Superman vs. Hitler

Part I

It was a cold day in April, 1945. The war in Europe was about to come to an end. Ace reporter Clark Kent pondered what to write back home and his fingers rested on the typewriter.

"Unconditional German Surrender Expected?" No. That would seem too pretentious. He knew one better. "America Presses toward Berlin." It was short, simple, and to the point. Of course, he was always careful in his wording. Suppose the Nazis had their own secret weapon, poised and ready to fire just as the Allies took the city? He couldn't make anything seem certain anymore, not after Roosevelt had died a week before. The man who had helped bring the allies so close to winning the war had dropped dead, and nobody had seen it coming, or at least if they had, hadn't leaked it out to the presses.

But he was the ultimate uncertainty. He could just as well fly into Berlin, march right up to Hitler and sock him in the jaw like all of the comic-book covers showed him doing, but somebody as ruthless and conniving as Adolf Hitler wouldn't let him. He would be just as likely to pull out a piece of Kryptonite and render to Allies' secret weapon useless. This war would have to be won the old-fashioned way, with guts and bullets.

He started typing, but only got a few sentences in when the ongoing drizzle outside became a downpour. He could hear every drop hit the ground, one after the other. Drip, drop, drip. It was a continuous buzzing he couldn't block out: his heightened senses drove him insane sometimes.

Just ignore it, he told himself. Things like this come with the territory. You've had worse happen to you. Ringing in your ears isn't that bothersome. But he was lying to himself. The endless pitter-patter of raindrops was one of his most hated things in this world, second only to Kryptonite and Chinese food. Ignore it, he told himself again.

"After crossing the Rhine in March, American forces continue to liberate large portions of Nazi territory—"

Should it be "Nazi territory" or "German territory?" Nazi sounded better. It had more emotional weight behind it. Keep that sentence.

"—while Soviet forces move westward in an assault against the Elbe—"

"An assault against the Elbe?" That didn't sound right. The two armies were supposed to meet up at the Elbe, not attack it. Scratch that phrase; replace it with "while Soviet forces continue to move toward the Elbe." A much better sentence.



"Soviet forces are currently engaged in a bitter battle against Germany's last stronghold in Berlin. It is likely that surrender is imminent—"

Did this put too much emphasis on the Soviets? After all this was an American newspaper he was writing for. Not many readers of the Daily Planet would likely care about what the Russkies were up to. Re-phrase. Replace with—

Suddenly, the tent flap flew open, and a wet, pruned face peered inside. "Colonel says we hafta move out this evenin'. Pack yer stuff. We gotta take the tent down."

Clark said nothing, but smiled politely. He made him lose his train of thought, but it was seemly to act polite, anyway. Clark packed away the typewriter and manuscript in his duffel bag and pulled out his poncho. He was going to get wet and have to put up with all the noise. It wasn't going to be a pleasant ride at all.