Clark Kent wasn’t rich. He got by on a reporter’s wages, the paper barely scraping by. Recently, his editor suggested he try to monetize some of his other skills. But he wasn’t about to charge for leaping tall buildings in a single bound. It wasn’t in him.
When Batman and Robin announced their wedding plans, Kent was relieved that the invitation forbade any girls. What do you give a billionaire, anyway? Bruce Wayne recently auctioned off his Batmobile for charity, and it fetched four and a half million dollars.
Lois had sent Kent out to buy a bottle of wine, something to bring along to a June wedding. She told him to stay out of Gotham, his usual cheap wine haunt. No Astor, either. Something gift-wrapped from Sherry-Lehmann, she said.
So there was Kent, circling the wooden racks of wine on Park Avenue, trying to remember what a friend had mentioned about the best wines for the least amount of money. Stay away from the playgrounds of the rich, he’d said. That would be Napa, where a vineyard costs more than the Batmobile. Or Champagne or Burgundy. Same deal.
His friend was a journalist as well, a wine journalist, who, though broke, had access to all the wine in the world. People just sent it to him. He and his staff opened it up, tasted it blind, took some notes. Funny way to make a living. His friend told him to keep an eye out for wines from Argentina, Chile, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Those were the places with the highest recommendation rates for affordable wine. But he knew Bruce liked French wine. It’s all he’d seen in the Batcave. A lot of Bordeaux. Big bottles of Burgundy.
Beginning to sweat, Kent stepped outside and walked slowly east on 59th Street, where he found a narrow alley. Pulling out his iPhone, he ducked behind a dumpster, then reemerged in blue tights and red cape.
Back in the store, there was a magnum of 1995 Gruaud Larose he’d been eyeing before. But with Superman’s X-ray smell-o-vision, the horse stable scent put him off. Way out of his price range, in any case. There was a 2002 Montrachet, but he couldn’t see the wine through the oak. Then he remembered how he’d splurged on a dinner at Boulud Sud with Lois. That was the kind of place Robin would like. And the wine the sommelier brought them was a Beaujolais, a Morgon. He found a few dusty bottles in the back of the store, rubbed them off with the edge of his cape and, standing over one at a time, sniffed across the row. Funk…funk…funk…hmm, fresh, bright, with just a little of that earthiness. Lapierre, is it?
The aproned clerk, who’d been cowering behind the register, slipped the bottle into a gift box and took Superman’s twenty. Excellent choice, sir, I’m sure Mr. Wayne will be pleased, he said. But Superman was already gone.
This story appears in the print issue of June 2013.
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