“What My Parents Taught Me”
This was supposed to be stories about Clark learning to become the man he is destined to be – especially stories showing his parents influence. But the stories did get a little off track. The first story was already posted as part of my short story collection and I’m not supposed to repeat stories here, but I’d like to keep these together by category and the stories are all relatively short. Just skip over it if you’ve already read it. Thanks. Enjoy.
"The Egg" [Clark is about to exile himself to Metropolis.]
Clark, dressed in leather, uncovered Jonathan’s motorcycle in the barn. He felt he must end this pain he was feeling. He opened a little box containing a red ring and looked into the glow. This would do it. This would end the pain. He reached for the ring, but then snapped the box shut and pocketed the box. He decided he could face his grief somehow. Just then he heard a little sound behind him and turned to see a chicken and some baby chicks. Clark’s jaw dropped. He felt a stabbing pain to his gut. He cringed his face trying to pull back the tears. “The egg,” he cried, “the EGG!”
Suddenly Clark’s memories took him back in time. A 12 year old Clark with a wide grin on his face strode confidently into the barn as Jonathan worked on the tractor.
Jon said, “My, you are certainly are full your oats this morning. What’s up?”
Clark answered, “You know, Dad, I get stronger every day. Soon I’ll be able to do anything! Look at this.”
Clark picked up a large stone that was propped against the barn door and crushed it in his bare hands. Clark beamed with pride when looked back to see his Dad’s reaction.
Jonathan looked at his son and the pile of dust and gravel that had been a stone. He took a deep breath and considered the situation for a few seconds before he said anything.
Finally Jon asked, “Clark, could you do a couple things for me?”
Clark answered, “Sure!”
Jon said, “Get me one of the eggs from the incubator over there.”
Clark was back in an instant and asked, “Now what?”
Jon asked, “Can you crush that like you did the rock?”
Clark said, “You’re kidding right? Anybody could do that!” Jon just stared at him. Clark shrugged his shoulders and crushed the egg.
Jon said, “Now put it back together.” Clark stared at his Dad with a puzzled look and then at the goo in his hand. Jon said, “That would have been a baby chick. Son, you have to learn that not everything you do can be undone. We all have our limitations -- even you. It is dangerous to believe otherwise.”
In the present, the full force of Clark’s pain returned. He patted the pocket that held the red ring and pushed the motorcycle out of the barn.
Martha heard the front door open and close followed by Clark’s footsteps as the 11 year old headed upstairs.
Martha called out to him, “Clark, come have some lunch!”
Clark answered from upstairs in a muffled voice, “Not hungry!”
Martha said to herself, “Uh-oh!”
It was a very rare occasion when Clark wasn’t eager to eat anything and everything that she prepared for him. Martha knew something was wrong. She wiped her hands on her apron before removing it then climbed the stairs to Clark’s room. She tapped on Clark’s door and came in to find him lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. Clark quickly ran his forearm across his eyes and commented, “Said I’m not hungry, Mom.” Martha came over, sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at Clark. He didn’t turn to look back at her. His face was red. She knew that he must be angry or embarrassed because his face was a redder than normal -- and Clark didn’t get that way from exertion.
Martha asked, “How was the movie?”
Clark coldly answered, “Fine.”
Martha asked, “So what’s wrong?”
Clark answered, “Nothin.”
Martha said firmly, “Spill. ………. Now.”
Clark hesitated a moment then started to tell his story, “Lana’s Aunt Nell drove us to the movie theater. When we got there, Lana got out of the front. Whitney and Pete got out of the back seat and I slid over to get out. I put my hand on the door frame but before I could get out Whitney slammed the car door on my fingers.” Martha grabbed Clark’s hands but he yanked them back. With pain in his voice, he said, “That’s what LANA did!”
Martha asked, “What?”
Clark answered, “Lana saw what Whitney did so she ran over and grabbed my hands. I couldn’t believe that she was actually touching me. For a second I was so happy … but she looked at my hands and fingers and there wasn’t a scratch or a bruise. She got a weird look on her face and then she called me a FREAK! ….. I don’t even know what the movie was about.”
Martha gently took Clark’s hands and held them and kissed them and then pressed them against her cheek. They both had tears in their eyes. Martha just gazed at her son and smiled at him and he stared back. She hurt with him. He could feel her pain mirroring his and her love pouring out onto him. She sat there for the longest time. She put his hands down but kept one of her hands on his while she gently stroked his hair back over one ear. Silently she taught him a lesson of love and family and silently he learned. After a long while he said, “Did you say something about lunch?” They got up and she walked him down the stairs and back to the kitchen with one arm around him.
“A Deal with the Devil”
The man nervously said, “Just your word of honor. That’s all I’m asking for is your word!”
Superman answered, “You don’t want to do this. Your son would die too. I can’t believe you would want that.”
The man said, “I don’t want that at all, but at least we would die together. Just give me your word. Two days is all I want. Two days with my son!”
Superman quickly reviewed his options and how these events were set into motion. Lois’s knack for being in the wrong place had put him in the thick of things again. She got .assigned a simple story about day care options … and almost half of the Metropolis Police Force is standing with guns drawn on a trembling middle aged man with a detonator in his hand. Lois was doing an interview when the man showed up to pick up his son. When they went to leave, Lois asks why the man didn’t have to identify himself before walking off with a child. The day care workers said that the boy called the man “Daddy” so that it was OK. Rather than dropping it, Lois glared at the man and asked him if he had custody of the boy. As the man sweated bullets Lois said, “I know you, you’re Bill Dole, the VP of Ron-N Corporation who just got a 15 year sentence for securities fraud.” Mr. Dole immediately pulled a detonator out of his pocket and threatened to blow the place up if he wasn’t allowed to leave with his son.
Superman thought, “So, it’s just another day in Metropolis.
A man threatening to blow up himself, 3 daycare workers, 12 children and one
pushy female reporter that I have more than a passing interest in – though Lord
knows why at times like these.”
Mr. Dole shouted, “Superman! Please! Your word! Just take me and my son where I tell you. Then leave me alone and don’t tell anyone where I am for 2 days. I’ll trust you. Just trust me. Or I’ll blow the bomb. I swear!”
“Don’t do it,” shouted the boy’s mother from the sidelines, “he has never done a decent thing his entire pitiful life! Don’t believe him.”
Superman watched the man’s trembling finger poised over the detonator’s button. He wasn’t about to gamble lives without knowing more about the bomb or the man. Was there a way out of this that would guarantee everyone’s safety? Superman twitched his head to the side. Had he heard something? His senses didn’t normally trick him, but he was sure he had heard a soft, trembling voice speaking in Kryptonian. It was a whisper from a distant past and a distant place. Roughly translated the voice said, “Sometimes, my Son, you must make a deal with the devil to save someone you love.”
Superman addressed the frightened man in the doorway of the daycare, “You’ve got a deal. You can trust me – and you better believe that I’ll be watching you. But you’ll have your 2 days.” Superman slowly approached the man and picked up his son then wrapped an arm around the man. Immediately they were air born. The boy chuckled in delight. Once Mr. Dole was able to gather his thoughts, he directed Superman to a small cabin in a wooded area near a large lake. Once they had landed Bill Dole told Superman, “I won’t betray your trust. No harm will come to my son. Come back at 5:00pm Friday and my son will be waiting for you. I’ll give you no further trouble.” With that he handed Superman the detonator and ushered his son towards the cabin. Superman was back to the day care in seconds and gone again with the lead lined briefcase. At a remote location, Superman opened the case to find an alarm clock and a picture of the man’s son.
Back in time and far away, Jor-El returned from the counsel meeting. When he saw Lara carrying his son Kal-El, he said, “I shouldn’t waste time talking to those fools! We leave tonight. Contact Zor-El and your parents. See if they will agree to join us.”
Before Lara could leave the room, a giant quake hit. A green aura formed across the horizon. Lara swept up baby Kal. When the shaking subsided, half the house had been leveled – the half containing Jor-El’s lab and their only means of escape from the dying planet. Lara followed as Jor-El went to the lab to survey the damage. All that remained of the spaceship was a piece of its bulkhead not much larger than a love seat. Looking across the landscape visible from the now wall-less lab, it was obvious that Krypton didn’t have much time.
Jor-El said, “What a fool I was! By waiting to talk to the counsel, I’ve killed us all.”
Lara asked, “How can you blame yourself for caring about what happens to our people? You didn’t cause this. But please know that I don’t fear dying. You have given me more in this life than I dreamed was possible.”
Jor-El said, “Lara, you have made my life complete as well. I don’t fear dying. I’ve had an incredible life. But our Son! He was destined for greatness. Every test has told us that the man he will become will rule others thought the example he lives. His heart is pure. He would have been the best of us. I can’t die in peace in the face of such a loss.”
I-M said, “Let me take the boy, Jor-El.”
Jor-El looks around and asked, “Who ???”
I-M said, “Let me carry him to a place of safety. Wasn’t Earth what you had in mind?”
Jor-El looked and saw a pair of smiling, silvery lips grinning at him from a small scrap of the destroyed spaceship. Leaning against that piece of metal was a small octagon with some writing on it. Jor-El shouted, “YOU!”
I-M said, “Yes me. Who else? I was freed from the box you stuck me in when the walls came tumbling down.”
Lara asked, “What is that thing?”
Jor-El answered, “It’s an experimental mind I made. Remember? The one that became sentient. The one I allowed to think independently and educate itself however it chose.”
I-M said, “Yes, Jor-El, you were a good Father to me at first … until you locked me up over a silly philosophical argument. Kal-El, don’t argue with Daddy or contradict him or you’ll be put in a box too.”
Jor-EL said, “You’re madder than General Zod with your “Might is Right” philosophies.”
I-M said, “Old arguments. Ho-hum. Do you want your son to live or not? He’ll be a God on Earth, you know. I’ll see to that.”
Jor-El shouted, “NO!”
I-M said, “Fine by me. Could you prop me closer to the window so I get a good view when the planet blows?”
Lara pleaded, “Jor-El, our son!”
Jor-El repeated, “NO!”
Lara said, “Jor-El, please. We know what our Son will become. We know his heart. He has been tested. This “thing” here couldn’t possibly corrupt him.”
I-M said, “Corrupt? I won’t “corrupt” him. I’ll educate him. Hmmm. I could take some of that green rock forming outside with us. Kal could save Earth from the threat of mutations that it will cause … become their hero … become their leader … become their God! So easy, so simple. And he is so young. I’ll have so much time to plan it all while he grows up. *hee-hee*”
Lara said, “Jor-El. Our son. LOOK at him. You know him. HOLD him.
Jor-El reached for Kal and held him tightly. He whispered in his ear, “Fight his influence with all your strength Kal.” Jor-El reached down and picked up the octagon and placed it on the largest piece of bulkhead left from the destroyed ship. The metal shimmered and the octagon became one with it. The bulkhead morphed into the image of Jor-El – only all in silver. I-M stood before Jor-El and held out its arms for Kal-El. Lara hugged Jor-El and Kal and kissed Kal on the head. Jor-El whispered in Kal’s ear as he held him for the last time, “Sometimes, my Son, you must make a deal with the Devil to save someone you love.”
Jor-El handed Kal to the silver image of himself. As I-M grabbed Kal, one finger elongated and scratched Jor-El. I-M turned quickly and scratched Lara as well. It commented, “Just borrowing a little genetic material in case this one gets lonely … or doesn’t do as he’s told.” IM turned to Lara, “I’ve got Father’s voice down pretty good, don’t I? A little paint job and you couldn’t tell us apart.” With that I-M folded his arms around Kal. Its arms merged and encapsulated Kal as it began to rise. Now in the form of a ship, it rose high above the planet Krypton, began to orbit and waited. Eventually, there is a tremendous explosion. The ship created a field of force to surround a portion of the debris. Then it opened a warp and passed through it with the debris in tow.
Two days after Superman left Bill Cole and his son at the cabin, he returned to find the boy being cared for by a woman from a home nearby. The boy yelped in delight, “Superman! Look at all the fish I caught! Want some?”
Superman answered, “I would love some. Where is your Father?”
The boy answered, “He went fishing one last time. He said I couldn’t go because you would be coming to fly me home.”
Superman glanced back across the lake. His telescopic vision revealed that the man was lying dead in his boat. Superman forced a smile and said to the boy, “Well, your Mother is waiting for you. I’d better get you … and our fish, home.
As I-M left with his son, Jor-El held Lara tightly in his embrace. He thought about Kryptonian family traditions that he would never share with Kal-El. When a child is 8 years old, the parents and child would plant the Kryptonian equivalent of a tree together -- something that would grow and purify its environment far into the future. The thought of not planting a tree with his son brought a tear to Jor-El’s eye. He said, "We won't be there to plant a tree with you, my son, but today your Mother and I planted our seed in the universe. And that seed will grow strong and make the universe a purer, richer place. Live long and well, Kal-El. We are proud of the noble creature you are and of the love that sired you."
This story is a slight diversion from the anthology topic.
This story was suggested by my editor as a way to keeping the public
interested. This story is rated “R” for “ridiculous.” Marital interaction is
depicted here so this story is not for the relationally squeamish among you.
You know who you are.
Without further ado and roughly translated from the original Kryptonese, I reluctantly present:
“Inconceivable Chain of Events”
As it happened:
On Krypton, a man sat down at his console and stretched before beginning his evening’s activities. His wife walked in and glared at him. She coldly said, “Take the dog for a walk.”
He answered with a snarl, “Hey, I’m doing some work here.”
His wife said, “It doesn’t look like you are doing any work.”
The man answered, “That’s because you are interrupting me. This is how I keep a roof over our heads, you know.”
The woman answered, “Well, we’ll need a place with a roof covering a 2nd bedroom for you to sleep in if you don’t walk the dog right now.”
The man said, “DANG! Sparky. Come here boy, let’s go.”
Lara seductively moaned, “Jor darling, the time is optimal.”
Jor-El answered, “Just a minute -- just one more calculation. I’ve almost found a way to access a different dimension to contain Krypton’s criminal population. I’m going to call it “The Phantom Zone.” “
Lara softly said, “Well, I’m thinking about a different zone and a more fertile line of experimentation.” Jor-El still hadn’t turned from his work so Lara walked over to him, sat on his desk, ran a hand through his hair, put her arms around his neck, leaned her head up against his ear and whispered in hot, steamy breath, “The time is op-ti-mal.”
Jor-El turned his head and saw what wife was wearing… that is, barely saw what his wife is wearing. He shouted in surprise, “RAO, bless the scientist that developed that fabric!”
Jor-El and Lara embraced. Nine months later, Kal-El entered the world. Another 32 months passed and he left the world in a small capsule headed for Earth.
As it ALMOST happened:
His wife said, “… if you don’t walk the dog right now.”
The man said, “DANG! Sparky. Hey wait! Do you mean that if I walk the dog right now, that tonight we’ll ….”
His wife answered, “In your dreams!”
The man said, “Sparky. Lay down. Daddy has some work to do.”
His wife said, “You’ll be sorry!”
The man said under his breath, “I sure am.” Then, speaking to his console, he said, “Make next targeted contact. ID tag the call from the target’s closest relative and rank the call with an urgency level of … 2. “ An image of a woman started to appear in front of him in glorious 3-D.
Lara said, “Father?! What is it? What’s wrong? Is it Mother?”
The man said, “Madam, I was wondering if I could interest you in some feminine genetic enhancement products that … HOLY MOTHER OF RAO! Woman, you DEFINITELY don’t need anything I’m selling! You are the most incredibly beautiful woman that I have ever laid eyes on.”
Jor-El asked, “Lara, who is that you are talking to?”
Lara turned to look at Jor-el.
The man said, “WOW! NICE from BOTH sides! Console, are you recording this transaction!”
Lara said, “It’s some dang holo marketer.”
Jor-El said, “My RAO, Lara! You answer a marketing call dressed … undressed like that!”
Lara said, “I thought it was my Father!”
Jor-El said, “Now that is just sick! Does that do something for you? Or is it that you don’t think I’m attentive enough?”
Lara said, “Now that you mention it! No, you DON’T pay attention to me. Why didn’t you fix this console so that we couldn’t get annoyance calls like this? I’ve asked a dozen times! You are always too busy with your calculations to do ANYTHING for me!”
The man said, “I’ll do whatever you want, Lady! Any time, any place!”
Lara turned and shouted, “Console off. NOW!” She turned back to Jor-El and said, “I certainly hope that your calculations keep you warm at night because I’m turning the nursery into a second bedroom … for you! By the way … and for the 20th time, the hot hydro button in the shower isn’t working in the bathroom next to the nursery. But don't bother fixing it that because you’ll only be needing cold hydro from now on!”
Forty-one months later, all marital issues on the planet Krypton were resolved when the planet exploded. Since Jor-El was too tense to think clearly, the Phantom Zone was never created and the “Survival Zone” based on that research didn’t come into existence either. No Kryptonian survived.
Of course, that never happened because one telemarketing call was delayed by a nagging, Kryptonian housewife whose name is lost to history … but who is responsible for the existence of our beloved hero – Superman.
"Split Personality: An Else World Story"
Clark and Jonathan sat at the breakfast table as Martha dished up the food. After Martha filled Clark's plate, he looked up at her with sad, doe eyes. It looked as if he were one step away from having a tear roll down his face. Martha stepped back over and filled his plate with as much food as it could hold. Clark immediately smiled brightly as he surveyed his horde. Martha mussed his hair. He smiled up at her and thanked her in some strange language. He hopped up and Martha leaned over for him to give her a kiss on the cheek. He scampered over to Jonathan and gave him a peck on the cheek as well. Then Clark grabbed his plate and headed for the door.
Jon asked, "Clark, can't you eat breakfast with us for a change?"
Clark shook his head "no" and left through the door. Jon and Martha watched as Clark ran across the yard and into the field on his way to the woods.
Jon said, "I feel like we have bitten off more than we can chew here Martha.”
Martha answered, "DON'T YOU SAY THAT, Jonathan Kent! You're just tired from being up all night. You had better watch your mouth. You've been snapping at everybody since you had that talk with the Ross family for Lionel Luthor."
Jon said, "If that's true, I'm sorry. But I made that deal with the devil to keep Clark and now I'm not sure I am up to the job of raising him."
Martha said, "You’re great with him. You should see how he looks at you."
Jon said, "I'm just worried that he'll always be so strange. Maybe it's just the way he is -- his alien nature."
Martha said, "Strange? Parenthood is new to us. This is a strange situation. We are trying something we've never done before and Clark is trying to find his place with us. I'm sure every couple who adopts a child feels exactly like you are. And it's you, not me. He couldn't be more my son if he had grown inside me. Look, we have only had him a short time. You are still trying to get to know each other. You've never been easy to get to know, Jon. Give the boy a chance for Christ's sake."
Jon asked, "How would you describe Clark?"
Martha answered with a gleam in her eyes, "He's a sweet, considerate little boy. He's so smart! He's as cute as a button, strong as a horse and fast as the wind. He's a handful, but he's my handful."
Jon asked, "Is he timid and shy?"
Martha answered, "Yes, Very. Painfully shy."
Jon asked, "Is he outgoing?"
Martha answered, "Oh, yes!"
Jon asked, "Is he clingy?"
Martha answered, "Yes."
Jon asked, "How about standoffish?"
Martha answered, "I'm working on that."
Jon asked, "Can't you see it? His behavior is erratic. He's like 2 different people."
Martha answered, "Well you are pretty clingy and standoffish too, Jonathan Kent -- depending on your mood. Our personalities are not a constant. We are people, not machines."
Jon said, "It seems to be more than that. I hear him talking at night in that strange language of his. I thought for a while that he was praying or talking to his missing parents. I think he might have an imaginary friend. Whenever I hear him talking like that and I go to check, it stops and Clark looks suspiciously nervous."
Martha said, “I think you are over-analyzing all this, mister amateur psychologist. This is a big adjustment for him. He's talking in English a bit more everyday. He certainly understands us well enough.”
Jon said, “You know, he wants to help me with my chores, so sometimes I give him jobs to do for me. I'll show him how to do something ONCE and he's an expert. Then he'll repeat the task for a couple days and do the task perfectly. Then, another day passes and I'll ask him to help … and he'll act like he's scared of me. Then I'll have to show him how to do the task all over again. The first time it happened, I barely took note of it, but after the 10th time .... Martha, I've learned not to ignore signs of a problem. Ignore a problem and it gets much worse. Clark has a problem and I don't know what to do!"
Martha said, “Clark isn't a tractor with a loose cog that needs tightened, Jon. He's a young child in a confusing new world. It will be fine. You're just tired from being up all night helping Nell deliver that foal. Maybe you should go take a nap.”
Jon answered, “I'll be OK. You know I can't sleep very good without you there next to me.”
Martha chuckled and said, “You too, huh! I'm pretty popular these days.”
Jon asked, “Am I missing something here?”
Martha said, “Yes, you missed it all right. While you were delivering that foal, I was having trouble sleeping. I was having these strange delirious dreams -- probably due to that heavy rainstorm we were having. You know how that affects me. Well the thunder started booming. I was kind of half awake and I thought I felt you getting into bed. It was Clark. He had crawled under the covers and was curled up next to me trembling. It was so sweet. It's something I have always fantasized about -- having my own children to comfort when they're scared -- to help them deal with their fear of harmless things."
Jon asked, " "Children?" "They?" Is there something you aren't telling me?"
A dark cloud passed over Martha’s face. She tried not to think about her inability to have children. She tried to push those thoughts out of her head as she continued to speak, "You know I can't ... No, it's just, ... that was so strange.” She shook off the sadness and resumed her story, “I was aware of Clark in bed with me and then I felt someone else get into bed. Again, I thought it was you, but it was ... *chuckles* ... it was ...*chuckles* ... another Clark!” Martha burst out laughing.
Jon laughed too and asked, "Whaaat?"
Martha said, "Boy, was I out of it! I dreamed that I had two Clarks in bed with me like book-ends. It was so real. It was a very strange, but happy dream -- me and my little boys!" Martha continued to chuckle as she wiped down the kitchen counter.
Meanwhile, in the woods, inside his Fort of Brotherhood, Clark shared his breakfast with his identical twin brother ... Clark.
In case someone didn’t “get it,” these were my ideas how this alternate reality story worked and would continue. I have an image of the twins in the spaceship, hugging each other through re-entry. After the landing, the curious, outgoing boy goes to check out the Kents while the other one runs off and hides.
Jonathan would never be able to explain a second child or go
back to Lionel for another favor. So, the duality is kept hidden. Perhaps there
is a telepathic link that allows the boys to more easily pull it off.
The world would only know one Superman. They may work together as a team if necessary but they would never be seen together. Clark and Superman's friendship would be well known. They would be seen together often and everyone would be amazed by their resemblance. There may be a "Gold K" incident so that there would be a human and super-human Clark. I don't know.
Here is a story segment from a time after Martha and Jon discover that there are indeed 2 Clarks:
Martha set up 2 plates at the table and another two on the counter and began to fill them. Clark and Mark ask why they aren't allowed to eat at the table. Martha shakes her head a bit to become a little more conscious of what she is doing. She apologized and said that she would like their company for a change, but that she was just so used to "Clark" taking his food "to go" that it didn’t dawn on her that they would hang around. The boys pulled up to the table and Martha began to fill the first dish.
Clark said, "MOM! Stop, I can't eat all that!"
Martha said, "Since when?!"
Clark answered, "Since I don't have to share anymore!"
More notes: This series was initially set up on another forum with hopes other authors to contribute. What I have posted here is the stories I wrote for that “Group Anthology.” “Split Personality” was continued as a series by another author whose pen name is “Jackson.” All I can say is that it was one wild ride and a lot of fun.