For all the times that you rained on my parade

Nora wasn't proud of what she was about to do. With the sky having turned an eerie shade of orange that seemed to last all day, the San Francisco Bay Area looked apocalyptic and what she was about to do wasn't going to help with that feeling. Nonetheless, she had a plan: wait until after she and Joe had finished dinner, start a bonfire in their backyard, and burn the damn camp mascot beaver suit she had found in her closet as a souvenir from her week as an unwilling participant at Camp Anawanna. Burning the suit may have seemed excessive, but given the warm summers and the number of people who had worn the suit prior and the damp, musty smell from within the suit that seemed to be permanently embedded into layers of matted fake fur and whatever other acrylic material the suit was made of. Aside from finding some kind of toxic- or biohazard-friendly dump site, a backyard burning might have been the fastest, most sure way to get rid of the thing.

The fires that raged across the area had caused the state to enact a Spare the Air alert that told residents that they were prohibited from burning wood outdoors to help prevent the risk of more fires and preserve what little air quality they still had. Today's numbers had actually been good thanks to the marine layer that had formed over the Bay Area, as it was protecting residents from smoke while also allowing sunlight to get filtered in, causing the strange orange skies that looked straight out of Blade Runner. Fortunately, Nora didn't need wood to burn the suit. She was planning on using her heat vision to do the damage and hoped that it would be more satisfying to destroy the suit herself. The air outdoors already smelled like smoke so it was unlikely to cause any undue attention, and if needed, Nora could use her super breath to control the flames or put them out altogether. Nonetheless, she had hauled a fire extinguisher outside with her as well and had also primed the garden hose nearby — just in case.

She pulled the clunky beaver suit from its hiding place in her closet and carefully carried it down the stairs with her, taking the stairs one step at a time as a toddler would so as to avoid face planting at the bottom of the stairwell and adding insult to injury. Of all animals, Camp Anawanna's mascot had to be a beaver? Whoever was behind this sure had a sense of humor, and Nora could only guess who it was. The pop culture references, the extreme reality bending, it all pointed to one impish being from the Fifth Dimension. She didn't dare to even think of his name on most days as if doing so would run the risk of summoning him like Beetlejuice.

It took more effort than she would have cared to admit, but she had dragged the hefty mascot suit down the stairs, out the back door, and into the yard where she had cleared up space so that she could destroy the suit. They had a wood-burning fire pit in the yard that Nora had cleared out with every intention of burning the suit there; at least it would be a contained burn and she wouldn't have to worry about too much of a mess to clean up afterwards. Of course, the suit wouldn't fit in the fire pit in one piece, so she used her strength to tear the costume apart limb from limb. Stuffing and fluff flew in all directions as she did so and she ignored the fact that it suddenly looked like a massacred Build A Bear Workshop in their backyard. She caught a glimpse of the lights turned on in the separate home office space that she and Joe had carved out a few weeks ago and assumed that he had gotten roped into one phone call or another as he dealt with suppliers and contractors and his various obligations to the board. Whether he was able to be present for this or not, the suit had to go, and it had to go now.

She gathered as much of the beaver costume as she could and placed it into the fire pit. It seemed that this would take a few tries, but it didn't matter to Nora — she just wanted the costume gone no matter what. It had appeared in her closet after camp and she had left it there, shoved towards the back where she couldn't see it, but every day since it seemed to pop out to make an appearance of some kind as if it were mocking her, whether it was at five in the morning when she was getting ready for work or at the end of the day when she had arrived at home and was trying to wind down.

The arms were the first to go. Using all of her concentration, she set her sights on the paws and fired away. Beams of bright red light were projecting from her eyes and incinerated the front paws. It wasn't often that Nora had to use her heat vision for extended periods of time but this felt worth it. After the front paws came the hind legs, haphazardly tossed onto the firepit to follow the fate of the paws before them. She had been lasering away for about fifteen minutes before she was finally satisfied with the pile of ashes left behind by part of the costumes, and she let out a deep breath to create some fresh air circulation in the area, which was much needed after all of that burning. Whatever stench had attached itself to the costume seemed to be lingering in the air and she wasn't sure whether it was real or just her imagination — neither would surprise her.

The tail and the torso were next, and soon, the beaver's head. She placed it on the mound of ash and squinted at its beady eyes, making a face of disgust at the garish, cartoonish expression it wore on its own. It almost seemed excessive, if not mean to aim for the beaver's eyes, but the frustration and embarrassment that being the camp mascot — and being bamboozled into thinking she was at camp at all — justified the actions in her mind. She took a deep breath, aimed, and fired.

Those same red lasers lit up the backyard and began to bore holes into the beaver mascot's head. She was only a few seconds into the job when she was overcome by the smoke, something that hadn't happened with the rest of the costume. Mysteriously, the smoke coming from the mascot's head was a thick, foggy white rather than the darker grey from earlier. Nora coughed a few times, clearing her lungs so that she could take another deep breath and blow the smoke away. But rather than clearing the air, a very familiar and very unwelcome figure appeared as the smoke dissipated around him.

Her reflexes got the best of her and before she knew it, her fist was connecting with the figure's nose. Mxy cried out and grabbed his face. "Ow! That's no way to welcome guests into your home!"

"You," Nora growled, her contempt for the imp evident in her voice.

There he was, hovering over the fire pit in all of his impish glory. Mister Mxyzptlk hardly looked like a threat at a mere three feet and nine inches, and the goofy excuse for a bowler hat didn't help his case, either. Unfortunately, he seemed to recover all too quickly from the super-punch that had served as his welcome to Dolores Heights. "My dear, were you expecting someone else? That was some of my best handiwork, don't you think? A week at summer camp, that awful dining hall food, those sports, that talent show! A marvel if I do say so myself!"

His laugh rang loudly in her ears and only caused her to grow more irate. "What are you doing here?" she hissed. "Anyone can see you. And why do you keep messing with our lives like this? Don't you have anything better to do?"

A haughty laugh filled the air this time as Nora's brow furrowed. The imp looked beyond satisfied with his work. "You know the answer to that, Kara. There's only one thing that will get me to stop."

"This didn't work in the 1960s and this isn't going to work now, Mxyzptlk." She all but spat out his name.

Mister Mxyzptlk wore an arrogant, cavalier grin on his face. "Didn't work in 2017 either. But you know what they say: the third time's a charm." The corners of his mouth were pulled into some sick, twisted version of a smile that made Nora's stomach churn, and with a flash of light he was suddenly standing in front of her, this time wearing a tuxedo. "What do you say? Marry me and save humanity. No more hijinks, just a life together — for eternity."

If she wasn't already nauseated from the look on Mxy's face, then the rest of his speech surely would have done her in. Rather than responding, she sneered at the imp instead. "Krypto! My lasso!" she shouted into the distance, knowing that the loyal super dog would hear her and bring her the Lasso of Persuasion that was currently hanging on the doorknob of her bedroom closet. It had become an essential part of her repertoire when she was wearing the cape, but she hadn't thought that burning a mascot suit would call for its use. "And don't you dare touch my dog," Nora threatened. "Or else."

"Oh, but isn't it true that he betrayed you recently? He ran to the other Kryptonian at camp — because there are two of you now, as you know. You just haven't been brave enough to watch that part of the playback yet, have you?" Mxy gave her a knowing look and a quick glance at the power ring that was resting on the ring finger of her right hand, glowing violently as she felt a range of emotions course through her whole body. "My, my. The Maid of Might needs a minute to muster up the mental muscle. Methinks Bird Brain in there isn't giving you the support you need after all...but I, the one and only Mister Mxyzptlk can."

Pork Chop let out a loud bark from the living room and bounded through the back door, opened telepathically with Sprocket's assistance. The fluffy white dog carefully held the Lasso of Persuasion in his mouth and dutily nudged Nora's hand with his nose so that she could take her weapon of choice. She ignored the dog drool that had collected on part of the Lasso and glared at Mxy as she carefully unwound a length of it, unaware that she was so angry with Mxy's sudden appearance and the words that followed that her eyes were glowing red with heat.

"I've said it before and I've said it again, but you're beautiful when you're angry! A strange thrill is tingling up and down my itty-bitty spine! It must! Marry me, beloved![1]"

It took Nora every bit of willpower she had not to sock him in the face right then and there. "Word for word," she said drolly. She took one step closer to Mxy and Pork Chop yelped before scurrying back into the house. She held up the lasso. "You know what this is, Mxy. You know what it's made of and what I can do with it — what I can make you do with it. So, I can be nice. I can use this to force you to only do good in this multiverse from now on. What do you think?"

The imp scowled — which, strangely, looked almost exactly like his maniacal grin from moments ago. "Where's the fun in that, Supergirl? Don't you see how powerful we could be together?" He began to sing a startling approximation of a hit song from a Disney movie. "I can show you the world. Shining, shimmering, splendi—"

"Or," she said impatiently. "I can use this to make you say your name backwards and send you back to the Fifth Dimension for ninety days. And I'm guessing that if you go home, you'll have to face the wrath of Miss Gsptlsnz. She was pretty mad the first time you pulled this stunt so I doubt she'll go easy on you once she finds out that you tried to pull it off again. Didn't she take you to court last time?"

The imp's face paled instantly at the mention of his wife back home and Nora knew that she had hit his weak spot. "All's fair in love and war, Mister Mxyzptlk. Doesn't feel so good, does it? To have the people you love used and manipulated against you?"

Mxy fell quiet and slowly began to recede into the smoke once again, but not without that trademark creepy smile appearing across his face. "Kara Zor-El, don't think that we're finished. Consider this a détente — for now."

[1]Action Comics #291, 1962