Superman v. Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar named Justice

Superman vs Tenn Williams

So here we are, Mister Superman, just you and I, face to face on the crumbling veranda of my ancestral home.  It’s very kind of you to respond so promptly to my threats to kill you. It speaks well of your character.

Care for a bourbon?  This will be my ninth.  You have some catching up to do.

You must be pondering why I, Tennessee Williams, noted American playwright, would call you out, why the Man of Steel would be challenged by some shell of a man.  You face beings of incredible power, while I cannot even face myself.  You fight with bare hands, beating evildoers into submission.  I fight with cheap bourbon, stale cigarettes and sultry prose, yet I barely keep my demons at bay. You gaze though bricks and mortar without a thought.  I shudder at each fleeting glimpse into my own tattered soul.

You and so many other heroes of your ilk believe yourselves to be dark and brooding, indulging in your status as outsiders of society.  To me your darkness is but the comforting shade of an oak tree in July.  If I could laugh, I would.

I’m sure you wept for your long lost parents, who sent you far away that you might live a better life. What I would have given to have been raised in exile.  My parents too were lost long ago, to their own self-delusion, the living dead, walking the Earth.

Your dead father left you a hollow-gram of himself, a loving vision of what he once was to guide you into manhood.  My father was a hollow-man, hollowed out by shattered dreams and the vision of what he would never be. My legacy was delusion, oppressive debt and a taste for strong liquor.

My mother was disgusted that I found no attraction to the fairer sex, so she grew vengeful and destroyed Skipper, my only lover.  Her relentless barrage of shame him into taking his own life. He did her dirty work for her.

My adopted parents were poetry and the movies. A pale substitute for a loving Kansas foster family, wouldn’t you say?

So I exiled myself from all familial ties, my only act of self-preservation, and abandoned my sweet sister to a life of insanity surrounded by her glass menagerie.

But I digress…

I called you out, Mr. Superman to see if you could do what no one, myself included, cannot – to end me.  My mother tried, but only turned my dreams to slag.  My father tried, but he only turned hope into a noose.

I challenged you, insulted you, threatened your life, and called you, the most powerful being on this planet, a weakling, hoping to spark your righteous indignation.

So I beg you, Mister so-called Super-man, end me now.  Here I am, kneeling before you, helpless.  I will even put out my cigarette.  Burn me with your laser eyes like a cat on a hot tin roof – can you sear a heart burnt to the ground with self-loathing?  Beat me to a bloody pulp – if can you destroy that which has already destroyed itself.  Strike me down and ride off proudly on that streetcar named Justice, crimson cape fluttering in the breeze proclaiming, knowing you have rid the world of me, its dark reflection.

You must either destroy me, or admit defeat, like I have admitted every time I have tried to remove myself from this planet.  Admit that even you cannot kill that which is already dead inside.

Why do you falter?  Have you been infected by my powers of introspection?  Do you see how feeble your own attempts at brooding have been, and how pale your moodiness is compare to my own?  Your x-ray vision has turned inward, and you see how pitiful your attempts to be dark and brooding have been. My powers of sweet self-loathing have infected every cell of your being, and made you as week as a kitten.

The puffs of steam under your eyes betray you, Man of Steel – your heat vision cannot evaporate your tears before I see them. I have inspired your own self-reflection, and you found yourself wanting.  And for that I am truly sorry – my powers have overcome even you.

Self-pity has defeated you, as my own cowardice has so often defeated me.  Do not cry for me – the tears I would weep for myself dried up long ago.

Please sir, if I may ask one more courtesy, extend your hand to me in defeat, and help me to my feet.  Time and drink have left my knees unsteady.

Thank you for your assistance. I have always depended on the kindness of Kryptonians.