Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 

Seinfeld: The Power

by Michael Rees

With increasing frustration Jerry punched the buttons on his remote control. The screen continued to display the large dancing purple dinosaur.

" Barney loves you!" it announced.

" Then get off my television," Jerry yelled.

There was a knock on the apartment door, followed by a familiar voice.

" Jerry, you've got to let us in."

" George." Jerry stood up, staring angrily at the television and started to walk towards the door.

" Oh let me," came Elaine's voice from behind the door, " we'll be out here forever otherwise."

There was a creaking sound as the door was pushed off its hinges and fell flat on the ground, narrowly missing Jerry. Elaine stood in the doorframe wearing her smart blue dress, her bag slung over her shoulder. The door handle was clenched in her hand, the metal crushed. George stood behind her in his raincoat.

" My door!" Jerry exclaimed indicating the cracked piece of wood on the floor," you killed it."

" Would it help if I said sorry?" Elaine dropped the twisted strip of metal that had once been the door handle.

" What did you have to tell me that was so important? Did you just win a spinach eating competition or what?" Jerry was shocked by the display of strength.

" Better Jerry," George said striding into the room, his raincoat flying open to reveal his crumb covered white shirt, " Cosmic energies baby."

" Cosmic energies?" Jerry leaned against his breakfast counter as Elaine also entered, carefully avoiding the fallen door.

" Cosmic energies," George pointed wildly at Elaine," our little Lainey is infused with Cosmic energies. We were at STAR labs and 'boom', a ray of Cosmic energy hits her."

" Which was really embarrassing, because I was talking to a really cute scientist at the time," Elaine was trying to brush down strands of her brown hair which were continually floating upwards.

" Oh that's right, your boss wanted you to see if there would be a market to create mail order clothes just for scientists," Jerry remembered how annoyed Elaine had been at the prospect, " but what were you doing there George?"

George immediately looked very guilty. " What? I can't have a scientific interest?"

" They had a free buffet," Elaine suddenly noticed something sticking out of George's shirt pocket," is that a sandwich? When did you get that? Did you get that when the ray hit me?"

" I was hungry," George protested, before turning to face Jerry. " So we're there when they're giving this big press conference about their new doohicky or some such."

" The doohicky, always a big demand for those," interrupted Jerry.

" But something goes wrong and alarm bells start to ring. Next thing I know this yellow light is making Elaine dance about like she's had three glasses of Tequila," George nodded smugly to himself " I knew right then I was in someone's origin story."

" Oh please, it wasn't my origin story," Elaine rolled her eyes " so I've got super powers, that doesn't make it my origin story."

" Of course it does," Jerry said, agreeing with George. " You got one of the good origin stories. You didn't need your home world to be blown up or have your whole family killed. No, you just needed blind stupid luck."

" Well that I've got in spades," Elaine attempted to sit on the arm of the sofa but quickly leapt up when she heard it creak in protest. " The STAR labs people gave me a check over and said that I'd definitely gained super powers."

" What can you do?" Jerry studied Elaine for any noticeable changes apart from her frizzy hair " should we be worried about you knowing what we're thinking?"

" I am not entirely sure. I didn't get any kind of pamphlet but so far as I can tell I am strong and can't be hurt. I found that out when George knocked me into the path of a taxi." Elaine said scowling at George who was tucking into the recently discovered sandwich.

" It wasn't my fault," George explained " I was just trying to catch its attention. I was so busy waving my hands about I didn't notice that Elaine was standing right next to me."

" You can't fly? Seems to me if you get super powers you should be able to fly." Seinfeld circled Elaine, " try jumping up and down a bit. Or just try jumping up and hovering."

Crossing her arms she stepped away from Jerry. " No Jerry, I can't fly. I wouldn't want to anyway. Who needs perfect strangers staring up your skirt when you pass overhead? Not all of us are in love with Superman."

Jerry looked over at the Superman fridge magnet smiling back at him. " I am not in love with him. It's just, if you're going to like a particular super hero, you might as well go for the top hero. It's in the name. SUPER man."

" Not very original, " George scratched his nose " kind of like the Green Lantern. No imagination. Where is the flair, the imagination? Now the Flash, that's clever."

" But open to interpretation. It could mean he has the super power to expose himself. I think they throw you out of the Justice League for something like that," Jerry tapped his finger on the magnet " you get what his name says with this guy."

" How is it that you didn't know all about the explosion at STAR labs? I was interviewed by every major television station in the country." Elaine brushed at her hair as it levitated upwards. " Why couldn't the accident give me a perfect appearance? Why did they have to film me looking like this?"

Seinfeld sighed and gestured weakly at the television, annoying tinny music emanated from the speakers " something wrong with the television. Its stuck on that channel that shows children programs all the time. It's been driving me crazy and the repair man won't be able to come until tomorrow."

" You could always turn the television off," suggested Elaine.

" But I want to watch it. If I turn it off the television's won." Jerry placed his hands on his hips. " I can't allow that."

Elaine noticed a magazine on the floor by the sofa. It was adorned with pictures of Parasite, Doomsday, the Riddler and other masked criminals. She picked it up with a look of revulsion on her face.

" Jerry, is this yours?" Elaine handed the magazine to Jerry, " if it is, I think we need to re-evaluate our friendship."

Flicking through the pages Jerry was aghast. " Super Villain Monthly! This isn't mine."

" Isn't that the underground magazine glorifying criminals? I've never seen one but I've heard only villains get it." George stepped away from Seinfeld, " you're not the Joker, are you Jerry?"

Angry, Seinfeld waved the magazine in the air " I am telling you this isn't mine. I don't know how it go here."

Across the hallway Cosmo Kramer came sliding out of his apartment. He reached for the door handle that wasn't there and continued to skid right into Jerry's apartment, his gangly limbs flaying. Unable to stop himself, his foot hit the door lying on the floor and he flipped into the air.

" I've got him," Elaine thrust out her two arms and caught Kramer, unfazed by his weight.

" Whoah! This is new." Kramer looked around the apartment as Elaine continued to hold him, his eyes finally falling on the magazine. " You got my Super Villain Monthly."

" What were you thinking, leaving something like that around here, Kramer? What's next? I come home and find bound and gagged hostages?" Jerry shook his head in disbelief as Kramer snatched his magazine from Jerry's hand.

" You worry too much Jerry. This is my ticket to easy street. Newman and I have all the details worked out." Kramer tapped the magazine with his finger.

" Newman," Jerry spat out the name of his arch-nemesis, " I knew he'd be involved in this."

" How will that make you rich?" George asked.

" This will give us all the information we need to get into the heads of super villains. When we can think like them we can hire ourselves out to superheroes to allow them to be one step ahead of their enemies." Kramer lay on his back " You've got really comfy arms, by the way, Elaine."

" Consultants to superheroes?" George nodded his head as he mulled over the concept. " That's not a bad idea. Not every hero is going to have the brains of someone like Batman. They'd need some help."

" I am sure the hero community is just crying out for the help of Kramer and Newman," Elaine said sarcastically.

A sharp ringing sound coming from Elaine's bag caught everyone by surprise. After a second Elaine dropped Kramer, causing him to hit the ground with a thud. The men watched as she went to the corner of the room with her mobile phone and engaged in a brief conversation. When she was finished she looked very surprised.

" That was the Justice League." Elaine blinked, unable to believe what had just happened " they saw me on the news and want to offer me a position with them."

" Why?" George said and cringed slightly as Elaine shot him an angry look. " Not that you won't make a wonderful addition to the team, but you haven't actually done anything yet. You haven't even rescued a cat from a tree."

" Women. The JLA want women," Jerry clicked his fingers " at the moment Wonder Woman is their only female member. If they don't want to appear sexist they have to get another woman."

" I am sure that's not true," Elaine shook her head in disagreement although she found Jerry's argument very persuasive. " We can ask them when we get there."

" We? Did you say we?" George became very excited and started to walk around the apartment. " Do you mean we're going to the moon?"

" You'll be just like Alice from the Honeymooners," Kramer said, picking himself up.

Elaine nodded " I said I wasn't sure about going to the base on my own, so they said I could bring some friends with me."

Kramer jerked his head back " I can show them my idea."

" Oh no you don't," Elaine snapped, " You're not going to embarrass me. Leave that magazine here and let's go. They said they'd teleport us from outside the apartment."

" I am finally going to meet Superman. Who would have thought?" Jerry started to walk towards the door.

" Are you going to tell him that joke you made up about what he does when he's flying and has to use the bathroom?" George asked, following Jerry out the door.

" I don't think so. I place a high value on my physical health." Jerry scratched his chin, " remember when Clark Kent from the Daily Planet came to see my show? He didn't seem very impressed with that one. If a friend of Superman didn't like it, I doubt the man himself would."

Kramer dropped the magazine on Jerry's sofa and followed the others out, pulling on Jerry's spare jacket. The room was quiet except for the lonesome song of a purple dinosaur.

The Justice League assembled as their four visitors stepped out of the teleportation tubes. They were met by Superman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, Flash and Plastic Man. Superman stepped forward, shaking Elaine's hand while Jerry stared, dumbstruck.

" Welcome to the Watch Tower Elaine Benze, its good to meet you." Superman was sure that the diminutive woman was bruising his hand with the amount of force she was applying to her handshake.

Green Lantern leaned over to Flash and whispered, " I am not sure about having all these people on board. What if one of them sabotages the base? Remember what happened with Prometheus?"

Flash chuckled as he watched George furiously trying to dislodge the crumbs from his shirt. " I don't think anyone in this group is going to cause us any problems."

The two groups headed to a room containing a large table, covered in drinks and light snacks. A huge window at one side of the room showed a breathtaking view of the moon, the grey and crater filled landscape curved away into the blackness of space. High above them the Earth slowly turned. The Martian Manhunter was waiting for them, nibbling on Oreo cookies. Soon everyone was mingling, with varying levels of success.

Plastic Man stalked over to Kramer and looked him up and down. After a moment of consideration he stretched himself to meet Kramer's height. Not to be outdone Kramer stood on the tips of his toes.

" You're not another stretcher are you?" Plastic Man said, looking at the stranger suspiciously.

" No, Cosmo Kramer is all natural. Elaine is the one with superpowers." Kramer stepped closer to Plastic Man. " Hey, would you be interested in hiring two consultants?

Elaine shook Martian Manhunter's hand, taking in the sharp contrast in their skin colour. This was her first up close contact with an alien and she wasn't quite sure what to say or do. In the end she decided to go with humour.

" So is it true what they say about Martian men?" She laughed self-consciously and then hid her face in her hands, instantly regretting what she had said.

After a long silence, J'Onn intoned " yes."

" Ohhh," Elaine batted her eyelids, " so is there a Mrs Martian Manhunter?"

Meanwhile Jerry had been following Superman around, still unable to break his dumbfound silence. On the inside he was reviewing a hundred opening lines but dismissed all of them. Being a minor celebrity he met more than his fair share of oddballs and he was desperate not to copy their stalker-like behaviour.

What was even more depressing was that Jerry could see that George and Wonder Woman were deep in conversation. Wonder Woman's laughter rang out through the room. George seemed bewildered by this rapport, but was taking full advantage of it.

Superman turned round suddenly and almost walked straight into Jerry. He studied the comedian's face and he narrowed his eyes. For a moment Seinfeld thought he was about to experience the Kryptonian's heat vision first hand.

" You're the stand up comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Clark Kent told me he saw your act," The Man of Steel folded his arms " is there something I can help you with?"

" Yes, I was just wondering," Jerry searched his mind quickly for a question to ask, " do you make your suits yourself or buy them from a retailer?"

" Someone makes them for me," Superman said, coldly.

" So no chance of getting one for myself," Jerry said, downheartedly.

" No," Superman strode away to talk with J'Onn.

Seinfeld couldn't believe it. He finally met his idol and he obviously hated him. He was so caught up in his own despair that he didn't notice Kramer had been standing nearby, listening to the whole exchange. Determined to cheer his friend up Kramer slipped away from the group.

A siren interrupted the conversations. The assembled super heroes quickly put down their drinks and food. The Flash dashed out of the room in a blur of red, moving in the direction of the Monitor Womb.

A split second later the Flash was back. " There is a swarm of giant locusts sweeping across Kansas. If we don't act quickly, the bread basket is going to be decidedly empty."

" Giant bugs? This can only be the work of the Penguin," Jerry commented.

The Green Lantern and Plastic Man burst into laughter. Jerry was pleased at the response until he saw that Superman was clenching his fists.

" This is no laughing matter. People's lives are at risk. Miss Benze would you care to join us. I am sure your abilities would be of great help," Superman said, turning his attention to Elaine.

Elaine pulled a face, " I don't know. I am not sure how to handle giant insects. Anyway, I am hardly dressed for it."

Wonder Woman smiled, kindly " That's alright, I think I have something you could wear. Follow me," Diana paused for a moment and turned to George, " I'll call you later."

" Sure, that's great." George was turning red, " I'll just wait for Wonder Woman to call me. Did you hear that Jerry? I am waiting for Wonder Woman to call me."

Wonder Woman led Elaine out of the meeting room. As they went they passed Kramer who was now carrying his coat in a bundle. He stared bewildered at Elaine, as she mouthed the words 'help' to him.

" I think it would be best if you returned to New York," J'Onn ushered Jerry, George and Kramer towards the teleportation tubes.

" Okay," Jerry craned his neck toward the direction the two women had gone. " Good luck Elaine! We'll see you later"

Entering the tubes they waited for the Martian Manhunter to activate the controls. George noticed a slight buzzing by his ear and turned to see a small fly swooping around the inside of the tube. He batted at it with his hands and started to hyperventilate.

Banging on the tube with his fists, George tried to attract the aliens attention. " Hey, there's a fly in here. Don't teleport me. I've seen the movie. I don't want multifaceted eyes. None of my glasses will fit."

" But think of all the money you'd save on airplane tickets," Kramer said, pressing his face against the tube glass, " we could set up our own delivery service."

This did little to calm George down. " Jerry, Jerry! Don't let them turn me into a fly man. My mother won't let me in the house ever again. She'll beat me with a rolled up newspaper."

" There is no need to concern yourself," J'Onn was rather taken aback by George's hysteria, " your genetic pattern will not merge."

" But.." George wasn't able to complete his sentence as J'Onn activated the teleporter controls.

In moments the three humans vanished in a burst of yellow light. The Martian sighed as he realised it would not matter how many years he spent on Earth, there would always be people who exasperated him. To his horror he found himself feeling nostalgic for the days of the Justice League International.

The next day Jerry and George were arguing in their local restaurant.

" For the last time George, you're not using my apartment," Jerry sat back in his seat, hoping his point had been made.

" Please Jerry, I can't bring her back to my place. She can't meet my parents," George pleaded.

" Wonder Woman asked you for a date, frankly I wouldn't push your luck by asking for another impossible thing to happen," Jerry watched as George began to sob. " Are you crying? I can't believe you're crying."

" I can't help it. I'm just imagining what's going to happen. My mother will complain about Wonder Woman's revealing costume. My father will try and show her his feet," George held his head in his hands. " He's convinced a superhero could stop his feet from aching. It's going to be horrible."

" Okay, you can use the apartment," Jerry pushed his door key into George's hand, " but you should be aware that the television is still broken. KORBA have kidnapped all the technicians in New York to work on a cybernetic army. The repair company said they should be able to get someone over next week."

A commotion from outside the restaurant caught everyone's attention. Jerry and George looked out of the window and saw cameras flashing. A wave of journalists pushed forward, shouting questions. The door of the restaurant swung open and Elaine rushed in, wearing a red business suit. She looked worn out.

" Hey guys," Elaine slumped into the seat next to George, " I thought I'd never get here."

" We saw you on the news at my house, Elaine." George was having trouble keeping a straight face, " nice costume."

Elaine smacked George's arm throwing him against the wall, " it wasn't my costume. Wonder Woman lent me that silver leotard. I was so mortified that everyone could see my backside. I would have said something but we had to rush off to Kansas."

" I heard the press have already given you a name. Moon Women," Jerry felt he could tease Elaine safely since he was on the other side of the table. " Nice job fighting those giant locusts. Who was behind it all?"

Elaine strained to remember, " Some big headed aliens. They took part in the invasion of Earth a few years back."

" The Dominators," Jerry said helpfully.

" Yeah, that's right. They were left in suspended animation during the invasion to cause havoc if the Dominators failed in their task." Elaine indicated to Jerry's glass of orange juice. " Are you going to drink that?"

" So have you got a new costume?" George said rubbing his arm.

Elaine took a sip of the orange juice. " I'm wearing it."

" You can't be serious. A red suit is not a costume," Jerry studied Elaine's smart red trousers and jacket combination " I bet Batman wouldn't be seen in a tuxedo."

" What? A costume can't be practical? I'll have you know this is very fashionable right now." Elaine finished off the last of the orange juice and waved to catch the attention of a waitress " Can I have another orange juice here? Thank you."

" So did Wonder Woman say anything about me?" George asked and then chuckled nervously.

" Once the mission was over, she couldn't stop talking about you. She kept asking me all these questions about you," Elaine grabbed the fresh glass of orange juice from off the waitress as soon as she arrived at the table " Thanks."

" Questions? About me?" George took off his glasses, rubbing them on his sleeve. " What did, err, what did you tell her?"

" Oh, you know, the usual things. I told her about the time you drugged your boss as revenge, got that busboy fired, got your accountant girlfriend admitted to a mental asylum, pushed children and an old lady out of the way to escape a fire. Nothing much," Elaine smiled wickedly as George started to fret, " I just told her you were a nice guy."

" You see what you did, George? You made her lie to Wonder Woman." Jerry watched as George flung his arms around Elaine.

The door of the shop flung open and Kramer ran in, carrying a parcel. He came to a stop when he saw George hugging Elaine.

" George, what is it with you and super heroines? You've got to let me in on your secret. Is it the glasses? I can get those. Is it the baldness? I am willing to make that sacrifice." Kramer slid into the seat next to Seinfeld. " Hey, buddy, I've got a present for you."

Jerry accepted the parcel and unwrapped it to reveal a blue, red and yellow costume. Quickly, he recovered it the brown paper and pushed it back to Kramer.

" That's Superman's costume. Did you steal that?" Jerry hissed, " we can't take you anywhere."

Kramer was hurt by Jerry's reaction and pushed the package back to him. " Hey, I did this to cheer you up. I heard you asking Superman for one of his costumes. It was obviously important to you."

" It was small talk. I didn't mean it," Jerry explained. " Small talk isn't important. If it were it would be called big talk."

" Sorry for trying to make you happy. Obviously, I am a bad person for trying to make my buddy smile." Kramer slumped into his chair.

" You can't keep that," Elaine pointed out, " he'll notice. He has super senses. He's bound to notice that it's missing from his room."

" You're right," Jerry pushed the outfit towards Elaine, " you can take it back to the Watch Tower."

" Me? I can't go to the Watch Tower with stolen property," Elaine protested examining the famous costume.

" Well I can't. What would I say? You can't go to the moon casually. It can't be done," Seinfeld sat back, his point made.

" You're just going to give it straight back? You should wear it at least once," Kramer ran his hand down his chest " Its very snug, very comfortable."

Elaine immediately released the costume and stared at her fingers in disgust. " So I am going to have to have this washed as well."

" Sorry I can't stay, I've got a date with Wonder Woman," George said in a loud voice to attract the attention of the other coffee shop customers.

Elaine stood up as well, tucking the package under her arm, " I guess I'll go as well. The sooner I get rid of this the better."

Kramer and Seinfeld waved their friends goodbye before falling into silence. Jerry played with a paper napkin trying to ignore the sad expression on Kramer's face. Eventually Jerry couldn't take it anymore.

" Oh come on, I'll buy you an ice cream," Jerry said, rising from his seat.

Kramer immediately perked up, " I knew you'd cheer up. Let's see if Newman wants to join us."

Jerry watched Kramer dash out of the door. He was frozen in place, stood in absolute silence.

" Newman" the word dripped out his mouth, like acid.

George nervously unlocked Jerry's newly repaired door attempting to appear confident. In his mind a little voice kept telling him to act like he owned the apartment. The trouble was that he had little experience in that area having lived with his parents for so long. None the less Wonder Woman didn't seem to notice his concern.

" I really enjoyed the walk in the park George," Diana strode into the apartment beaming " It's so nice to relax and not have to worry about having to save the world."

" Sure, saving the world can really take it out of you. There's so much of it," George used his handkerchief to wipe the sweat from his forehead. " Can I get you something to drink Wonder Woman?"

" I am fine thank you and please," Wonder Woman looked George straight in the eyes, " call me Diana."

Flustered George just watched as Diana sat down on the sofa. She frowned at the television. Colourful cartoon characters sang the alphabet.

She looked back at George and smiled sweetly, " You didn't tell me you had children. Where are they?"

George mentally kicked himself for forgetting about the television. He ran over to it and flicked channels but only succeed into changing it to another children's program. Diana watched, bemused.

" No children. I don't watch these kinds of shows but the television is playing up. You know," George went to press the off switch, but found Jerry had covered it in duct tape.

Diana nodded " I've fought more than my fair share of robots and evil computers to know that technology can go wrong."

Seeing that the power mains were also covered in duct tape, George snatched up a magazine " I know, I'll just cover it with this."

It was only when George had draped the publication over the screen that he realised what it was. He snatched it away but it was too late, Wonder Woman was getting to her feet.

" What are you doing with that?" Wonder Woman clenched her fists. " This is typical, every time I meet someone, they turn out be villain in disguise. Who are you really? Dr Psycho, Cat Man, Desaad?"

" I am not a super villain. I could never come up with any master plans. You ask any of my friends, I am not a planner," George dropped the magazine.

" I'd like to believe you George. You're great fun to be with," Wonder Woman removed her golden lasso from her belt " there is one way to be sure."

" Anything, I'll do anything," George watched the super heroine advance on him " this isn't going to hurt is it?"

Wonder Woman shook her head as she placed the lasso over George's head " this will just compel you to tell the truth."

" The truth? You know I've always found that to be very over rated. If someone's ugly they don't need to hear the truth," George tried to wriggle out of the cord " in fact, I am very against the truth. We don't need to do this."

Wonder Woman stepped back holding the end of the lasso," relax George. Now tell me, are you a villain?"

With no control George immediately said " No."

Diana visibly relaxed " Good. I thought you weren't. Someone as adorable as you couldn't do anything bad could you?"

" Actually I could. I've done lots of bad thing," George slapped his hand to his mouth to prevent any more words escaping.

Wonder Woman narrowed her eyes, " what bad things?"

" Where do I begin? When I was six I covered my cousin in jam to see how many wasps would chase her," George said beginning a long list of incidents " and when I was nineteen I broke into the university library to return an overdue book and accidentally set the whole place on fire."

Taken aback Diana let George catch his breath before finally asking, " but that's all, right?"

" No!" George wailed as he continued his confession.

Elaine shuffled out of the teleportation tube, glancing around for the other heroes. Placing a hand on her bag, she felt the bulge of the uniform, pushing against the leather interior.

It had been hard enough finding a launderette that wouldn't question her washing such a recognisable garment. When she did find one, a tenement building across the road caught fire and she had to rescue several people by holding up collapsing walls. She had felt proud for helping them, but she was now covered in soot.

Tiptoeing along, Elaine was all too aware of the sound her shoes made on the metal floor. She had hoped that the moon would be a little quieter than Earth.

Just as she had reached the corridor to personal quarters something brushed past her legs. She glanced down to see a red and pink rubbery bloodhound stalk by, a deerstalker resting on its head.

The dog sniffed the ground as it padded along. Suddenly its tail stood up in the air and it turned to face Elaine " Glad you could make it Elaine, we're just playing a game of hide and seek."

Elaine was taken aback and clutched her bag to her chest, " Oh really? Who's hiding?"

The dog shifted its shape and changed back into Plastic Man " Not who, what. Superman has lost one of his costumes. Of course not all of us have that problem. Mine is welded to my body."

" His uniform?" Elaine held her bag behind her back.

" Some of us think that Lex Luthor has taken it to create some kind of evil costume to attack us." Plastic Man's smile caused his face to bulge out. " When I say some of us, I'm talking mainly about myself."

" I could look in the personal quarters if you want." Elaine started to retreat down the corridor, her back to Plastic Man.

" That was my plan," Plastic Man wiggled his eyebrows comically. " I am going to look in Wonder Woman's room."

Continuing her reverse walk, Elaine suddenly collided with two solid objects behind her. She spun round to see she had just walked straight into Superman and the Martian Manhunter.

" Sorry, sorry," Elaine moved the bag out the view of Kal and J'Onn only to realise that it was now in view of Plastic Man " I just dropped in to see if there were any more locusts you wanted me to fight."

" No, we've got more important things to deal with at the moment Elaine," Superman gave her a warm smile. " Its good to see you back here."

" I think you may be over reacting Kal. We are only talking about a missing costume." The Martian Manhunter noticed Elaine's unease but decided not to use his telepathy to locate the cause. " I think we should be arranging the deportation of the Dominator spies back to their home world."

" J'Onn, this isn't about the loss of my personal property. This about a possible security breach." Superman used his x-ray vision to scan the other levels of the Watchtower. " If you remember the last time items went missing, it heralded an attack by the Injustice League."

" I am sure it's nothing serious," said Elaine " I am always forgetting where I leave things. Are you sure you didn't just leave it in the Phantom Zone and forget about it?"

Before Superman could answer, there was a sudden gush of air as the Flash raced along the corridor towards them. He screeched to a halt, static electricity crackling around him.

" Hello everyone, I've just got back from the Titan Tower, Nightwing is leading an investigation to find out if anyone is trying to sell your costume on the underworld black market," Flash explained.

Elaine realised this was getting worse and worse. If she didn't think of something quickly, every meta-human in America would be looking for what was inside her bag. Licking her lips she began to speak.

" You told him I did it?" Jerry shouted, causing a passing waitress to almost drop her tray.

Elaine nodded, finishing off the last of the orange juice. " I just said you were mind controlled by Brain Wave. It's apparently quite normal for super heroes' friends to be used by villains, so they believed me. I told the JLA you're back to normal now but the Martian Manhunter said he'd call by to give you a mind scan just to make sure."

Jerry added that to his list of things he wasn't looking forward to and turned his attention to George, who still had his head in his hands. At least he had stopped letting out a slow moaning noise.

" I messed it up again. How could I let Wonder Woman get away from me?" George thumped his hand on the restaurant table. " She was literally perfect, but I frightened here away. I've never seen a woman run so fast."

" That's the speed of mercury for you," Jerry said, trying to elicit a smile from George. " Look, relationships with super heroines are bound to be trouble. Think of all the times Cheetah or Swan Song would hold you hostage. Think about what having to share a bathroom with monsters from myth. If you got married, your in-laws would be Gods."

" You're right Jerry, I'm a mortal, she's animated clay, housing the spirit of justice. It would never have worked out, we're too different," George grabbed hold of Elaine's sleeve " Lainey, maybe you could persuade her to see me again."

" I am afraid I can't do that Georgey" Elaine removed George's hand, " I don't have any powers anymore, so I won't be seeing the JLA again."

" You've lost your powers? How did that happen?" Jerry couldn't believe Elaine hadn't told him earlier.

" Turns out that the cosmic energy was only staying in my body as long as I wanted it. Being a super hero was getting to be more trouble that it was worth, so I gave up. Every time I had a meeting with Peterman the JLA would call me." Elaine straightened her jacket. " The press were always following me around, criticising my clothes. It was like living with my Mother again."

" You quit? Being a superhero isn't like smoking. There aren't any vigilante patches." George tried to get his head around the idea. " So that's it then, the power's gone for good?"

Elaine shook her head. " STAR labs said the cosmic energy would drift about until it found another host. They said it might even give different powers to the next person."

" Fancy that, a cosmic lottery ticket floating around. Another origin story waiting to begin." Jerry pointed at George. " You never know, it could be you."

It was at that moment the front of the restaurant exploded inwards, sending bricks and glass everywhere. Customers dashed for cover under tables. A glowing figure barrelled through the wreckage and tumbled to the floor next to the group's table.

Narrowing his eyes to protect them from the bright light, Jerry peered at the figure " Kramer? Is that you?"

" Hey everyone. You won't believe what happened to me," Kramer leapt up and floated in the air.

 
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