End of Summer

The Legion of Screwed-Up People

By Chaim Mattis Keller

Today, on Jerry Springer: "You're always ignoring me for someone who's not even there for you!"

Jerry Springer: They're new, young heroes who have come from far away! Today you'll meet three couples from the Legion of Super-Heroes whose romantic lives, since coming to Earth, have been a real mess!

On his home world, he's a world-class sports star due to his magnetic powers…and personality! Let's have a warm hand for…Cosmic Boy!

(Mild audience applause, a few hoots from women)

Cosmic Boy: Thanks, Jerry.
Jerry Springer: Now, please tell me about your team. You've been stranded millions of miles from your families, I understand?
Cosmic Boy: Ummm…yeah, that's right. Millions of miles. From our families, friends and the rest of our team.
Jerry Springer: That's right, there are other Legionnaires somewhere out there. How badly do you miss them?
Cosmic Boy: Very badly. Obviously, some more badly than others.
(Gasp from audience)
Jerry Springer: What do you mean by that, Cosmic Boy?
Cosmic Boy: Oh, nothing.
Jerry Springer: (to audience) Well maybe Cosmic Boy means nothing by it, but I'll bet I can tell you who knows the meaning of that statement. Allow me to introduce Cosmic Boy's former fiancee…she's beautiful, she's bodacious, and her brain can bend barbells. Here's…Saturn Girl!
Jerry Springer: Now, Ms. Saturn Girl, is it not true that you were engaged to marry Cosmic Boy here?
Saturn Girl: Well, yes, but it wasn't really him…
Jerry Springer: Oh? Then who was it?
Saturn Girl: Well, it was me, sort of. His mind was comatose, and I wanted so much for him to be okay that I kind of animated his body mentally.
Jerry Springer: Really! (to audience) Hey, everybody, isn't that true love?
(Audience roars approval.)
Jerry Springer: So you loved Cosmic Boy so much that you poured your soul into him, and you got engaged.
Saturn Girl (regretfully): But he never agreed to be engaged to me. I was kind of manipulating him like a lifeless puppet.
(Audience boos.)
Jerry Springer (to Cosmic Boy): And how did you feel about that?
Cosmic Boy: Actually, it wasn't so bad. I mean, I was engaged to her, wasn't I?
Saturn Girl (to Cosmic Boy): You wanted that?
Cosmic Boy: Well, you're not exactly a Gil'Dan worm, you know! I mean, I offered my sanity in order to help you defeat Doctor Psycho!
Saturn Girl: You did that for the sake of the team! You're the team leader!
(Cosmic Boy stands up, angrily)
Cosmic Boy: Well, of course I am, but you never saw me offer to merge my mind with Gates, did you?
(Saturn Girl starts crying)
Jerry Springer: Cosmic Boy, please tell me about how your engagement ended.
Cosmic Boy: Well, we're right there outside Legion headquarters, about to recite our wedding vows, when suddenly she decides she's stuck on Live Wire, a self-centered jerk who can't possibly be there for her the way I can!
Jerry Springer: Saturn Girl, is this true?
Saturn Girl (angrily): Garth is not a jerk! He can't help it of we're stuck one thousand…
Cosmic Boy (interrupts): Millions of miles! Millions of miles!
Jerry Springer: Cosmic Boy, are you defending your absent rival for Saturn Girl's affections?
Saturn Girl (continuing, despite interruptions): …away from us. And he's not self-centered!
Jerry Springer: So, Saturn Girl, it's really Live Wire you're in love with?
Saturn Girl: Yes! He's really kind and considerate! Not at all like what he (pointing at Cosmic Boy) says!
Jerry Springer: And Cosmic Boy isn't?
Saturn Girl: I never said that!
Cosmic Boy: Oh, yeah? Than why wouldn't you marry me?
Saturn Girl: It wouldn't have been right! (starts crying)
Jerry Springer: Audience, what do you think? Is she right for throwing over this caring, considerate man, willing to be her telepathic puppet, for a hot-tempered jerk who couldn't bother to be marooned with her?
(Audience boos at Saturn Girl)
Saturn Girl: But…but…

Jerry Springer (interrupts): This is hardly the only mixed-up romance amongst these heroes. Our next Legion couple begins with someone who's not a Legionnaire at all, but rather, their police liaison. Ladies and Gentlemen, Officer Shvaughn Erin!

Shvaughn, tell us your problem. Your man is, apparently, stuck on his dead girlfriend.
Shvaughn Erin: Stuck, nothing. Now he's even gone and married her. Is that sick, or what?
(Audience applauds this statement)
Jerry Springer: Please, Officer Erin, start from the beginning.
Shvaughn Erin: Well, there's this one Legion guy who I like. He had a girlfriend, but she died. So I try to sympathize. I spend a lot of time with him, showing him that I share his interests, working on his car, stuff like that…
Jerry Springer: Yes…
Shvaughn Erin: But he doesn't notice me at all! He's stuck on the dead one!
Jerry Springer: Now, aren't there some complications on that issue?
Shvaughn Erin: None that should matter.

Jerry Springer (to audience): Now that you've heard about him, let's meet the man of Officer Erin's dreams. Please join us, Ultra Boy!

(Ultra Boy walks onto the stage to wild hoots from the female members of the audience, with Apparition wafting along behind him.)
"Apparition" by Tracy Paddock

Jerry Springer: Welcome, Ultra Boy, Apparition. (Shvaughn Erin seethes at acknowledgment of Apparition.)
Ultra Boy: Glad to be here.
Jerry Springer: Ultra Boy, I'm told that your relationship with Apparition is a somewhat unusual one.
Ultra Boy: You might say that, wouldn't you, honey?
Apparition (smiling): Yes, dear.
Jerry Springer (to Apparition): Can you speak a little louder, Apparition? My sound techs say they aren't picking you up.
Apparition (into microphone): I said, 'Yes, Dear.'
(Jerry Springer looks off-stage, then motions for the audience to wait. In the mean time, Ultra Boy and Apparition are looking lovingly at one another, completely oblivious to the daggers in Shvaughn Erin's stare. To their left, Cosmic Boy is pointedly staring away from SG, who is crying.)

(Jerry Springer returns)
Jerry Springer: Ultra Boy, my video and audio technicians are unable to register Apparition's presence. Could you please tell us all what's unusual about her?
Ultra Boy: She's dead, Jerry.
(Audience gasps)
Jerry Springer: So what we're seeing is a ghost?
Ultra Boy: I suppose so. You see, her body was destroyed in our fight against the White Triangle, but somehow her spirit attached to me out of our love for one another, and she's managed to survive that way.
Jerry Springer: And now you consider her your girlfriend even though she's dead.
Ultra Boy: She's still with me, in spirit.
Jerry Springer: And you married her.
Ultra Boy: Our love has survived this whole death thing.
Jerry Springer (to audience): Now, isn't that something, audience?
(audience claps halfheartedly)
Jerry Springer: Tell me, Ultra Boy, don't you miss having a real girl around? Someone you can touch?
Ultra Boy: Well, of course I miss being able to touch Tinya here…
Jerry Springer: Yes, that's very nice, but have you ever considered looking into something more practical than a ghost?
Ultra Boy (taken aback): I don't want anyone other than Tinya!
(Apparition smiles. Shvaughn seethes.)
Jerry Springer: What if I told you that there was a girl in this very studio who'd love to be your girlfriend?
Ultra Boy: I'm a married man!
Shvaughn Erin (losing it): You are not a married man, for crying out loud! You're a widower! Get the picture! Buy a clue! She's DEAD, Jo!
Ultra Boy (shocked): Shvaughn, what…?
Shvaughn Erin: What, did you think I spent all that time with you in the garage because I wanted to fix vehicles and get greasy? You're too big a hunk to waste on a ghost…!
Apparition (very upset): Hey, I resent that, you sneaking little hussy!
Shvaughn Erin: Shut up, ghost girl! How transparent do I have to be? Oh, yeah, you're kind of bent on your transparent woman, aren't you? Well, I'll show you just how transparent I can be…(starts stripping)
Apparition: Don't you dare seduce my husband, you red-headed whore!
Shvaughn Erin (ignoring her): Just tell me when I'm good enough, Jo…
(Jerry Springer summons Steve, the cop, to stop her striptease)
Apparition: On your best day, you wouldn't be good enough. He's my man, got it?
Shvaughn Erin (teeth clenched): You don't deserve him…

(Shvaughn Erin starts punching Apparition, but Apparition, of course, is intangible and she is unable to land a blow. Apparition smirks at the futility.)

Jerry Springer (aside, to crew): Awesome! Are we getting this?
Crew member: It just looks like the redhead is yelling at and swinging at empty air.
Jerry Springer: Then maybe we'd better move onto the next segment, before we make fools of ourselves.

(Jerry Springer signals Steve to restrain Shvaughn Erin)

Jerry Springer: Well, folks, it's time to meet our third and last Legion couple, in which one of the two is being ignored for the sake of someone who's not around. This lovely lady isn't a Legionnaire…yet. She's from around here, began her career in Metropolis before moving to the tiny town of Leesburg. She's the Maid of Might…Supergirl!
(Cheers and hoots from crowd)
Supergirl: Thanks, Jerry.
Jerry Springer: Now, Supergirl, I understand that you fell for one of these far-from-home heroes yourself.
"Andromeda" by Tracy Paddock

Supergirl: That's right. But he ignores me because of a crush he has on a girl he likes back there, named Andromeda.
Jerry Springer: And, wonderful though you are, why should he drop Andromeda for you, Supergirl?
Supergirl: I'm here for him! I'm just as big! I'm just as blond! I even like his monkey! And anyway, neither of them ever told the other that they're in love. Why can't he pick me?
Jerry Springer: Well, that's a question we'll get to ask…Brainiac 5!
(Crowd silently gawks at Brainiac 5's green skin, a few awww about the cuteness of Koko the monkey)
Brainiac 5: What's going on here? I thought this was a symposium for theoretical relativity physicists.
Jerry Springer: Not exactly, but we're here to examine your relationships. What do you think of Supergirl over here?
Brainiac 5: I don't understand how my answering your question is supposed to help get my team home. Cosmic Boy, what am I doing here?
Cosmic Boy: Gee, Brainy, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar location, maybe your body was used as a puppet by someone!
Jerry Springer: Brainiac, you agreed to come here, remember? Now please tell us about your relationship with Supergirl.
Brainiac 5: I don't have time for this. (walks away)
Supergirl (making goo-goo eyes): Brainy, pleeeeease stay here with me?
Brainiac 5: Homina homina homina…
Jerry Springer: Now, that's interesting. Supergirl, I thought you said he wasn't interested in you.
Supergirl: He's interested in anything big, blond and busty. But he's really just looking for a mother substitute.
Brainiac 5: I'll thank you to not air my Oedipus complex in public! Need I remind you of the fact that you rejected me…after I saved you from that crazy magic attack?
(Audience expresses disapproval at Supergirl, with one exception.)
Audience Member: You go girl! You can do better than green anyway!

Supergirl : Hey, what's with the booing? I thought Spark said this was gonna be fun!
Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl: SPARK!
Jerry Springer: Well, now that we understand what…heh heh…brought us all together today, I'd like to being in an expert on gender relations to help you with your relationship problems. Everyone, let's welcome Dr. John Gray, author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"!

(Applause for Dr. Gray)
Jerry Springer: Doctor Gray, thanks for appearing on our program. Please tell us…
Brainiac 5: Doctor Gray, your book makes no sense. Everyone knows that both the Martian and Venusian colonies are populated by members of both genders.
Dr. Gray: Come again?
Cosmic Boy: Brainy! Ixnay on the uturefay owledgeknay!
Saturn Girl: Also, Doctor Gray, I'm quite insulted that you're too Earth-centric to consider that some of the planets that are farther away are important as well. The Saturnian-Titanian community is one of the most vital in the Solar System…
Dr. Gray (turning to her): Say what?
Brainiac 5: Surely you don't mean to imply that convergent asexual evolution produced a pair of biologically compatible species which eventually became the Earthling human race, do you? That theory was discredited back in…
Dr. Gray (getting up and walking out): Forget it! Jerry, I knew I didn't want to deal with super-heroes again after that "Batman's girlfriends" catfight. I must have been crazy to let you talk me into sitting in on this one.

Jerry Springer: Well, folks, We've come to the end of our show, and it's time for my "Final Thought." We've learned something important here today, haven't we? Too many people refuse to let go of what they could no longer hold on to. Trying to travel back to the past just isn't possible. The support of those in the present who love you can help. If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. See you next time!

Letters Editor Chaim Mattis Keller, aka Legion-Reference-File Lad, is a computer programmer who lives in New York City with his wife and four children.

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