“I’m on the decline, my dear. I was such a strong man in my younger days, I never thought ‘d be so… weak or chubby. But then, even men like I was get old and fat at some point. The Christmas dinners, teas and cakes out and now in this nursing home they feed me all the time. It could be worse. The company’s good, though we keep having the same conversations. The food is good. You treat me well here.”
“I’ve had a good life. I worked as a journalist for the Daily Bugle before it shut down. I wrote articles for them for forty years before I retired. There was a lot of in-fighting, and they couldn’t keep up with the technological age in the end. Lois and I had five children! If I wasn’t here, I’d be babysitting all the grandchildren. But then, that was always Lois’s strong point. When her health went down, I couldn’t do it on my own. There are so many of them! At least they come to the home sometimes. Of course, I’m just circling the drain, just waiting to join her. I keep all the articles I write her in a scrapbook by my bed. You’ve probably seen it, but not taken a look. Feel free! Take me up and I’ll talk you through it!”
Mr Kent’s carer, Jacqui, was always a good listener. She helped the old man out of his chair, into the hall and into the lift where his bedroom was. He helped him onto sitting on the bed before pulling a small chair up beside him. He opened the scrapbook and smiled. An old issue of the Daily Planet, about Superman right enough.
He indicated one of the articles. “It was a full time job, writing about Superman. Me and Lois both had it, on top of writing our own stories. I’m surprised nobody put two and two together.”
Jacqui was curious, “Two and two together about what, Mr Kent?”
“That it was just me without glasses and a costume! I thought some clever cookie might have piped up and put me and Lois out of our misery!”
The carer raised her eyebrows, “You were Superman?”
“Still would be if my health allowed me. I’m a bit stronger than the rest of these old guys, but not much.” Mr Kent chuckled.
Jacqui found this very hard to believe. Everybody who read a paper or social media knew that Superman was dead. He died of some kind of heart attack and pronounced dead on the spot. The funeral was televised and everything. But then, she thought, he’s on the decline. He said so himself. He might just be having delusions. The worst thing to say was that it wasn’t true.
So Jacqui smiled, and said, “That’s remarkable Mr Kent! Would you like to take that to the lounge and have a cup of tea?”
The man’s face radiated with warmth, “Why, my dear, I’d love to.”