Title: The Wet Bar
Pineapples were a nice fruit.
Clark Kent had nothing against them, personally. They were sweet and summery, colorful and fun. They fed entire populations of carefree island peoples for millennia. They had weird minerals you couldn't get in any other food. Hell, their spiny tops probably made a great weapon if you were desperate.
But sometimes, pineapples just sucked.
Especially when they were a major component of your summer fashion statement.
Like your new swim trunks, for instance. The ones you were going to wear to your best friend's pool party, thrown by that certain best friend who happened to own his own castle. The best friend who invited all the cutest girls for miles around, most likely for your own personal amusement because that's just the kind of guy he was.
And there you were. Stuck as Superdork, the Pineapple Swimsuit King of Smallville.
"Mom!" Clark cried when she pulled the orange, green and white trunks out of an overstuffed Target bag. "What were you thinking?"
"Honestly? I was thinking wouldn't it be nice if Clark went shopping with me once in a while so I could buy him things he liked instead of listening to him scream "MOOOM!" like a gassy cow." She tossed the suit at him with disturbing nonchalance. "So there you go, kiddo. Like 'em or lump 'em."
"The party's in an hour," he wailed. "I can't wear these. Don Ho wouldn't wear these!"
"You know who Don Ho is? I'm impressed." She hauled the bags to the bottom of the stairs and dropped them with a thunk! "Put this stuff away, will you, sweetie? There's mommy's good boy."
Clark couldn't believe it. His own mother. Evil personified. It was enough to make him cry and he would have if he wasn't so darned mad at her. "I wish I'd landed on some other planet," he muttered.
"I heard that," she called out from the kitchen. "And trust me, Clark. There's no other planet in the universe that would put up with you the way we do."
He stomped up the stairs, bags and hideous swim trunks in tow. Heard his mother yell up from below.
"And don't forget to bring the cupcakes I promised. They're in the refrigerator. Lex said he was looking forward to them."
Clark's groan could be heard for miles.
Lex, as always, was dressed perfectly. A light short-sleeved dress shirt, khaki shorts and expensive looking sandals made up his casual look. He stood next to the pool in front of the biggest, most complicated gas grill Clark had ever seen in his life. Lex worked diligently, pushing processed meat from one end to the other with casual grace.
"Nice trunks," Lex said without a hint of sarcasm.
Clark wanted to sink through the cement pool deck. If he put his mind and some superspeed to it, he probably could have. "Stop joking around, Lex. It's embarrassing enough."
Lex flipped a burger with surprising ease. "Who's joking? Nothing wrong with them." The smirk began to peek out at the corners of his lips. "If you've been possessed by a satanic Hawaiian shaman, that is." His voice deepened. "Mauna Loa not happy. Plague of pineapples rain upon you!"
"I think I'm gonna leave now," said Clark glumly, yet still accepting the soda Lex tossed his way.
"Oh, stop!" Lex laughed. "Have a burger. Relax." He nudged him with an elbow. "Besides, who cares what you're wearing. It's all about what certain people *aren't* wearing, mi amigo."
Clark glanced around. Felt a smile overtake him as a few of the girls around the pool began to pull off their shirts, revealing the skimpy bikini tops beneath. "I didn't know you still appreciated such simple pleasures."
"Contrary to popular belief, I'm twenty-one, not two-hundred and one. Nothing wrong with inviting a few scantily clad ladies over for a dip in cold water for the sheer visual stimulation of it all." Another burger plopped onto the grill. "Besides, as the barbecue master, I've declared myself king and ruler of all I survey." His voice lowered to a whisper. "It's so manly, I can hardly stand it."
Cola came dangerously close to spewing out of Clark's nostrils. "What color is your suit, by the way? It's not that light purple you have a fondness for, is it?"
"Sure is. How did you guess?"
"Stay by the grill, Lex. That's all I have to say."
"Take a leap, Clark. And don't lose those fruity shorts on the way down."
"Don't you worry, Barbeque King. By the way, you might want to start grilling Mom's cupcakes. They're better toasted."
"Mock not the cupcakes of the Goddess Martha," Lex intoned deeply. "Or thou shall find thyself knee deep in rotted mangos, oh foolish one. Not to mention pineapple pants that are ten sizes too big."
"Catch you at the pool, Lex. Let us pray the purple doesn't bleed."
Clark's friends arrived a few minutes later. Since they were his friends, they said nothing about his shorts ... not to his face, at least.
Pete whispered something about Pineapple Ham Surprise. Chloe and Lana giggled appreciatively, right up until the moment Clark joined them.
Stupid alien super-hearing. "Hey, guys. Who's up for a swim?"
"We are!" Chloe and Lana peeled off their shirts in unison, while Pete and Clark forgot all about becoming formal agnostics at some point in their lives. God was being way too good to them at that moment.
"Last one in is a rotten egg," Lana called out, diving into the pool with fluid grace.
Chloe wasn't quite as mermaid-like, but her cannonball leap was charming nonetheless. "Come on, you losers! Get in here!"
"Yippee!" Pete rubbed his hands together, and they were about to dive in when Lex's hand appeared on both their shoulders.
"Fellas, before you go in there, there's something you should know," he said.
Pete made a horrible face. "You didn't clean the pool. I knew it!"
"Pete!" Clark shook his head. "Go on, Lex."
"I'm going to give you a very short lesson in art of chicken fighting, gentlemen," said Lex. "Do you want to hear it?"
Pete and Clark exchanged glances. "Sure," said Clark.
"First, you pick the girl you want to look at. Then, you hand her over to the other guy. This way you get a full view."
Pete and Clark nodded.
"Then, while the girls are yanking and pulling, you make sure you take turns bending your knees and slouch down a little so there's a chance they might accidentally get a hold of each others' tops. This way, you've increased your chances of frontal nudity by at least fifty percent."
Clark gaped. His best friend was an evil genius. "Are you serious?"
Lex gazed at him with deceptive innocence. "Would I lie to you?"
Shockingly, Lex's advice worked. A quick decision declared Lana and Pete a team while Chloe sat atop Clark's shoulders. Both boys began to bend their knees in opposing time, like Swedish dancers.
It was a rousing success.
"Shreeeeeee!" Lana squealed as the top half of her suit ended clutched in Chloe's fist.
"Aaaaaaaaahhh!" Chloe howled when she looked down to see nothing but pale skin.
Both girls dove like dolphins under the water, spluttering and kicking, still screaming as they tried to tread water and get dressed at the same time.
Clark and Pete made no move to help. As Lana and Chloe finally got themselves put together, they paddled off, grumbling something about men and pigs and the relative closeness between them.
Clark smiled stupidly at his friend. "So, Pete. You still hate Lex now?"
"He's a god," Pete breathed. "A fricken' god."
Lex, as it turned out later, was an equal opportunity troublemaker.
The sun was going down. Clark had grown complacent after a day of sunshine and gorging on red meat. He was full of soda, slightly sleepy and residing in a world that could do no wrong. Lana and Chloe sat on each side, smiling sweetly, offering to rub sunblock on his back -- something he had no need for, but would never, ever turn down.
His father always insisted he be a gentleman.
After they were done, Clark Kent stood and stretched with a pleased yawn. Out of nowhere, a sudden breeze assaulted his hindquarters. He looked down to see pineapples covering his ankles, the one part of him that least needed covering.
Shrieking with evil glee, his former friends (as he swore they were for at least ten minutes afterwards) bounced over to Lex, who gathered them in a smirking embrace.
"Lex told us all about how you and Pete planned that chicken fight." Chloe clung to Lex and stuck her tongue out in Clark's general direction.
"What goes around, comes around, Clark," said Lana daintily. She gave Lex a peck on the cheek. "Thanks, Lex. We would have never figured it out."
Ah, hah. His friend was a truly an evil genius.
But he knew something no one else knew.
Clark gathered up what was left of his pride. Strode over to Lex who continued to smirk at him shamelessly. Smiled sweetly and it didn't even take extraordinary speed to yank down the modest khaki shorts, revealing what lay underneath.
"Behold," Clark intoned to the gathered masses. "The only lavender Speedos in all of Kansas."
A gasp, but not the sort Clark had expected. It was more along the lines of appreciation as Lex turned like a supermodel, smiling at the female giggles and claps that followed. Lex bowed handsomely then took a brilliant dive into the pool -- his form sleek, athletic and purple Speedo perfect.
A cheer rose up. Lex lifted a fist above his head and discreetly flipped Clark an itty bitty bit of the bird. Lifted himself from the pool before accepting a towel from a very leggy, very blonde, beauty. Turned on a dime and shoved at Clark's back, throwing his surprised friend headfirst into the pool.
He knelt down as Clark sputtered to the surface. "Drats," Lex said sarcastically. "Foiled again."
Clark never knew how much fun splashing Lex to within an inch of his life could be.
Not a single beer, but Clark felt tipsy nonetheless.
The sun, the fun, his friends ... it all had been intoxicating. He tossed his towel onto the kitchen counter with a happy sigh.
His mother didn't look up from her knitting. "Put that in the bathroom, young man."
"Sorry, Mom." He picked it up and leaned down to kiss her cheek.
"Did you have a good time, baby?" she asked, smiling.
"Great time. And by the way, Mom ... " He kissed her again. "Great suit. It was the hit of the party."
The knitting needles clicked knowingly. "Of course it was, angel." She chuckled. "Of course it was."
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