This story is part of a serie named “The Further Adventures of Superman” the author divided in 3 parts with multiple chapters:
Part 1: Superman Rides “The Lightning!”
Part 2: “Superman’s Night in the Museum”
Part 3: “Allure of Kryptonite”
Superman’s Night in the Museum
Months have passed since Superman’s first encounter with the mysterious prankster known as the Joker. He still vividly recalls his painful and humiliating ride on “the Lightning,” while rendered totally powerless by a strange green crystal wielded by the demonic clown. It is 11:45 PM 31 October: Halloween. In a few minutes Superman must again encounter his new nemesis in order to retrieve the photo of him naked and illustrating the aftermath of his degrading ride and his vulnerability! The world populace considers Superman invincible and omnipotent. If the picture were released, Superman would become the laughing stock of the world – his mystique of power and invincibility would be shattered. Criminal scientist everywhere would begin work in earnest to find naturally occurring kryptonite or to make a synthetic substitute! Once acquired kryptonite could be fashioned into almost any type of weapon or punitive tool! Kryptonite tipped missiles, bullets, or even modified taser guns that mix kryptonite with punishing electricity are but a few of the nasty applications that enter the muscle hunk superhero’s mind. In the event of a world with Kryptonite, the Man of Steel would eventually be hunted down and captured, to be dissected, or kept as a trophy slave or even destroyed, by those people who interests would be best served in a world without Superman!
Thus Clark Kent sits anxiously at his desk in the reporter’s pool at the Daily Planet mulling these dire scenarios over again and again in mind. Clark taps a lead pencil nervously on the desktop as he waits for the appointed hour to arrive. Clark has thought about this moment with dread all day! His expression is grim as he stares anxiously at the clock on the wall across the room watching the red minute hand sweep the minutes away.
The normally buzzing pool is quiet as there is only a skeleton staff on due to the late hour. Clark sighs as he rises from his desk’s chair apprehensively like a school boy summoned to the head-master’s office. He sullenly loosens his necktie as he heads gloomily towards the hallway outside the pool. Clark reaches the wide marble hallway and then increases his pace. He dashes past a bank of closed bronze elevator doors towards a door labeled: Storage Room. Clark pulls his glasses from his face and grabs the door handle with his free hand. He quickly looks around to make sure he enters unnoticed. Clark pushes the door open and steps over the door’s threshold. As the door shuts behind him Clark spreads his white dress shirt apart revealing a bright red and yellow “S” beneath.
In seconds Clark has shucked off his street cloths; the tall man stands gloomily before an open window dressed in a bright blue spandex jumpsuit, big red polished boots, red briefs with a yellow belt. He is draped in a magnificent crimson cape with a companion yellow “S” that matches the large letter emblazoned across his powerful chest. The bright red cape billows behind Clark in the brisk night breeze from the open window. Clark is lost in thought as he stares in melancholy out at Metropolis’s dark skyline. The panoramic view from The Daily Planet is filled with the outline of tall buildings dotted with brightly lit windows. Superman listens subconsciously to the din of the traffic far below as he contemplates what lies ahead this morning when he confronts the mysterious Joker for the second time. Clark knows it’s certain to be a trap; he knows the Joker must have another sick and twisted scenario in store for him at the museum. He remembers being helpless and at the mercy of the demonic clown – completely drained of his superpowers and the subsequently experiencing excruciating pain for the first time. But Clark seems to soldier-up and shakes off his self doubt; he is determined to do whatever is necessary in order to prevail this time. His mission tonight is simple. Superman must destroy the photograph depicting his vulnerability and get the piece of kryptonite from the Joker!
There is a sudden sound of rushing wind and a fleeting blur of red and blue as Superman takes to the darken sky. He streaks out of the open window upwards at great speed; Superman circles the spinning illuminated globe on the peak of the Daily Planet building once, fists clenched at his sides, and then banks hard in the direction of the Metropolis Metropolitan Museum of Art. In seconds Superman crosses the city and touches down in a deserted service area behind the great museum. His boots echo on the pavement and his cape billows grandly behind him as he makes his way past several refuse dumpsters next to a dock with a long row of shuttered overhead doors. The service area is not well lit and Superman sticks to the shadows as he carefully moves past the dock; he approaches a large square ventilation grill recessed within the museums’ thick stone block wall. Without hesitation Superman grabs the steel grill with both big hands and pulls. His big twin biceps encased in tight spandex flex impressively as his boots grind on the pavement. Seconds later the large grill’s retaining bolts snap and pop simultaneously. Superman effortlessly pulls the giant ventilation grill away from the wall; he carefully sets the big louvered grill down on the pavement. Superman looks around and listens hard for any indication his activities have been noticed. Satisfied, he vaults through the ventilation port into the museum. Superman’s big boots hit the concrete within and below with a dull thud. His crimson cape settles in behind him brushing the top edges of red boots as he rights himself peering down a 10’ X 10’ square masonry corridor. The dark passage, used as a fresh air intake, leads towards his destination within the interior of the sprawling museum.
Aware of the time, Superman walks briskly down the dark passage, cape billowing behind. His boot steps echo in the wide enclosed masonry passageway as makes his way towards an intersection ahead. The smooth concrete walls comprising the passage are affixed with long horizontal rows of thick steel conduit and bulky black utility cords. Superman reaches the junction where a spur of the shaft rises vertically. He looks upwards and extends one muscled arm over his head as his boots rise off the concrete. The Man of Steel rises up into the vertical shaft that leads to the first floor of the museum. Superman stops in midair before a large louvered steel grill overlooking the main gallery and the entrance to the Medieval Art Section. Airborne he ignites his heat vision and quickly traces a large square in the louvered grill with his eyes. Seconds later Superman pulls the carved piece of grill away and then lets it fall within the concrete shaft. As the grill hits the bottom of the shaft Superman flies through the smoldering opening and into the main gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He descends to the marble floor below the ventilation shaft touching down at the appointed time. He looks off the main gallery towards two very large open archways; one leads to the Mineralogy section and the other: his destination – Medieval Art Collection.
Superman clenches his fists as he cranes his head towards clock chimes he suddenly hears from another part of the expansive museum. As the clock chimes away the hour Superman scans the sprawling gallery; the vast museum is deserted – it is closed at this early hour. The main gallery is dimly lit – only security lights mounted high along the walls and vaulted ceiling burn.
At the present time the main gallery is host to the ancient Greek gods. The weak lighting cast eerie shadows on a dozen or so mammoth marble statues within the sprawling gallery. Superman’s cape whirls as he spins in place looking upwards and around at the huge towering marble figures of Zeus, Poseidon with his trident, Apollo with his bow and arrow, Athena with her shield and spear and the other ancient gods positioned throughout the immense gallery.
As the 12th chime strikes Superman hears a recognizable voice call, “I see you got my note Superman. Trick or treat!” Superman eyes dart towards the voice. From behind a colossal gilded statue of Athena steps an all too familiar tall lanky figure. Only this time without the garish colored teaching robes and square academic cap the prankster wore last time they met. But his attire is still bizarre. This time the Joker is wearing an old fashioned three piece dark purple suit, orange shirt, and bright red tie. He has a matching deep purple D’orsay hat is pulled down over a mop of disheveled seaweed green hair.
Superman turns and faces the Joker; he sticks out his strapping chest bearing the red and yellow letter “S” as he brings his big hands, made into big fists, onto his hips. He stares angrily at the clown that made a total mockery of him the last time they meant. “You’re one sick twisted pervert Joker,” shouts Superman in a clear voice referring to their last encounter.
“Maybe…but you seemed to enjoy the “ride” at a subconscious level,” replies the Joker.
Superman turns red recalling his sexual arousal while he rode “the Lightning!”
The Joker’s black beady eyes, in great contrast with his alabaster face, remain locked on Superman standing across the floor. The clown seems infatuated with the big young man dressed in body conforming bright blue spandex. His beady eyes scan the tall strapping man from his distinctive split curl down to the “S” displayed on his chest to his calf high bright red boots. The clown breaks his stare instantly, “You are among your own kind Superman,” announces the Joker as he gestures to the gods Zeus and Poseidon with either hand.
Superman fumes, “Enough of the BS Joker! Hand over the photo…that’s the only reason I kept this appointment!”
“A deal is a deal; you have kept the appointment. I will mail the negatives to the Daily Planet this morning to the attention of your pal Clark Kent,” agrees the Joker ignoring Superman’s immediate demand. “It is said the ancient god’s power was proportionate to the extent that man worshiped them,” lectures the Joker seemingly the headmaster again. “As man progressed he ceased to worship these gods…art, science, religion, and colonization of the new world became the focus of man’s attention.”
Superman instinctively looks up at Zeus and then the other huge statues of the gods, as he repeats bewildered, “Mail the negatives….?”
“Like your brethren mankind would no longer worship you Superman if I circulated the humiliating picture of you powerless – strapped naked into “the Lightning” continues the Joker as he pretends to examine the ornate design of Athena’s colossal shield. “Your Achilles Heel revealed – mankind would abandon you and no longer worship you as a god Superman….you too would fade away like these ancient gods you see before. You would have to hang up your tights and cape so to speak. You would not even get a statue.”
Superman fumes, “Is this another one of your twisted perverted games? I’m ready for you this time clown.”
“Are you now; we’ll see….anyway in answer to your question…yes but of course! I have another game for you this morning Superman…unless you promise to leave Earth… now… while you can…this will be the last free pass I give you. Should we meet a third time I will forcefully remove you from society…permanently! Now, get off this planet and never return,” demands the Joker.
“Leave Earth…is that what all this has been about…to send me packing so twisted villains and criminals like you can have a freehand here on Earth,” asks Superman bitterly?
“Bingo,” announces the Joker as crosses the floor to examine the statue of Poseidon. He puts his long index finger to his red lips as he considers Poseidon, “Poseidon: god of the sea. Last time we meant I could have easily put you in a small steel box with the kryptonite and dropped you into the middle of the one of this god’s oceans Superman. But even you deserve a chance to be a coward and runaway!
“I will never abandon Earth to the likes of you Joker,” promises Superman proudly.
“Have you forgotten the lessons I taught you already Superman? Or weren’t you paying attention in class,” asks the Joker in feigned disappointment as he spins to face Superman! “So be it! Let the games begin,” shouts the Joker!
With the god of the seas towering over the lanky clown the Joker makes his move. Superman stomach flutters as the Joker pulls out the all too familiar small lead cylinder and displays it to Superman. Superman recovers and counters; without warning an angry Superman’s ignites his heat vision; the twin red beams instantly strike the lead cylinder. A startled Joker drops the lead tube and stumbles backwards surprised and quite frightened. Superman’s blazing red eyes follow the lead cylinder to the marble floor. The heat fuses the lead around the kryptonite within! “No,” screams the Joker! “What have you done? You’ve melted the lead around the kryptonite! NO! NO!”
“You’re a one trick horse Joker,” lectures Superman smugly as he walks over to the piece of melted lead. He picks up the smoldering chunk of lead in his bare hands and grins. Superman throws it directly through the hole he burned in the ventilation grill high above the floor. The Joker panics. The lanky clown scampers away frantically passing under the towering archway leading to the nearby Mineralogy section of the museum. Without the kryptonite he has no hope of battling Superman! Desperate to escape Superman the Joker dashes madly down the aisle separating two long rows of display cases filled with minerals and crystals of all shapes, colors and sizes. The clown reaches the end of the aisle only to find it dead-ends into a wall! His path blocked, the frantic Joker turns around wildly in a frenzied tizzy only to find Superman blocking his path! The lanky clown fearfully backs up away from Superman. He stops when his back hits the wall behind him. Superman smiles as he coolly folds his powerful arms before the red and yellow “S” stamped on his big chest. His bottom seam of his cape brushes the edges of his red boots as he shifts his weight from one leg to the other. “Now let’s discuss the photo again Joker. Give it to me now or I’ll shake you upside down until I get it,” warns Superman in harsh tone.
“NO! I told you I would mail the negatives to the Daily Planet. What use would they be to you in the brig,” asks the Joker unexpectedly? The tall lanky clown with an alabaster complexion and perpetual red outlined smile suddenly is calm and collective again. He straightens and moves away from the wall; the beady eyed prankster adjusts his tie and positions his hat atop his head and boldly moves towards Superman. Before Superman can fathom the abrupt change in demeanor he is swept with a familiar but unwelcome wave of powerful dizziness and instant weakness! His big muscled arms fall weakly to his sides as Superman suddenly starts to sweat. “NO!” gasps a stunned Superman in disbelief as his knees buckle slightly and his head begins to pound and spin. Frantically Superman grabs hold of a display case with one big hand for support. He wearily looks side to side as his big boots slide slightly on the smooth floor; Superman swallows hard when he spots several large green glowing crystals hidden amongst other benign crystals in the display cases on either side of him! The Joker apparently has more meteor rocks then he alluded too!
The collection of green meteor rocks quickly sucks Superman’s super strength and superpowers completely dry! He feels very dizzy and lightheaded! Superman quickly succumbs to the planted kryptonite hidden in plan sight! He falls down onto his knees hard before the lanky trickster! Superman instinctively tries to escape. He gasps as he spins around clumsily on his knees extending his big arms awkwardly outwards. Superman falls forward onto the palms of his hands. His crimson cape drapes his broad back and powerful thighs outlining his brawny form as Superman desperately tries to crawl away from the chunks of kryptonite!
“You are so predictable Superman,” brags the Joker. He whistles as he takes up one good sized piece of kryptonite from out of the open display case. He follows slowly behind the Man of Steel as he awkwardly crawls slowly before him down the aisle dividing the display cases full of minerals and crystals. The Joke begins to hum as he playfully jungles the kryptonite between his gloved hands, “Did you think that little sample I showed you in England was all the kryptonite I possess? It was not too smart to make such an assumption! Now you’ll pay the price for your ignorance!”
Superman remains silent as he labors crawling futilely trying to escape the Joker. The Joker rants on, “I hope you have enjoyed your night in the museum so far Superman!”
Suddenly two uniformed museum guards appear in the archway of the mineralogy section interrupting the Joker’s rant. One barks loudly, “Show your-selves!” Each young strapping guard wears black pant, white short sleeved shirts w/black tie and black boots. Each simultaneously pulls a big black polished nightstick from their utility belt strapped around their athletic waists.
Superman is instantly thankful for the guard’s fortuitous arrival! He stops crawling on his hands and knees; the Joker gasps loudly and stops dead in his tracks. Superman pulls his hands up from the floor and sits on the back of his red boots on his knees with his cape pooled behind him. “HELP…over here,” shouts Superman breathlessly.
One big guard grins but remains in the doorway. He begins slapping his heavy nightstick in the palm of his gloved hand blocking the entrance. “I’ll handle this,” barks the other as he briskly approaches Superman and the Joker. The Joker explains talking fast as he raises his hands, one clenching the kryptonite, above his head, “I can explain this officer….we’re just having some fun….Halloween and all.” The guard ignores the Joker. His big boots steps sound loud within the silent museum as he quickly closes the distance. The guard stops before the odd pair – mighty Superman down on his knees seemingly powerless – his muscled arms hanging weakly at his sides & a crazy clown in dressed in a 19th century purple suit holding a green glowing rock.
“Officer arrest that man…, shouts Superman looking up at the guard from his knees.
The big young guard looks down at Superman and asks seriously, “Trick or treat?”
“Huh,” asks a bewildered Superman looking up from his knees?
“Then trick it is,” shouts the guard! Without warning the big guard grins and then wallops Superman across his skull with his black polished nightstick. The Joker laughs hysterically as he lowers his hands; he dances a jig and juggles the kryptonite as the show continues. In his weakened condition the blow sends mighty Superman sprawling downwards onto his strapping chest pressing his signature red and yellow “S” against the smooth marble floor. The guard smiles again and loosens his tie sizing up the big superhero sprawled out face down on the floor below him.
Immediately the big guard grabs one of Superman’s wrists below his spandex sleeve and drags him from the aisle. Superman’s signature red and yellow “S” and the toes of his big red boots slide over the smooth marble floor. Once out in the open the guard releases Superman’s wrist. “I’m going to enjoy this Superman,” admits the guard as he kneels down next to the famous Man of Steel. He can’t fathom the famous mighty Man of Steel suddenly rendered powerless! Nonetheless he stares in fascination at the big man who can fly and bend steel in his bare hands! Now in contrast he lies facedown – stripped of his super abilities – semi-conscious with his head craned to one side and his cheek pressed to the marble floor! The guard gazes in awe at the magnificent crimson cape that extends from his broad shoulders to the top edges of his big red boots covering his sturdy backside.
The guard suddenly begins to viciously club Superman again across his head and powerful shoulders multiple times to punish the big young man! Superman groans moving his head side to side as he extends his arms above his head. He rubs his powerful arms and legs on the smooth marble floor restlessly trying to absorb the powerful blows. “Tough guy hey,” shouts the guard noting Superman’s resilience. The other guard in the doorway shouts, “You want the taser Ryan?”
The guard answers, “Nah!” The joker stops dancing his jig and interrupts tossing the kryptonite to floor near Superman, “Club Superman until he in unconscious….the price for his refusal to take my….advise and leave Earth. It seems a ride on “the Lightning” was not sufficient to instill fear in this so called superman. Well he’ll regret it when he comes too and finds out what I have in store for him! Keep the crystal next to him at all times….when you are finished drag Superman back out into the main gallery. I’ll wait for you there….I must have a look at the statute of Hermes.”
“Yes sir “answers the guard. The big guard wastes no time! He wallops Superman hard across his caped shoulders using its companion “S” as a bull’s-eye. He grins as repeatedly wallops the helpless Man of Steel!
The Joker exits the Mineralogy department serenaded by the sweet sound of the guard’s club striking Superman’s powerful body. The other guard mocks a salute to the Joker with his big nightstick as he exits. Then the big guard remains blocking the entrance so his partner will not be interrupted.
Superman’s attacker rises and then viscously kicks Superman in his ribs as hard as he can with his steel toed boots and then leans down and clubs Superman hard across his skull. Then he moves behind the prone man slapping his stick in the palm of his gloved hand. He roughly kicks Superman’s boots to spread his legs wide apart. He uses one foot to flippantly kick Superman’s crimson cape aside exposing his broad back and thighs. The guard grins like a schoolboy as he straddles one of Superman’s power thighs encased in bright spandex. He positions one big boot between Superman’s upper thighs where his legs form his ample buttock. Suddenly the guard kicks Superman in the balls as hard he can. Superman head snaps back as he groans loudly.
“Sweet,” shouts the other guard excitedly! Superman grabs his groin and rolls slowly onto his side; his eyes close tight as he draws himself up into a fetal position. Seconds later his powerful young body relaxes as he passes out cold.
“Superman’s done…you can stick a fork in him now…ha-ha,” announces the guard as he holsters his punitive club; he picks up the small chunk of glowing kryptonite and then signals his partner. The other guard holsters his club too as he silently crosses the floor to join him. No words are exchanged as the two young men each grab one of Superman’s big wrists and roll the big man onto his broad back atop his cape. Together the men drag Superman on his back atop his crimson cape towards the main gallery. Superman’s handsome head dangles below his outstretched arms while the backs of his big red boots slide across the smooth marble floor.