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The Smallville Sleeps Tonite

Dear The WB:

Hi. I'm in a band called R.E.M. You may not remember us (we haven't had any songs on the radio in a while), but we used to be a big deal. We're from Georgia. MTV used to love us.

Well, I was digging through some old boxes, looking for some ideas for lyrics for our new album due out next year and as research for a new Greatest Hits album we've got coming out. (It "drops," as the kids say these days, on October 28.) It's funny the kind of stuff you find when you go looking in old boxes. I found Faith No More. They were just cowering up in my attic, eating rats and mousetrap cheese.

Anyway, long story cryptic, I found an old letter from The WB asking to use some of our music in some episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek and a copy of my rather snippy response, where I said, "We would sooner sacrifice our drummer on a pillar of steaming monkey shit than allow you to cornhole our music to please viewers of your adolescent crap." Something like that. I'm probably exaggerating. Anyway, I finally caught Buffy on DVD and our drummer left the band, so I just wanted to say I'm sorry about that. In the intervening years, I also went a little Hollywood, found out that I'm gay (I always kind of suspected), and let my band fade into late-career irrelevance. So, you might say, I'm down for whatever at this point.

I also hear that you have this new Superman show where one of the heroes is an ambiguously gay bald guy. I gotta say, I think that's genius. So, go ahead and use our songs, The WB. Hell, use our hit songs that your core teen audience isn't even familiar with because they were seven when we were really popular. Please send the check to me in Athens, and I'll be watching for a scene where you use "Nightswimming" for the long-awaited Clark/Lex consummation.

Yours in diminishing returns,
Michael Stipe

We open on a sign of Crater Lake and a song from...hey, it's R.E.M.! Hope they're not just doing this for the money. It's that song where I always think they're singing "Combo Jamaican!" that makes me want to order a jerk chicken salad. Clark emerges from some minor woods wearing a white t-shirt. He's totally digging the R.E.M. We see a very pretty lake, a small shrub of a tree and a wooden bench, and, of course, those Kansas mountains in the background. Clark walks to the end of a very short pier. He takes off his shirt, but not his watch. Clark starts to take off his shoes and hears a sound from my nightmares: "Hi, Clark." It's her. She Who Must Not Be Named. Except Clark says it for me: "Lana," he says, semi-startled. He says he didn't know anybody else was out there. Lana grins -- a full-on Kreukferatu -- and says they must have had the same idea for cooling off. Standing shirtless on a pier? That's using your noodle. Clark says it's a "scorcher." No, it's a "Noodle." For "Brain." "Scorcher" is what you call it when somebody brands you with a hot poker. Lana stares at Clark's right nipple in a wholly unsavory way. She's completely transfixed, as if his nipple is showing Finding Nemo in high definition. Clark says he'll come back. Lana sputters, "Oh. No. Why? It's a big lake." She steps forward a little bit and says that there's enough room for both of them. You mean for Lana and Clark's nipple? Lana wants to be Clark's breast friend. Lana says she's game if Clark is, but it doesn't take an Omar to figure out that it sounds like she's asking if Clark is gay like she is.

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