TAC Table of Contents
The Human Bomb—Epilogue
by Tom Nichol
based on the episode of the same name from
Several days had passed since the horrible events in which the man known as “Bet-A-Million Butler” had come so close to snuffing out the lives of both Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane at the offices of the Metropolis Daily Planet. In the immediate wake of those events, somewhat to their surprise, their employer, Perry White, had insisted that both Lois and Jimmy take the rest of the week off and rest. The two of them gladly complied with their boss’s orders.
The following Monday, Lois and Jimmy returned to work, fully rejuvenated from their recent ordeal. They were not overly surprised to find both Clark Kent and Perry White anxiously waiting for them.
“Well, it’s good to see you two,” Perry greeted them warmly. “Are you both feeling better after that wretched ordeal?”
When both Lois and Jimmy assured him that they were, Perry responded, “In that case, I’d like all three of you to come into my office for a bit—including you, Clark. There are some further developments in this case we need to discuss.”
With those words, Perry led the way into his private office. There, they found Inspector Bill Henderson, along with Detective Bob Williams, both of the Metropolis Police Department, waiting for them. After the customary greetings had been exchanged, at Perry’s invitation, they all sat down. Perry did the same, then began,
“First of all, let me assure you that I am very grateful that both you, Lois, and you, Olsen, came through the events of last week without any permanent damage. I still feel, though, Olsen, that you acted very foolishly, even though you saved Miss Lane’s life in so doing!”
“I agree with you, sir,” Jimmy replied humbly. “I can only plead that I was concentrating on saving Miss Lane. When you’re in that kind of life-or-death situation, logical thought often winds up going by the way-side—and I guess that’s the way it was with me!”
As Perry nodded his understanding, Lois replied, “Well, as I told you then, Jimmy, I’ll always be grateful for what you did for me—but please, Jimmy, try not to go off half-cocked like that again!”
“I’ll do my best, Miss Lane,” the young redhead answered.
Smiling, Clark responded, “No one could ask more than that, Jimmy!” As Perry and the two police officers also smiled, he continued,”Now, to get down to business, Bill—what’s going to happen to Butler, to say nothing of the man he made that crazy bet with?”
“A lot’s going to happen to them, Clark,” Inspector Henderson answered in a steely voice, his eyes now flashing fire as he recalled the events of the near-tragedy. “At the very least, he’ll be facing charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, extortion, wanton endangerment, criminal violations of ex-plosives laws, and, in Jimmy’s case, attempted murder!”
The Inspector went on to explain that the last charge referred to the cruel and heartless manner in which Butler had stepped on Jimmy’s fingers as he was hanging on to the Planet Building ledge. Had Superman not caught Jimmy after he was forced to release his grip on that ledge, the young reporter would most certainly have fallen to his death.
“What about the kidnapping charge, Inspector?” Perry asked. “Wouldn’t that charge carry a mandatory death sentence?”
“We’re not sure, Mr. White,” Detective Williams replied. “The District Attorney is still looking into that, due to recent changes in the laws of this state on that subject. He certainly deserves the electric chair, though, after what he did!” As the others in the office forcefully indicated their concurrence, Williams went on, “There’s more to the case than that, though. You see, our investigators have determined that, although Mr. Olsen here was right in stating that there is no Apex Powder Company in the immediate area of Metropolis, there is in fact a company by that name—just a few miles over the state line! Furthermore, Butler apparently didn’t buy the dynamite—he stole it, and brought back over the state line, in an effort to throw off any subsequent investigation on our part! In the process, though, he committed a Federal offense—in fact, quite possibly more than one!”
“That means the FBI now has jurisdiction in the case, doesn’t it?” Lois inquired.
“Yes, it does, Lois,” Henderson answered. “Their agents, together with the local U.S. Attorney’s office, are conferring with our own District Attorney to best determine how to proceed as far as prosecuting Butler is concerned.”
“What about the man Butler made that crazy bet with?” Jimmy now asked. “Won’t he be facing criminal charges too? If not, he should be!”
“You’d better believe he will, son!” Perry shot back, his own eyes flashing fire as well. “At the very least, he’d be considered an accessory before the fact, if not before and during the fact! That means he’ll be facing the same charges, both state and Federal, that Butler will be answering for! Isn’t that right, Inspector?”
“That’s exactly right, Perry,” Henderson shot back, “and in case you’re wondering, the man in question has already been taken into custody, and, like Butler himself, he’s been ordered held without bond!”
“Is there any chance they might get off on an insanity plea on Butler’s part?” Lois inquired.
“Absolutely not, Miss Lane,” Detective Williams responded. “Butler’s scheme took careful, detailed planning—far, far too much for any plea of insanity to succeed! Also, the fact that he engaged in such planning clearly indicates that Butler knew right from wrong. He must have thought that, if everything went according to plan, since whatever he stole would be returned, and in view of the publicity the Daily Planet would derive from the incident, which he felt would boost the Planet’s sales and subscriptions, no one would either want or be able to press charges against him successfully.”
“Well, I’ll bet he realizes by now how wrong that idea was!” Jimmy said with a contemptuous snort.
As the others concurred, Henderson suddenly interjected, “Oh, that reminds me, Perry—the DA. said for me to tell you that it’s his opinion that the Planet, Miss Lane, and Mister Olsen here would all have ample grounds to file suit against these two hoodlums in civil court, in addition to whatever criminal charges they’ll be facing!”
“Oh, really?” Perry responded, lifting his eyebrows in the process. Then, turning to his two employees, a wicked, “cat-got-the canary” look on his features, he inquired, “Well, Miss Lane? Mr. Olsen? Would you be interested in joining the Daily Planet in such a civil suit?”
“You just try us, Mr White!” Jimmy shot back hotly, his nostrils flaring and his eyes blazing with fury. “Don’t get me wrong, but it seems to me that we need to make an example of these two schmucks!”
“Jimmy’s right, Perry,” Lois added. “Mind you, I don’t want to be seen as being on a witch hunt as far as these two men are concerned, but given the circumstances, I’d say that we’ll be seen as sending out a wrong signal if we don’t sue these men!”
Perry nodded his agreement, as did the others. “In that case, I’ll talk to our legal department and see what they say. In the meantime, why don’t the two of you each get busy writing an article about your experience. That might well serve to help you prepare to testify against these men, both in criminal and in civil court!” With those words, the meeting broke up, and the daily routine of the Metropolis Daily Planet officially returned to normal.
June 23, 2017
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