“The Farmer Girl From Hell” Rated PG-13

[Clara Kent Version of "Leach" -- formerly "Harlot for Halloween"]





[Note: There are references here to events that occur in a story called “Stake Out.” In that story, the football team decides to observe their homecoming tradition by making a human scarecrow out of whomever the person was posting proclamations against the tradition. When they find out that Clara is behind it, they follow through and tie her to a post in Reilly Field wearing Lana’s necklace. Knowing this, there should be no problem understanding this fiction without reading “Stake Out.”]







Clara glanced over at the group of football players hanging out in the hallway as she made her way to her locker. She saw what she hoped she wouldn’t see and quickly looked away. They were staring at her. It would be starting again soon. She braced herself.


They were all wearing their football uniforms for team photos. She would be happy if she never saw another football jersey again. The football players who were staring at her were the same ones that had tied her to a post in a corn field downwind of the fertilizer plant just ten days before. They had left her there to die and then came back later to play cruel games with her. It made her sick to think what might have happened that night if Lex hadn’t come along. That same night, she fought a previous stake-out victim.  She knew that she was defending the very people that found such pleasure humiliating her. She couldn’t NOT help them, but she felt stupid for doing it. At moments like this, Clara remembered a definition she had heard for the word “stress.” It went something like this, “Stress is the feeling you get when you resist the urge to choke the living pooh-pooh out of some … some not nice person who richly deserves it.”


But she had done something with her stress 10 days before. She had lost control and messed with their precious trucks … and those that had come back for more had found themselves in deep fertilizer – literally. She thought that they would never dare to mess with her again. But it didn’t even take a week for the whispers to start. People had seen her carried off by the football team without putting up a fight. The word had spread that she had gone all the way with the team and did so at every opportunity. Only a few team members denied it … and other students thought that they did so because they had girlfriends or because they were embarrassed to have anything to do with her. Clara didn’t care what her school mates thought of her, but she was worried that her parents would hear the rumors … or that Lex might not want to be her … friend anymore if he thought that he wasn’t the only one. Behind her she heard a chorus of voices singing a now familiar tune. She knew it was the team serenading her again, but she wouldn’t turn around or react. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.


They sang:


“The Farmer Girl from Hell,

The Farmer Girl from Hell,

Hi Ho, the Dairy Ho,

The Farmer Girl from Hell.


The girl she can’t say no,

The girl she can’t say no,

Hi Ho, the Dairy Ho,

The girl she can’t say no.


She slept with the whole team,

She slept with the whole team,

Hi Ho, the Dairy Ho,

She slept with the whole team.


The girl can’t get enough,

The girl can’t get enough,

Hi Ho, the Dairy Ho,

The girl can’t get enough.


She may look like a cow,

But she certainly knows how,

Hi Ho, the Dairy Ho,

But she certainly knows how.


She takes it like a ….”


Whitney Fordman yelled, “CUT IT THE HELL OUT! ENOUGH ALREADY! It’s bad enough what we did to her on homecoming! It’s been like a curse on the team. We haven’t played well since then. I’m ashamed of myself and you should be too!” Whitney walked over to Clara and said, “I’m sorry about that. I keep telling them to cut it out.”


Clara didn’t take her head out of her locker or turn to face him, she just said, “I think I preferred my “Creepy/spookie/mysterious/ookie” theme song more than this one … it was more snappy. At least this one doesn’t insult my family when I’m the intended target. So why is the quarterback of the football team talking to the lowly Dairy Ho? Is Lana denying you her affection? Do you want to take me out for a stake? It’s true that I’m not tied up at the moment … but I prefer it that way. The only thing I’m roped into at the moment is helping to decorate the gymnasium for a party that no self-respecting boy in the school would invite me to. So tell me what you want, but you better have some money because I’ve heard that I charge for my services now.”


Whitney cleared his throat and said, “I’ll never forgive myself for what I did to you. It’s not like you are some big strapping guy that could have defended himself. Something just snapped that day. It’s like I just stood outside my own body and watched myself do something I knew was wrong.”


Clara said, “You read what I wrote about your tradition. It wouldn’t have mattered if you did it to a guy as big as Hulk Hoagie or The Boulder or whoever those wrestlers are, it still would have been WRONG!”


Whitney said, “I know it’s not a good enough excuse … there is NO excuse for what I did … but I haven’t been myself lately. Things aren’t going well at home right now.”


Clara said, “I wish I didn’t care … but I do. I don’t like ANYBODY to suffer … and I don’t take pleasure in your family’s trouble … especially since your Father and I have gotten so close. But DAMN IT, I could have died that night. I was having an allergy attack when you took me out there. That’s why I didn’t fight you … or otherwise you would be nursing your injuries right now instead of apologizing. Do any of you stop to think before you do anything? If a friend hadn’t come along, you might be up on manslaughter charges right now … and your cellmate probably wouldn’t look like Lana Lang or be comparably equipped. Did you know that some of your team mates came back later with the intention of having even more fun at my expense? I’m lucky that I only ended up with a red “S” painted on me and my clothes. But now you guys are trying to mark me with another scarlet letter by saying I’m messing around with married teachers. I wasn’t the only lucky one who was lucky that my friend got me down from that post.  You guys would be in a world of hurt if my Dad knew what you did to me.  I don’t like keeping secrets from him, but I didn’t tell him what happened and never will. He’s won the local turkey shoot six years running … and you’d better believe that he’d see you guys as a bunch of turkeys. My Dad was a star quarterback for the Crows when he attended Smallville High and NO ONE got staked out in a field according to your precious traditions when he was the team’s leader. You’ve let me talk, so I’ll give you a turn. I know why you’re talking to me. Ask it.”


Whitney said, “Ask what? I’d ask your forgiveness, but I know that it would never be possible for you to forgive me.”


Clara said, “Of course it’s possible. I’m stupid that way. But that’s not really what you want to ask me, is it?”


Whitney said, “What are you talking about?”


Clara said, “I don’t have it.”


Whitney said, “That isn’t what this is about. I truly am sorry.”


Clara said, “And I TRULY don’t have it. If you want, I’ll tell Lana that you felt sorry for me and let me wear it and I lost it.”


Whitney said, “Like that would go over good!”


Clara said, “Well, I guess we can keep our record going. Lana played with me a few times after her Mother told her not to, but she has kept away from me since we were 8 and some kids saw us together and called us the “Gook-alike Girls” because of our black hair and because we look like we’re oriental. It’s best if she isn’t seen near me now that I’m the Dairy Ho.  She might be thought guilty by association. We don’t want them to start calling her the “Dairy Ho Neighbor” now do we?”


Whitney said, “Lana isn’t really that way at all. You are both pretty shy people at heart, but if you really needed her, she would be right there … and I have the feeling that you’re the same way.”


Clara said, “I remember her being right there for me … watching her Mom paddle me for pulling her sorry butt out of a river and not saying a thing because she would have been the one getting punished.  Lana was my only friend back then and after that, I wasn’t ever allowed to go over to her house or have her over to mine.  Well, Mrs. Lang did tell her to come visit me once after that … but I was asleep and she pinched my … never mind.”


Whitney said, “That’s one of many reasons why I’m really sorry.  Lana told me all about it.”


Clara said, “Lana told you that she felt up my breasts while I slept?”


Whitney said, “No, she … WHAT?!  I was talking about you pulling her out of the river … and I was sorry about you getting punished for being heroic.”


Clara said, “Well, I’m sorry too, that’s why I got permission to skip all my afternoon classed except the geology outing so I can pay your Father a visit.”


Whitney said, “You can’t … you wouldn’t! He’s … he’s ….”


Clara said, “He’s sick. I know. I am interested in medicine and work as a candy striper in the hospital sometimes. I know a few doctors and they let me visit people that they think are terminal. Whitney, believe this … they are very often WRONG. Most of the so called terminal patients I visit have full recoveries. Some people do so much better if they just have someone like me come to visit, hold their hand and listen to them … or just be quiet with them. Very few people really know me but I have some very positive energy that tends to rub off on people if the open up to me. I’ve visited your Father a couple times since homecoming. I haven’t told him what you did and I won’t. He loves you a lot so stop being a jerk.” Whitney turned to walk away and Clara said, “Come back here, Jerk.”


Whitney said, “What? You want to say something to make me feel even worse? I don’t know if that’s possible, but go ahead and try. You deserve to do or say anything you want to me.”


Clara said, “Lana didn’t have any part in what you guys did and I feel guilty that she’s not getting that pendant back, so take this.”


Whitney said, “What is it?”


Clara said, “I’m stupid to trust you with this secret, but I’m learning how to make industrial grade diamonds. Most the time, I just make a mess. But I’ve had a little bit of success. That’s a raw diamond – the biggest and purist one I’ve managed to make so far. A jeweler might make a trade with you. You could probably get a smaller, cut diamond in some kind of setting – a pendant like the one that got lost … or a ring if you’re serious about her. Tell her not to keep reminding herself about what she’s lost, to look at what she has and to get on with her life.”


Whitney said, “Why would you do that?”


Clara said, “If anybody asks, I DIDN’T! I could have made sure that Lana got her pendant back but I didn’t. And I have always felt guilty about what happened to her Aunt Nell.”


Whitney asked, “Why?”


Clara said, “I don’t like to talk about it. Lana loved her Aunt so much and her parents are too self-centered to pay any attention to her unless it is some public display where they can show off how great they are as parents.  And I ended up with wonderful parents on the same day that the only person that loved Lana died.  At least that’s how I’ve heard Lana describe the situation.”


Whitney said, “So you think Lana would be better off without her parents?”


Clara said, “HEY, I didn’t say that. I’ve never seen Lana go wanting for anything, but still …. There’s really more to it. But we were like sisters for a short time and we’re neighbors and I like to watch out for my neighbors.”


Whitney looked at the diamond a little closer and said, “You almost had me there for a minute. This is salt or rock candy or something.  You want me to go into some store and humiliate myself.”


Clara said, “Believe that if you like. Why don’t you see if it melts in your mouth or take it out and rub it across the windshield of that beautiful pink truck of yours? It will leave a nice scratch. Now get out of here you jerk, before I change my mind. I have a gymnasium to decorate and I’m running out of time.” Whitney leaned a little closer to Clara and she said, “Don’t even THINK about getting any closer to me or I’ll clock you. I don’t want to give people any evidence that that song is true.”


Whitney said, “You’ll never hear that song again.”


Clara said, “I’ll believe it when I DON’T hear it. Now excuse me, I have to hang up some spider webs.”








Clara was leaning over to secure the bottom of one of her rope spider webs when she felt someone grab a handful of her backside.  She jumped forward but managed to keep herself from getting caught in her own web.  She spun around to see Mark Jefferson smiling at her.  He said, “Hi Babe, how are they hanging?”


Clara said, “Not so well since you painted my best bra red.”


Mark said, “I probably did you a favor.  I bet you look good in red.”


Clara said, “You owe me a new bra!”


Mark said, “Sure thing.  I’ll get you a new one as soon as I take some measurements.  My Dad always said to measure at least twice to make sure you get it right.  I want to be VERY thorough.”


Clara said, “I’m warning you.  You don’t want to push my buttons!”


Mark said, “I most certainly do … although I wouldn’t exactly call them buttons.  I may be the only guy in school that really wants you.  I think I’m the only one that knows your secret.”


Clara said, “I don’t HAVE secrets.  With me, what you see is what you get.”


Mark said, “Great!  Because what I saw in Reilly Field on Homecoming is what I’m dying to get.  I’m the only person in this school that knows that you are the hottest, sexiest person of the female persuasion to ever walk the halls of Smallville High.  But that Halloween costume you wear every day has the others fooled into thinking you’re a nerdy plain Jane with a hunch back and a flabby body.  Even the team won’t believe me and they got a better look at you than anyone at the school ever gets.  They think the hottie who dug that trench is some mystery woman that is seen around town from time to time … but I KNOW that it was you!  In some ways, I don’t mind being the only one that knows the truth.  That means I can have your sweet cheeks all to myself.  The only problem is that they all make fun of me for being interested in you.  Hey, since you wear a costume every other day of the year, why don’t you take off your costume for Halloween?  Come to the party and show off that incredible body of yours.  I’m inviting you.  You can be my date.  Has anybody ever asked you out before?  Well, I’m asking you now.  I can be your first date at the party and your first lover afterwards.”


Clara said, “Hmmm.  Let me think about it.  …. After careful consideration, NO!  I am kind of surprised you asked, you steroid freak.  I thought you preferred forcing your attentions on girls.”


Mark smiled, “It is fun watching girls squirm and fuss before giving in.  I do them a favor.  They want it, but they won’t admit it and are scared that they won’t be considered “good girls” if they don’t struggle a bit.”


Clara said, “You’re REALLY sick.  And you’re being watched!  Make any move on any one and you’re going to be sorry you did -- VERY sorry!”


Mark said, “Don’t worry.  I understand you.  You can keep looking like a good girl until the moment I give you what you’re dying for.  And I’m watching too.  I’m watching your every move and thinking about it.  I thinking about how to show everyone in the school who you really are … and then I’ll take possession and everyone will be jealous of me.”


Clara said, “If you “know” that I’m the one that dug the trench that night, then you also know that I’m more than capable of mopping the floors with you if you mess with me or bully anyone else.  Hmmmm.”  **sniff, sniff**  “I smell pig manure.  Maybe you didn’t get it all washed off.  Didn’t your Mama teach you to wash behind your ears?”


Mark said, “I’m not afraid of you and neither is the team.  I figured it all out … and the team agrees with me on at least this part.  You got loose and brought back some farm equipment from your Daddy’s place … along with that fertilizer.  They’re satisfied to get even by trashing your reputation … and maybe staking you out next year too.  But that’s not good enough for me.  I don’t plan on being very gentle when our time comes … but for all I know, you may like it rough.  I’ll know all those intimate details soon enough.  Like I said, I’m watching you.  There will be a time when there will be no one to help you or keep me from giving you the best time of your life.  There’s a target on your back side Baby and, one of these days when you least expect it, I’m collecting the debt you owe me.  I’m going to take from you what I should have gotten that night.  So watch your butt … I know I’ll be watching it.”


Clara scowled at him and said, “Bring it on tough guy … ANYTIME!  I’ll break you in half and enjoy doing it!”


Mark said, “Funny!  That’s EXACTLY what I have planned for you, Baby, but not tonight.  I’m busy doing a blonde tonight.”  Mark laughed confidently as he walked away.


Candy Leigh had been waiting a short distance away.  She scurried over and said, “Hi!  You’re Clara Kunnnn …. Er … KENT, aren’t you?  Nice web.  Almost caught Mark with it didn’t you?  But you have another trick to … ummm another TRAP to catch … ummm … other ways to get the football players’ attention … like ALL us girls have, don’t you?  I didn’t know that you knew Mark so well … but I hear you are pretty close with everyone on the team these days … almost inseparable.  Have you shared a steam with the coach in his private sauna yet?  He is very passionate.  Oh!  How silly of me to ask, the coach shares everything with his players.  He rides on the bus with them and I hear they ride you on the … that you ride on the bus with them too.  You must have gotten down on your knees to … beg him to let you ride along.  Sorry if I’m a little too forward here, but I know how it is.  I’m pretty familiar with the team myself and I know that the wild rumors that got spread all over the school about me … were absolutely true.  Did I say, “spread all over the school?”  That about sums it all up, doesn’t it.”  Candy laughed until she noticed that Clara wasn’t.


Clara said in a dead pan voice, “Uh-oh.  My power of being invisible to all popular kids must not be working today.”


Candy said, “SAY!  You’re FUNNY!  Anyway, after the Halloween party on Friday, some of us girls are talking about having a party somewhere with a few of the guys … someplace secluded … with NO chaperones.    We want a place where we can take off our costumes and do some trick and treating without anyone interfering.  We thought that maybe we could do it at your farm.  We wouldn’t mind you being there if you don’t do it with the boys we’ve picked out for ourselves.  We’ll give you a list of who to lay … and who to lay off.  SEE!  I can be funny too!  I hear you sleep in one of the barns over there.  Good idea!  That way you can be noisy all night with your boyfriends without alerting your parents.  I wish I had a set-up like that.  But this all makes it a great place to have a party because it’s secluded enough but is also equipped with a bed.  You seem to be good at decorating.  Maybe you could decorate for the party.  We’ll bring some snacks and plenty of guys for you and you can carve a few pumpkins.  Maybe you could decorate a few scarecrows to make it a little scary so we have an excuse … not that we need any … to jump into the arms of someone we want to comfort us.  I think a couple dead people would be good … maybe some aliens!”


Clara’s eyes got really big and she said, “Who told you that I have dead people in my barn!  That’s supposed to be a family secret!”


Candy laughed nervously … and waited for Clara to say that she was kidding.  When Clara just continued glaring at her, Candy backed away and said, “You’re NOT funny!  You’re CREEPY!  EWW!”


Clara said, “Am I ookie too?”  Clara snapped her fingers twice.


Candy said, “If you didn’t want to have a party at your place, you could have just said no to me.  OH!  That’s right!  You’re just a girl that can’t say no.  Think of all the money you could have made!  How much do you charge a head for what you do anyway?  SLUT!”  Candy stuck out her tongue and walked away.


Clara turned back to her work and mumbled, “It’s like they talk a different language or something.  How many slang expressions do they have for kissing boys anyway?  I never understand even half of what they talk about … and I’m glad I don’t!”  Clara’s thoughts were interrupted when she overheard her name being mentioned in a conversation across the room.  She tuned in to see if it was anything she really wanted to know about.  Maybe Mark was planning to steal that kiss from her tonight like he had threatened.  Maybe that talk about a blonde was just a diversion to make her put her guard down.  She continued to work as she started to listen.  She mumbled, “I hope they don’t start talking about anything too gross!”







Bryan Tate said, “Why were you talking to that dog Clara Kent?  Are you still suffering under the delusion that somewhere under all that mess is a hot chic?”


Mark said, “She is!  SERIOUSLY!  I swear it.  I have 20-20 vision when it comes to double D danglers.”


Bryan said, “Like the time you hooked us up with the … whatever it was that wasn’t quite female?”


Mark said, “You have got to admit that that dude was hot in a dress … and I don’t have X-ray eyes.  With Clara I didn’t need to see through anything.  I unbuttoned that baggy plaid shirt she wore and saw the truth.  I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t take the time to unfasten her bra too … but her back was pretty tight against that post we tied her too and I couldn’t get to the fasteners.”


Bryan said, “You said you undid the bra and did it with her!  If you want to be a liar, you need a good enough memory to know what you said and who you said it to.  And you wonder why we don’t believe you!  The other guys that say they’ve slept with her say she’s a dog.  They can’t all be lying.”


Mark said, “They ARE lying.  I just told you what would have happened if you guys happened tied her back up against that post so tight.  If I hadn’t forgotten my pocket knife I would have cut through that bra.  I would have gotten it off somehow anyway if you guys weren’t yelling for me to hurry … and I thought Fordman might come back and see me at it.  He told me to settle for painting the “S” onto her shirt … and he doesn’t like it when we don’t follow orders.  I sure enjoyed painting her.  If I had gotten her bra off, I don’t think I would have had enough paint.”


Bryan said, “Look man, it was getting dark, we hadn’t tag teamed any girl in a while and she was helpless, moaning and available.  Your mind was playing tricks on you.  You saw what you wanted to see.  That’s all.  There’s plenty of light in here today and you can tell she’s a real zero.  I’m surprised anyone believes the rumors we’re spreading that we would actually touch something that pitiful.”


Mark said, “You’ll see for yourself soon enough … you’ll be right there with me when it happens like always.”


Bryan said, “Is she the one we’re doing tonight.  If she is, let me know and I’ll supply the brown paper bags.”


Mark said, “When you get a good look at her you won’t a bag or anything else interrupting your view.  But, no, Clara is not on the menu for tonight.  It’s got to be perfect for her considering how she humiliated us.  Tonight I’ve got Chloe Sullivan set up.  I’ll probably need you to waylay Pete Ross for me.  He’s always sniffing around her.”


Bryan said, “Pete should be no problem for me.  But why not just invite him to the party?”


Mark said, “No, Pete has got feelings for the girl and he’s a gentlemen.  Remember how he warned the Farmer Girl from Hell?  He’ll interfere with us doing Chloe if given an opportunity … so we won’t give him one.”


Bryan asked, “How are you going to get Chloe interested in going off with you.  The only thing that babe has the hots for is “The Torch.”


Mark said, “Exactly!  I told her that I had some information about the games being fixed … and some illegal gambling being involved.  She swallowed it.  I told her that we could sneak away from the others today at the geology outing at LaSalle State Park.  She’s expecting a big story but she’ll be getting the big Salome instead.”


Bryan said, “What better place to get your rocks off than at a geology outing!”


Mark said, “That’s right … EXACTLY!  I’ve already given Mr. Summers a permission slip so that I can drive my truck … so he won’t be expecting us back on the bus with the other students.”


The photographer called for the rest of the team to head out to the football practice field for the final team photos.  Clara got up from her work and followed Mark and Bryan outside.


Bryan said, “Hey Mark, your girlfriend is following you. Maybe she knows about Chloe Sullivan and is jealous. Since you like her so much, maybe I should take Chloe tonight and give you and Clara some privacy.”

Mark said, “I’d rather we stick together for moral support like we usually do. A girl gets ideas about getting away if there is only one of us … and that could end up getting the girl hurt. I’m willing to share my loving with two ladies. Hmmm. Clara and Chloe. I saw Clara talking to Candy. Maybe we could do three C’s tonight? Noooo. That would be too chancy. A girl has to be made to feel special. Maybe I’ll let you have Chloe after all … but I’ll want you to be there for a while anyway to be a witness to what a looker Clara is.”

Bryan asked, “But what about what you said about girls getting ideas that they can get away … and maybe getting hurt.”

Mark said, “Clara didn’t spend much time thinking about how much it hurt us when we fell into that trench … and Chloe did print that statement that Clara wrote up … so I won’t be too broken up if they get a little broken up. Clara wasn’t much of a fighter last time. I think she is more mouth than muscle, but you’ll have to watch Sullivan closely. I’ve got a feeling that she’s a real tiger if she gets cornered.”

Clara stood and watched Mark during the entire photo shoot. She never looked away. Even though Mark couldn’t see Clara’s eyes due to all the hair hanging in her face, he felt her eyes upon him like a twin pair of warm spotlights. It wasn’t a very warm morning and he was the only one out there sweating from the heat. Even though he wasn’t too happy about the comments his team mates were making about how well his pet dog was trained, Mark was smiling that he finally succeeded in getting Clara’s interest and undivided attention.

The photographer said, “I’d like the six biggest guys to line up at the blocking sled. The rest of you can change out of your school clothes and go back to class. OK guys, when I tell you to, put your shoulders against the sled and push against it as hard as you can. Don’t worry about it moving. We weighted it down. I know you guys are strong, but it would take six super-powered freaks to push that thing the way it’s rigged. I want some veins to be bulging in your neck. Put on a show for this not so little lady. She’s been very patient waiting for one of you guys.”

James Retzler, the smallest of the players that stayed shouted, “She’s probably waiting for ALL of us guys … so if you want to stay around and take a few more photos, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.” Clara blushed. Being insulted in front of the other students was one thing, but the photographer was an adult.  He seemed to be a decent guy, but he would be going back to town and might say something to get rumors started that could end up getting back to her parents.

The photographer said, “I hope the lucky guy that she IS waiting for is going to box your ears for making that comment after the photo shoot.” He turned and gave Clara a sympathetic smile, then turned back to the six players and said, “Start pushing! Push HARD!” The photographer circled the sled and finished his roll of film. He said, “Thanks guys. That was great … almost worth the two hours it took to load that much weight on the thing. You guys are stronger than I thought. You managed to move it a couple inches. You can change and get back to class now. I’m finished.”

The photographer left. Mark walked over to Clara as the other five filed past. James said, “We’ll leave you alone with your girlfriend, Mark. But you better shower before coming back to class. We don’t want to smell farm girl on you all afternoon.” As they Markhed off, they began singing “The Farmer Girl From Hell.”

Mark said, “So now that it’s obvious to everyone that you’re crazy about me, are we on for the Halloween Party? Are you ready to show off what you got for the school so that they’ll know the kind of women that find me attractive?”

Clara said, “PLEASE, don’t say stuff about us going on a date! You don’t want me to puke on your uniform, do you? I just came here to give you a not so friendly warning. I heard that you’re planning to trick Chloe Sullivan to go off into the woods with you tonight.”

Mark said, “Bryan was right. You ARE jealous! You want me all to yourself.”

Clara said, “I ate a big breakfast. Keep talking like that if you want to see it. You better just shut up, listen and get this through your thick head. You are done terrorizing people at this school as of this moment. I told you that I wouldn’t allow you to do something like what you’re planning tonight to me or anyone else. Chloe has the right to choose who she allows to kiss her just like anybody else. And sharing her with Bryan is the most disgusting thing I’ve heard lately. If you really want to kiss someone, it should be a special thing between the two of you and not a like sharing a CD or something! I’m not going to let you take advantage of Chloe Sullivan or even that trashy Candy. You’re finished!”

Mark said, “How are you going to stop me? Are you going to run to Chloe? Who do you think she’ll believe – a star football player or a weirdo slut known to be infatuated with me? I’ll just let her know that you’re jealous and tell her that some of the other players that you are close to are involved in the game fixing. She’ll NEVER believe you because she is too eager to get her hands on a good story. And let me give you a “not so friendly warning.” If you do somehow manage to scare Chloe off and she’s out of the picture … then YOU’RE in! But that’s what you REALLY want, isn’t it?”

Clara said, “Don’t worry about me telling anyone. I’ll just take you and Bryan into the woods and have MY way with both of you.”


Mark said, “Good girl! You finally admitted it.  I can’t wait! We’ll have a lot of fun together.”

Clara said, “I don’t think you’ll enjoy it much. My way involves breaking bones. I haven’t figured out what kind of injury would best get the message through that thick skull of yours, but, BELIEVE me, it won’t be any fun at all for you or your partner in crime.”

Mark said, “What kind of farm equipment do you plan to use this time?”

Clara said, “I don’t need any. Maybe I should have used some last time because I got a lot of dirt under my fingernails. But I’ll deal with you just like I dealt with the other dirt – with my bare hands. The work out I get doing farm chores had made me pretty strong for a girl.”

Mark said, “I’m tired of talking with you, but I will look forward to wrestling with you at LaSalle State Park tonight.” Mark pulled out a pack of cigarettes and shook one out.

Clara said, “Hey! No smoking on school grounds!”

Mark said, “Yeah, and we’re both supposed to be in English Lit right now. Rules are made to be broken.” He stuck the cigarette in his mouth and reached for his disposable lighter.

Clara said, “If you are determined to smoke, allow me.” Clara gathered her hair and pushed it back over her shoulders. She stood up straight so that she was slightly taller than Mark. This caught his attention and any doubt he had about what he saw the night in the cornfield was erased from his mind. As he stared into her large dark eyes, her saw her irises shift first to a light shade of violet before glowing red. What looked like balls of fire danced where her pupils had been and steam trailed off the corners of her eyes. In front of him, the tip of his cigarette glowed red. Then suddenly, the cigarette turned to ash up to his lips.  Only the slightest warmth touching him ash the ash dropped to the ground. The top half of the pack of cigarettes burst into flames. He dropped it and stomped on it. Clara said, “I’d suggest you toss that lighter NOW!” Mark tossed the lighter and it exploded a short distance from him. Mark looked at Clara’s smiling face and her eye sockets glowed with light as steam still curled away from her face. Clara slipped out of her heavy flannel shirt revealing a top that wasn’t nearly as baggy. She licked her lips and said softly, “Do you still think that I’m HOT?”

Mark said, “You … you … you’re gorgeous … but you can’t be human. What are you?”

Clara said, “I thought you knew my secret. Didn’t you write that song about me?”

Mark said, “We all kind of worked on it … but what does that have to do with ….”

Clara said, “You guys were right. I AM the farmer girl from HELL! Haven’t you heard that the Devil has the power to assume a pleasing shape? Well, his daughters can too. You never would want to kiss me if you knew what I really look like. How would you like to come home and meet my Daddy? Not Jonathan Kent … my REAL Daddy!”

Mark said, “N-N-N-N-No … no … no thanks.”

Clara said, “That’s too bad. I’m sure he’d like you for dinner sometime. You’re his kind of guy. What were we talking about? Oh yes, this is MY school now, so don’t mess with ANYBODY without my permission. I have my own agenda here and I don’t want a runt like you getting in my way. I like things neat and orderly. For instance, they shouldn’t have left this ugly blocking sled out here.” As Clara walked to the sled, she moved her hips in a way she had seen the cheerleaders did when they walked by the team. She wanted Mark to watch what she was about to do. She wasn’t very obvious about it, but she scanned the entire area to make sure that no one was in a position to see her. This show was intended for an audience of one. Clara casually put one hand on the blocking sled, threw her flannel shirt over its top rail then looked back at Mark. She waved at him and smiled.  Then, with that one hand, she effortlessly pushed the sled to the other side of the field faster that anyone on the team could run. She turned back towards Mark and put her flannel shirt back on. As he watched, she vanished from sight.

Instantly, he felt a tap on his shoulder and said as he turned to see who it was, “I sure hope you saw what I just … YIKES!”

Clara stood with her face less than nine inches from his as she said, “Nobody saw what I did but you … and my black magic guarantees that no one will believe anything you tell them about me. See you at the geology outing. Touch Chloe Sullivan or anyone else that doesn’t ask you to and we’ll wrestle … and I’LL win!”

Suddenly Mark was looking into thin air. Clara had vanished. He realized that he would need that shower that James had suggested. There was something warm running down his leg.






Pete said, “Chloe … Chloe! We need to find ALL the rocks on the list. Stop complaining about Mark Jefferson refusing to give you that story and help me out! I bet there never was a story anyway. NEVER let that steroid freak be alone with you. I don’t trust him.”

Chloe said, “Pete, you don’t trust anyone where I’m concerned. I’d almost think you were jealous. …. Anyway, a good reporter has to risk her personal safety now and again in the pursuit of a story. What burns me is that I kept half a page open for Mark’s story and now I don’t have anything to lead with.”

Pete says, “How about “Staff of “The Torch” Lose Privilege To Run School Newspaper Due To Flunking Geology?”

Chloe said, “Oh, Okay. I get it. I’ll look for those green ones. They are all over the place. Hey Pete, listen. Ssssh, what are the people behind that big rock talking about?”

Clara was standing alone behind the rock so no one could see her. She faced in Chloe’s general direction and said to thin air, “Yes, I can’t believe it. It’s like a miracle. No one else knows this but me. I was at the hospital this afternoon when Whitney Fordman’s Dad’s tests came back. He was dying from heart disease. He couldn’t even stand without someone to lean on. And now his heart is testing normal. He badgered the doctors until they released him. As soon as he got outside and they allowed him to get out of the wheelchair … he got up and told his wife he was walking home. She tried to grab him but he dodged her and ran off. His house is about four miles from the hospital. The doctors are baffled. It’s just one of those WEIRD things that happens in these parts.” Clara finished talking then took off into the woods.

Chloe came stumbling around the rock as quick as she could through the thick underbrush saying, “Excuse me, excuse me….What were you saying about Mr. Fordman….Hello! Where’d you go? Pete? Stop fooling around and let’s get the rocks on Mr. Summer’s list PRONTO! I’ve got to get over to the hospital and to the Fordman house.”

Clara sat in the woods and giggled as Chloe and Pete made their way back towards the main group of students. Then she stopped to think about her predicament. She was bound to get a “C” or a “D” because she couldn’t pick up a meteor rock. She shouldn’t even be here. As a child, she got sick anytime her family stayed at the campgrounds just above LaSalle Dam. She thought,” Oh well, I guess I can afford to get a bad grade on one school assignment. I’m already flunking gym for refusing to participate.” Then Clara overheard the teacher Mr. Summers say. “Get with the program, Eric!”

Eric Summers answered, “Dad…”

Mr. Summers said, “It’s MR. SUMMERS at school. You have ten minutes to complete this .assignment. You had better find every rock!”

Clara thought, “Jeeze! I’m glad he’s not my Dad! I’m going to get home and harvest all the food for that big order from the local grocery store and have it loaded before Dad even knows I’m home. Then I’m going to give him a big hug and a kiss.”

Suddenly, the sky rumbled and it started to rain. Clara smiled and thought,”Oh great! I love thunderstorms. Maybe I can catch a lightning bolt again. That tickles and gives me an energy boost!”

She got up and continued looking for rock samples. Mr. Summers said, “Young Lady … Clara … don’t you have enough sense to get out of the storm? Get on the bus now.

Clara said, “Sir, I have a permission slip. My Dad drove me here and he’s picking me up.”

Mr. Summers said, “Until he does, you’ll wait on the bus with everyone else.”

Clara said, “I think I’ll look for Mark Jefferson. He drove separate and I can get in his truck with him and Bryan.”

Mr. Summers said, “You will NOT! I didn’t want to believe what I heard about you but it’s true …isn’t it? You’re just a little harlot! Get on the bus now!”

Clara ran into the woods. She heard Mr. Summers shout, “Great, now she’ll get lost along with my nitwit son Eric!”

Clara got to the spillway of LaSalle Dam and heard someone humming. She looked up and saw Eric on the railing of the dam 80 feet above her. A closer look showed that he had a meteor rock in one hand and a bag full of meteor rocks in the other. He looked like he was going to fall ... and he looked like he didn’t care.

Clara saw the lightning bolt coming. In less time than it takes a human heart to beat once, Clara ran to the dam and straight up its vertical wall. She placed herself between Eric and the lightning bolt. Eric began to fall. She had no time left. She grabbed the strap of the canvas bag that he was holding onto as the lightning bolt hit her. She felt ill from being close to the meteor rocks. As Eric lost his grip on the strap, Clara caught hold of his wrist with her free hand. The nausea she felt from being close to the meteor rocks was quickly replaced by physical pain caused by the electricity passing through her. She couldn’t understand how something that always tickled her before could hurt so badly. Time seemed to speed up for her as her reflexes slowed to those of a human. She felt as if a part of her essence flowed out of her body. Somehow she felt more alone that she ever had before – like a lifelong friend had suddenly left. It felt like something inside had died or gone missing …something that had always been part of her.

Eric looked a little ill. He threw the meteor rock in his hand away. Clara realized that she still had the strap of Eric’s bag in her hand. The bag of meteor rocks hung at her side yet she felt no pain from having it so close. Erica took the bag from her and threw the bag over the dam. Clara felt weak and wobbly but Eric seemed steady and strong. Clara and Eric held on to each other’s hand as they made their way back to the bus. As they approached the bus and Mr. Summers said, “Slut, unhand my son! Eric, get on the bus. We’ll discuss this at length later. Young lady … Hah! You’re no such thing. Clara, get on the bus!”

Clara backed up a step. Mr. Summers reached out and grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards the bus door. She controlled her strength as she always did. She pulled with just enough force to free her hand from any human’s grip … but he held fast and was dragging her into the bus. Panicked, she pulled harder. Her wrist hurt. Mr. Summers yelled, “Stop that!” and slapped her hard across her rump.

Clara screamed. In surprise, Mr. Summers let go and Clara fell forward onto the ground. She scraped her knees and one of them started bleeding. Mr. Summers reached for her again and she ran into the woods. She heard him yelling for her but she kept going. She got snagged on a bush and freed herself by unbuttoning her plaid shirt and leaving it behind. She was soaked to the skin and could hardly see where she was going. She crawled up an embankment and came out on the road.

She got her bearings and started walking. She saw a pink truck parked nearby and decided to ask for a ride. She went to the passenger door and said, “Please ….” She saw Bryan Tate leering at her. She looked down where he was staring. Her dress was torn and soaked and clinging to her.

Bryan said, “I’m starting to believe you Mark. It looks like our entertainment for the evening has arrived.”

Mark turned and saw Clara standing there. His eyes bugged out of his head and he screamed, ”NO!” He started the engine and pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor as Bryan screamed, “MAN! What is wrong with you?”





Jon stood on the porch looking impatiently up the road. He heard the phone ring and went inside. Martha was on the phone saying, “We’re sorry, we had a little unexpected labor shortage this afternoon and the storm slowed us down a bit. We’ll try to get your organic produce delivered to you before your store closes tonight. Yes. Okay. I know. I’m sorry.”

When Martha hung up Jon said, “Where could she be? She’s hours late coming home from school. She knew we had a big order to fill tonight. This isn’t like her. Normally, I can set my clock by her … unless she is needed for some emergency. Do you think she’s okay, Martha?”

Martha said, “John, calm down. There’s nothing that can hurt her. Somebody must have needed her ... more than a grocery store needs some vegetables tonight … instead of first thing tomorrow morning. She’ll be home soon.”

Jon said, “I feel like something’s really wrong this time. First, Chloe Sullivan came by saying that she wanted to talk to Clara about Mr. Fordman. She said that Clara has been seen holding his hand and that he was hugging and kissing her this afternoon at the hospital. Then, there was a call from Mr. Summers saying Clara caused a scene at a school outing. Mr. Summers said she wanted to go sit in a truck with two football players un-chaperoned … and then ran off into the woods with his son and came back holding his hand. He said she is getting quite a reputation at school…with boys…many boys and some teachers! Then the school called … and as much as confirmed what he was saying. They said she went off with the football team on the day of the homecoming dance … and that she was seen accepting jewelry before she went off with them. I know she likes having money for books. And I know she’s been dong her quilt business and even made some diamonds from coal. But I never thought of her as money hungry … and this stuff that people are implying about her is turning my stomach. The school said that they decided to call today because Clara had cut her English literature class to stare at the football team … and that she is suspected of smoking on the practice field with the Jefferson boy. Do you think she’s seeing him?”

Martha said, “Oh no, not him, not after…um!”

Jon said, “Not after what?”

Martha said, “She just doesn’t like him, that’s all.”

Jon said, “Clara doesn’t like someone? Clara likes everyone. Even after Lana next door snubbed her, she still goes down to the cemetery and keeps her Aunt Nell’s gravesite neat and covered with flowers.”

Martha said, “That’s a little different, Jon. She feels personally responsible for everyone who died during the meteor shower the day she arrived … and for everyone mutated by those meteor rocks as well. Clara still likes almost everyone and I don’t think she hates anyone … but school kids can be cruel to people they consider outsiders.”

Jon said, “I thought she had lots of friends.”

Martha said, “That’s what she wants you to think because she doesn’t what you to worry about her. Other than us, she’s pretty much alone in the world.”

Jon said, “Well I know that some young women who feel alone will go farther than they should with boys just to try to feel wanted or get some attention. I just never thought that Clara might be that way. I have had my suspicions that she was seeing someone. I was waiting for her to talk to me about it. I thought she would come to me when she was ready. I guess I shouldn’t have waited. I don’t believe what people are implying, but I do think she has someone. Do you think that she and this mystery man ran off together?”

Martha said, “Jonathan! Clara’s only 15. I know she wouldn’t run off. She loves the farm. It’s her home. And I know that she’s a good girl. You know she has to hide her secrets and that makes her behavior seem kind of oddball to people who don’t know the truth about her -- and the people who don’t know the truth is everyone but you, me and her. I’m sure she can explain everything.”

Jon said, “All I know is that none of this is like her -- not one bit. Well, I’ve got to try to get all those bails wet hay out of the truck and load everything so I can make that delivery.”

Martha said, “I helped harvest the food in a storm, so I can help you load it. Let me get a coat on and I’ll help you get the hay unloaded too.”

Jon said, “You can help load, but hose bails were heavy before they got wet. I got really big bails because I was expecting Clara to unload them for me. I’ll be lucky if I can lift them after all the work I’ve done today. I’m beat. I’ll call you when the truck is empty.”

Jon went outside and climbed into the truck. He lifted a bail and dropped it back into the truck. He mumbled, “I’m getting too old for this.” He took a deep breath and prepared to lift the bail again when he saw Clara walking up the driveway. She was soaking wet and moving slow. He shouted, “Clara! Young lady, where have you been?”

Clara whined, “I’m sorry Daddy, I got here as fast as I could!”

Jon said, “Never mind that, unload this truck. Put the bails near the barn and load the produce in the back. I’ve got to go inside. I’ve been working like a dog all day.”

Clara said, “I can’t, Daddy. I can’t!”

Jon said, “ You mean that you don’t want to. This won’t take long. I’ll throw the bails down. Just carry them to the barn.”

Clara said, “I’ll try.”

Jon struggled to lift a bail and threw it to Clara. He went to get the next one and said, “Clara, these are just too heavy for me. You’ll have to do this. Get up here. Clara?” Jon turned and looked but didn’t see Clara. He looked down and saw the bail of hay that he had thrown to her. It took him a couple seconds to see her arms hanging out from below it. His eyes widened in surprise for a second before he jumped down, pulled the bail off Clara and picked her up carefully. He shouted for Martha as he carried Clara’s unconscious body inside.

Martha opened the door and stood back as Jon carried her in and put her on the couch. Martha rushed over and felt her forehead. She said, “Jon, she’s very cold. She’s soaked through … And she’s BLEEDING! Jon, what happened?”

Jon said, “ I just threw a bail of wet hay to her. I never thought .…”

Martha said, “Get some towels from upstairs … Grab her pajamas too. I’ll get some bandages and some warm washcloths. She doesn’t look like she’s seriously hurt but she’s got a bad bump on her head.”

Still not quite conscious, Clara moaned, “I can’t Daddy. I can’t. They’re too heavy … I’m so cold … I’m so tired … Daddy .…”

Jon knelt next to his daughter and took her hand. He said, “I’m sorry, Clara. I should have listened when you said that you couldn’t help me. Are you OK?”

Clara said, “I’m not strong or fast anymore … and my feet hurt from walking … and my head … my head … I got hit by lightning. I’m like everyone else now … and it doesn’t feel like it’s temporary … it’s like part of me is gone … missing … maybe even dead.”

Jon said, “It doesn’t matter, Honey. Your strength never mattered to us. We just want you to be okay. Everything will be fine … just fine.”






The next morning Clara came into the house and said, “I’m going to be so late. It takes forever to get dressed and it will take me a long time to walk to school. I’ve got blisters on my feet from walking home yesterday. I feel all achy and the calves of my legs hurt.”

Martha said, “Jon will run you in to school from now on. So sit down and eat something. We can’t have you skipping meals now. Can you tell me what happened yesterday? It’s not like this was the first time you’ve been hit by lightning. It never did anything but tickle you before. How was this time different?”

Clara said, “I think it was because I was touching someone holding a meteor rock when the lightning struck. I felt sick just like I do near meteor rocks just before I was hit. Then I felt like a part of me leapt out of my skin. I’m lucky I wasn’t killed. If I had been really weak from meteor rock exposure, I probably would have died.”

Martha asked, “Where were you that you ran into any meteor rocks?”

Clara said, “Remember the permission slip you signed. It was a field trip for earth sciences class and gave me permission not to ride the bus. We were studying geology. I kept getting close to meteor rocks in the area and avoided them … but I Eric collected a lot of them. Then the storm came on. I saw Eric on the dam acting like he was going to hurt himself. He had a meteor rock in his hand. I saw a lightning bolt heading for him. I outraced it and jumped in front of Eric so that it hit me and not him. But Eric started to fall from the dam and grabbed him just before the lightning struck. I think I touched Eric when the lightning hit me. I’m surprised that Eric didn’t get killed because I touched him at just the wrong moment. He threw the bag and the meteor rock off the dam. He looked okay when it was all over. Everyone got on the bus to go home … and I had told them that Dad was picking me up … just like I said that he had dropped me off … just the same cover story I use whenever I run instead of taking thee bus. Anything is better than getting in a bus. Then I tried to run home, but I couldn’t run very fast and I got tired. It took forever for me to get here!”

Martha said, “Well, Honey, you’ll have to be very careful today to remember your new limitations. Don’t casually do something expecting that you’ll be strong or fast enough to get out of. And be careful not to injure yourself either. Make sure that things you touch aren’t sharp or hot. Make sure not to slam your fingers in any doors. Just be careful. Growing up knowing that nothing can hurt you has kept you from learning to keep yourself out of situations that can hurt you now.”

Clara said, “Don’t worry Mom. I know how to take care of myself.” Clara shoveled some steaming hot cream of wheat in her mouth then spit it out saying, “Oww!” She grabbed the coffee her Mom had just poured for herself and gulped it down, then sprayed it out of her mouth shouting, ”Ouch, Ouch, DANG that hurt!”

Martha grabbed some ice cubes from the refrigerator. She frowned and said, “It’s good to know that I won’t have to worry about you.”







Clara was in line at the cafeteria.  She was getting out money for the lady at the check out when a voice behind her asked, “Don’t you have a lunch card?”


Clara turned and said, “Oh, hi Eric.  No, I always pack.  I was just running late today.”


Eric said, “Salad, jello, pudding, chocolate milk … nothing hot?”


Clara answered, “No, I burnt my mouth today at breakfast.  I’m trying to be careful.”


Eric reached past her and handed his lunch card to the cashier.  As his arm brushed hers, she felt a tingle.  The energy radiating from Eric felt familiar.  Eric said, “Put the lady’s lunch on my card.”


Clara said, “Oh, Eric, No!  You don’t have to.  I’ve got money.  I’m fine, really.”


Eric said, “I insist.  I never properly thanked you for what you did at the dam yesterday -- the way you jumped in front of me out of nowhere.  We’re lucky we’re both not dead.  What you did was incredibly brave.  Stupid but brave.  No one ever put it on the line for me before … or thought that my life was worth saving.”


Clara said, “I hope that’s not true, Eric.  If you would like to sit and talk about it …”


Eric said, “Sure, there’s a table over there.  You know, you really freaked my Dad out yesterday.  He would probably try to get you suspended, but having hit you … he’s scared that you’ll get him fired.”


Clara said, “I’ll NEVER get on a bus.  I’m not too good with enclosed places.  It’s very limiting.  And VERY isolating … but I do okay.”


Just then Whitney Fordman threw a long pass across the lunch room.  Jed Copan, the Crow’s star running back, jumped up to catch it and flew backwards into Clara knocking her across a nearby table.  Jed rounded the table and roughly lifted Clara to her feet.  He said, “You clumsy cow!  You got food all over my letterman jacket.  Hey, you’re the b***h that put and end to our homecoming tradition.  Some of the guys said not to get near you but no one messes up my jacket and gets away with it.  I ought to pound your ugly face in.  It couldn’t hurt your looks any.  And if you want to do me later, I’ll just put a grocery bag over your face.  In fact, I’ll use two just in case one of them tears.”


Suddenly Jed felt himself being lifted of the floor and let go of Clara.  Eric held him over his head and said, “Leave the lady alone and next time watch where you’re going!  Now go outside and cool off.”  Eric threw Jed across the cafeteria, through a glass wall and into the courtyard beyond.  Two other football players rushed him and they ended up in the yard with Jed.  Whitney Fordman tapped Eric on the shoulder.  Eric grabbed his wrist and Whitney was on his knees in pain in an instant.


Clara came over to Eric and said, “Eric, PLEASE!  Please stop.  It’s enough just to keep them from hurting someone.  You don’t have to become the aggressor.  You are strong enough to be in control -- to have mercy.  They know how strong you are now.  Isn’t that enough?”


Eric said, “No it’s not enough!  These assholes have caused me enough pain for a lifetime.  It’s payback time.”


Clara said, “Please, Eric.  I don’t want anyone to be hurt because of me.  Remember, I helped you yesterday.  Do me a favor now and stop.”


Eric let go of Whitney and said to him, “You’re lucky this little lady begged for you.  Have you ever even been nice to her?  Now you own her one.”  He turned to Clara and said.  “He owes you one now, but consider my debt to you repaid.”


Eric walked away and sat down at a table by himself.  A dozen girls in the cafeteria quickly picked up their food trays and moved to seat themselves around him.  Chloe Sullivan could be heard saying, “Superboy saves the day!”


Clara got down on her knees and began cleaning up the spilled food.  Whitney got down and helped her.  He said, “I really am a jerk.  My Dad said you visited him yesterday like you said you would.  He said he fells so much better when you sit with him … even when you don’t say a word.  I really am sorry for what I did to you that day.  I haven’t liked myself very much since then.  If Eric hadn’t stopped Jed I would have.  I always wanted to be the kind of man that my Father could be proud of …and that Lana Lang could love.  I think I failed at both.  I hope that someday, you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.  If it’s possible for you to forgive me, maybe someday…I’ll be able to forgive myself.”


Clara said, “Don’t worry about it Whitney.  We’re all human…At least we all are now.”


Whitney said, “Did you hear that my Dad is doing better now.  He’s got more energy than I do.”


Clara said, “Yes Whitney.  I’m happy for him.  He’s a sweet man … and he loves your Mother and you very much.”


Lana cleared her throat .  Clara saw the big diamond pendant necklace hanging from her neck.  Whitney said, “Sorry I’ve go to leave.  You know how it is.”


As he got up and walked away, Clara said under her breath, “No … no, I don’t.”


As she took what was left of her lunch to the trash can and got a mop from the custodian she heard the girls giggling and laughing as they crowded around Eric.







Lex sniffed and said, “Do I smell spoiled milk?”


Clara said, “I’m sorry -- lunch room mishap.”


Lex said, “You seem different today … a little distant.”


Clara said, “I am different.  I don’t know if you’re like who I am now.”


Lex said, “Of course I like you.  I can’t imagine anything changing that.”


Clara said, “Do you remember the time you kissed me ... at the river?”


Lex answered, “I could never forget it.”


Clara asked, “And the day of the cave in.”


Lex answered, “Ditto.”


Clara asked, “Do you remember a feeling like a surge of energy when we kissed?”


Lex answered, “Definitely.”


Clara asked, “If you kissed me again … and it didn’t feel like that anymore … would you still lo … like me?”


Lex answered, “Of course I would still lo-like you.”


Clara said, “Please don’t make fun of me.  This is deadly serious.  I’d like to know for sure … about the kissing.  Would you mind?”


Lex took Clara’s head in his hands and softly kissed her on the mouth then he slid his hands behind her head and kissed her deeply.  Her arms wrapped around him and they kissed a long time until they were both breathless.  Clara gripped him as if she was hanging on for her life.


Lex said, “I don’t remember you ever holding me this tight.”


Clara asked, “Am I hurting you?”


Lex said, “Not at all.”


Clara said, “Well?”


Lex said, “Well what?”


Clara asked, “Was it the same?”


Lex said, “It’s never the same … but if you’re asking if it was as good …definitely!  But I really think we that should make certain.”


Clara pulled her head back a bit.  Her eyes were wide open and her pupils were dilated.  She had a worried look on her face.  She said, “We’d better not … we dare not … or when we get back to being friends tomorrow it will be very hard.”


Lex said, “It most certainly will be.”  Then they kissed again.


When they finally stopped kissing, Clara asked, “Would you mind if I kissed someone else if it didn’t mean anything to me?”


Lex let her go and took her arms from around him.  He held her hands and said, “You’re joking, right? ... I can see it in your eyes.  You’re NOT kidding.  Talk about spoiling the moment.  Why would you want to …?  I know we never talked about an exclusive relationship or anything.  I know you want us just to be friends … at least for now.  But I always hoped that when you were ready for more … that it would be … me.”


Clara said, “I don’t want to, but I may have to.  … It would only be play acting.”


Lex asked, ”Like a part in a play?”


Clara said, “Kind of.”


Lex said, “Well, see to it that I get tickets.  I can’t say that I like I like the idea.  But I can live with it.  You won’t be practicing every night, will you … and no nude scenes, right?”


Clara said, “What?!  I HOPE not!”


Lex said, “If there are, let me know.  I’ll buy ALL the tickets.  Clara, I was kidding!  What kind of high school play would have a nude scene?”


Clara said, “I don’t know.  I’ve never been to a school play and I haven’t ever even been in school until this year.”


Lex said, “Well, I trust you.  Just don’t tell me too much about the guy you end up kissing … unless he has bad breath and a lot of zits.”


Clara said, “I’m sorry to be such a pain.  But I need another favor.”


Lex said, “I guess I could manage that.”  Lex puckered up.


Clara puckered up too without thinking about it and said, “Hey!  No, not that.  We already settled that.  I wondered if I could have that necklace back that I had on the night the football team …oops.”


Lex said, “I’m not stupid.  I know the local custom.  And Lana let it slip.  I know that the team staked you out..  And I am keeping my promise not to hurt them.  But can you blame me if I make sure that none of them ever work for me or get scholarships from my company?”


Clara said, “They didn’t ALL stake me out, so they shouldn’t ALL be punished.”


Lex said, “Then you will have to tell me which team members DID hurt you.”


Clara said, “I’d rather you forget all about it.  I’m trying to.”


Lex said, “You were going to ask me for something?”


Clara said, “I need that necklace back.”


Lex said, “That’s funny.  It just so happens … I took that to a jeweler.  The chain was broken so I had it put on a longer chain just in case you might want it back someday.  It’s in the glove box of my car.”


Clara asked, “Which car?  You have so many.”


Lex said, “Good question.  Let me go check,” Lex walked over to his car and came back with a little lead box.  “It’s your lucky day.  It just so happens that it was in the car that I am driving today.”


Clara said, “What is that?”


Lex said, “This is a lead box.  It was supposedly made from…”


Clara said, “If it cost a lot I can’t take it!”


Lex paused then continued, “… made from recycled fishing weights … by starving fishermen … who desperately needed the money they get from making them.  I got it from a five and dime store, when it went out of business … on clearance.  But it has sentimental value so don’t give it away if you decide you don’t want it.”


Clara said, “Those fishermen are probably starving because they melted down their equipment to make things like this.  But it’s SO pretty!  Have you ever seen anything so pretty?”


Lex stared at Clara and said, “Yes I have … almost every day.”


Clara said, “Well, I didn’t have to buy lunch today so I can pay you for it.  I insist.”


Lex said, “Didn’t you eat.”


Clara said, “Remember that spoiled milk smell.  I spilled my lunch.  But I didn’t cry over it because everyone says there’s no use in it.”


Lex said, “You still would have had to pay for it.”


Clara said, “Someone returned a favor and bought it for me.”


Lex asked, “You wouldn’t be returning a favor to that person by kissing them would you?”


Clara asked, “How much for the box?”


Lex said, “How come someone can buy you lunch but I can’t buy you things?”


Clara said, “You’re giving me the necklace.”


Lex said, “I’m returning the necklace.”


Clara said, “You got a new chain for it.”


Lex said, “I kept the old one … as a keepsake of something you had close to you.”


Clara said, “You packed me a picnic lunch the day of the cave in.”


Lex said, “We never ate it.  We got distracted.”


Clara said, “How much was the box.  I’ve got $2.50.”


Lex said, “Two dollars”


Clara said, “With tax?”


Lex said, “I’m tax exempt.”


Clara said, “Really?  I need to find out about that for my mail order business.  I don’t think I have to pay taxes on fabric I buy if it’s part of something I sell.”


Lex said, “You need a vender’s license.”


Clara said, “Never mind, I forgot I’m not fast enough to make quilts anymore.  Well maybe I’ll be fast again soon.”


Lex said, “What?”


Clara said, “I said…never mind.”


Lex said, “And you said make quilts?  How do you have time with all the farm chores you do and school?”


Clara said, “School is easy and you can’t do farm chores at night … and some nights I don’t sleep much.  But like I said, I won’t be doing any more unless I get to feeling a little more like my old self.”


Lex said, “You never explained that either.  You feel the same to me … but you said something changed.  What changed?  AND, you wouldn’t know anything about quilts that have been left mysteriously at my mansion door would you?”


Clara said, “My hair changed and you didn’t even notice!”


Lex said, “Who taught you that trick … to put me on the defensive.  Yes, I did notice your hair … and it’s as lovely as always but it is the same style and you haven’t had it cut.  I tend to notice other people’s hair since I don’t have any of my own.”


Clara said, “My hair is TOO different.  I normally don’t brush it and today I did … and it hurt like hell.  Normally my hair doesn’t get tangled.”


Lex said, “I think I asked a question in there that didn’t get answered.  Let me put the necklace on you and see if the chain is long enough.”  Clara jumped back.  Lex said, “What’s the matter?  You act like you’re scared to have the necklace put on.  It’s not like I’m putting a collar on you or taking away your freedom or anything.”  Clara relaxed a bit and seemed surprised and happy when he Lex put the necklace on her.  He handed her the lead box and she briefly admired it again.


Clara said, “Well if you think of what you forgot to ask me, let me know in two days when we see each other again?”


Lex asked, “Two days?  What about tomorrow?”


Clara said, “I’m going to a Halloween party at the high school.”


Lex said, “I thought you didn’t …”


Clara said, “I don’t but I’m going to this once.  I decorated for it so I’m going to see how it turns out.”


Lex said, “Can I go?”


Clara said, “NO!”


Lex said, “Why not?”


Clara said, “You’re too old…It’s for high school students.”


Lex said, “Do they need chaperones?”


Clara said, “NO!”


Lex said, “Got a hot date?”


Clara said, “N-n-no.”


Lex said, “I guess I’ll see you in two days.”


Clara said, “We might have to do another comparison kiss when we meet next time?


Lex said, “Whoa!  I GET it now.  Tomorrow you are going to kiss someone else so you know how I rate.”


Clara said, “No! I’m n … I never thought of that.”


Lex said, “Clara.”


Clara said, “Just for comparison.”  Clara grabbed Lex and gave him a big kiss on the lips.  Then she ran off down the road saying, “See you in two days!”


Lex to himself, “The only question I have now is what I should wear tomorrow.”







Clara called in the front door, “Mom, I’m home.  Could you come out on the porch and talk awhile?”


Martha said, “I’m making sure that the spaghetti sauce doesn’t burn.  You’ve got to keep trying to get over your claustrophobia or it won’t get any better.  It seems to be getting worse.  You had no problem being in the living room when you were little.”


Clara said, “It seemed bigger when I was little.”


Martha said, “Either come join me in the kitchen or our talk will have to wait.”


In a few seconds Clara came in the kitchen door.  She said, “Man!  It takes FOREVER to walk around the house.”


Martha said, “Better get used to it.”


Clara said, “Maybe I won’t have to.”


Martha asked, “You mean your powers are coming back.”


Clara said, “No, they’re gone, but I know who has them – Eric Summers.”


Martha said, “Honey, how is that possible?  It’s not like exchanging …I don’t know ... shoes or something.  You’re Kryptonian … and he’s Earthen … Terran?  Whatever.  It’s not like your powers are a separate entity or something.”


Clara said, “I think they are.  I think Kryptonians have a part of their body that is made of energy and a part that is a physical body similar to humans.  We exist together.  The energy part feeds on solar energy, stores it and channels it as I direct it to.  Eric had a meteor rock in his hand.  I think that that weakened my energy being … my symbiote ... and it flowed out of my body on an electric current and right into Eric.  Today I brushed by him at school and I could feel that it was inside of him.  Then he started showing off his strength.  He was turning into a real menace by the end of the day.  He doesn’t know how to use the abilities responsibly.  I think I can get the energy being to come “home” if Eric and I are in contact while a current runs through out bodies.”


Martha said, “Well, wouldn’t you need meteor rock?”  Clara pulled the necklace out of her blouse. Martha said, “That can’t be real meteor rock or you would be sick right now.”


Clara said, “The meteor rock hurts my energy component not my physical body.”


Martha said, “This is great.  Why don’t you leave things like they are?  You no longer have to worry about meteor rocks and you will get used to being human eventually.  If you try to expose yourself to an electric current, you could kill yourself.  Let Eric have your powers.  Good riddance.”


Clara said, “Mom, they are my responsibility not his.  He’s already using them to hurt people. And nobody but me knows how to stop him.”


Martha said, “But you don’t have any powers.  How can you stop him?”


Clara said, “I still have my brain.  I know how to tap into the power grid at the dam ... and I have everything I need in the lab to set up a trap for him.  I have the meteor rock necklace and Le … and I found a lead box to put the meteor rock into when I get my powers back.  I only have one problem that I can’t figure out.”


Martha said, “Well if you can’t figure it out, no one could.”  Martha put a spoonful of spaghetti sauce in her mouth to see if it was seasoned properly.


Clara said, “Eric is too fast now for me to grab.  I don’t know what I could possibly do to get Eric to touch me.”


Martha spit out the tomato sauce.  Clara asked, “Mom, was the sauce too hot?  Burning your mouth hurts!  Want some ice cubes?”


Martha said, “You don’t know how to get a boy to touch you?”


Clara said, “I haven’t got a clue.”


Martha said, “Your Dad will be happy to hear that.  He was planning to lay in a couple dozen baseball bats to beat the boys off with.”


Clara said, “That’s not funny!”


Martha said, “It wasn’t meant to be.  We haven’t had a formal talk about this yet.  You have always dodged me when I bring it up.  You always say it’s too gross to discuss and that you aren’t ready to be a woman yet.  I should have insisted on discussing boys with you before I sent you to public school … but I also know that kids find out things like this early and on their own.  I know I did. You DO know all about boys and sex and stuff right?”


Clara answered, “Oh Boy, do I know!  I know way more than I want or need to know!”


Martha said, “I have to make sure that you understand this now that you aren’t strong enough to defend yourself in all situations.  The way you automatically pull your punches to keep from hurting people will probably make you pretty useless if you are ever in a fight.  So, let me ask you this, when those boys tied you to a post in the field … remember NEVER EVER tell your Dad about THAT one … but what exactly do you think those boys who came back later wanted to do with you?”


Clara said, “That’s too awful to talk about!”


Martha said, “You can talk about it with me.  I’m your Mother.  I NEED to know that you understand this.”


Clara said, “They were going to force me to do it … the thing that all boys dream about doing and I would have been too weak to stop them.  If I wasn’t dead by the time they came back, they would have taken turns with me.”


Martha said, “I’m glad you understand.  I was being neglectful as a Mother by not talking about this with you sooner … but no one could hurt you before. It’s more important now than ever that you understand how boys can hurt you.”  Martha took another spoonful of sauce.


Clara said, “I hate thinking about awful things like that.  They would have forced me … forced me ... to play spin the bottle with them!  I probably would have had to kiss ALL of them maybe more than once and they might have used their tongues.  YUCK!”


Again, Martha spit sauce out her mouth in surprise.


Clara said, “I’m sorry that I grossed you out while you were eating.  That makes me so mad!  That Mark was going to force Chloe to kiss him yesterday too.  Glad I stopped him when I had the power to!”


Martha said, “Clara, we have GOT to talk.”


Clara said, “I KNOW!  We need to talk about how I can get Eric to touch me when I want him to.  I’d even offer to go all the way with him but I’m sure the other girls -- the pretty ones, already did.”


Martha said, “If you have to promise him that to set a trap, I understand.  But you have to be careful about it.  He’s very strong now.  You’ll have to keep that necklace handy.”


Clara said, “There are two problems.  One: There are a lot of pretty girls offering to go all the way.  Why would he choose me?”


Martha said, “Because he’ll want the best…and you’re it.”


Clara said, “This isn’t the time for you to try to bolster my ego.  A Mom has to say stuff like that.  No one at school wants me.  Most of the boys my age are a foot shorter and the older guys want pretty girls.”


Martha said, “Honey, you hide yourself and you know it.  You’re drop dead gorgeous.  No one in that school comes close to you in that or any other department.”


Clara asked, “Even Lana Lang?”


Martha said, “If you dressed to show what God gave you and Lana had to stand next to you, that girl would have an ego meltdown.  You said there were two problems.  What’s the other one?”


Clara said, “I’ve got to wear the necklace to protect myself from him, but if I wear it he can’t get close to me.  And if Lana sees it, she’ll want it back.  I can wrap lead foil around it, but how would I put the foil on it so it wouldn’t fall off until I wanted it too…and would come off easy when I want it to?”


Martha said, “Lana won’t see it because she can’t see through solid objects and your objects are as solid as they come.  We’ll put the pendant in foil so that the chain sticks out then put the chain around your neck and wedge the meteor rock in your cleavage – between your meaty rocks.  That will work great.”


Clara said, “Mom, I don’t have cleavage … I have a canyon.  My boobs are too big but they’re also too far apart.”


Martha said, “That’s because of the dime store cotton bras you choose to wear.  Those are designed more to limit your movement than to accentuate your figure.  We’ll go shopping and we’ll pull it all together -- literally.  This is Halloween so we’ll exaggerate your look and no one will think anything of it – or recognize you.  I’ll put more make-up on you than Tammy Faye wears in a month.”


Clara said, “Mom, you know that make-up doesn’t stick to me.”  Martha took Clara’s hand sand kissed it hard.  She left a lip print.  Clara smeared it with her finger and said, “Wow!  Without my aura, make-up sticks to me.  That’s cool!”


Martha said, “Well you’ll have to be careful because dirt will too. We’d better get to work.  We have a lot to get done.  I’d better give you some pointers so you can make Eric believe that you’ve gone all the way before.”


Clara said, “You don’t have to tell me a thing about that.  I already know plenty.”


Martha said, “Really?”  She chuckled and took another spoonful of sauce.


Clara said, “Sure, I shouldn’t tell you this, but I went all the way THREE times before I came home today.”


Martha spit out the sauce again and nearly spilled the pan.


Clara said, “You’d better stop that.  As slow as I am now, I won’t be much help cleaning up this mess.”


Martha said, “You’ve gone all the way?”


Clara said, “It’s not like I’m a virgin or something?”


Martha said, “Who was it?”


Clara said, “I don’t want to say, we’re just friends.  The first time I didn’t expect it at all.  He just grabbed me and did it before I knew what was happening.  But he’s real good.  We do it when I let him.”


Martha said, “The first time you did it, it was the day you borrowed my underwear wasn’t it.  I knew it.  I just knew it.  The way you were when you came home.”


Clara said, “No Mom, that wasn’t the first time.  The first time was about two months ago, just after I started school.  The day I wore your underwear, I kind of lost control and I think I did it six or seven times.”


Martha said, “Clara, I thought you were going to wait until you got married.”


Clara said, “Nobody waits until they’re married to do that.  That kind of thing must have went out with arranged marriages.  The only thing I’d wait until the marriage for is letting him touch me certain ways, letting him see me naked and letting him have sex with me.”


Martha said, “What have we been talking about here?”


Clara said, “Going all the way.  You know Mom -- letting a guy kiss you … like … on the lips for at least ten seconds … not on the cheek.  Those don’t count.  Those are called ‘quickies.’  I let my friend give me a quickie when we meet and say goodbye.  I can’t believe that you’ve been married so long and don’t know all this stuff.  It’s true what they say!  Kids know more than their parents about courtship and sex.  I wonder how the human race survived!”


Martha said, “Oh my God.  Oh my God!”


Clara said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Mom … but I really like him.  I’ve kind of wanted him since before I was seven before I knew all about going all the way.  He might be the one.  I’m sorry that I’m such a .slut.  I didn’t plan on losing my virginity.  I didn’t expect him to kiss me like that … and I never really planned to do it again … but when I’m with him I can’t help it!”


Martha said, “Clara, Clara, …Clara.  What do you read in all those books?  It’s my fault.  I don’t know HOW I managed not to have a talk with you about this.  But we can’t talk now either.  We have to get to the store.  Then I have to teach you how to walk in public like you do at home -- only more so.  We have to do a dress rehearsal and take some Polaroid’s to set the trap.  And you have to get your electrical set-up rigged.  We had better get to it because you can’t do things nearly as fast as you could before.  … Wait a minute.  You kissed?  …A boy?”


Clara said, “What were we just talking about Mom?  Yes I kissed a boy…a man.  It’s not like girls kiss other girls like that!  Even though the guy I lost my virginity to is an adult, I think you’ll like him … but I think Dad would kill him.  But like you said we don’t have time to discuss that now.”




The following morning at school, Clara went to Eric’s locker to put an envelope through one of the slots in the door.  The envelope contained a love letter along with Polaroid shots of her in her “harlot” outfit.  She had had to wait in line because a lot of girls with notes were ahead of her.  She could barely force hers into the slot when her turn came due to all the notes already crammed into the locker.  The girls in line behind her laughed at her for leaving a note as she scurried off to get to her advanced physics class.


Clara had no idea if Eric would come to school.  She thought, “Who could make him come to school if he didn’t want to?”  Eric had been suspended for fighting -- but no one could keep him away from the school either.  Clara’s only hope was that he would come to show off.  When the school day ended, Clara could see that there were no papers sticking out of the slots in Eric’s locker, so she knew she still had a chance for her plan to work.








As Martha drove her into town for the Halloween party, Clara shivered under a blanket in the back of the pick-up and next to a large and very cold water holding tank.  Her “costume” was little protection against the chill of the evening.  Martha slowed as they drove near the Summers’ house to look at the three sheriff’s cars with their emergency lights flashing.  Both Martha could see that a good portion of the house had been destroyed.  Martha battled her impulse to turn the truck around and head home.  Clara wondered how much Eric would respect other people’s property if he didn’t even value the home that had sheltered him all his life.  She reminded herself that a house doesn’t make a home and glanced through the glass of the truck cab at her Mother.  Martha had made her want to go on after she had lost everyone and everything that she had every known and loved.  Despite the sympathy she felt for anyone who hadn’t been blessed with loving parents (and Clara had had four), she became even more determined to do whatever she had to do to stop Eric from abusing the powers that had been hers.


Before long, Martha stopped the truck in front of the sidewalk leading to the Gymnasium’s main outside entrance.  Clara stood, shed her blanket and hopped to the sidewalk.  Martha grabbed her to keep her from stumbling.  Clara was so used to jumping from the truck in a single bound that she didn’t even think about it.  If Martha wouldn’t have been there, she would have fallen onto the concrete and her plans for the evening would have been over before they had started.  Martha made sure Clara was okay and ready for what she had to do. In a couple minutes, there would be no turning back. Martha had a hard time believing that Clara could get hurt. She knew that the second the reality hit, she would order her daughter to get back on the truck and take her home where she could keep her only child away from any harm the world could do to her. But for now she forced the possibility of an unwanted outcome out of her mind.  For now, she was here to help Clara carry out her plan.   What Clara didn’t know was that Martha had dug up more than a few meteor rocks at LaSalle State Park while Clara was busy setting up her equipment.  If things started going wrong, Martha was prepared to throw as many rocks at Eric as she could.  Martha told Clara, “Honey, you’ll have to be careful not to make any fast moves. Those clothes are under a strain already. Stress them anymore and they’ll come apart at the seams … and you will be putting on more of a show than you intend to. Let me touch your make-up a bit and fix your hair!”

Clara said, “Mom, Mom, do I really look okay? I have got to get Eric’s attention or God knows what he’ll do next. Tonight I HAVE to be the best looking girl in school!” Martha stood back and looked at her daughter. She blinked a few times. Clara said, “What’s wrong, Mom? Did my makeup run or something?”

Martha said, “You look great, Honey … you just don’t look like my Clara anymore. Let me fuss with you a little more before you go in.” Martha adjusted her daughter’s clothing then whispered in her ear, “I want to kiss you Baby but I don’t want to mess up your make-up. Be very, very careful tonight. I’ll stay as close as I can.”

Clara said, “Thank you, Mama.” Clara turned towards the gymnasium, but it took her a few moments before she could start walking towards the door – and when she did start walking, she walked with a nervous wobble. As she tried to clear her mind, she became Clara the timid schoolgirl for a moment and began to stoop and walk in a somewhat mechanical fashion. As she calmed herself and forced herself to forget her surroundings, her posture straightened and her stride became more graceful and catlike – the way she walked when she was home on the farm, relaxed and un-observed. Then Clara started putting herself into character and her walk became even more sensual.

Martha watched Clara’s transformation and was amazed and horrified how much Clara had learned in just the short time she had spent training her that afternoon. Martha was scared. She hoped that tomorrow, her genie would willingly go back into the bottle. She wanted her sweet, innocent daughter back for at least a little while longer.

There was no one else on the school grounds as Clara walked the long sidewalk to the door. The party had begun thirty minutes before and anyone who had decided to attend was already inside. Clara had decided to try to think like Scarlet O’Hara from one of her favorite books. Now that she was in character and as long as her personal Rhett Butler wasn’t waiting for her inside, she didn’t give a damn what anybody thought of her or wanted from her.  She was the judge of the world and refused to be judged by it.  Clara was gone.  She had created a new personality.  This alter ego had the self-confidence to get back what she had lost so that she could be whole again. She had prepared all her life for the responsibilities that came with her powers … and it was very evident that Eric couldn’t handle them.

Clara didn’t know, but her Rhett Butler WAS inside. Lex stood in a corner wearing a dark cloak and a hairpiece that was slicked back. The tips of his fake fangs stuck out slightly over his blood red lips. He had pancake make-up on his face and a trail of fake blood painted from each corner of his lips to the sides of his chin. He had called in a favor and was allowed to be there as a chaperone … but without being expected to monitor the behavior of the members of the student body in attendance. There was only one student body in particular that he was interested in. He fully intended to spend his evening in the shadows watching over the only person in the universe that he gave a damn about.  He wouldn’t make his presence known unless someone made a move on Clara. He just hoped that she wouldn’t expect or want anyone to make that kind of move on her. But his immediate concern was that he wouldn’t be able to determine which one of the costumed students was her.  There were only a few monsters that he hadn’t ruled out as possible Claras.  He knew what kind of costume she would pick – baggy and bulky and covering her from head to toe.  He thought she might be hiding in one of the other corners afraid to come out and interact with the other students.  If anything, she would find a teacher who she could have an intellectual chat with.  But more and more, Lex was starting to believe that Clara’s timid nature had kept her from attending the party.  He knew that she wouldn’t come to something like this if there was a chance in a million that someone might notice her or point her out.  

The room started to get quiet and the silence spread like a wave. One after the other, people turned towards the door to see what was attracting so much attention. Lex stepped out of his corner and looked in the direction that everyone else seemed to be looking. He quickly saw that it was a “who” and not a “what” that people were gawking at. Lex took a quick glance then began to closely and thoroughly examine the newcomer from foot to head. She wore transparent, opened-toed sandals. Her toenails were painted bright red and looked too perfect to be the real thing. Lex’s eyes wandered up her shapely legs and started to think that they would go on forever when he finally reached her pleated, white skirt. It was extremely short and it was spilt by her left leg all the way up to her low slung, shiny yellow belt. Her parted skirt revealed her ever so brief briefs that were an eye-catching bright red. Her hands rested on her hips and her nails glistened with the same polish that was on her toe nails. Above her waist, her midriff was exposed. Lex quickly thought, “This is no high school girl. This is some young teacher dressed up like a “Penthouse” centerfold promoting her latest pornographic movie.  She is probably an incurable tease -- an exhibitionist with a sadistic desire to get the male student body to collectively wet themselves.”  Lex found that he was under the same spell as everyone else in the room. His eyes continued to follow the woman’s tight and toned torso up to the short, tight, white top that was barely held shut in the front by three, red, heart-shaped buttons that were strained to their limit. The exposed fringe of a bright red brassiere that matched her briefs separated the extremely low-cut top from her smooth, slightly tan skin. A thin gold chain ran from her neck and down her chest and was tightly wedged into a cleavage that threatened to make any man permanently cross-eyed. Lex comforted himself and felt like less of a pig because all he could think of as he looked at her was “Clara, Clara, Clara.” His eyes followed her graceful neck bordered by dark, flowing hair until he got to her delicate chin that seemed so familiar to him. He looked at the wet, bright red lip gloss on her full lips and realized that this too had been color coordinated with her nail polish and undergarments for effect. He looked at her small, perky nose and the large, dark eyes with thick eyelashes and eyelids heavily painted with mauve and dark pink eye shadow.  Her make-up was precise but overdone.  Her eyes seemed to stare out across the crowd as if looking for someone special but not being aware of or concerned about the crowd of people standing like statues and gawking at her.  Lex looked at the perfection that was her face and said to himself, “If this woman didn’t wear all that make-up, she would almost be every bit as beautiful as my ….” Lex suddenly realized who he and every other person in the room had been staring at. He opened his mouth and inhaled sharply in shock. He tried to shout “Clara!” but he felt a pain in his throat and couldn’t breathe. In the sudden jolt of recognition, Lex had forgotten that he had fake fangs in his mouth. They had fallen out of place and were now partially lodged in his windpipe.

As Lex's skin turned blue enough to show through the pancake make-up, no one paid any attention to him flailing about. Everyone was still staring at Clara. The boys and men were trying to etch an image of her into their minds. The women were trying to think of various methods to kill or disfigure her … if not rethinking their sexual orientation. Lana Lang’s bright red skin tone finally came close to complementing the pink fairy princess outfit she was wearing as she repeatedly jabbed an oblivious Whitney Fordman in the side with her elbow in an unsuccessful attempt to regain his attention.

Lex was about to pass out. He started to fall backward when he received a sharp blow from behind him by someone anxious to get past him. The fake fangs flew out of Lex’s mouth a second before he fell to the floor in a heap. A mob of boys and male teachers approached Clara, but the crowd was violently split in two and thrown in both directions by the same person that had pushed Lex out of the way. When everyone looked back towards the door, Clara had vanished -- except for her pair of shoes left exactly where she had been standing.

The principal, who had been closest to Clara when she vanished, shouted, “Where did she go? If she comes back, bring her to me at once. I want her on her knees!” When the crowd gave him a nasty look he said, “Her dress … her skirt was … probably in violation of the school’s dress code. I need to measure the distance her skirt was from the floor when she is on her knees!”

The principal’s wife said, “It was evident that her skirt was too short even without measuring it. Besides, it would have been too far off the floor for your measuring stick to have been of any use!”

Mark Jefferson pulled off his donkey mask and stepped forward. He looked whiter than the people dressed as ghosts. He stuttered as he said, “Th-that was h-her! I told you, I told you all! That was CLARA KENT – the farmer girl from HELL!”

There was a moment of silence before the entire gymnasium erupted with wild laughter. The only people not laughing were Mark Jefferson, several jealous girlfriends and an unconscious Lex Luthor.






Out on the school lawn Eric told Clara, “I got your message.  I chose you out of all the others.  Tonight is your lucky night.”


Clara smiled at him and said, “Could you take me to the LaSalle State Park Dam?  I’ve made something for you to nibble on.  We can have a moonlight picnic.  It’s there waiting for us.”


Eric said, “I have plenty to nibble on here.”


Clara said, “Love making is better done on a full stomach.  Satisfy the stomach first ... then the heart.”


Eric said, “I don’t care about my stomach or my heart being satisfied.  You said we would go all the way and I came here to do just that.”


Clara said, “But the dam is special to me.  That is where we first touched.”


Eric said, “I don’t even know you.”


Clara said, “Of course you do.  You bought me lunch just yesterday.  Now I’d like to return the favor.  My Mother is the best cook in the state … if not in the world.  Believe me, you won’t want to miss the spread that is waiting for you there.”


Eric said, “I didn’t buy anyone lunch.”


Clara said, “Oh, Honey, don’t tell me you forgot all about me!”


Eric said, “Who could forget you?”


Clara pouted and said, “Obviously YOU can!  I guess you made a bigger impression on me than I did on you … but that’s been true ever since I can remember.  After yesterday, I just couldn’t wait any longer to tell you how I feel.  No one ever stood up for me like you did.  Jed will never lay a finger on me again.”


Eric looked her over from head to foot. 


Clara asked, “Like what you see?”


Eric said, “Hell, yes…but you can’t be Clara Kent.”


Clara said, “I’m willing to be whoever you want me to be … Eric ... or do you prefer being called “Superboy” now?”


Eric said, “It is you.  That lightning strike … it made me strong and fast … and it made you beautiful!”


Clara said, “If you want to believe that, you can.  But I’ve always been like this.  I’ve just been waiting for my Prince Charming.  I wanted to be loved for me and not for my body.  But I want you so much that I don’t care anymore if you like the real me or not.  Like I said, I’ve had my eye on you for quite a while.”


Eric said, “Bull.  Girls like you don’t look at boys like me.”


Clara said, “How would you know?  Did you ever look at Clara Kent to see if she was making eyes at you … and if you did see her, wouldn’t you have snapped your head the other way?  It’s the same old story.  You think no one likes and that you’re being ignored … because you ignore the ones that are checking you out.”


Eric said, “I still don’t buy it.”


Clara said, “Okay.  Be honest with me even if you hurt my feelings.  Did you even notice me standing at the top of the dam with you … ready to help you if you needed it … even before the lightning struck?”


Eric said, “You weren’t there!”


Clara bit her lip a bit and looked as if she was about to burst into tears.  She said, “You see!  You must see now that what I told you is true.  I was Miss Invisible to you. I was right there all the time.  I’ve always right there by you and eating my heart out watching you stare at all the pretty girls.”


Eric said, “I KNOW you weren’t there.  I’m not that way.  I would have seen you if you were at the top of that dam with me.”


Clara said, “Are you ALWAYS too wrapped up in yourself to see the way the world really is?  Or is it just me that you can’t see.  If I WASN’T before the lightning hit you, how could I be there when it did?  Do you think I could run faster than a lightning bolt?”


Eric stood there speechless for a moment.  Then he shook his head a little as if to jog himself awake.  He quietly said, “I’m sorry.  I never knew.”


Clara said, “Well, now you do.”


Eric said, “So why did you give me this third degree about hurting Whitney Fordman?  As of yesterday, you cared more about that jock than you do about me.  He’s the one you’re sweet on.  Just like that Lana Lang.  You wouldn’t have stepped in to make me stop if you really cared more about me than Whitney.”


Clara said, “Think about it.  What were you doing when I stopped you?”


Eric said, “I was about to break his hand.  Don’t try to tell me that it was because of team spirit that you didn’t want me to break the star quarterback’s hand!  If the school wants to win games, they’ll make me the team.”


Clara said, “Have you heard the lies the team tells about me?  Have you EVER seen me at a game?  Oh, that’s right, you can’t ever see me.  You really can’t understand why I stopped you from doing what you were doing, can you?  I was so excited.  You were talking to me and I wasn’t even dressed up pretty.  Then you defended my honor.  I was in heaven.  But suddenly, I was invisible again.  You were focusing on HIM … and all you were thinking about was your anger.  You were busy hating him ... rather than focusing on ME … and loving ME!  And when you stopped … we didn’t sit down together like we were supposed to, did we?  Those girls wanted you because of what you can do now.  Me, I don’t like anything that keeps us apart … and those powers put all those shallow women between you and me.”


Eric said, “I never considered any of that.  Why didn’t you tell me?”


Clara said, “If someone really likes you, you shouldn’t have to tell them … but I WOULD have ... only you went to sit with all those bimbos.”


Eric said, “I sat by myself.  They came to me.”


Clara pouted her lip and said, “It still, it hurt my feelings.” She lowered her head and looked at the ground.


Eric lifted her chin and said, “Well, I picked you tonight … out of all the others, I picked you.  And I’m all yours until the cock crows.”


Clara asked, “Will you do that one thing for me?  Take me to LaSalle State Park Dam.  Do that for me and I’ll do anything for you -- ANYTHING!”


Eric said, “Hold on tight.  We’ll be there so fast that your head will spin.”


Eric picked up Clara and they disappeared.  Martha turned on the engine of the truck and sped out of the parking lot, praying that Clara could delay Eric long enough for her to get there and do her part.









Eric and Clara walked hand in hand.  Clara led Eric to where she told him the picnic blanket was set up for their rendezvous.  Eric was getting impatient because Clara seemed to be having trouble remembering exactly where she had put the basket and blanket.  Eric didn’t care where the food was.  He was simply humoring her for the moment hoping that making her happy would lead to him getting everything he had always dreamed about.  Finally, Clara giggled and said, “Oh, there it is!”  She pulled Eric to the blanket and they sat down together.  Eric began to fiddle with a button on Clara’s top.  From the struggle with the top that Martha and Clara had had earlier that evening, Clara knew that if one button was undone, the rest wouldn’t hold.  She slapped Eric’s hand and said, “What are you doing?”


Eric said, “What do you mean what am I doing?  I’m helping undress you so we can go all the way … like you said we would in your note.”


Clara said, “You don’t have to be naked to go all the way.”


Eric said, “No, but the view is much nicer if you are.”


Clara said, “Don’t you want to eat something first.”


Eric said, “I could, but I’d rather skip the preliminaries.  And get down to it.”


Clara said, “I was hoping we wouldn’t do it until we were on my parent’s front porch.”


Eric said, “Wow!  You’re kinkier than I thought.  I’d prefer here … and now.  We can do it anywhere and everywhere else later.”


Clara said, “OK. OK.”  Clara puckered up.


Eric ran a hand up Clara’s thigh.  Clara jumped and said, “Hey what are you doing?”


Eric said, “Getting ready to go all the way with you.”


Clara said, “You don’t have to touch me down there to go all the way.”


Eric said, “You do in my book.  How do they do it on the farm?”


Clara said, “You mean you don’t know how to kiss?”


Eric said, “Of course I do!”


Clara said, “Well that’s what you do.  You kiss on ... on the lips … for no less than ten seconds ... and good girls wait until you take them home ... but, like I told you in my letter, I’m NOT a good girl!”


Eric said, “That’s what you think of as “going all the way?”  Going all the way is having sex!”


Clara mouth dropped open for a few seconds.  Then she said, “What?!  That can’t be right.  People don’t have sex until they’re married!?”


Eric said, “What planet are you from?”


Clara said, “That doesn’t matter.  I live here now.”


Eric said, “Don’t you watch TV?”


Clara said, “No, it’s annoying.  I listen to it sometimes.”


Eric said, “Haven’t you ever heard of unwed mothers or teen pregnancies?”


Clara said, “Kind of.  I don’t think about that stuff much.  It’s too sad.  That’s when the guy dies before the child is born, right?”


Eric said, “No!  That’s where the people don’t like each other enough to get married, just enough to have sex.”


Clara said, “I didn’t know that could happen.  You really have to love someone to tolerate having sex with them.  Why would you have sex with someone you didn’t even like?”


Eric said, “People want sex more than they want commitment.  Most times, all either of them want from the other person is having that person gratify their desires and make them feel good.”


Clara said, “You can’t be serious!”


Eric said, “Deadly serious.  And I am very serious about wanting to have sex with you right now.”


Clara said, “You want me to have a baby?”


Eric said, “No I want you to make me feel good.”


Clara said, “Sex doesn’t feel good, it hurts.  My theory is that God made it hurt so bad so that only people who really want children will go through the pain it takes to conceive babies.”


Eric said, “Did you parents tell you that?  Sometime the first few times hurt a woman but not for long.  Parents say things like that to keep their daughters from coming home pregnant.” 


Clara said, “Mom and Dad didn’t tell me that in so many words … but they are in terrible pain every time they ....”  Clara blushed.


Eric laughed, “That’s not pain!  They are having so much pleasure they can hardly stand it.  Let me show you.  Let’s do it now.”


Clara said, “I bet kissing feels better.”


Eric said, “You’ll know for sure soon enough.”


Clara said, “Don’t you like kissing?”


Eric said, “It’s OK … but sex is all that a man REALLY wants from a woman.”


Clara said, “That CAN’T be true.  I have a friend who’s in his mid-twenties and he doesn’t want to do any of that stuff with me!”


Eric asked, “Has he seen your figure?  Has he seen your face with your hair pulled back?”


Clara answered, “Yes.”


Eric said, “Then he’s definitely gay.”


Clara said, “I don’t think so, but I’ll ask him.  If you really want me to make you feel good, how about if I hug you.  That makes me feel good and I already said I’d kiss you when you take me home.”


Eric said, “Look, I won’t be satisfied like your gay friend because I’m strictly hetero and hugs and kisses don’t mean squat to me.  Do you know how many girls want to have sex with me since I’ve become “Superboy”?”


Clara said, “They want your baby?”


Eric said, “Having babies has nothing to do with it.  It’s about feeling good.  What are you, seven years old or something?”


Clara said, “No, I just never paid attention to all this stuff before.  I was home schooled until last year and it’s not like I have any friends or anything.”


Eric said, “Well, I would like to be a close friend … an intimate friend.  Trust me.  Once you’ve had sex, you’ll want it all the time.  Tomorrow, you’ll be begging me for it again.”


Clara said, “What do you mean “again?”  I’m not doing that tonight so I won’t be wanting it tomorrow.”


Eric said, “You promised me that you’d go all the way with me.  You can’t tease a man like that and not go through with it.  That’s evil.  You don’t want to be an evil person do you?”


Clara said, “I’m NOT evil.  I just didn’t understand.  I’m sorry.”


Eric said, “You may be sorry now, but you’ll thank me later.”


Clara said, “You were always a nice boy.  Don’t let the gift you’ve been given change you.  You can use what you’ve been given to help people.”


Eric said, “No, I was never “nice.”  I was just too weak and scared to take what I wanted.  Now I’m strong and I have nothing to fear – nothing to keep me from taking whatever I want … and at the moment I want you.  AND I don’t WANT to help others.  I want to help myself.  And I’m about to help myself to some of your sweet loving.”


Clara realized that Eric wasn’t going to take no for an answer and she didn’t have the strength to stop him.  She had thought she was risking having him kiss her, now she was scared to think about what he might do to her if her plans didn’t work.  She nervously said, “I might consider doing what you want me to, but I need you to look at something first.”  Clara unbuttoned one more button on her blouse.  The other two buttons couldn’t stand the strain and popped off and Clara’s top opened up fully exposing the front of her brassiere.


Eric said, “Now you’re talking!”  He pinned her back against the ground and began kissing her.  She couldn’t move her arms.


She shouted, “Stop!  Wait a minute.  That wasn’t what I wanted to show you!”  When he didn’t stop, she shook herself as hard as she could.  The chain moved but the pendant didn’t budge.  The movement of the chain caught Eric’s attention.


Eric said, “What is this?”  He reached down and pulled the pendant’s chain.  The foil stayed wedged in place.  But the pendant came out.  Eric groaned in pain and fell forward on Clara.


Clara shouted, “Now Mama, now!”


Martha turned the faucet on the water tank that was on the back of Jon’s truck.  The water ran down a hose and drenched Clara and Eric.  The puddle of water ran downhill until it contacted a live wire.  The voltage ran through Eric and Clara until a fuse blew in the circuit that Clara had rigged earlier.  Clara felt whole for a moment before the pain hit her. Eric got up and shook himself a bit.  He saw Clara moaning in pain and reached down to finish undressing her.  He felt something strike the back of his head, and passed out.  Martha raised the shovel again and Clara said, “Don’t!”  Martha threw the shovel down and took the necklace off of Clara.  She pulled back her hand preparing to throw it into the woods.


Clara shouted, “Stop Mom!  Just keep it!  Just put it in the lead box that Lex gave me.”


Martha did as her daughter asked then said, “Why do you want this necklace?”


Clara said, “Hide it somewhere in the basement at home -- someplace so small that I’ll be afraid to try to get it.  Keep it in case I ever get to be power hungry like Eric.  You’ll need it to stop me.”


Martha said, “That will never happen.”


Clara said, “I hope not.”


Martha said, “Your plan must have worked or I couldn’t have knocked Eric out.  And your make-up washed off.”


Clara said, “Yes it worked.  I feel complete again.  Mom, I know all the names for all my body parts and how they function.  I also know all about male anatomy and how Earth babies are made.  You were a good teacher but ….”


Martha said, “Yes, I heard.  I guess I shouldn’t have assumed you knew it all.  And I should have made time yesterday or today to talk to you about it.”


Clara said, “When we get home, can you explain to me what boys want …and more importantly … when do they stop wanting it?”


Martha said, “I’ll try, dear.  I’ll try.  I probably should get Jon’s help on this one … but I don’t think he would be able to talk to you about it.”


Clara said, “I always thought you and Dad just were determined to have a baby despite what the doctor said.  It always sounded like it caused you so much pain ….”


Martha said, “God help me.”


Clara said, “OH!  Mom, if anyone asks you -- ANYONE, even someone on the phone who doesn’t give his name.  Tell him that I NEVER kissed ERIC. Ok…oh…and you met Lex Luthor, right?  Do you think he’s gay?”


Martha shook her head and said, “For your sake, I hope he isn’t.  But as long as he takes good care of you, makes you happy and gives me several grandchildren, I don’t much care.”


Clara said, “Mother!  What are you talking about?!”


Martha said, “I’m not as stupid as you might think … and I’m not as oblivious as your Father is.  You just told Eric that your man friend is in his mid-twenties and that he has been a gentleman with you.  You told me just the other day that you met your friend when you were less than 7 years old and started seeing him shortly after starting to attend public school … which was about the same time when you fished a certain young millionaire out of the river.  You told me that you think I would like him … and you were right.  You told me that your Dad wouldn’t like him … and you were equally right about that.  Now you are asking me about whether he is gay or not … and this is not the only time I’ve noticed your interest in all things Luthor.  And I did notice a quilt or twenty that are unmistakably your handiwork at the Luthor mansion when I’ve made deliveries there.  AND I’ve noticed how Lex is all over me to make a good impression whenever I’m near him.  Until I caught on it made me nervous thinking that he had the hots for me … and made me feel old when I realized that it is you that he is interested in.  But to be totally honest with you, I didn’t really believe I was right about what’s been going on until a minute ago.  Now that I know for sure, we are damned well going to have that long over due Mother-Daughter talk tomorrow morning!  You have more to learn than I could have ever imagined.  You’re messing around with a man in his prime and your body is like a loaded weapon.”


Clara said, “Mom, Lex and I are JUST friends!  He only likes me because I saved his life.”


Martha said, “Pul-lease!  You can hide the truth from yourself but you can’t hide it from me.  Remember, you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool Mom.”


Clara asked, “Do you think that Daddy knows?


Martha said, “If Lex is still breathing, no your Dad doesn’t know.  But I know that he suspects that you are seeing someone.  Don’t worry about me telling him because I don’t want to see your Father in prison for homicide.  That may be selfish of me, but Eric was right about one thing -- I don’t make those sounds you overhear because I’m in pain.”


Clara said, “What?  … OH!  GROSS!”


Martha said, “One thing’s for sure, your Grandpa Clark will be very proud of you.”


Clara said, “Proud of me.  He won’t even come to visit me … even on Christmas.”


Martha said, “Oh, he’d be proud of you now.  Do you know what he told me ever day when I woke up and every night when I went to bed and several times in between?”


Clara said, “That he loves you?”


Martha answered, “No.  His favorite line was, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor man.”  Well, it wasn’t that easy for me.”


Clara said, “That’s awful!  I don’t care about Lex’s money!  I DON’T!  I would love him if …  mmmm …  I would LIKE him even if he was penniless.”


Martha said, “I’m glad you fell in LIKE with a man who obviously has a deep like for you too.  Now you’d better tie up Eric and get your electrical gear together.  Don’t go near the truck for 10 minutes.  I have about 30 softball sized hunks of meteor rock to pitch into the woods.




Martha was throwing the last meteor rock into a ravine when she heard Clara scream.  She started to run down the path to where Clara was cleaning up the picnic site but she saw Clara returning to the truck with a picnic basket in one hand and Eric’s unconscious body under her opposite arm.  She was wearing the solid blue picnic blanket like a poncho.  Her yellow belt held the blanket together at her waist.  The blanket wasn’t quite long enough to cover her red briefs.  Martha asked, “What happened.  Why did you scream?”


Clara said, “I hope you kept the receipt for that bra!  For what you paid for it the clasps should have been stronger.  I’ll never wear one that unfastens up front again!”


Martha said, “We bought one that was too small for you on purpose.  I told you to be careful.  But I’ll tell you something.  I really like the way you look dressed the way you are right now.”


As Clara effortlessly lifted Eric into the truck she said, “Hardy Har Har!”


Martha said, “I’m not kidding.  You really look good in royal blue.”


Clara said, “All I know is, next Halloween, none of this harlot stuff for me.  I’m going back to being Clara-Bell the Clown!”










Lex’s heart sank when he didn’t see Clara at their meeting place.  He walked over to sit down on the rock where they met almost every day.  He smiled when he saw that he wasn’t alone.  He brushed some of the autumn leaves of the rock and laid face down so that his head sung over the far side.  He planted a kiss on the back of Clara’s neck and said quietly, “Are you hiding from me today?”


Clara sat on the ground with her butt pushed up against the rock.  She had her knees pulled tightly to her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs and her head resting on her knees.  Clara said, “I’m not hiding.  It just felt right to sit here today.  I don’t know why.  It’s nice sometimes to not know why things are ...  and to not care that you don’t know … to just live and be.”


Lex asked, “So what do you know?”


Clara said, “Too much.  I wish I was 12 years old again.”


Lex asked, “So, was I found wanting?”


Clara said, “What could you want that you don’t have?”


Lex said, “Oh, I have a short, but significant list.  But what I was asking was how my kissing compared to … to who ever it was.”


Clara said, “There isn’t any comparison.”


Lex said, “Does that mean that I am that much better … or that much worse.”


Clara said, “There’s a third possibility and that’s the correct one.”


Lex asked, “What’s the third possibility?

Clara said, “You’re still my one and only … unless you count that peck I gave your friend Bruce and the kiss he stole from me.  But that was less than a ten second kiss so it didn’t count … and I was too shocked to notice how it felt.”


Lex said, “Are you disappointed that you didn’t get some more experience … for comparison’s sake?”


Clara said, “No!  I TOLD you that I didn’t want to kiss anyone else.  I’m relieved that it didn’t happen.  I’m relieved that a lot of things didn’t happen.”


Lex asked, “Like what?”


Clara said, “Like sex … sex could have happened and I didn’t have a clue.  So now I’m retroactively scared and sick and angry.”


Lex asked, “Are you getting a cold?”


Clara said, “No, I’m sick a different way.”


Lex said, “Oh.  I thought you might have gotten a cold considering what you wore … or didn’t wear … to the Halloween party.”


Clara said, “How would you know what I wore?”


Lex said, “I was there.”


Clara said, “So you didn’t trust me.  You probably heard how big a slut I am and now … OH!  I am so disgusted.”


Lex said, “I trust you … but I didn’t trust those boys at the party.  And you must admit that you don’t tell me everything … just enough to drive me crazy. You sound really tired Clara ... and sad. Should I be worried about you?”


Clara said, “No.  Don’t worry about me.  You should worry about you.  You’re spending too much time with a stupid girl who doesn’t know how to please a man and doesn’t want to know.  I’m so stupid that I didn’t even know that there are ways for people to please themselves!  Now that I know what I do, I wish I didn’t.  I wish I was still home schooled and never had to leave the farm again.  You should be with a woman.  Maybe we should stop meeting here.  It will be snowing before long anyway and you can’t count on me to keep you warm.”


Lex said, “Where would you like to meet instead?”


Clara said, “Why do we have to meet at all?”


Lex said, “For me, that’s like asking why I need to eat, sleep or breathe.  You haven’t decided that you don’t want to be my friend anymore did you?”


Clara said, “I’ll be your friend … and I’ll be there if you ever need me ... but you are going to need things that I don’t think I can give you.  I don’t think that you should stop having a life while waiting for me to become something I might never be.”


Lex asked, “Are you going to turn around and look at me?”


Clara said, “… No.”


Lex said, “Is there someone else you’re interested in -- someone you want enough that you dress up on Halloween like you did to get their undivided attention.”


Clara said, “No.”


Lex said, “Then why did you do that?  That was more than a costume.  Were you trying to show everyone what I already know … that you are as beautiful physically as you are in every other way?”


Clara said, “I had to do that.  And I didn’t want to ... Mom decided what I needed to wear.  I can’t tell you about it now.  Maybe I can someday, maybe not.  You won’t believe this but I didn’t go into the party dressed like that.  I couldn’t do it.  I gave it to someone else to do for me.  She helps me out sometimes when I’m not strong enough to do what I need to do.”


Lex said, “And this person … she looks just like you?”


Clara said, “No she doesn’t.  She’s pretty and she’s confident and she’s able to do anything.  And people want to know her and be around her.  She’s nothing like me at all.”


Lex said, “She’s sounds exactly like the Clara I know … except my Clara doesn’t want people to know her or focus on her.  So she goes to great lengths to hide.  Maybe because you hide so well, you’ve hidden the truth about you.  But I really wish that you wouldn’t hide from me.  Why don’t you come out from behind the rock and sit with me in the sunshine?  I like what sunshine does to you.  Well, come to think of it, moonlight is pretty good too … and twilight … and even no light when I just hear you breathing.”


Clara said, “There is one hope for us staying together.  Someone said something about you.  Maybe if it’s true … then maybe it can work out between us.  Lex …are you gay?”


Lex said, “No!  Who told you that?”


Clara said, “Just some guy.  He told me that, if you can look at me and never want to do more than kiss me, then you’re gay.  It would be OK with me if you are.  You can come out of the dresser.”


Lex said, “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not.  I can change a lot of things about myself to suite you, but that’s not one of them.”


Clara said, “Oh, ok.  So we are just good friends.  I thought the way you kissed me told me something different … but I found out ... that I’m not very smart about this kind of thing.  In fact, I’m and out and out moron.”


Lex said, “I’m your friend first.  That’s what you said you wanted.  That’s what you insisted upon and that’s what I agreed to.  When you are ready for more ... and old enough, there will be no limits for us.”


With great sadness in her voice, Clara said, “But Lex, I was already at MY limit!  I thought I had compromised my morals to satisfy you in every way a man might want to be.  I thought I had lost my virginity to you.  I thought we had gone all the way several times.  Now I find that I haven’t gone very far at all.  And I learned that “all the way” is a scary place much farther away than I think I can ever go with a man.”


Lex said, “You seemed to know everything ... even more that me.”


Clara said, “Technically, yes.  I knew the biology.  I know all the parts.  But I didn’t know that animal passions and desires applied to human beings.  I thought humans had evolved past that.  Those body parts aren’t for the stuff people use them for!  They are for procreation ... not recreation.  Where I come from, they aren’t even for that!”


Lex said, “You must be wrong.  You’re here aren’t you!  You were very young when you came here.  Maybe you didn’t know .…”


Clara said, “Oh I KNEW.  I’ve let you think that I came from some 3rd world country.  I didn’t.  We were pretty advanced.  My Father was a great scientist.  I’m going to tell you something nobody knows ... not even my Mom and Dad.  My birth Mother wanted a girl and my birth Dad wanted a boy but instead of fighting over it, they submitted genetic samples, ovum and sperm, for analysis.  Over 25,000 factors were considered.  Material that would have caused birth defects was eliminated immediately from the sample.  The material was also rated for what would produce the strongest, healthiest, most disease resistant child.  Then there were judgments based on the standards of our society and my parents’ non-gender specific desires for their child.  Once the material was narrowed down to a single ovum and sperm, they were merged in a special ceremony and placed in a gestation chamber in my parents’ home.  I matured for eight months before I was removed.  My Dad wanted to name his son Kal, so he called me Kayla.”


Lex said, “Honey, nobody grows their babies to maturity in a test tube.  Not yet anyway.  Somebody just told you a story – like that storks bring babies or that kids come from cabbage patches.”


Clara said, “I wasn’t done telling my story.  I was only told how I was made, but I know that it’s true from things I saw with my own eyes.  But my eye witness account probably won’t convince you either.  You’re like Doubting Thomas who had to stick his hand into Christ’s wound to believe.  So maybe you’ll believe me if I show you so you can see it with your own eyes … and let you stick your finger in so you can feel it to!”


Lex said, “OK.  OK.  I believe you.  I have heard recently that Atlantis actually did exist and still does – deep below the sea.  It’s not a tabloid story.  It’s true.  I have also heard that there is a secret tribe of very scientifically advanced intelligent Gorillas that live in a secret city hidden from the world.  So it is possible that ….”


Clara jumped to her feet and said, “HEY!  Are you calling me a Gorilla?  I’ll have you know that the only place I have hair that you don’t is the top of my head.  I’m as hairless as you below the neck!  I’d prove that too except for some of the things Mom told me.”


Lex said, “I don’t think you’re a gorilla.  I was just saying that if it has already been proven that advanced societies can exist on Earth without the rest of the world being aware of it, there is no reason that your story can’t be true.  And we know that advanced societies have been destroyed in the past, so why not in the recent past.  In fact, I think I know exactly where you are from.  You came in a ship right?”


Clara said, “I told you that I came in a ship, but I’m NOT telling you any more than that.  If you think you know where I come from, fine.  Just as long as you don’t think I’m a gorilla.”


Lex said, “I don’t think you’re a gorilla, but the way you look – some mild racial characteristics you have – the accent that no one can place.  It all fits.  I think you’re from Mu.”


Clara’s mouth hung open.  She said, “OH!  OH!  That’s just as bad!  So I’m not a monkey … I’m a cow!”


Lex said, “No, the lost country of Mu … often called Lemuria.  It was supposed to be in the Pacific Ocean and supposedly sank like Atlantis did.  Since Atlantis survived, Mu probably could have survived as well.”


Clara said, “Well, believe what you like, as long as you believe that what I just told you is the truth.  But I said I would let you do the Thomas test and I will.”  Clara took two steps up to the back of the rock where Lex was still lying on his stomach.  His head was now even with her waistline.  Clara said, “NO!  Don’t get up.  You’re where you need to be.  Take a good look at this and tell me what you think.”  Clara lifted her long skirt.  Lex’s eyes almost bugged out of their sockets in surprise.  Clara asked, “Do you believe me now?”


Lex said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be looking at down here …But I’ll continue to look if you insist ….  I like this underwear a lot.  It’s not quite as nice as what you wore to the Halloween party.”


Clara said, “My Mom loaned me the underwear, but you’re not supposed to be looking at that.  Look higher.  Look at my belly button.”


Lex said, “It’s an innie.  It’s perfect.  What’s the matter with it?”


Clara put a finger on each side of her bell button and spread her skin a little.  “Look closer!”


Lex said, “It’s nice and smooth.”


Clara said, “Take a finger and feel in there.”


Lex said, “First answer me this.  Where you’re from will this get you pregnant?  If so, we have some things to discuss first.”


Clara said, “Fine.  If you don’t want to know ….”  She flipped down her skirt covering Lex’s head. 


Lex said, “OK. OK. I’m feeling.  I’m feeling.  Is this good for you ... I’m enjoying it.”


Clara said, “You don’t have to poke like that.  Just move it in a slow circular motion.”


Lex said, “Forgive me, this is my first time for this.”


Clara said, “What do you feel?”


Lex said, “Silly and more than a little excited.”


Clara said, “I didn’t ask HOW do you feel I asked WHAT do you feel.  DAMN YOUR FATHER!   DAMN HIM!”


Lex said, “What?”


Clara said, “One of his photographers drove by and snapped some pictures!  It IS your Father doing that ISN’T it?”


Lex pulled his head out from under her dress and said, “Probably.  I wish the photographer had gotten pictures when your dress was up.  Then I could have them blown up and figured out what you wanted me to see.  Is it Elvis’s face in there or something?”


Clara said, “How did it feel?”


Lex said, “Smooth.  It looked smooth.  It felt smooth”


Clara said, “Most people have a knot, tied there.  I didn’t.”


Lex said, “Let me look again!”


Lex lifted her skirt but Clara turned around.  Lex said, “It’s pretty smooth back here too.”


Clara sat down behind the rock again and said, “Stop that!  You’re done examining the freak for now.”


Lex said, “So it’s smooth.  Whoever tied you off did a good job.”


Clara said, “Nobody tied me.  My feeder was removed and the hole was healed shut.” 


Lex said, “That’s a pretty fantastic story but I don’t have a problem believing you.  I don’t care if you were grown the old fashion way or sewn together on a slab.  I’m very happy with the results no matter how you ended up becoming who and what you are.  In this instance, I whole heartedly agreed with Machiavelli -- your end justifies the means!


Clara said, “You know I normally think you’re funny but you never seem to know when it’s a good time to stop.  I hadn’t finished my story.  I hadn’t gotten to the secret part that Mom and Dad don’t know … but I don’t think I’ll tell you now.  I don’t feel like being made fun of anymore today.  This is stuff that is too personal to me to speak about.  And I really am NOT supposed to tell you these private things about me anyway.  I just figured it wouldn’t hurt if you knew this stuff because I might be leaving here soon and nothing I’ve ever told you will matter.”


Lex said, “OK.  You have just put me in a serious mood with this talk about you going away.  That needs discussed.  But so we can focus on that, why don’t you finish what you were going to tell me first and we’ll get that out of the way.  You know that I hate telling or hearing only half of a story.  I promise, I won’t joke about it.”


Clara said, “You’d better not joke because I HATE to cry but I feel like I’m going to … and I probably will if you make fun of this!  Mom and Dad – Jor and Alura, thought that there was going to be a natural disaster so they didn’t want to have any more children until we reached a place of safety.  When Dad’s prediction didn’t come true, he found evidence that someone had intervened to save our … civilization.  No one believed him.  Dad thought we didn’t have to leave anymore.  He convinced Mom to have a son with him so they made Kal.  He was growing in the same gestation chamber I did in my house.  I used to play near him so I could watch him grow.  Then Dad found out that his brother Zor was keeping our civilization safe.  My Father didn’t talk to Zor much because they had both wanted to marry my Mother and there was some bad blood about that.  But Zor still loved Mother and contacted my Father to say that he had done all he could and everything was about to fall apart.  We had to leave immediately.  Kal was too young to separate from his life support system ... and his gestation chamber wasn’t designed to be moved – it was built into the house environmental control system.  It’s like my parents died twice in the same day.  First, when they had to leave him behind … and then when the accident happened and they actually did die.  If we could have waited just a couple more months, Kal could have come too.  He should have come here, not me.  He would have grown up here and been fully … American ... not like me ... with one foot in two different worlds.”


Lex said, “So, you had a brother.  It’s too bad that he couldn’t have come with you.  I’m sure the Kent’s would have taken him in and I would have enjoyed being a friend to him.  It’s funny that your Uncle was named Zor.  When I was young, a man named Zor visited my Father and helped save my unborn brother’s life when my Mother fell down the stairs.”


Clara said, “I told you about my brother to let you know that I actually did see a child grow that way so I wasn’t making it up about the not having sex thing.”


Lex said, “You said earlier that sex is for procreation and not recreation.  Then you told me that your people didn’t use sex for procreation.  From the sound of it, they chose to have babies grown outside the Mother for the purposes of choosing ideal genetic material and providing a safe controlled environment for the developing child.  There may have been an element of freeing the woman of the stress of caring a child and giving birth as well.  But there is something you may not know and may not have considered.”


Clara said, “Really?  What might that be?”


Lex said, “Maybe your people evolved out on sex for procreation … and made the activity into PURE recreation … rather than not having sex at all.”


Clara said, “They wouldn’t do that!”


Lex asked, “Why not?”


Clara said, “Ewwwww!  Because they wouldn’t!  Why would you if you didn’t have to?”


Lex said, “Didn’t your Mother ever …?”


Clara said, “YES!  She told me all that disgusting stuff yesterday.  But that was about YOUR people, not MINE!”


Lex said, “I have found that people are people wherever you go.  Your people and my people are probably more alike than you think.  For instance, I thought sex sounded pretty disgusting when I first heard about it.  And I never thought that MY parents would ever do something like that!”


Clara said, “LIONEL … OH MY GOD!  That is SO GROSS!  Why did my parents make me come here?!”


Lex said, “I wish I could believe that my parents didn’t have sex, but alas, I have a knotty belly button.  You showed me yours.  Want to see mine?  No?  OK.  Since we’re touching on the topic of you coming here, let’s get into this part about you going away.  What do you want to do and where are you planning to go?”


Clara said, “I want to become a nun and live in a convent near farmland.”


Lex said, “You’re not Catholic, are you?”


Clara said, “What?  Do you HAVE to be Catholic?  All I was told is that me you have to dress in black, have good habits and carry a ruler.  Oh, there’s a ritual I have to do before they’ll let me join the club.  I’ll have to catch a male cat and kiss him.  That should be easy for me.”


Lex said, “You have to go all the way with a cat?”


Clara said, “It’s NOT going all the way as long as you don’t kiss the cat for more than … HEY!  Stop making fun of me Baldy!”


Lex said, “Women who are bald below the neck shouldn’t throw stones.  OK.  OK.  I’ll stop!  I think you heard wrong about the cat I think you have to take a class about the Catholic faith called “catechism” to become a Catholic, not catch a cat and kiss him.”


Clara said, “I’m getting everything wrong!  I guess Mom will have to have a talk to me … AGAIN!”


Lex asked, “So this all has to do with you learning the facts of life yesterday?”


Clara said, “Yeah.  The facts of life on Earth ... and what my birth parents decided what was best for me ... which is pretty hypocritical because they never had to do anything like that themselves … despite what you think!  So my Mom, Mom … Martha told me all this stuff and I pretended to be calm and listened to all the things she told me and I managed to smile once or twice.  I even laughed a few times because I thought she was joking … and nearly lost it when I realized that she wasn’t!  Then I thanked her for telling me and went out to the barn and threw up a few times.  Then I covered my mouth so that they couldn’t possibly hear me and cried until I fell asleep.”


Lex said, “It’s really not bad.  You have to believe me.”


Clara said, “And what if you’re wrong?  What if I don’t like it and you need it to feel satisfied with me.”


Lex said, “I would deal with it.  I REALLY would!  Listening to you sing a song for me is better than any sex I’ve ever had.”


Clara said, “Yeah, right.  From what I hear now, men think that nothing is better and that’s all they ever want to do.”


Lex said, “Let me ask you something.   On those few occasions when we do the kind of kissing that you thought of as “all the way,” did you find that pleasurable at all or did you just do it to please me?”  Lex could see the back of Clara’s neck turn red.


Clara said, “Don’t ask me that.  You know.”


Lex said, “I think I know.  Just tell me.  Does it feel good or doesn’t it?”


Clara said, “I like it.”


Lex asked, “Before we kissed the first time, did you ever see any men and women kissing each other passionately.”


Clara said, “I don’t ever need to leave the farm for that.  Mom and Dad are addicts.”


Lex asked, “So, before you actually kissed someone like that, what did you think of passionate kissing when you saw people do it?”


She said, “I don’t remember.”


Lex said, “That’s convenient.  I’m asking you to think back two months.  I can’t believe it’s only been two months!  Well, personally, I think lips weren’t made for kissing ... so they shouldn’t be used for that.”


Clara said, “You don’t think that AT ALL!”


Lex asked, “When I kiss you, do you just feel it in your lips?”


Clara said, “Don’t go there!”


Lex said, “I see your leg moving sometimes when we kiss.  Are there any other biological responses?”


Clara said, “Don’t be gross!”  Clara had looked irritated, but suddenly she squinted her eyes like she was about to cry.


Lex said, “What is it?  What’s wrong?”


Clara’ voice was all choked up as she said, “You don’t know … you can’t know!  As much as I like kissing you, it scares the hell out of me!”


Lex said, “Why?”


Clara said, “Anytime my leg twitches or my … uh … my … anytime my leg twitches and I didn’t expect it ….   I just can’t have my body doing things that I don’t expect and that I can’t control!  I can’t make you understand that, I just can’t … but I HAVE to stay in control ALL the time and you are dangerous because you can make me lose control.”


Lex said, “You’re right.  I don’t understand … but I don’t feel that I have to understand your feelings all the time … just respect them.  Personally, I like getting carried away with my emotions occasionally, but if it scares you to kiss me, we don’t have to kiss.  I’m willing to have a relationship on your terms.  We’ll just give it time.  Like I said earlier, what I have with you now is better than anything I’ve ever known, so I don’t mind waiting.”


Clara said, “I don’t want you to have to settle for me.”


Lex said, “I know, I know.  It’s SO hard settling for the best.  It eliminates any drive to try to do better.  It breeds such things as contentment, complacency, senseless happiness – everything I’ve ever stood up against in my life.”


Clara said, “This is really, REALLY serious!  I have a lot of reasons for deciding to go to a convent.  If I don’t go soon I’ll end up in jail. And I don’t want you to be alone while I’m in prison.  A life sentence for me could be forever.”


Lex said, “What could you possibly go to prison for?  Are you a secret terrorist?  Are you going to blow something up?”


Clara said, “No.  I want to murder some people…or else neuter them.”


Lex said, “Talk it out.”


Clara said, “Remember when I was tied to that post in the field two weeks ago?”


Lex said, “Yes, and remember that I offered to help you get justice for you by punishing the people that did that ... but you refused.”


Clara said, “I thought they might accidentally kill me … but they didn’t know better … so I forgave them … but I didn’t forget what they did.  Then some of them came back later to have fun with me.”


Lex said, “… But you were long gone by then.  So how do you know that they came back?”


Clara said, “I went back to play a trick on who ever came back … to scare them so that they wouldn’t try that again with me or anyone else.”


Lex said, “It bothers me that you would take that kind of risk.”


Clara said, “Oh, I was safe.  But I felt guilty the entire time because I thought what I did to them might have been worse than what they planned for me.  I knew that I was expected to turn the other cheek, but I was mad as hell.  So I went ahead with it.  At the time I thought they wanted to force me to kiss them!  Mom told me what boys and men want and what some men do to get it.  It makes me scared and sick every time I think of what they would have done to me if you hadn’t gotten me untied from that post in time.  I tried teaching those guys a lesson.  But those boys ... they didn’t learn anything … not a thing.  They tried again!  And they probably will again.  And I know they did it before with other girls and that those girls they molested are silently hurting somewhere.  I want to KILL them, Lex.  I want to kill them slowly.  I want to do that as much as I ever wanted anything.  I’ve got to go to a convent, Lex.  I’m going to kill somebody!  I never wanted to be a killer, but if I see them and think about what they could have done and might be doing, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself.”


Lex said, “Give me their names.”


Clara said, “NO!  I don’t want you to go to prison.  You can help a lot of people in your life.  I don’t want you in jail!”


Lex said, “As much as I would like to take care of this myself … I promise you that I won’t.  I promise you on everything I hold dear.  I promise you … on you … and on us and on our future together.  I will have one of Luthor Corp’s private investigators research these boys.  They will find others they have hurt.  The law will deal with them and their victims will get whatever small help I can offer them.  But I reserve the right to help one of their victims personally.  I want to help you through this, Angel.”


Clara said, “I wasn’t a victim.  I wasn’t.  They didn’t hurt me.”


Lex said, “Yes they did, Clara.  I can see the wound.  I can see the damage.  I can feel you bleeding.  Stop trying to hide from me!  I won’t let you.  Come out from behind the rock.”


Clara said, “I will tomorrow.  I promise.”


Lex said, “I’ll wait until you come out.”


Clara said, “Please don’t.”


Lex said, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t walk away ... so don’t beg.   It won’t work.  I can’t leave.”


Clara got up and walked around the rock and Lex rolled from his stomach to a sitting position.  She said, “I came out ... so you can go now.”  Lex held his arms out for her.


Clara said, “No.”


Lex gently took her wrist and pulled her to him.  He sat her down in his lap and wrapped his arms around her.  She immediately put her head down on his shoulder.  Her arms cautiously moved through his arms to encircle him. 


Lex said, “Back to a cautious hug, huh.  Well, all things come in time ... with patience.”


Lex rocked Clara in his arms for a long time.  She allowed a single tear to roll down her cheek.  She knew that if she started crying now, it would be hours before she could stop.  After many minutes of silence, Lex asked. “Do you still have your Halloween costume?”


Clara said, “Halloween is over, Lex.”


Lex said, “But it comes around every year.  I never cared much for Halloween, but now I’ll look forward to it.  I have so many things to look forward to now that you’re in my life, Angel … and I hope you feel the same way.”