Chapter 2: The Clark Kent Inside Me

I thought I wanted a simple life, not like Brady-bunch status (a wife and kids and a white picket fence would end explosively bad—literally, just get me angry, you'll see), but the kind of life without fireworks and disco lights. Magnanimous glory never seemed to interest me, I always wanted to be one of the ants milling around in the grand scheme of things; you can screw up and no one will notice. The Star Born never makes mistakes, that's what they say, that I know it all, that whatever my will is the will of the universe. My will today is to have Doug shut the hell up, but he won't as usual.

It's like a hundred and fifteen degrees Fahrenheit out in the California desert, and I'm hotter than my reflection in mirror. Doug is roasting too, it's all I've heard from him since about ten o'clock this morning. You couldn't pronounce his true name by any simple means with that limited human tongue of yours, so for what he calls "the peons," he chose the name Doug. He's an idiot, and he's been an idiot since we left home. I thought I was out here alone, the only one from my world but he followed, just like he did today out in the heat of the dunes with our sand caked ATV's.

"This is supposed to be fun?" he hisses at me, choking on the hot air as he skids his bike to a rumbling stop next to mine.

I lift up my sun glasses, leaving a racoon-like ring of whiter skin around my eyes, as I squint at him. "It's about experiences, shit head, honestly!"

"Is that another one of their insults? Because it's crude and unoriginal!" he wails back at me, looking pathetic as his sweaty brown hair sticks to the front of his face. He's bright red, like the ocean creatures they serve at the buffets in Vegas, and he looks half the idiot I knew back home. Doug is the friend I never wanted, the thing that just sticks to your side, like an unwelcome piece of lint you keep finding stuck to your shirt. He never shuts up and he never goes away so I stopped trying to make him.

He's here to see me mess up, to watch me decide that mortality is too hard. Well he doesn't know shit, they grew his kind in fields of stars apart from my own. He only took a few hundred years to bake, maybe that's why he seems unfinished. He's the one who can't handle humanity actually, he can't even make rent and has been sleeping on my couch more often than makes me feel comfortable. I'm grumbling about these things in my head as Doug continues to whine. It's the last week before my first semester in college. He can't understand why I'm going. It's an experience, I'll never get to go to Academy on our world, I was born with all knowledge—supposedly. They tell you all this stuff, like that you "just know" all the answers as god. That's a load of bull. I've taken the phrase "fake it til you make it" to an all new level and all I wish was that I knew what I was doing... because I don't.

"Are you trying to experience more human hedonism?" Doug asks as he brings his bike alongside mine, going back to the college argument. "Because Amsterdam is full of orgies, you don't have to go to university for that."

I glare at Doug through my sunglasses, he can't see and it wouldn't matter because he's never fazed. "I want an excuse to understand them."

"You can join the U.N."


Doug rolls his eyes. "Okay, but you know, you must know it's a wretched idea."

Wretched idea, Doug talks like we've never left home, like one of those stone faced members at court. It pisses me off, I've done everything I can to try to forget it. I even bathe daily. Doug doesn't.

"The closer you get to these underdeveloped peons the higher risk of exposure," Doug prattles on.

"To what, chicken pox?"

He doesn't laugh. He probably doesn't even know what chicken pox are, he never reads the planet debriefs.

"If they find out what you are this little vacation may very well be over," Doug explains as though I'm stupid.

I roll my eyes.

"These planet walk-abouts are normal at your age, I hear. Every Star Born needs a period of self-exploration to gather knowledge before guiding the great multitude."

"Oh shut up," I finally snap, "don't Yoda me."

"What?" Doug blinks.

Again, a serious gap in Doug's earthly education. I don't even know if I can look at this guy.

"How long are you going to pretend you're one of them?" Doug presses.

"As long as I want, forever, maybe, why the fuck do you care?"

"You know that adjective is unnecessarily vicious. Even such thoughts were punishable on our w—"

I scream the word in face ten or twelve times for good measure until he's so startled and red-faced he's nearly fallen off his bike in shock, only gulping out a sheepish, "Duly noted."

I think it's over and I'm about to attempt a nice, challenging dune hill, when Doug pulls up along side me with more warnings. "But remember, remember what happened that time on the plane to Fiji, how your desire to experience 'everything human' lasted until the craft had nearly crash landed in a waterside resort."

I glare at him still, uttering stiffly, "Well, the world needs a miracle or two. I don't mind."

"That's just it, how many of those are you going to let happen until you decide to save the whole primitive planet?"

"I don't know what you're getting at, but Clark Kent is a dick."

"Is this someone we know?" Doug asks like a a dumb shit.

I ruffle with annoyance, revving my engine. I'm not even going to respond to that. Doug is talking but I don't care, I've descended into the sandy dune, flying and falling and unable to break my thoughts away from Clark Kent.

Sure, I've thought about it. Superman is a pussy, I hate him, and our seeming similarities. I always thought myself more of a Bruce Wayne creature, dark and moody and not afraid to take justice by the balls. Superman has a preppy pair of glasses up his ass and he's always such a sniffling do-gooder it kills me. I like a little death and justice even if I'm not in the game myself... but why can't I be? Maybe I've been afraid, maybe I hate Clark because I'm a pussy too, living life on my tip-toes... even back home. What Doug is afraid of I think I want, maybe I want my praises in the streets... but because I deserve it, because I'm a god to fear. I've never really thought about it until now, flying through the dunes and listening to the roar of the engine. The sand is spewing up around me and the heat burns, my body soaks it up differently than yours ever would, your sorry frail humanity.

I can pretend, but I'm not you, I'm always soaking up the power of the sun, the speed of the wind, and the evil of man. I soak that part up more fiercely than anything else. I've been existing, living like a hermit, and hiding from the world. I don't want to be god, I don't want to pretend like I know everything, but no matter how much I tell myself I want to be simple, I can't help but want to see the fireworks, you know? Maybe I'm ready to see that change. Maybe I'm ready to be a super villain or that thing from your dreams. I don't know, ordinary is fine, but something about it isn't enough...

Author's Note: I'm just writing at random, tell me what you think, reviews always appreciated. All my love, Ama! 3