Krypton is obliterated. Supergirl misses out on her first date, is sent to Earth. Has disappointing romantic encounters with men who do not meet her standards for pliability. Uses superpower to turn them to stone even while missing irony. Has brief encounter in gym with Superman / Clark Kent who gives advice meant to foreshadow fling with “the only one who could ever reach me” and which seemed like a good way to end Part I but is sidestepped in this, Part II:
Actually the blind date was uneventful, though in a good way. There were no emergency call outs and she did not feel the need to add him to her collection of petrified suitors. It was the threat of a relationship that led to a voyage of self-discovery, and ultimately, restitution.
Billy was worlds apart from Super Bobby. Not just literally. For starters he was very proactive. After the initial setup thanks to an encounter with a minister who she saved from one of the deadly sins (pride goeth before a fall – she’d caught him as he tumbled off a Metropolis skyscraper observation deck outpreening a pigeon; he was a snappy dresser who it turns out had an available son), the pursuit was one way.
He liked her sass. He was indulgent of her sometimes flippant use of her superpowers. And he seemed to positively thrive on her abrasiveness, which had the sneaky effect of sanding it down to tolerable levels. In fact the more she threw at him, the more agile he became at not just catching but converting her brass and disdain to lively conversation starters rather than megaforce show stoppers. He should have been very irritating; yet she felt herself growing both powerless and powerfully charmed when in his presence. The question was if their budding romance could survive actual romance.
Of the various nemeses of Supergirl, the archest was The Puffin, a lordly little crime boss distantly related to The Penguin who so delighted in tormenting Batman over in Gotham City. He specialized in puns left in oversized fortune cookies at the scenes of his many high crimes and misdemeanors. Sample: “Did you hear about the optometrist who fell into a lens grinder and made a spectacle of himself?” That was after a heist at the mint in which nothing but pennies were stolen, leaving fountains all over Metropolis empty of wishes. The Puffin was one sick bastard.
Billy and Supergirl’s destinies were to intertwine with The Puffin’s at a gala event at the Metropolis Museum of Modern Art. Billy had invited her, and against her better judgement (not something she in abundance at any rate) she had agreed, silently reminding herself to steer him clear of her “Rocky Relationships” installation.
As they mingled her sixth sense tingled. Trouble was confirmed when the fire sprinklers went off for no good reason, drenching tuxedos and expensive gowns though leaving the exhibit they had come to see, garden variety umbrellas in various stages of furlment (“The artist forces our minds open even as we struggle to close them” – The Times), unbothered. This was followed by a strange high keening over the PA system which sharpened in intensity until the mayoress’s champagne glass could take it no more and shattered, quickly followed by those of the lesser luminaries assembled. Everyone began to cast about in confusion and alarm. Everyone except Supergirl, of course. And Billy, who reflexively hooked her in his arm but knew better than to lock her in with the other, let alone comfort her.
She shrugged free and ducked into the coat check to transform into her heroic persona and rustle up a decent lipstick from lost & found, then set out to see what fresh hell had just arrived.
It was The Puffin, in the process of handing the mayoress a broom and telling her to sweep up the broken glass as if she were the hired help. This was clearly beyond the bounds of decency, according to the mayor, who was just about to launch into his second stanza of outrage when he inexplicably began to levitate. His aide grasped him about the knees in a struggle to keep him earthbound until he, too, defied gravity, at which point the thermostat turned up to general pandemonium.
Supergirl quickly approached the villain and did what she did best: she got in his face. The Puffin just laughed. He snapped his fingers. Before she quite knew what was happening she, too, started to drift ceiling-ward. “But puffins can’t fly,” she thought inanely – and incorrectly, as no sooner had the misinformation crossed her mind than her tormenter floated up alongside her, delighted.
“Stop this cheap parlor trick at once!” she demanded, stamping her foot ineffectually on thin air. Parlor trick or no, her superpowers had been turned off like a light switch. Then she spied something that horrified her. The Puffin’s monocle – it was softly glowing green. Kryptonite!
All the guests were now bobbing gently in the air, some quite enjoyably once the initial terror had worn off. Meanwhile The Puffin’s henchmen calmly began collecting the umbrellas below. “This is an outrage!” squealed the curator. “Those are priceless works of art!”
“Only to the right buyer,” chuckled The Puffin, who set himself back down to collect their plunder under his wing.
“That’s right. I was reading in The Times recently that there’s a black market for everything,” offered the coat check girl, who was wondering if the current floatiness would be counted in her break time.
Supergirl began to find this tiresome, as she did any conversation which didn’t revolve around her. Alarmingly she had continued her ascent all the way to the top of the vaulted ceiling, quite a bit higher than everybody else. The Puffin must have truly wanted her out of harm’s way just in case.
At this point she noticed that Billy, who had grabbed one of the umbrellas as all this started to kick off, had turned it around and was reaching up to catch her by the ankle with the handle. She was almost out of reach… Got her! He pulled himself level with her and whispered in her ear, “Hurl me down and I’ll grab his monocle.”
“But I don’t have superpowers right now,” she told him, finding it difficult to keep the annoyance that she didn’t have superpowers out of her voice.
“Just brace yourself against the ceiling and let Newton do the rest,” he said. “Even without your superpowers you’ve still got a much better pitch than me.”
As she prepared to launch Billy into The Puffin, vaguely wondering who this Newton was and if he was good looking, Supergirl felt an uncharacteristic tug of concern. “Be careful,” she told him. “I’ll never forgive myself if you get hurt.” She probably would, but the fact that this was even up for internal debate was a watershed moment. She was surprised she had it in her. With that, she hugged Billy close then flung him down with all the relatively pitiful strength she could muster.
It was more than enough. Tragically, it turned out to be too much.
Billy shot straight and true into The Puffin, knocking the monocle out of his eye with enough force to break its little chain leash and send it skittering across the polished floor and under the hummus dip on the buffet table, out of harm’s way.
Supergirl instantly started plummeting to the floor until she realised that she had superpowers again and plummeting was no longer de rigueur. The Puffin’s pummelling had also flipped the switch on whatever non-Kryptonite trickery he had used to levitate everybody else, with the result that it was suddenly raining men. (And women. But that’s not how the song goes.) She dodged the meteor shower of benefactors and trophy wives, making a mental note to call a doctor or something when this was over, and raced after her nemesis.
Only her nemesis had disappeared. In his place she found the broken body of her nearly beloved Billy, impaled in a nest of splintered umbrellas which she would have to pay for, a battered fortune cookie in his death grip. The piece of paper inside read:
So long, it’s been fun,
’tis a poem and not a pun.
I have other fish to fry
lest you think I’m on the run.
Such a shame about your guy
see the tear in my good eye?
But when all is said and done
it was you that made him die.
Say a prayer for preacher’s son.