George walked into his local wearing his Superman outfit, the ‘S’ undulating over his man-boobs and beer-gut, and ordered a pint of his favourite brew.
“Fancy dress party?” asked the barman, who was new to the job.
“Na,” replied George. “Just saved a lass from drowning in the lake and blew out a fire at a warehouse all on me own. Got a fight with some aliens who’ve come down to destroy the earth in a bit.”
“Normal day, then?,” said the bar-man.
“Yep,” said George, bringing his glass to his lips.
On returning to the pub from his battle with those bastards from Krypton, all scorched, battered and bruised, yet ultimately victorious, George ordered another pint of Kronenbourg.
“Gasping for one, to be honest,” he told the bar man, who he knew better than the one before.
“Tough one, this time?”
“What do you fucking think?” said George knackered, turning and retiring to a seat.
Typically, as soon as George had sat down, the next bloke, another lonesome drinker, piped up.
“If you’re Superman, how come you’re so fucking fat?”
“One, look at yourself,” Superman replied. “Two, I have special powers meaning I can do what the fuck I want.”
“You should set a fucking example,” the other guy said, pointing.
“Look, you cunt,” said George. “I’m gonna let this one go. But if you ever mess with me again, I’ll turn you to crisp just by looking at you.”
The bloke went to the bar for another pint. He told the bar man: “That Superman bastard should be locked up, why don’t you throw him out?”’
“Throw Superman out?” he grimaced. “We need him around here.”
The bloke downed his beer in barely three gulps and sidled up to George drunkenly to apologise. Superman accepted, patting the guy on the head as it fell in his lap.
“But whatcha gonna do next Sluperman?” the barfly said.
“Take my revenge out on some of the unappreciative cunts out there, that’s what,” he said “I’ve been on crap money for ages, while watching those banker fuckers allowed millions. Everyone else just stands and takes the crap. Not me,” George said, draining his pint.
“Be assured they are next”, said George.
And so he went into the night, as his fellow locals watched, aghast.
He got back three hours later, looking all punched up, not wanting to talk, his cape flapping because someone had left the door open again.
“Bankers?” they asked.
He waived his interlocutors away with disdain. “No, not this time. I’ll get to them later. Just some hooligans beating up a granny outside the post office. After her pension, the bastards. They didn’t get it, needless to say.”
George got a chorus of approval.
“Will you get me a pint?” He asked the man next to him. “You’ll be first on my list for a favour next time, if you do.”
“Consider it a pleasure,” the guy said.
“But forgive me for asking,” he went on, “Why does Superman need a handout from the likes of me?”
“Cash-flow mate. Spend too much time in the air and fighting wrong ‘uns to chase up my payments. It’ll all come good, though. Cheers.”
“Down the hatch, Superman,” the bloke said.
“Indeed,” replied George, his Adam’s apple bouncing up and down.
In the pub, they didn’t know what else to say to George, though they nattered endlessly about him. Those calling him a “wanker” were quickly shot down. “What have you ever fucking done?” was a common retort to the doubts expressed. “You can’t even hold down a job for fifteen minutes, ya cunt,” was another.
Eventually, a drunken brawl broke out outside the pub. There were glassings and broken noses. Ambulances and police cars galore.
“Shouldn’t you be putting a stop to all this?” a punter said, rushing over to Superman in panic.
“Don’t you think I have done enough for one night, for fuck’s sake?”replied George, staggering to the bar.
Colin Graham is a Birmingham-born writer/journalist who has spent a large slice of his life living in Eastern Europe, with stints in Russia, Poland and Serbia. He has had short stories published in Thrillers, Killers & Chillers, A Twist of Noir and Radgepacket 5. His non-fiction has been published in The Guardian, The Independent-on-Sunday and History Today, among a number of other journals.