois watched the trail ascend and silhouette against a waning moon, slipped off the stool and dug a ‘50’ out of her purse placing it on the bar in front of the still-cowering barman.
“I’ll make good the repairs, Roy. Just send the bill care of Clara Kent. That’s where you’ll find me as of tomorrow.”
He looked confused. She continued.
“On Krypton most women are ten or even twenty times stronger than their men, Roy.”
“That means ...”
“That’s right. Who needs to use a man’s superpowers when, and if I play my cards right ... well, I’m sure you can work out the rest. See you, Roy.”
In a blink she was gone.