Lana came out of her office at the Talon to see Chloe sitting at the bar with her head down in her arms and her shoulders shaking. Alarmed, Lana thought Chloe was crying and went to her with concern. Chloe looked up as she approached. She had tears running down her face all right, but she wasn't crying, she was laughing hysterically.
At first Lana was a bit put off at having worked up a good deal of honest concern only to have her opportunity to provide a shoulder to cry on yanked out from under her. She and Chloe had always been rather stiffly polite to each other and not particularly friendly. Lana wanted to change that. Being a friend during a crisis would have done the trick, but noooooo. Chloe was laughing.
Lana scowled. "What is it?"
"Lex called," Chloe snickered, and wiped at her eyes. Her cheeks were bright red. "He's at the hospital."
Chloe's logic eluded Lana. Lex plus hospital did not necessarily equal laughter unless of course he'd done something really incredibly stupid. Now that would be funny. Maybe he'd gotten his head stuck in a stair railing, or a bee had stung him on the butt. Lana had once had to take her aunt to the emergency room because during one of Nell's obsessive compulsive cooking sprees she'd made salsa. Regrettably Nell had decided her hands would be better than a spoon for mixing up all the ingredients. Also regrettable was the fact she'd used quite a few hot peppers. Lana had been alerted of the emergency by a great deal of shrieking and when she got downstairs she found Nell with her blistering fingers buried in the ice box.
Lex didn't look like the salsa type, let alone one to actually make the stuff himself. Lana responded with the prerequisite, "What?!?!"
"Oh, he's okay. Sort of."
Lana didn't know Chloe could snort like that.
"He's with Clark and Pete."
"Clark and Pete? What happened to them?" Lana demanded, instantly worried about Pete. Clark only went to the hospital if someone else was in trouble. She vowed one day to stab him with a sharp fork to see if he weren't a robot.
"I don't know but...."
"But what?!" Lana reached over the counter and tugged at Chloe's shirt. The blond had collapsed into giggles again. "Chlo-eee! Tell!"
Chloe looked up, and made a nose blowing gesture. Lana handed her a box of Kleenex from under the counter and waited somewhat impatiently for Chloe to blow her nose.
"Okay," Chloe said when her nose had been relieved of its burden. "You know Sandy Pillar?"
"Not personally, no. I know of Sandy. She's in my chemistry class."
"Yeah, well she knows how to experiment all right."
Sandy was very pregnant, and due any day now. Nobody knew who the father was, as Sandy had transferred in from out of state. She seemed a nice enough girl, and Lana had overheard her telling another girl how she came to be carrying around a bowling ball in her stomach.
"Chloe, that's not nice!" Lana scowled. "The condom broke."
Chloe almost had another meltdown.
A thought occurred to Lana.
"Oh my GOD! One of them isn't the father is he?! Oh, wow!"
"No, no, no! Are you kidding? Pete talks the talk but he's a big chicken when it comes to action, and Clark is a candidate for the priesthood." Chloe blew her nose again, wadded up the tissue, and lobbed it into the trashcan behind Lana. "And Lex wouldn't be caught dead with anyone not making at least three figures."
"So what does Sandy Pillar have to do with Lex, Pete and Clark being at the hospital?"
There was a long pause. Chloe drew in a long breath and grinned until Lana thought her head was going to split in half.
"Sandy is in labor, but she got stuck in the elevator on the way to maternity. She's locked in there with Pete, Clark, and Lex. To further complicate matters old Ned Perkins, the elevator guy, is passed out drunk in jail and Sheriff Adams is refusing to let him out."
Lana blinked, Chloe continued grinning, and in less than thirty seconds they were both shrieking with hysterical laughter.
It started with a crop circle. It was on the news. A farmer near Topeka found a crop circle in his wheat field. He claimed it was the work of extra-terrestrials who had abducted his wife to perform sinful sexual experiments on her. That she was found at her mother's house where she'd spent the night after a rigorous day of canning blackberries, was beside the point. The old farmer claimed that the media would not make fun of him if later his wife became pregnant with the spawn of the alien devils. One expert said it was possible the woman had been abducted and didn't know it. He deemed the crop circles authentic.
"Aliens are among us," he'd intoned gravely.
The story ended and the phone rang. It was, of course, Pete, claiming to have seen Clark's girlfriend on television.
Clark didn't think it was funny. Nor did he think his father was very funny when he scolded Clark for wandering off in the middle of the night to perform extra-terrestrial tai chi in that old farmer's wheat field. Jonathan and Martha Kent believed crop circles to be either natural effects of weather patterns, or complete hoaxes. Basically, they didn't believe in aliens. Well, other aliens.
"As if," Jonathan said. "Aliens would muck around making designs in fields. What for?"
"Same reason they mucked around making pictures on cave walls." Clark said archly, scraping the burnt bits of his toast onto his plate. Sometimes his mind wandered off while he was heat visioning his breakfast. He'd found out the hard way that he was safest sticking to toast too. Once he'd tried his heat vision on a PopTart with disasterous results.
"And send naked babies careening out of the sky in metal pods with a passing resemblance to an avacado pit." Martha mumbled sleepily.
Her son and her husband stared at her. She yawned.
Martha had simply been up late reading a real page turner of a book by her favorite horror writer. Although she was loathe to admit it, she hadn't been able to sleep once she had turned out the light because she'd developed the belief a giant squid was under the bed. Instead of sleeping she'd huddled close to her snoring husband expecting at any moment to feel a tentacle wrap around her ankle to jerk her out from under the quilt. Seeing as how she lived in Smallville, Kansas, it had been a realistic fear.
"Hell of a guacamole," Jonathan quipped.
Clark rolled his eyes and wondered just when they were going to grow up. He pinched the last piece of bacon out from under his father's grasping fingers and zipped out of the kitchen before a protest could be made.
Clark and Pete went skate-boarding, something they hadn't done for a long time. Pete was good at it. Clark was middling. He tended to tip over a lot. Pete found this funny too.
"I'm getting tired of being laughed at today," Clark complained. Irritably he put his foot down on the edge of his skateboard, intending to flip it up into his hand so he could stalk off and pout somewhere.
Instead he'd flipped his skateboard up into Pete's forehead. There was an almost comical sound effect, very much like a "bonk," and Pete toppled backward off his skateboard to the pavement. From the cut across his forehead blood ran like a crimson waterfall. He appeared dazed, as if wondering where the hell the blood was coming from.
Clark took one look at the blood-fall rapidly turning the front of Pete's shirt bright red, and was reminded of the time his father nearly severed a finger in the table saw. It had been a time of mass hysteria at the Kent farm because Jonathan had to be rushed to the hospital and Clark had to be dunked repeatedly in a bathtub full of cold water until he revived. He had watched the blood fountain from Jonathan's finger and then taken a nose dive into a pile of sawdust.
This time he took a nose dive in the parking lot of the Smallville Kash-N-Karry, Everything for a Buck, Discount Outlet Store. Later he'd discover his nose had left a gouge an inch long in the tarmac. He would joke to Jonathan that he didn't make crop circles, he made parking lot gouges. Jonathan would choke on his cocoa.
Clark came to his senses with Pete hovering over him looking down with much concern. The other boy had almost a whole roll of paper towel (purchased at the K-N-K for one dollar American plus tax) pressed firmly to his forehead to staunch the bleeding. He was also waving a comic book in front of Clark's face in order to give him more air. Clark dazedly realized the comic book was Wonder Girl and that she had a nice figure. She had a really nice figure that was inhumanly out of proportion, with a teeny-tiny wasp waist and such big breasts if she leaned over the weight of them would snap her spine. It was very much Pete's style.
As Clark was still a bit groggy, Pete drove both of them to the hospital, or rather, he drove with both hands over his forehead while Clark steered the car from the passenger's seat. They had a close call going around the last curve of Brunson Creek Road when Clark swerved to miss a squirrel. One of Mr. Tannenbaum's Septic Sucker Inc. tanker trucks was coming the opposite direction and there was nearly a very nasty accident involving two teenaged boys, a World War II veteran, and several hundred gallons of human waste.
The accident was averted by Clark's speedy steering ability, and they drove away unharmed with Pete shrieking, "The next time flatten the damn squirrel, Clark!!!" in a rather squeaky voice.
It was just the beginning of a very bad day.
Clark waited while Helen put stitches in Pete's forehead. He waited outside the exam room, because the minute she pulled out the nine foot long needle full of novacane to stick in Pete's head, things started blurring again. In the waiting area there was nothing to read but Woman's Weekly magazine. While he waited Clark learned how to re-perky his sagging breasts using ice cubes, cucumber, and an Ace bandage; how to use yoga to magnify his orgasms; and what eye shadow to wear when he wanted to greet his mate at the front door wearing only a pair of flip flops and conveniently placed baseball trading cards. (Which were stuck on with poster-tack so as not to ruin their value or pull out hair from sensitive areas.)
By the time Pete came out with his stitches and an industrial sized Band-Aid, Clark had decided that women were weirder than he'd ever thought and that he'd never understand them in a million years.
"I have a headache," Pete said wearily, handing over his car keys. "You drive."
They headed for the elevators.
Just at that moment Lex came around the corner. He'd been trying to coerce Helen into taking a long lunch with him - a loooooong lunch, which would have included a dessert of hanky panky, possibly garnished with whipped cream and a cherry, knowing Lex. Helen had put him off and was saved by her pager going off, calling her to an emergency. The emergency had been Pete's unfortunate encounter with Clark's skateboard. When she'd finished with Pete she'd gone back to Lex claiming to have another emergency and promising dinner instead. Deflated, Lex had no choice but to go home.
He really didn't want to go home, he told Clark later. His housekeeping staff was engaged in a flurry of spring cleaning. The castle reeked of wood polish, floor wax, and Windex, all dangerous substances if concentrated and inhaled, according to many local drug awareness programs and warning labels. Lex decided to preserve his brain cells and go somewhere else until the cleaning was done. Now that Helen had turned him down he was in the mood to go home and fire everyone just for the hell of it, damn the fact the oriental rugs needed to be steam cleaned.
Lex met Pete and Clark at the elevators and Clark immediately guessed Lex's mood by the wrinkles in his forehead. Lex's forehead was like a fortune teller's crystal ball, and not just because of its shape and sometimes glossy appearance. Clark had discovered via careful observation (usually when his mind wandered during one of Lex's long and somewhat boring discourses which often included more historical references than The Bible) that Lex's forehead wrinkles were a very accurate judge of his moods. The wrinkle reading Clark took at the elevators was one that clearly indicated pissing Lex off would be a very, very bad thing.
"Ross," Lex said icily.
"Luthor," Pete growled.
Clark sighed and rolled his eyes, making sure he stood between the two of them as they waited for the elevator just in case there was trouble. A vision of Rock'em Sock'em Robots came into his head and he imagined Pete getting in a good punch, making Lex's head pop off with a "creeezzzzzzzzah," noise.
Clark had never actually played Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots because the game had terrified his mother. Martha imagined Clark taking the toy too seriously and knocking someone's head off for real. Clark wasn't allowed to play with anything promoting violence. Little did Martha know that as a child Clark often went over to Pete's house where Pete had many games Clark wasn't allowed to play, including Operation. The boys took great pleasure in making the patient's nose light up on purpose during dangerous surgical procedures such as a beanectomy. (Pete had lost most of the little "organs" that went into the game board "body." The patient's heart was therefore replaced by a large pinto bean. Clark argued that the bean looked more like a liver than a heart.)
Following the demise of the patient they held a funeral, attended by several of Pete's sister's dolls who all wept bitterly in high pitched sobbing voices that sounded suspiciously like Clark talking through his nose. Pete officiated, booming out his eulogy ala Reverend Morris from the Smallville Baptist Church where Mrs. Ross sometimes sang in the choir. The dolls were heartbroken. They promptly sued the physicians for malpractice, which bothered the doctors naught because by that time Clark had to go home for supper.
Lex and Pete's animosity actually had very little to do with each other beyond the fact they often played tug-of-war with Clark's attention. Sometimes when Pete wanted to hang out, Clark was up at the mansion reading Warrior Angel comic books and drinking expensive Ty Nant carbonated water with Lex. Clark would have preferred root beer because the Ty Nant tickled his nose and made him want to sneeze, but when someone offered you top of the line water, you didn't want to turn them down. Likewise when Lex wanted Clark to come over to make happy noises about some rare collectible he'd just had shipped in from Timbuktu, Clark was at Pete's house chowing down on tortilla chips and watching Anime movies featuring girls with wasp waists and big bazoongas.
The real animosity between Pete and Lex had to do with one of the favorite side dishes of American Midwestern families, i.e. creamed corn. Lionel Luthor had bilked the Ross brothers, Pete's dad included, out of thousands of dollars when he'd taken over Ross Creamed Corn. That irritated Pete to no end. What irritated Lex was that Pete focused his ire on him when during the Great Creamed Corn Controversy Lex been lying in a bed at Metropolis General Hospital wondering if his hair would ever grow back and if it didn't how much revenue a side show freak garnered in a year's time. Thus Lex had nothing to do with anything. Lex equated many hardships with creamed corn. If it hadn't been for creamed corn he wouldn't have been in Smallville during the meteor shower. He hated creamed corn with a passion. He didn't really hate Pete, but Pete was guilty by association.
Clark pictured a scene out of a cartoon - when Lex looked at Pete, all he saw was a giant can of creamed corn.
The three of them got into the elevator together, Clark strategically positioned between Lex and Creamed Corn Pete, just in case of emergency. Clark was all about emergencies. Sometimes he felt like he had a giant red flashing light on the top of his head. He should have known it wasn't going to be a normal elevator ride to the lobby even before Lex reached to push the down button.
"Wait, wait! Hold the elevator."
Pete stuck an arm in the doors to hold them open, allowing admittance of a very large individual to squeeze herself into the car. She wasn't tall, but rather quite broad in girth, possibly due to the fact she was grotesquely pregnant. Looking down at the large expanse of Sandy Pillar's belly Clark gave thanks to whatever alien higher power had made him male.
Then promptly had a quiet panic attack as he realized being an alien did not guarantee that the gender he'd started out with would be the one he kept all his life. He envisioned himself waddling through a house full of screaming children produced from earlier pregnancies, carrying a dirty diaper in one hand and a naked infant in the other, cursing the inability of the pill to work on his alien chemistry.
The pill hadn't worked its magic for Sandy either apparently. She wore a bright pink jogging suit and because of her size and shape she looked like a giant bottle of Peptol Bismol. It was fitting for a visit for the brightly colored interior of the Smallville Medical Center. Clark just hoped she didn't stop in front of a similarly colored pink wall or nobody would be able to find her, especially since she appeared to be in the beginning stages of labor. She was huffing like a steam engine and holding her stomach. The maternity ward had recently moved from the third floor to the first floor and Sandy had overshot, she now had to go back down, she said. This confirmed it. She was definitely in labor.
Lex and Pete exchanged glances. Clark stared at Sandy, still thinking about dirty diapers and the expenses involved in day care for six children. What if Clark's husband was a deadbeat and ran off leaving Clark knocked up and in charge of all those kids all by himself!
The elevator gave a lurch, then ground to a stop. Clark's attention was snapped back into the present.
Lex pushed a button. Nothing happened.
"Great," he said. "We're stuck."
"STUCK!?!?!" Sandy shrieked. "What do you mean, stuck!?!?"
If looks could kill, Lex would have been a candidate for transfer to the basement, where the morgue was located. He even cringed a little.
Pete reached over and pushed every button on the panel. An alarm started going off above their heads with the volume of a tornado siren, causing Sandy to start crying hysterically and Lex to use some very colorful language. Clark thought it was colorful anyway. He really couldn't tell considering his sensitive hearing took the alarm klaxon and amplified it to deafening proportions to the point where he felt like his head was going to explode. Clamping his hands over his ears he yelled at Pete to turn it off, which Pete frantically attempted to do.
Pete's attempts to shut off the alarm were hindered by Lex's attempts to assist him. A small shoving match began, and ended with Sandy smacking them both with the little suitcase she was carrying. Lex crashed into one side of the elevator. Pete crashed into Clark, who was whimpering from the pain in his ears, and both of them fell down. Sandy then slammed the side of her suitcase into the elevator control panel. She not only managed to shut off the alarm, but also destroyed the entire control panel in a shower of sparks and broken plastic.
They stared at the mess in horror. Their fate was sealed.
"Uh-oh." Pete said uneasily.
At least that's what Clark thought he said. Clark couldn't hear anything but the ghostly echo of the now silent alarm bouncing around in his head. Luckily he also couldn't hear Sandy's wailing as she was hit with another contraction. Stuck in an elevator or not, the baby wasn't waiting.
Clark was supposed to meet Chloe at the Talon. He had Lex call and tell her what happened and that he would be late. Although unable to hear quite good enough to talk on the phone, Clark's hearing was coming back a little bit, good enough to hear Sandy using some of Lex's colorful language. Presently Lex started using colorful language again too when he found out it was going to be a couple hours before they could be rescued.
"Who?" Lex asked the hospital receptionist. "He's WHAT?!?!?!" Lex roared into the phone a moment later. "Well get his bleep bleep out of the bleep and get him the bleep over here. I'm stuck in a bleep elevator with a bleep pregnant girl who's going to bleep have a baby any bleep minute!"
"Second," Pete amended, eyeing Sandy, who lay on the floor of the elevator on a cushion of items from her suitcase, her knees up, huffing loudly and digging her long nails into Pete's leg every time a contraction hit. Clark wondered if Pete had had a tetnus shot recently.
Lex's face was so red he looked frighteningly satanic. Clark resisted the temptation to feel around for horns. Young Mr. Luthor had definitely lost his cool, but one had to admit his cursing was quite...psychedelic.
"What is it?" Clark asked.
"The elevator repairman is in jail," Lex growled
"What? The alligator repo-man has a tail?"
"Oh! Good. Ned will get us out." Clark grinned.
"No, he's in jail," Lex repeated. "He's not going anywhere."
"Mail? You get e-mail on that thing? Cool!"
Lex sighed. "No, Clark. Ned is in JAIL!"
"Yes, it is like jail." Clark looked around at the elevator's interior. "No bars though."
"I need a bar," Lex grumbled. "so I can get a bottle of whiskey."
"NED'S IN JAIL!!" Pete screamed, standing on tip-toe to get closer to Clark's malfunctioning ears. "HE'S ON A DRUNK!!!"
"AAAAAAAAAUGH!!!" Sandy sunk her nails into Pete's ankle even deeper.
And thus Pete was bleeding again.
It took nearly five minutes to get Helen to stop laughing.
"You guys are just going to have to deliver that baby," she said, causing Lex to launch into more panicked cursing. "Who has the most experience?"
"CLARK!" Lex and Pete said together.
"What?!?!" Clark was sorry his hearing was coming back. "Me? I've never delivered a baby before! I think Lex should do it."
"Why me?" Lex's forehead crinkles were indicating severe alarm at the prospect.
"Well, uh." Face burning, Clark shuffled his feet a little, carefully avoiding stepping on Sandy. He had the horrible vision in his head of accidentally stepping on the poor girl and shooting the baby out of her as if he'd trod on a packet of ketchup.
There goes the baby!
Damn overactive imagination.
"Well Lex has actually...uhm...seen that...part. Of a woman. In person, you know, and..."
Lex gave him a very odd look.
Pete got the giggles.
Clark blushed harder.
From Lex's phone there came the shrieking laughter of Helen, a couple of other doctors, and just about the entire nursing staff of the Smallville Medical Center.
"I don't exactly perform a gynocological exam before having sex with a woman, Clark. It doesn't work that way, and why am I having this talk with you? Shouldn't your father be doing it?" Lex said archly.
Pete clutched his bandaged head and busted up further, sinking to the elevator floor beside Sandy, who was glaring up at them as if wanting them all to drop dead. She probably wished she was anywhere but there, including a snake infested swamp in the Everglades where she would simply squat and push out her baby like the natives did during olden days. The iffy assistance of a giggling high school football player, a virgin alien, and a bald man with a potty mouth were probably not what she'd expected when she walked into the hospital.
"Haven't you ever delivered a calf, Clark?" Sandy asked. "You're a farm kid aren't you? What kind of farm kid are you if you haven't delivered a calf, or a lamb, OR SOMETHING OF THAT NATURE!!!"
"There's no need to shout," Clark said quietly.
"GET DOWN HERE AND PULL MY PANTIES OFF!"
"Man," Pete shook his head. "I'd love a girl to say that to me."
Lex spoke into the phone, trying to be heard over the laughter. "We've decided it's Clark," he said. "If," he added, watching Clark's eyes roll. "We can keep him from fainting."
"Pretend she's a cow," Pete said.
Sandy promptly smacked him, and he hastily retreated into the corner of the elevator as far out of her reach as he could get. Clark surmised that Pete was feeling a little abused thus far. It was not a hard conclusion to make, considering he had a big bandage across his forehead and claw marks in his ankle. He was also locked in an elevator with Lex Luthor, sworn enemy of the Ross clan.
That sounded rather Shakespearean. Clark's mind wandered off on a tangent: Romeo, Juliet, Lana hanging over a balcony waiting for his kiss....
Himself in tights.
Lana's pink glossy lips coming closer to his....
Ah, much better.
"Clark," Lex said quietly from somewhere behind Sandy where he was cradling her head and shoulders in his lap. "What are you doing?"
Clark's mind wandered back to the situation at hand rather reluctantly. "Helping Sandy have her baby," he said promptly.
He was crouched between her knees, hands outstretched...and his eyes firmly closed.
Lex sighed. "First of all, you can't birth a baby if you can't see what you're doing. Secondly, it's a baby, not a baseball. You look like you're sitting behind home plate."
"Well I don't know what to do!" Clark wailed, hearing Sandy grunt as another contraction hit her. They were coming alarmingly close together now, and seemed a lot more painful. "She's doing okay on her own, isn't she?"
"Clark, open your bleep bleep eyes!"
He did, but he focused on Lex instead of Sandy. "Are you in a bad mood or something."
The forehead wrinkles looked rather ominous. Clark cringed. Closing one eye, he looked down at Sandy's...well...down there.
"Ah, geeeeeeze. What am I supposed to be looking for?"
"The baby's head."
Clark pointed, both eyes going wide. "Is that big enough?"
At this point Sandy reached up and grabbed Lex by the necktie, jerking his pale, oval face down to her red, round, sweaty one so that she could glare at him eye to eye. Sandy also had very expressive forehead wrinkles, and she was not at all happy.
"Is your friend retarded?!?!" she demanded.
"CALL THE DOCTOR BACK! NOW!!"
"I think he's trying to tell you he can't call anyone if he can't breathe," Clark said helpfully. He frowned. Lex was turning an alarming shade of blue. His skin sort of matched his eye color, or did, before his eyes rolled back until only the whites showed. "Uhm, Sandy. Maybe you better let go."
Sandy let go, and Lex, who had not been helping matters by pulling back against her, suddenly slammed into the side of the elevator hard enough to make the car rock. His fingers scrambled to untie the knot in his tie so he could draw a gasping breath. A more normal color started to return to his face as he sat gasping like a goldfish from an overturned bowl.
Poor Fluffy, Clark thought. I didn't mean to tip over the fishbowl.
Until the day he left home Clark swore the Kent's plumbing problems were directly related to the vengeful ghost of his deceased pet goldfish, who he had flushed down the toilet when he was five. He was convinced Fluffy was lurking in the pipes, laughing whenever the upstairs toilet overflowed, which it did on a regular basis, especially after Clark used it. He found it so disturbing he had once mentioned something to his mother about the possibility of him being incompatible with human toiletry. Martha had gravely informed him that waste was waste and he shouldn't worry. That she tackled such inquiries with a straight face never ceased to impress Clark.
With shaking hands Lex dialed Helen.
"Helen," he gasped into the phone. "Are you on the pill?"
Helen's squawk could be heard through the receiver.
"Good, because I've concluded that pregnant women are homicidal maniacs."
Laughter. Helen was finding this situation entirely too funny. Lex glared at the phone, and opened his mouth to speak.
Before he could ask his question, however, Sandy yelled like a banshee and banged one hand on the floor of the car. Involuntarily Clark looked down, and discovered that the question had suddenly become moot anyway. What did one say when they first saw the baby's head during the birthing process?
"Baby head ho!!"
His three compatriots stopped what they were doing and stared at him.
Clark scowled back. "What?" he said. "I see the head."
"Baby head ho?" Pete asked, giggling. "What are you, a pirate?"
"Pittsburgh Pirate considering he's still crouched down there like a bleep pitcher," Lex stated.
"Aaauowowh!!" It was now Sandy's turn for facial discoloration. She gave one massive push, and then fell back into Lex, who nearly dropped the phone in surprise. He carefully moved his tie out of her reach.
"Whoa!" Clark and Pete both leaned in to look more closely. Lex's mouth fell open.
Sandy glared at them. If she had been Clark, they would have burst into flame. "I AM NOT A BLEEP FREAK SHOW!!!"
Clark turned to Pete. "Does she know I'm not deaf anymore?"
Chaos insued when the battery in Lex's phone went dead, depriving them of Helen's support. By this time Clark was in a daze, supporting the baby's head, which was small enough to fit in the palm of his hand with room to spare, and muttering almost incoherently about clean boiling and towel water. Pete and Lex were arguing about something, possibly creamed corn, Clark was too far gone to tell but that was as good a guess as any. Sandy was alternating between crying and trying to outdo Lex in the brightly colored language department.
It's so tiny, Clark thought, as he looked down at the baby. One last push and it had slipped very easily into his hands. No one else seemed to have noticed, so no one was volunteering to help him. Instinctively, because he certainly didn't know what the heck he was doing on a conscious level, Clark quickly eased out of his flannel shirt and started to clean the baby off with one corner of it, gently massaging the small human with his hands. It made a small mewling noise and Clark stopped, awed. He felt something like pride then. He not only delivered this baby, but with hands that could bend steel, he had carefully brought it to life. His smile was broad as the baby opened its mouth and made its presence known.
The thin, reedy wail broke over the sound of angry voices to fill the cramped space of the elevator. They all immediately became silent, listening to the song of new life.
Clark wrapped the baby in his shirt, taking care not to jostle the uncut cord too much, and laid it down upon Sandy's stomach where she could see it.
"It's a little girl," he said.
When Lex emerged from the elevator an hour later, pulling himself over the edge into the second floor of the hospital from the roof the car, the first words out of his mouth were that he needed a shower and an attorney, in that order.
Pete's were that his head hurt and he wanted his mother.
Clark lifted Sandy, holding her baby, up out of the elevator car with very little effort, but in the confusion nobody noticed. Several nurses took over to help her out of the shaft and into a wheelchair where she was enthroned with her baby by the time Clark himself emerged. The umbilical cord had been cut with Clark's pocket knife, and tied off with a strip of purple silk from the hem of Lex's shirt. The baby was still wrapped in soft flannel, and nursed heartily.
Sandy's first words were a thank you to her benefactors, and she presented each of them with a kiss on the cheek, including Lex who tucked his tie into his shirt before bending down to receive his award. He needn't have worried. With the birth of her baby, Sandy had become a normal girl again instead of the Mrs. Hyde type person who had tried to choke him to death. The doctors declared the baby to be healthy, and praised Clark, who was just pleased not to have taken a header into Sandy's crotch when things had gotten messy.
"Well," he told Helen later as she let him wash his hands in the surgeons prep room before going home for supper. "That wasn't so bad, but I never want to do it again."
A car was speeding down a country road, much too fast for safety. Superman tailed it for a while before deciding to pull it over. He couldn't write the driver a ticket of course, but he could at least give them a warning.
Not, he realized, that many people actually paid attention to his warnings. Usually to get people to pay attention to his warnings he'd have to pull something on them such as hanging them from hooks by their shirt collars or dangling them off a tall building by their ankles. Only then did they agree to his terms.
"It's hard to take someone dressed in spandex seriously, Clark, even if said spandex clad individual is a big strong alien from outer space," Chloe told him. "They think maybe you're going to pull out a microphone and start singing Bohemian Rhapsody."
"Very funny, Chloe."
"Then there is the whole underwear on the outside thing...."
There were days when Clark wanted to dangle Chloe off the edge of a tall building by her ankles, especially on days when she wore a skirt, so that he could make underwear jokes.
She even made fun of his cape.
"It's a take along table cloth, for those days when you are stricken with the overwhelming urge to picnic."
Clark had glared at her. "The only overwhelming urge I'm feeling right now is to set your pants on fire."
"Yeah, I'm scared Mr. Easy-Bake Eyeballs." Chloe had looked him up and down and crossed her arms over her chest, almost mimicking Superman's patented stance. "Speaking of overwhelming urges, Clark. How the heck to you go to the bathroom in that get up?"
"You know what, Chloe. The next time you yell for help, I'm going to have to be preoccupied."
Chloe had only grinned, which deflated Clark's annoyance with her. He hated that.
So now he flew over a speeding car feeling self conscious, and, truth be told, he had to whiz. It was not a very ideal situation for having to deal with a speeding motorist, but Clark had a job to do. His personal comfort, or discomfort as the case may be, was secondary.
He set down a few yards in front of the car and waved for it to stop, which it did. Clark stalked over to the driver's side window where a thin, nervous little man sat behind the wheel. He looked like a frightened rabbit.
"Did you know you were speeding?" Superman inquired politely.
As soon as the words left his mouth Clark wanted to smack himself in the forehead and yell, "Doh!" Of course the man knew he was speeding. What a stupid question. But Homer Simpson impersonations were beneath Superman's dignity. Superman had to be dignified even when he was stupid. It came with the outfit.
"My wife...." The man gasped, his eyes pleading. He had rather bulgy eyes, more like a frog than a rabbit.
Peeking into the back seat, Clark quickly assessed the situation. His own eyes grew large as he realized just why the man had been speeding.
"Ooooh!!!" he said.
Several months earlier Lois had showed Clark a website she'd found, a site which Clark hadn't realized existed. On it were pictures of several babies and children from various locals all over the world, with written testimonials beneath each picture. There had to be at least a dozen or so listed. Lois found it funny. Clark was flattered, but of course couldn't tell Lois that, so instead he'd laughed along with her.
It was a webpage dedicated to all the babies he'd helped into the world.
Yep, that was him - Superman, Mid-Wife Extraordinaire.
He pushed up the sleeves of his suit, and opened the back door of the car. Mr. Frograbbitman peered over the back of the driver's sear much like a poor man's Marty Feldman. Clark ignored him and turned his attention entirely to the poor girl lying in the back seat.
"Hello," Superman said sweetly. "Now how far apart are the contractions?"
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