“Excuse me, I’m just wondering if you’re visiting a family friend or relative?” he inquired. His question was raised in the hope of striking up a conversation with this attractive young woman seated at the other end of the uncomfortable bench seat. He had very little interest in why she was actually visiting the Twilight Home for Superheroes.
The Twilight Home desperately needed a whole lotta love. Demolition would have been merciful. Devoid of warmth, bland and unwelcoming, cement corridors and pictureless rooms segued perfectly into the beige existence of those seeing out their lives inside. The only internal colour radiated from a red painted brick wall in the Reception area, and two red suitcases bolted to the floor. Nobody could remember how, when or why they had appeared there but their novelty served to generate a modicum of amusement amongst decaying superheroes and other lesser known ex-members of the League of Justice.
“Visiting a relative? Actually, no,” she replied curtly. “I’m just an exploitative groupie. I loiter around these types of institutions in the hope of snaring an obscenely wealthy but extremely frail old man.”
His furrowed brow gave her a clue that this male stranger seated beside her, whether trying to hit on her or not, had missed the nuance of her attempted humour. “I’m sorry,” she ploughed on, “yeah, I’m visiting a relative. My grandmother is in here. The dementia ward. She’s being showered at present. That’s why I’m waiting out here. What about you?”
“Yep… something similar. My grandfather’s being seen by a doctor at the moment. Been here quite a few years. I try to visit whenever I’m in town. He sometimes struggles to remember me at first but when we talk there’s a few triggers. Memories come back to him. Lightbulbs go on… sorry, I’m waffling on. I’m Dave Kent. My grandfather is Superman. What’s your name?”
“Diana. Same as my grandmother. Diana Prince. Granny was mostly known as Wonderwoman.”
“Yeah? Wow. I’ve seen early photos of your granny. Stunningly attractive woman. I can see where you got your looks.”
“Your flattery is noted, but thank you Mr Kent.”
“It’s Dave. Call me Dave. How’s your granny fared in the ageing process?”
“Not well, Dave. Apart from her dementia, she’s a frail shell of the gorgeous superhero she once was. The busty Amazonian queen of the 1940s has long ago ditched the sexy outfits of her heyday. Favours a flannelette nightie 24/7 nowadays. Mindlessly watches TV in the loungeroom most days. Complains non-stop to anyone who’ll listen.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Diana. Difficult to imagine. She was universally celebrated for her Amazonian strength and mental acuity. Must be such a long way to fall for superheroes as opposed to lesser mortals.”
“Sadly, that’s so true. How’s your grandfather ageing, Dave?”
“Has good and bad days now. Can’t fly at all, and his strength has completely deserted him. I wonder if my Pop realises your granny’s in here?”
“Actually, Dave, your grandfather’s name featured prominently when I was visiting yesterday.”
“Seriously? Tell me more.”
“Well… it’s tricky, but Gran had set off a hideous wailing in her lounge chair and when I asked what was the problem she bellowed to anyone in hearing range that Superman had bitten her on the arse! Can you believe that?” she snorted derisively.
“Phhttt! That’s ludicrous… I mean Pop’s so docile nowadays. Did you alert staff? Did they check her bum?” inquired Dave, stifling snorts of laughter.
“Yeah. The nursing staff lifted her nightie and inspected. There were quite pronounced teethmark welts on her knickerless, saggy left buttock. Poor Gran. Then staff noticed something on the seat of her chair. Dentures. She’d been sitting on Superman’s dentures, Dave. Goodness knows how long!”
“Oh my God, Diana. I’m trying not to do the visuals. Stop it, you’re killing me!” Dave whinnied. “So what happened?”
“Well… interestingly, Dave, it’s obvious that chivalry’s not completely dead yet. Wait for this! After a lifetime of righting injustices, the decrepit Invisible Man, who'd been unobtrusively mumbling to himself in the lounge area, instinctively came to the aid of a shrieking damsel. Casting aside his therapeutic knitting, he struggled from his armchair with an asthmatic wheeze, and grabbed those offending dentures from the shocked nurse’s clutches. Poor, gummy old Superman had fallen asleep in front of a TV documentary. He was lolling and snoring in the armchair adjacent to Gran. Unable to be seen, the Invisible Man lunged feebly at your sleeping Pop in an attempt to jam those chompers back into the cavity where they belonged. Unfortunately he tripped in his act of righteousness and landed, dentures first, across Superman's lap. To the horror of all the onlookers, it appeared as though the Invisible Man was jamming those teeth back in from the opposite end! Well, I gotta tell you Dave, there was hell to pay when Superman jolted awake!”
Wiping away tears of mirth from her cheeks, Diana added coyly, “They say old Mr Kent was sweet on my Gran. You wanna go somewhere for coffee?”