“The Dress Off Her Back”

Rated PG-13







Clara Kent was working in her laboratory at Metropolis University.  She kept repeating the same experiments and kept making mistakes that made it necessary for her to start over.  She was trying to get to a good stopping point because she was supposed to meet Lex Luthor at White Municipal Park at half passed twelve before going with him to a late business lunch.  At first she thought that she was distracted by thoughts about lunch, but that didn’t seem to fit.  She didn’t feel the urgency that Lex did about this meeting.  Kandor could wait.  The Nanites didn’t need any special accommodations yet.  In her opinion, if it happened now, it happened.  If it didn’t, it would happen later.  But, she wondered, if it wasn’t the meeting that was troubling her, why were her hands trembling?  She was unusually uncoordinated … and she couldn’t figure it out because her thoughts were strangely unfocused.  About the third time that Eve asked her what was wrong, Clara realized that whatever was going on with her was far from normal.  She began looking through the walls and into the surrounding labs.  Even doing this task seemed difficult for her.  She almost gave up looking around and went back to work when she glanced up at the labs above her.  Her jaw dropped open for a second then she turned to her Nanite friends and said, “Adam … Eve … we’re leaving now.  Get your family together.  There’s a tank of liquefied kryptonite in a lab just above us.  I have to get out of here!”


The Nanites that were in the lab that day quickly filed into a couple large carrying cases.  Clara lifted the cases and was troubled by how heavy they felt.  She nearly stumbled as she went out the door.  Seconds later, she returned and grabbed a long mailing tube and a briefcase.  Now fully loaded and feeling almost as feeble as a human being, she quickly made her way to an elevator.  The further she got from her lab, the lighter her load seemed and the better she felt.  But when the elevator went up instead of down, she silently cursed herself for not paying attention.  She felt nauseous and it must have showed because she got several concerned looks from the people who got in on the next floor up.  She didn’t want their pity because she knew that among them was probably someone who was experimenting with kryptonite … and, in her opinion, that was never a good thing.  The elevator finally headed back down and Clara got off on the fourth floor.  She made her way to the office of Mr. Scott Hayden – the man in charge of the facility.  Clara put down her cases and knocked on the open office door before walking inside.


Mr. Hayden said, “Miss Kent, could I help you with something?”


Clara said, “I need a new lab.”


Mr. Hayden said, “You have one of our best.  Normally you would have to share a lab like that with two or three other graduate students.  What’s wrong with it?”


Clara said, “It has come to my attention that meteor rock experiments are being conducted on the tenth floor – directly above mine.  One: that is illegal.  Two: I was promised that no radioactive materials would be experimented on in this building.  And three:  I will not expose myself or my Nanites to harmful radiation.”


Mr. Hayden said, “Dear, I can count too.  One:  There is no way that you should be aware of what work goes on in any lab other than your own.  Two:  Any materials used in any of our labs have received any and all necessary legal permits.  Three:  No one has ever proved that meteor rock radiation is in any way harmful to humans or animals.  In fact, most serious scientists believe that meteor rocks have beneficial side effects.  Four:  No other labs are available.  There is a waiting list and I am tempted to make you share what space you have.”


Clara said, “So find someone to switch labs with me … or install lead sheeting or foil or paint -- if you can find any, on the walls and ceiling of my lab … or make the people experimenting on meteor rocks go somewhere else.”


Mr. Hayden said, “I can’t do any of those things.”


Clara said, “I haven’t been very demanding with you before, but something has to be done about this by tomorrow or I will take my research elsewhere.  In a few hours, I’m meeting with investors in the private sector to continue my work with Nanites outside of the university.  Should I find an outside backer for my cancer research as well?  I’m going to find the cure this year.  I have no doubt about that.  Do you think that the university will want to miss having a part in that discovery?  So get my samples and equipment moved to another lab or get the lead out and on the walls and ceiling or you’ve seen the last of me.”


Mr. Hayden said, “I’ll make some calls and see what I can do.  I know that your research here is highly valued.”


Clara said, “I’ll check with you when I get back this afternoon.”


Clara put the mailing tube and briefcase under her arms then lifted her cases and headed for the stairwell.  She was down the stairs and halfway through the lobby when a security guard said, “Miss Kent, a package arrived for you by courier from LexCare.  Do you want it now or should I send it up to your lab?”


Clara said, “I’ll take it.”  The guard got the box and carefully slid it under the arm that she was using to carry the mailing tube.  Without looking into the box, Clara could see that it was from an upscale women’s clothing store.  She mumbled, “Oh Lex, what are you up to now?”







Clara got to her car and put everything she had been carrying on the back seat.  One of the cases opened itself and Eve and Adam got out.  Adam asked Clara, “Are we going to see Lex now?”


Clara answered, “We have some time to kill.  I didn’t expect to have to leave the lab so quickly.  I thought today was going to be the big day.  I think I am so close now to the answer.  I can’t use my powers to heal everyone with cancer.  I’d die before I even healed even one in ten of them.  And once I was dead, even more people would be stricken.  The answer is in science.  The answer is in me.  But it’s just beyond my grasp.  But soon … Adam … what is it?”  Adam motioned for Clara to lift him.  She picked him up and he leaned over to whisper in her ear.  She smiled and said, “I’m sure that will be okay.”  Clara put Adam down, opened her briefcase and got out her cell phone.  She pushed a button to dial Lex’s number.


Lex answered, “Hello, Angel.”


Clara said, “Lex, you’re pushing the boundaries again.”


Lex said, “You’ll have to be more specific.  In my book, boundaries are made to be pushed.”


Clara said, “The dress, Lex.  The dress.”


Lex said, “Strictly business.”


Clara said, “Business?  What kind of business?  From the look of that dress, my guess would be that you plan to put me on the street and be my pimp.”


Lex said, “Come on!  It’s not that bad.  I think it’s classic.  It has dignity despite being a little daring.  If you want these particular investors to like the idea of working with us, you have to show them that there will be some perks that go along with the partnership.”


Clara asked, “What kind of perks?”


Lex said, “Like knowing that there will be someone beautiful to look at during the inevitable business planning meetings and then during the board meetings once Kandor is up and running.”


Clara said, “You ARE planning on pimping me!  How I look should have nothing at all to do with this!  If they invest with us, they’ll be helping sick people get well and making a sizable return on their investment.  That should be enough.”


Lex said, “These men will be needing every incentive we can give them to part with their cash.  After all, everyone has been asked to put up ten million in cash as good faith money.”


Clara said, “Then why don’t YOU put on the dress?”


Lex said, “I would … if it would help this deal to happen.  This is the most important agreement I hope to ever enter into.  I want it more than anything else in my life.  And I want everything to be perfect.  Wear the dress for me … PLEASE!”


Clara said, “Okay.  Okay.  You know I would wear it for you in a heartbeat if I didn’t have to worry about other people looking at me.  But listen, you have to stop giving me the sales routine.  I thought we were better friends than that.  We should exchange facts, not exaggerate.  Kandor can’t be the most important deal you’ve ever been part of.  It’s not even that urgent for me and the Nanites and it’s much more personal to us.  To you it’s nothing more than another deal out of hundreds of deals.”


Lex said, “I could see why you think I am exaggerating, but I’m not.  You may not believe me now … but you’ll understand it all soon enough … at our pre-meeting get-together.”


Clara said, “Do you want to meet early?  I had to leave the lab unexpectedly.  I have time now.”


Lex said, “Sorry Angel.  As much as I’d love that, I have people waiting to meet with me right now.  I’ll be busy up until the moment I leave to meet you.  I might even be a little late.  But you’ll be waiting for me by the duck pond … wearing that dress … won’t you?”


Clara said, “Yes Lex.”


Lex said, “Wearing the dress … right?”


Clara said, “Jeeze Lex!  Are you afraid that you won’t recognize me?  Should I wear a carnation in my hair or something?”


Lex said, “The dress?”


Clara said, “Yes, yes, YES!  I’ll wear the dress! But don’t keep me waiting there too long.  That park is a notorious make out spot.  I’ll feel uncomfortable standing there in something that skimpy.”


Lex said, “Don’t make White Park sound sleazy.  It’s the most romantic park in the city.”


Clara said, “All the more reason not to leave me there for long.  Some handsome guy might just come along and … OH!  Lex, I almost forgot!”


Lex said, “Forgot what?”


Clara said, “A mutual friend wants to come to the park too.  He says he has a big surprise for both of us.  Well, it can’t be that big of a surprise.  I saw the small box it’s in.  It must be precious the way he’s protecting it!  I kind of guessed what it is and I’m more excited about it than I ever thought I would be.  You’ll probably be blown away.  He’s been hinting about this for some time but I didn’t expect it now and I didn’t expect my own reaction.”  Clara started whispering, “I cheated.  I peeked in the box.  I don’t think he was ready for this yet, but he wanted it to happen before the meeting.  It’s so beautiful!  Lex … Lex?  Are you still there?”


Lex said, “This person … is someone who knows about the meeting?”


Clara said, “Of course he knows.  He couldn’t possibly be excluded.”


Lex said, “Look Honey, I really needed some time alone with you before the meeting.  Any other day would be fine but ….”


Clara said, “He won’t be in the way at all.  If I tell him to leave us alone for awhile, he’ll listen and do what I ask.  He practically worships me.  He’s certainly more obedient than you are.”  Clara laughed then continued, “He’ll leave us alone but he probably won’t take his eyes off you.  He’s silly about how protective he can be … almost jealous even.  I don’t see why he thinks he has to be jealous.  That’s not a good trait and I bet it will take me years to train him not to be that way.  Can’t have him passing it on to the children.”


Lex said, “What children?  …  Never mind.  I’m just a little paranoid today.  I’ve been told that my Father is somewhere in the building.  Clara, just please understand that it is CRITICAL for me to be alone with you today of all days!”


Clara said, “Well it’s very important to our friend to be there too.  You get to have your way by having me wear that dress, so he should be allowed to pass the time with me until you get done with all that important business that is keeping you from getting together with me now.”


Lex said, “I guess it will be okay … as long as he gives us some private time together.  No matter what you think, fighting for your attention isn’t a childish competition with me anymore … but I feel more like throwing a tantrum right now than I have in years.”


Clara said, “If you are trying to make me spank you, it won’t work.  Well … it probably won’t work.  You’re going to need to learn to compromise occasionally when we are business partners.”


Lex said, “This partnership means the world to me.  I’ll do anything in my power to make it happen.  It seems like I have been waiting forever.”


Clara said, “Patience.  It will all be over in a few short hours.  I can’t for the life of me understand how someone with all your business experience can be so anxious about such a simple business deal!”


Lex said, “Speaking of business, the sooner I get my business here done, the sooner I can be with you.  I’ll be seeing you soon, Angel.”


Clara said, “Bye-bye Lex.”


Lex said, “Goodbye.”  When he heard here disconnect her phone he added, “I love you more than my own life.”







Lex pushed the button on his intercom and said, “Send them in now, please”  Three well-dressed men entered his office.  Lex said, “I’m sorry I kept you waiting, but I have a lot to do today so let’s not waste time with formalities.  Let’s see the merchandise.”  Each man put a case on Lex’s desk and opened them.  Lex looked over the selection of rings and said, “Like I told you on the phone, price is no object, but the ring can’t look expensive to an untrained eye.  It has to be simple, elegant and stylish – not at all garish.  The stones must be flawless – the absolute best possible quality.  The setting is to be platinum and must be of the product of the absolute best workmanship available.”


A voice from the doorway said, “She isn’t worth it Lex.  Are you actually planning to go through with this stupidity?”


Lex said, “Father, you’re the last person I want to see right now.”


Lionel Luthor answered, “I heard you were planning a partnership with the farmer’s daughter and came here to talk you out of it.  I had no idea that the partnership that you really had in mind involved a ring.”


Lex said, “Of course you did.  We use the same jewelers – only the best for us, right Dad?  I expected that at least one of them would call to congratulate you on your son’s engagement.  Please don’t waste another moment of your time.  There is nothing you can say or do to spoil this day for me … or keep me from marrying Clara.  God knows you’ve tried everything … planting drugs in her car … planting false memories in her mind ….”


Lionel said, “I’ve told you again and again that I had nothing to do with any of that.  There is absolutely no proof ….”


Lex interrupted, “Nothing that would hold up in a court of law … but this isn’t a court of law, is it?”


Lionel said, “No, it isn’t.  It’s a witch trial based on your hormones.  Or should I call it a ‘bitch trial?’  She’s playing you, Son.  Everything she does is designed to manipulate you to do what you are doing right now.  Has she ever spoken a word of truth to you?”


Lex asked, “Have you?  And you’re one to talk about manipulation.  Didn’t you major in manipulation in the school of hard knocks in suicide slum?  You can’t stop me.  Only Clara can.  This is in no way a done deal.  I’ll probably have to do the sales job of my life to convince her to spend her life with me.  I have a feeling that she might not be ready – that she has something she needs to prove to herself before she’ll marry me.  She could very well say no.”


Lionel said, “Even she isn’t that big of a fool … but apparently you are.”


Lex said, “Do I have to call security to get you out of here?  Just face it Dad!  It’s over.  Clara and I will happen sooner or later … hopefully sooner.  Accept the fact that you’ve done everything you can and we’re still on the path to our destiny.”


Lionel said, “I’m afraid that may be the case.  And when she does what she is destined to do to you, I’ll be there to pick up the pieces.  She’ll just chew you up and move on.  Bruce Wayne is next, isn’t he?  … Or was he first?  He’ll be at your little meeting today.  Why don’t you ask him?”


Lex was about to shout at Lionel to get out, but Lionel turned and walked out before Lex could say anything.  Lex turned to the three jewelers, smiled and said, “Sorry about that, gentlemen.  Let’s get on with this, shall we?”







Lionel Luthor exited the LexCare lobby and took out his cell phone.  He pushed a speed dial number and waited for an answer.  Morgan Edge said, “Lionel!  To what do I owe this pleasure?”


Lionel said, “Same old, same old my friend.  She’s still not cooperating by getting out of my son’s life.  I’m done playing games.  Let’s finish it.  Set it up however you like.  Just keep it simple, direct and fool-proof.  And I want to be able to witness it.  I want to know first hand that she won’t be a problem for me … or anyone else … anymore.”


Morgan said, “I’ve got a few ideas – some more fun than others.  She’s wiggled her way out of everything that we’ve set up so far, so I agree with you.  A simple approach will be best.  Simple … but overkill … just to make sure that the job is done.”


Lionel said, “I’ll leave it in your capable hands.”






Lex put on his suit coat and put the small box in his pocket.  He called security and they brought in a briefcase.  He opened it and examined the ten million dollars neatly bundled and staked.  He closed the briefcase and stood lost in thought for a moment.  He said to himself, “I’d better take precautions.”  He took off his coat and opened the bottom drawer of his desk.  He took out a shoulder holster and strapped it on.  Then he got his revolver out of his top drawer and put it in the holster before putting his suit coat back on.  He picked up the briefcase and hurried out the door to meet with Clara.






Clara was sitting on a bench in the park feeling very self conscious in the dress Lex had bought her.  She barely noticed the beautiful woman with the long, dark hair pacing back and forth near her.  She was more aware of the unwelcome stares of a hot dog vendor who wheeled his cart ever closer to where she was seated.  She just knew that the man was going to offer her a wiener any second.  She tried to brace herself and think of what to say back to him.  When he did speak, what he said was totally unexpected.  He shouted, “LOOK OUT!”


A young man on roller blades came flying down the sidewalk at a high rate of speed.  He was more than a little distracted by Clara and didn’t notice the woman pacing in his path.  The woman didn’t notice him either until he impacted her with a glancing blow.  As the young man hurried away without stopping, the woman fell against the hot dog cart and was covered with relish, sour kraut, chili sauce, mustard and ketchup before falling backwards to fall over a low stone wall and land in the grass.  The woman rolled onto her back, covered her face with her hands and began to cry.


Clara rushed over to her.  A quick examination showed that the woman had some minor cuts and bruises, but no major injuries.  Clara took hold of the woman’s arm and her cuts began to close as Clara asked, “Are you all right?”


The woman sobbed, “No!  I’m NOT all right!  I’m a mess.  Today was supposed to be perfect.  I just knew when he asked me to meet him here that he was finally going to propose to me today.  I’m sure of it!  But not now … not like this!”


Clara looked at the woman and then at herself.  She sighed then looked around for some tall bushes.






Lex got to the park about fifteen minutes late.  He got out of his car and walked at a fast pace towards the duck pond.  When he got to the top of a hill overlooking the pond, he stopped to take a breath and take a look around to see if he could find Clara.  The pond was still a good distance away, but the red dress stood out from the green grass and the blue pond beyond it.  He could feel his heart rate pick up as he stared at her.  He momentarily wished that he had asked her to braid her hair so it didn’t hang in her face like it often did when there were other people around.  Then he imagined himself pushing her hair back and allowing his hand to brush against her cheek just before he proposed to her.  As he studied the lines of her body, he noticed that someone was kneeling in front of her.  It was a well-built, dark haired man.  The man held up his arm and Lex could see the reflection of light coming off the ring that the man held up for her to see.  Lex mumbled, “Bruce? … That FOOL!  He should know better.  Clara doesn’t ….”  Lex saw the woman’s head bobbing excitedly.  The man jumped to his feet and embraced her.  Lex’s mouth dropped open in horror.  He dropped his briefcase.  He patted himself with his right hand to find the ring that he had bought for Clara.  His hand touched the lump under his arm and in his dazed state of mind he opened his suit coat to see what it was.  He grasped the handle of the gun and pulled it out.  He looked at the gun and tried to remember why he had brought it.  He flipped the safety off.  He looked down the hill again and stared at the couple before raising the gun to take careful aim at the man’s head.  He put a little pressure on the trigger as he stood there lost in the rush of conflicting thoughts and emotions.  He was having trouble focusing his eyes.  He felt a trickle of moisture down the side of his face.  He was trying to steady his aim when he felt a tug on his pant leg.  He looked down and thought that he had lost his mind.  There was a tiny man, maybe 18 inches tall, looking up at him sadly and shaking his head “No.”  Beside the tiny man was an even smaller woman.  She was about six inches tall and looked like Clara – a very sad, frightened Clara.  Lex slowly lowered the gun, then looked back down the hill at the couple.  They were kissing each other passionately and totally unaware of anything or anyone other than themselves.  Lex raised the gun again and put its barrel into his mouth.  Lex looked back down at the tiny man and realized that it was the Nanite Adam.  Adam was holding the tiny Clara in an attempt to comfort her, but he never stopped looking up at Lex and shaking his head.  Lex was still watching them with the gun barrel in his mouth when he suddenly felt an intense pain in his wrist.  He was thrown backwards and landed hard on the hillside.  He turned to see Clara flinging what looked like a silver ball in the direction of the duck pond.  She walked over to him and stared down at him with eyes that seemed to glow a bright red.




Lex said, “The man you love?  Bruce Wayne?”


Clara shouted, “You IDIOT!  Bruce Wayne?  I love YOU!  And I won’t allow you to hurt yourself!  AND I’ll kick your ASS all the way back to Smallville if you try anything like that again!  Why would you put a gun in your mouth like that?”


Lex said, “I saw Bruce proposing to you.”


Clara said, “NO you DIDN’T!”


Lex looked down the hill.  The couple was still kissing by the duck pond.  He said, “That dress … it looks just like the dress I bought for you.”


Clara said, “It is.”


Lex said, “What?  Why?”


Clara said, “See what I’m wearing?”


Lex looked at Clara.  She was wearing a torn, dirty white dress covered with food and blood stains.  He said, “What happened to you?  Are you all right?”


Clara said, “No I’m not all right!  You thoughtless creep!  My boyfriend tried to kill himself!”


Lex said, “The dress you are wearing ….”


Clara said, “That woman down there had an accident just before her boyfriend was supposed to show up to propose to her.  She was upset so I changed clothes with her.  You said you were going to be late so I went and bought a new dress like the one bought me so I would have it for the meeting.  It was the most expensive dress I ever bought but it was what you wanted, wasn’t it?  It’s in that box over there.  I dropped it when I saw what you were about to do.  Thank God Adam and his daughter little Clara wanted to stay here in case you showed up before I got back!  So, I get back here and find you with a gun in your mouth.  Why would you do that?!  I’m so mad at you right now!  I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to forgive you for that!”  Clara’s angry face seemed to soften and then she burst out crying.


Lex said, “I saw that man proposing … I thought it was Bruce Wayne proposing to you.”


Clara continued to cry as she said, “That’s no reason to do something so stupid.  I thought I knew you.  If something like that ever happened, I would expect you to do something crazy like … like … like run out and get an engagement ring with a bigger stone than the one Bruce bought.  I never imagined you would do what you just did!”


Lex said, “Well I know you better than that … I know that the size of the stone wouldn’t matter to you.  I know that if gave your heart to someone, the ring wouldn’t mean a thing to you.  I almost laughed when I thought Bruce was proposing to you.  But when I saw how eagerly that woman accepted the proposal, … something just snapped.”


Clara just stood there looking at the ground and her body convulsed as she cried.  Lex stood and went to her, but she pushed him away.  He said, “Owww!”


Clara said, “What’s wrong?”


Lex said, “I think you broke my wrist getting that gun away from me.”


Clara took Lex’s hand gently and stared at it.  Lex felt his wrist grow hotter and the pain subside.  Clara moved his hand around and said, “No.  It’s not broken.  Anyway, who cares about your stupid wrist?  It’s easier to fix than a hole in your head.”


Lex softly said, “I’m sorry you saw what I did.  I’m sorry I scared you.  I wasn’t thinking clearly but I never would have pulled that trigger.  As long as you are alive, I would be able to keep going.  Being your friend would be enough reason for me to stay around … even though I would take no pleasure seeing you with someone else.”


Clara said, “I might not live forever, you know?  Does what you just said mean that if something ever happens to me, you’ll kill yourself?  I have a will.  Did you know that?  If anything happens to me, I’m counting on you to make sure that the Nanites are protected from exploitation and are properly cared for.  I’m counting on you to continue my work if I can’t.  I was prepared to put more power into your hands than you can possibly imagine.  But I can’t do that unless I can have an absolute trust in you.  What happened today might mean that I can never trust you enough … and that will spoil everything we might have together – EVERYTHING – our ENTIRE future!  Promise me that you’ll never try to kill yourself.  PROMISE ME!”


Lex said, “Clara … Angel … I can’t ….”


Clara said, “I can’t live like that Lex … knowing that you’ll do something stupid if something happens to me.  Promise me that you won’t hurt yourself!”


Lex said, “Clara, I love you too much to live without you.  I couldn’t … I just ….”


Clara said, “Don’t SAY that!  I don’t want you to love me that way!”


Lex said, “But I do.”


Clara said, “If you really loved me, you’d live for me … if only to keep me alive in your memories … or out of respect for what I wanted to do in my life … to see that my work here continues through you.  Can’t you love me enough to live for me?  Or don’t you love me that much.”


Lex said, “Oh how I love you Angel.”


Clara said, “Then PROMISE!”


Lex said, “I don’t want to lie to you.  I don’t know what I’d do if ….”


Clara said, “Then decide … decide right now what you would do.  Then promise me you won’t hurt yourself … or you’ll lose me right now!  I won’t live like that … knowing.”


Lex exhaled deeply and quietly said, “I promise.”


Clara put her arms around Lex and pulled him into a tight embrace.  She felt a bulge in Lex’s suit that poked her and shot a quick downward glance with her X-ray vision wision and gasped, “Oh my dear God.”


Lex said, “What’s wrong now?”


Clara said, “Umm.  Nothing.  I just don’t know why you would carry a gun.”


Lex said, “I brought the money for the meeting.  I needed to be able to stop someone if they decided to rob me.”


Clara said, “Don’t carry a gun anymore.  I won’t have you taking a chance like that again.  Your life isn’t worth $10 million or $10 billion.  It’s priceless to me.”


Lex said, “How about $12 billion?”


Clara said, “Lex Luthor, don’t you dare start joking around after what just happened!  No more guns!”


Lex said, “No more guns.”  After a few moments, Lex asked, “So where is Bruce?”


Clara said, “How would I know?  And why would I care?”


Lex said, “You said you were bringing him with you, didn’t you?”


Clara said, “I did NOT!  You think more of that Bruce Wayne than I do!  Is that why …. ummm.”


Lex said, “Why what?”


Clara said, “Never mind.  … Maybe I’m the one who should be jealous of Bruce.  He’s the one that’s constantly in your thoughts.”


Lex said, “So who is the friend you were talking about.”


Clara said, “Adam, of course.  He wanted to show you his first grandchild.  It’s not quite finished yet.  Little Clara hasn’t decided if she wants a boy or girl child first.  It’s only going to be an inch tall.  I think that Adam wants you to show his grandchild to investors to sell them on the idea of Kandor.”


Lex said, “That’s a great idea.  We’ll do that.”


Clara said, “No we won’t.”


Lex said, “Why not?”


Clara said, “You’re going to call the meeting off.  Kandor will wait.  The existing Nanites are large enough that they don’t need a clean room environment.  And I need some time to think about us getting any further involved … in any way … because of what happened today.”


Lex said, “I’m really sorry.  Let’s put what just happened behind us and go to the meeting.  The investors may never trust us again if we back out now.”


Clara said, “I don’t care.  I have too much to think about right now.  I have to concentrate on the cancer cure.  I can’t let anything … or anyone distract me right now.  But for the moment, I think we both need to chill out a bit.  Why don’t we go sit by the duck pond?  I’ve been craving hot dogs due to the smell of this dress.  I’ll let you buy me a couple.  But then I’ve got to return that dress … and you’ve got to return that money to wherever you got it from.”


Lex said, “I got it out of petty cash.”


Clara rolled her eyes and said, “In that case, you can buy me 4 hot dogs … with chili sauce and cheese.”







Lionel Luthor found his way to Morgan Edge’s table at a small, exclusive restaurant.  After Lionel sat down, Morgan leaned towards him and said, “Great news.  Some renovations are being made to a certain lab at Metropolis University.  I hired a couple expert contractors to join the work crew and make some enhancements to the lab that young Miss Kent won’t be expecting … but that I’m sure she will get a big bang out of.”


Lionel said, “You’re forgetting – I want to be a witness.  How can I get close enough to see her … without putting myself in harm’s way?”


Morgan said, “One wall of the lab is a window.  You’ll have the detonator in your hand and have a front row seat … in your helicopter.”


Lionel said, “Excellent.”


Morgan said, “Here’s an added bonus.  I have witnesses … actual witnesses – not people I paid to tell what I want them to say.  I have witnesses that saw your son make a failed suicide attempt today.  I know you can use something like that to regain control of him.”


Lionel said, “Yes, indeed!  It looks like my friends at Belle Reeve may get an opportunity to help put Lex back on the track that I want him on!”