K is for Kryptonite
K is for Kryptonite
Bill Posten could hardly believe his eyes when the first envelope addressed to Mail Away Inc. showed up under the door of his apartment. The envelope contained the order form off the bottom of his advertisement and a cheque for six dollars. The name on the order form read Bobby Jones, age 7. He smiled and said, “So, little Bobby Johns, it looks like you want two Kryptonite rocks, but first we gotta make sure you’re good for it little buddy,” his voice echoed in the nearly empty apartment. He grabbed the cheque and headed to the bank.
He waited in line at the bank, glancing around at the other customers. “Why hell do old godgers always come to the bank at lunch hour?” He said to the woman in line behind him. She nodded uncomfortably and looked away. He shrugged and turned his attention to the cheque. The name on it was Betty Marten from Boise, Idaho. He noticed Betty’s handwriting appeared to be an unsteady, old-fashioned cursive and wondered if this was Bobby’s grandmother rather than his mother. He imagined Bobby’s mother was incapable of taking care of the little tyke for whatever reason and had pawned him off.
After he left the bank, he headed for the park to get a couple of rocks. The rocks had to be small enough to keep shipping costs down, but large enough that the kid didn’t feel ripped off. He turned several rocks over in his hands and discarded them before selecting two rocks for little Bobby. On his way home, he stopped at Mullen’s Hardware Emporium for green paint. He knew picking the right colour was important. The rocks had to appear like they were glowing from the inside out. He finally settled on a leaf green with the highest sheen available and headed home.
Later, he sat drinking a beer, marvelling at his work. He’d transformed the rocks from boring old earth rocks to glowing green outer space rocks capable of killing Superman. “I’m going to make a million,” he exclaimed as he placed the painted rocks in a small box, wrapped it in a Superman comic, and dropped it in a large envelope addressed to Bobby Johns.
Over the next few weeks as orders appeared under Bill’s door, he completed them just as he had the first time. He liked to make the rocks to order based on each kid. He couldn’t explain why, but he seemed to get a feel for the kids. It was the little details like their handwriting, where they lived, the names on the cheques that told a story about the kid ordering Kryptonite rocks from an ad in the back of a comic book.
One afternoon Bill was painting four rocks for a Leo Levinski in Rockhurst, Minnesota, when there was a knock on the door. “Who’s there?”
“Bobby Johns,” said a man with a firm, deep tone.
A zap of fear ricocheted through Bill’s body. “Bobby Johns? I don’t anyone by that name.”
“Yes, yes you do. You ripped me off, ” boomed the voice.
“How?” Bill watched as the door knob rattled and then fell off. He braced himself against the wooden door as the man on the other side started to push it open. “Whatya want,” cried Bill. The door inched open as Bill lost his footing. A male arm popped through the opening. The arm was bare save for a matte of thick, black hair; the hand was clutching something. Bill realized it was a green rock, just as the arm raised up, nearly touching the top of the door frame and slammed down on Bill’s head. His vision exploded in a bright green light of pain just as he crumpled to the floor.
Bill Posten knew no more.