"I'm sorry, Whitney," Lex says to me.

"You're sorry?" I say unable to believe what's happening.

"Yes, you told me to kill her as soon as she came in, but you know what a soft spot I had for Chloe. I really thought I could convince her."

I get down and try and give her CPR. "What are you doing Whitney?" Lex asks.

"What does it look like I'm doing?"

Lex smiles at me broadly. "You just slipped here from the past, didn't you? You have no idea what's going on, do you? Years ago I gave myself the ability to cause massive aneurisms in people at will. You can give her CPR all day, half her brain is destroyed."

"Why, Lex?" I say.

"She was the wife of my Vice president. I obviously couldn't have someone so insubordinate running around in such a high position."

"How could I work for you? How can I help you?"

"You do it eagerly and with an efficiency that sometimes chills even me. For years you attempted to fight me, you tried to use your ability to slip to stop me on hundreds of occasions until you saw the futility of it and realized that I was right.. But where I can move backwards and forwards in time at will, you require a surge of adrenaline to do it. Besides, even with that advantage you would never of been a match for me. I had too much of a head start with my fortune and, let's face it, my superior intelligence. But I gotta hand it to you Whitney, for years you did try. For years you were almost as much of a pain in the ass as Clark. Then I had the idea of framing you and killing Clark at the same time. I saw to it that your would be medicated while in prison so that you couldn't possibly slip. By the time you got out you saw the futility of trying to stop me."

I was crying now, "You killed Clark, you killed Chloe."

"I killed 100s of millions more then that, and it was all necessary, absolutely necessary." Lex said. "I wish you had my control, I wish I could have you slip 20 years forward with me. Soon I'll be able to use kryptonite to actually change behavior and thought processes. Soon there will be no crime, no drug addiction, no hunger. No laziness or sloth. I will build a utopia, Whitney and I owe it all to you."

"Clark was you friend, Lana trusted you."

"Clark was more then a friend, he was as close as a brother to me. I loved Clark."

"So why?"

"Clark came from a different planet a planet called Krypton, billions of miles away. The meteor rocks that accompanied him to earth are actually remnants from that planet. Meteor rocks when properly controlled are the reasons why we both mutated the ability to slip. You and I are the ONLY ones with that ability. I was able to use kryptonite and my ability to slip, to take over world industry, to build an unbeatable mutant army, to eradicate disease and suffering, to alter the neurological pathways of murderers and thieves.

The meteor rocks, by being able to manipulate DNA, are truly the miracle of the past 2000 years and the ONLY thing that was preventing me from using them to tame this unruly planet was Clark Kent. He possessed incomprehensible power. When he became an adult he would be able to lift ocean liners, change the course of rivers. In short he would be a god amongst men.

"Clark's an alien? A god? But I was able to make him the scarecrow? That makes no sense."

"Yes, in your dumb luck you managed to tumble onto his weakness. The Kryptonie or meteor rock you put around his neck is the one substance that Clark was allergic to. I think that if I'd of arrived there a few hours later, to cut him down Clark would have been dead and you really would of killed him"

"My God," I said.

"Well, Clark was a god, with awesome powers. And what did he want to do with these awesome powers? He wanted to do three things," he says and starts listing them with his fingers, "Rescue kittens out of trees, help little old ladies cross the street, and stop me."

Lex continues, "For twenty years he would smash every plan, until I became an inconsequential joke. And then finally, finally I learned how to slip and I was able to slip back to a time where I could kill him and not be a suspect. A time where I was still close to Clark, so that when I slipped back the police would see nothing but a distraught Lex. I'm sorry that my killing him had to include you, but you were an obstacle too, Whitney. And god, killing him was glorious." Lex said and closed his eyes, savoring the moment of his greatest triumph. "Everyone thought it was impossible, that he was too much of a god, but I did it. A mortal killed a god. I almost wish I was able to kill him later, when he would live to become a world figure, just so that the world would know who killed Superman. But it was necessary for him to die. Necessary for you to take the fall. Everyone believed you did it except Chloe. Somehow her instincts told her that you were telling the truth. I think that's why you married her. But that's in the past now."

With that, Pete, who I'd forgotten about came to life. He took his limbs which had seemed so ancient a moment ago and jumped across the mahogany table. "YOU MONSTER!" he screamed and attacked Lex with his steak knife. Lex deftly moves out of the way and smashes Pete's nose with the palm of his hand.

"Idiotic to attack a man who can slip Pete, what did you hope to accomplish?" Lex said.

Pete is on the floor now, panting, looking defeated again. "Whitney, Whitney," he said, "Please,"

"Oh, shut up, Pete," Lex says and twists his head till his neck breaks. Pete lay on the floor struggling for breath. "Oh sorry about the creamed corn plant," Lex says. My adrenaline is finally up enough to

slip

back

to hear Lex say "Shut up Pete." He's about to murder Pete. And I attempt to tackle Lex but he's able to move out of the way anticipating the move. He tries to back hand me with his fist I see the punch coming knowing that I can not avoid it and

slip

back

to the moment he throws the punch and I'm able to avoid it and throw one of my own which of course he's not there for. "We can do this all day Whitney, but it's kind o silly" Lex says and of course he's right. "If you like I'll keep Pete alive, it was a mercy killing, really."

I stop, panting unused to this old body. Against all rationality I attempt to attack again but of course Lex knows this will happen and dodges me I can feel pain beyond excruciating in my head. I close my eyes tightly and I know that that Lex is doing to me what he did to Chloe and

I

slip

back

into Smallville Police station. I must be aware of the now and adapt to it. Now is Sheriff Ethan and an interrogation room . It is 2003 and I have just been arrested for murder. I was found covered in the victims blood, standing over them with a knife in my hand. I have motive, I have opportunity. I will be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Listen," Ethan says, "I have sympathy for you, a jury will have sympathy for you but not if you keep lying, Whitney."

"I'm not lying." I say. "Lex Luthor murdered Clark Kent and Lana Lang and framed me. I know how he did it and I know why he did it."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Ethan says.

"I'll tell you," I say, "But you won't believe me." I sit and wonder how I should begin.

After two hours I finish the story.

"So let me get this straight," Ethan says. "You're saying that the meteor rocks, which will someday be called Kryptonite, have the power to cause genetic mutations in people and that you and Lex Luthor have developed the ability to send your psyches back and forth in time?"

"Yes."

"And that Lex Luthor will some day be the most brutal dictator the world has ever seen if he's not stopped?"

"Yes."

"And that the only person able to stop him is Clark Kent, who is an alien being with Super powers? And that Lex needs to kill him now while he's young because someday Clark will be too powerful for Lex to harm?"

"Yes."

"And that this future Lex sent his psyche back to the past, killed Clark and then went back to the future again so that the present Lex has no recollection of what he did and that Lex's present grief is actually real?"

"Yes."

"Well, shit, I'm convinced," Ethan says sarcastically.

How many strange events and unexplained phenomena are taking place in Smallville?

"So if you have this ability to slip, why don't you slip back right now so you're not there when I come walking through that door?"

"I don't have control over it like that, I have to have my adrenaline at a high enough level.."

"And last night, you say you slipped back to prevent Lex from killing Clark and Lana then? How did he get rid of the gun after you found him?"

"Lex DOES have the ability to control his slip with pinpoint accuracy. He killed Clark and Pete, shot me and then slipped back an hour earlier to get rid of the guns."

"So why not kill you?"

"Because my ability to slip makes me damn near impossible to kill. I can be drugged, and rendered ineffectual and made to look like a crazy man. But my adrenaline before the time of death is always going to be high enough to allow me to slip back to a point in time where I can avoid it."

"Wow, you got this all figured out."

" Is it really so impossible to believe that Clark has powers that the meteor rocks are having an effect on people? Look what's been going on around here the past year."

"Yes, it is very hard to believe," Ethan says, but is there a feint sign of belief? Or at least curiosity? I think I see it.

Then the door opens and I hear the familiar voice of Lionel Luthor say, "You're right to not believe him, Sheriff. I've never heard such an absurd story in my life."

"Mr. Luthor, this is a police matter and it does not concern you."

"If he's accusing my son of murdering his best friend it absolutely concerns me."

"I know you're a Luthor, and you feel you can do anything you want and go anywhere you want, but that's not the case sir I must ask you to leave."

"Oh, but it IS the case," Lionel says with a smile and takes out a gun and shoots Ethan in the chest three times.

"Holy jeez," I say and

slip

back

to

Ethan saying "I know you're a Luthor, and--"

I get off my chair and tackle Lionel. "He's got a gun, he's going to shoot you." I say.

Ethan takes out his own gun now and is breaking the two of us up. He deftly recuffs me and starts to search Lionel. He soon takes out his gun.

"You're under arrest." He says disarming Lionel.

Lionel looks at him with a bemused expression. "Really, on what charge? I have a license to carry this weapon."

I look at him panting. "It's you," I say. "You're the one who tells him about the ability to slip. You're the one that encourages him to use it. You wanted to see if I really had the ability. You just tested me out. "

"Luthor's are meant to rule" He says as if that is explanation enough.

And it is explanation enough. I see it now. It is not adrenaline that makes me slip. It's want. I wanted to secure my personal bag and I slipped back to a time when I could secure it readily. I wanted to save my squad and myself and I slipped back to a time where I'd be able to do it. I wanted to find a way to save Clark and I slipped back to a time where I could do that. I wanted to know why Lex kills Clark and I slipped to a time where Lex was confident enough in his power to tell me. I wanted to know how Lex developed the ability and I slip back to the moment of discovery.

It is want that powers the ability. It has to be a want that consumes you. That's why Lex is better at it then I am. Because he wants. Want, more then anything else, defines a Luthor. They want for power, they want for respect, they want to rule. They thirst, and there is no amount of liquid that can quench that thirst. No matter how great my desire to stop them, it will never compare to their desire to rule. I see it now, I see it so clearly.

I close my eyes. "Oh God, let me end this." I think. "God, please, please, give me the strength to end this I want to end this let me end this. Please God."

I open my eyes and I'm in the field. The weight of the helmet is on my head and there is a rifle in my hand.

Taylor is complaining. What else is new. "If I have to walk through another goddamned rice patty," he says.

Of course, I think. This is right. Clark must be given the time to mature and grow. Lex must never gain power over time, or even suspect that such a power exists. Part of me wishes I could say goodbye to my mother, to Lana, to Chloe. But mostly I want to say goodbye to Clark. To thank him for keeping humanity safe. To tell him that I know, and that I know his destiny is glorious beyond glorious. But I know that's wrong. This is right.

We are the anonymous millions. We are not meant for drunken frat parties, for late night frenzied sex, wedding cakes, or wooden patios, or grilled burgers in our backyards, or office pools, or assembly lines . We are nor meant for children graduations, or retirement parties, or for holding hands and watching television or for bingo games.

Stafford, Taylor, Brooks, and Fordman. We are the anonymous millions. Names to be etched on stone or placed on walls, and all the wishing and all the kryptonite in this world can not make it never was. Deep down, I knew it from the moment we survived that first attack. I knew it at the party, long before Lex murdered Clark and Lana. I knew that was wrong then, just as I know this is right now.

I breathe in and for the first time in my life really feel the wonder of air filling me and savor the breath. I close my eyes and am filled with love. For the men and the women of the future and the past, for the fields for the oceans for the cities for the country for the molecules and the atoms of everything that makes up this glorious world.

I open my eyes and am smiling.

"What's with you Fordman?" Taylor asks.

"I love you," I say, "I love all you guys."

"Queer bastard," Taylor says.

"No, no I do. I need for you guys to believe that, I need for you to know that." I say and wipe away moisture from my face, barely aware that they are tears.

"Yeah, yeah, fine I believe that," Taylor says, and his words and inflection sound dismissive and sarcastic but I know that there is a part of him, a part of all of us, that wants to hear that, that needs to hear that from one person in their life that means it. I know there is a part of him that is grateful that I said it.

"Thank you," I say still smiling and am not startled as I hear the first mortar hit. They start to run and scream pell-mell as all the other anonymous millions have broke and run. I stretch out my arms to invite the end. I must remain calm. I must not be distracted from this. This is right, I think. This is right.

And the mortars rain.