Let me ask you all something. Do you even know what he’s capable of?
Those beams he shoots out of his eyes? Yeah, you probably seen him do it on the news. Every fourth of July, he swoops on down to New York City and stands on the pier with his fists on his hips and he lights that fuse with those white-hot lasers he’s got, and those fireworks they shoot off perfectly every time. Yeah, well ask yourself this. What happens when those puppies slice through a man’s legs? He shakes the mayor’s hands every Goddamned year, like he hasn’t put men -- humans, for the life of me! -- he’s put men in wheelchairs or worse with those hot eyes. Or, or, what about when he flies around all day, yeah? Gallivanting through the sky cause he’s the only one who can do it. The property damage incurred last month was, let’s see, well over three big ones. Billions, you knucklehead. Yes. You heard me.
The point I’m trying to make here, is that I know what happens to a man when a slab of concrete crushes him from fifty stories up. I know what repaving an entire city block costs after he tears ass up Lexington doin’ Mach six. I know these things, and more, but I wish I didn’t.
I remember the first time I met him. I was a gopher for a senior agent at the time, Ruttledge, a guy who was high up enough to make me think I’d never get to where he got. Ruttledge calls us into his office the morning of, asks me point blank if I saw the papers this morning. Well, he was all over the Post, the News, the Daily Planet, like always. “Yeah,” I muttered, made some excuse. I didn’t want to look like the only shmuck not paying attention. “Hell of a job he did stopping those crooks from robbing First National.” I remember Keyes, the guy next to me, grunting with approval. Ruttledge says significant damage was done inside the bank, that they’re filing a massive clusterfuck of a claim, and he’s getting a team -- oh boy, do we insurance folk just love working in teams -- that he’s getting a team together.
So, we pile into those white vans and we go over to the bank, all the while joking and guys are making bets about this amount or that. When we get there, it’s pretty clear that the papers were softening the whole ordeal for the public. See, what really happened inside was your typical robbery. Going pretty smooth... Our guy in the sky hears some shit with his super hearing, swoops in -- bank robbers freak and lock themselves inside the vault. He tears that door from its hinges like you twist an Oreo open, tosses the thing behind him, grabs those idiots, and drops ‘em off for the cops like the fucking stork. Meanwhile, back at the bank, George the manager can’t find Jim, his erstwhile new teller. Why? Because Jim’s been crushed by the vault door so casually tossed aside. Crushed. Like his insides were coming out of places that shouldn’t let anything through. When they lifted that two-ton door up so we could get a look underneath, my guy Keys was pukin’ his brains out in some wastebasket so hard, his eyes went all bloodshot. I had to swallow my breakfast a few times myself, but I never let on. I’ll tell you what, too. Jim’s family -- they got a massive payout from the bank (from the bank!) to the tune of, oh, I don’t know, six million dollars. You heard me right. Personal injury, punitive damages, grief caused to loved ones... we’re talking a hefty sum. And here I am, the only one on that bullshit team, who thinks the bank is getting screwed, not to mention Jim and those who knew and loved him. Keyes even said, if we want a protector, we’ve got to account for the risk involved. Bullshit, Keyes, wherever you are. Bullshit.
We’re not talking about a man. Sure, he looks like us. But he’s foreign, alien, not of this planet. Nuclear war happens, this guy walks away from it. Hell, he flies away from it. No sir. That ain’t human. You can’t put a risk assessment on something that ain’t got no risk! So, so, First National is supposed to expect that freak in tights to come barreling through their doors -- make that the south wall, if we’re being accurate -- he comes barreling through at some point during the term of their property insurance policy? And he gets to walk away Scot-free? That’s all I’m saying. Just posing the question. Anyway... I worked my way up the ranks over the years. I did my due diligence. There were plane crashes. Car crashes. You can’t rescue a school bus filled with sixth graders from a collapsing bridge without a few broken bones and dislocated shoulders. I’ve seen it all. The aforementioned heat vision. The thing he does when he puffs away with that jet engine breath of his? Shatter men into a billion little pieces with that shit. Freeze-dried chunks you gotta sweep up with a dustpan.
It ebbs and flows with this guy. In the early days, he was lauded by the papers. When he fell for that looker over at the Planet, the tabloids went nuts. Human-on-alien. Gave him a bad wrap. There was that porno they made, too. Not with him, of course. Some stand-in with a knockoff costume. I saw the screen-grabs. Didn’t interest me. Things’ve been looking up for him lately, though. Public opinion and all. At the end of the day, you do whatever you want when you’re faster and stronger than everybody else. You all know what happened just last week...
That guy Luthor took a couple of hits at him. Barely scratched the surface. Leveled thirteen blocks along the east river! And me, having worked my way up the ladder of this corporate shithouse, was given the daunting task of putting you together in teams. I swear to God, when I was on that bank job, I remember saying to myself: “Fuck this, and screw the guy who gets to sit back and tell everyone what to do.” After last week, with the paperwork alone, I’d rather be out on the streets with you all again! And there’s a reason I called you here tonight. I apologize for the secrecy and all, but I didn’t want word getting around the office. I’ve known you all for some years. Bill, you and I had the same first day. I know you remember. What I’m saying is, that I trust you. And I think you all trust me.
Sandy came back from the site with tears in her eyes. Bill, you told me you’d never seen anything like it. So, I got my ever-expanding ass up out of the office for once and had a look myself. Horrific. I don’t have to repeat it, you’ve all done your due diligence. Well, they say Luthor had some sort of a suit. Powered by that green shit. Our guy in the sky was beating the hell out of him, knocking pieces off as he went. Even in all the ash and rubble, something caught my eye. A shard, lit up, like some radioactive glow stick in the dirt where all those people died. And I swear to you, the irony of it was not lost on me. After all the claims I’ve filed? After all the injury I’ve seen? All the death that’s left off the front page? For every damsel in distress there’s at least ten innocent people who get vaporized, squashed, or lit on fire. They were the ones I’m thinking of when I pocketed that piece of green rock. Here, take a look. What kind of a freak comes from a planet made of this shit? I don’t even want to carry it around with me, I’m afraid I’ll get brain cancer. But I can’t let him go on like this. He’s got to be stopped -- and, and, not by some prick looking for world domination. Not because he should be made to look bad. But because -- ah, who the hell asked him to come here in the first place? We were doing pretty fucking good on our own.
You want to leave, now’s the time to get going. I’ll understand. But, as many of you know, I haven’t been voted Adjuster Of The Year twice in a row for lack of trying. If there’s a guy for this, it’s me. I guess what I’m asking is... will you help me? Maybe after we kill Superman, they won’t need us anymore. We can retire to some resort town where people take care of their own. On the other hand, maybe not. Insurance is a game where loss and recovery try to even the score. What do you say we do a little adjusting ourselves, hmm?