The little white rental car trundled down the road at a steady sixty miles per hour past acres and acres of corn fields. To either side of the car, and before and after, there was nothing to be seen but road and corn. Road and corn. Thank God she'd stopped for coffee that morning.
"It's awfully flat," said a small voice from the back seat.
Nani looked in her rearview mirror at her passengers. One was plastered to the window in rapt fascination at the boring scenery. The other was alternately coloring with a bright pink crayon and glancing out the window at the endless and unchanging view. The backseat was strewn with more crayons, books, paper dolls and various other small toys, all to keep the two quiet. So far, it had worked.
"It's not like Hawaii." Nani agreed. She was used to driving up and down mountains, not through corn. Kansas was flat all right, and the colors were drab and boring.
"Are we there yet?"
"No, Lilo, but almost." She tried to sound more enthused than she felt. "It was nice of cousin Thomas to let us visit, don't you think?"
"He should visit us. It's much more interesting. Right, Stitch?"
The other passenger grunted.
Yeah, Nani thought. Reeeally interesting. Our "dog" is an alien genetic experiment gone wrong and our neighbors are exiled aliens from another planet.
"Well he would if he didn't have that motion sickness issue," she added aloud.
She took another look in the rearview mirror, this time checking out the road instead of her companions. For the first time in hours she saw a flash of sunlight on metal indicating the presence of another car. It was indeed another car, coming up fast behind her.
"Sheesh, buddy. Slow down."
He didn't. In fact, he sped up, and breezed past the rental car at eighty miles an hour, at least. The car was a low slung, sleek, silver Lamborghini convertible. Nani blinked in surprise, then yelled angrily after its rapidly vanishing tail lights.
"I hope a cop nabs you!"
Her anger did a nosedive into surprise when suddenly her view was blocked by a book shoved into her face. She shrieked and slammed on the brakes, sending the rental car into a tire smoking, skidding spin. It took all her skill not to flip the car as it whipped around twice and came to a dead stop in the middle of the road.
"Stitch! Are you trying to get us killed?" Nani roared, shoving the book away, and glaring at the creature sitting on the back of her seat.
The little alien ignored her and waved the book again, tapping one claw urgently at the picture. "Eh, eh, eh! Dumpty," he squeaked.
He had been heavily into Mother Goose lately. "Yes, Stitch," Nani grated. "That's Humpty Dumpty."
Stitch pointed in the direction the Lamborghini had gone. "Dumpty."
Lilo giggled. "He thinks that was Humpty Dumpty in the fast car."
Nani sighed, and put the car back into the correct lane, gradually picking up speed again. "First of all, Humpty Dumpty isn't a real person. Secondly, if he were a real person, he wouldn't be driving a Lamborghini. They're for rich people."
"Maybe it's the king's Lamb Genie." Lilo suggested tugging Stitch down from Nani's seat by one of his back spikes.
Despite herself, Nani had to laugh. "What?"
"Well," her little sister explained. "If he was in so good with the king's men and horses, maybe he's friends with the king too, and the king would let him drive the Lamb Genie."
"Dumpty." Stitch growled, and stuck his tongue up his nose, flicking a wad of something exceedingly gross onto the rearview mirror.
"Ew." Lilo poked him with her crayon.
"Now look," Nani said sternly. "I want you two to be on your best behavior. These people are very country. You know what country people do to aliens?"
Both of them shook their heads to the negative.
"They tie them up on posts in cornfields and pelt them with rocks."
Stitch cringed, curling up to Lilo for protection. She patted him with one little hand. "Nani! See what you did!" The little girl scolded.
"Well, believe me. It's true," she said. "From this point on Stitch, you're a dog, and nothing but a dog."
A very ugly dog, she thought, and sped up a little bit as she passed the sign indicating they'd arrived at their destination.
"Welcome to Smallville, Kansas. The Meteor Capital of the World."
"Hey, Nani." Lilo called as the sign faded into the distance. "Do that spinny thing again. That was fun!"
"Hula dancing?" Chloe looked up at her visitor. "You've got to be kidding?"
"Oh come on! Please. It will be fun." Lana followed Chloe around the Torch office, practically bouncing up and down in her excitement. "Cheryl's cousin is coming all the way from Hawaii and I thought an exchange of cultures would be cool but..."
"Huh-uh. No way, Lana. You are not going to get me in front of a room full of people in a bikini and a grass skirt." Turning away, Chloe sat down at her desk and went back to typing up her story. One of the Kents' neighbors had a puppy with two tails, and that was front page material in Chloe's book. Lana looked over her shoulder and cringed at the picture.
Hmm. Puppy. Kent.
"Cheryl says we need three more people for the demonstration. You and I would make two. What would you say if I got someone who'd be twice as embarrassed as you to wear a bikini and a grass skirt to be the third."
Chloe cocked an eyebrow at her. "Oh, yeah? Who."
Opening her mouth to say, Lana was interrupted by a most fortuitous arrival.
The girls looked at each other. Lana grinned. Comprehension dawned for Chloe and she slowly got up from her desk.
"Hi, Clark," they said simultaneously.
Lana watched his expression carefully. It went from pleasure, to confusion, to a look very similar to terror. He knew immediately he was in trouble, and backed toward the door as the two of them advanced on him. She hurried around and shut the door so he couldn't escape.
"Clark," Chloe announced. "We have a proposition for you."
"Yeah," Lana said brightly. "Take off your shirt."
His voice went up an octave and cracked like an egg. "Eh, what?!"
Chloe made a grab for his bookbag, Lana snatched the front of his shirt. Buttons flew everywhere as the flannel burst open to reveal bare chest.
"Hey!" He slammed into a filing cabinet - cornered.
The girls stared at him. Lana pinched one nipple and he squawked.
"He'll need some padding."
"Hmm. He's a little pasty." Chloe said. "But I suppose that will have to do."
"Nice flat stomach." Lana observed. "Wriggle your hips, Clark."
"I - what?" Clark squeaked. He looked a little faint.
"Like this." With her hands on her hips, Lana did a little bump and grind.
Clark's face turned seven shades of scarlet, and he seemed to have lost his ability to speak. As they watched, his eyes rolled backwards, his knees gave way, and he sagged against the filing cabinet. A moment later there was a monumental crash as both Clark and the filing cabinet tipped over.
Chloe and Lana stood looking down at him where he lay sprawled on the floor. Chloe poked him with one booted foot.
"I think you killed him," she said.
"Stay in the car. Don't get into trouble." Nani had said.
So Stitch sat in the car twiddling his claws.
"You're a dog." Nani had said.
Stitch scratched behind his ear and looked around the car. What did dogs do in cars?
After a moment he started drooling, and proceeded to smear goo all over every window. Dogs also chewed things. He snacked on the dashboard, tearing big hunks out of the padding, getting it nice and oogie in his mouth, before spitting it out into the floorboards.
Dogs clawed things too. He raised a claw in preparation for ripping all the stuffing out of the seats.
The pretty, shiny, Lamb Genie pulled into the parking space in front of Nani's rental car. A man got out, and went into the building Nani and Lilo had entered.
Stitch consulted his book.
"Aaah, hah, hah, hah. Dumpty." He grinned, and reached to unlock the door.
Nani had said, "Stay in the car."
She hadn't said what car.
Nani met her cousin Thomas and his daughter Cheryl at the Talon, the local coffee shop. He was pleasant if bland, just like the Kansas countryside. Cheryl had discussed their plans to have some sort of cultural exchange, and a demonstration on Hula dancing. Nani didn't know a lot about the Hula, but she said she'd give it a go, bribing Lilo with an ice cream sundae to help her.
Lana, the girl who seemed to be in charge of things, announced quite proudly (too proudly it seemed to Nani) that they had four people willing to volunteer to learn the Hula, including herself and her little blond friend. The two of them seemed extremely pleased with themselves.
"Is there a height limit?" Lana asked.
Nani consulted with Lilo. "Height limit?"
"Height limit? No, but I refuse to teach anyone over a mile high." Lilo announced, crossing her arms over her chest.
"How about six foot four?" Chloe inquired archly, and she and Lana choked on their ice cream as they lapsed into hysterical giggling.
They sobered when Lana's boss showed up. Lilo took one look and pointed.
Nani clapped on hand over her sister's mouth and extended the other politely. "How do you do, Mr. Luthor."
She was extremely happy when all the introductions ended and Thomas said he'd meet her at home. Everyone left. Nani dragged Lilo out to the car.
The car was a mess.
"You lost Stitch!!" Lilo shrieked, and kicked her in the shins.
Lex tore down Route 8 at speeds close to seventy five, blatantly ignoring posted speed limit signs. The Lamborghini's sound system blasted music out at him loud enough to deafen, but he seemed oblivious to it as he sipped a cup of coffee and tapped the steering wheel in time to the music. He'd stopped in the Talon for a cup of coffee on his way home only to find it overrun with small children and giggling girls discussing grass skirts. The closest Lex had ever come to the Hula was the doll one of his drivers had stuck up on the dashboard of the limo once, a doll which got the man summarily dismissed.
~ "Come and lay right on my bed, sit and drink some wine. I'll try not to make you cry...." ~
~ "You ain't nuthin but a hound dog, cryin' all the time...." ~
The car skidded slightly as Lex started. He looked down at the CD player in confusion. It had apparently switched CD's on its own. Either that or The Calling had a new lead singer - a dead one.
"Hmm." He reached down and pressed a button.
~ "Why I've felt so alone, why I kept myself from love. And you became my favorite drug..." ~
~ "You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine...." ~
"You know," Lex stated to the car. "As much as I paid for you, you could at least have a radio that works properly."
He jabbed the button again.
~ "If we had this night together. If we had a moment to ourselves. If we had this night together, then we'd be unstoppable...." ~
"There. Stay put."
It stayed for about five seconds.
~ "When they said you was high classed, well, that was just a lie..." ~
"Apparently very true about this car." Lex growled. Angrily he banged a fist on the dashboard.
~ "Love, it keeps us together, and I need love...." ~
~ "You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine..." ~
Lex sighed deeply. "I give up."
He listened to Elvis all the way home.
It wasn't until he was walking from the garage back to the house that he realized he didn't own an Elvis CD.
Pete couldn't breathe.
Deadpan and miserable: "It's not funny, Pete."
Pete laughed harder, rolling off the hay-bale he was sitting on, clutching his stomach. He felt as if his insides were going to come out his nose he was laughing so hard.
"I have to wear a flower in my hair."
His breath came in huge honking gasps. He thought perhaps he was turning purple.
"And look." Clark pulled up one leg of his jeans and pushed down his sock. "They made me shave my legs."
"Bwahahahahaha!!!" Pete roared. Tears started running from his eyes.
Clark pouted. "Pete, if you don't stop laughing I'm going to kick you into next Tuesday."
Gasping, Pete sat up, levering himself into a sitting position against the hay-bale. He wiped at his eyes and snorted. "A Hula dancing alien!" He busted up into giggles.
"Yeah, well, while you're stuck in the audience, I'll be up there with three girls in bikini - tops - and..." Clark trailed off, as the full scope of his statement just struck him, then quirked a wry smile. "And I'm taller than they are."
Pete stopped laughing abruptly. "Man! That's not fair."
Clark's face broke into a huge grin. "Some things are worth a little humiliation." He danced a little Hula in a circle, workboots thudding on the wooden floor of the loft, hips swaying and eyebrows waggling lecherously.
It was enough to send Pete into hysterics again.
Stitch crawled out from under the Lamb Genie's dashboard and scuttled across the courtyard from the garage to the house. Pausing at the north wall of the building, he looked around, blinking in the fading afternoon light.
"Oooh. Princess Castle. Heh, heh."
Chuckling, he climbed the stone wall, looking for an open window, and found one on the second floor. With a light "thump" he jumped down from the sill.
It was a nice big bedroom, all done up in rich fabrics and fine carpeting. A book lay face down on the bedside table. Stitch crawled up onto the bed and picked the book up. There were no pictures and the text was boring.
"History, pleh!" He shredded the book into confetti and started jumping on the bed. It occupied him for a while, until he saw the closet.
He bounced off the bed and landed on the floor in front of the closet, throwing the doors wide open. There were rows and rows of clothing hanging tidily inside. They were all in shades of black, and grey, and purple, in wool and silk fabric. Stitch created some holes in several garments, and tugged a purple shirt off a hanger. He ripped off the sleeves and tore the hem to make it fit him better, then turned around in front of the mirror admiring himself.
"Oooh, sexy." He cackled giddily at his reflection, then went back to investigating the closet, mumbling to himself in his own language. "Besnishu, bah! Wushitch. Hee, hee, hee. Aaaah! Shoooez!"
A moment later he was at the window, tossing every left shoe from every pair he found into a nearby ornamental fishpond.
The shoes hit the water with a splash and sunk into the murky depths.
"Hee, hee, hee."
The next morning, Saturday, Nani and Lilo went to the Talon to help decorate the theater with a Hawaiian theme. The "party" was scheduled for Tuesday evening. Lilo had been up all night making flyers, which she proceeded to plaster all over every surface she could find with a liberal use of scotch tape. Upon Nani's suggestion, Lana went behind her and surreptitiously removed them, which caused a great deal of confusion on Lilo's part when she went back to check on their placement and they were gone.
She stood staring at a pillar upon which she was sure she'd placed a flyer and scratched her head. "Hmm."
Turning around she saw a boy in a yellow shirt looking at one of her flyers. "Yeah. That's my dog, Stitch." She pulled a faded, water stained, and very dog-eared piece of paper from her pocket. "I own him. See. I paid two dollars."
The boy looked skeptical. "What kind of dog is it?"
It was hard to tell from the pictures on the flyers, which Lilo had drawn herself. To Lilo the image looked very much like Stitch. To everyone else it looked like a strange sort of furry bat.
"He's a collie, or at least he was before the reconstructive surgery." Lilo said.
The boy made a strange sort of face, as if he were trying not to laugh. "Reconstructive surgery?"
Nodding, Lilo explained. "He was hit by a truck and got all squished." She looked up at the boy, studied his dark face and his warm brown eyes, and decided he looked trustworthy. With a crooked finger she beckoned him down to her level. "Actually, he's not a dog at all," she whispered.
"What is he then?" The boy whispered back.
"An alien. From another planet."
He appeared slightly startled.
"But don't tell." Lilo narrowed her eyes and looked back and forth, making sure nobody was within earshot. "Have you seen any aliens around here?" she asked gravely.
He straightened, looked at her, and busted up laughing. Lilo watched in confusion as he staggered off clutching his stomach.
Lana came up behind her, hiding some recently removed flyers behind her back. "What's wrong with Pete?"
Lilo looked up at her with a serious expression. "I think he's suffering from a nervous disorder."
Lex was having a bad day.
He'd fallen asleep on the couch in the den while reading late the night before, and woke with a stiff neck. Rubbing at it to work out the kinks, he'd wandered upstairs to see if he couldn't catch a few hours sleep in his bed before it was time to actually get up. Imagine his surprise to discover his room vandalized, his clothes shredded, and every left shoe missing.
To add insult to injury, the servants complained about items gone missing all over the house and very strange footprints on the ceiling.
A tirade was called for, and the victim of said tirade was the head of security - the ninth head of security Lex had hired since his arrival in Smallville. Now he was going to have to find a tenth.
But sheesh, did the man have to break down into tears?
Showered, but wearing the clothes he'd had on the day before, Lex retreated to his office with some toast and a cup of coffee. He growled to his housekeeping staff that he was not to be disturbed unless it was an emergency, and settled back in his chair to check his e-mail, feeling a sense of peace for the first time that morning.
"Ow!" Lex jerked as something cold and hard hit him on the top of the head. Coffee flew everywhere: down his shirt, into his keyboard, all over the papers on his desk. The computer went dead.
He spun around in his chair. There was nothing behind him.
Rising, he shoved his chair out of the way and looked around. He looked under the desk and behind the curtains. He found nothing, but something or someone was smacking him in the head. Touching the sore spot gingerly, he could feel a definite goose egg forming.
"Terrific. Bald and deformed."
Lex settled back into his chair with caution.
He whirled, leaping out of the chair and making a grab behind it. From behind him came a weird clattering noise, and he glanced over his shoulder to see something metallic slide across the floor. There was scratching under the desk, followed by a strange scuttling sound, but when Lex bent to look under it there was nothing to be seen.
Was there another invisible freak in his house?
Scowling, Lex bent and picked up the metal object lying on the floor. It was a spoon.
Stitch peered out from under a leather sofa and made a soft noise of disgust as the egg man took his spoon. Eggs were supposed to crack when hit with a spoon. This egg hadn't cracked, it had just done a funny dance and yelled a lot.
Maybe he hadn't hit it hard enough.
He slipped out of the room while the man was occupied with the spoon, and went hunting for a shovel.
Nani surveyed her "students" rather dubiously, wondering what she'd gotten herself into.
The game plan was to teach the fundamentals ahead of time, so that during the little public "performance" on Tuesday she could simply breeze through the "lesson" part and they could go on to do an actual dance.
Looking once more at the little knot of people she was to teach, Nani groaned miserably.
Her cousin Cheryl wasn't so bad. The girl was wearing a long Hawaiian print skirt, sandals and a loose fitting top, and Nani knew she already had a rudimentary understanding of the Hula, more so than Nani herself actually. The other two girls - well they needed work.
Lana was wearing enough lip gloss to be defined as the victim of an oil spill, very tight hip hugging jeans, and a skimpy little halter top that just barely covered her midriff. Her sneakers, at least, would give her no trouble but not so her friend Chloe's shoes. The girl had on high heeled clunky boots beneath a tight suede skirt and a pretty white frilly blouse. They were both very trendy, but didn't look very comfortable, and the little funky hair clips Chloe sported all over her head made her look like a porcupine.
Nani also understood why the two of them were giggling so badly the other day. They'd roped one of the guys into participating, and he looked decidedly out of place, towering over everyone else in flannel and jeans. He looked like a youthful Paul Bunyon.
Lilo looked him up and down and snorted. "What, is that?" she demanded, waving one small hand dramatically. "We're supposed to teach that to dance?"
"Shh, Lilo. You'll hurt his feelings."
"I don't know why I'm wasting my time." Lilo affected a prima donna attitude and raised her chin into the air. "Especially with Stitch missing." She sniffled a little. "Poor Stitch. Lost somewhere in the endless sea of corn, crawling through the dirt, collapsing, lost and alone, starving, food for worms...."
Lilo keeled over and went limp.
Mr. Bunyon appeared concerned. "Is she okay?"
Nani's cheeks went pink with embarrassment as she struggled to pick a purposely boneless Lilo up off the floor. "Yes," she grunted. "She's just upset. Her dog is missing."
Lilo raised her head. "Stitch, oh Stitch. Alas, I knew thee well." Her head flopped down again like a ragdoll. She moaned pitifully.
Paul looked skeptical, but he said, "Oh."
Chloe came over to watch as Nani dumped Lilo unceremoniously into a chair. "Maybe Clark can help you look for your dog later. He's pretty good at finding things."
"Sure, thanks." Nani said.
This got Lilo's attention. She looked up at Clark, wide eyed, and blinked. "Would you really?"
"Of course. What does he look like?"
"Well, he's blue, and he has six legs and...."
Nani quickly put a pillow on her face and looped her arms around those of her two students, leading them back to the theater area. "Let's get started shall we."
She staggered as Lilo threw the pillow and hit her in the back of the head.
There was a knock at the door. After a moment it opened, and a head appeared.
Lex didn't see it. His head was under the couch as he stabbed around in the darkness with a fireplace poker looking for the clothes wrecking, shoe stealing, invisible intruder who had whacked him on the head (repeatedly) with one of his own monogrammed spoons.
Red faced, Lex sat back on his haunches and turned toward the door. "WHAT?!?!" he bellowed.
"We have sort of an emergency." His housekeeper cleared her throat. "Uhm. Might I have your permission to call a plumber?"
"A.Plumber." Lex grated slowly. "A plumber. Why?"
Hannah wrung her hands nervously. "Well, it seems that every commode in the house is backed up and...."
A drop of water struck Lex on the back of the neck. Automatically he looked up, searching for its source. There, on the ceiling above his head, was a large wet spot. It was growing steadily. As he stared at it in shock, another drop hit him in the eye, and he heard his housekeeper finish her sentence.
"The second floor is flooded."
Lex closed his eyes and groaned.
Clark managed to escape from Nani for a second and cornered Pete just outside the theater door.
"Pete. What kind of dog is blue with six legs?"
"Are we talking about Lilo's dog?"
"Yeah." Clark frowned.
Pete chuckled. "She says it's not really a dog. It's an alien."
Clark's eyes widened. "Whoa!"
"She's six, Clark. You can't believe anything a six year old tells you, man. Their imaginations are like off the scale."
"But what if it's true?"
"Oh, please. An alien dog?"
"Well if it's an alien it doesn't necessarily have to actually be a dog. Haven't you ever seen Men in Black?"
"Okay, so it's an alien. Why are you so worried?"
"Aliens freak me out, Pete."
"That's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one." Pete laughed. "How do you brush your teeth?"
Clark scowled. "With a toothbrush."
"No, that's not what I meant. Looking in the mirror doesn't freak you out?"
"Very funny." The door to the theater opened and Lana came out, tugging Clark back inside. He managed to hold her off just long enough to add: "Find that dog, Pete."
Pete stared at the closed door. "Pete Ross," he sighed, turning away. "Alien dogcatcher."
Stitch came in through the back door into the kitchen while everyone was busy mopping up the water running down the main staircase. He was marching along singing a tune - with a snow shovel slung over one shoulder. He was planning on heading back into the den, but a strange scent suddenly caught his attention.
He stopped, ears and nose twitching like a mutant bunny, and put the shovel down on the floor. He'd smelled this particular scent once before. It was absolutely delectable and made his mouth water. Jumba had once brought some home in a carryout box when he'd finally completed Stitch. It had been sort of a celebratory dinner.
"Vewy rare, dis." The scientist had intoned, waving a forkful of the food under Stitch's nose. "Vewy expeensive. Delicacy thwu-out the gaahlaxy. But vewy hawd to come by dese days."
Jumba had peered at him carefully. "Do you vant a bite?"
It was the most wonderful food Stitch had ever eaten.
And it smelled just like what he was smelling right now.
He scampered around the kitchen, digging through cupboards, dumping out drawers and rummaging through the refrigerator. The smell was driving him crazy. He had to have some. His stomach growled as he smacked his lips in anticipation. It was in here somewhere, he knew it. If he had to tear the whole castle down he would find that food.
Finally, after making a great deal of noise and a horrible mess, he found the source. There was a wooden box sitting by the door, frustratingly empty, but it was definitely the source of the delicious smell. Stitch growled and kicked at it. Empty! How dare it be empty! The egghead probably ate it all.
He looked at the writing on the box.
Stitch narrowed his eyes. If the egghead ate all the yummy food, then the egghead was just going to have to go get some more and share it.
A noise made him turn around, braced for fight or flight, and his ears shot straight up as the person in question barged into the kitchen.
"What is going on in...."
Without warning, the egg man stepped on the end of the snow shovel. Whistling through the air as it came up, the handle rose to hit him solidly in the face.
He went down immediately, sprawled spread eagled in the middle of the kitchen floor.
Stitch scowled. Now was not the time for the man to have cracked himself, not when he had to go fetch Stitch's dinner. That would throw the plan completely off-kilter and create a difficulty, mainly because Stitch wasn't sure how to fly the Lamb Genie nor where to find the Kuheent Faahrum.
He sidled over to the egg man and poked him. "Misho. Misho du."
Stitch eyed the rapidly swelling black eye and dipped his ears. He gave the man's shoulder a little shake. "Wakey, wakey?"
Grumbling, Stitch grabbed one leg and proceeded to drag the now decidedly cracked egg man outside.
Maybe if he dunked him in the fountain...
Hula dancing, Lana decided, was harder than it looked.
She tripped over her own feet again, slammed into Clark, who then stumbled into Chloe, who promptly knocked Cheryl down.
Clark, she also decided, was harder than he looked. Lana rubbed her bruised elbows as Nani stopped the tape and hurried to pick Cheryl up off the stage floor. Lilo sat at a nearby table, making more lost dog flyers to replace the ones Lana and Nani had taken down. Occasionally the little girl would look up at the proceedings, shake her head sadly, and return to her coloring.
Lana smiled shyly. "Are we that bad?"
Lilo held up a number as if she were judging.
It was a negative four.
"Hmrph." Chloe stomped over to a stool and took off her boots. "Why did I ever let you talk me into this?"
Clark grinned. "It's kinda fun."
Both girls glared at him. The smile vanished.
Lana whispered to Chloe. "He's just liking it because every time we do the little hand fluttering thing he runs his fingers through my hair."
Chloe's eyebrows went up. "You too?"
"Okay ladies, and gentleman. Let's take it from the top, and this time Clark, don't flap your arms like that. You aren't a bird, okay?" Nani clapped her hands. "And Lana, it's step, step, swish, swish, step, step. No swishing between any other steps but two and three."
"Ixnay on the swishay. Gotcha."
Standing up in line again, Chloe started dancing on her own, grinning as she sang softly under her breath. "Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in and shake it all about..."
Lana giggled and nudged Clark. She took up the next line. "Put your left foot in, put your left foot out, put your left foot in and shake it all about..."
In less than sixty seconds, Clark, Chloe and Lana were warbling the lyrics, and dancing the moves to the Hokey Pokey, but doing the hand motions of the Hula Nani and Lilo had taught them. Cheryl looked on in absolute horror.
If Hula tells a story, Lana thought, I think we're up here telling dirty jokes.
"Put your back side in, put your backside out, put your backside in and shake it all about..."
The three of them shook their butts at Lilo and Nani.
Lilo shrieked with laughter and held up a ten.
The groan immediately turned into a yelp when he opened his eyes and found himself tied up in the passenger seat of his Lamborghini with a - thing - sitting in the driver's seat. He was tied up with a bunch of wires that looked suspiciously like part of the alarm system he'd had installed on the garage.
His head felt like a bomb had gone off behind his left eye, and shifting his weight slightly so he could peer into the side mirror, he saw he had a monster of a shiner. He groaned again, and watched the mutant teddy bear investigate the dashboard and instrument panel of the car with great interest. It had not yet noticed he was conscious.
"Aaah." It found the key slot.
The creature jerked to attention and growled, turning its gaze onto Lex. It smiled when it saw him looking back (or snarled, Lex couldn't tell) and held out a paw/claw.
Lex's eyes narrowed. "What if I don't tell you?"
The creature ate the knob off the gearshift.
"Okay, okay. It's in my pocket."
Little paws rummaged around in his pockets, tossing away his spare change, his wallet, and a business card. It ate the breath mints, then spit them out like tiny green bullets across the hood of the car. The keys it palmed, and began randomly poking every key into the slot until it found the right one. The car rumbled into life.
"Do you have a driver's license?" Lex asked sarcastically.
It leered at him, and pressed the garage door opener. For a minute it was nonplused as to how to reach the pedals, shift the gears, and operate the steering wheel at the same time. While the car growled in neutral, the creature sat in the driver's seat stroking its chin as it thought. Finally it scrambled out of the car.
The creature came back with a strange arrangement of mirrors which it proceeded to attach to the headrest of the Lamborghini with more wire pilfered from the alarm system. Lex felt ill. The mirrors had been torn off several of his other cars.
Once the mirror arrangement was in place, the creature grunted, producing, much to Lex's horror, another set of arms. Using the mirrors to see the road, it could now slip under the dash and operate the gas, brake, and clutch with its feet, the gear shift with one middle hand, and the steering wheel with its upper hands. It got itself into position.
I'm going to die.
Tires squealing, the car shot out of the garage and took a wavering course down the driveway, gaining speed as it went. At the end of the driveway it skidded to a stop and the creature turned to look at Lex.
"Where Kuheeent Faahrum?"
"Why am I not surprised that's where you want to go?" Lex muttered.
"Where, where?" It demanded. "Tell where."
He sighed. "Turn left."
With a cackle of delight, the thing put the car in gear again and turned left out on to the road. Lex sunk down into the passenger seat as their speed increased to well over the speed limit. The creature paid little attention to which side of the road was correct, driving on both with reckless abandon, and shouting back at other cars who honked at him.
Lex groaned again.
The little blue monster yelled happily.
"If I were an alien dog," Pete said to himself as he sat behind the wheel of his truck parked in front of the Talon. "Where would I go?"
Clark often went where Lana went. He also tended to hang around with Lex.
He started the truck, but before he pulled out, he stopped and stared at what he saw coming over the hill into town. It was traveling at a high rate of speed. Only Lex tended to speed through town. Only Lex could afford the traffic ticket, but even Lex didn't speed through town as fast as the silver Lamborghini was moving now.
It roared by as nothing but a silver blur. Pete thought he heard maniacal laughter and...
As it went past.
But he swore there was nobody driving it.
"Invisible alien dog?"
Pete shook his head and pulled out from the curb. Turning the truck around, he followed in the sport car's wake.
Oh, yes! The good food smell was definitely stronger at the Kuheent Faarhum.
Stitch left his egg man in the car. It was a grumpy thing, he'd discovered. Not friendly at all. It had a nice vehicle though, he thought, as he paused to pick some bugs out of his ears. The Lamb Genie was good and fast. He giggled as he scampered around the place, following his nose. Nobody seemed to be home.
There were other animals living there. Cows, chickens, and a goat, but other than the smell Stitch could find no trace of the animal he was looking for. The scent was strong in the barn, but stronger in the house. Stitch looked through all the kitchen cupboards, covering himself in flour as he tipped over canisters and poured out the contents of cans and boxes. The good food had to be there somewhere.
Upstairs he found one of its shoes. He dragged it down to the car and smacked the egg man in the arm with it.
"Where, where this?"
The egg man growled at him.
"Bad dog." Stitch scolded. "Where this critter?" He displayed the shoe, waving it directly under his captive's nose.
The man frowned. "Clark? What do you want with Clark."
Stitch narrowed his eyes and licked his chops.
"Dinner!" he crowed, cackling with delight at the prospect.
He wondered if he should call Jumba and see if he had any good recipes.
Kryptonian under glass. Roasted Kryptonian in white wine sauce. Stewed Kryptonian with basil and garlic. Kryptonian stir fry. Stuffed Kryptonian with brown gravy. Deep fried - no, better not, he was watching his waistline.
Oooh, Kryptonian Parmesan!
"Hey! No drooling on the leather!"
"This is hopeless." Nani whispered as she sat down next to Lilo and watched three of her students stumble all over themselves.
"I think they're funny, funnier than the Animaniacs." Lilo said rather seriously. "I'm thinking about promoting them. We might be able to get a film deal, or possibly our own television show if we play our cards right." She displayed a line graph she'd drawn up, presumably to illustrate possible income based on such an endeavor.
Nani moaned, and put her head in her hands. When she looked up she discovered her three problem children had pushed up their shirts and drawn faces on their stomachs with one of Lilo's markers. They were making bets on who could make their abs ripple so it looked like their belly buttons were singing.
Chloe was having difficulty. She was an outie.
Cheryl threw up her hands and walked out in disgust.
With yet another groan, Nani put her head down on the table with a "thud" and thumped it repeatedly on the surface, making Lilo's crayons bounce.
Lilo pointed with the blue crayon. "Color the part that sticks out red, Chloe, it will make him look like he's giving someone a raspberry."
Nani looked up at her sister and growled. "Don't encourage them."
She got a raspberry for her trouble.
Pete snuck over to the Lamborghini and peered inside. Lex was tied up in the passenger seat and when he saw Pete he looked profoundly relieved.
"Oh, thank God."
"What's going on?" Pete removed his pocket knife and started sawing through the wires wrapped around Lex's arms and wrists. "You look like someone mistook you for a baseball."
"That - thing - tried to kill me, and now it's after Clark."
"It's a little furry blue thing, with six legs."
Pete froze. "A blue thing with six legs?"
"Hurry, I managed to throw it off track for a minute. It's still searching for Clark, but it'll be back when it doesn't find him." Lex pulled the wires off and borrowed Pete's knife to free his legs.
"Are you sure you just didn't get hit on the head a little too hard?"
Pete raised his hands. "Peace, man. I'm on your side. This is Smallville, you know. Anything is possible." He paused. "What does it want with Clark?"
"It's going to play Julia Child with him."
"It's going to..."
There was a flash of light from beyond the barn, a loud bang, and a high pitched shriek that gradually turned into a roar. Light washed over them both, brightening the already bright sunshine. Lex trailed off in mid sentence, staring over Pete's shoulder with his mouth hanging open, and Pete's first impulse was to laugh his butt off at him. Something, however, made him turn around to look.
Clark's ship was hovering over the barn. Sitting inside, its big ears plastered back over its head, was a small, furry, blue, alien, dog.
Or not dog, Pete reminded himself.
It was grinning, laughing, and waving one of Clark's Nikes around. As they watched, it spun the ship upside down, then right side up, giggled, and then shot off towards town. Clark's shoe fell out of the sky and with a bang that made both Lex and Pete jump, put a massive dent in the hood of Lex's car. Lex shut his mouth with a click.
"Did..." Pete croaked. "Did you hear that?"
"What?" Lex whispered.
"I thought I heard that ship play 'Dixie' as it went by."
Stitch hadn't had this much fun since he'd stolen the police cruiser from Gantu. This ship was more his size, although it was a cantankerous little thing and liked to steer itself. He discovered, however, that as long as he kept it going in the basic direction it liked, he could do what ever he wanted.
So he buzzed cows, made crop circles in the corn, and snapped off weather vanes and lightning rods from the roofs of several barns. He looked down at the ground zipping past. A familiar silver vehicle below caught his attention, causing him to cackle wickedly. Dropping the ship down, he flew beside the car, sticking his tongue out and waggling his fingers at the driver.
"Eat my dust egghead! Heeeheeeheeeheeeee!"
Zshwoooom! The ship sped off into the sky, did a series of loops, and continued on its route towards town.
Stitch pressed the warning klaxon he'd reprogrammed.
~ "Way down South in the fields of cotton...." ~
It would have made Elvis proud.
Jonathan Kent stopped his truck on the side of the road and looked at his wife. They were on their way home from a shopping trip in Metropolis.
"What is it?" Martha asked.
"I thought I heard..." He scowled, and shook his head. "Never mind."
Lex's Lamborghini streaked by at an insane rate of speed.
The Kents looked at each other and frowned.
Jonathan pulled back onto the road. "Durn Luthor. Going to get himself killed."
"Now we're getting somewhere! Good, very good!" Nani called.
Lana grinned and turned, swaying her hips and raising one hand above her head. The other hand made a sweeping gesture across her stomach and waved off to the side, fingers curling inward towards her palm. Small strands of her hair, loosened from her ponytail, clung to her sweat dampened face.
They were making progress, thanks to Lilo, who had finally set aside her crayons and joined them. Cheryl had been negotiated with, and after a set of humble apologies from her friends, she'd come back. Nani and Lilo got up on the stage too, and the six of them arranged themselves into two staggered rows. The music played. Lilo directed them through the movements, poking people who screwed up with a yardstick she'd found in Lana's office.
Chloe danced better barefoot, and so did Clark, who had also exchanged his jeans and flannel for his gym clothes. Lilo had been momentarily distracted by Clark's toes, which she found interesting from a scientific viewpoint, declaring them terribly unusual specimens. After that, however, she got down to business.
"Hips!" Lilo crowed, and whapped Chloe in the butt with her yardstick.
Chloe growled, but put a little bit more sway into her hips. She stepped up in line with Clark, and they turned and gestured with Lana in perfect synchronization. She cocked her head around Clark and grinned at Lana, who grinned back, but she then had to quickly duck under one of Clark's arms.
Lilo poked him in the ribs. "You're not flying, Clark! Stop flapping."
Clark abruptly stopped everything. "Did you hear that?" he asked.
Everyone else stopped too.
"Hear what?" Lana frowned. "I didn't hear anything."
Clark's eyes went wide. "Everybody get down!"
Cheryl screamed. Chloe ducked and rolled under a table, dragging Lilo with her. Nani and Lana huddled in the shelter of Clark's arms as he shoved them down and turned his back to the outside wall of the theater.
There was a horrific crash as something busted through the cinder block wall and punched through the paneling into the theater. Dust and shrapnel filled the air, raining down on the stage and the rows of seats facing it. A loud roaring sound threatened to burst their eardrums. Finally there came a brilliant blast of white light, which abruptly shut off along with the noise.
Everyone slowly came out of their shelters, brushing dust from themselves and coughing. As the dust began to settle, there was revealed, sitting upon a row of crushed seats, a small spaceship.
Lana heard Clark groan.
He was echoed by Nani.
There was a click, and a whir, and the top of the ship opened up. Chloe stumbled forward with her camera, snapping photos as the alien emerged from inside.
It was cute.
It was fluffy.
It was blue.
"Stitch!" Lilo jumped up and down, clapping her hands. "Yay! You found us!"
Stitch blinked, staggering down the aisle toward the sound of Lilo's voice. He paused to growl at the camera wielding girl. In a quick grab, he snatched her camera and chewed it into several soggy pieces despite her angry protests. Stitch regarded her out of one eye as he spit the soggy camera bits back out at her. She had interesting hair.
Then he stopped.
"Hey Stitch! Good dog! Good dog!" Lilo was saying.
Stitch ignored her. He licked his lips.
"SUSHI!!!" he howled, and sank his teeth into a drumstick.
Pete followed Lex into the Talon, past the startled coffee patrons, and back into the theater part of the building. They'd seen the ship crash through the wall just as Lex had screeched to a halt outside the main entrance. The two of them burst through the doors of the auditorium and coughed as they encountered a room full of dust.
They also encountered screaming girls, and Clark jumping around the stage on one foot, trying to shake off the blue alien dog, which was gnawing on his calf. Under any other circumstances the pitiful squawking noise Clark was making would have been hysterical, but it was clear his alien defenses were not up to Lilo's dog's alien teeth. He saw Lex and Pete and waved frantically.
"Get it off! Get it off!"
Nani grabbed the creature's legs and pulled. "Stitch! Bad dog! Bad dog, let go!"
Lex jumped up on the stage and wholluped it across the head with Lilo's yardstick. The yardstick broke. The little blue monster simply growled at him and clamped its jaws tighter.
Lana and Chloe each grabbed an ear while Lex used the broken yardstick to pry open its mouth. It let go suddenly, and went flying back into Nani, bowling them both over onto the floor. It hissed and spit and tried to get loose from her, but she held on tightly, yelling the whole time.
Lilo threw water in its face. "Bad, Stitch! You stop it right now or I'll have Jumba take you apart."
Pete climbed up onto the stage and knelt with Lana and Chloe as they pulled up Clark's pant leg. Blood was welling up in the crescent shaped bite marks on either side of his calf. The skin was already starting to turn a really ugly shade of purple.
"I hope that thing has had it's shots." Lana winced sympathetically.
Clark looked down at his leg. Pete glanced up at him. He was staring at the blood running down his calf and as Pete watched, his eyes rolled backwards until all that could be seen were the whites.
"Tiiimmbeeeerrrrr." Lilo sang.
Chloe made a note in a little pad she pulled from her back pocket. "That's twice in two days." She patted Clark's bare foot affectionately. "Blackmail material galore."
"You can't just go around eating people without asking first." Lilo explained, as she and Stitch sat in the back seat of the rental car on their way back to cousin Thomas' house. "It's not polite."
"Yummy." Stitch pouted. He'd gotten just a tiny taste and it wasn't fair. He wanted more. It was all Jumba's fault.
"I'm sure if you'd have asked first, Clark might have let you lick him."
Lilo thought a bit. "Or maybe given you a bit of one of his toes. He's got terribly long toes. He doesn't need such long toes. Toes don't have to be a certain length to function properly." She looked down at her own stubby toes, poking out from the ends of her flip flops.
"Hmmmmm." Stitch thought about skewering a toe and roasting it over an open flame. He started drooling.
"But of course since you had to go and embarrass yourself and make Clark mad, he probably won't let you anywhere near him ever again."
Ears drooping, Stitch whimpered. "Never?"
"Never." Lilo said decisively.
She gave him a hug. "It's okay Stitch. You didn't know he was the only one left."
Stitch lifted an ear. "Only one?"
Tuesday's presentation was a big success, drawing a full house. Because of the damage to the Talon, everything had been moved to the high school auditorium. Chloe advertised it heavily in the Torch. Lana would be serving imported Hawaiian coffees at the Talon in a reception afterward.
Nani and Lilo talked about native Hawaiian culture and showed pictures of their home in a computerized slide show Chloe helped them put together, but the Hula demonstration was the highlight of the evening. Nani, Lilo, Cheryl, Lana and Chloe, swayed and spun, waved and gestured in a perfectly choreographed dance. The grass skirts rustled and danced along with them. They smiled and curtsied at the conclusion, and received a standing ovation which made them all blush modestly. They wore tank tops instead of bikini tops. Pete and Clark, sitting in the front row, were disappointed.
"You could always peek with the X-ray schtick."
"That would be cheating." Clark pouted and watched Lana and Chloe sashay around the stage in their little grass skirts. He sighed longingly.
"Well, at least you got out of having to humiliate yourself for nothing." Pete said finally, when it was all over and people started filing out. "Can't dance if you're crippled up."
Clark grunted. "I wish I had alien aspirin. This still hurts. I think he got down to the bone."
Speak of the devil. Pete glanced over to the seat next to Clark. Sitting there very demurely, was Stitch. The little alien waved.
Clark caught sight of him too, and immediately cringed. It he could have he would have crawled into Pete's lap.
"S'kay." Stitch said hastily. "Me no bite." He blinked his big dark eyes, looking very innocent and harmless. "Stitch is sorry. Stitch didn't know Clark is only one." He nodded, his ears folding back. His expression was a bit melancholy. "Stitch is only one too."
Pete and Clark exchanged glances.
"You're the only one of your kind?" Clark asked.
Stitch nodded. "But Ea-rath people nice to Stitch. I have family." He blinked at them again, and got down from his chair, folding his paws together and looking up at Clark very earnestly. "Family is good. Friends too." Extending one paw, he waited.
After a moment, Clark cautiously shook the paw, and Stitch's ears came up. Clark patted him on the head. "Have a safe trip back to Hawaii," he said. "It was very nice meeting you, even if you did try to bite my leg off."
Stitch hugged him.
"Ah, man." Pete grumbled. "Darn dog's making me weepy."
"Where did it go?" Lex demanded, pointing to the row of smashed seats in the middle of the Talon's theater.
"Where did what go?" Lana asked innocently.
"The spaceship! The spaceship!"
"What spaceship? What are you talking about Lex, this was caused by the lightning."
He stared at her. "What?"
"Don't you remember? The storm we had the other day? It backed up all the sewers, your house flooded, and lightning hit the Talon." She put a hand out to touch his forehead. "You wrecked the Lamborghini, remember? And you hit your head."
"I -- what -- no I didn't!" He pushed her hand away. "There was a ship, and an alien and...."
Lana frowned. "Lex, I'm calling Helen. You're scaring me."
"I swear, there was an alien. It was blue, and fluffy, and it hit me with a spoon..."
Turning away from him, Lana pulled her cell phone out of her back pocket. "Hello, Dr. Bryce? I think you'd better come get Lex. Symptoms? Uhm, well. Have you ever seen the movie 'Harvey?' Yeah, well Lex isn't seeing giant rabbits, he's seeing fluffy blue aliens in little bitty spaceships."
Lana scowled. "You'd better hurry."
Down the long straight road flanked by cornfields, a little white rental car headed away from Smallville, Kansas. The young woman inside tapped her steering wheel to the sounds of Elvis Presley and sang along with the chorus.
High above her, in a little spaceship shaped like a lawn dart, Lilo and Stitch giggled and laughed as he pointed out now familiar landmarks. He showed Lilo the crop circles he'd made during his first flight, and took a small detour in order to buzz some cows.
As they passed the Kent Farm, the girl in the car honked her horn. Stitch waggled the ship's "wings" and did a little roll, making Lilo shriek with delight.
The Kents waved.
"Well," Clark said, watching the strange trio vanish over a small rise. "Better Hawaii than our storm cellar. Lex will never find it there."
Martha chuckled. "He's too busy dredging the fishpond for his shoes to worry about it anyway."
"Funny how selective that storm was." Jonathan remarked. "It only backed up the plumbing at the mansion." He winked.
"I heard Helen is recommending Lex take a sabbatical." Clark added. "He's still insisting he saw an alien in a spaceship."
The three of them laughed, turned, and started walking back to the house. Jonathan leaned over and gave Martha a kiss. Clark paused halfway up the driveway, drawing their attention as he pulled up his pant leg and frowned down at the bite mark on his calf.
"Say Mom, does this look infected to you?"
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