“In Convenient”

Rated PG (Probably a G but ….)






Clara opened her locker and a small piece of paper fluttered to the floor.  It was a folded up piece of stationery with the letters “LL” embossed into it.  This wasn’t the first time that Clara had seen Lex’s stationery.  She smelled the hint of his expensive cologne on the paper.  She was a little surprised that it was printed on his computer rather than hand written and that it wasn’t signed.  She decided that Lex had taken precautions in case the letter fell into the wrong hands.  Her nerve endings tingled in anticipation as she read the note.


It said, “Angel, I couldn’t wait to see you today at our usual place.  Please meet me at the Convenient Gas Shoppe across from Small’s Park when you get out of school this afternoon.  I have something important to talk to you about.  We can take a walk in the park.  If you don’t show up, I’ll understand.  I’ll be very disappointed but I’ll understand.  Your Friend, You  Know Who.”


Clara was excited and nervous.  Lex had seen how she dressed for school and never commented on it or acted like it made any difference to him.  But it mattered to Clara.  She didn’t want him to think badly of her.  Today, she was dressed as unflattering as Martha would tolerate.  She was even wearing the horn rimmed glasses that she wore when she had to pull her hair out of her face to read in class.  She considered running home to change after school, but she didn’t want to take a chance that Lex wouldn’t wait for her to get to the store.  She was on her Mother’s charge account at the local Fashion Bug and that was on the way to the Convenient Gas Shoppe – and they were having a big clearance sale.  Her mind was made up.  The hardest part was waiting for the school day to end.  When the final bell sounded, Clara ran out of the school as fast as any normal human could sprint.  Before any of the clerks at Fashion Bug even knew that she was in the store, Clara had looked over the entire selection of dresses that were a size larger than she could easily wear.  She picked something flattering but not flashy and some shoes and accessories to match the dress.  She signed the charge slip and headed out the door.  She looked ahead to the Convenient Gift Shoppe to see that Lex wasn’t there yet.  She was relieved to see that there were only two people at the store – a man filling the underground gasoline storage tanks from a gasoline truck and an elderly female clerk.







Clara was glancing at the tattoos on the arms of the man filling the gas storage tanks as she walked by him.  Then she noticed that he was really checking her out and smiling as if he had won the super lottery.  She wondered why he would react that way because she hadn’t changed into her new clothes yet.  She took his attention as a cue to pick up the pace and hurry into the store.  Inside, Clara looked at the magazines on the rack.  She pretended to look at the cover of “Cosmopolitan,” but she couldn’t help seeing Lex on the cover of a tabloid with a couple super models.  She saw the caption, “World’s Most Eligible Bachelors” and her heart sank knowing that what she had with Lex couldn’t possibly last much longer.  Her attention turned to the clerk when she heard her grunting.  Clara walked over to her and asked, “Could I help you with those boxes Ma’am?”


The Clerk let the box drop back to the floor and said, “They are awfully heavy.  They’re filled with motor oil.  Maybe we can lift them together.”


Clara said, “I’m stronger than I look.  She lifted the boxes two at a time and put them on the top overstock shelf.  She continued until the entire pallet was empty then took the pallet to the back room for the clerk.”


The Clerk said, “My, you are strong!  You didn’t even work up a sweat.  Appreciate your youth and strength while you have it.”


Clara said, “Farm work keeps me strong.  That was nothing.  But why so much oil?”


The Clerk said, “The boss must have got another deal.  He stocks up and I end up getting a workout.”


Clara said, “You should wait until he gets here to help you.”


The Clerk said, “He’s almost never here.  That’s what I’m for.  He’d have a fit if he came in and that pile of boxes was still here.  Still, I appreciate the job.  I retired five years ago, but I had to take this job to help pay for my prescriptions.  Plus, I’m raising my grand daughter alone now and there is always some school fee to pay.  I was about the fastest typist there was in my day, but these old fingers can hardly open the pill bottles anymore.”


Clara said, “Still, it’s not right that you should be working here alone and lifting heavy boxes by yourself.”


The Clerk said, “If I complain, I’ll get fired … and even bad jobs don’t grow on trees these days.  I need ever dollar I can get.  They know I need the work so I am stuck taking whatever they throw at me.”


Clara said, “That’s just not right!”


The Clerk said, “That’s life.  Still, I count myself lucky that I can still get up every day and do this.  AND every now and then someone like you who still know something about manners comes in and lends a hand!  My grand daughter comes by to help too.  She does her homework in the back sometimes to keep me company.  Can I give you a candy bar or something for helping me out?  As you can see, the boss stocked up on them too.”


Clara said, “That’s not necessary.”


The Clerk said, “Something to drink then?”


Clara said, “No thank you, Ma’am.  But could I use your bath room?”


The Clerk said, “Certainly, Dear, but it isn’t very sanitary in there.  Even I can’t be back there cleaning and up here at the same time.”  She went behind the counter and handed Clara a key attached to a 4 inch by 16 inch long board with “Women’s” burnt into it.


Clara went into the filthy little bathroom.  It took her super-human dexterity to change her clothes without touching anything.  She braided her hair into a wide pony tail.  When she was ready, she went back into the main part of the store and found the clerk busy stocking the candy display.  She tapped her on the shoulder and handed her the key.  The Clerk asked, “What happened to the other girl?”  Clara smiled.  The Clerk said, “No!  That’s some disguise you have there!  Either that or I need some new glasses.”


Clara said, “I like to dress comfortably for school.”


The Clerk said, “What you have on looks plenty comfortable.  It even looks like you could take it in quite a bit.  If I still had a figure like that, I’d be showing it off.”


Clara said, “I don’t like that kind of attention.”


The Clerk said, “Oh, I can remember getting that kind of attention … early last century.  I usually didn’t mind it one bit.”


Clara said, “You are still very beautiful.”


The Clerk said, “I can tell that you mean it.  That’s so sweet!  But I also noticed that you aren’t wearing your glasses anymore and I always look better to blurry eyes.”


Clara was about to say something but she heard some rapid footsteps outside.  She looked to see if it was Lex and saw that it was the man from the gasoline truck.  He was running as fast as he could away from the gas station.  Clara saw a flash.  Her jaw dropped in horror.  Her hand shot out and gripped the clerk’s shoulder.  She shifted her aura to cover the clerk as a ball of flame shot 200 feet into the air.  Other explosions followed.  The walls of the Convenient Gift Shoppe disappeared and the roof fell in pieces around them.  Beverage containers and oil cans burst from the intense heat.


Clara gulped, looked down, closed her eyes tightly and concentrated.  The energy flooded into her aura as her body began to feed on the energy.  The cloud of flame rapidly collapsed in upon itself.  Clara felt a little refreshed but she was scared of what she might see when she opened her eyes.  She had overcompensated and left herself more exposed that normal in order to guarantee the Clerk’s safety.  She slowly opened one eye and saw that she was standing in three inches of melted chocolate.  She gasped, “My new shoes!”  She slowly looked up and saw that the Clerk’s dress was clean and undamaged but hers was charred and tattered.  Then she looked along her outstretched arm and into the face of the store clerk to see her reaction to the explosion.  The woman had a surprised expression on her face, but Clara was even more shocked by what she saw.  She said, “Who are YOU?!”


The Clerk said, “Honey, I’m Mary … the store clerk.  Are you okay?  What happened?  Did terrorists attack?”


Clara stepped back from the clerk.  The clerk looked like she was in her mid-twenties.  Clara said, “OOPS!!  Uh.  Gotta go!”  Clara walked over the debris that had been the store and ran down the road.  She caught up to the man from the gasoline truck and grabbed him by the shoulder.  She pinched some blood vessels and he collapsed.  She went through his wallet.  There was about $3000.00 in cash but no identification.  She could smell traces of Lex’s cologne on him so she decided that he had probably delivered the invitation to her locker.  She quickly dismissed that Lex had anything to do with it.  She looked toward the place where she normally met Lex and there he was, waiting for her.  She looked at herself again.  There would be no meeting with Lex today.  She angrily grabbed an envelope from the man’s pocket and wrote a quick note on it, “I just blew up the Convenient Gas Shoppe by Small’s Park.”  She stuffed the note into the man’s pocket and used some of what remained of her dress to bind his hands and feet.  She lifted the man and threw him over her shoulder.  Faster than anyone could see, she ran to the Sheriff’s office and dropped the man by the front door.  Without hesitating, she continued down the road and was soon on her front porch.


Martha saw her walk in the front door and ran up to her.  She said, “Oh my God, Clara!  You’re a mess!”


Clara said, “Is … is … is Daddy … home?”


Martha said, “No Dear, what happened?!!!”  Clara burst into tears.  Martha said, “Are you hurt?”  Clara just stood there crying.  Martha said, “This must be bad!  What happened?!”


Clara said, “What happened?  What happened?!!  Can’t you see what happened?!  My new dress … It’s … RUINED!!!”  Clara continued to cry.


Martha took Clara in her arms and stroked her back.  She was losing a Tom Boy and gaining a daughter … and she knew that someone was responsible.  She hoped that it was someone special … someone worthy of all her daughter had to offer.







Lex glanced out his back window at the sun going down beyond the hill behind the mansion.  He was startled to see a woman walking across the lawn.  It didn’t take more than a moment for him to recognize her walk and now that it was Clara.  He was thrilled for a second then frightened when he saw two of his Doberman’s running in her direction.  He quickly grabbed his dog whistle from its hook near the back door as he reached for the door knob with his free hand.  He got through the door just in time to see Clara sit down on the lawn and the dogs circle and sit next to her – one on each side.


Lex took a deep breath then walked up the hill towards her as he said, “Guard dogs my … butt!  You guys are fired!”


Clara said, “Would you prefer it if they tried to rip me to shreds?”


Lex said, “No, but that’s their job description.  I would prefer that you came to the front gate so I could lock up the dogs before you came in.”


Clara said, “What?  Deny me my time with my furry friends?   They wouldn’t care for that at all, would you?  No you wouldn’t!”  Clara kissed each of the dogs on the top of the head.


Lex said, “Those dogs are supposed to be on duty.”


Clara said, “They work hard to keep you safe so they deserve a love break every now and then.”


Lex said, “So, you climbed a twelve foot fence in a dress?”


Clara said, “Of course not.  I’m an excellent jumper!”


Lex said, “So why don’t you come on inside and I’ll give you a private tour of my little home.”


Clara said, “That’s out of bounds.  You’d need more than a couple dogs to protect you if you ever let me be alone in there with you.”


Lex said, “You’re kidding, right?”


Clara said, “Not about going in.  That will have to wait.”


Lex said, “Until when?”


Clara said, “Until my high school class gets invited for a tour … or until my Dad says its okay … whichever comes last.”


Lex said, “Well, since Hell isn’t due to freeze over for a while yet, would you mind if I sit on the lawn next to you?”


Clara said, “I wouldn’t mind at all … but they might.”


The dogs growled as Lex approached.  Lex blew the whistle and yelled, “Leave, now!”  The dogs yelped, then got up and ran off.  Clara got up and turned.  Lex watched a moment as Clara walked away before asking, “Where are you going?”


Clara turned and said, “I thought that you wanted us dogs to leave.”


Lex said, “You are no dog.”


Clara said, “I am too!  My best childhood friend made me an honorary dog when I was five years old!”


Lex said, “Well then, sit and stay.


Clara sat back down as she said, “I’ll sit and stay awhile … but I won’t beg or roll over.”


Lex said, “I never expected you to.”  Lex sat down next to her and took her hand.  He asked, “So what has you hopping over my fence this beautiful evening?”


Clara said, “Oh, well … I was looking forward to seeing you all day and I was disappointed when you didn’t show up.”


Lex said, “Me?!  I was there!  Big rock, river road ….”


Clara said, “I know.  It was my mess up.  I thought we were going to meet someplace else.”


Lex said, “Why would you think that?  I don’t remember saying anything about meeting anyplace else.”


Clara said, “You didn’t.  I … kind of found … a note in my locker.  I thought you had someone leave it for me.”


Lex said, “I told you that if I left a note for you it would be on my embossed stationery.  I promised not to sign it in case someone else got their hands on it.”


Clara said, “I know.  But the letter ….  I just wasn’t thinking, that’s all.  Or maybe it WAS thinking … wishful thinking.  A day in the park with you sounded … good.”


Lex asked, “So who was it?  Who was the mysterious letter writer?”


Clara said, “I don’t know.”


Lex asked, “Who was at the park when you got there?”


Clara said, “No one was there.  Not even that statue of William Small was there.  It’s all in pieces now.  The whole park is a nasty mess.”


Lex asked, “So the mystery man stood you up?”


Clara said, “I think it was a prank.  Someone thought the idea of someone wanted to get together with Clara Kent funny so they set me up and sat back laughing about it.”


Lex said, “I really enjoy spending time with you.  And you keep coming back so I like to think that you enjoy it too.”


Clara said, “Well I have no choice.  I have to come see you.”


Lex said, “You HAVE to?  Why is that?”


Clara said, “Because you made a lot of money in the fertilizer business.”


Lex said, “What does that have to do with it?  You’ve never seemed very interested in my money.”


Clara said, “Well, since you became wealthy selling fertilizer, that makes you a shit magnate!”  Clara laughed then said, “Get it?  SHIT MAGNATE!”


Lex said, “Well, I get it but I don’t think it’s funny.”


Clara said, “Oh … I thought it was pretty clever.”


Lex said, “It’s clever all right, but it’s insulting to my favorite person in the world.”


Clara asked, “You?”


Lex said, “No, Angel, it’s insulting to you.  How long have you been saving that line to use on me?”


Clara said, “Not long.  A while.  It was hard because I wanted to tell someone but I couldn’t tell anybody else.”


Lex said, “So, back to the topic at hand.  You went to the park and it was a mess and there was no one there.  You realize that I didn’t write the note.  Why didn’t you head towards home and stop for a visit at our normal meeting place?  I waited a long time.”


Clara said, “The park wasn’t the only thing that was messed up.  I needed a shower.”


Lex asked, “From the walk?  I’ve never seen you break a sweat.”


Clara said, “No, I was near the Convenient Gas Shoppe when ….”


Lex gasped, “OH MY GOD!  Clara!”


Clara said, “You might have liked me with a candy coating but I didn’t much care for it.  I had on my new clothes too.  I was kind of upset.  I was caught off guard and I don’t much care for surprises of any kind.  I was expecting a pleasant afternoon with you and instead something really bad happened.  I found out that someone hates me enough to … um … pull a prank on me like that.  And I screwed up with the store clerk ….”


Lex gasped, “OH MY GOD!  Clara!  You were in the store?”


Clara said, “Just for a little while.”


Lex said, “How did you screw up with the store clerk?”


Clara said, “Um … I’d rather not say.”


Lex said, “I’m sure she doesn’t mind.  She is lucky to be alive.  So are you!  There was someone else in the store with the woman when the store blew up.  Did you see her too?”


Clara said, “The only one I saw was the store clerk.”


Lex said, “It’s a pretty fantastic story that anyone would survive … let alone two people … and what that woman said happened to her.  Only in Smallville, I guess.  I don’t think this is going to sink in until later.  I could have lost you.”


Clara said, “I’m pretty tough to lose.  Don’t ever worry about anything like that.”


Lex said, “I can’t help it.  I don’t know what I would do if ….”


Clara said, “Just think of it this way.  You’ve driven off a bridge and I have been in … near an explosion.  What are the odds that either of us will ever have anything bad happen to us again?”


Lex said, “You’ve got a point.  I see you also have a new dress.”


Clara said, “You noticed!  Mom took me back into town and got me a new dress.  She insisted.  Do you like it?”


Lex said, “Very much.”


Clara said, “It’s a little tighter than I like them but Mom insisted and she was paying.”


Lex said, “It’s not at all tight.  And $12.00 is a great price!  Marked down from $65.00!  That’s some discount!”


Clara said, “How did you ….”


Lex said, “Did you leave the price tag on it because you plan to return it?”


Clara said, “Should I?”


Lex said, “Definitely … not.  Does it matter what I think?”


Clara said, “Defin … kind of … maybe.  I didn’t mean to leave the price tag on.  I guess I’m not thinking very clearly today.  I really didn’t have anything to talk about tonight either.  I just wanted a better ending to the day than ….  Well.  I just wanted to look in and see you.  I didn’t expect you to come out or anything.  I come by here sometimes … on walks.”


Lex said, “Well don’t stop by without letting me know that you’re here.  When you look at me, I like the opportunity to get a look at you too – or hadn’t you noticed.”


Clara said, “Most of the time I think I must imagine it.”


Lex asked, “How would you like to imagine that I’m kissing you?


Clara said, “I imagine that I would like that … very much.”


Lex said, “Well, I like leaving nothing to the imagination.”  Lex and Clara leaned into a kiss as the last rays of the Sun tracked across the hillside behind them.