Tonight I begin posting my Superman “Fan Fiction” serial called “An Unfortunate Son.”
As I posted last week, I wrote this about eight years ago after I found out the Superman franchise was put on hold after “Superman Returns.” The movie had received a great deal of criticism in the hard core Superman fan arena but since I love and crave all things Superman, I decided if I couldn’t get a sequel or another Superman movie, I’d just write my own story.
This is not my best work but it got me through a really rough time in my life and kept my mind occupied with happy thoughts and distracted me from the real world for a couple of weeks.
Up, up and away!
1 – The Human Heart
Clark Kent entered the silent news room of the Daily Planet and sat at his impeccably ordered desk, in the not so impeccable office. As he settled in and placed his brown cardboard coffee cup on the desk, he pulled the neatly folded morning edition of the Daily Planet out from under his arm and scanned the front page. Clark’s eyes glowed as he read Lois’ retraction article, “Why the World Needs Superman.” His eyes scanned the article over and over, looking for hope. He read and read again, any sentence or paragraph that may reveal the flicker of a chance that Lois still loved Superman until he smelled the familiar odor of burning paper and blinked.
Clark realized however, that Lois loving Superman and loving him were universes apart and even when he began to see that hope in her own words, right in front of him his heart sank from the reality that although Superman resides inside of him, Lois won’t look long or deep enough to find him.
The events that had unfolded within the past week, at the villainous hands of his arch enemy, Lex Luthor, had somehow left him reading Lois’ article with not only the search for love but a search for belonging. His brush with death had caused a great deal of reflection in the man beneath the steel. He knew in his heart that as much as he was convinced of what his place was here on earth, he still more than ever before, longed for that place that left him often feeling very empty inside—the arms, life and heart of the lovely Miss Lane and now, his son.
“Good morning Clark,” Lois chirped, as he felt the breeze of her passing him on her way to Perry’s office.
“Um, good morning Lois,” Clark spurted as he jumped from his seat, knocking his coffee all over the Daily Planet.
“Oh crap,” he mumbled as he pulled a wad of napkins from his desk drawer and began blotting up the mess.
“Clark, relax,” she sighed, “there are a few thousand more of those. I can get you another copy. Do you smell something burning?” Lois asked with a groan.
“Thanks Lois. Um, did you need anything?”
Lois replied with a flat no, and headed off towards Perry’s office.
She twisted back and glared at him. “Yes Clark?”
“I really like the article. I mean, I really think it’s much better, well, then the other one…I guess,” he said as he lowered his head and reset his glasses to the bridge of his nose with his index finger.
Lois sat her hand on Perry’s door handle and quietly replied, “Thanks Clark.”
Suddenly the elevator doors opened and the newsroom began buzzing with the Planet day shift, rushing to their desks, chatting away as humans do, while Clark continued cleaning up his coffee.
“Good morning Lois. Lois! This is Fantastic!” Perry shouted as he rose from his desk and smacked the article with the back of his hand simultaneously. “Why half of Metropolis will have this framed by lunch and the other half will renew their subscriptions for the next 10 years!”
Lois stood like a stone in front of Perry with her coat draped over her folded arms in front of her. “Yes, well Perry, I’m very happy for the Planet’s booming circulation but I need to talk to you.”
“Oh no, not another raise Lois, I mean for cryin’ out loud, you’re already the highest paid journalist on the east coast,” Perry shouted as he flopped back into his chair with a thud.
“Wait a minute Perry,” Lois interrupted his rant and raised her hand out at him as if she was stopping traffic.
“It’s not money…it’s Superman,” she said over a sigh.
“Well, what about him? He’s back, he’s still flying around saving people and he looks great! Just as super as ever! What more could we ask for?”
“I can’t be his personal press agent anymore. I mean…”
“I’m trying to tell you what I mean if you’ll listen,” she shouted while trying to lower her voice.
Perry sat silent, as Lois settled down into the chair facing him with frown and her eyes danced upwards and to the side. Deep inside of her, she trusted Perry but realized that on the surface, she felt telling him anything about her relationship with Superman could make this Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, look like a love sick teenager.
“I need to move past Superman and his, superness.”
Perry burst with laughter at the word. “Superness? Oh Lois that’s priceless! You’ve come up with some doosies before but that takes the cake.”
“Perry, you know what I mean. He’s back, yes, I know, we all know…” She leaned towards him and said with an eye roll. “But what more do we really need to know right? I mean we all know he can fly and he’s strong and can save everyone and we even know where he’s been for the last five years. We need to be grateful he’s back and well, just let him do his job and leave him alone.” Lois leaned back once again folding her arms in front of her, feeling as if she’d definitely made her point.
Clark sat quietly at his desk taking it all in. He tried not to listen but the harder he tried the louder Lois’ voice rang in his ears until he could hear nothing else. However, the words, “Hey Mr. Kent!” came in loud in clear. “Can I get you anything Mr. Kent? You don’t look too good,” said Jimmy, as he leaned in and waved his hand in front of Clark’s blank expression.
Startled from his trance, Clark spoke up, “No Jimmy, I’m fine.”
“Mr. Kent, if you don’t mind me saying so, you sound funny.”
Clark didn’t realize at that startled moment, he was Superman. When he realized he had fallen out of character he apologized to Jimmy and excused himself with the ruse of getting another copy of the Planet to finish reading Lois’ article and the rest of the morning news.
“Okay Mr. Kent.” Jimmy said quietly as Clark rushed away, grabbed a copy of the Planet from another desk and ducked into the men’s room, nearly pushing Jimmy to the side as went. He tossed the newspaper into the garbage can, checked every stall and then stood staring at himself in the mirror for what seemed like hours.
“What am I doing here? What am I thinking? No, no. I’ve got this all wrong,” he said to himself as he removed his glasses and splashed a stream of cold water onto his face.
Meanwhile, in Perry’s office…
“I’m trying to explain Perry that maybe you should give Superman to someone else, like maybe Clark for instance,” Lois said raising her eyebrows as if she couldn’t believe what she was saying.
“Where is Kent? Some nut’s been hacking into government computers and I want him on it.”
“He’s right there…” Lois said as she looked over her shoulder and noticed Clark was not as his desk. “Well, he was there a minute ago.”
Suddenly, the door to Perry’s office popped open with Jimmy Olsen attached to it. “Miss Lane, oh good morning Mr. White, something’s wrong with Mr. Kent. He doesn’t look good or sound good.”
“I just spoke to him on my way in here and he seemed fine. Well, he spilled coffee all over his desk but that’s nothing unusual.”
“No. He looked like something spooked him.” Jimmy said with concern.
“Spooked? Kent? Ridiculous. Go tell him I want him,” demanded Perry throwing his arm in the air like a general giving an order.
“Well, he’s in the men’s room sir.”
“You’re a man aren’t you Olsen? Get in there and see what the problem is.”
“Maybe, it’s, well, personal,” Jimmy whispered.
“Olsen, go see what’s wrong with Kent…now!”
“Oh, never mind Jimmy, I’ll go check on him,” Lois said as she stood and turned to go.
“We’ll finish this later Perry?” she asked heading out the door.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Jimmy followed closely behind Lois trying to keep up and asked, “Miss Lane, are you going in the men’s room?”
“I’ve been in worse places Jimmy,” she said as she swung open the men’s room door to find Clark, leaning in over a sink with his face dripping with cold water, his hands firmly gripped the sides as if it was holding him up from falling to the floor.
“Clark! Are you OK?” Lois exclaimed rushing to him. Motherhood had definitely tuned in her instincts to help.
Clark swiftly snatched his glasses from the back of the sink and turned away from Lois, avoiding her eyes and her touch. “Uh, I’m not feeling well today Lois. I may need to take a sick day.”
“Are you sure? This came on you awfully sudden. You were fine a little while ago.”
“I know,” he said sternly, which caused her to step back. He reached for a paper towel but Lois grabbed them for him and put them in his hand.
“Okay Clark. I’ll go and tell Perry for you if you like?” Lois asked in hesitation.
Clark raised his eyes at her through his glasses and looked silently at her for a moment and smiled. “No, I think I’ll be alright Lois.”
“Well, if you say so. Maybe you’re coming down with the flu or something. Don’t use my phone alright? The last thing I need to do is take the flu home to Jason,” Lois remarked and then disappeared out the door.
Just the sound of his name—Jason, put a smile on Clark’s face that soothed him for a second and then left him cold again with loss. He took a deep breath, stood erect and faced himself in the mirror once more and the door swung open again.
“Clark. I forgot, Perry wants to see you, something about computers and the government are you sure you’re okay?” Lois seemed to ramble all in a breath, leaning on the door knob.
“I’ll be right there,” Clark muttered, never breaking the stare down he was having with his own reflection.
The door slammed shut.
Clark had faltered and he knew it. The sound of Lois’ voice and the words she spoke were painful to him. Knowing that she was basically indifferent to him in his mortal identity was difficult enough but to know what he knew about the fact that she still wanted to end her relationship with Superman as well, seemed to suck the strength out him.
He needed to think this through. There had to be a good explanation but he collected himself and vowed to get to the bottom of this, without Lois knowing that he knew her objective. How could she want to push Superman out of her life now? How would that affect his relationship with Jason?
Too many questions and no answers yet.
He was also praying for peace to reign, in order to give him the time he needed as Clark to understand why all of this was happening to him. Unfortunately, Superman answers the prayers of others.
Clark exited the men’s room unnoticed and walked virtually invisible to Perry’s office.
2 – Skin Deep
“You wanted to see Mr. White?” Clark said as he scooted, note pad in hand into Perry’s office sideways and took a seat.
“Kent. What’s wrong with you?”
“Uh Lois said maybe I’m coming down with the flu or something,” Clark said clearing his throat.
“You know what you need Kent? Vitamins. Do you take vitamins Kent? I’ve been taking them since I was a boy and haven’t missed a day of work in forty years! Yep. Fit as a fiddle,” Perry boasted.
“I’ll keep that in mind Mr. White. What’s this about computer hacking?”
“Oh right. I got a tip this morning that some hacker is messing with the Metropolis court’s computer system. I’m a pen and pencil man Kent but you know more about computers than anyone in this office.”
“Do you have a contact name or an inside person I should start with? Achoo!”
“Jesus Kent! Cover your nose when you do that, will ya?”
“Yes sir, Mr. White.” Clark smiled to himself.
“The name is Haver, Bill Haver and he’s an old buddy of mine. He works in their MT department or something.”
“You mean IT Mr. White?”
“Whatever Kent. Here’s his room number at the court house.” Perry handed Clark a piece of paper with Bill’s contact information.
“What are you waiting for Kent? Get moving!”
Clark grabbed his note pad, knocking over Perry’s pen cup and fumbled with it trying to set it back up.
“Kent, I’m glad you don’t own an automobile boy.”
“Me too Mr. White, I hate traffic.”
Clark rushed out to his desk and gathered his things. He looked over towards Richard’s office as Lois’ voice once again began to pierce his brain.
“Yes I told Perry. We need to put this behind us Richard. It’s been a terrible week and I just want our lives to go back to normal. Please? Please can we just not discuss this anymore today?” Lois was shaken.
Clark stood still for a moment and as Lois exited Richard’s office, he tried to look away but she noticed him and headed in his direction. “Feeling better?” she asked with a smile.
“Yes Lois. Maybe it was just something I ate.” Clark smiled back.
“Where are you off to?”
“That computer hacking for Perry, remember?”
“Oh yeah—sounds interesting. Although I don’t know much about this sort of thing, I know enough to know that you don’t just hack into a government network. Someone’s been seriously doing their homework. Could be a kid even. Do you know how smart kids are these days Clark? Or…an inside job.” Lois looked intrigued and pursed her lips.
“Well, Lois if you’d like to come along, I mean, if you want to?” Clark perked up and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to have some time with her, one to one. He knew she loved a good mystery and a chance to unravel it from the start, even better.
“You know what? This may be just what I need to take my mind off of things. I’ll get my coat!”
Clark’s heart pounded in his chest like a native drum. What had started as one of the worst days of his life was turning out to have the makings of one of the best. Maybe someone was on his side after all.
“Mr. Kent?” Jimmy called from a few desks over. “Wait a second, I want you meet someone!”
Clark had noticed Jimmy chatting away with a lovely, blond haired young woman with glasses, wearing a gray suit but was focused on Lois alone.
“Clark Kent, meet Dr. Jillian Olsen, my sister.” Jimmy beamed.
“Wow, the Clark Kent. I’ve heard so much about you. It’s nice to finally meet you and what a pleasant surprise you are,” said the lovely and graceful woman.
“Hi. It’s nice to meet you. I didn’t know Jimmy had a sister. Jimmy, you never said you had a sister.” Clark spoke towards Jimmy, while Jillian had him by the hand, shaking it while resting her other hand on top, in an embrace.
“I was away at college, which you can imagine took a few years, when Jimmy came here to the Planet to work and well, our lives just took different roads.” Jillian took a sharp turn out in left field as she finally released Clarks hand and looked straight at him as she spoke, “Jimmy says you don’t socialize much, is that true?”
“Well, no, I guess not, no not really,” Clark answered, lowering his head.
“Well I feel as if I already know you and you don’t know me at all so why don’t you join Jimmy and I for dinner tonight?” Jillian asked while taking Jimmy’s arm, coaxing him to agree.
“Well, I don’t know um, Jillian was it? I’m about to go on assignment and I’m not sure…”
“Oh C’mon Clark, it’ll be fun!” Jillian insisted.
“Look Clark, just give me a shout when you get back and we’ll meet up.” Jimmy agreed, bouncing on his heels.
“Hi. Who’s this?” Lois asked as she walked up on the threesome.
“Lois, this is um, Jimmy’s sister, Jillian. Jillian, Lois Lane,” Clark stuttered.
“Oh! Lois Lane? I’ve been dying to meet you,” Jillian exclaimed as she took Lois’ hand briefly, barely embracing it.
As Jillian poured accolades on Lois for her stunning Superman reports, Jimmy leaned in to Clark as he stood at his side watching Jillian and Lois and said, “Clark, what do ya think of Jillian? She’s awesome isn’t she? She’s really smart too. She’s a chemist with that huge pharmaceutical company up state. Clark, I think she has the hots for you man.” Jimmy said with a chuckle.
“Wait, what?” Clark shouted as everyone in the room stopped and looked directly at them.
“Shhh!” Jimmy said. “Oh, sorry Clark, I thought you had a bug on your jacket.” Their audience shook their heads and moved on as Jimmy pretended to dust off Clark’s blazer.
“Is everything OK?” Jillian asked.
“Yeah sis, everything’s fine. Clark’s going to call me as soon as he gets back about dinner.” Jimmy pulled Clark aside. “Just go along with me Clark, I’m telling you, she’s awesome,” Jimmy whispered.
“Are you ready Clark?” asked Lois. “We better get moving. The early bird catches the worm…or virus,” she joked.
“Well Jillian, it was very…nice…meeting you,” Clark said as Jillian stepped in his path on his way to join Lois at the elevator.
“And it was lovely to meet you too Clark. See you at dinner.” Jillian took one last look at Clark as if he were on the menu.
Clark nodded and awkwardly stepped around her and was on his way. He walked off toward the elevator past Lois’ inquiring look as she stared at him and then joined him at the elevator doors.
“Are you going to push the button Clark or are you too preoccupied to do it?” Lois giggled.
“Oh—sorry Lois. Sure.”
Lois was still chuckling to herself as they disappeared into the elevator and headed for the street.
“So Clark, are you and Jillian going on a date?” Lois asked smartly as they stood waiting for their driver.
“A date, Lois? You’re teasing me right?” Clark asked, at first thinking Lois was serious and then realizing she was having a little fun with him when he saw her smirk. “I’ve only just met her and well, it’s just dinner with her and Jimmy, Lois.”
“Are you sure? I don’t know if you could tell but she was flirting with you Clark,” Lois said as she leaned into Clark’s arm and nudged him, making him blush. “She’s a chemist right? She seemed very interested in your chemistry Clark.”
“Plth,” Clark scoffed.
“Clark Kent, you’re blushing!” Lois laughed as she nudged him again.
“Lois, will you cut it out now? What’s gotten into you?” Clark asked raising his brow at her as he shifted his stance and looked up and down the street.
“I’m sorry Clark. This is nice isn’t it? Everything kind of back to normal I mean.” She was silent for a moment, looked over at him and said, “I kind of missed you Clark. Three years is a long time,” she added, taking a turn at looking up and down the street.
“Five,” Clark muttered and stared at the ground.
“I’m sorry Clark what did you say?” Lois asked, distracted as usual.
“Yeah, it was a long time but hey, let’s forget about it and move on like you said.” Clark was quiet for a minute, as he realized just how insignificant he really was to her. She didn’t even know how long he’d been gone. However, that was a blessing in disguise, since she counted the days that Superman was gone and hadn’t put the two together at all.
“I wish he’d hurry up. You know how impatient I am,” Lois fussed as she began to pace back and forth.
“I’m sure he’ll be here soon,” Clark remarked as a reflex answer, when he noticed Lois staring up into the morning sky, with her arms wrapped firmly around herself, clutching her shoulders as if she were cold.
“Superman up there, Lois?” Clark said trying to tease a little as well.
“What?” Lois said, turning fast and looking at Clark wide eyed. “Oh, no.” She shrugged. “Just the sky,” she said turning back and gazing upwards.
“Hi Mr. Kent, Miss Lane. Ready to go?” asked the driver and they were on their way to the court house.
“Miss Lane, we should be at the courthouse in 20 minutes. This Metropolis traffic is a…”
“Okay Jack. Thanks.” Lois interrupted.
Clark had sat quietly for most of the ride, listening to Lois go on and on about Jason’s rambunctious antics, milestones and accomplishments over the first five years of his life. He felt his heart swell with pride as her face would light up with each story and anecdote she told. He’d hoped the traffic may keep them in the car even longer.
“I’m sorry Clark. I’m boring you to death aren’t I?” Lois said with a slight smile of embarrassment. “Be grateful it isn’t home movies right?” She laughed.
“Oh no, Lois.” Clark smiled. “I really enjoy watching you talk about Jason and hearing the love in your voice.” Movies would be awesome he thought.
“Clark, remember what I said that day on the steps of the Planet about loving someone?”
“Yes Lois. I do.”
“This is a different love. This is a love that you won’t understand until you have a child of your own.” Lois reached over and took Clark’s hands in hers and looked into his eyes. “I hope someday you find someone and get the chance to feel like this Clark. I really do,” Lois said sweetly.
Clark stared longingly into her eyes as she spoke, wishing as he always did that he could just tell her his secret and that he knew exactly how that kind of love felt. “How is Jason Lois?”
“Well, to be honest and considering what he’s been through, he’s wonderful. I told Richard I was coming with you and made sure he picked Jason up from school and took him for his piano lesson, in case we weren’t back in time.”
“So, what’s Richard like Lois? I mean, he seems like a really great guy and a wonderful father,” Clark quickly muttered, prying further into their already personal conversation.
“Richard is really wonderful Clark. I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to have someone like him enter my life when he did because I was…” Lois suddenly stopped and straightened herself in the cramped seat.
“What’s wrong Lois?” Clark whispered.
“Oh, nothing. Richard is well, Richard.” She paused. “He’s really great.”
Clark sat back in his seat as well and thought Lois had gone on enough. For whatever reason, she appeared to be comfortable enough to talk to him about Jason but not Richard.
All things in time, he thought to himself.
“We’ll be there in 5 minutes folks,” Jack shouted.
“Okay Clark, when we get to the courthouse, we’ll poke around a little and then go to Haver’s office. Perry said he’d be expecting us right?”
Clark was distant but replied, “Yep.”
“Clark, you’re not getting sick again are you?”
“No Lois. I’m good.” Clark mustered a smiled.