[ "Adventures of Superman" / "Greatest American Hero" crossover fanfic. Please note: This was written in
1986 and was a short test story to see if I could write something much
"There's no way you're going to convince me that Chris Reeve could hold a bar to George Reeves when it comes to playing the Man of Steel!"
Bill Maxwell knew he was wasting his breath; young Ralph, like all the others of his generation, thought that Superman was Christopher Reeve. Christopher Reeve! That punk who floated through the air without so much as a whoosh should have been consigned to afternoon soapies to preserve the good name of America's greatest comic book hero!
"Come off it, Bill. Times change, as do childhood heroes. Old George was flabby and overweight. Sure, I enjoy those old TV shows which were good in their day, but don't try to tell me that George Reeves was as good in the part as is Chris. Besides, you're talking about actors more than thirty years apart, not real characters."
"George played the good guy. His super character would at least teach you how to fly. He was always helping people; you could always rely on George. Not a
fly-by-night superguy who would jump in the cot with Lois Lane rather than protect the good ol' U S of A. Huh!"
Ralph sat back in his chair. "Still, it would be interesting to see how the two compared if they were real super characters. Just suppose the Daily Planet, and Metropolis and ..."
The young fella could really talk once he got going, thought Bill. Hmm, it would be interesting to see what effect Ralph would have on Clark Kent's credibility back in
1955, especially if that other pretender was to be dropped on mid-50s Metropolis! Maybe the little green guys could arrange it. They could do anything, couldn't they?
Bill's usually cheerless face relaxed into a smile just as his head dropped back onto the cushions and those always bright eyes disappeared behind their eyelids. Pam's cooking had a habit of doing that, thought Ralph. Good old Bill; I wonder what he's dreaming about?
Ralph tip-toed quietly out of the living room. Time to help Pam clear up and think about other things.
And don't call me Chief!"
Crash! Billy Maxwell, already shaking in his boots at the thought of the impending interview, jumped off the hard bench and knocked his elbow on the arm.
"Owl" The well-dressed young man who'd dashed out of the office into the
anteroom smirked in Billy's direction.
"He's not really that bad, kid. His bark's worse than his bite Although ..." the young man glanced around " ... I'd hate to be here when he's in a bad temper. By the way, my name's
Olsen, Jim Olsen."
Billy felt himself relax as he shook hands with the first friendly occupant he'd come across since entering the imposing edifice of the Daily Planet building. "Bill Maxwell. Pleased to meet you, Jim."
"You're here after the cub reporter job, right? At last, someone for me to boss around!" That smirk again. "Only kidding. We'll get along swell together."
Any further conversation was interrupted by the buzz from the intercom.
"Mr White will see you now, Mr Maxwell." The receptionist waved Jimmy away.
"See you later Bill. You can find me in Mr Kent's office. Turn left, then right, first on the right. Bye."
Bill slowly pushed the door open.
"Don't just stand there, young man." The stout, silver-haired Editor-in-Chief gestured towards a comfortable looking armchair, sat down carefully on the corner of the desk and lit a cigar.
"Don't know why I ever employed young Olsen. Now, Maxwell. Hm. Good grades at school .." flipping over documents in a folder he'd picked up, "... English not so good. That's bad. A reporter needs a good understanding of English."
Bill saw his prospects of employment dwindling away.
"Suppose I can take a chance. But ... you'd better measure up, or ..." The Daily Planet's spiritual leader stubbed the cigar out and punched the intercom button. "Kent, kindly bring yourself, Miss Lane and young Olsen in here ... if you're not working on a story ... "
Without waiting for a reply, Perry White moved around to his chair, sat down and reached for another cigar.
What have I let myself in for? thought Bill. Still, Mr White seemed rather likeable underneath a gruff exterior. Maybe things would turn out okay.
The office door opened to admit a rather attractive redhead in a tight skirt, a bespectacled but average looking man and Jim Olsen, who managed to trip over a mat as he hurried in. Mr White bit his cigar in two and glared at Jim.
"You're trying my patience, Olsen. Don't you think it would be an idea to look where you're going, or would you prefer to pick up your severance cheque at the Cashier's? I'm sure young Maxwell here would be pleased to receive a promotion on his first day with the Planet."
All eyes turned upon Bill, who had been following the conversation. He had expected something like this but still felt his cheeks beginning to burn. The new arrivals gave him looks of sympathy. Possibly, they had experienced the same start to their careers.
"We've all heard about you, Bill. I'm Lois Lane; you've already met Jimmy. This is Clark Kent." The broad-shouldered, conservatively dressed man stepped forward and took Bill's hand in a firm grip.
"Welcome to the Daily Planet, Bill. You'll be sitting in with Miss Lane. Jimmy can move into my office." He winked at Lois. "I'll be able to keep an eye on him."
"Aw jeepers, Mr Kent! How can I spend all day behind a desk? Mr White ... ", he glanced hopefully at the Chief' " ... always says that a good reporter has to look for stories. Isn't that right, Ch... I mean, Mr White?"
"Just get out of my sight, Olsen, or you'll find yourself reporting on the Metropolis Flower Show." As the crestfallen Jimmy turned to leave, Perry White added with a wink to Clark Kent, "For now though, you can drive Mr Kent out to Harrisville. There have been a number of mysterious UFO sightings near the airport. Some idiot playing around with weather balloons, no doubt! Take young Maxwell with you. On your way." He waved his arm in a gesture of dismissal and reached for another cigar.
Bill followed the others out into the passage past the lift and into a modern looking office which had 'Clark Kent' emblazoned across the door. The room was not what Bill would have expected. Two small desks, one typewriter, a hat stand and one four-drawer filing cabinet with three chairs occupied all the space. Still, at least Mr Kent had his name on the door, unlike the other reporters on the twelfth floor who had to sit in one large,
glassed-in room under the watchful eye of the City Editor. Who knows, maybe ... one day.
"I've ordered the car," said Clark as he headed for the lift after snatching his hat. Lois, who'd continued on to her office, arrived at the lift, bag in hand.
"Where do you think you're going, young lady? I don't recall any mention of your coming along on this assignment."
"You can't expect me to sit around the office while you men," Bill saw her wink at Jimmy, " ... are out on a story. If you stand around arguing, we'll be scooped by every other rag in Metropolis." With that, Lois stormed into the lift.
Clark shook his head and with a nod to Jimmy and Bill, followed her.
"Can't you do better than this, Clark? Just let me out at the next set of lights and I'll catch a cab."
Mr Kent seemed to have a remarkable control over his feelings, thought Bill. The car had been crawling through peak hour traffic and had somehow managed to catch every red light. Clark seemed quite relaxed, as he piloted the large car through the narrow city streets. Entrance to Harrisville Freeway Ramp ... One Mile On Right, said the large overhead sign. The cub reporter wondered if Miss Lane ever relaxed. She would have died of boredom in his home town.
"Gee, Mr Kent. Mr White told me to drive the car. Why'd you insist on taking the wheel?"
"I know what you're like in heavy traffic, Jim," Clark smiled. "I thought it would be a better idea if we all arrived in one piece." The car accelerated onto a
six-lane freeway that left Metropolis by way of a long suspension bridge. The bridge carried the freeway across a wide river that fenced in one side of the great city.
"We'll have to take you on a tour of the city, Bill. You have seen a city of this size before?" Clark seemed quite at ease as the powerful car swept the reporters along at ninety miles per hour.
"No, Mr Kent. The whole population of my town's only one hundred and ninety - or one less, if old man Frost's passed on. We do have two sets of traffic lights." Bill spoke proudly. "And the main street's blacktop. We did have a movie theatre. Open air, but we did see the latest movies. All the kids left town for the city so Mr Fairlie closed it down." A faraway look appeared in Bill's eyes. "The last movie starred Faith Domergue. Mm ... they've changed it into a ... supermarket. Whatever that is. We always buy all our things from Mrs Christie's."
The freeway narrowed to two lanes through the foothills above the city and a sign that pointed the way to Harrisville airport appeared ahead. The landscape levelled out and only the odd bush and farmhouse broke the horizon. Clark slowed the car to thirty for the turn-off.
"We're nearly there, everyone. For your information, Bill, Harrisville airport is used for experimental aircraft testing. It's quiet, remote from all major air lanes, and is free of upper atmosphere air turbulence."
A high chainwire fence appeared and the road came to a lift barrier, controlled by two armed guards. Clark showed his pass; the guards obviously knew him, thought Bill, as they waved the car through without delay. The road dropped out of sight beyond a crest. The glare of the hot sun through the windscreen blocked Bill's view.
"Look, Clark! See that ..."
"Wake up, Bill! It's time for your favourite dessert."
Bill sat up with a start as Ralph tapped him on the shoulder. "Just when things were becoming interesting," he mumbled.
"What'd you say, partner?" Ralph queried.
"Nothin'," Bill remarked. "Now, where's that dessert you mentioned?"
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linked to my fan publication page,
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