|by Samuel Hawkins|
The Respected Anchorman almost didnít believe his assistant when she told him that a Mr. Superboy wanted to see him. His excitement at the possibility, however, far outweighed his disbelief. The excitement did cause his greeting to the youngster as he shook hands with him to come out at an inordinately high pitch, but he quickly managed a return to the baritone that Americans found so reassuring. "Itís a pleasure to meet you, young man. Youíre quite the news these days."
Superboy nodded as he returned the handshake. "Unfortunately."
"Iím not entirely accustomed to the news showing up on my doorstep. I usually have to go out and dig for it," the Respected Anchorman exaggerated. "Iím hoping that thereís something I can do for you."
"Yes. There certainly is."
They were on the air in five minutes. The Respected Anchorman kept his introduction surpassingly brief, and surprisingly reassuring. Then it was time for the young man to speak. His words, though not among the most eloquent in history, would certainly go down as being among the most important. And the most genuine.
"Hello," he said, with obvious anxiety. "I canít tell you my real name, but the news folks have taken to calling me Superboy. I guess I answer to that now." Then he paused, uncertain of how to proceed.
The anchorman helped him out. "Superboy, was there was something you wished to tell the world?"
"Yes. I want to tell the world that Ö well, that I hope that no one sees me as a threat. Iím not going to hurt anybody. Iím not going to overthrow any governments. I just want to help people. All these powers I have, these things I can do, I know theyíre pretty Ö incredible. They ... scare me too, sometimes." He half-smiled. "But the only thing I want to use them for is to save lives and protect innocent people."
He took a deep breath, then continued. "And as for politics Ö well, you see, Iím Ö pretty smart. Thatís one of my powers. My brain works very fast, and I remember everything I see. That has enabled me to read a lot of books and everything Ö but Ö I realize that I donít have the wisdom to make decisions about the way people should be living their lives. Iím Ö only a kid."
He stopped, unsure of what to add. The Respected Anchorman prodded him again. "Superboy, what are your feelings regarding the current political and military tension between this country and the Soviet Union, in that your presence has been cited as the major reason behind the current escalation?"
"My feelings are that itís a major mistake," Superboy blurted, "if the only reason itís happening is me." He took another deep breath, and decided to lay his cards on the table. "Look, Iím an American, and Iím always going to be an American. But that doesnít mean that I want to make everyone else an American, or become an American soldier. I know the world is much too complex a place for that. I mean, the real reason Iím an American is because this is where I landed when I came here. See, I was sent here when I was just a baby ... from a planet ... called Krypton. Krypton ... exploded. It was destroyed. Everyone was destroyed. Except me. My father built a rocket and sent me here so that I could live." It was then that the first tear began to trickle down his cheek.
"I ... I just couldnít stand it if anything like that happened here. I mean, I could probably stop most of the missiles, but I might not be able to stop them all. You just canít ... do that to yourselves... not for any reason. But please, especially, not because of me. I just want to help." He stopped talking, so as not to break down. The Anchorman gave him a moment, then gently asked, "Was there anything else you wished to add, Superboy?"
Superboy quickly regained his composure. "Only this. I just want to let the world know, that if it doesnít want me to do this, this ... Superboy thing ... Iíll go away. Iíll take off this costume and youíll never see me again. I don't want to do that, but if you folks think I should, well, I ... defer to your judgment." He stood. "Right now, Iím just going to go on home. Iíll ... be keeping my ears open. Iíll listen to hear what people think about me. And if ..." he paused, and the look of pain and concern on the face of the boy was so real at that moment, that no one could miss it, "you decide that I shouldnít be doing this ... then ... well, everyone take care."
Then he was gone. And the world couldnít help but notice how quickly.