» COVER!Title: The Adventures of Stanley Putoski
Summary: Stanley Putoski likes his job as one of Lex Luthor's minions and he likes his boss, even if he doesn't get enough holidays off a year.
Notes: Thank you so very, very much to
Prologue – Four days earlier
Clark was minding his own business, drifting through space while listening for cries for help, when he did the stupidest thing he'd ever done.
He saw a small meteor headed for Earth. He could've easily shoved it out of its trajectory.
Instead he smashed it.
Glittering shards of purplish-brown Kryptonite sprayed over him. He had just enough time to consider how that was a really ugly color before losing consciousness and falling toward Earth.
* * *
I seated myself in front of the row of scientists and pretended that I wasn't freaking out. Scientists always gave me the willies. Having three of them asking me questions was the stuff of nightmares.
"Mr. Stanley Putuski?"
The man looked over the rim of his glasses at me like I didn't know my own last name, but he didn't argue the matter. "The reason you're here today is we'd like to know what happened the night of November fifth. We've already spoken to your associate, Mr. Melvin MacNeil and now we'd like to hear your version of events."
Hey, I thought, Mac's real name is Melvin. I stuck that fact in the back of my mind along with vague thoughts of blackmailing him with it.
"What do you want to know?"
The man picked up his pen and readied to write. The other scientists, who'd been silent so far, followed suit. "Tell us about the night in question."
"Um... it was kind of cold."
Three pairs of eyes studied me.
"And the moon was close to full," I added. "I know that because there was enough light to see Mr. Luthor—"
"Start at the point when you, Mr. MacNeil, and Mr. Luthor first came in contact with Superman."
I leapt to my feet. "I don't know what Mac's been telling you, but I did not have contact with Superman. If he's been telling you differently, then it's a damn lie!"
"Mr. Putoski, please sit down. Let me rephrase the question. We'd like for you to start from the point when you first saw Superman that evening."
I slowly sat back down. "When I first saw him?"
The man nodded. I took a deep breath and began to talk.
* * *
Four days earlier
I looked at the Superfreaklocator I held, then up at the sky. There was something that looked like a star, but I knew it wasn't. "Superman's heading this way!" I yelled. "And he's coming in fast."
"Good!" Mr. Luthor rubbed his hands together.
I noticed the hand rubbing and considered asking Mr. Luthor if he wanted to borrow a pair of gloves. It was cold, being November and nighttime at that, and I wouldn't normally be outside but they said I'd get paid overtime for it and with Christmas not too far away, I could use the money.
"Prepare to fire the Kryptonite-Ray-Gun-of-Extreme-Pain-but-Probably-Not-Death!" Mr. Luthor yelled to me and Mac.
A ball of flame could now be seen in the sky, hurtling towards Earth.
"Looks like someone's already shot him!" shouted Mac.
I considered the matter. "Should we still shoot?" I asked. "I mean, this thingee's supposed to make him crash. Shooting him seems sort of... sort of...."
"Redundant?" supplied Mac.
"I was thinking 'stupid'."
Mac shrugged. "Maybe he's not really hurt. It could be a trick to make us think he's hurt so we won't shoot him."
"So he what? Disguised himself as a big ball of flame?" Sometimes Mac was an idiot.
"He could've. It's not like flames are going to do anything to him."
"SHOOT HIM!" shouted Mr. Luthor. "Shoot him NOW, you morons!"
Mac muttered something under his breath about some bosses not caring about the self-esteem of their employees while we aimed the Kryptonite-Ray-Gun-of-Extreme-Pain-but-Probably-Not-Death. It took two of us 'cause it's pretty heavy and one of us has to steady it while the other points it.
Mac pressed the button to fire and a green bolt of light flashed across the sky, missing the blazing form of Superman but hitting the Daily Planet globe smack dab in the middle of Brazil, shattering it and sending pieces flying.
I turned toward Mac. "That was your fault."
Before Mac could reply, Superman's fall ended somewhere in the middle of Centennial Park.
"Come on!" Mr. Luthor ordered. "He's not getting away from me so easily."
Mac mouthed "Getting away?" to me. I answered with a shrug, then we all hauled ass over to Centennial Park.
* * *
It turned out that Superman had landed in a small, ornamental koi pond not far from the picnic grounds. All the water had evaporated in the heat he'd generated and his body had created a hole that was quite a bit deeper than the rest of the pond. The hole was fairly round and that was kind of disappointing since I'd been hoping to see one that was man-shaped. The coyote always makes a coyote-shaped hole in those Road Runner cartoons.
Mac toed one of the dead fish. "Is smoked koi any good to eat?" he asked me.
"Hurry up with that ray gun!" yelled Mr. Luthor, standing on the edge of the hole that Superman had made.
Mac picked up one of the fish and stuck it into his coat pocket and we went to join Mr. Luthor. Fortunately, there was enough light from the full moon to make out the figure below.
"He's naked!" yelped Mac.
"Had the clothes burnt right off of him," I said. "Even his skivvies."
Mac leaned over and looked again. "He's not that super."
I wasn't so sure about that. "Never seen one that size that wasn't in a porn film."
"Maybe it's an alien thing," Mac replied.
Mac and I looked at one another and then we both started snickering. "An alien thing," Mac repeated.
"If you two are finished," Mr. Luthor said coldly, "you might want to do your job and shoot him."
Mac and I both looked back and forth between the Kryptonite-Ray-Gun-of-Extreme-Pain-but-Probably-Not-Death and Superman. We then looked at Mr. Luthor.
"You'd shoot him? When he's just lying there naked?" I asked.
"Laying there," corrected Mac.
"No, I think it's lying there."
"Why wouldn't I shoot him?" Mr. Luthor interrupted impatiently. "He's my enemy."
"Doesn't seem sporting," I answered.
"Of course it isn't sporting!" Mr. Luthor snarled. "I'm evil!"
That surprised me for a moment. I kept forgetting that.
"It's why we only get a couple holidays off a year," Mac whispered to me, so low that
Mr. Luthor couldn't hear.
Glancing into the pit, I noticed that Superman was stirring. "Hey, he's waking up! Now you can shoot him."
"He's still naked," Mac pointed out.
Superman was definitely moving now. I watched as Superman slowly pushed himself to his feet at the bottom of the hole, then began to sniff the air.
"It wasn't me!" Mac said loudly.
Superman ignored Mac as he turned around, all the time sniffing, as if trying to locate something. When he faced us again, he was staring at Mr. Luthor.
He wasn't the only one staring, 'cause we were staring right back. Superman's alien thing was fully erect.
"He really is super," Mac breathed out.
I was starting to wonder about Mac.
Suddenly Superman leapt up to where we were standing, grabbed Mr. Luthor and then jumped back down into the hole. Mac and I watched as he began to rut against our boss. The funny thing was, Mr. Luthor wasn't screaming for help.
"Should we shoot him now?" I yelled down to Mr. Luthor.
"No!" Mr. Luthor replied immediately. "Um... you might shoot me. I'm too close."
"You can say that again," I muttered.
"Mr. Luthor, you've been a mighty good boss," Mac shouted to him. "If you'd like, I'll sacrifice myself and exchange places with you."
Now I was really wondering about Mac. Mac must've sensed that because he looked sheepish.
"I figured by sacrificing myself, I could earn time and a half."
Despite nodding, I was unconvinced.
"That's all right," Mr. Luthor said, making the matter moot. "Save yourselves."
When Mr. Luthor let out a long, low groan, I sneaked another peek over the edge of the hole. Superman had sure gotten Mr. Luthor out of his clothes quickly. Mac peeked down as well.
"You positive Mr. Luthor isn't an alien, too?" Mac asked me.
* * *
I threw the small, ugly-colored rock at Mac, who was standing nearby with his eyes closed. Mac swung his stick at the rock and missed it entirely. When the rock hit him on the chest, he let out a loud "Ow!"
"I'm telling you, there's no such thing as 'The Force' and if there is, you don't have it," I said to him.
Mac opened his eyes and rubbed at his chest. "Maybe I just need to be trained in the ways of the Jedi."
"Obi-wan could Kenobi your ass and even then you wouldn't have the Force in you."
Mac was about to protest when we heard loud voices coming from the hole. We grabbed the Kryptonite-Ray-Gun-of-Extreme-Pain-but-Probably-Not-Death from where we'd tossed it on the grass, and then moved closer in order to hear better.
"Calm down," Mr. Luthor was saying.
"Calm down? Calm down?" Superman shouted.
"He's not calming down," I said quietly to Mac.
We'd gotten to the edge of the hole by then. Mr. Luthor had managed to get his pants back up and had his coat on, though one of the sleeves was torn right off. Superman looked to be wearing a pair of black silk boxers that were on the small side and Mr. Luthor's shirt.
"I can't believe you weren't somehow a part of this!" Superman was screeching at Mr. Luthor. "Even if I was under the influence of some nasty version of Kryptonite, I can't believe that I would ever choose you of all people."
I saw Mr. Luthor's face crumple. It was only for a split-second, but you could tell that he was hurt by what Superman had said. Mr. Luthor, in spite of not giving us nearly enough holidays off, was a fine man to work for. Not every henchman was fortunate to have such a good boss.
I decided it was time for me to have it out with the Man of Steel. Mac and I put down the ray gun, then I folded my arms across my chest.
"Where do you think you're going, boy?" I shouted, when it looked like Superman was preparing to take off.
Superman started. He probably hadn't heard anyone address him like that before.
He saw me and Mac standing at the top of the hole and let out a sigh. "Listen, fellows. I've had a rough night. I'd rather not have to fight you then take you to jail."
"If anyone should be going to jail, it's you," I stated. "We saw how you forced yourself on Mr. Luthor."
Superman paled and he looked back at Mr. Luthor. "I did what?"
"Ripped his clothes off and everything," I added.
Mac pointed to me and then to himself. "We're witnesses."
Mr. Luthor stepped forward. "Stan, Mac, this is none of your business."
"The hell it isn't!" I shouted.
Mr. Luthor blinked at me, shocked.
"We may be evil," I explained, "but we know right from wrong and Superman – he done you wrong. We think he should make amends."
"That's right!" Mac said, nodding his agreement and folding his arms like mine were. "Amends."
Superman looked the same as he did the time we posed as workers in a fast food place and doctored his fries with Kryptonite laced salt – kind of greenish and about to puke.
"W-what sort of amends?" he managed to say.
I looked at Mac and Mac looked back at me. I hadn't thought that far ahead. Then I noticed the ray gun sitting there on the ground and grinned. Motioning to Mac, we picked it up.
"Does the term 'shotgun wedding' mean anything to you?"
Superman spun to face Mr. Luthor. "Do something!" he hissed.
"Do what?" Mr. Luthor was doing his best to look innocent, but there was no way anyone was buying it unless they were blind, and even then they'd be suspicious. Which was sort of funny since this time he really was innocent for a change.
"Tell them you won't marry me! Or-or-or fire them!"
"Won't work," I called down to them. "If he fired us, we'd still do what's right."
"See? Even if I fired them, it wouldn't help matters," Mr. Luthor said, glee in his voice.
Superman was still shaking his head in disbelief. "But... you're bad guys!"
"Now that's insulting. We're not bad guys. We're individuals who are morally challenged," Mac said emphatically.
"Working for Mr. Luthor's our job, not who we are," I pointed out.
Mac nodded. "Like Oprah says, 'hate the sin, not the sinner'."
"Was that Oprah?" I asked. "I thought it was Dr. Phil."
Mac thought for a second. "Maybe. Or it could have been Maury. Or that Judge Joe Brown."
"I like Judge Brown. He's much better than that lady judge."
"Which lady judge? There's a couple who—"
"EXCUSE ME!" Superman's voice boomed.
Mac and I stopped talking and looked down to where Superman and Mr. Luthor still stood at the bottom of the hole. I gave Superman my best smile, but he didn't return it.
"Can we get back to the subject at hand?" Superman asked.
"Judges is the subject at hand," Mac answered. "Need to find someone to marry you two."
"There is no need for us to get married," Superman snapped.
"You don't know that," I said. "Besides you doing Mr. Luthor wrong, Mr. Luthor could be carrying a little bundle of joy as we speak."
Superman's mouth dropped open.
"It happens," I continued. "I read all about it in the Inquirer. This guy said that aliens had kidnapped him and made him pregnant. They even had a picture of the baby, which looked like a human baby only it had a really big bald head, big eyes, and no nose."
Superman's mouth was still hanging open.
"And seeing how you're an alien, it's a possibility."
Mac nodded. "It sure as hell is."
Superman turned to Mr. Luthor. "Lex, do something," he said, desperately.
Mr. Luthor shrugged. "Personally, I think I've always looked good in white."
"And if anyone says a word about the color being inappropriate in the circumstances, then they'll have to deal with us," Mac assured him.
* * *
At some point while I was talking, the scientists had stopped taking notes and just sat there staring at me. Made me wonder if Mac had told them the entire truth.
"What happened then?" the head scientist asked me.
"Superman told Mr. Luthor 'Fine. If that's what you want, then you'll get it,' but he said it all tight and angry like. Next thing I knew, we were serving as witnesses in the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. As soon as Superman and Mr. Luthor were announced as husband and husband, we were whooshed back to Metropolis."
I paused for a moment. "Poor Mr. Luthor didn't get to wear white and didn't have any honeymoon, neither."
The scientist smiled at me. "If it makes you feel better, Mr. Putoski, ensuring that Mr. Luthor enjoys a honeymoon is what the three of us are currently working on."
The scientist reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. "That evening in Centennial Park, did you perhaps see something that looked like this?"
Leaning forward, I could see in the box a bit of purple and brown rock that wasn't much bigger than a speck. It was the same color as the rock I had thrown at Mac when he was seeing if he had the power of the Force.
I leaned back in my seat. "I sure have."
It was like all their seats had been electrified, the way those scientists shot out of them.
"Where? Where?" they asked, excitedly.
I told them where. They thanked me gratefully, and then let me leave.
It was a real surprise when three days later I received a raise and a huge bonus, besides. Mac got a bonus, too.
It was a good thing I got that money. Not only was Christmas coming up, but I also had a wedding present to buy.