Ah, a fine spring day to work. I breathe in the fresh air and feel the cool wind. It’s chilly, not enough to even be the slightest bit uncomfortable. I’m dozens of meters in the sky, upheld by ropes and scaffolding, carrying out repair work on the twentieth floor of the Luthor Skyscraper. I love this feeling, being this high up. From here, everyone down on the streets looks like ants. I can see the entire Metropolis. This must be how it feels to fly, the feeling Superman must get every time he zips across the clouds.
As my eyes wash over the streets, I spot an over-speeding car lose control and swerve right and left from one side of the road to another. The driver, who from all indications of his driving must be drunk, cuts hard to the right, veers right off the street and comes crashing straight into the scaffolding.
The frame holding me in the air goes crumbling down underneath my feet. I don’t even have time to scream. The next thing I know, I’m left dangling by a single rope attached to my waist, and it’s snapping fast. It takes a moment for the craziness of the entire situation to set in, and only then do I start screaming for help.
A crowd soon gathers down by the street, everyone’s head angled upwards at the sorry man hanging on to life by a thread. I can hear the gasps and horrified whispers from up here. None of them, nobody down there can help. I’m going to die.
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than a new chatter spread through the crowd below, bearing murmurs of hope. I turn my head from side to side as I dangle from the side of the building, looking for the sign of hope whatever it might be.
Then I see it, a blur across the sky.
But before the relief of his presence can soothe my fears, the rope around my waist snaps completely, and I plumet. I scream so loud I almost deafen my own ears.
Superman zips after me, catches and flies me up to the roof of the building.
I’m so happy at not dying that the moment my feet touch the concrete, I sweep my arms around the big man in a tight embrace, and then immediately vomit all over his suit.
I reel backwards from the embarrassment and apologize. “I’m so sorry.”
Superman takes in good strides. “It’s fine. I get all sorts of things on it all the time.”
“I could totally launder that for you,” I offer.
“Don’t worry about it,” Superman assures me. “Last time I took someone up on that offer, he sold my suit on eBay.”
Superman bids me farewell and prepares to fly off.
“Wait, wait!” I can’t just let Superman go like that. I’ve fantasised about meeting him so many times. And now I finally do.
Superman pauses and turns back to me. “You want me to take you down?”
At first, I’m confused, but then I quickly realise he’s offering to fly me down to the ground.
“No, no. I’ll take the stairs. I just wondering if I could ask you a question.”
Superman smiles. “Please, anything.”
I can barely contain my excitement. I’m talking to Superman himself and I’ve always wanted to ask him this. “I was just wondering if erm, the rumours are true. That you have a secret identity.”
Superman is taken aback but recovers quickly. “Okay, that’s a surprising question, I’ll admit. But no, I do not have a secret identity.”
“That’s what someone with a secret identity would say,” I retort.
Superman chuckles. His chest puffs out as his lungs fill with warm laughter. “Fine. I do have a secret identity. My real name is Kal-El!”
I scream out at that same moment “Clark Kent!” and end up very shocked that he mentioned a different name.
Superman looks as astounded as I am. “What? I’m not…I’m not Clark Kent.”
A slightly nervous laughter escapes his full cheeks.
Well, this is awkward. I was so sure he would say Clark Kent. What the hell is a “Kal-El” anyway?
“It’s just, you die, Clark Kent dies. You come back from the dead; Clark Kent comes back from the dead. It can’t all be a coincidence, can it?”
“Has to be,” Superman responds, “Clark Kent and I are two very different people. I mean I’ve met the guy and he’s a fine dude.”
“Right,” I say, not even bothering to hide the scepticism in my tone. “It’s just. You’re both connected to Lois Lane, and witnesses claimed they heard her call you ‘Clark’ when you went berserk after the Justice League resurrected you.”
“Well, they must have been confused. Think about it, if I’m Clark Kent, why haven’t supervillains tried attacking Clark Kent at home or at work.”
I shrug. “I imagine you’re still bulletproof as Clark Kent. You could be wearing pajamas instead of your cape and you’d still whoop the ass of any villain dumb enough to try attacking you simply because you’re out of the suit.”
Superman starts to get visibly frustrated. I can feel his desperation to get me to accept that he isn’t Clark Kent growing, but if anything, his reaction only adds fuel to my suspicion.
“I don’t know what to say to you,” Superman says, “but I really am not Clark Kent. What would be the point of masquerading as a journalist all to earn minimum wage.”
I honestly don’t know, and I confess as much. But I can’t be the only one that sees it. “The resemblance is uncanny.”
I take out my phone and show Superman a side-by-side picture of Superman and Clark Kent.
Superman stares at the picture for an uncomfortably long amount of time, then breaks out, “We look absolutely nothing alike. Look, Clark Kent wears glasses. I have 20/20 vision. Hell, I have better than that, I’ve got x-ray vision. That’s a pretty big difference.”
Unconvinced, I shake my head. “Is it?”
I reach into my pockets and bring out a pair of glasses. “Here, prove you’re not Clark Kent. Put them on.”
After trying unsuccessfully to wiggle out of my challenge, he gives in and tries on the glasses.
I gasp. “Oh my God, you’re totally Clark Kent. Or is Clark Kent Superman? Wait, which is the real identity, and which is the cover identity? Is Clark Kent secretly Superman or is Superman secretly Clark Kent?”
Superman starts to sweat. I didn’t know Superman could sweat. “I’ve told you, I’m not Clark Kent!”
I raise my hands in surrender. “Okay, okay. Fine. If you’re not Clark Kent, then he’s somewhere else right now, doing God knows what.”
“Yes,” Superman replies a little too enthusiastically. “Because I’m not him. He’s probably at his place of work right now.”
“Okay,” I say and dial a number on my phone.
A phone starts to ring on Superman’s body to his complete surprise.
“Aha!” I jump excitedly into the air. “Why do you have Clark Kent’s phone if you’re not him. Or do you two just happen to share the same number as well as the same face.”
At this point, Superman knows he’s beat. “How do you even have that?”
“Your number — well, Clark Kent’s number — is on the Daily Planet website.”
Superman slaps his palm into his face. “Dang it. I must get that removed. Well, you got me, I’m Clark Kent, but you can’t tell anyone about this.”
“Too late,” I respond, waving my phone in his face. “I already recorded your admission, and I’m going to post it online.”
Superman reaches for and grabs my phone in a blink of an eye.
“Hey!” I protest, but he crushes my phone to dust.
“That was a really expensive phone you know.”
“Don’t worry,” Superman says, “I’ll get Bruce to buy you a new one.”
My eyebrows climb up my forehead. “Bruce? Bruce as in Bruce Wayne? Hold on. Is Bruce Wayne Batman?”
Superman retreats a step. “No. No. Don’t do that. I didn’t say that. Bruce Wayne is definitely not Batman.”
“Oh my God.” I gasp. “Bruce Wayne is totally Batman.”
Superman lets out a weak sigh. The jig is up, and he knows it. “Bruce is going to kill me. Again.”