3 – Brains and Brawn
The car stopped in front of the courthouse and Lois and Clark exited telling Jack to relax and that they’d call him when they were ready to head back to the Planet.
“Okay Clark, I’ll be right back I’m just going to run to the ladies room. That was a long ride,” Lois said as she dashed away.
Clark wandered around a bit and noticed several office workers fussing amongst themselves about different computer issues, so he casually walked up to a uniformed court officer and began his investigation. “Hi there,” Clark said to the officer with a wave, who barely looked in his direction.
“Can I help you sir?” she asked with a deep voice.
“Actually, yes you can, that is if you don’t mind,” Clark politely replied, his eyes wide with surprise at her tone.
The stern woman simply looked up at Clark for a moment and back down at her computer screen.
“I noticed you’re having some, uh trouble there ma’am.”
“Officer,” she replied, leaning with her chin in her hand and the other on her mouse, clicking away at nothing.
“Um, officer…right. Having trouble?”
“I’m sorry are you here to fix the computers because I’ll tell you what, this is ridiculous,” she said, suddenly interested in Clark’s presence.
“Oh, I’m sorry no. I was just noticing…”
“Davis, can you come over here for a second please?” The officer turned away and called to another officer a few feet away.
“Hey Clark…” said Lois as she reappeared at his side. “Got anything yet?”
“Well, I’ve been speaking to this nice officer here—Officer Williams is it?”
“May I help you sir?” asked an even deeper voice from the male officer now standing in front of them.
Lois spoke up, “Hi, Officer Davis is it? My friend and I noticed you’re having some computer problems and we thought maybe we should come back another day.” Lois spoke sweetly and almost flirting with the large male officer but it seemed to be working.
“Well miss, this has been going on since before the courthouse opened this morning. Dockets are all screwed up and some computers won’t come on at all. Most of us are guessing it’s one of those viruses that some idiot opened in an e-mail and spread to everybody else.”
“Why Officer, you sound like you know a lot about computers,” Lois was stroking the officer’s ego a bit so Clark stood fiddling with his note pad, jotting things down.
“Not really ma’am but we may have to close early if we don’t get this straightened out soon. We’ve already had to cancel several court sessions this morning.”
“Really?” Lois asked as she glanced back at Clark, who was hovering just over her left shoulder and he nodded as if to say, “Got it Lois.”
“Well, we’re looking for a friend of ours, Bill Haver. Could you possibly help us find his office? You’ve really been so kind already I hate to ask…”
Lois is batting her eyes, Clark thought to himself and it was working too!
“Oh, no trouble at all Miss?”
“Lane, Lois Lane and this is my colleague Clark Kent,” Lois said, turning and introducing Clark.
Officer Davis said, “Right this way,” as Lois and Clark followed behind him.
“Gosh Lois, that was awesome. You had him eating right out of your hand,” Clark whispered as they turned the corner and walked down a long sterile hallway.
“Clark, you just have to know how to read people. You just have to look beneath the surface sometimes,” Lois said as she carried on in her confident stride.
Clark smiled to himself and followed along.
“Now you take this elevator to the basement and…”
Suddenly, they heard a large ruckus coming from behind them back in the courthouse lobby as Officer Davis’ radio went off full of static.
“Davis! We have a situa…”
“Excuse me folks!” Davis shouted as he took off back down the hallway.
Lois started to run after him.
“Lois, what are you doing?”
“Come on Clark! We have to see what’s happening!”
As Lois reached the turn in the hallway, she saw people running in every direction and was nearly trampled by them. She grabbed a woman wearing a courthouse ID badge and shouted, “What’s happening?”
“Let me go! They have guns—big ones!” The frightened woman screamed as she ran into the ladies room.
Lois stood behind the wall and peeked around the corner, noticing several officers and civilians lying face down on the floor. She looked back over her shoulder and Clark was nowhere in sight.
“Great,” she said softly to herself.
“Lois? Lois?” She heard Clark’s voice and turned around and found him peeking out of one of the office doors in the hallway.
“Clark, what are you doing?” she asked through her teeth.
“Lois, get in here and lock the door. Lois! Look out!” Clark shouted as one of the armed men grabbed her from behind and dragged her around the corner.
“Here’s another one for you!” the man shouted as he tossed Lois across the room and she tumbled to floor next to the others. The one appearing to be the leader shouted at one of the gunmen to lock the doors.
Lois was lying face down on the floor, peeking up at the men, who were wearing ski masks and dressed completely in black. Her mind was ticking away, thinking help was coming soon, until she noticed one of the clerks next to her lying on the floor crying and said, “It’s alright. I’m sure someone pushed an alarm or called the police. Help will be here soon.”
The frightened woman looked at Lois through her tears and said, “The phones weren’t working. Everything in this place is on a network and it’s been messed up all morning. We don’t even know if the alarm system is working.”
“Who’s talking over there?” the lead man shouted. “No talking! Just lie there or everybody gets it!”
Lois laid there on the floor hoping that Clark had his cell phone, or that someone, anyone did that wasn’t lying under the barrel of a gun. She started to think about Jason and that if she made it out of this alive, she had to get her instincts under control and stop putting herself in harm’s way and mostly, stop being the news and just report it.
Clark listened intently for the elevator but heard nothing. He figured they may have disabled them in order to keep everyone in the building isolated on the upper floors and possibly had someone in the stairwells as well. He knew he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. He had to act fast before innocent lives, including Lois’ were taken.
Clark stared intently at the wall as his vision began to penetrate it room for room until he reached the lobby area. He shuddered at the sight of Lois lying helplessly on the lobby floor, along with at least a dozen others and watched as the men paced back and forth, waiting for instructions from their leader.
“Four, seven, thirteen. There are thirteen of them,” he said to himself.
He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911 but even the cell phone signals were jammed. He knew he had to make his move as the men began to disperse out into the building. Seconds counted.
Clark slipped quietly out of the room and in a flash was in the basement, looking for Haver’s office. He could have easily flown into the room and wiped them all out but there were so many people, including Lois and the chance of even one of them being shot was not even an option. He had to seriously think his way out of this and fast.
Clark pushed open the door to Haver’s office and found him sitting at his desk, staring at his computer screen, just like Officer Williams and the rest. There were beads of sweat glistening on his bald head and running down the sides into what little hair he had.
“Mr. Haver. I’m Clark Kent with the Daily Planet. We don’t have time for questions I need you to give me access to your computer.”
“Mr. Kent. That’s crazy! Why would I do that?”
“There are at least thirteen armed men upstairs and they’re searching the building as we speak and have taken hostages. There’s no time to waste.”
“Gunmen? Hostages? How?”
“I’m guessing this computer issue was set up to take everything offline here and allow them access to the building. Mr. Haver please,” Clark pushed Haver’s chair away from his desk and began punching away on his computer.
“What are you doing? What kind of..”
“I’ll explain later,” Clark shouted and typed at the speed of light as Haver looked on in amazement.
Clark listened intently for gun fire, as he worked away on the computer, sending code after code into the computer network and trying to hear everything going on in the building all at the same time.
Suddenly, Haver’s phone began ringing and Clark could hear the sound of sirens coming closer.
“Bill Haver’s office,” Haver said as he snatched the ringing phone. “Yes dear, I’m fine.” Haver turned around and Clark was gone.
Clark was able to move quickly and freely throughout the building and now, changed into Superman, he was using his vision to guide him and avoid the gunmen. As he came across them, he took them out one by one using his heat vision to turn their weapons smoldering red or simply folding them in half to disarm them, as well as melting the door locks to seal them in.
He was down to five.
With his advanced computer knowledge, he had managed to patch the system and get the network back online, at least allowing the security system to reactivate. Now, he was on the move to help save the hostages and find the remaining criminals until the police arrived.
Superman appeared out of nowhere in the lobby, placing himself between the leader and two of his henchmen, who had their weapons pointed directly at the hostages.
“Gentlemen, put down your weapons and surrender now,” he ordered.
The three men burst into laughter as Superman heard the sound of two very large guns being raised and pointed at his back.
“Don’t bother guys. You can’t kill him with those,” said the leader.
“Look. The police are right outside. If you put the weapons down and…”
“Shut up Superman! You don’t think I’ve gone to all this trouble to just give up now do you?” The leader fired his gun into the air sending glass and plaster flying all over the hostages.
At Mach speed, Superman disarmed every last one of them and tossed their twisted weapons into a pile on the floor. All five were handcuffed together in a heap. Officer Davis looked down at his gun belt and noticed his hand cuffs were missing and smiled.
“Is anyone hurt?” Superman shouted over the room. “You can all get up now. It’s safe,” he said calmly and a second later, he was gone.
Lois climbed to her feet, dusting off her clothes and headed to the hallway to look for Clark, who was stepping off the elevator. “Clark!” she shouted, running towards him.
“Lois! Thank goodness you’re alright.”
“What happened? I found Mr. Haver’s office.”
“Oh. You found Mr. Haver’s office while I was lying on my face on the floor expecting to die at any second?” Lois planted her hands on her hips.
“Well Lois, I figured out that, that gang that must have messed up the computers so that they could get in here with those guns and…”
“It’s okay Clark,” Lois said shaking her head.
“I’m glad you’re alright. I mean, those men were dangerous,” Clark said softly.
“Well, yeah you know, good old Superman saves the day again,” Lois said with an eye roll.
“But at least we got the story Lois,” Clark said as he adjusted his glasses and held up his note pad before stuffing it in his pocket.
The elevator doors opened again behind them and Bill Haver stepped out. “Mr. Kent! Mr. Kent wait,” Haver shouted as he hustled towards them. “I don’t know what you did down there but that was amazing.”
Lois stood with her arms folded, listening with a puzzled expression at Bill Haver’s accolades for Clark.
“It was nothing Mr. Haver,” Clark said trying to walk away.
“No Clark. I want to hear this.” Lois grabbed him by the sleeve of his coat and pulled him back.
“It was amazing. He simply sat down at my computer and within moments, he had this whole building back online. I’ve been doing this my whole life and have never…”
“Mr. Haver, honestly it was nothing. Let’s just say I’m pretty up on this hacking stuff and well it’s kind of a hobby of mine. No thanks needed. I’m just glad I could help,” Clark answered as he reset his glasses.
“Clark, I didn’t know you could do that.” Lois’ mouth fell open for a second and her eyes bugged out.
Clark waved goodbye and again started off down the hallway as Lois rushed to catch up to him. “So you fixed it? You fixed the system and got the alarms working and everything?”
“Lois, anyone could have done it, honestly,” Clark again said with a shrug.
Lois grabbed him by the sleeve and spun him around and threw her arms around him, squeezing him tightly. She pressed her cheek against his chest. “Thank you Clark,” she said into his overcoat and then jumped off of him and walked ahead.
“Lois? Lois?” he asked following behind her. “What was that for?”
“Well, don’t take this the wrong way but I’m thankful to know that you risked your life to try to help us. I’ve never seen that in you before. To be honest, I thought you were hiding the whole time,” Lois said as they walked out the front door of the courthouse to be interviewed by the police. “Clark? Do you trust me?” Lois asked.
Her question had taken him completely by surprise. “With my life Lois,” he gathered himself and answered, looking at her as if she should already know the answer. Clark suddenly realized she hadn’t praised Superman at all but she’d thanked him.
4 – Lucky Dog
Clark and Lois had stepped into the elevator back at the Planet when Lois finally said, “All things considered, I hope you’ll always be honest with me Clark. I’m just a little shocked about the computer thing. I honestly didn’t realize you were that smart.”
“Well Lois, it’s not as if that’s something you go around telling people.”
“Hmm. You hide it well,” Lois said as she stepped off of the elevator into the news room.
“Lois!” shouted Richard, as he rushed to greet her at her desk. “Thank goodness you’re alright. We saw the whole thing on TV.” Richard gushed over her squeezing her tightly.
“Oh that, I’ll tell you about it later.”
“Are you hurt?”
“Do I look hurt? I’m fine Richard, really.”
“Well, alright then,” he conceded. “I was hoping the three of us could go out to dinner tonight if you’re up to it. I’m thinking we need some family time.”
“That sounds wonderful Richard and I’m starving. Look, since I have the time, I’ll pick Jason up at school and take him to his lesson. How about we meet back at the house at six O’clock and I’ll have him ready to go.”
“Kent! Lane! I want that story on my desk by tonight!” Perry shouted as he threw open the door to his office and then slammed it shut.
“Sounds great darling,” Richard replied.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Clark sit down at his desk and pick up a small package and begin to study it.
“Alright, Richard,” she said as she kissed him lightly on the cheek.” See you at six.”
Lois gathered her things and headed over to Clark’s desk.
“I don’t know actually. I was…”
“Are you going to open it now?”
“It’s actually addressed to both of us Lois, see?” he said turning the tissue box sized package towards Lois, showing her the address label.
“Well, when would be a good time Lois?” Clark looked up at her from his seat.
“Look, I have to run and get Jason. I’m having dinner with him and Richard. I’ll meet you here right afterwards to go over what happened today and the story and we’ll open it together. Okay?” Lois spoke softly and discreetly but Richard was watching from across the room, wondering what they were saying.
“I’ll lock it up in the closet until tonight.”
“Please do not tell me you are still living out of that closet?”
“Well, it’s only been a week Lois and I still can’t find an apartment,” he whined.
“Here,” Lois said as she pulled a set of keys out of her pocketbook and pushed them into Clark’s hand. “Take my apartment. I’m not using it anyway and please, don’t mind the mess, you know how I am. See you tonight.”
Lois turned and was on the elevator before Clark could even say thank you.
Clark sat silently looking at the package but didn’t feel it honorable to look inside without Lois, since her name was on it as well. Then he thought what if it’s something dangerous? He began scanning it when he heard Jimmy’s voice but only saw an envelope before he was interrupted.
“Mr. Kent, looks like you made it back in plenty of time and in one piece thank goodness. We’ll see you around six-thirty, okay?”
Dinner—he had totally forgotten about it.
Jimmy walked over to Clark and said, “We’re having Italian is that okay Mr. Kent?”
“That’s fine Jimmy and please, call me Clark—um where?”
“The Cafe Italia, that really great place up on 50th street. Jillian loves Italian food and since she’s never been to Metropolis for pleasure, no pun intended there Mr. Kent, I mean, Clark, it’s my treat.”
“Ah Clark, you kill me.” Jimmy laughed as he too headed towards the elevators.
Clark now had a home to go to as well. He placed the box securely in the utility closet, slipped the keys into his pocket, grabbed his suitcases and locked the door.
“Lois’ old apartment” he said to himself. “This should be interesting.”
Clark arrived at the apartment and opened the door, after figuring out which key went to which lock. He found it almost exactly as it was the last time he had been there, except for a small stuffed Superman toy on the sofa, which he assumed had belonged to Jason. He smiled at the sight of it. Lois was right about the mess but Clark unpacked and had the place spotless in just a few minutes.
Clark opened the glass doors to the balcony and walked out, feeling a light evening breeze on his face, which bought with it a bittersweet memory. He turned and went back in and closed the doors, as if he was closing out a chapter in his life.
He looked at the clock and realized it was nearly six-thirty and a few minutes later found himself turning the corner at Fiftieth Street, just as Jillian and Jimmy pulled up.
“Hey Clark,” Jimmy called out as he always did.
“Hey Jimmy. Hey Jillian,” Clark said with a silly wave.
“Hi again handsome,” Jillian said as she took Clark’s arm and entered the restaurant with Jimmy close behind.
Jillian looked a lot different. No gray suit tonight and no glasses, either. Plus, she smelled like fresh flowers in a breeze. Clark simply could not deny that Jillian was definitely flirting with him and not just being polite as was usually the case with women like her. Jillian was smart. Her credentials spoke for themselves but she was also a statuesque beauty of at least five feet nine. Clark noticed that most of that height was legs and she wasn’t shy about revealing them as she sat down at the table in her side slit pale pink skirt and crossed them. Coincidentally, she brushed Clark’s leg beneath the table as she turned towards him.
Jillian obviously came from the deeper end of the Olsen gene pool. Although her model looks and intelligence suggested adoption, Clark could never be so cruel as to dismiss Jimmy that way.
“So Clark, how was your adventure today?” Jillian asked, taking a sip of water.
Clark took a long deep breath and answered, “Oh, you know the usual reporter stuff; asking questions, getting answers, bad guys with big guns. So how was your first day in Metropolis?”
“Well obviously nowhere near as exciting as your day.”
Clark actually found himself unable to take his eyes off of this beauty. Within minutes into their conversation, he realized he was extremely taken with her and how easily she related to him. He also realized neither of them had said two words to poor Jimmy since they had sat down.
“Chemistry is so boring Clark. You don’t want to talk about that,” Jillian purred.
“Jimmy, do you think it’s boring?” asked Clark, attempting to draw Jimmy into the conversation.
“I really don’t know much about it Mr. Kent—Clark. Ask me about photography and the news business, I’ll have your ear all night.”
“Oh, I’m sure we can find better things to chat about than this, don’t you think so Clark?” Jillian’s eyes were the color of water beneath a clear blue sky and Clark had forgotten how to swim….and fly.
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” Clark was embarrassed and picked up his glass of water as well.
“It doesn’t matter Clark.” Jillian laughed. It was a perfect laugh. Not one of those lousy blind date laughs where you want to crawl under the table. It was ridiculous how wonderful she really was. It was if she wasn’t real.
Clark needed a break. “Will you both excuse me for just a moment?” Clark said as he excused himself from the table and stepped away to the men’s room.
Once inside, he walked again to the mirror and began washing his hands and wondering what he was saving himself for. Lois had made it perfectly clear that she was happy with things as they were with she and Richard and didn’t want anything to do with Superman either, except maybe for Jason…he assumed. He straightened his tie and his glasses, pushed his hair back with his fingers and heard, “Hi Clark. What brings you here?”
“Richard, uh hi. I’m eating,” Clark answered wide eyed at the sight of him.
“Oh, so that was you at the table with Jimmy and who is that beautiful lady Clark?”
“Oh, um that’s Jillian, Jimmy’s sister.”
“Jimmy has a sister who looks like that? You lucky dog you!” Richard said toying with him.
“Oh, no she’s not my date,” Clark protested.
“Well, you could have fooled me Kent. That’s why I didn’t know it was you. I couldn’t see you through all of the sparks that were flying over there.” Richard chuckled. “You sly dog you.”
“Oh, well, she is really attractive isn’t she? She’s smart too,” Clark boasted.
“That’s great. You two have a wonderful evening. You deserve it Kent.”
Richard gave Clark a quick pat on the back and walked out the door. Clark took one long last look in the mirror and mumbled to himself, “Gee, what’s with all the dog references? I’m more like a scared puppy,” and headed back to the table.
“There you are,” Jillian said as she lounged in the booth.
“Where’s Jimmy?” Asked Clark, as he noticed he was no longer at the table.
“Jimmy asked me to tell you that he forgot he had something to do and for us to enjoy ourselves.”
“Well then Miss Olsen, that’s what we’ll do,” said Clark as he raised his glass to Jillian’s in a toast.
“I just saw Clark in the men’s room.”
“You did?” asked Jason.
“I know,” Lois groaned with a mouth full of spaghetti.
“Mommy, you shouldn’t talk with food in your mouth, you could choke.”
“I’m sorry honey you’re right. I saw them when they came in. She’s been dangling off of him all evening like a loose hair.”
“So? Doesn’t Clark get to have a life Lois?”
“Oh of course he does but you should have seen the way she was making over him at work today. Women like that…”
“What kind of women mommy?”
“Oh never mind sweetie, Mommy’s just very hungry.”
“I think she looks like a movie star,” said Jason, turning in his chair for a better look.
“Jimmy left me the money for the check,” Said Jillian reaching into her purse.
“Put that away. It’s not every day I have dinner with such nice company as you. Please, allow me.” Clark’s confidence had gone from zero to hero in less than a day.
“Are you sure Clark because…”
“Thank you sir,” said the waiter as he took Clark’s credit card.
Clark briefly looked across the room and met Lois’ eyes and she quickly shoved a fork full of spaghetti into her mouth and chewed.
“So Clark, is there anything fun to do in this town on a Monday night?”
“Sad to say Jillian, I really wouldn’t know.”
“Clark, you have got to be kidding me? Can I be frank with you?”
“Jimmy and I, well, Jimmy has a different father. My father passed away when I was very little and our mother married Jimmy’s father who was a wonderful man. He adopted me and raised me as his own daughter. Jimmy and I just drifted apart when I left for college. We were so different but I’ve always adored him.”
“Jimmy’s a great guy.”
“Jimmy’s a nerd Clark but a loveable one. So when he called me and invited me to Metropolis, all he talked about was his friend Mister Kent who had just returned from an extended vacation. Clark this and Clark that and you have to meet Clark. Well, I assumed you were going to be this runt of a man with no life.” Jillian leaned in towards him and he began to feel his collar tighten around his neck.
“Whaaat did you find Jillian?” Clark cleared his throat as he leaned slightly back as she leaned in.
“Let’s just say that I’m more than pleasantly surprised,” she purred, drawing his tie through her fingertips.
Lois’ fork hit her plate with a clink heard across the whole restaurant.
“I can’t believe this,” she said to Richard.
“What, Lois, is there something in your food?” Richard started looking on Lois’ plate for anything foreign.
“No, stop that,” she said, leaning towards him. “He’s kissing her,” she whispered.
“Kissing who? Who’s kissing?” Richard asked, stretching his neck to look around the room to find Clark, nearly bent over backwards with Jillian’s lips firmly pressed against his.
“Richard, could you be any more obvious?” whispered Lois.
“I’m not the one banging my fork on my plate dear. Look, I know he’s like a brother to you but you let the guy have some fun for goodness sakes.”
“Hahahaha,” Jason laughed.
“What’s so funny young man?” Lois asked.
Jason pointed at Lois’ blouse, which had a piece of spaghetti hanging from it.
“Very funny Mommy.”
Jillian’s kiss had left Clark senseless. “So, shall we go paint the town?” she asked as she traced his chiseled jaw with her index finger.
Suddenly Clark remembered the package in closet and meeting Lois to write the article. “Um, I can’t.”
“Of course you can, Jimmy left me the car keys and…”
“Nnnnot that I wouldn’t love to join you and I’d really lllove to but I have some business that I need to take care of tttonight,” he stuttered.
“Oh well,” she said with a sigh. “I understand. Can you at least drive me back to my hotel? I don’t know my way around Metropolis. Here are Jimmy’s keys. He was sweet enough to leave us the car.”
“Of course. Shall we?” Clark said taking her hand as they walked out the door of the restaurant. Strangely he could feel Lois eyes burning the back of his neck. He looked over his shoulder at her face for a second and then turned and opened the door for Jillian.
“I’ll leave these keys with you and get a cab from here. I’m not much on driving in Metropolis either unless of course, I have to.”
“Am I a good reason Clark?” Jillian whispered, as she straightened the collar of Clark’s overcoat and looked anxiously into his eyes.
“You’re a wonderful reason Jillian.” Clark took her gently in his arms and kissed her. When they parted, she asked, “Tomorrow then?”
“Tomorrow,” Clark replied as he stood and watched Jillian enter the hotel lobby and then walked until he was out of sight.
He had to get to the Planet to meet Lois.