Come Fly With Me
The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates.
(© 2019 by the author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's
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As told by Philo V. Morgan
When I first met David Kent, I had no idea he was the famous Superman who was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, had a magnificent body, and was unbelievably handsome. I had never seen him in a photograph to verify that claim, let alone in person, but I had read about him in one of those trashy tabloids we sell at the checkout aisles of the supermarket I work at.
So, when this nice looking guy showed up at Safeway's checkout aisle, I did a double-take with no recognition other than he was a stud muffin. He was buying and I was cashiering. Had I realized who he was, I probably would have gushed, asked him for his autograph and made a complete fool out of myself which is my wont to do on occasions.
I live in Boulder, Colorado and work at one of the three Safeway Food stores, the one on Meadows on the Parkway. My job is to take care of the fruits and vegetables but of late, I’ve been subbing for cashier Mary Jo, one of five of our staff who were out on maternity leave; we were short-handed. I found it somewhat ironic that these five were happily engaged in reproduction and I was still single and very much alone. I often wondered if that would ever change.
I meet all sorts of people during the day. Most of whom are cordial, cooperative, and well behaved. And then there are the few who are-not. We receive special training for the few who are-nots. It was during one of these unfortunate encounters that I noticed this very tall, handsome man standing patiently behind one of the are-nots who was testing my patience to the point of killing and dismembering her into small pieces of fish food. I was ready to shove her expired coupons up her wazoo when she announced she wanted to see the manager. I was more than delighted to hand her over to Mr. Clausing who knew exactly how to handle her. When it was his turn, the tall, handsome, very patient customer complimented me on the way I handled the witch.
I smiled and sighed, “It’s a good thing it’s not Thursday.”
“Why is that?”
“I’m allowed to kill customers like that on Thursday.”
He grinned a beautiful crooked smile which caught me by the seat of my pants as we laughed; I checked him out as I checked out his groceries. Medium length, curly black hair, framed a young, handsome face giving him an appealing outdoorsy appearance. His credit card told me his name was David C. Kent which I immediately made a mental note of. A static shock bounced off of our fingers as I handed him his receipt and credit card. We laughed. He smiled that smile of his and told me to have a nice day.
I thanked him and sadly watched his departure. He was wearing faded Levi’s that clung to his derriere in a way that ignited my hormones. The fringe on his leather coat brushed provocatively across the tops of his buttocks with each step he took . . . away from me. A pair of well-worn leather work boots adorned the end of his well-developed legs; the frosting on this unattainable cupcake. He was slightly bow-legged which had me trembling in my sneakers.
When I turned my attention back to my register, I noticed those waiting in line were also watching him. I felt like slapping them one at a time and telling them to mind their own business. David Kent belonged to me, at least for the moment. I figured I would probably never see him or his ass again . . . until the following afternoon when I ran into him at The Lunch Wagon outside the Home Depot across the street from Safeway.
“Hi,” said he.
“Oh, hi,” said I.
“Yes, of course. You’re David Kent.”
His face lit up. “Yes . . . how did you know?”
I laughed. “Nothing mysterious, I’m sorry to say . . . your credit card.”
“You memorize everyone’s name?”
“Some.” I smiled. “I remembered yours because I figured you’d be a witness at my murder trial if I had killed that old crone who was tying up the line yesterday with her nonsense.”
“Ah . . . I probably would have helped you. She was testing my patience also.”
I laughed and moved to the picnic table next to The Lunch Wagon.
“Mind if I join you?” He hesitated.
“No, of course not. Grab some napkins from the wagon, please.”
He grabbed the napkins and sat across from me while we indulged ourselves in hot dogs from heaven. Well, maybe not heaven but somewhere close by. His work shirt was open halfway to his navel, revealing a well develop chest covered in a light matting of black hair which I only glanced at once – quickly, so as not to give myself away. I lie. I had all I could do to keep my eyes off of his pecs. Thankfully his nipples weren't showing or who knows what I would have done. Obviously, I'm so lonely my mind is cracking. I restrained my impulse to grab him and take him right on that picnic table in front of God and anyone passing by.
“This is good. Do you eat here often?”
“Yeah, but you have to be careful.”
He wiped mustard from his upper lip, “Why is that?”
“These things will stunt your growth.”
I thought he was going to choke when I said that.
“I’m not kidding. I stopped growing when I began eating these things.”
“How do you know that?”
“I’m 5-9 and everyone in my family is six foot or taller.”
“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.”
"You look like you're tall enough already so, a little stunting won't hurt. Let me guess, 6-1 or possibility 6-2?"
"Good guess, 6-2. You look taller than 5-9."
"An illusion, I assure you."
It turns out he had just moved to Boulder and rented a house out on Railroad Avenue. When he mentioned the house had been vacant for a number of years, I knew which one he was talking about. “That’s the old Martindale house. Are you sure you want to live there? They say it’s haunted.”
He laughed, “It’s not.”
“Probably not, but if you hear things go bang in the night, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
He laughed. “Okay, I won’t.”
“That’s a pretty big house. Your kids will love the attic. I spent a lot of time up there with Kit Martindale when we were kids.”
“That’s who I rented it from. No, it's just me. I plan on freshening up the first floor and leaving the other floors as is.”
“Need any help? Sounds like you’ll be painting.”
“No, that’s all right. But, hey … if you have nothing better to do … sure, I could use some help.”
“I’m not working this weekend, and have no plans.”
“Okay. That's great. Thank you. It will give us a chance to get acquainted. I recently moved here and don't know anyone."
"Good, I'm happy to accommodate."
"I’m here to buy paint and a refrigerator.”
“Do you have a microwave?”
“Yeah. That and a stove came with the rental.”
“I’ll pick up some of these hot dogs on my way over. We can have them for lunch. What time are you up and about?”
“Early, around 5:30 – 6.”
“How about I get there around 8?”
“I remember the coffee beans you bought the other day so I assume you’ll have coffee ready and waiting.”
In hindsight, I wish I hadn't offered my time to make his abode livable. He was so open and genuine, I found myself imagining a relationship that I knew would never be which became painfully obvious on Sunday afternoon when he broke a sweat and took his shirt off. We had finished painting the living room and bedroom on Saturday and had almost finished the kitchen when the shirt came off and was tossed aside.
He mumbled something about getting more paint and headed for the back door. As he passed by I caught the scent of his sweat and wondered what I was doing there. After he had left the room, I did something which surprised me . . . when I heard the screen door slam shut, I grabbed his sweat-stained shirt and shoved it into my face and inhaled his scent.
As I pulled the shirt from my face, I sensed he was standing in the doorway. He had not gone outside after all. I put the shirt down, picked up the paint roller and resumed painting, holding my breath as I wondered if he saw what I had just done and if so, what did he think. I didn't have long to wait to find out.
"Does Kit know?"
"Know what?" I kept rolling out the paint as sweat broke out on the back of my neck.
"The combination to the old Mosler safe in the hall closet?"
I paused painting, then put the roller down. I had forgotten about the safe. I gave a sigh of relief – he hadn't seen me sniffing his shirt. I turned and looked at David. "He's probably forgotten, but I remember."
"I have a good memory, remember?"
He laughed. "How long has it been?"
"Since I opened the safe?"
"I don't know. Maybe fifteen, twenty years. We were only kids at the time. You wanna look?"
"Yeah, let's look." He walked to the hall closet and knelt down in front of the safe.
I followed and stood behind him, probably closer than I should have; I could not only smell his sweat again but now I could feel the heat radiating from his body. Lord have mercy, how did I get myself into this spot.
"What's the combination?"
"6148. Spin it clock-wise and stop on 6, left to1, right to 4 and left to 8." He did as instructed and then paused. "Okay, twist the handle." He did and pulled the safe door open. I had forgotten what we used the safe for but suddenly remembered when the door came open and I laughed. "Beer."
David picked up a bottle and looked at it. "I don't think they make this kind anymore."
"I think you're right."
"So what should we do with it?"
"I guess it's yours since you're the renter."
"I don't do alcohol."
"Neither do I. Might as well leave it. Close the door but don't lock it. If and when I see Kit, I'll remind him. I'm sure he's forgotten about it. He can come get it if he's so inclined." As we walked back into the kitchen, I looked at my watch and saw an out. "I think I'm going to quit now and leave the rest to you. I have a few things I need to do before work tomorrow."
"Yes, of course. You've given more of your time than I expected. I appreciate it. Thank you. And thanks for the hot dogs."
"You are most welcome. Glad I could lend a hand." I gathered my stuff and waved as I drove away. I chastised myself over and over for thinking I had a chance with this guy. But I was grateful I hadn't done anything really stupid. Sniffing his shirt wasn't the worst thing I could have done; I still wondered if he saw it or not.
Life returned to some normalcy after my failed romantic farce. It must have been three weeks or a month later when I took a late lunch. I wandered across the street and purchased my hot dog and can of Sprite at The Lunch Wagon.
I noticed one of those cherry pickers at the other end of the Home Depot building preparing to replace the Home Depot signature sign with a new one. I settled down at the picnic table with my hot dog and a magazine I brought with me. I didn't pay any attention as the engine of the cherry picker was turned on. I did glance up and saw the sign being lifted along with the man in the picker pod.
I only read a paragraph or two in the magazine when I heard a loud sound of gears grinding and someone screaming. I looked up just as the crane began to topple over. The sign crashed onto the pavement first and then I saw the pod with the workman pitch forward uncontrollably. I stood up instinctively as I anticipated what was about to happen to the workman. My jaw dropped and my eyes bugged when I saw someone nearby jump and catch the falling workman and bring him slowly down to the ground.
The workman hugged the man who had rescued him as a crowd began to gather. It dawned on me that what I had just seen could not have happened. The man must have jumped twenty-five feet into the air, caught the workman and slowly brought him to the ground. It seemed impossible but it was true.
I moved toward the scene along with other onlookers. The man pulled away from the workman he had just rescued and began to walk away. When the voices of the gathering crowd began to rise in astonishment of what they had witnessed, the man began to run. The last thing I saw before he disappeared among the vehicles in the parking lot where the work boots he was wearing. I recognized them. It was David.
I joined the folks gathering around the workman who were all talking at once. I kept hearing the word 'miracle' repeated over and over again. It became all too evident it was a miracle. No ordinary man could have jumped that high and levitated so slowly to the ground. There was no question in my mind it was David who performed this miracle. But how? Who was he? And then it dawned on me. Could he possibly be the fabled Superman who had mysteriously disappeared from Metropolis and had never been heard from again? I must be wrong. It couldn't have been David. I thought I recognized his boots, but I must have been mistaken. Those boots could have belonged to anyone.
I hung around and absorbed all the conversations of the amazed crowd, then wandered back to Safeway for the rest of my shift. As I drove home that evening, I was tempted to stop by David's place to see for myself if it was possibly him but decided that was really a dumb idea. What would I have said . . . "Hi, David. I think I saw you this afternoon. Are you Superman by any chance?" God almighty, how much more pathetic could I be. I went home and was preparing dinner when it all came back on the news. Someone happened to catch the whole event on their cell phone. But it was too far away to identify who the rescuer was. The fact that this man ran away caused speculation. Who was this mystery man? One of the commentators joked that it was probably Superman but that idea died before the broadcast was over.
The news media ran out of steam on the event and it disappeared from the airwaves after a few days. A new Home Depot sign was installed and everything seemed to go back to normal. I couldn't help but recall every detail each time I took a break and went over for a hot dog. I began to fantasize that David was Superman and I was attracted to him. How cool would that have been to have Superman as your lover? He could take me on rides high above the rest of the world to fabulous places only he had access to. It was ridiculous but I was having a good time thinking about it. What if . . . the story of my life.
The temptation was overwhelming to pay him a visit but I resisted. However, the fantasy persisted. I began searching the Internet for photos of Superman which were few and far between but I did come across one of the reporter at the Daily Planet who had also disappeared around the same time that Superman disappeared. Interestingly enough, his name was Kent, Clark Kent. I searched for a photo of him and was shocked the day I found one. Take those glasses off, and it was my David Kent. Holy shit. Could it be? Now, what do I do? Confront him? No. If it was Superman, he probably wouldn't want to be recognized. Why else would he have run away the day he rescued the falling workman? I'd play it cool if he ever dropped by the Safeway.
A week later I found out just how cool I was – not. I was still cashiering when I spotted him in another checkout line which was a dead giveaway that it was him – my Superman. Why else would he avoid me? Especially after all the hours I gave him in painting his home. I caught him looking in my direction as he was being checked out. I pretended I didn't see him and kept on with the customer I was serving.
He left the store and I felt a little bit of melancholy that he avoided me. But that was his business. I closed my line about one o'clock and checked out for lunch. I wasn't very hungry but decided to go over to The Lunch Wagon for a hot dog anyway. I crossed the highway and walked into the Home Depot parking lot, and jumped back when this truck pulled in front of me.
I began to move around the vehicle until I heard his voice, "Get in."
"David? Hi. You going for a hot dog?"
"No, please, get in."
So, I got in and smiled at him.
He stared at me.
"You know, don't you?"
"Know what? What are you talking about?"
He didn't answer and began driving.
"Where are we going?"
"Someplace where we can talk."
"Okay." I was so glad to see him, I would have gone anywhere with him. We drove to his place.
We got out of his truck and he stood in front of me and asked me again, "You know, don't you? And don't lie to me. I saw you."
I shrank back a step, then decided to jump off the cliff. "Yes, I know. So what?"
"Philo, no one can know. That's all behind me and that's where I want it to stay."
"I'm not going to tell anyone but I'm pretty sure someone is going to figure it out."
"How did you figure it out?"
"It wasn't too difficult. Those Levis and your boots. My memory, remember?"
"And my shirt?"
"Your shirt? You weren't wearing a shirt."
"I saw you with my shirt."
"Oh, Christ." I backed up a step, "I'm sorry." I turned around and began walking away.
"Where are you going?"
"I have to get back to work."
"I'll drive you."
I was so embarrassed, all I could think about was putting distance between us. "That's okay. I'll walk." He stepped forward, touched my elbow and before I knew it, I was airborne and moving back to his house. He was barely touching me. "David, don't do this. Let me go. I'm so embarrassed. I'm sorry you saw me."
"I knew from the moment I met you at Safeway and then the hot dog place. I was so glad you offered to help with the painting."
He held on to my elbow as we entered the back porch. When we were in the hallway he pulled me into an embrace and stared into my eyes as he moved in. I must have fainted because the next thing I remember is looking up at the kitchen ceiling light fixture with David kneeling over me rubbing my hands. "Philo. Are you alright?"
"No, I'm not alright. Jesus. I can't believe I fainted. Help me up. No, on second thought let me catch my breath first. What time is it?"
"Christ, I have to get back to work." I sat up.
"I can get you back in seconds." He smiled.
"No, not that way. In your truck. Jesus, I don't believe this is happening to me."
He laughed, '"Whenever you're ready."
"Whenever I'm ready – that's funny."
"Yes, it is. Would you please finish what you started before I fainted?"
He laughed and pulled me into an embrace."
I had to stop him after a few seconds for fear of fainting again. His strength, warmth, and scent were overwhelming. "Please, take me back to work."
"Only if you promise to come back after work?"
I chuckled. "Okay. I'll bring food."
I did return that evening and stayed the entire weekend. We didn't do any more painting.
As the day drew to a close and a beautiful twilight enveloped us, he handed me a copy of the Daily Planet and the article he put into the paper the day he left Metropolis.
To all the wonderful people of Metropolis and especially those at The Daily Planet who have supported me through the many adventures of the past, I've come to a crossroad and will now devote my time and energies to a neglected aspect of my life no one knows about.
I'm weary of being this man of steel whose only apparent goal in life is to save the world. I still have empathy for the people of the world, and I’ll continue to right as many wrongs as I can, but I don’t want them to look to me for everything. I’m not their savior. I’m just a guy with extraordinary powers.
I’ve been idolized and placed on a pedestal. I can no longer continue to live the life you expect of me with no consideration for my heart's desire. So, I take leave of you with plans to live my heart's desire somewhere where no one knows me.
Determined to make a change, I’ve quit my job at the Daily Planet. Playing the slow-witted reporter was more difficult than I imagined. But leaving behind the people I’ve come to like and admire was something I had not anticipated. Since Mom and Dad passed, these folks became the only family I knew. I am truly alone now.
I sublet my apartment, burned those tights with the red cape – I hate red and blue. I’m more of an earth-tones kind of guy. I’ve packed a bag with everyday comfortable clothes and made plans to leave Metropolis for parts unknown, with high hopes of finding someone who can love me for who I really am and not this comic strip character everyone has made me into.
I’m heading west out of Metropolis in hopes of capturing the serenity and love I experienced on the Kansas farm of my childhood; somewhere, someplace, with someone. I want to be able to cry for happy.
Let me go, let me be, pray for me – please.
With all my love,
I was in tears as I finished reading the article and looked over at him. He had fallen asleep as I read and began snoring softly as he fell into a deep slumber, and as I fell head over heel in love with this amazing creature. I cringed at the thought of what he saw in me, Philo Morgan. I was certainly no match for this fellow.
The ensuing years proved me wrong. David's devotion gave birth to a compassion, trust, and support I didn't think I was capable of. I turned out to be the perfect partner for this remarkable creature in that I was able to deflect the growing suspicions of the local residents that David Kent was not who he said he was. I stepped in whenever necessary and deflected their suspicions with an incredulous laugh and assurance he was no one special . . . just a hardworking construction worker – a lie I was more than happy to tout.
With the aid of the Internet, we were able to identify crises around the world which I encouraged David to attend and contribute to in ways only he could.
How many times, upon returning from one of these missions, he did, indeed, cry for happy in my arms out of gratitude for my support that he was able to fulfill himself as Superman while maintaining his personal anonymity in Boulder, Colorado – with me.
He must have recognized the touch of melancholy I felt each time he left me to do the work he was born to do. So, one beautiful afternoon as we worked in our garden, he stopped, stood erect, and smiled at me. I got up and brushed the dirt from my hands and waited. When he said nothing, I laughed, "What?"
He reached out and whispered, "Come fly with me."
I was so taken aback I protested, "But can I?"
He grinned, "You bet you can. Where would you like to go?"
I thought for a moment, then my face lit up, "The Moon. Take me to the Moon."
He began to laugh and yelled, "YES!"
And so, that evening, while the rest of the world slept, David and I flew to the Moon on one of the most wonderful adventures I could ever have imagined. When we returned and floated to earth in our backyard, he promised we would go anywhere I wanted. And we did.
On one of our trips, as we floated over the Pacific Ocean, David let go of my hand and I dropped like a rock in free fall. I yelled, "D A V I D."
And then I was in his arms, "I got ya." He grinned that grin of his and we both laughed. He continued holding me until we arrived at the Taj Mahal. It was twilight and the attraction had closed for the day to the public. We had the entire complex to ourselves. What an unforgettable and thrilling experience.
I still work at Safeway and go for my hot dog at The Lunch Wagon next to the Home Depot on a regular basis . . . accompanied by the most amazing man the rest of the world knows nothing about. Oh, they suspect something is going on but so far it remains speculative and will remain so if I have anything to do with it.
With Love, Philo and David
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Many thanks to Khris Lawrentz(aka) Gerry Young for his tireless proofreading.