Lex put in the winning bid for the item posted on the online auction site. Yes, he thought, I thought I'd never see another one of those ever again. He picked up the phone. "Yes, it's me. I've got a project I want you to work on . . ."
"MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" he bellowed before he galloped off.
"Gosh darn it," said Jim Bob before taking a sip of his mocha soy milk chai. "Somebody's stupid bull went into my silo and ate some of my grain."
Earl was drinking his organic shade-grown fair-trade cup of coffee. "I saw it eating my hay. Something wasn't right about that cow. Something just wasn't right. Never seen a cow run around on its hind legs. It was nothing like any of the cows I've ever seen around these parts." He turned to the man walking into the coffee shop. "Jonathan, any problems with the mystery cow?"
"I haven't seen it," he said before he ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of marbled pound cake. "But a part of one of my fences was broken."
"I say we shoot that critter," said Ed as he sipped his mint mocha frappe with whip cream. "I caught it trying to mount one of my cows!"
Chloe's ears perked up at the talk of a possible mutant cow. It had been a slow month for news. Nobody had mutated and decided to stalk Lana. Lex hadn't been attacked by an insane woman in ages. As for Clark, he was in his Fortress of Solitude, reading a book on how to be on top in a relationship. Even the `normal' news was slow except for the occasional drunken hooliganism and cow-tipping that was par for the course in this area.
"Come on, you had nothing else to do," said Chloe. "Besides, it might attack your farm eventually so . . . you might as well get it before it eats up your father's crop."
"Does Mr. Cash know you're here?"
Chloe rolled her eyes. "I showed Ray that according to the pattern of attacks, his farm was likely to be attacked next so I told him that we might be able to get some pictures of it, maybe find out where it came from and shoo it away." She opened her bag and pulled out a camera. "Now, we wait."
After a half an hour of chatting about school and other cases, they heard a "MOOOOOOOOOOO!" in the distance. A minute later, a cow that looked more like something from the Farside than a regular cow came running out of the nearby forest and began eating the hay. Chloe took a few pictures. "OK," said Chloe. "We need to scare the cow away before he eats the entire thing." She pushed a button on a remote control that activated the large flashbulbs she had put on a nearby fence post. The flashbulbs going off startled the rather monstrous cow and it ran away. Chloe turned to Clark and said, "Well, run after it!"
Clark pouted but did so. Amazingly enough, the cow was incredibly fast as if powered by Kryptonite and trotted effortlessly through the beautiful mountains and valleys of Kansas. After a few hours, it made its way back to a familiar farm and went into its barn. Clark went into the barn only to find the cow shaking and shrinking . . . into his dad.
"Ah, crap," said Clark.
"Your dad is the cow?"said Chloe as she came by the next morning and visited him in Clark's loft. "Have you told him?"
"How could I? After he went back to being a human, he stumbled into the house without his clothes as if he was sleepwalking. I asked him how his sleep was last night and he told me it was really refreshing. I honestly don't think he knows he's doing this."
"Doesn't your mom notice his periodic absences?"
Clark shook his head. "That's the odd part. A couple nights ago, they got into a big argument and he ended up sleeping on the couch. In fact, it happened the month before. I think there's a pattern!"
"Hmm . . ." said Chloe. "I went to the trouble of plotting the thefts by time as well and they always occur during a full moon. It's like he's a werewolf except he's a cow."
"Oh, man, does this mean my dad's a freak?" said Clark.
"Mmmm . . . it could be magic . . ." said Chloe. "Or . . . a Luthorcorp experiment gone wrong. Or maybe it's a weird Kryptonian thing? It's hard to tell around here."
As Lana was no longer magical and denied making Jonathan a were-cow in a most vehement fashion and Clark wasn't inclined to talk to his insane biological father, the only option, really, was to talk to Lex and ask questions. Considering this was about a were-cow and there was no real proof connecting Luthercorp to it, Clark decided to not to front major attitude. Still, while he didn't want Lex to have any connection with it, there was a higher chance of a cure if he was.
After Clark went into the office and explained the situation, Lex said, "Your dad. A were-cow?"
"A were-cow . . ." It was taking all his Lexian cool not to guffaw about this peculiarly pleasing disaster.
"When did this start?"
"There were incidents a month ago and one last night. Why?"
Lex opened his laptop and clicked through his calendar. "Didn't your father deliver groceries a while back?" I remember this because I made sure I wasn't in my office that day, he thought.
"Delivery . . . I went to a journalism conference with Chloe a while back . . . Why?"
Jonathan wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his arm as he walked into the Luthor manor's kitchen in the back. It was a hot Kansas summer day and the air condition in the truck wasn't working . . . again. Making the rounds of deliveries instead of Clark was the rare reminder of how much work his son really did around the farm. He put down his box of vegetables.
It was then that he noticed a large metal bowl sitting in an ice bath, full of a golden fizzy liquid that had the most wonderful smell that made him salivate. He noticed a little sign that said, "Don't Touch, an Experiment, Not Done Yet." He was tired, sweaty, hot and thirsty so he poured himself a very small shot glass of the liquid and drank it down. It was the most satisfying thing he had ever drank. He was about to scoop a little bit more into the glass when . . .
"What the hell do you think you're doing? Do you know how many days I spent making that? Do you?" said the cook, holding a rolling pin.
"I'm Mr. Kent. I'm here to deliver the vegetables. I'm sorry it just . . ."
After waiting for night to fall, Lex drove Clark around in his Porsche, a van from the Cadmus Labs a block behind them. "OK, so one of my experiments has gone horribly, horribly wrong, Clark." Despite the fact that Clark's father was affected, he could barely keep his mouth from twitching into a smile.
"It's NOT funny, Lex! Because of that spell book you bought on ebay, my dad has turned into a were-cow. Whenever there's a full moon, he turns into a cow that's been raiding the other farms of their hay and grain!"
"Well, at least he's feeding himself."
"You know, your father brought this on himself."
"My dad thought it was a bowl of punch."
"It doesn't excuse himself from helping himself when it's clearly labeled off-limits."
"Can't we just explain what's going on to him?"
"No, we have to get him in his cow form. If the book doesn't have a reversal potion, we may have to do it the scientific way and I need all the data I can get about his altered state. Besides, number one, he doesn't believe he's the were-cow and I doubt he would, even with a ton of proof. Number two, he's not going to volunteer to the tender ministrations of my scientists. Number three . . ."
"Why did you make a were-cow potion in the first place?"
"It's not really a were-cow potion. It's . . ."
Clark gasped and pointed off to one side. "There he is!"
Lex put on the brakes and shot a few tranquilizer darts into the were-cow. The beast mooed before falling over.
"Now what?" said Clark.
"To the lab, of course."
Clark looked worried . . . or something.
Lex picked up his cell phone. "So, cook . . . Have you found any references to were-cow in the book?"
"Well, there are a few ways to defeat one. Shoot with a silver bullet, take a silver sword and decap . . ."
"Are there any methods that won't result in the cow's death?"
"There are a few recipes that look promising but I have to read them through . . . And the ingredients look hard to find."
"What do we do now, Lex? If he keeps running around like this, he's going to end up being barbecue."
"I guess . . . that would be a shame."
"Lex, why did you make a were-cow potion in the first place?"
Lex looked sad. "It's not a were-cow potion. It wasn't done yet. It was . . ."
"Was . . ." prompted Clark.
"Mr. Luthor!" said a scientist.
"I've got an idea that's sure to work . . . in theory."
"OK, go on."
"Since cow and the man's particles exist in slightly different phases of existence, if we were to stick the were-cow in a cyclotron, eventually the particles should separate once we get them close to light-speed, and giving us one cow and one man."
Clark frowned. "Won't that kill them?"
The scientist thought for a second. "Well, once separated, we'll jettison the cow and hopefully slow the man down enough for safe retrieval . . ."
"Ughhh, no," said Clark.
Another scientist said, "How about we break down the were-cow into its requisite particles, calculate the mathematics involved in the form of Jonathan Kent and one cow, and structure the particles into those two forms, it could work."
"Won't that take an enormous amount of energy?" said Lex.
"Well, if we could use borrow the same amount of energy that Metropolis uses in a month, I think it might just suffice . . ."
"Sorry, even that's a bit too . . ." Lex shook his head.
The scientists sadly shuffled back to the sleeping quasi-monster and poked at it with sensors.
Lex sighed. This batch of scientists are the worst ones yet, he thought. His cell phone rang. "Oh, you found the cure? No . . . No . . . Keep read . . . You've reached the end of the book. You sure that's it? Fine . . . I shouldn't be surprised anymore. Yes, go to the cellar, get the bottle and come to the lab." Lex clicked off the phone. His shoulders slumped and his very expression radiated resigned defeat.
"What's wrong, Lex?" said Clark.
"The cook found the cure."
"Then why are you so disappointed?"
"It's the project I've been working on for the past three months, the one that's actually ready to drink tomorrow. It's the completed experiment."
"What was it you were trying to make?"
A wistful smile crossed his face. "Sometimes it's hard to be a good person . . . so I figured if I was someone else, it would be easier."
"Gee, Lex, I don't think being a were-cow would make being a good person easier."
Lex snapped, "I told you that it wasn't a were-cow potion."
"Then what does it do!"
"In its finished form, it makes you who you want to be, no matter how outrageous that wish is. You can be buffer, stronger, taller, anything . . ."
"But who could you want to be . . ." said Clark before he remembered who Lex's childhood idol was. "No."
"No, way. You WANT to be some guy who flies around in spandex, can throw a car down the street, flies and says campy lines about human potential."
Lex shrugged. "Is it so hard to believe?"
"You want to be Warrior Angel?"
"I don't expect you to understand."
"I don't understand because it would mean replacing you with someone I don't give a damn about. It would be just like replacing my dad with a cow." Clark sighed and touched his forehead to Lex's while putting his hands on Lex's shoulders.
"Sure, you wouldn't want someone whose first impulse is to say and do the right thing?"
"I think it'd be kinda boring."
"So, you're not interested in sex while flying?"
"Well . . . OK, that sounds interesting but I think it should be with someone I want to . . ." Clark leaned forward and they kissed.
One of the scientists slipped another a twenty after cursing quietly. Daniel had bet Lurleen that those two weren't involved and . . . had lost.
"MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" said the suddenly awake and angry cow straining against its bonds, which startled the scientists. The cow jumped forward and bonked its head against the transparent barrier.
Startled, Clark and Lex stopped making out in a very inappropriate place. Lex yelled, "Hit him with another dart."
Another dart was shot into the cow, sedating it and preventing it from further bonking its head against the unbreakable barrier and giving itself brain damage.
"OK, let's get the cow back on the truck and get it back to the farm before sunrise," said Lex.
"But we're not done yet," protested Lurleen.
"Now!" said Lex.
After Clark left to talk to Chloe, presumably about the were-cow, Martha came down the stairs, quite surprised to be the last one down. She took a look at the worn shirt Jonathan was wearing and told him to take it off. Once he did so, Martha gasped at the incredibly bulging muscles and said, "Jonathan Kent, are you taking steroids?"
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