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The Big SqueezeEpilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the 1953 episode of the same name from the
Adventures of Superman

[Author’s Note: In reading this epilogue, it should be remembered that numberous changes have occurred in the criminal laws of most states since this episode was filmed. In particular, the criminal codes of virtually every state in the union were revided and updated durung the 1960s and 1970s for a variety of reasons. Even so, the basic legal definitions of… and penalties for… the crimes of blackmail and extortion still apply today. I hope you enjoy this epilogue.]

A month had passed since the family of Dan Grayson had been threatened by a cruel and cynical criminal named Luke Maynard. Maynard had attempted to force Grayson to assist him in stealing the contents of his employer’s fur vault, after the latter had accidentally locked himself into the vault. Only the intervention of Superman, who had ripped the vault door off its hinges, had prevented Dan from suffocating due to lack of oxygen.

Ironically, Dan Grayson had only recently been chosen by the Metropolis Daily Planet to receive their “Citizen of the Year” award, unaware that, many years earlier, Grayson had been tricked into taking part in a robbery by a group of his high school classmates, for which he had served three years in prison. Luke Maynard had been one of Grayson’s fellow inmates. Because of his occupation, and especially in the wake of the vault door incident, Dan Grayson had become a perfect victim for Maynard’s vicious blackmail racket.

Grayson’s young son, Tim, however, had secretly overheard Maynard’s vicious threats against not only his father, but also himself and his mother as well. He had promptly gone to Clark Kent of the Daily Planet, unaware that Kent and the Man of Steel were one and the same person. Upon obtaining full details of the situation from Dan, the Last Son of Krypton had worked out a plan with Grayson that had resulted in Maynard’s being exposed and arrested as the vicious wretch that he was, while Dan had been cleared of all charges, and had proven that he indeed deserved the Planet’s “Citizen of the Year” award, which had been formally presented to Dan by Clark Kent on live local television. Maynard and his gang were now in the Metropolis City Jail, awaiting trial, and had been ordered held without bond or bail of any kind.

With the award ceremony now a thing of the past, the Graysons, along with Inspector William Henderson of the Metropolis Police Department, were meeting with Clark, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen in the office of Perry White, owner/publisher of the Daily Planet, a former Mayor of Metropolis, and a trained attorney as well. The Inspector reported, with understandable satisfaction, that a number of other victims of Maynard’s cruel racket had come forward and given statements to the police as to Maynard’s criminal activities. “The net result,” he concluded, “is that Mr. Maynard and his partners in crime will be facing so many different criminal charges that they’ll all most likely be sentenced to life in prison without parole—especially Maynard, who we’ve already charged with both blackmail and extortion!”

Excuse me, Inspector,” Mrs. Grayson put in, “but could someone explain the difference between blackmail and extortion? I’ve never understood that!”

Perry responded, “The crime of extortion, Mrs. Grayson, involves the use, or threatened use, of force or violence to compel someone to either commit a criminal act themselves or to assist the one making the threat in doing so. Blackmail, however, does not—it simply consists of the threatened exposure of information which the victim would consider embarrassing, or which could cause damage to their reputation or their career.”

As Mrs. Grayson nodded her understanding, Lois commented, “People like Maynard rely on the fears of those they prey upon to force their victims to do what they say.”

Timmy Grayson piped up, “That’s kind of like being a school bully, huh?”

Oh, it’s much worse than that, Tim,” Inspector Henderson forcefully replied, “as I’m sure your father knows. The kind of exposure that your Dad was being threatened with could not only have cost him his job, but it could also have made it impossible for him to find work of any kind — not to mention the effect it would have had on you and your mother! If Maynard had succeeded in carrying out his wretched scheme, it’s quite possible that neither you, your father, or your mother would have been able to live anywhere near a normal life again — even though none of you, including your Dad, had done anything to even begin to deserve that kind of treatment!”

The important thing, however,” Perry continued, “is that, thanks to you and to your father, Maynard and his racket have been exposed, and will now be brought to justice!”

You don’t think there’s any chance that any of them will get out on bail, do you?” Dan Grayson inquired, an understandable look of concern on his face.

Not a chance, Mr. Grayson,” the Inspector replied firmly. “As a matter of fact, we may have to move these hoodlums to a Federal prison and have each of them put in solitary confinement for their own protection! You see, we’ve already received murder threats against Maynard and all of his men for what they’ve done— especially Maynard!”

Perry, Lois, Jimmy, and Clark, along with the Graysons, all reacted in shock at this news. Dan Grayson shook his head sadly. Clark, however, pointed out, “You need to remember, Dan, that there will always be those who try to take unfair or selfish advantage of others—whether it’s the school bully Tim referred to a moment ago, or gangsters like Maynard! Sooner or later, though, their misdeeds will catch up to them, one way or another. It’s like Sherlock Holmes said in The Adventure of the Speckled Band: ‘Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another!’” With that, the meeting concluded.

Only six months later, however, Inspector Henderson’s and Clark’s comments proved to be well justified, for shortly after their conviction and sentencing, Luke Maynard and the former members of his gang were set upon by a group of inmates at the State Prison, and were all beaten to death in a sordid ambush before the prison guards could do anything to stop them. Thus, the case of “The Big Squeeze,” as it had come to be called, finally came to a wretched and ignominious conclusion.

Posted: November 12, 2022

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