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The Seven Souvenirs — Epilogue

by Tom Nichol

based on the episode of the same name from the
Adventures of Superman

[Author’s note: At the time this episode was filmed, the “Sci-Fi” craze was still in full swing in Hollywood. That trend is clearly reflected in the story line of “The Seven Souvenirs.” Some of the concepts reflected in this story have, in fact, come true in real life. I hope you enjoy!]

Two weeks had passed since the arrest of John Jasper, whose criminal machinations had culminated in his tricking the Man of Steel into exposing seven fake “Superman souvenir knives” to a powerful dose of Superman’s X-ray vision, converting the alloy of which the knives had been made into pure radium, “worth many millions of dollars.” Jasper was now in the Metropolis City Jail, awaiting trial. The case was now being discussed by Perry White, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Inspector William Henderson of the Metropolis Police Department, in Perry’s private office, with a view toward writing a follow-up article to close out the Daily Planet’s coverage of the case.

What’s gonna happen to that guy who was running the souvenir shop?” Jimmy Olsen piped up.

To everyone’s surprise, Clark Kent replied, “Nothing! He had no part in Jasper’s
actions, so no charges will be brought against him. Incidentally, according to Superman, he’s gotten out of the souvenir business altogether. He’s started up a pastry shop, together with his wife. And from what I’ve heard, the shop is doing well!”

At that moment, Dr. Tom Whitlock, the medical consultant to the Metropolis Police Department, came into the office to join the conversation. He explained that he had been asked to give John Jasper a physical examination, since he had been working with materials that had subsequently become radioactive from exposure to Superman’s X-Ray Vision. Thankfully, no evidence of any exposure to radiation had been detected.

So what’s going to happen to Mr. Jasper?” Lois inquired. To everyone’s surprise, Henderson replied, “NOTHING!” He then went on to explain that a background investigation had revealed that an old college classmate of Jasper’s, consumed with jealousy at Jasper’s business success, had used his business contacts to engineer a series of business problems which, try as he might, Jasper had been unable to overcome. The classmate had then forced Jasper to carry out the series of souvenir robberies under threat of being forced into involuntary bankruptcy.

It was during this time that Jasper had made the discovery with regard to the alloy used in the
seven knives which Superman had turned into pure radium. His jealous classmate had them compelled Jasper to carry out the scheme involving the knives—only this time, Jasper, already disgusted with his former classmate’s criminal behavior, had refused to comply with the idea – only to be told that, unless he did as he was told, several members of Jasper’s family would be harmed or even killed! He had also been told that, if he made any attempt to inform the authorities about the scheme, or of his former classmate’s involvement, the former classmate would order Jasper’s relatives to be gunned down without the slightest mercy!

We’ve already verified every detail of what DOCTOR Jasper, as he should be called, told us in the wake of his arrest,” Henderson concluded, “and the classmate in question has already been taken into custody.”

Naturally, the others in the office were outraged. “Why, that’s blackmail!” Lois cried, her lovely face flushing angrily.

“No, Lois, it’s extortion,” Perry responded.
He then reminded the others in the room that extortion involves the use, or threatened use, of force or physical violence, while blackmail does not.

Henderson then explained
that the Metropolis District Attorney had decided to charge Jasper’s former schoolmate with multiple counts of extortion, plus a number of counts of criminal intimidation. Jasper himself had been granted immunity from prosecution, and had willingly agreed to testify against his former classmate, and his criminal hirelings, all of whom would most likely be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Dr. Whitlock then added that Jasper would soon be released from jail as a result.

As the others murmured their understanding, Dr. Whitlock explained that Dr. Jasper, already badly shaken by his ordeal, had decided to close down his metallurgy consulting business, and had accepted a position with the Atomic Energy Commission. Although Jasper might have qualified for nomination for the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the alloy, he had already made it clear that he would decline any such honor, preferring instead to simply resume his metallurgical research and be done with it.

As Perry and his colleagues nodded their concurrence with Jasper’s decision, Clark observed that, as strange as the whole affair had turned out to be, it served as an illustration of one of the most important principles of the American justice system.

“What principle is that, Mr. Kent?” Jimmy asked.

Clark replied, “The principle that, in the words of the great English writer John Donne, ‘No man is above the law, and no man is below it!’”

As the others in the room murmured their agreement, the meeting came to a close.

Posted March 19, 2024

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