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The Real Scoop

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Brenda paced across the hotel lobby, picked up a newspaper, and paced back again. Her "date" was late.

It had seemed ludicrous at first – interviewing a reporter? Whatever Lois Lane knew, she would write down herself, or keep her lips closed tighter than the most severely trained politico. But, as Hank had put it, when there is a person who has repeated contact with Superman, then that was the person they would interview, will she or nil she. Brenda had had to be less than entirely honest just to be granted this meeting.

Ms. Lane appeared at last, in a tasteful but dishevelled suit, papers under her arm, smiling ruefully in greeting. (The light caught in the glass door behind her and, for a moment, formed a star of reflected brilliance across her slight form.) As they shook, Brenda could smell a trace of cigarettes on her breath, a habit that was beginning to show on her skin. There was strength in Lois Lane’s fingers, and more: a tingle that shot up Brenda's arm, not quite like electricity – softer and deeper – and Brenda wondered if this was her own essence, or some remembered touch of Superman, or, more likely, Brenda’s own adrenaline running high.

'You're not really here for a source exchange, are you?'

Brenda laughed and shook her head. 'Neither are you, I see. What made you decide to grant The Flash this honour?' She reached for her recorder.

'Impartiality,' Lois replied, and, as they sat down, began her legend.

Hours later Brenda sat by her own home computer, still arranging her notes and typing up corrections. She rolled her forefinger around the mouse button absent-mindedly, pondering on Lois Lane, on Superman, and on glory's reflection: from the sun, to the son, to the lover, and on to a lowly reporter, through shaken hands. The warmth was still there, on her right-hand palm. The thought was quickly pushed aside, crowded aside by facts and urgency, trampled by everyday things.

That night she dreamed the Blessed Virgin stepped off her pedestal and pulled out a box of Marlboros. Lighting one she smiled beatifically to Brenda and told her, with a voice honey-sweet and ocean-deep, that her baby was going to be a scientist one day.

'Don't believe the reports, Brenda – don't believe a word.'

She touched her fingers to Brenda's face in blessing and kissed her with the cigarette-smelling lips of Lois Lane, once, twice, and promised that the passion was no tormentous play, unless she wanted it to be. 'It's all the same bliss, baby,' she added, turning into Barbarella.

The dream was gone before the morning, and His First Lady Speaks on its way to the press.