Friday, January 27, 2006


Kal’s forehead glistened with sweat as he strained with momentary effort.


That would take care of the house payment.

Strain. Clink.

That would take care of the car payment. Not that he needed a car, but it was important for appearance’s sake. It was nothing special, but, well, he had reached the age at which men of his station in life were expected to have a car. Pain in the ass, he thought.

Strain. Clink. That was for next summer vacation.

Strain. Clink. Liability insurance…with a $100 million umbrella.

Strain. Clink.
Strain. Clink.
Strain. Clink.

Those were for the lawyers. The stinking, miserable lawyers.

Damn, he thought. How did it ever come to this?

I have skills. I used to contribute to society. People liked me, dammit! They loved me!

And then, inevitably, came the lawsuits. You couldn’t fart in an elevator in America without someone sending a process server to nail you with a Summons to Appear. What the hell happened to this country? What the hell happened to Truth and Justice?

The American Way, he chuckled bitterly to himself, is paved with good intentions, and it leads directly to the courthouse. And from there, the poorhouse. Except for the damned lawyers. They never seemed to be hurting.

Strain. Clink.

And then there were the doctors. All of those medical geniuses. Back in the 1940’s and ’50’s when they had those fluoroscopes in the shoe stores, nobody worried about X-rays…and then they found out that they caused cancer. Cancer!

No good deed goes unpunished, he muttered ruefully under his breath.

All the lawsuits. All the payoffs. After it got to be too much, he decided to hang it up and go fishing…but fishing didn’t pay the bills.

Eating charcoal briquets and shitting out diamonds – now, that paid the bills.

Kal-El strained again. Clink. He stood up, turned around, and looked in the pan. Nice, a 2-carat water-white with minimal carbon inclusions. That would pay for Friday night’s dinner with Lois (she liked sushi, of all things!)…and a fancy hotel room.

Maybe he’d get lucky.

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