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Mystery In Wax — Epilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the episode of the same name
in the Adventures of Superman, 1951.

Two days had passed since the dramatic arrest and confinement of Madame Selena Dawn and her husband, who had owned and operated a small museum in Metropolis extolling Selena’s supposed psychic ability to predict the death of various persons. Fortunately, none of those individuals had in fact died or been killed, although Selena had been on the verge of murdering Lois when Superman had intervened. Madame Selena was now undergoing psychiatric evaluation, while her husband was now in the Metropolis Jail awaiting trial on multiple charges of being an accessory before, during, and after the fact of kidnapping. Since both Lois and her employer, Perry White, owner/editor of the Metropolis Daily Planet, had been among Selena’s victims, the Planet was naturally playing up the story for all it was worth. Nevertheless, as was his long-time practice, Perry had cautioned his staff against overly sensationalizing the story, especially given the fact Selena and her husband were still awaiting trial.

As they sat in Perry’s office discussing the case, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White could not help reflecting on how close Lois and Perry had come to to actually being murdered by Madame Selena. “So what’s going to happen to Selena, Mr. White?” Jimmy asked. He was already considering the idea of a follow-up article or series of articles on this case.

It’s hard to say at this point, Olsen,” Perry replied. “Right now, Mrs. Dawn is being evaluated by a team of psychiatrists appointed by the Superior Court. The results of that evaluation will go a long way in guiding the Court as to how to proceed. While it is true that significant strides have been made in the treatment of many forms of mental illness in recent years, in Madame Selena’s case, if I had to make a guess, I’d say she will more than likely spend the rest of her life in an institution—most likely, the State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.”

Jimmy nodded, then asked, “Well, what about Madame Selena’s husband? I’m sure we can all agree that he wasn’t out of his mind!”

No, he wasn’t, and still isn’t,” Clark replied. “Inspector Henderson tells me that Dawn will be facing enough charges to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life! He has taken one positive step, however—he’s filed for divorce from his wife! He feels, and I think rightly so, that after so many years of trying to help Selena, there is simply no point in continuing their marriage. Furthermore, Selena has expressed nothing but contempt for her soon-to-be ex-husband. She’s even refused all further communication with him!”

It was at this point that Lois, who had remained silent until now, finally spoke up. Shaking her head sadly, she commented, “Well, even with all of that, Clark, I can’t help feeling sorry for Dawn. Mind you, I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve punishment, but in some ways, he’s as much a victim as the people he helped Selena kidnap, if not more so! At least he’s made a clean breast of his part in the whole affair, and is fully cooperating with the authorities in their follow-up investigation!”

Perry, who was also a trained lawyer, replied, “Yes, that’s true, Lois, and I’m sure that the Court and the District Attorney will take that into consideration in determining how to proceed in Dawn’s case! We must never forget, however, that this is still an ongoing criminal investigation, and both Selena’s rights and those of her husband, must be properly respected and protected! Otherwise, the principle of ‘equal justice under the law’ becomes meaningless! That’s why we need to be extremely careful in how we proceed in covering this case!”

Well, even so, Mr. White,” Jimmy piped up, “I can’t help wondering how Selena got to this point in her life! How is it that no one in her family, especially her husband, didn’t recognize that she was mentally ill, and try to get help for her? It seems to me that that raises a whole slew of questions and issues about recognizing and treating mental illness!”

The others nodded thoughtfully. “You’ve raised a valid point, Son,” Perry commented, “and that being the case, why don’t you take the lead and work up a series of articles on that subject—including what resources are available to the general public in this regard? With any luck at all, we could perform a significant service in letting our readers know the kinds of help that are available, and how to make proper use of them. Mind you, Jimmy, Clark and Lois and I will certainly do everything we can to help you and back you up, but this could be an excellent way for you to stretch your wings, so to speak, as a reporter!”

The young redhead nodded his enthusiastic agreement. With that, the meeting broke up and the four journalists began work on what would turn out to be one of the most thought-provoking series of articles in the history of the Metropolis Daily Planet.

Posted: August 12, 2018

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