by Starsky Hutch 76
“I don’ wanna wear a ‘ig!” Jasma screamed, defiantly stamping her foot as she jerked the black-haired wig from her head, exposing her mop of blonde hair.
“You’ve got to!” Superman said with exasperation. “You can’t let anyone see your real hair!”
“Why?” Jasma said with childish inquisitiveness.
“Because–” Superman paused. The reasons had to do with her one day having need of a secret identity. Not to mention that if anyone saw an Asian-looking kid with hair that looked as if it had been chemically bleached, Clark Kent was liable to find social services at his doorstep.
“Why?” she repeated.
“Because I said so!”
“Just wear the wig, OK?” he sighed.
“I don’ wanna wear a wig!” she yelled.
“You’ve got to–” He was stopped short by the sound of Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch. “Jimmy,” he sighed. “Why now?”
Superman looked down at Jasma and said, “I can’t very well ask one of my neighbors to watch you, now, can I?” He looked around contemplatively. “What to do? What to do?” He quickly flipped on the television, and cartoons filled the screen.
Jasma let out a delighted giggle as she looked at the screen and then back at Superman. He turned to see what she was laughing at and saw GBS’s newest saturday morning hit, JLA: Just’a Lotta Animals.
“Super-Squirrel, huh?” he snorted. “That’s a new one on me.”
Jasma let out another ecstatic giggle at the sight of Super-Squirrel fighting Amazoo and Feline Faust. “Super-Squirrel!” she laughed, bouncing up and down with joy at her new discovery as she pointed at Superman. “You’re Super-Squirrel! Hee-hee-hee!”
“I know I’m going to regret this, but right now I’ll take whatever I can get,” he sighed. He turned to the cherubic girl who was now flopped on the couch and completely enthralled by the cartoon. “I’m going to be gone for a little while. I want you to stay on that couch, watch your show, and not get into any trouble.”
“OK,” she said, completely engrossed in the cartoon.
“Great,” Superman said, moving toward the window. “Now be good. I love you. Bye-bye.” And with that, he quickly flew out the window faster than a normal eye could see, stopping only for a nanosecond to close the window behind him.
Jasma continued to sit spellbound by the antics of the cartoon heroes — that was, until the show broke for commercial. Her attention then drifted around the room until it stopped on the window. Her eyes lit up, and she ran to the windowsill. “Buhdees!” she exclaimed, sending several pigeons scattering.
“Come back!” she exclaimed, flinging open the window. “I wanna pway!” She leaped to the windowsill and then took to the sky after them, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Once she was in the air, Jasma quickly forgot about the birds and focused her attention on the cars and pedestrians below. “Oooh,” she gasped. She reached down, trying to grab them, not quite grasping the concept of perspective or how far away they were.
After a few attempts to pick up these new toys, she gave up and focused her attention on another group of birds gathered on a ledge across the street. She quickly flew to where they were gathered. “Buhdees!” she cried ecstatically.
Most of the pedestrians below were focused on what was ahead of them, so they failed to see the tiny figure floating above — all, that was, except for one man who quickly took his glasses off and started wiping them nervously, thinking he must have imagined what looked like a baby doll floating in the sky. By the time he put them back on, she was gone.
Once Jasma was on the ledge, the pigeons scattered. She let out a frustrated cry and was about to take off after them, when her attention was drawn to the window behind her. Inside was an elderly woman sitting up in bed. Next to her was a younger woman sitting in a chair engrossed in a magazine.
The old woman stared at Jasma, awestruck. She raised her feeble arm and gave a wave with her fingers. Jasma let out a giggle and flew off.
“There… there was an angel outside my window,” the old woman said. “She had the most beautiful blonde hair and the prettiest big blue eyes…”
“That’s nice, Nanna,” the younger woman said, never taking her eyes away from the magazine.
Superman stood upon the dock by a ship outside Metropolis Harbor with Jimmy Olsen, several Coast Guard and FBI officers, and a horde of apprehended Intergang henchmen. “Nice work, Jimmy,” Superman said. “If Intergang had had the chance to distribute these weapons, Metropolis would have become a war zone.”
“Just glad I could help,” Jimmy said. “The thought of every street gang in Metropolis having one of those shoulder-cannons is terrifying. Glad we could put a stop to it.”
“Well, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Superman said.
Just then, an FBI agent appeared and said, “We got a lead on the rest of that shipment of plasma rifles. It was sent to a remote location within Metropolis. We could probably use your help, Superman. There’s no telling what Intergang might have at their storage house to protect this sort of an investment.”
Superman stifled the urge to sigh as he thought of Jasma back at his apartment. “Certainly,” he said. “Just let me make a call.”
The FBI agent raised his eyebrow in surprise. He was used to super-heroes making comments along the lines of let’s go get ’em! “Uh, yeah, sure, Superman. Of course.”
Superman stepped away from Jimmy and the FBI man and switched on his JLA communication device. “Hey, Adam. I need you to patch me through to a private phone line to Superwoman’s phone number. Thanks.” A few moments passed as Adam Cray, alias the Atom, relayed the call from the Justice League of America’s satellite headquarters, where he was on monitor duty.
“Hello? Hey, I’m in kind of a situation with Intergang. I won’t be able to get back to the apartment as soon as I thought. Yeah, I know it was stupid. Despite what my press says, I’m only human, and I make mistakes. Can you look in on her? Great, thanks. Me, too.” Superman looked over his shoulder and saw three dock workers watching his conversation. “Aw, come on — don’t make me say it. I’m not exactly in –” He sighed. “OK, I love you, too.”
The three dock workers broke out in cheers and wolf-whistles. Superman groaned and covered his face with his hand. “Rao, give me strength.”
Jimmy Olsen broke out in a knowing grin as Superman walked back to where he was standing. “New girlfriend? Anyone I know?”
“Superwoman,” Superman said.
“Now that’s interesting,” Jimmy said. “Superman and Superwoman. You could get married and have Super–”
“Don’t even say it,” Superman said. “We’ve only recently started seeing each other. Don’t jinx it.”
“Don’t worry,” Jimmy said. “I’d never do that. Say, does Lois know?”
Murray Abraham was having a bad day. First, that meshugana paperboy had thrown his paper in the gutter again. Then he had given the guy at the coffee shop a ten instead of a one. Naturally, he’d only gotten change for a one. So he had to go without lunch. Well, he wouldn’t have had to if the machine hadn’t eaten his ATM card. And the fact that he didn’t have an ATM card wasn’t sitting too well with this furshlugginer carjacker.
“What do you mean you don’t have a bank card?” the carjacker said. “Everybody has a bank card! It’s 1987, for crying out loud!”
“It wouldn’t matter if it were the year 2002. If the machine ate your card, it ate your card,” Murray said, shrugging. “I have no way to get cash until they send me one. You want I should go back to my place and call you when it gets there?”
“Do I look like a moron?” the carjacker snarled.
“Do you really want me to answer that?” Murray asked.
“Don’t get smart with me, buddy!” the carjacker said. “I’m the one with the gun, here! I — look out! A kid’s in the road!”
Murray turned to see what the carjacker was talking about and spotted a small, blonde, golden-skinned little girl standing in the road. He swerved to miss her and gasped as she took to the sky and flew away. He was so distracted that he failed to see the light post until the carjacker began screaming.
Well, at least the airbag works, Murray thought as it opened on impact. He clawed his way out and saw the unconscious carjacker. Too bad for you I didn’t spring for two.
The alleyway was filled with a flash of light, and a figure appeared — a matronly figure, to be precise. She reached into her purse and pulled out a compact, giving herself a once over. She didn’t quite trust devices such as transporters.
A buzzing sounded, and she reached into her purse again to pull out a communicator and answer it. “Yes?” she said pleasantly.
The screen came to life, and a woman who looked like an older version of Kara Zor-El came onto the screen. “Are you sure you don’t need us?” Alura Zor-El asked.
“Don’t be silly, Alura,” the older woman said. “I’ll be fine. You just have that handsome husband of yours guide the ship back to Rokyn space, and I’ll be on my way. I can tell you all about your granddaughter. Oh, this is going to be so exciting!”
“Give Kal our love, and tell him we’ll be there as soon as we can to see him and little Jasma.”
“I certainly will, Alura,” the elderly woman said. “And give that handsome man of yours a kiss from me.”
Alura laughed and said, “Thank you again, Aunt Gerta.” And she signed off.
“Hmmph,” Gerta Gim-Zee snorted, stepping into the street. “To listen to her, you’d think I was venturing out into Bokos, the Island of Thieves!”
A hand suddenly darted out, grabbing her arm. “Gimme the purse, granny!”
The large thug’s eyes grew wide as she held firm without so much as a budge rather than being whirled around to face him as he had expected. “I most certainly will not!” Gerta said sternly, swinging her arm and sending him flying.
Gerta let out a gasp as he collided with a row of garbage cans. “Oh, my! I hope I didn’t hurt the young man!” she said, turning the other way and quickly walking down the street.
As the would-be purse-snatcher rose to his feet, another old woman walked up to him and said, “Are you all right? Need me to call someone, sonny?”
“Aaaiigh!” he screamed, running away. “Keep away from me!”
“My, what a strange young man,” she said, shaking her head.
“Oh, no!” Kristin Wells exclaimed, staring at the open window in the den of Clark Kent’s apartment. “No, no, no! Jasma!”
Her mind raced with images of a super-powered child unleashed upon the city — cars piled up like children’s blocks, zoo animals unleashed from their cages, and statues dressed up like dolls. She was briefly distracted by the sound of Clark’s phone ringing and then the answering machine clicking on. “Hi. This is Clark Kent. I can’t come to the phone right now, but leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
As soon as the tone sounded, an overly cheerful voice came on the line. “Hi, Clark. This is Margo from Metropolis Realty. Great news! They accepted your offer on the house you were interested in, so it looks like you’ll be a home owner!”
“That is good news,” Kristin said. “I just hope that by the end of the day, he still needs the house.”