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On The Planet's Roof

Posted by Kragghle , in Superman, Literature Oct 07 2012 · 117 views

short story
LOIS SCURRIED DOWN FROM THE ROOF. Some heads turned. Everyone seemed to notice her excitement, save for Clark, who was too busy working on his economics article to take note. She sat down in her desk directly across from him and typed on her computer with a satisfied smile. The rapid sound of keys filled the otherwise silent room for a full minute.
..........Clark finally looked up. "Lois, do you want me to proofread your work?"
.........."What? No," said Lois. Of course not. This was too good for anyone to see until she was done.
..........Clark leaned over the desk space between them. Lois stopped smiling and glared at him. "I've never seen you so enthusiastic to work. Wasn't your normal typing rate forty words per minute last I checked?"
..........Lois let her hands rest. "Clark, you'll find out later. Let's just say I scored gold on something."
.........."On the rooftop?"
..........Lois eyed him. Clark was the most mild-mannered reporter she knew, and yet there was no one else on Earth more frustrating. Although she could tell that the curiosities of other reporters had been piqued the moment she entered the office, only Clark seemed to have the guts to press any questions.
..........She held her tongue for a beat, or rather, her lower lip, which she tucked under her upper teeth as she eyed Clark. "Yes, on the roof." No point in denying that much.
.........."You must have seen something pretty incredible," said Clark.
.........."Yep. Sure did," said Lois. She returned to her typing, yet she maintained eye contact with Clark in some sort of staring contest.
.........."Whatever it was, given your spelling problems, which are already terrible, you're probably going to misspell half your words at this rate," said Clark.
..........Lois briefly broke the staring context to look down at her screen. Sure enough, half the words were underlined in red squiggles. Bullocks. "I have spell-check on my side," she said.
.........."You might still want some peer revision," said Clark.
.........."Nope. I have Chief to do that for me," said Lois, almost bursting at this point as she switched from the defense to her normal prideful state. Clark only responded with the facial equivalent of a shrug.
..........From the other end of the office, editor-in chief Perry White rang out "Don't call me 'Chief!'"
..........Lois and Clark looked around and froze for a moment. As animation returned to their bodies, they turned back to each other and for a moment, neither saying nor expressing anything. Then, in unison, they laughed.
..........When Clark regained his composure, he sighed and returned to his work. "I admire you ability to multitask, by the way."
..........Lois smiled to herself as she continued to write her article at top speeds. For whatever reason - she didn't understand why - it wasn't a smirk, but a real smile, the same she had felt come to her eyes when she was on the rooftop. "Thanks," she said.
..........When she glanced up, Clark was back at his work, adjusting his glasses and reading over his economics report. When he noticed her looking at him, he smiled, or at least tried. Suddenly she was struck at how sad he looked. "It's just something I wish I could do better."
..........Clark returned to focus, but Lois was almost certain she saw him give something of himself away. She knew it was none of her business, but she was a reporter. She took note on everything. Clark was more complex than people gave him credit for. Most people were, as a general principle. Lois stopped typing as new curiosities popped into her mind. Her article could wait.
..........She averted her eyes away from Clark now and opened up a new document, the one where she kept a list of all her unanswered questions. She typed a new bullet point: "What makes Clark sad?" She saved and exited. The document that was mostly red squiggles returned to the front of the screen.
..........The sound of clicking keys that filled the silence now belonged to Clark.
.........."Hey, Clark, do you have any friends?" asked Lois.
..........Clark stopped typing. "I have my mother, and when I was in high school I had a friend named Pete Ross."
.........."No, I mean friends right now."
.........."Well I have you, Lois." He said it with a straight face.
.........."You have got to be kidding me!" said Lois. "I'm terrible to you. I'm a brat. I treat you like nothing."
.........."You're a greater hero for me than you give yourself credit for," said Clark. "You're all those things, but you put up with me all the same. Whenever you have a rant, you come to me first. And let's not forget, we make an awesome team. Remember when we investigated to see if Lex Luthor was twisting the arm of Senator Jennings?"
.........."Clark, the only reason I took you with me was because Chie - " she caught herself and cast a glance to Perry White's office, "Because Perry think we're perfect. That, and you tripped and ruined everything for me. Some team, huh?"
.........."Well, to my understanding you were pushing the boundaries of honest reporting anyway," said Clark. "And you admitted as much."
..........Lois lifted a paperwieght and feigned a toss at Clark. He flinched. "Yeah, well I still would have had the ultimate story."
.........."Even better than the one you have right now?" asked Clark.
..........It was now Lois's turn to flinch. "You changed the subject on me."
.........."I did?"
.........."Yes, Clark, you did, and it was totally a reporterly thing to do," said Lois.
.........."Sorry. I should get back to my own article," said Clark.
.........."Wait, you can get that thing done in two minutes flat. How fast can you type anyway?"
.........."Over nine thousand, when you're not looking."
..........Lois chuckled, cuaght off guard. She didn't expect Clark to be the type of person to make that kind of reference. "Okay, how about when I am looking?"
.........."Four hundred words per minute with ninety-eight percent accuracy," said Clark.
.........."See? So at that rate you could get your boring business article done in a few minutes, plus a few extra just to organize your thoughts, but you're a genius anyway so it shouldn't take too long. I can't imagine you'd be a busy person," said Lois.
..........Clark looked like he was struggling for a response. In the end, he said nothing, just returned to his report.
.........."No, don't you do that to me," said Lois. "Clark? Clark! C'mon, let's just talk. What do you say to visiting Mickey's Diner?" When he looked up at her she realized what she had said. "No, not as a date. Don't let that enter your mind. As a friend. As a coworker, because that's what coworkers do."
.........."Lois, no need to be defensive. I asked you there the first day I met you, remember? I understand," said Clark.
..........That was right. Lois remembered sitting across from him and sharing with him her ambitions. He had sat there, eating his food, taking it all in, and every once and a while threw in his little bits of Midwest wisdom. Now that she thought about it, he had been awfully nice to her. Maybe it was time she returned the favor.
.........."Well, it's a little more than that. I met someone recently, someone with a heart of gold, someone kind, and he's sort of inspired me," said Lois. "I want to be more like him, and this is the sort of thing he would do."
.........."'Whatever you do for the least of these you do unto me?'" quoted Clark.
.........."Uh, yeah, I see your reasoning there," said Lois. "He would totally like you, by the way."
.........."I'm going to pretend I have no idea who you're talking about at this point," said Clark with a wry smile.
..........Lois closed her tight and scrunched up her face. "Stupid...I can't believe I gave myself away there." She let her face relax and took a deep breath. "Yes, I guess I might as well share that with you, anyway. We're friends, after all, like you said. And Clark?"
.........."Yes?"
.........."You can proofread my paper when we get there."
..........Clark smiled with his eyes, but then his eyes went completely out of focus. "Sorry, Lois, something just came up. I have to go! Sorry!" He turned off his computer and jolted out of the office, leaving his roller chair spinning and Lois surprised. What was with that Clark Kent?
..........Lois rested her cheek on one hand and sat there for a while, staring into the distance. Her thoughts occasionally shifted back to her article, but Clark returned to her mind again and again, so much so that it surprised her. He was an odd character, but maybe it was worth accepting Clark as her friend.
..........Then something came to her. Her journalistic instincts came back, and she opened up her bullet list again to add her latest question.
.........."What's with that Clark Kent?"


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Username: Emperor Kraggh
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