“The Man Who Brought Down Lex Luthor”
Lex sat at his desk at Lex Corp. He always set aside time in the afternoon to read letters sent to him by way of an anonymous Post Office Box. He had let word leak out through the grapevine that he would pay handsomely anyone who could provide him with proof of Superman’s secret identity. Lex had immediately set aside an especially think package sent to him by someone he never expected to betray Superman. This was definitely a must read. The bulk of the package was mundane reports on the comings and goings of one particular Daily Planet reporter that could have only been gathered by a person with close personal knowledge of the man in question. The trivial and boring nature of much of the detail had Lex all the more convinced that he had hit the jackpot with this one. The letter that came with the documentation read as follows:
Dear Mr. X:
I have gotten word through my sources on the street that you may hate Superman as much as I do. I very much doubt it. Only a close friendship like the one I had with Superman can ever turn into something as nasty as our relationship has become. I also heard that you would pay dearly to learn his secret identity. The only payment I long for is to see the man revealed and humiliated in front of his friends.
You see, Superman can never have normal relationships with people if they knew who he truly is. Well that has made him a man of secrets. Well he wasn’t always as good at keeping them and I was there before he acquired the knack. I discovered his secret early and have kept his secret until this moment.
One mistake Superman made early upon revealing his existence to the world was due to his infatuation with a certain female reporter – Lois Lane. He granted her an interview as an excuse to talk to her and revealed the secret of his powers to her. As soon as her interview was printed, every potential enemy knew of Superman’s limitations and origin and would be able to identify his key weaknesses. His secrecy was his greatest strength, and he gave it away due to a loose lip and a roving eye. That was very stupid indeed. Somehow he did manage to not reveal one important ability that he has. Superman is a very handsome man. He is handsome because he chooses to be. Unlike us, he can make others see him as he wants to be seen. He walks among us as an average man – invisible to most of us due to how average he looks. But because of this ability, he can talk to people one on one and have relationships from which he gets most of his enjoyment in life. I want this taken away from him. Reveal him for who he is. Show everyone that has trusted him that their relationship with him is a lie. Let him live alone or seek out others like himself.
When we were growing up, he accidentally let me know about his powers. I thought he was my friend. He often took on my appearance when he performed his super-stunts giving little regard to the turmoil that caused in my life. It made my friends distrust me or look on me like one of those meteor freaks that were common at that time. This helped him keep his secret, but it put my family in jeopardy. There were some very powerful people giving me and my family some very unwanted attention! Still, I thought he appreciated all I had done for him. I thought he was my friend. But when I left him know that I was in love with Lois Lane, he put the moves on her and ruined any chance I had for happiness in my life.
The documentation I have provided for you shows that this man, a reporter for the Daily Planet like myself, would be unexpectedly absent when Superman appeared and not have plausible explanation for his absence. There is notation after notation of his absences in his personnel file. It also shows that there is no record of him ever having any kind of medical exam or treatment – EVER! Check the national medical data base to verify this or look at the printout I have provided you. The evidence I provide may seem mundane, but I have always been known as a man of my word. I swear to you, whoever you are, on my reputation, that what I have said here is true.
Superman is a creature of habit. He wears his uniform under his street clothes. I had considered “accidentally” spilling something corrosive on his clothes in front of his friends to reveal who he is, except for two problems. One, how would I explain why I was walking around with acid? Two, Superman’s street clothes are treated with chemicals to make them resistant to friction, chemicals and super-stresses. The only thing that I am aware of that would easily burn through his street clothes in an experimental laser pistol I saw demonstrated recently at Lex Corp. Since you give the impression of being a man with resources, perhaps you have a way to acquire one of these weapons. If so, I would love to be there to witness you dissolving Superman’s street cloths in front of his friends while he has his regular coffee break in the Daily Planet Newsroom at 3:15pm. I am too impatient to wait too much longer. If you can’t manage what I propose in the next couple days, I will go ahead and reveal his secret identity to the world. I certainly hope you do it. I will make sure that a cameraman is standing by to get a picture of the expression on Superman’s face when he loses all his friends in one blast of light!
Lex jumped to his feet and handed the package to his secretary saying, “Shred this. I’m going to the lab for a few minutes and then I’ll be out for the rest of the afternoon.”
In the Daily Planet newsroom, Walt Becker walked up to Lois Lane’s desk and knocked on her desk to get her attention. Lois looked up and said, “Hi, may I help you?”
Walt said, “Hi.”
Lois said, “Who are you here to see?”
Walt said, “I was just taking an early coffee break today. I work here, remember? We did a couple stories together. I fix your computer if you have a problem.”
Lois said, “Oh, yes, You’re from tech support, right?”
Walt said, “No. I’m from 4 desks over, 2 desks back. I don’t have a column or by-line. I do a lot of research. I verify facts and quotes. I can work wonders on a computer. If you decide to convince people that Babe Ruth is your mother, I can provide convincing documentation to that affect. I helped you with the De la Rosa kidnapping case 5 months ago.”
Lois said, “Oh, now I remember! William Baker, right?”
Walter said, Actually it’s Walter, … WALTER BECKER.” I’m used to it actually. I’m the man in the back that finds the facts that support the stories that people hear about. I’m just one of the little people.”
Lois said, “I’m so sorry. I’m so focused on a story that I’m not really here right now. What you do is important. I don’t think of you as a little person.”
Walter said, “No, I know you don’t .” Then mumbled, “you don’t think of me at all.”
Lois said, “Pardon?”
Walt said, “Oh, nothing. I guess you can’t really rule out the little guys. You know, the Feds tried for years to get Al Capone. No one could prove he was behind a single crime. It was a man with the IRS that put him away for tax fraud. I’ll bet that it’s a little man that brings down Lex Luthor too.”
Lois said, “Oh, I’d bet my money on Superman.”
Walt said, “Well, he’s tried, hasn’t he. You know I’ve done important things in my life, but when I list them, people remember someone else doing those things … and in comparison to all that happens everyday, those things I have done really don’t seem that important. A man like me with nothing to lose, with not much going on in his life and without much to look forward to, would give anything, ANYTHING, to be the one that brought down a man like Lex Luthor.”
Lois said, “Are you all right, Bill? You seem a little down in the dumps. Maybe you should have some coffee.”
Walt asked, “Would you join me?”
Lois said, “Um, ok, sure.”
As they walked towards the coffee dispenser, Lex Luthor burst into the room and shouted, “Walter! WALTER BECKER! Are you here?”
Walter turned, waved his hand and said, “I’m right here, how could I be of assistance?”
Lex took a close look at Walter’s smiling face and said, “Walter, it’s time the world learns who you really are!” Lex pulled a laser pistol from his trench coat and fired at Walter’s chest. Everyone was shocked as Walter’s chest exploded – but no one was more shocked that Lex Luthor.
Suddenly Clark appeared and grabbed the pistol from Lex’s hand. Lex turned to Clark and said, “It shouldn’t have hurt him! It shouldn’t have even tickled him. You know that. You know that more than anybody! I’m Mr. X. You sent me that letter.”
Clark said, “What letter, Lex? I haven’t sent you or a “Mr. X” any letter.”
The next day, it was on the front page of the Daily Planet:
LEX LUTHOR COMMITS COLD-BLOODED MURDER IN ROOM FULL OF WITNESSES. Luthor To Get Life Sentence/Possible Death Penalty. Lex Luthor’s Murder of William Baker by Lois Lane.
"The Man Who Brought Down Lex Luthor II: At Rest.
Walter Becker was dead and buried. Above him was a simple stone bearing the words:
"William Baker: The Man Who Brought Down LEX LUTHOR. Good friend of LOIS LANE, star reporter of the DAILY PLANET."
"The Man Who Brought Down Lex Luthor III: The Man Who
Fed 10,000 Worms"
Walter Becker was dead and buried. One worm eating his right ear lobe said to a worm who was biting his lip, "Bill here is pretty average tasting for someone who brought down LEX LUTHOR and is a good friend of LOIS LANE."
The other worm replied, "What do you expect? LEX LUTHOR got out after 40 days on shock probation."
Walter said nothing.
Wow, three good reviews. I thought this would be the one
that got panned. I thought Lois lovers would think that a reporter would be
good on remembering people and names, but I saw her as the kind of person who saw
the "big picture." Let me thumb through the article a bit:
"His death hit me hard because William, or Bill as I used to call him was the man on our tech support staff that was always there when I always needed him. We were about to share a cup of coffee as we normally did when, for some unexplained reason, Lex Luthor took his life in cold blood."
Hmmm. Every news article that I have ever read about something I personally know about has been incorrect in some way.
I should at least mention one thing here. Whenever someone found out that Clark was Superman, they would go to Clark and throw acid on him or shoot him or (in one that I just one on E*Bay) shoot him with a laser gun to show the world who he is. I always wondered, didn't these people even think there was a 1% chance that they were wrong? There probably isn't a law specifically against discharging a laser pistol in public and Superman isn't an officer of the law(?) so it isn't an assault on a police officer. It might only be a misdemeanor for vandalizing someone's clothes, but if they are wrong about Clark being Superman, it would be manslaughter.
Walter committed suicide. He used Lex to do it. He sent the letter. He knew where he was at all times. He "incriminated" himself slanting facts and altering documents to make him appear to be Superman. Then he used Clark's signature because he figured out that Luthor was behind the PO Box and knew Clark's name would carry weight with him. Walter may have grown up in Smallville too. He's just the kind of guy you don't notice ... or try not to.