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Superman In Mayberry

by Kirk Hastings

A “Lost Adventure” of Superman

So far it was just another ordinary day in the quiet little town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Town deputy Barney Fife had just come inside the Mayberry court house and collected the mail from just inside the front door where it had fallen through the slot. Walking over he dropped it all on Sheriff Andy Taylor’s desk. Andy had been filling out some paperwork, but he stopped for a moment to rifle through the envelopes. Barney stood in front of his desk, watching him.

Anything important?” Barney asked. A smirk crossed his face. “Or just the usual stuff addressed to that weird guy named ‘Occupant’?”

Yeah, that ‘Occupant’ guy sure is popular around hereabouts,” Andy responded. He dumped most of them into his trash can. However, when he got to one particular large envelope he stopped and ripped it open.

That looks like wanted posters from the county,” Barney said.

Yep,” Andy told him. Andy flipped through the enclosed posters.

Anything interesting?”

As a matter of fact, yes,” Andy replied. “Here’s one from out of state. A couple of mean-lookin’ fellows named Duke Pizanno and Johnny Reade. Both wanted in four states for illegal gambling, loan-sharking, and murder.”

Barney suddenly looked nervous. “Murder?” he exclaimed. Unconsciously he started to finger his left shirt pocket, where he kept the one bullet he was allowed to keep on his person for his normally unloaded sidearm.

Yeah boy,” Andy continued. “Murder. It says they might be headin’ in this direction too, in a stolen car. They’re tellin’ us to keep a lookout for them.”

Before Barney could say anything more a sudden commotion made itself known, coming from the town’s main street outside the front of the building.

Wonder what that’s all about?” Barney asked.

I don’t know,” Andy replied. “Let’s go take a look-see.” Andy got up from his desk and headed for the door. Barney followed after him.

Once they were both outside a car roared right past the court house, headed west at a high rate of speed.

Hey!” Barney shouted to no one in particular. “That guy’s speeding! That’s a 402-7!”

But the pedestrians standing on either side of the street on the sidewalks were not looking at the car. They were looking up into the sky. Some of them were pointing.

What is that? A bird?” one older man on the sidewalk near Barney declared.

I don’t think so! It’s too big for a bird!” another man next to him said.

Well, it’s too small to be a plane!” a third man commented.

A woman nearby raised her hand to her mouth in a gesture of amazement. “It’s not a plane!” she pronounced. “It’s a

As unbelievable as it seemed, it
was a man -- a man with a cape, flying through the air and heading down toward the street!

As the onlookers gaped the man landed squarely on his feet in the middle of the street a few yards ahead of the speeding car. The car did not slow down. The women standing around on both sidewalks turned their heads, expecting the car to run over the man and kill him instantly.

But that’s not what happened. The caped man extended both arms out. His flattened palms slammed against the front of the oncoming car’s hood, and the car came to a jarring and immediate stop.

Andy started running up the street toward the immobilized car. After recovering himself, Barney haltingly followed.

When they both reached the car the caped man was examining the driver of the car through the driver’s side window. The man was lying unconscious against the steering wheel.

Why, that’s Duke Pizanno!” Barney managed to say, recognizing the man from his photograph on the wanted poster he had just seen.

He’s all right. He’s just knocked out from the sudden stop,” the man who had stopped the car told Andy. “No concussion.”

You’re – you’re that fellow Superman, aren’t you?” Andy asked.

Superman nodded. “Unfortunately, Pizanno’s companion, Johnny Reade, isn’t with him,” he said. “Pizanno must have previously dropped him off somewhere.”

Then that means Reade’s still at large!” Barney announced breathlessly.

Superman nodded again. A number of gaping pedestrians started to gather around the car.

I’m mighty glad to meet you, Superman,” Andy said. “I never thought I’d ever see you around these parts. I’m Andy Taylor, the local sheriff.”

Superman shook hands with him. “Glad to meet you too, Sheriff,” the Man of Steel replied. “I’ll leave Pizanno in your capable hands then.” He looked around at the gathering crowd. “I’d better go.”

Superman lifted his arms and leaped up into the air. Within moments he had disappeared into the distance.

Wow, Andy, was that really him?” Barney exclaimed. “… that fellow from the big city that they say has all those superhuman powers and all?”

That was him,” Andy responded. “C’mon, we’d better get Pizanno into a cell, and then get him a doctor.”

Andy and his deputy were not aware of the fact that Superman had actually
not flown away from Mayberry. Instead he had circled around and landed in an alley a block or so away. A few moments later Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent walked out of that very same alley. He straightened his tie, then walked back to the scene of Pizanno’s arrest and came over to Andy, who was struggling to get Pizanno out of the car.

All right folks, the show’s over!” Barney announced, waving his arms at the assembled crowd, using that ultra-professional tone of voice he often put on when he had to deal with the public. “Give us some room here! Go back to your homes! We’ve got this situation well under control!”

Here, let me help you,” Kent said, coming up and starting to assist Andy in hoisting Pizanno out of the car. “I’m Clark Kent, a reporter with the Metropolis Daily Planet newspaper,” he said, introducing himself. “I’ve been tracking Pizanno and Reade for a while now, hoping to get the story of their capture. Looks like you’ve got one of them.”

Thanks, Mr. Kent,” Andy replied, gratefully accepting his help. Pizanno was a heavy bruiser, and difficult to lift. “Looks like you may have your story,” Andy added, smiling. “Well, half of it, at least!”

The pair both carried the limp Pizanno down the street to the Mayberry court house. Once inside they took him into one of the two cells there and laid him out on the cot. When that was done Andy went over to his desk and picked up the telephone there.

Hello, Sarah?” he said into the mouthpiece. “Call the doc and tell him to come over to the court house right away, will you? Yeah, we got a patient here for him.”

Just then Barney came in the front door. Andy hung up the phone and looked at Kent.

So I guess you’re a newcomer in town, Mr. Kent?” Andy asked.

Uh, yes,” Kent replied, touching his glasses. “I’ll probably be staying around for a few days or so, to see if I can pick up a lead on Pizanno’s partner, Reade. … In the meantime, can you suggest a place in town where I might stay?”

Sure thing!” Andy told him. “The Mayberry Hotel is right down the street. I’ll take you over there myself.”

Kent smiled and nodded.

Keep an eye on that desperado in there, will you Barn?” Andy said to his deputy, pointing toward Pizanno’s cell. “The doc’ll be right over to take a look at him.”

Sure, sure,” Barney replied, waving the two men off. He patted the holster on his belt. “Ol’ Roscoe and I won’t take our eyes off him!”

Andy chuckled, and the two men left.

Once outside they walked down the sidewalk side by side.

This seems like a nice, quiet, peaceful little town,” Kent remarked.

Yeah, well, I guess for the most part it is,” Andy replied. “We don’t get much excitement like what happened today around here. We just get mostly jaywalkers and illegal stills. Overall Mayberry residents are pretty law-abidin’ folks.”

Kent looked around as they walked, somewhat wistfully. “It must be nice to live in such a place.”

I guess it’s quite a bit different from the big city, huh?”

Yes, it surely is.”

They came to the Mayberry Hotel, and Andy escorted Kent in the front door.

Hi Asa,” Andy greeted the front desk clerk. “We need a room for Mr. Kent here. He’s visiting from the big city for a few days.”

Oh, I’m sorry, Sheriff,” Asa replied. “We’re havin’ a problem with the plumbing in some of the rooms right now,” he apologized. “And the owner’s in the process of renovating some of the other rooms. And those rooms that are left already have customers in them.”

Oh, that’s too bad,” Andy said.

Is there anywhere else in town I could stay?” Kent asked.

Well, no, not really,” Andy told him. “We’re a, uh, small town, like I said.” Andy thought about it for a moment, stroking his chin. “Wait a minute,” he finally said. “I live with my Aunt Bee and my son Opie, but we have a spare bedroom. Why don’t you just stay with us, since you’re only here a couple days?”

Oh no, I wouldn’t want to impose on you,” Kent replied.

It’s no imposition, really,” Andy said. “And Aunt Bee makes the best fried chicken in the whole county!”

Kent smiled at this. “Well, if you think she really wouldn’t mind.”

Not at all!” Andy assured him. “We live right down the street a couple blocks. I’ll take you there now.”

Thanks, Sheriff. I really appreciate this,” Kent told him. They headed back out onto the street.

They walked down the main street a ways back past the court house, and then down another street to a row of neat-looking little houses. Every one had a pristine-looking little lawn out in front of it. As they walked Kent found himself experiencing a funny case of déjà vu. He started to remember some of the other little towns that he had been in in the past that seemed in a way kind of similar to Mayberry: Silsby, Carbide, Clifton-By-The Sea, etc.

He finally told himself that
all small towns must look somewhat similar to each other.

When they came to Sheriff Andy’s homey little two-story rancher Andy escorted Kent inside. Once in the living room Andy called up the stairs to the second floor while Kent politely removed his hat. “Aunt Bee!” he shouted.

Within a moment Bee came down the stairs. “Aunt Bee, I’d like you to meet Clark Kent,” Andy told her. “He’s a newspaper reporter in town from the big city to investigate two crooks from out of state that are currently in the area. We’ve already got one of them. He’s locked up in the jail. We’re still looking for the other one.”

Nice to meet you Mr. Kent,” Bee said. “I’m sorry you have to be in town for such depressing circumstances. Mayberry is usually such a friendly little town.”

Kent nodded respectfully to her. “Nice to meet you, too, uh, Miss Bee,” he replied.

And Aunt Bee, you’ll never guess who made an appearance in town this morning!” Andy exclaimed.

Oh, I already know, thanks to the local female grape vine!” Bee responded. “Isn’t it exciting, someone like the legendary Superman showing up in little ol’ Mayberry!”

It sure is!” Andy told her. “And Mr. Kent here says he knows him!”

Oh, really?” Bee declared. “My word, that’s very interesting!”

Uh, yes,” Kent said quietly. “I’ve had some contact with him.”

Perhaps you can tell my son Opie about him,” Andy continued. “He’s always been fascinated with Superman. He’s in school right now. He’ll be home later.”

Sure, I’d be glad to talk to Opie,” Kent replied. He touched the rim of his glasses uneasily. “… I’ll tell him what I know, which probably isn’t all that much,” he added.

Aunt Bee, Mr. Kent has nowhere to stay while he’s in town,” Andy said. “They don’t have any rooms available at the hotel right now. I told him it would be all right if he stayed here for a couple of nights.”

Oh, sure, that’s just fine!” Bee replied. “I’ll fix the guest room up for you, Mr. Kent. We’d be glad to have you!”

Thank you very much,” Kent said. “I really appreciate this.”

No problem at all!” Bee responded. The happy hostess side of her was already starting to exert itself.

# # #

Back at the court house the phone rang on Andy’s desk. Barney, who was sitting at the desk staring suspiciously at Pizanno (who was lying on the cot in his cell trying to sleep, after the local doctor had pronounced him fit other than a small bump on his head), picked up the old-fashioned phone and its earpiece.

Hello,” he pronounced into the mouthpiece. “Mayberry Court House. Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife speaking.” He listened for a moment. “What’s that? You say you just had a breakout from the state prison?” he said into the phone. He lowered it for a moment. “Oh great,” he mumbled testily to himself. “When it rains it pours!” When a “What?” came over the earpiece Barney picked up the phone again. “Oh, I just said it’s starting to rain here!” he said nervously into the mouthpiece, trying to cover up his remark. “Yes!” he added. “Yes, we’ll be on the lookout here for him! What’s his name?” Suddenly Barney’s face went blank. “Avery Noonan?” he repeated anxiously. “Avery Noonan! Are you sure that’s who got out?”

Barney remembered that he had had a hand in arresting Noonan a year or so before for beating up a neighbor of his, and Noonan had threatened Barney at the time too.

What’s that?” Barney continued into the phone’s mouthpiece. “You say he stole a pistol from a guard and is armed too?” Now there was a real look of shock on his face. Like a man in a daze he hung the phone up.

Avery Noonan is out!” he muttered to himself. “He said if he ever got out of jail he’d come get me! And now he’s armed too!”

What’s that?” Pizanno said from his cell. “What’d you say?”

Barney quickly got all business again. “Nothing, Pizanno! Nothing! You just mind your own beeswax over there and go back to sleep!” he ordered.

Pizanno shrugged and closed his eyes again.

Noonan’s out!” Barney repeated to himself, this time in a whisper. “With a gun! What am I gonna do?”

Just then Andy came in the front door. Kent came in with him.

Hi, Barn!” Andy said cheerily. “How’s the prisoner doing?”

What?” Barney replied, not quite out of his funk yet. “Oh, the prisoner! He’s fine!” he said, recovering himself. “Just fine!” He got up from Andy’s seat and went over to his own desk and sat down on his own chair.

Andy sat down at his desk. He looked at Barney, who was fidgeting and looking very nervous. “Barney, you okay?” Andy asked.

Well … we just got a call from the state prison in Raleigh,” Barney replied glumly. “The warden said that Avery Noonan just broke out, and he might be headed this way. And he’s armed too.”

Avery Noonan?” Andy repeated. “Isn’t that the guy who said he would get you if he ever got out of prison?”

Yeah, that’s the guy!” Barney responded irritably.

Well, don’t it sound like we’re going through a veritable crime wave here lately,” Andy said to Kent, a bit of irony in his voice. “I guess when it rains it pours!”

The last thing we need at a time like this is a weather report!” Barney shot back testily.

Okay! Okay!” Andy shot back, wondering what the big deal about his comment was. But, he knew that Barney often responded in ways that were puzzling, to say the least.

Kent was starting to feel a little uncomfortable watching all this, even though so far it was actually a pretty typical day at the Mayberry court house. “I think I’ll go wander around the area and see if I can pick up any leads on Reade,” he said.

Sure,” Andy said. “Be careful about that Noonan guy too, if you happen to see him.”

Kent nodded and headed for the door. Right then Barney suddenly popped up from his chair. “I think I’ll go patrol the southern part of the county!” Barney chimed in. He looked at Andy and gestured. “You know – that part
way down near Myers Lake.”

We haven’t actively patrolled that area for years!” Andy replied.

Barney looked irritated again. “Well, yeah!” he responded. “That’s why I think I better go on down there and have a look around! Could be all kinds of crime and graft goin’ on down there, and we wouldn’t know a thing about it!”

Graft?” Andy replied in a bewildered voice. “There’s nothin’ down that way but wide open farm fields!”

Well, those farmers down there are capable of cheatin’ each other too, ya know!” Barney protested. He headed for the front door, barging right by Kent as he did so.

Once he was gone Kent looked at Andy, and Andy looked back at him.

Barney can be a little temperamental sometimes,” Andy said, shrugging his shoulders. “Actually,” he added, “… he can be a little strange at times, too.”

Kent gave Andy a knowing look. “I know what you mean. I know someone that’s the same way!”

He thought of Jimmy Olsen.

I’ll see you at suppertime then?” Andy asked.

Kent nodded. He waved goodbye and went outside. Once on the sidewalk he stopped and watched Barney as the twitchy deputy climbed into his patrol car and took off down the street.

Kent smiled and shook his head.

# # #

Once he was way down in the southern outskirts of Mayberry County Barney began to relax a bit. He had seen nothing but open farm fields for quite a distance, and now it seemed more and more unlikely that Avery Noonan would ever find him down here. When he spotted a small farm stand on the side of the road he decided to pull over and get something to munch on.

After buying some freshly-picked apples Barney got back in his squad car and once again set out down the road. He hadn’t gone far when he realized he was almost at Myers Lake. When he got to a little side road that led to it he decided to take it. When he reached the lake’s perimeter he stopped his patrol car and got out. He found a suitable rock to sit on and he perched himself there, nibbling on one of his apples.

After a few minutes he abruptly felt something cold against the back of his neck. He reached up to scratch it when his fingers came into contact with something round, cold, and hard.

Hiya, old pal,” came a low, scratchy voice from behind him.

Very slowly Barney turned his head around. Once he did he observed that Avery Noonan was standing just behind him, dressed in prison garb. The cold, hard, round thing that was now pointed right at Barney’s face was the barrel of a pistol.

Avery!” Barney blurted. “Avery Noonan!”

Yeah, Avery Noonan,” Barney’s adversary repeated. “The guy that said I was gonna get you if I ever got out of prison. And here I am, out of prison and free as a bird! And my favorite person in the whole wide world decided to do me a magnificent favor and park himself right in my path of escape!”

Barney realized, too late, that the Raleigh State Prison was south of Mayberry. It made perfect sense that Avery would be out in the woods here, headed north from the prison in order to get to Mayberry to exact his revenge. And now Barney was trapped! And even though he was armed too, like Avery, his pistol was still in his holster. And his only bullet was still nestled securely in his shirt pocket!

Barney slowly stood up. “Avery, old buddy! Old pal!” he stuttered nervously. “Can’t we talk this over? After all, I didn’t really arrest you! Technically that was Sheriff Taylor, my boss!”

Yeah, but you led him to me!” Avery corrected. “He never woulda found me if it hadn’t been for you!”

But – but!” Barney stammered. He couldn’t think of anything else to say. “I guess this is it!” he thought to himself. He shut his eyes and waited for the fatal shot to come.

But what he heard instead was a strange, sudden whoosh of wind and a thump. He opened his eyes.

Astoundingly, there was Superman, standing just yards behind where Avery stood! Avery whirled around. “What the --!” he exclaimed in shocked surprise.

Put the gun down!” Superman commanded.

Instead, Avery began to fire frantically at the costumed figure. He emptied all six chambers of his pistol, but the bullets just bounced harmlessly off the amazing figure.

Superman stepped forward. He grabbed the now-empty pistol from Avery’s hand and held it up in front of the man’s face. In a deliberate attempt to show the escaped criminal the futility of any further resistance, Superman crushed the gun into a shapeless hunk of metal right before the man’s astonished eyes. Then he dismissively threw it aside.

Avery attempted to flee. But before he could get more than a step away Superman clouted him squarely on the jaw, and he went down like a rock.

Barney just stood there like a statue frozen in place. Finally, once he had recovered from the incredible sight he had just witnessed, he stammered: “How – how did you find me?”

I figured I’d better keep an eye on you after I heard about Noonan,” Superman responded. “You didn’t seem to be in a very good frame of mind about it. And I knew Noonan was somewhere in this area, looking for you.”

Well, geez, I’m awful glad you did keep an eye on me!” Barney replied. “That was the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life!”

Do you have a pair of handcuffs on you?” Superman asked.

Sure!” Barney said. He grabbed them from the catch on his belt and handed them to the Man of Steel. Superman used them to handcuff Noonan. Then he slung the burly man up over his shoulder like a sack of flour and took him over to Barney’s squad car. Barney ran after him and opened the rear door of the car, enabling Superman to dump his burden right into the back seat.

Can you get back to town all right with this bird?” Superman asked.

Sure!” Barney assented.

Good. I’ll probably see you back there some time soon.”

Before Barney could say anything else Superman had taken a running start and leaped up into the air. He flew upward, and within moments he was out of sight.

Sufferin’ Crawfish!” Barney muttered to himself. “Wait ‘til Thelma Lou hears about this!”

# # #

Some time later Barney arrived back at Mayberry with his prisoner. Pulling up in front of the court house Barney got Noonan out of the patrol car. Then he paraded him into the court house.

Andy looked up from his desk as Barney came in. Andy stared as Barney proceeded to take Noonan over to one of the jail cells and lock him in.

Barney, you got Noonan!” Andy exclaimed. “How on earth did you manage to capture him?”

Barney strutted over to Andy. “Well,” he began, suddenly proud as a peacock, “I don’t want to make a big mélange about it, but it weren’t really that tough a job for old Roscoe and me here,” he declared, patting the gun in his holster. He made a quick gesture like taking the gun out and firing it. “They don’t call me ‘Fast Gun Fife’ for nothin’, you know!”

Andy just continued to stare.

You beat everything, you know that?” Andy finally said, smiling.

Yeah, well, you know Ange, when you’ve been trained as long as I have, sometimes the ol’ instincts just take over!” He sniffed and made a motion hitching up his pants.

Just then Kent came in the front door. “Hello, Sheriff,” he said. “Deputy Fife.”

Hi, Mr. Kent,” Andy replied. “You’re just in time to witness the capture of one of Mayberry’s most wanted crooks!”

Reade?” Kent asked, hopeful.

No -- a local tough guy named Avery Noonan,” Andy told him. “Deputy Fife was just about to tell me about how he managed to capture him.”

Kent turned and observed Noonan lounging in his cell.

Barney sniffed again. “Yeah, well, I was patrolling down around Myers Lake when I happened to spot Noonan sneaking around in the woods. Wasn’t that big a deal then for me to just pull out ol’ baby here” (he patted his gun holster again) “and hogtie him.”

Kent smiled knowingly to himself at Barney’s slightly exaggerated version of what had happened. “Well, you’re certainly to be commended for your quick and courageous action, Deputy Fife,” he said, playing along.

All part of a day’s work,” Barney casually replied. “I guess when all’s said and done, to sum it all up there’s three reasons why there’s so little crime hereabouts in Mayberry.”

Is that right?” Kent replied.

Yep. There’s Andy, and there’s me – and baby makes three!” Barney said, patting his gun holster again.

Kent tried hard not to laugh.

Just then the front door opened and a middle-aged man dressed in overalls and a straw hat came in.

Oh, hi Mr. Millstone,” Andy greeted him.

The man came over to Andy’s desk. “Sheriff,” he said, “There’s somethin’ goin’ on on my farm that I think you should know about.”

What’s that, Mr. Millstone?”

Well, lately some of my eggs have been disappearin’ from my chicken coop, and somebody’s been pullin’ up some vegetables out of my field. I have a funny feelin’ that somebody’s been livin’ in my barn lately that ain’t supposed to be there.”

Sheriff,” Kent interrupted, “is it possible that Reade could be hiding there?”

It sure is possible,” Andy replied. “The Millstones live way out north of town, and that’s the direction Reade and Pizanno originally came from.”

Maybe we could go out there and take a look?” Kent asked.

Right away!” Andy replied. He hopped up from his desk and went over to the gun rack and removed a rifle from it. “Let’s go!” he said.

What about me?” Barney cried.

Sorry, Barn, but someone’s got to stay here with Pizanno!” Andy shouted, as he and Kent headed for the door. Mr. Millstone followed close behind them.

# # #

A short while later Andy and Kent arrived at the Millstone farm in Andy’s squad car. Andy parked it a little ways down the road from the property so as not to alert anyone prematurely who might be there on the sly. Mr. Millstone pulled up and parked his old pickup truck right behind them.

Maybe you’d better stay back here for now, Mr. Millstone,” Andy cautioned, “until we can determine what’s going on on your property.”

Millstone nodded. With that Andy and Kent moved slowly up the road. They stopped behind a row of bushes a short distance from the farm property’s house and barn.

It’s a good thing Mr. Millstone’s wife is off in town shopping,” Andy said. “But now we have to figure out a safe way to determine whether or not Reade’s really in the barn or not.”

Kent narrowed his eyes and made use of his x-ray vision on the Millstone barn.

He’s in there, all right,” Kent said.

Andy looked at him. “How do you know that?” he asked.

Kent ignored the question. “I’m going to circle around behind the barn,” he said. “That way we’ll be able to run interference for Reade if he comes out, no matter which direction he goes.”

Before Andy could reply Kent quickly moved off. Andy was a bit concerned that the reporter had gone off on his own without authorization, especially since he was unarmed. But Kent was already out of sight, and Andy couldn’t yell after him now without alerting whoever might be in the barn. Making a decision himself Andy crouched low and started to move forward in the direction of the barn.

He had not gone far when a rifle shot rang out, impacting on the trunk of a tree right beside him. Andy quickly hit the dirt and rolled over behind a nearby wagon, his rifle held up and at the ready.

Reade, this is Sheriff Taylor!” Andy shouted. “Make this easy on everyone, including yourself, and throw your gun out and come out with your hands up!”

Come and get me, cop!” came the response.

Suddenly Andy heard a whooshing wind sound. He looked up. Seconds later he saw Superman land right in front of the barn.

Although Reade had put a bar across the barn doors on the inside in order to barricade himself in, Superman easily shoved the doors open, breaking the big wooden bar in half. He proceeded inside. Reade stood up from behind a cow stall, rifle in hand, and began blasting away at the Man of Steel. The shells all bounced off Superman’s mighty chest. As a last act of desperation Reade charged Superman, wielding the now-empty rifle like a baseball bat. He clubbed Superman over the neck and shoulder with it, but the rifle just broke in half, leaving the Man of Steel totally unhurt.

One punch to Reade’s jaw and it was all over.

Outside, hearing the shooting, Andy got up off the ground and charged forward. After he entered the barn he observed Superman already patting Reade down for any other weapons he might have had on him.

He’s clean,” Superman told the Sheriff.

Andy looked at Reade out cold on the ground, his broken rifle lying beside him.

Wow,” Andy said. “You beat everything, Superman, you know that?” was all he could think of to say.

# # #

That evening Kent and Andy and Barney all got together for a farewell dinner together at the Bluebird Diner in town before Kent headed back to “the big city”.

I’m certainly glad you didn’t rush into that barn before Superman got there,” Andy was saying while they waited for their meal. “But I wish you had waited before rushing away from me like that.”

I’m sorry for not listening to your instructions first, Sheriff,” Kent replied. “Yes, it was fortuitous that Superman got there when he did. I guess I got a little overexcited.”

I’m just sorry I couldn’t have been there with you guys,” Barney said. “I’m sure my cool judgment under pressure would have been a great help.”

Uh, yeah, Barn, I’m sure it would’ve been,” Andy replied with a bit of a smile. “But somehow we managed to carry on without you.” He turned to Kent. “Mr. Kent, do you think you’ll ever be coming back this way again?” he said.

I’d certainly like to,” Kent replied. “I like Mayberry. It’s a nice little town. Maybe on my next vacation I’ll head down this way again. And I certainly do appreciate your generous hospitality while I’ve been here, Sheriff. Tell Aunt Bee once again how grateful I am for her hospitality. And her fried chicken!”

I will,” Andy replied, smiling.

And tell Opie that if he gets good marks again in school this semester, I might just see if I can rustle up an autographed picture of Superman to send to him!”

He would certainly love that!” Andy told him.

Yeah, well, when you see Superman again,” Barney interjected, “just let him know I’d be more than happy to help him out anytime he might need some assistance with those big city crooks of yours. After all, us law enforcement professionals all have to stick together, you know.”

I’ll make sure I let Superman know that the next time I see him, Mr. Fife,” Kent answered, trying very hard to keep a straight face. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate your kind offer.”

Andy and Kent exchanged knowing looks and a wink with one another just as Juanita, the waitress, brought their food to the table.

Posted April 6, 2021

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