[Rated PG for language; By: Lisa]
Some time, not long ago, after being placed in prison by Superman, Lex Luthor was once again loose in the world. He had been released and was living among the people of Metropolis. Since being released from prison, he lived alone and had nothing but the thoughts of Superman in his head. Some would call it depression, others would call it insanity.
A year before Lex was released from prison, a new face emerged in the city. It was the face of a girl in her 20’s, named Mae. She acquired her first journalism at a small newspaper in the city. She wrote a little column each week about movies and television programs. Nothing big, but it was what she had gone to school to learn. Of course, now it didn’t seem as interesting. She’d studied to be an important editor, but nobody wanted to hire her. She was lucky she found the job she had.
Hearing so many stories about Superman, Mae became intrigued and she felt that if she could get a genuine interview with him, find out his secrets, then people would take her more seriously. So, in her spare time, she began following all the sightings.
One of those sightings lead her down into a vacated subway and into an old cathedral that had been buried underground some years ago via an earthquake. Mae was a brave girl, so using the small flashlight key chain on her purse, she made her way through the tunnel and entered the cathedral. It was gothic-styled and very old, but fancy and clean. No sign of Superman, though.
Mae took it upon herself to look around the marvelous structures of the underground building. In the centre of the huge room was a round railing with stairs leading down to a lower level. It’d be a nasty fall if it weren’t for the supportive railing. Mae leaned forward a bit to try and see what was down there.
“Watch that first step. It’s a killer” came a voice from behind her.
Lex Luthor emerged from the shadows of another room, most likely leading to the subway area. He was dressed in an extravagant brown, pin-striped suit. He approached Mae, who was speechless, as she knew who he was and had no idea he would be here. She had her back to the railing and tried to mutter a response, but failed.
Lex placed his hands on her arms and held tightly as he pushed her back against the railing. “What’s to stop me from pushing you over this railing?” he asked.
“Some small shred of compassion?” Mae replied.
Lex chuckled a bit and said, “Wrong. Who sent you here?”
“Nobody.” Mae felt her arms being squeezed a little more tightly.
“Was it Superman?”
“Then why are you here?”
She said nothing until she felt her back being slightly bent over the railing. “OK, I’ll tell you!” Her back straightened back up. “I’m a journalist for Metropolis Extra. I write the movie and Tv column.”
“I’m familiar with that. Continue.”
“Well, to be blunt, my job sucks. I thought that if I could get the scoop on Superman and what makes him tick, I could get the credit I deserve. So I started following his sightings, and I saw him go down into the subway, and I followed him. I ended up here. Only, there was no Superman here when I came in. Great place, though.” She smiled, innocently.
Lex slowly released his grip on her and took a step back. “Superman isn‘t what you need to get the attention you want. He‘s nothing but a burden. Be glad you don‘t have to put up with him all the time. Anyway, I believe you. I don’t think you’d be stupid enough to come in here and face me if you knew I lived here.
“I’d do anything if I felt it needed to be done” she said, bravely.
“I bet you would.” Lex turned, “See yourself out,” and walked away.
“Hey,” she called out to him. “What’s down there, anyway?”
Still walking, he turned halfway, and with a smile, said, “The bedroom.” And then he was gone within the shadows.
Mae went back out the way she came and found her way to the surface with little trouble.
Over the next two weeks, Mae couldn’t get Lex out of her mind. She found him oddly attractive. Perhaps it was just the fact that he had so much money, power and brains. She knew he had a criminal mind, but she felt that there was something good about him, deep down inside. “Maybe nobody ever gave him a chance. Maybe they never gave him the credit he deserved.” Either way, she realized that he was right about Superman. If she got the story she was after, it would always be his story. Not hers.
During the third week, she decided that she had to see Lex again. She grabbed a larger flashlight from her drawer and made her way to the subway tunnel. She remembered exactly how to get there, but before she reached the cathedral, her flashlight flickered, and then went out. “Damn! Never trust a giant pink bunny with a drum!”
A second later, a light from another flashlight lit up the face of Lex, right in front of her.
“AAAH!” she screamed.
“Maybe this will help” he said, handing her the flashlight.
“Thanks. How did you know I was here?”
“I know everything.”
Cocky, isn’t he? she thought to herself.
“This way” he said, leading her not much further before reaching the cathedral.
Lex insisted that she take a seat on the antique sofa that was on the far side of the room. “Can I get you a drink?”
“Yes, please. I could really use one.”
He brought her a glass of something she’d never tasted before, nor could she ever pronounce the name of it if she had to. “Thank you.”
He sat down beside her, about a foot away. “What brings you here this time? Superman likes to come and go as he pleases, checking up on me to make sure I‘m not concocting any evil plans to take over the world. I would hope you‘re not following in his footsteps.”
“No. Actually....Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I had to see you again.” She was shocked at how honest and forward she was being.
“With that said, I’m glad you came back. Granted, I could’ve found you if I wanted to, but I hoped you’d come back on your own. I don’t get many visitors. Aside from the occasional rats and the red and blue bird that flies through whenever he feels like it. ‘Privacy’ is a word lacking from the dictionary these days. But let‘s talk about more interesting things, shall we?” He raised his drink to Mae and they clinked glasses.
They spent the next few hours talking about various things. And the next few months talking about even more things. Lex trusted Mae enough to tell her his plans for ruling the world, and his plans to eliminate Superman. Things that should have bothered Mae’s conscience from the start. And they did, to a degree. But she was in love with Lex, and she knew not to contradict him. So she came up with a plan of her own.
Mae had pretty much moved in with Lex, spending her nights on the lower floor of the cathedral. One afternoon, Lex was at his desk looking over some plans for the destruction of Superman. Mae approached him from behind. She wrapped her arms around him and looked at the plans from over his shoulder.
“Looks serious” she said.
“It needs some work, but I’m convinced that these plans are the end of Superman, for good.”
“Hm?” his mind on the plans and his own thoughts, but still leaving about one percent of his attention on Mae.
“Do you think it’s wise to kill Superman? I mean, you’ve tried before, and it always seems like the perfect plan, but then it ends in disaster and you wind up going to prison.”
Lex looked up from his plans and glared into the space ahead of him. “Are you doubting me?” His voice was void of sincerity.
“Then let me work.”
Mae took the hint and walked away quietly. She sat on the other side of the room and read a book for the next hour. She hadn’t even heard Lex approach her. She looked up and found him staring down at her. She placed the book on the table and he sat next to her.
“I’m sorry about before. You wanted to say something. I’m listening.” He sat back and fixed his eyes on her.
“I just don’t wanna see Superman throw you in prison, again. Yeah, you could escape, but you’d be vulnerable then. The cops would be looking all over for you, and you know Superman would find you in no time. I can’t believe how many people support a guy like Superman. Sure, he’s saved a bunch of lives and everything, but who gave him the right to come to our planet and start changing things? People decide their own fate. That’s life. Superman thinks he’s God and it’s just not his place to decide how the world should be.” She took Lex’s hand and looked into his eyes.
“If you wanna beat Superman, beat him at his own game. Show the world that you can help them. You’ve got the money and the brains to do it! Maybe you don’t have super powers like Superman, but you’re much smarter than he is. You can do anything! Build houses for the homeless, cure the common cold, make the streets safer. You can do all those things, and you’d be praised and admired for it. Superman isn’t human. You are. And being able to do the things you can do will show people that just because they’re human, doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference. You don’t need super powers to make the world a better place.
“And you can get them all to support you and to admire you because you help them. Let Superman help them once in their lifetime, but you can help them for years by giving them homes and jobs and whatever else they need. You won’t go to prison, and you won’t be a bad guy. You’ll be the hero. You‘ll gain their trust and then you‘ll have the world in the palm of your hand.”
Mae could have sworn she saw a tear in Lex’s eye. “And I thought I was the genious.” He smiled and gave her a long kiss before jumping up, “I’ll do it!”
Over the next few years, Lex stuck to his word and he became a hero, near and far. He send funds to foreign countries to help the poor and needy. He tore down old factories that were causing pollution and rebuilt them with special non-polluting materials. He provided millions of people with jobs by creating new work places. He gave shelter to a majority of the homeless and he invented several new medicines and products, all environmentally safe. Superman’s efforts were still appreciated and commended but more attention was on Lex. Superman didn’t mind being number two, but he never learned to trust Lex. He didn’t mention his distrust, however.
During a meal, in the cathedral, one night, Mae accidentally addressed Lex by his last name. He shot her a maddening glare.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that I always hear people calling you ’Luthor’ and it just slipped out” she explained.
“How would you like to be called by my last name?!” he asked, frustrated.
“I wouldn’t. I mean, I wouldn’t mind, but--”
“Then it’s settled! We’ll get married right away.” He smiled at her.
“You certainly are the clever one.”
Just days later, the two were married. Mae became pregnant shortly after and eventually gave birth to their son. Lex had become Mayor of Metropolis that same year, and even though Superman still had his doubts, the world was safe from any wrong-doings of Lex. For the time being, anyway.
Last Updated: 22 May 2002.
Copyright © 2002, Lisa Inc.
All Rights Reserved.