by Mike Cline
winds of change continued into the Smallville summer of 1966.
Clark Kent and his close group of
friends had walked the aisle in late May and received their
diplomas from Smallville Junior College.
Each of them then faced serious
decisions to make regarding their future plans.
Pete Ross, Kent's best friend
since childhood, decided he would hold off on continuing college
for the time being and would apply for enlistment in the U.S.
Army. Then, after his hitch, he could get his four-year
Bachelor's degree under the G.I. Bill. His father, who owned one
of the two insurance agencies in Smallville, had died suddenly
back in the Spring from a heart attack. His dad had not left an
estate as large as Pete and his mother had expected, so paying
for two more years of college would be a hardship. Plus Mr. Ross
had served his country in the Army during World War II. Young
Ross figured he could honor his father's memory and conserve what
monies his mother had by going the military route.
Going this route also meant he
would have to leave behind his girlfriend Lisa Landon. They had
been dating since the previous Fall, and the couple had been
through plenty. Early on in their relationship, Pete had
discovered that the lovely Miss Landon was not only a college
sophomore but was also a visitor from another planet, now known
world-wide as Supergirl. She had been rocketed to Earth several
years prior to their meeting. Besides himself, only Clark and
Martha Kent knew that Lisa and Supergirl were one and the same.
As for Lisa Landon, she had
decided to also suspend her formal education with an Associate
degree and seek employment in or around Smallville. She yearned
to obtain practical experience in the business world, hopefully
in a job which kept her close to people. Finding employment came
quickly for her. With a good word from Clark's earth mother
Martha Kent, Dan Grayson hired Lisa as his full-time bookkeeper
and assistant manager at his business, which had originated as
the family Kent's General Store.
Lastly, there was Clark, the
maturing Smallville resident who used the mild-mannered exterior
to conceal the secret that he, too, was born in another galaxy,
sent to earth as a newborn and found and raised by the Kents.
Since his early teens, he had openly been helping his fellow
citizens and fighting crime as Superboy, one of the most
recognizable figures on Earth.
During his sophomore year at SJC,
Clark had really taken to journalism, and had decided to major in
such, as opposed to his original desire for a career in science.
His college education would not be postponed like Pete and
Lisa's. Starting in the Fall, Clark would continue on as a junior
in the much larger college and city, University of Metropolis.
But in the three-month interim, he had lined up an intern
position at the Smallville Sentinel. Editor Laurence Larson was
glad to have him, even if the paper's budget didn't allow for a
salary. Kent said that was not a problem. He just wanted to pick
up some experience and learn as much as he could about the
newspaper game. He would be able to work with his good friend
Rusty Ellsworth, who had begun working there while in high school
as a part-time custodian, but with some help from Superboy, had
been given the reporter's position he had yearned. Another bonus
for Kent being at the Sentinel was the access to the national
news service teletype machines. With them, he could keep up with
events which could require his services as the Boy of Steel.
Her graduation from Smallville
Junior College presented Lisa Landon with a small problem...where
to live. No more dormitory access, and she had no home in which
to return. She had lived her first year on Earth at the Midvale
Orphanage, so she couldn't return there, nor would she wish to do
so. The problem was quickly resolved when Martha Kent declared
that Lisa could move in with her. It would fill the void which
occurred when Martha's sister Edith's health deteriorated to the
point that older Martha couldn't take proper medical care of her
sibling. There was too much lifting and negotiating the stairs.
Since Smallville had no such facility, Edith had gone to live out
her life at a "rest home" not far from the orphanage in
Midvale. Some folks called the place "the poor farm" or
"the county home." Martha felt guilty about having to
place Edith there, but she had no realistic alternative. But
having Lisa in the house would be a blessing, Martha believed,
and she had secretly always wanted a daughter as well as a son.
Lisa was crazy about Martha as well. But the young lady expressed
some concern about her moving in at the Kent home right away.
Clark would be living there until he left for Metropolis in
September. What might the neighbors and townspeople think of a
young man and young woman living unmarried under the same roof?
Perhaps she should rent a room somewhere else, perhaps the
Smallville Hotel or a boarding house, until Clark left. Martha
would hear none of that. "Do you think I'm concerned about
what old busybodies might say or think? Not at my age. This is my
house, and I'll do what I doggone please in it. Now that's the
end of that. And I have a feeling that with both of you here all
summer, that revolving bookcase is going to get a real workout."
So, the weekend after graduation,
she moved her clothes and what few belongings she had into the
third bedroom of the Kent country home. And the following Monday
morning, Superboy and Supergirl flew into Smallville, assumed
their earthly identities, had a quick breakfast at Tony's Diner
(the pancakes there were incredible) and reported to their
arriving at her new place of employment, Dan Grayson welcomed
Lisa to the growing staff (she made it three) of his
establishment. Besides himself and Lisa, the only other employee
was a fairly-nice looking young man, Brody Murphy. Brody stood
about six feet, had reddish-brown curly hair and green eyes. And
how those green eyes lit up when he saw the lovely Landon girl.
Most of the morning was spent with Dan showing Lisa around the
store. Brody waited on the customers while Lisa took the tour.
She would be working mostly in the small office in the stock
room, which Dan had constructed, not knowingly, over the trapdoor
Clark once used to come and go when Superboy was needed. The
tunnel leading away from the store had been filled in by young
Kent before Grayson took possession of the business, but had he
been able to see into the future, Clark could have left the
tunnel as it was, as it would have been useful to Supergirl now.
Lisa was to handle the purchase invoices, sales receipts,
inventory records and make out the payroll for the three now
working at Dan's store. And, if needed in a pinch, help wait on
A couple of blocks down the
street stood the Smallville Sentinel, where Rusty Ellsworth
welcomed his long-time friend Kent. When Clark asked him how
things were going, Ellsworth answered that, thanks to Superboy's
giving him his big "break" in bringing Supergirl to him
for her first interview, everything had been uphill. He loved
what he did and couldn't be happier. No current girlfriend, but
that was O.K. (for now). The job kept him busy six days a week
and often nights as well. Rusty still lived at home with his
mother. Ever since Mr. Ellsworth had passed when he and Clark
were in ninth grade, his mother really never got passed it, and
the youthful reporter worried about his remaining parent. But he
had prepared his mother that the day would eventually come that
he would have to move out.
"RUSTY!" a booming
"Yes, Mr. Larson."
"GET IN HERE!"
"Come on Clark, the lion is
roaring. Let's go see what he wants."
A moment later found Rusty and
Clark standing at attention in front of the editor's desk.
"Why is it, Mr. Ellsworth,
that I have to hear on the local radio station that someone broke
into the high school, and I don't have a reporter on the scene?"
"I'm on it Mr. Larson. Come
"YOU'D BETTER BE! and DON'T
SLAM...!" the veteran newsman shouted as Rusty slammed the
door, making the boss wince. "Come on Clark. My car's right
"You know Rusty," Clark
responded, "This doesn't sound like such a big deal. I was
hoping to walk around the building and sort of, get a feel for
everything. I'll go with you on the next assignment. O.K.?"
"O.K., if that's what you
want," Rusty answered, never breaking stride.
As soon as Rusty had cleared the
door of the press room leading to the outside alley, Clark
followed him out, but instead of going along, watched as his
buddy peeled out in his '59 Fairlane, then ducked behind some
stacked pallets of raw newsprint, and soon sprung into the air as
the Boy of Steel enroute to his alma mater Smallville High
Dan Grayson had just finished
sweeping the sidewalk in front of his store. Upon entering, he
informed his two employees that he had just seen Superboy
streaking across the treetops.
Lisa's curiosity was aroused.
Inspector Henderson of the
Smallville PD was standing in the main hall of the school
building with Principal Winters when the super hero approached
them. They exchanged greetings as the youth thought to himself,
"Isn't Winters ever going to retire?"
The main door gave a huge bang as
reporter Ellsworth made the scene. As he stopped before the
three, the first thing out of his mouth were words of amazement,
"What in the world is that?"
The four stood staring at one of
the walls of the main hall. On it, someone had graffitied in
bright red paint SOON IT WILL END.
"What in the world does that
mean?" Rusty asked.
"No idea," answered the
On the floor remained the opened
can of paint and a used brush. The paint on both the wall and
brush had completely dried.
Superboy excused himself briefly
and stepped into the nearest classroom. Rolling up his left blue
sleeve just far enough to reveal the special watch he wore to
contact either the police or Supergirl, he sent a vibrating
signal to his counterpart. At her desk, Lisa answered in a very
"This is Supergirl."
"This is Superboy calling.
Could you meet me in the main hall of the high school? I want to
get your take on something."
"I'll leave right away."
She rose immediately, stepped out into the stock room and asked
Grayson if she could "run down the street for a moment."
He nodded in the affirmative. As she neared the front door, Brody
asked her where she was going. She answered she'd be right back.
Of course, she went down the street only as far as the nearest
In a few short minutes, Supergirl
had joined the others in front of the painted message, which
Rusty was photographing. He snapped a few shots of the brush and
can as well. "Any other vandalism or anything missing?"
Henderson was asking. No other signs of pranksters anywhere else.
Determining if anything was missing could take days, but on his
first inspection of the campus, nothing seemed out of the
ordinary to the aging principal.
"Could just be a case of
some kids with too much time on their hands, I guess,"
Winters suggested. "But what a strange thing to write."
Rusty added, "Maybe one of
those Doomsday nuts."
"I'll take the paint brush
and can to the lab and check them for prints. Otherwise, I guess
we're through here. We'll do what we can Mr. Winters."
Superboy asked the principal if
he had on hand any paint to cover the odd writing. A couple of
extra cans of the original brown color were in the supply room.
The two in red and blue fetched the paint needed and at super
speed had completely covered the unwelcome message. Rusty snapped
a picture of the two painting, but when Sid, the Sentinel
darkroom guy, developed the photo, it was but a blur.
time Rusty got back to the Sentinel, it was mid-morning, and
Clark was finishing up his "important" assignment of
distributing the morning mail to the proper people. The reporter
went straight to his typewriter to get his big vandalism story on
paper, before he forgot the details.
Kent soon joined his friend,
sitting on the corner of the old oak desk that had probably been
in use since the Great Depression. He inquired about the incident
at the high school, and as Rusty related the "story of the
decade," Clark commented, "Mr. Winters is still there?"
(Even though he had just seen him.)
"Yeah," Rusty laughed,
"This is his 80th year. He's going to retire at the end of
Clark joked that he remembered
how Lana Lang used to say that Winters loved hearing himself on
the intercom so much that maybe someday he would become a big
radio star. "Guess that never worked out for him."
As Ellsworth continued telling
what had happened, he stopped, "Clark, what's that on your
"You have a brown stain on
the front of your shirt. Weird, it looks like the same color as
the paint Superboy and Supergirl were using at the school."
The concealed super hero looked
down, and sure enough, it was a splotch of the paint that
somehow, in all the flurry, managed to get inside the pouch on
the underside of his cape where Kent's clothes were kept when
Superboy was in action. Thinking quickly, he answered, "Drat!
I spilled some of my Yoohoo on my shirt. I better soak it before
the stain sets. I'll be right back." When Clark returned
from the rest room, Rusty was finishing up his story and
apparently had thought nothing more of his friend's clothing
Brody Murphy, on his morning
break, stepped into the General Store office where he found Lisa
busily going through stacks of paper work. He offered her a
cigarette, which she declined, and as he started to light his,
she asked him to please not smoke around her work area.
"Oh, sorry. I didn't know if
you smoked or not. Mr. Grayson doesn't mind if I smoke back here.
"Well, just not in the
office area, please. O.K. Brody?"
"Sure, no problem? Lisa, I
was wondering if you might be willing to, say, go out with me,
like, Friday night? We could grab a bite and go bowling or maybe
see a movie at the drive-in.
"That's nice of you to ask
Brody, but I've been seeing someone steady for a good while."
"Oh, I didn't know. Boy, is
my face red," he answered.
"Don't be embarrassed. It's
"Might I ask his name?"
"Sure. Pete Ross. We've been
dating since last Fall," Lisa replied, hoping that would end
It didn't. "Yeah, I remember
Pete. He was a class ahead of me in high school. Nice guy. But I
heard he joined the Army and he's gone."
"Yes, he did and he is. But
we're still in touch."
Brody increased the pressure a
bit and told Lisa that long-distance relationships rarely worked
out, and he was there, on the scene, if she caught his drift.
Lisa repeated that she appreciated the offer, but she would have
to decline his offer. Then she swung her chair around to dig
through a nearby filing cabinet. Fortunately, Murphy took the
less-than-subtle hint and walked off, finally lighting up.
Around mid-afternoon, Rusty and
Clark walked back into the Sentinel, having checked out a minor
traffic accident in which a driver swerved to miss hitting a cat
in the street and clipped a fire hydrant. "I can see
tomorrow's headline now...WATER OFF ON DUNLAP STREET DUE TO KITTY
CAT. Geez, what a slow news day. I'll never win my Pulitzer
reporting stuff like this."
"It has been rather dull
today, hasn't it," Kent replied. "I guess all your
stories can't be on the level of introducing Supergirl to the
The disappointed reporter grabbed
a copy of the day's paper getting ready to hit the street to see
if his high school story made the front page. Finding his story
on page two, he lamented, "Nope, not today. I guess a little
vandalism at Smallville High can't compare with Vietnam, a famine
in India and Bobby Kennedy's trip to Africa. Oh well."
"Well, after all, you don't
create the local news Rusty. You can only write about what
Ellsworth agreed but told Clark
that if things stayed this quiet, he'd end up covering
neighborhood tea parties or the flower show with Jiminy. Kent
The rest of the afternoon dragged
until everyone in the building probably heard someone yelling at
the top of his lungs, "ACCIDENT IN THE PRESS ROOM! WE NEED
HELP!" Everyone within hearing range ran to the press room
door and saw Charlie King pinned to the floor by a huge roll of
raw newsprint atop his legs. It had slipped of the press as the
crew was preparing things for the next day.
"CALL AN AMBULANCE!"
Since Lisa was nearby, Clark
summoned her via their signal watches. Still performing office
duties and fortunately alone, she answered the call to hear,
"This is Superboy. You're needed in the press room at the
Using her x-ray vision to observe
both her boss and young Murphy waiting on customers in the front
of the store, she bolted out the back door of the store room, and
while racing to the accident scene at super speed, transformed
into the Girl of Steel. She quickly entered the newspaper
building, just as an ambulance pulled into the alley beside the
door. She requested everyone to step back away from the injured
King. Then, gently lifting the large roll of paper with little
effort, several men carefully pulled their now unconscious friend
to safety. Supergirl set the roll down just as the medical crew
reached King. Clark and Rusty overheard one attendant tell the
other that it looked like both legs were crushed pretty badly.
Clark then noticed the boss, Laurence Larson with tears in his
eyes. He asked that everyone finish up for the day as he was
going to the hospital with his injured employee.
All in the area thanked Supergirl
for her assistance. As she started for the door, Rusty asked her
if she had any comments for the story he would be writing. "Well,
what can I say? I wish the gentleman a full and speedy recovery
and regret this horrible accident. Does he have a family?"
Terry, another press room
employee, answered, "Yeah, a wife and three kids. But they
won't suffer financially. The Sentinel is family. We take care of
our own." Terry walked away, sobbing.
As she again turned to leave,
Rusty whispered to Kent, "Have you met her?"
"Well, I..." He started
"Supergirl, I'd like you to
meet my good friend Clark Kent. He's interning here for the
Extending her hand, "It's
nice to meet you Clark."
"Great meeting you,
Supergirl. Maybe we'll run into one another again sometime."
"That would be nice, Clark.
And good luck with your internship. Rusty, I have to go."
And very quickly, Lisa was again at her desk working, without
anyone at the store knowing she had ever left."
When they got back to his office,
Rusty told Clark, "I think Supergirl really liked you."
"Oh, stop it Rusty!"
The reporter, putting paper into
his typewriter, laughed a bit, then grew serious, "Damn, I'd
much rather be writing about the cat and the fire hydrant than
poor Charlie King."
was helping Martha wash and put away the supper dishes. Having
shared the news of the tragic accident of the afternoon with her
over their meal, Martha was very concerned about the entire King
family. "What an awful thing to happen. I've known Charlie
King since he was a little boy, and Roberta has always been such
a dear. And three children. It's not going to be easy on them."
She decided she would fix several
different casseroles and drop them by the King house the
following morning. Lisa offered to help, even though she had
little cooking experience. Martha welcomed her assistance, and
besides, it was time for the blossoming woman to know her way
around the kitchen, she thought.
Clark had stretched out on the
living room sofa and was watching television. Lisa stuck her head
into the room and asked what he was watching. HIGHWAY PATROL was
his answer. "I remember watching it as a kid with my Dad. It
was one of his favorite programs. He liked Broderick Crawford a
Mr. Crawford's name didn't ring
any bells for Lisa, as she had been living on a planet in another
galaxy when the show first aired. She informed Clark what she and
Martha were doing in the kitchen, and he replied that as soon as
Lt. Dan Matthews brought the evening's criminal to justice, he
was going to patrol Smallville and hoped he wouldn't have to be
Only a couple of minutes passed,
as the ladies were getting their casserole ingredients ready,
Lisa felt the vibration from her signal watch. She pushed open
the swinging door to the living room. "Did you get that,
"Yes," he answered.
"Do you want me to take it,
or you?" she asked.
"I will. I was going out
anyway." Answering the call, "Yes, this is Superboy."
Lisa remained to eavesdrop.
"Superboy. Henderson here.
I'm at George Dickerson's Trucking Company. There's been a
breakin and a robbery."
"I'm on my way, Inspector."
He asked Lisa to tell Martha that he had to go out. Lisa shook
her head as she watched Clark go through the revolving bookcase
into the secret room, where Clark made his fast dissolve into
Superboy, and using the trap door and secret tunnel leading into
the woods away from the house, was quickly in flight.
As he descended, the soaring
figure observed two squad cars, red lights making their circular
rotations. He landed right beside Henderson. The officer informed
him that the office door had been bashed in and the safe had been
blown. Both desks had been ransacked as well as two filing
cabinets. Papers were thrown everywhere. In short, the office was
"Here comes George now,"
Henderson noticed as a slightly beat up pickup skidded to a halt
in the dirt. Owner Dickerson slammed the door and ran over to the
"George, have you met
Superboy?" Henderson asked. Not even answering, he headed
for the office. "Hold it George, don't go in there yet. My
men are still taking photographs and dusting for prints. It's a
crime scene, ya know."
Dickerson turned around and
returned to the officer. "You say the safe was blown?"
He replied in the affirmative. "Did they take the money?"
The cop told the owner they found no money so apparently the
intruder did. "How much did they get, George?"
"I can tell you exact. One
thousand, eight hundred and forty-four dollars and twenty-two
cents. This week's payroll. I got it from the bank just this
afternoon. Payday for my people is Wednesday. I was going to be
gone all day tomorrow. Supposed to take a load of furniture over
to Silsby for a customer, so I went to the bank today. Damn, what
am I gonna do? I can't replace that money by Wednesday."
"Isn't the money insured?"
the Boy of Steel asked.
"No. I didn't have that
rider on my insurance. Lank Ross was always hounding me to add
it, but I kept putting him off, and then Lank dropped dead, and I
forgot about it. Damn!" Dickerson walked off slowly, stopped
at his truck and leaned on the hood with both hands.
"There's something else you
need to see Superboy. This way." The two walked around the
back of the office where Superboy immediately saw the message,
painted in bright red. He had seen the writing before...SOON IT
"Well, it appears that our
high school culprit isn't satisfied with just vandalism. Now it's
theft," the lad remarked.
"Plus breaking and entering,
destruction of private property and any other charge I can think
of to slap on him, er, them."
"You left out "her"
Inspector?" the super hero chuckled a bit.
"You think a female did
this! Nah!" the cop answered with irritation in his voice.
"Probably not Inspector, but
who can tell? Maybe you'll get lucky with some prints."
"There could be fingerprints
of hundreds of people in that office. It's a long shot, but it's
about all we can go on. I'll notify all the local merchants to be
wary of anyone spending a large amount of money. Usually, if a
petty thief steals a big sum of cash, it burns a hole in his
pocket right away," the cop replied.
A pair of headlights turned off
the highway into the parking lot. The '59 Fairlane, like the
pickup, slid on the dirt coming to a stop.Henderson greeted Rusty
Ellsworth, who in turn greeted Superboy, who in turn informed
them both that he was leaving.
"Thanks for including me
Inspector. Let me know if anything turns up."
"Thanks Superboy, I will."
"Where ya goin' Superboy?"
snooped the Sentinel reporter.
Home was the reply.
"And where might that be?"
Rusty laughed slightly.
"Rusty, you're a good
reporter, but sometimes, you ask too many questions," came
the answer as he lifted upward and disappeared into the darkness.
"Clark's back," Lisa
told Martha, "I can hear him with my super hearing. He's
coming through the tunnel." She took off her apron and
headed into the living room.
By the time the Boy of Steel came
up into the secret room, Lisa was awaiting him. "Tell me
about it," she requested.
The lad seemed a tad annoyed.
"Lisa, don't ever leave the bookcase open like this. Make
sure you close it every time." She quickly did as he asked.
"I'm sorry, but there's no
one here but the three of us."
"Doesn't matter. You must
always be careful. Don't assume anything. And when you come home,
always change from Supergirl to Lisa in this room. Don't ever go
into the living room as Supergirl. Understand? And use your x-ray
vision before opening the bookcase and make sure Mom doesn't have
"I will. I guess I dropped
my guard," she said quietly, dropping her head. He put his
hand on her shoulder.
"I'm just trying to help.
You know the importance of our secret identities," he
replied as he removed Clark's attire from his cape. "Well,
are you going to stand there while I change?"
"Oh, sorry," she
laughed as she breezed back towards the living room, closing the
Less than a minute passed, and
Clark plopped back down on the sofa. Martha passed through the
room, told her son she was tuckered out and was turning in. She
wished both youngins a good night and disappeared into her
downstairs bedroom. Lisa took her place in Martha's chair and
thumbed through a magazine. "What are you watching now?"
"Andy Griffith. The TV Guide
said this is the episode where Barney Fife finds a brief case
loaded with cash. Well, Barney's not the only one who came into
money tonight. Whoever hit Dickerson's place got eighteen hundred
dollars in greenbacks."
"Wow, lot of money,"
she answered. "Clark, while you were gone, I was
thinking...have you considered changing your name to Superman?
You're twenty-one now and hardly a boy anymore."
He sat up and swirled around and
planted both feet on the floor. "Actually I haven't thought
about it. What made you say that?"
"Well, you are twenty-one
now, you're hardly a boy anymore. And Superman sounds more
dynamic and menacing than Superboy."
"I don't think that needs to
be settled tonight. Besides, it's been a long day. I'm going to
bed. After all, tomorrow's another work day...and for you, too.
And you actually get paid at your job." He laughed.
"You're right, I'll get the
lights," she offered.
Always the gentleman, Clark
allowed Lisa to ascend the stairs ahead of him. Each reached
their respective bedrooms at the same time, directly across the
hall from one another. Perhaps oddly, they simultaneously both
turned toward each other and as their eyes met, said goodnight,
each perhaps studying the other for a second before entering
their rooms and closing the doors.
minutes before eight the next morning, Clark checked in with his
Smallville Sentinel mentor and friend Rusty Ellsworth, who was
proofing the story he had written late into the night of the
burglary at the trucking company. Feigning ignorance, Clark was
inquisitive about the details. After all, Superboy knew all about
what had happened, but as far as Rusty knew, Kent didn't. The
reporter handed him the two sheets of single-spaced paper for his
perusal. After he pretended to digest the info, he commented that
Rusty's story was sure to make page one in the day's edition.
Then Clark asked for an update on the injured Sentinel employee
"Charlie died during the
Kent froze from the shock.
From what he had been told since
getting to work, Charlie might have thrown a blood clot from his
injuries and had a fatal stroke during the night. An autopsy was
to be performed during the morning.
"How awful," was about
all Clark could muster.
"Yeah, terrible. Charlie was
a great guy. Friendly as hell, would do anything for anyone."
Rusty wiped his eyes. "Clark, what I need you to do for the
next, say, two hours, is walk around the building, getting
comments from folks of what kind of man Charlie was. Then, hit
Main Street and talk to people in town. Then get back here and
write it up as a story. If Mr. Larson likes what you write, I'll
try to get him to run it as a sidebar story next to mine. Got
"Got it." The intern
grabbed a notepad and pencil and headed down the hall.
The early customers in Grayson's
General Store, all women, were whispering about Charlie's
passing. They had heard the local news report over WSML,
Smallville's 1000-watt AM radio station. Lisa Landon was in the
front of the store consoling several of the ladies, who were good
friends with Charlie's widow Roberta.
"Oh, you're the young girl
who's living with Martha Kent, aren't you?" She replied and
told the small group that Martha had prepared several casseroles
to take to the Kings.
Among the early customers was
Gladys Parker, one of the town's biggest snoops. Lisa had heard
that Gladys spread gossip around town as if it were manure on her
"Isn't Martha's boy Clark
living at home, too."
Landon answered, "Yes ma'am,
just for the summer. Clark's starting Metropolis University in
"Even so, it doesn't seem
proper to me for a young man and a young woman who aren't married
Dan Grayson passed through the
group, stopping the busybody's comments, "Morning ladies.
I'm sure having Lisa living with Martha is a great comfort to
them both. Wouldn't you agree, Mrs. Parker?"
"Well, I suppose, Mr.
Grayson. But without benefit of clergy, I don't..."
"Is there anything else I
can get for you Mrs. Parker?"
"No, I'm finished," she
"Well, I do hope you'll shop
with me again real soon. And tell your son Luke that I'm looking
forward to the high school football season this Fall, won't you?
He'll be playing again, won't he?"
"Oh yes, he'll be a senior
this year. He's the best player on the team, you know."
"I'm sure he is,"
Grayson said, walking behind the counter and seeing that Gladys
left the premises. "Lisa, is the bank deposit ready?"
"Yes sir. It's on your
"Thanks. I'll lock the
office. Brody and I will be in the alley unloading a truck until
the bank opens at nine. Until then, I need you to stay out here
in the store."
"Yes sir," Lisa said,
thinking how lucky she was working for a such a nice boss.
By the time Grayson returned from
the bank, Kent had made his way down main street and decided to
stop in to get a few remarks about Charlie King from Dan. "Good
to see you Clark," pointing to Lisa, "I believe you
know my pretty new employee."
"I certainly do. As a matter
of fact," Clark let slip without thinking, "we flew
into town together this morning."
"Flew?" the puzzled
store owner asked.
"What Clark means, Mr.
Grayson, is that we were running a little late this morning and
we drove a bit faster than we should have so we could get to work
on time," was Lisa's cover.
"Kids, listen, better to be
a little late than to risk having an accident."
"You're right, Mr. Grayson,"
the two answered in unison. Clark turned and asked Brody Murphy
if he had any thing he'd like to add about Charlie King. The kid
stated that he was very sorry to hear what happened but really
knew Charlie only by sight.
Dan recalled a funny story about
King as Kent wrote it down. Clark thanked him, winked at Lisa and
headed for his final stop, the drug store. Just as he was
entering, his watch buzzed his wrist. Stepping away from the door
and sure no one was within hearing distance, he answered. Lisa,
now behind the counter at Grayson's had also responded.
It was Henderson. "Oh good,
both of you. I'm leaving headquarters en route to another
breakin. SOON IT WILL END has struck again. And this time, we
have a body."
Lisa, crouched down behind the
counter as not to draw customers' attention, replied, "It's
difficult for me at the moment to get there. Superboy, could you
please meet the Inspector?"
"Yes, I will. Thank you
Supergirl. Inspector, where should I meet you?"
The Boy of Steel was shocked when
the detective answered, "The Lex Luthor mansion."
"I'll be there shortly."
"Are you talking to somebody
back there, dearie?" Lisa looked up from the floor to see a
grey-headed woman leaning over the counter.
"Oh, well sort of. Talking
to myself. I was looking for something."
"You, too. Honey, I talk to
myself all the time. And sometimes I even listen," and she
went on her way.
Young Landon slowly paced
thinking, "Someone killed Lex Luthor?"
took Kent a few minutes longer than expected to reach his
destination. As he briskly walked across Main Street to a
secluded spot behind the town's only retail furniture store, he
was stopped by several different folks on the street who hadn't
seen him in a while and just wanted to "catch up."
But he shortly came to land in
front of the Luthor house, a place he had visited several times
in the past. None had been a pleasant experience, and it was
unlikely this one would in any way be different. Three patrol
cars, one of them Henderson's, were parked in front of the town's
"Superboy, our graffiti
wizard has graduated from simple vandalism to what appears to be
"Luthor dead?" the
super hero asked gingerly.
"No, not Luthor. Rock
Templeton. Dead in the front hallway. Luthor's bodyguard,
employee, whatever you want to call him. Head bashed in, probably
with a crowbar. There's one by the body with blood on it. The
lawn man arrived around seven-thirty to cut the grass, saw the
front door kicked open and saw the body from the porch. He drove
to the gas station down the road and called it in, or that's his
story. We'll check him out. Drives over from Cliffton once a week
"That's a pretty long drive
just to mow one yard. Or does he have other customers in
Smallville?" Superboy inquired.
"Not sure...yet. Like I
said, we'll check him out. But if Luthor's the only yard he mows
in town, it's probably a full day's work, as large as this place
is. Maybe the payday is worth it to him. We'll find out. Come on
inside, but watch where you step," instructed the officer.
They stopped near the lifeless
corpse. It lay on the expensive hallway carpet, now most likely
ruined from the crimson puddle which had oozed from the victim.
Above Rock, painted on the wall, in foot-high bright red
lettering, was the now-familiar phrase, SOON IT WILL END. A few
feet away on the floor was a broken mahogany frame with its
former contents, a copy of the well-known "dogs playing
poker" painting. The cover glass was shattered and spread
across the floor covering. Henderson hypothesized the intruder
likely took the painting down, perhaps looking for a wall safe. A
nail was still in the wall about six feet from the floor, and
there was a rectangle of the wall paper a different shade from
the rest. The frame appeared to be of the same size. Superboy
agreed with Henderson about the artwork. No signs of a violent
struggle near the body. Templeton could have heard the door being
kicked in, came into the hall to see what was going on and was
struck in the head by the intruder.
"Maybe, Inspector, but if
the intruder was still on the front porch, Templeton would have
had time to put up some form of defense. He was a pretty tough
guy, ya know. But it looks like he didn't. I'm inclined to
believe the burglar had already entered the house."
"He could have heard Rock
and hid here, right inside the dining room, and when Rock reached
this point, hit him here. See, there's blood splatter on the
wall. Then Templeton fell backwards to where he is. The lab boys
can tell us more about that after they finish their work,"
the cop responded.
Two officers descended the stairs
to report to Henderson that there were no signs of any kind of
struggle or burglary anywhere upstairs. Neat and clean as a pin,
they stated. The two others investigating the rest of the
downstairs had the same findings.
"By the way," the Boy
of Steel asked the Inspector, "Anyone seen Lex Luthor? Might
be interesting what he can add to all this."
"I heard a while back that
Luthor was in Europe, Inspector," volunteered one of the
"Thanks Kelley, I'll check
with Immigration on his passport status to verify."
Several quick steps were heard
bounding onto the porch. "Hold it right there," the cop
guarding the door instructed. "Inspector, we are amidst the
prescence of the Smallville Sentinel." Rusty Ellsworth
stood, looking with sad eyes at Henderson hoping he wouldn't be
turned away. "Let him in, but Rusty, stand behind me. Don't
"I know the drill,
Inspector. Hello again Superboy."
The anxious reporter asked to be
brought up to speed. As soon as that was accomplished, "O.K.
to use the phone, Inspector. As soon as I jot down a few notes, I
want to phone it back to Clark Kent at the Sentinel so he can get
started on the story."
"Yeah, there's a phone right
over there," he pointed to a small table fifteen or so feet
further down the hall.
Hearing his other name mentioned,
Superboy asked the detective to let him know of any developments.
He had to beat Rusty's call to the newspaper.
No more than five minutes passed
when the old, black rotary phone on Ellsworth's desk gave a loud
ring. "Clark Kent speaking. Oh, hi Rusty. WHAT! A murder at
Luthor's? Yeah, I'm ready. Let me have it." Rusty talked a
mile a minute, but the super intern had it all on paper at the
same time Rusty asked, "Got it all?"
"Yep, got it," he
answered and hung up the receiver.
Then it dawned on him that with
the homicidal distraction, he hadn't yet written his original
assignment, the Charlie King testimonials. Closing the door to
Rusty's office to protect himself, he loaded the typewriter with
a sheet of paper, and as fast as the old Remington could keep up,
typed the two page sidebar story in less than thirty seconds.
Not knowing how soon Rusty would
return, Kent took his creation directly to editor Larson, since
deadline was approaching. The sometimes gruff boss motioned to
drop it on his desk, which was already covered with papers. "I'll
look it over when I get a chance. That's all, Clark."
Kent left Larson's a bit
disappointed. No way the man had time to read his story and get
it to layout for the day's paper. But writing it was a good
experience for him just the same.
Fifteen more minutes nearer
deadline were gone by the time a hot and sweaty Rusty burst into
the office. He tossed the notepad on the desk beside his buddy.
Here's everything I got. Start writing the murder story.
"Yes Clark, you wanna learn
the news game? Well, here's your chance. Start writing! I've got
to see Larson."
He ran down the hall, passed
Larson's secretary as she waved her arms trying to stop him, into
the editor's office. "Ellsworth, I'm on the phone with Mrs.
Larson." Rusty informed the boss of the murder. "Kent
and I are writing it now. Give us fifteen minutes."
"Gotta go, dear!" Mrs.
Larson's call was terminated. "Ja get any pictures?"
"Well, get them to the
darkroom!" Rusty ran out. Larson buzzed composing, "Mallory,
hold page one for a replate. We'll be a little late getting her
on the street today."
A winded Ellsworth ran back to
his office, "Got it?" he yelled in Kent's direction.
"Yeah, here it is!" Rusty grabbed it out of Clark's
hands and got it pronto to his boss, who had time only for a
quick glance. "Get it to Mallory!" The youngster's exit
actually blew a few sheets of paper off the desk onto the floor.
Back on the intercom, "Mallory, story's on the way to you.
Here's your headline: MURDER AT LUTHER MANSION."
day's Smallville Sentinel was churning away on the press. Things
were in a lull so Clark and Rusty headed to the Burger Barn for a
bite. Once their order was taken, the two rehashed the extremely
hectic morning they had experienced, a complete 180 from the day
"That's the newspaper game,
Clark. Slow one day, then a whirlwind the next. We never know.
You'll have to get used to that kind of schedule if you want to
be a reporter. A reporter is on call round-the-clock, every day
of the week. Of course, we get assigned days off, but sometimes
we get called in on those days too. Same type schedule as a
doctor, except we don't make nearly as much money,
Little did Rusty know that
Clark's life was already that way, with his duties as Superboy.
"I think I can handle it, Rusty."
Just as their food was served,
nothing fancy - - just burgers, fries and milk shakes - - a male
figure approached their booth.
"Hey Clark, I apologize for
cutting in, but could I see you for a minute, please?"
Kent looked up to see Brody
Murphy, Dan Grayson's employee from the store. "I guess so,
Brody. But I don't want my food to get cold."
"Won't take but a minute.
It's important," Murphy promised.
The two went to one of the only
two empty booths in the establishment. "What's up, Brody?"
"I was hoping you could help
"I will if I can. What's on
"I assume you know Lisa
Landon pretty well, don't you?"
"I suppose so. I met her
right after we both started college. Why?"
He continued, "Well, I mean,
you and Lisa live together, and..."
Cutting him off, Kent clarified
the situation. "Lisa is staying with my Mom and me for the
summer. The term 'live together' might give the wrong
"Oh yeah, I get it. So
there's nothing between the two of you?"
Before Clark can speak, "Don't
get mad. The reason I'm asking is that I'd like to take her out,
but if the two of you have something going..."
"Lisa has been seeing Pete
Ross for some time, Brody."
"Yeah, I know, but he's gone
into the Army so I figured that was over. Is it?"
"Brody, she and I really
haven't discussed it. That's their business, not mine. I do know
that they have exchanged several letters since Pete started boot
camp, but that's all I can tell you. I suggest that if you want
to ask her out, ask her out."
"Well, that's just it, I
did, and she turned me down."
"Did she give a reason?"
Murphy replied, lowering his
head, "Well, she did mention Pete Ross."
"Well, Brody. That should
answer your question."
"I was hoping that since you
were friends, you might put in a good word for me."
"Brody, let me tell you
something about myself. I don't like to butt into people's
private lives. I respect their privacy, and I expect the same in
"Oh, you mean like when
everyone in town was saying you were Superboy."
Clearing his throat, Clark
answered, "Well, that would be one example. And, on the
other hand, Pete Ross has been my best friend since we were both
little kids. I wouldn't do anything to hurt him. Whatever happens
between Pete and Lisa is up to them. I really can't get involved
with that. You're seeing Lisa at the store most every day. You're
around her as much as I am. You'll just have to deal with it and
hope it works out. I hope you understand my position."
Murphy told Clark that he did
understand, and that he'd just be patient and see how things went
at the store. "But it's just that I think she's great."
"Lisa is a wonderful person,
Brody. On that we agree. Now, I need to get back to my lunch."
"Of course. Clark, I
appreciate you talkin' to me."
"O.K. Brody." They
parted, Brody through the door and Clark back to his lunch and
Rusty. "Great...limp, cold fries. Yuck!"
Back at the Sentinel, the two had
barely sat down in Rusty's office when down the hall came a gruff
shout, "ELLSWORTH! KENT! I need to see you!"
"Here we go again!"
Rusty moaned. "Let's go!" They walked briskly to the
"lion's den" passed the go-on-in signal from the
secretary. "You wanted to see us?"
"Why, yes Rusty, that's why
I called you in here." Kent stood a bit behind his friend
since he was the unpaid newcomer. He assumed this had mostly to
do with Rusty anyway. "Great job today! Between the
Dickerson robbery, poor Charlie and the murder, you've been a
busy young man, but you own the front page today Rusty. I'm proud
"Gosh, thanks Chief,"
the lad responded. Kent was happy for his buddy.
As the pair turned to leave,
Larson stopped them, "I'm not finished. You also did well,
"Thank you, sir."
"Good human interest article
on Charlie King. Very sincere, emotional, written from the
"You mean, you ran it?"
Handing the apprentice the
finished edition, "Here, see for yourself."
Clark and Rusty shared the
newspaper. Under the fold down the left side opposite Rusty's
story of the accident read CHARLIE KING, A FRIEND TO SMALLVILLE
by Clark Kent. Grabbing the headlines was the Rock Templeton
homicide with the byline reading "by Rusty Ellsworth and
Clark seemed unworthy of praise
for the Templeton article. Rusty did all the legwork, and he
hadn't even been to the murder scene (as Clark that is). "Hey,
I fed you the info, Clark, but you wrote the story."
"Thank you, Rusty," a
humbled Kent said.
"O.K. you two, enough of the
heart and soul. Go find something to do." Passing through
the door, Larson stated, "And Rusty?"
"Don't call me Chief."
Settling into chairs in the
Ellsworth cave, Clark laughed and remarked that yesterday Rusty
was depressed because he didn't make page one, but today he was
all over it. "Like I told you, Clark, that's the way this
Dinner at the Kent house was one
of Martha's hamburger / noodle casseroles. She was not there to
eat it however. There was a meeting in town at the church, and
being on the Church Council, she never missed. So as the two
super heroes, in their Earthly disguises, enjoyed Martha's
culinary delight, Clark related the conversation he had with
Brody Murphy. He thought Lisa should know about it.
"Brody seems like a nice
enough guy, but I really don't want to go out with him," she
stated. "Pete's only been gone three weeks, and I'm not even
sure how his being away is going to affect our relationship."
"Have you heard from him
"I got a letter last week.
They're keeping him very busy. He said he was exhausted, but yet,
his letter didn't sound a lot like the Pete I know."
"Well, boot camp is tough.
He's probably still trying to adjust. It's a far cry from eating
potato chips in a dormitory," he laughed.
Clearing the table and washing
the few dishes took the duo less than a minute. They both moved
to the living room, where Clark flopped on the couch, which had
been his custom for a long time, and Lisa sat in Martha's chair
"You want to watch TV?"
he asked her.
"Not unless you do. I'll
"Me either, peace and quiet
would be nice, it happens so rarely," he replied, nodding
off. Even a superboy gets tired.
While he slept, Lisa continued
holding the Saturday Evening Post, but she really wasn't reading
it. Her eyes were fixed on Clark. She was very content thinking
how happy she was, how things had transpired to the point that
her dream had come to fruition...working alongside Superboy. He
had accepted her into his life, and now she found herself in a
family-like situation with a loving person in Martha. Losing her
own parents when her home planet Septron disintegrated, she was
beginning to think of Martha as her substitute mother.
Suddenly, Clark jerked and woke
"I guess so," he
answered. "How long was I out?"
"Close to an hour,"
came the reply.
"Mom home yet?"
He asked what she had been doing.
Lisa told him nothing, hadn't left the chair.
"Well, I think I'm going on
up and call it a day," he announced just as a police call
stung their wristwatches. "It never fails. You or me?"
Lisa answered, "I'll take
it. You took last night's." Dropping her voice slightly, she
answered, "Go ahead, this is Supergirl."
"Supergirl. Henderson. Our
SOON IT WILL END guy has struck again. Another homicide.
"On my way." Turning to
Kent, "Another murder, within twenty-four hours. This is
getting out of hand."
She started for the secret room.
"I'll go with you," he stated as the two figures
vanished behind the bookcase.
his signal, the two soaring Samaritans came to rest in the alley
beside the Smallville Hotel. Three patrol cars, with out-of-sync
red lights lighting up the main street in a strobe-like manner,
were parked out front of the building, blocking the nearer lane
of traffic. Superboy told his partner to go on in and take care
of business, and he would enter a minute or so behind her, but as
Clark Kent, eager young reporter.
he donned the white shirt from the pouch in his cape to conceal
his well-known red and blue outfit, he thought, "Two
homicides in one day. What in the world is happening?"
Worn-out Inspector Henderson was
gathering information from his men and examining the crime scene.
Three hours sleep the night before and the second homicide just
over twelve hours had taken its toll on the aging police office.
But a lawman's work never stops, until he does.
"Who is the victim
Inspector?" Supergirl inquired.
"Arthur McCredy, owner of
the hotel. Co-owner actually. He and his wife. Sweetest, kindest
man you could ever meet. Did you know him?"
"No, I never met him. You
forget, I have been here but a short time really."
Wet-headed Rusty Ellsworth (fresh
from a nighttime shower at home) burst through the old wooden
door from the street. "What we got Inspector?" He
stopped talking when he spotted the dead old man sprawled on the
worn carpeting beside the lobby check-in desk. "Mr. McCredy,
oh my God no!"
"Fraid so, Rusty. Someone
bashed his head in with that paper weight (pointing to a dark
blue object with a flaking stenciled photo of Harry S. Truman on
the side), three feet from the body. That's not all. Mrs.
McCredy, upstairs, the same. Arthur was dead when we arrived.
Mrs. McCredy died just before Supergirl arrived."
The same door hinges gave a loud
squeak as Kent entered.
"Clark, it hasn't been five
minutes since I talked to your mother."
"I was home taking a shower.
My Mother told me that something was up as she could hear sirens.
So I jumped out, threw on some clothes, called your house, your
Mom answered and told her we probably had a story and to tell you
to get to town as quick as you could."
"That's what I did. Got here
the fastest way I knew." Changing the subject, "Oh no!
"His wife too,"
Supergirl added, "She's upstairs. Inspector, why would she
"The McCredys lived in room
one. Had been since Sarah, their youngest, left home. They
certainly didn't make a fortune running this place for forty
years, but I guess made enough to raise five kids. Used to live
in a modest house on Apple Tree Lane. Sarah, the last at home,
left about a year ago. Married and moved to Tulsa. Arthur figured
he and Ethel didn't need that "large house" for just
the two of them, so they sold it and moved in here. Put a fridge
and two-burner stove in their room. Seemed to like it all right.
Oh Kelley, I need you to track down the other four children and
let them know what has happened."
"Yes sir, right away, may
take some time."
"I know, but when you find
one, maybe they can tell you where the other four are."
Patrolman Kelley as he hit the sidewalk.
"When did this happen?"
Clark, Rusty and Supergirl all asked, almost simultaneously.
"Arthur's body was
discovered about forty-five minutes ago by this gentleman
(pointing to a man seated in a chair across the dimly-lit lobby).
Sir, would you come over here please?" As he approached the
four, Henderson continued, "This is Frederick Vallen."
Interrupting the officer, "I
go by Fred. God, this is awful! Who would do such a thing?
Killing a tiny old man?"
Supergirl interjected, "Mr.
Vallen, how did you happen to be here? Are you registered?"
"Well, I wanted to be. I
mean, no, not yet. What I mean, please excuse me, I'm a bit shook
up, never seen a murder before, in person, I mean, just in the
movies and on TV. Are you really Supergirl?"
"Yes, I am. Now can you
please answer my question?"
"Oh sure, gosh, it's great
to meet you. You do so many nice things for people. Superboy too,
but this is the closest I've ever been to either one of you
(Clark grinned a little). I live on the other side of Metropolis,
about five miles out of the city heading northwest. I sell
machinery parts for a living. Been out on the road for about ten
days. Finished up mid-afternoon today and was anxious to get
home. Miss my wife and kids. Have two, Benjy, a boy and Claresse,
a girl. Both red-headed. Anyway, I don't sleep too good when I'm
not in my bed, and it's been over a week since I've been home. Oh
sorry, I already said that. So I was on my way home, but nearly
fell asleep driving just before entering the town limits, so even
though I wanted to get home to my family. Did I say that I had
two kids? A boy..."
"Benjy, yes, you mentioned
that," she stopped him, "Now try to relax and tell us
"O.K., O.K., I'm fine. Well,
figured I shouldn't risk falling asleep at the wheel, so I
stopped here for the night. My car's right out front. The dark
green '62 Ford Fairlane."
"Hey, I have a Fairlane. A
'59. Hey, what kind of mileage do you get?"
"Go on Mr. Vallen."
"Came in through the door
and that little man, that one right there (pointing to McCredy)
was right where he is now. I saw blood and went crazy. Can't
stand the sight of blood. Even when I knick myself shaving, I get
all queezy and have to sit down. Sorry, I guess I lost my head
for a second, then ran out on the sidewalk screaming "HELP!"
"Kelley was in his squad car
heading in to the station, and saw Mr. Vallen, parked his car,
came inside and found Arthur. He called it in. I got here in less
than four minutes. I was almost home and had to turn around.
While I waited here with Mr. Vallen and Arthur, Kelley went
upstairs to check on Ethel, figuring she'd be in their room.
Kelley found her on the floor, bashed in the head. When he got to
her, she was able to tell him, let me check my notes...'Arthur
came through the door. Man behind him with gun. Wanted money.
Told him we didn't have any up here but downstairs. Hit me with
gun. All I remember. Where's Arthur?' Then she died."
"Any painted message left
upstairs Inspector?" the caped female asked.
"None. Just the one over
there on the mirror. This time, it looks like red spray paint. No
streaking, no brush marks. O.K. Mr. Vallen, I have your
information. You can go. But I may need you again."
"Officer, do you think it
would be all right if I slept in one of the rooms upstairs? I'll
never make the hour-and-a-half drive home."
"Well, normally I would say
no. This hotel is a crime scene. But since there are three other
tenants already here, I suppose so."
"Thanks, who do I pay the
"I guess this time it's on
the house, Mr. Vallen. Just don't wander around during the night.
There will be officers here until morning. We'll be talking with
the other guests."
"No sir, once my head hits
that pillow, I'm out. Nice meeting you Supergirl. Wow, what till
Benji and Claresse find out I met Supergirl. They won't believe
it. Benji and Claresse are my two kids. Both red-headed."
"Yes, Mr. Vallen. Good
As the weary traveler climbed the
steps, hat in one hand, suitcase in the other, Rusty commented
how helpful the salesman had been. "Sometimes, they're too
helpful," Henderson gruffed. "Actually Kelley's been
more helpful than our Mr. Vallen. What Ethel told him before she
died helps some. Assuming it's the same person who's been
"painting the town red," we now know it's one person,
an armed male. Too bad we didn't get a better description."
"Of course, Mrs. McCredy saw
only one man. There could have been others who waited down here,"
Supergirl added, bursting the detective's bubble.
"Yeah, I thought of that.
I'm also trying to think of a connection between Dickerson's
place, Luthor's house and this, pardon me for saying, semi-seedy
Kent tossed in his two cents
worth, "I'd say the obvious answer would be money, at least
with Dickerson's and Luthor's. He blew the safe at the trucking
company and probably would have done the same at Luthor's, had he
had time to locate it. But by his breaking in the door at
Luthor's, he had to have reason to believe no one was home.
Either that or he wasn't thinking at all, because the noise would
have brought anyone there to the front of the house."
"Which is probably what
happened," Rusty offered, "Rock heard the door being
broken, came to check it out and got a crowbar in his skull as a
Supergirl, not being left out,
"Then probably panicked and fled the scene and forgot about
Henderson agreed that all of
their suggestions seemed logical, but why rob the Smallville
Hotel to get, at the most, probably less than a hundred dollars?
"The hotel is the odd man out here. We have plenty of puzzle
pieces, but they're not fitting together."
and Lisa, in their other guises, had arrived back at the Kent
home and informed Martha of what had happened at the Smallville
Hotel. She was heartbroken. "Such good people, so
pointless," was all she could muster.
"It's lucky no one was at
George Dickerson's office the other night, or we could be talking
about another homicide," Lisa noted.
responded. "You know, Inspector Henderson mentioned that the
puzzle pieces weren't fitting together. But I've been mulling all
this over, and maybe they actually do, if..."
"If what?" she
and Luthor's were hit at a time when the culprit probably assumed
no one was around. But the hotel, early in the evening, most
anyone would know that someone would be at the desk to register
any guests. Now, I know there's a contrast there. But if we're
dealing with someone who might not be thinking clearly, that
could explain the lack of reasoning in robbing the hotel. I'm not
saying that's the way it is, but it could be an explanation. And
if this person thought he knew enough to believe Luthor's house
was vacant, it could point to someone who lives around Smallville
and knows something about Lex or Rock's comings and goings.
Because there's always hired help at Luthor's house if he's in
town. You know, the cook, the maid...one or both of them are
there everyday working. I don't know..." his voiced trailed
off. "Either way, someone out there has killed three people,
and until we catch him, no one in Smallville is safe."
"Get any sleep, Inspector?"
the eager Ellworth reporter inquired.
"If you mean last night, no.
I've almost forgotten what my bed looks like. You're here awfully
early. Had breakfast? I can offer you a donut that will taste
like a bagel."
"Uh, no thanks. Had a nice
breakfast at Tony's Diner this morning. As for being early, a
reporter's hours are like a cop's. Unknown and anytime. Actually,
Kent's at the Sentinel working on the hotel story. I wanted to
know if there have been any updates concerning Dickerson's
break-in or Rock's homicide. I realize it's probably too early
for the McCredys."
Henderson obliged his young, most
of the time friend, occasional adversary. "Starting with
Dickerson's Trucking Company, we found nothing outside that could
help us. Car and truck tracks everywhere, mostly on top of one
another. We're having the red paint from Dickerson's, Luthor's
and the high school analyzed to see if we can get a brand name.
But we had to send that to Metropolis. Our lab is great at
fingerprints, but we don't have the advanced equipment for
breaking down paint. Hopefully, we'll get the results in a day or
so. Same for the hotel paint, although it was sprayed not
brushed. Print-wise at Dickerson's, lots, perhaps a hundred
different sets, many smudged, all over the room and furniture,
but the only prints on the safe were George Dickerson's. Our
intruder must have worn gloves, because I don't believe George
"What about any of the
employees?" Rusty asked.
"I'm not leaning that way,
because none of them had reason to believe there was a lot of
money in the safe. George makes bank deposits every day. The only
money kept in the safe normally is the petty cash, which he said
was $50.00, just enough in case he or his secretary needed to
Ellsworth tossed the theory that
the employees knew the payroll would be in the safe. Henderson
shot that down, reminding him that Dickerson had picked up the
payroll money a day early. If an employee was going to hit the
safe for the payroll, it would have happened the following
night." So Rusty asked who else knew George went to the bank
a day early? "As far as I have determined, just the bank
"Did you check out the
teller?" The cop answered that the teller was the bank
president's mother, and he couldn't picture 75-year-old Edith
Lackey blowing a safe. Plus Edith didn't drive.
Pointing a finger at the
journalist, he cautioned, "And I don't want to read a word
about Edith Lackey in the Sentinel, understand."
"Yes sir. What about
"I checked with the
Department of Immigration, and according to his passport
information, the esteemed Mr. Luthor has been in France for the
last three weeks. As for fingerprints, the place was virtually
spotless. During his absence, the maid has kept the place neat as
a pin, following Luthor's instructions. Since he left town, she's
cleaned the entire mansion. When I spoke with her, she said that
the place was not disturbed, except for Rock's bedroom. Seems the
late Mr. Templeton had done some entertaining in there with,
according to the maid, several young ladies. She found beer and
wine bottles, cigarette butts with lipstick, and some discarded
items one can purchase for a quarter at the drug store or gas
station bathroom, if you know what I mean."
"Well, at least, he left
this world a happy man," Rusty joked.
Henderson simply cleared his
throat. He advised Rusty that there were some dirty plates in the
sink. Apparently the Rock didn't spend time washing dishes
between the maid's twice-a-week visits. "There was virtually
no food in the house, so he must have done most of his eating
out. The picture frame we found on the floor was clean, so again,
the intruder was probably wearing gloves. No prints on the
crowbar either. That's about it."
Lisa Landon entered Grayson's
store with a bank bag containing the change and currency for the
day's operation. Dan Grayson asked if everything went all right.
She replied and stated that everyone in the bank was talking
about the McCredys.
"Just terrible," Dan
stated, "Known them for years. When I was a boy, Arthur
would stand outside by the lamp pole while he smoked, and he
would often give me a nickel when I passed by. I'd go across the
street to the drug store and get an ice cream cone. I went to
school with his son Hubert. We were pretty good friends. I can't
imagine why anyone would wish harm on those gentle folks."
Helper Brody Murphy came in from
the store room and asked his boss what he wanted him to do next.
Dan asked if all the bags of grain had been stacked, and Murphy
answered yes. Grayson then told the two that he had some things
he needed to take care of at home and would be gone for about an
hour. "I'll leave the store in your four capable hands."
"O.K., Mr. Grayson,"
Lisa answered as she turned to go to the office where paperwork
"Hey Lisa," young
"What is it Brody?"
"Heard from Pete lately?"
"Brody, I told you that..."
He cut her off to say that he
didn't mean any offense, but repeated his opinion of long
distance relationships. "Lisa, listen. You're here and I'm
here. There's no reason the two of us can't go out and have some
fun. I mean, I'm just talking about burgers and bowling. I'm not
asking you to marry me. Pete would understand. He's probably
having some fun himself."
"Brody, please stop. I told
you no. I'm flattered but you need to respect my feelings."
She started to continue as the bell on the door gave a loud ring.
Two women entered the store. "You have customers and I have
paperwork." She went into the back of the store, then the
office, closing the door behind her. She hoped Brody would take
the hint if he saw the closed door.
Kent was on his third draft of
the McCredy story at slightly faster than earthly speed when he
spied Rusty coming down the hall. He slowed his typing down,
giving the Remington a deserved rest. Rusty tossed his notepad
down beside his friend. "Here's what I got from Henderson.
You finish the lead story and I'll do the sidebar."
"At the rate I'm going, I'll
be here all day. This is my third crack at it. It just doesn't
"Writing on deadline isn't
easy, Clark, sometimes you have to settle for
less-than-perfection. Just tell what we observed last night and
what we were told. That's all you can do. And even if it feels
right, old Larson will probably make changes in it anyway. The
editor has the final say-so. But the fewer changes the better, if
ya get my drift."
"I get it," Kent
answered just as his watch tingled his wrist. Rusty was staring
him right in the face, so responding to the call was virtually
impossible. He hoped Lisa could handle whatever the urgency might
"This is Supergirl,"
she answered, keeping her voice at an audible minimum.
"Sorry to bother you,
Supergirl," the officer's voice stated, "but Almira
Sessions' boy Tobey has his head stuck in the rod iron fence at
the courthouse. The on-duty firemen are in a training class, and
"No problem. I'll take care
Stepping out of the office, she
saw Brody was still waiting on the ladies who had come into the
store, and three more had joined them, so she could easily get
away. Landing at the site of the troubled Tobey, she bent the
iron bars just enough that his mother could free the lad. She
returned the bars to their original place. Mrs. Sessions seemed
embarrassed. All she could say was "Boys will be boys."
"Tobey, be more careful next
"Uh huh," the kid
muttered as he watched the pretty young lady ascend into the sky.
"Mommy, can you do that?"
Quickly back at Grayson's, she
entered the back door and made for the office. "Hey Lisa,"
Brody called. She rushed into the office, getting the door shut
and locked just as Brody jiggled the knob. "Hey, unlock the
door." She donned Lisa Landon's outer garments and brown
wig. Opening the door, "What is it Brody?"
"Do we have any apple
butter? Customer wants some."
"Should be near the jellies,
"Oh, I was looking in the
dairy case near the butter. Thanks. You don't need to lock the
door. I won't hurt you," he laughed.
She again closed the door behind
him. Leaning with her back on it, she gave a sigh of relief.
"That was close."
escaping Brody Murphy's seeing her as Supergirl in the store room
of Grayson's General Store, Lisa Landon went through the morning
mail, separating the contents into stacks of invoices to pay or
things that just needed filing. It was also the day to catch the
store ledger up to date, so the rest of the day would spare her
little slow time.
Grayson announced to both his
crew that it was a quarter to noon. Might be a good time for
their lunch hours. The store wasn't very busy, and an approaching
thunderstorm would probably keep things that way for a while.
Brody seized the opportunity by asking Lisa to ride with him to
the Burger Barn. His truck was in back of the store, and they
could probably be inside the eatery before the clouds opened up.
Like his date requests, she politely declined his lunch offer.
"He's a bit slow at taking hints." Upon her negative
response, he told her it was just lunch between two people who
worked together, not a "date." She expanded on her
decline, explaining that she wasn't really hungry and preferred
to stay indoors to avoid the storm. "I'll just snack on
something at my desk." Murphy showed disappointment on his
face and exited the store through the back door, perhaps shutting
it a bit harder than necessary as a message to Lisa of his
A few minutes later, her watch
tingled her arm. Alone in the back of Grayson's, she could answer
freely, "This is Supergirl."
"Hey, it's me."
"Oh, hi. Anything wrong?"
"No. Just needed to tell you
that Larson's sending Clark and Rusty to Metropolis for most of
the afternoon to interview some actor who's in town pitching his
new TV series. You'll need to watch over things. I'll see you at
our regular spot this evening."
"I'll look after things
here. I'm really looking forward to seeing you."
Kent, thinking her last sentencea
bit odd, was jolted by the slap on the back by his mentor. "Ready
to go?" Rusty Ellsworth said.
"Yeah, I'm ready."
By high noon, the rain had begun,
very heavy rain accompanied by booming thunder and cracks of
lightning, a typical summer storm.
started writing the necessary checks to pay for the store's
inventory purchases. Again her left wrist felt a vibration.
Answering, she was advised by the desk sergeant on duty that the
storm had snapped a power line about two miles outside the town
limits on the road which led to Cliffton. "I'll head there
right away," she responded to her caller. Since it was her
appointed lunch hour, she exited without telling Dan Grayson she
was going out. As she arrived quickly at the dangerous location,
two live electrical wires were dancing in the wind, sparking each
time contact was made with the ground. The familiar face of
Officer Kelley greeted her. Wearing his slicker, he was still
soaking wet, standing on the road making sure no passing citizens
could be injured by the unpredictable hot cables. Grabbing the
sparking lines, she flew them up to the pole, and using her heat
vision, seared them back to the same points they had originally
been attached. Soon the danger was eliminated. Waving to Kelley,
she made her way through the turbulence en route back to
Grayson's. As she started her descent, she fortunately noticed a
familiar object making its way to the ground below...her wig.
Swooping back around, she caught it. "Wow! I sure can't
afford to lose this," placing it back into her cape's hidden
pouch. Before entering the store's rear entrance, she surveyed
the store to find that Dan was out front waiting on the store's
solo customer, Laurence Larson of the Smallville Sentinel.
Inside, she made like a top at
super speed to dry her red and blue outfit, then covered it with
Lisa's clothing and was back at the store's checkbook.
Another ten minutes had passed
when she heard her co-worker return. Walking past the office, he
placed a paper bag on her desk. "What's this?" she
"Your lunch. Chicken salad
"Brody, I didn't ask you..."
"I know, I know. But just
because you won't be seen out in public with me doesn't mean I
can't bring a you a sandwich. It's no big deal. But you're
probably not hungry anyway."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, maybe because after
telling me you were going to work through your lunch hour, you
did go out after all. I really don't appreciate you lying to me,
"What makes you think I went
"For one thing, your hair is
wet. But never mind, forget it! I'll never disgrace you again by
asking you out. We'll just have to put up with each other every
day here," as the storm moved inside.
Lisa sighed, thinking she
probably deserved that lashing. And her wet hair, or rather, wet
wig! How could she be so careless? Slip-ups such as this could
jeopardize her secret.
afternoon found Rusty and Clark zooming down the highway on their
way back to Smallville. Their interview with actor Ron Ely had
gone well. Rusty was excited about the new TARZAN TV series
coming in the Fall. He had seen a couple of the newer movies with
the jungle man at the Smallville Drive-In. The older ones, he had
watched on television. In his bedroom closet was a stack of the
Dell comic books he had kept from his childhood. "You like
Tarzan, don't you Clark?"
"Sure. Remember the movie
where he went to New York to get Boy from those circus people?"
"Oh yeah! And he dove off
the Brooklyn bridge! That guy didn't really do that, did he?"
"Somehow, I doubt it, Rusty.
I know Johnny Weissmuller was a great swimmer, but diving off the
Brooklyn Bridge, no."
Ellsworth continued as he drove,
"Superboy could do it though."
"Yeah, I guess he could,"
Kent smiled but was helpless to answer the page he was receiving
via his wristwatch. Lisa would have to handle it.
Parking his '59 Fairlane behind
the Sentinel building, the two stepped out into the employee
parking lot. Rusty made a quick beeline towards the entrance,
wanting to get his Ely interview on paper as quickly as possible.
"Ya coming," he turned to Clark.
"I'll be there in a minute."
Seeing the door shut behind his friend, Kent paged Supergirl.
"Did you call me? I couldn't answer in the car."
"Yes," came her
response. "Inspector Henderson wants to see both of us. I
told him we would be there as soon as I could locate you."
"O.K. It's a quarter to
five. Can you meet me there in twenty minutes?"
"I should be able to,"
Clark went to Rusty's office, and
after being assured by his friend / mentor that it had been a
calm afternoon, Rusty said it was all right for him to take-off.
"I sure will," Kent chuckled at the irony of his
buddy's choice of words. Outside in the alleyway, off came the
glasses, shirt, tie and trousers and up flew the young man from
another planet. He chose an indirect path to headquarters for his
own security reasons. Using his detective friend's open window,
he stood beside the cop's desk. "Next time you come to see
me, be sure that window's open. The city fathers are going to
permit us to turn on the air conditioning the day after
"It is warming up in
Smallville, unfortunately, in more ways than one. Supergirl not
"Haven't seen her,"
Henderson answered. The Boy of Steel informed him she would be
there as close to five as she could. "We can give her a few
more minutes." But before he could sit, the second crime
fighter had entered as well. "O.K. great, why don't both of
you have a seat."
Henderson took a sip of his
Coca-Cola before beginning. "Either of you want something to
drink? It's on me."
They both declined.
"Let me know if you change
your mind. Now, here's what I wanted to tell you. The paint
analysis came back from the lab in Metropolis. As I thought, the
paint from Smallville High, Dickerson's Trucking and the Luthor
house were all brushed. The paint from the hotel was sprayed.
Both turned out to be manufactured by Schuler Paint Company, out
of Topeka. Both shades are called Crimson Kiss Red."
"I like the name,"
"I guess a woman would,"
the detective chuckled. "This afternoon I checked with the
Schuler people, and there's only one place of business here in
Smallville they sell to, and that's...Grayson's General Store."
The two super heroes glanced at
"What is it?" the cop
asked after spotting the glance.
Superboy responded. "You're not thinking that Dan..."
"Of course not. But our
killer could have bought the paint there, if he's local. Let me
see if I can get Dan on the phone."
Henderson next heard Brody
Murphy's voice, "Grayson's General Store...yes, just a
moment...Mr. Grayson, phone call for you."
Five seconds later came a
"Dan, Bill Henderson, got a
minute. I need to ask you something."
"Sure, just a minute...Hey
Brody, can you wait on Mrs. Parker?...O.K., sorry Bill. So what
do you want to ask me?"
"I understand you stock
"How about Crimson Kiss Red,
brush and spray?"
"Well, I did, I mean the
brush kind. Took me forever to sell the two cans I had. I didn't
re-order it. It's too bright for barn painting. The Schuler
salesman saw me coming on that stuff. Now, the spray, it's not a
big seller, but I might continue with it, for the time being. I
sell a can of it once in a while. Matter of fact, I had three
cans of it on the shelf for a couple of months, but finally sold
all three last week."
"To the same person?"
Henderson asked, getting a bit excited.
"Yeah, why is this so
important, I mean, does Crimson Kiss Red spray paint have gold
nuggets in it?"
"Can you somehow check and
let me know who bought those three cans?"
"Bill, I don't have to check
anything. I made the sale personally. I remember who bought
"Who, Dan, who!"
"From the newspaper?"
"Yeah, only Larry Larson I
know. Stopped in on his way home one afternoon last week. Said he
wasn't sure how much of the stuff he needed, so he took all I
had, bless him."
"How about the gallon cans?"
"Well, it's been a while
since I sold them. I'd have to dig through my records for that
information. And I'd have a name on the invoice only if it was a
charge. Cash and check purchases, I just write cash on the
invoice, no personal info."
"Dan, I need you to check
that for me, will you?"
"Sure Bill, I'll have my
efficient, and may I add pretty, new employee Lisa do it first
thing in the morning."
"Thanks, Dan." He hung
up the receiver. "I'm assuming you both did some
super-hearing eavesdropping, so you heard what Dan said?"
They nodded. Supergirl had grinned when she heard her boss say
she was pretty. "Now let's call Laurence Larson." The
cop placed his call but was told that Larson had just left for
"Well, I guess I'll just
ride over to his house and make a friendly visit. You two are
both welcome to ride with me, unless you don't want to be seen in
a police car?"
Superboy laughed, "Always a
pleasure to ride with you Inspector."
The three's timing was perfect as
Larson was stepping out of his car in the driveway as Henderson's
squad car came to a stop.
"Well, hello Bill. And
Superboy? AND Supergirl? Goodness, to what do I owe this
"I need to talk to you for a
moment. It's...uh, official business."
"Oh?" the concerned
editor questioned, "What is it?
Henderson pressed, "I
understand you purchased three cans of red spray paint last week
at Grayson's Store."
"Well, yes, is that a
"Of course not, may I ask
why you bought them?"
"Bill, would you mind
telling me what this is about?" Larson requested.
"Would you just answer my
question?" Henderson pressed a tad harder.
"You tell me what this is
about, and I'll answer your question. Sorry, but the old
newspaper man in me is curious. AND you sound mighty formal in
"Very well, Larry. The red
paint found at the hotel homicide scene the other night is the
exact same kind of paint you bought last week, and I'm just
trying to run it down. Now, your turn."
"I bought the spray paint,
three cans of it actually, to paint our patio furniture."
"Bright red?" Superboy
"Hey, that was my initial
response too. Kate and I bought a set of rod iron patio
furniture, I'd say, about three years ago. She wanted white. I
told her it would show dirt too easily. Didn't matter. Had to be
white. Well, now she's been after me for a month to paint it
another color. She said the white shows dirt too much." He
groaned. "She never listens to me. Superboy, you plan to get
The Boy of Steel stammered a bit
before Larson interrupted, "Well, if you do, get used to
stuff like that. No offense Supergirl. So I told her I'd paint it
the first chance I got. Then she told me she wanted it painted
red. I said 'RED!' Had to be red. And not just red...but as
bright a red I could get it. Well, there's no point in trying to
change her mind. So I went to Grayson's and told him I wanted the
brightest red spray paint he had. He had three cans of whatever
shade of red you said it is. I didn't know how much I would need
for a table and four chairs, so I bought all Dan had. I didn't
want to run out and then find out he didn't have any more if I
needed it. That's why I bought the paint. Happy?"
"Have you used it yet?"
"No, was gonna paint last
weekend, but it looked like rain, so I didn't." Changing his
tone, "Can you imagine sitting down on patio furniture the
color of a fire engine to eat a meal?"
"Can I see the paint?"
the detective requested.
"Sure, I put it in the
garage. This way." The three waited as Larson opened one
door of the separate wooden building, then followed him to a
workbench. Haven't even taken the cans out of the bag. See for
Henderson looked inside the paper
container, then turned to the two in red and blue. "There's
only two cans here, not three."
"What do you say?"
Larson quickly responded.
"I said one of the cans is
missing. Any idea where it might be?"
"No idea at all! Bill, I
feel as if I should be upset with you. I mean, coming to my home
and all but calling me a criminal."
Superboy quickly stepped in,
putting his arm on Larson's shoulder. "Mr. Larson, the good
Inspector wasn't accusing you of any crime. It's his job to check
out all possible leads. Someone could have easily gotten into
this garage and stolen the paint, then used it. The building
isn't locked. You hear of stuff like this frequently, being a
newspaper editor. And I'm sure you want the McCredys' killer
brought to justice as much as we all do."
"Of course I do. I want to
print the killer's name in bold type on the front page of my
"Larry, thanks for your
time. Give Mrs. Larson my best."
"Sure, Bill, sure. Now is it
permissible for me to go inside my own house. I promise I won't
"Of course, just doing my
There was a gruff clearing of the
As the trio of crime fighters
headed for Henderson's car, "You're not thinking Larson's
our man, are you Inspector?" Supergirl inquired.
"I certainly don't want to,
but I can't rule him out. He is the one who bought the paint."
"Sure, but like I said,
Inspector, anyone could have stolen it from his garage."
"I know that, too," the
worn-down cop answered.
As she was getting into the
passenger side of the patrol car, to break the tension, the
blonde in the blue skirt slapped the back of the guy in the blue
tights, "Well, Superboy, ARE you going to get married?"
the three Kent household members enjoyed their dinner, Clark
noticed, on several occasions, Lisa's staring at him. But he said
nothing. Martha noticed it as well. As the ladies dried and put
away the dishes, the man of the house sat on the living room sofa
in deep thought. Still trying to put the crime spree's pieces
together so it would all make sense. Not that there's any sense
to killing, but there had to be a reason someone had done what he
had done, unless the perpetrator was simply a homicidal maniac.
Clark was buying the theory that robbery was the primary reason,
not the killing part. Rock and the McCredy couple were just at
the wrong place at the wrong time, he believed. Whoever was
behind it all had to know Dickerson's safe had a lot of cash that
very night, or he was just lucky, and Kent didn't put much store
in luck. Someone knew Dickerson went to the bank that day and
withdrew the payroll funds. Fortunately, the office was empty
that night and no one was hurt. As for Luthor's, it would be a
pretty logical assumption that a large sum of cash would be on
the premises at most any time. Everyone around knew Lex Luthor
was the richest person in Smallville. It was the hotel which was
the stumper. Even with no vacancies on any given night, at eight
bucks a guest, the day's take wouldn't amount to two hundred
dollars. The phrase SOON IT WILL END had been sprayed onto the
wall at the hotel but brushed on at the other sites. Could the
hotel have been hit by a copycat who didn't know he was using a
different manner of leaving the graffiti? The articles Rusty (and
he) had written in the Sentinel had described the crime scenes in
detail. Perhaps it was a copycat, but his gut feeling said it was
the same guy, and Ethel McCredy had stated it was a guy before
"What are you doing?"
Lisa asked as she entered the room.
"Oh, just thinking about our
SOON IT WILL END guy."
"Yeah, I've been doing the
same thing. I'm sorry to say that so far, I still have more
questions than answers. Are you going to stretch out as you
normally do, or may I join you?"
"No, have a seat," he
Martha joined them, sitting in
her favorite chair. "Are either of you going out tonight?"
"I don't think so Mom,
unless it's necessary."
Lisa added, "Me either.
They'll call us if we're needed."
"Should I turn on the TV?"
"If you want to watch
something, go ahead," he answered his mother.
"No, I don't really feel
like looking at anything tonight, and everything's a rerun in the
summer, and I've probably seen it. Think I'll do some sewing in
my room. And that will probably put me to sleep." She
started for her room. "Don't forget the lights."
"O.K. Mom. Good night."
The two sat quietly for a short
time. Then Lisa asked Clark, "Do you think Inspector
Henderson thought Mr. Larson might be the killer?" Kent
answered no. But he had to check out the sale of the three cans
of spray paint. "To be honest with you, I thought we were
going to find that all the paint had been stolen from his garage.
I was surprised that two cans were left behind."
"And I'll be spending
tomorrow morning going through all the store invoices for
who-knows-how-far back looking for the other two cans. That isn't
going to be any fun."
"Well, don't worry about
that tonight. Tomorrow will come fast enough." Changing the
subject, Clark remarked, "I couldn't help but notice that
you were staring at me during supper. Any particular reason? Has
my face gone green or something?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't
aware I was staring. Well, actually, I guess I was. And no, your
face hasn't gone green. As a matter of fact, you have a very nice
face, a kind face," she answered as she ran her fingers
across his left cheek. "Clark..."
"I'm not really sure how to
say this, and I don't want to upset you, but..."
falling in love with you."
She replied, "Is that all
you can say?"
"Actually, I could say quite
a lot, but I'd rather answer another way." He gently put his
right hand around the back of her head, and pulled her towards
him until their lips came together. They enjoyed a long kiss
before separating. "That...was nice."
"I'm not so sure," she
teased, "let's try it again." The second kiss was even
longer. "Yes, that was nice."
She leaned against his chest,
while twirling her right index finger in circles on his torso.
"I've felt this coming on for a while, even before we
graduated, but I was confused. I don't want to hurt Pete. But I
can't control how I feel. I love you Clark."
"Well, Lisa, this may
surprise you, but I love you, too." He told her that he had
been holding back as well, also because of his best friend. "But
I don't want to hurt Pete any more than you. He joins the Army to
serve his country and I cut in on his girl. Some friend."
"You shouldn't feel that
way, I'm involved just as much as you. I'll always have feelings
for Pete. But things just started to change. I can't help it. And
it would be dishonest to all of us if he and I stayed together if
I didn't love him anymore. Brody Murphy was right when he said a
long-distance relationship would be difficult. I didn't want to
tell Brody he was right, because he'd probably never leave me
alone. Oh, Clark, what should we do?"
"Just see what develops, I
suppose. But for now..." He kissed her once again, then
stood up. "I think the best thing I should do is go and take
a shower," he remarked laughing a bit. Then I'm going to hit
"I'll stay down here for a
while, in case there's a call."
He bent down, gave her one more
kiss, then started for the stairs.
Ten minutes later, She went to
After another ten, with teeth
brushed, pajamas on, Clark was turning down his bed, when there
was a light tapping on his door. He turned and opened the door no
more than six inches. Standing on the other side in the hallway,
dimly lit by a nightlite, was what looked like an angel...Lisa,
sans wig, her blonde hair as smooth as silk, covered by a pale
blue negligee, which stopped just above her knees, about the same
spot as her Supergirl outfit.
"Hi," she whispered.
They both made like statues for a few seconds until he broke the
silence and stepped back, "Come in."
Martha was, as she predicted,
starting to fade with her sewing. She was ready for slumber. As
she leaned over to set her stitchery on the lower shelf of the
nightstand, she saw one of her old photo albums. She smiled,
picked it up and began thumbing through the photographic
memories. "Look at that cute little Clark," she said.
Turning a few more pages, she thought, "I bet Lisa would get
a kick out of seeing these pictures." The family matriarch
got to the floor, donned her robe, and started up the stairs,
carefully holding on to the guardrail. Reaching the top, she made
the right turn, stopping between the two closed bedrooms and
whispered, "Lisa?" Hearing no response, she repeated as
she gently knocked. The door hadn't completely closed, so it
opened but a few inches. Leaning her head inside just enough to
repeat Lisa's name, the light was still on but there was no one
there. She entered no further. Her first thought was that Lisa
had been needed as Supergirl and had left the house. But then her
eyes spotted the red and blue uniform hanging in the closet.
Closing the door, she turned towards the stairs. The light from
Clark's room barely lit the spacing between his door and the
floor. But as she continued towards her destination, Martha heard
female giggling from her son's bedroom. Without missing a beat,
she guided herself back to the ground floor, exhaled a deep
breath and muttered "Oh dear."
came through the swinging door into the kitchen. Lisa was already
sitting at the table, taking small sips of her coffee. Martha
stood at the stove with her back to the table putting the
finishing touches on the morning's breakfast. Before Kent could
be seated, Lisa gave him an eye signal that his mother seemed
upset. As he slid up to the table, Martha turned around, placed
two plates of scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and ham in front of
the couple and grabbed the third plate for herself just as the
toaster popped up. She stacked the four pieces of brown toast on
a plate and set it in the middle of the table. The way she
dropped the plate from about an inch up told Clark that the meal
would be consumed under strained emotions. "Morning Mom,"
"Morning," was returned
with no elaboration. She poured herself and Clark coffee,
returned the pot to the burner and took her seat. Each began to
eat, looking down at their plates. The tension at that table
couldn't be cut with the knife being used to spread the butter
and jelly on the crunchy bread. Several minutes, seeming more
like several hours, passed before Kent asked his mom if she had
"No, I didn't. Actually, I
was probably awake most of the night staring up into a
"I'm sorry Mom."
"What do you have to be
"No, I'm sorry you didn't
sleep well," he said, trying to avoid the direction he knew
the conversation might be heading.
"All right," she firmly
stated, "Let's stop walking on eggshells and playing with
one another. I know what went on last night. I want you to know
that I was not snooping on either one of you. But I went upstairs
to show Lisa some pictures in one of my photo albums and found
her room empty. I didn't need Sherlock Holmes to tell me where
you were (looking Lisa's way)."
"Mom, if you'll let..."
"Let me finish, please.
Listen, I accept the fact that both of you are legally adults and
have the right to do what you wish. But as adults, you both need
to understand that you have to deal with the reponsibilities that
go along with being adults. And with the decisions we make, there
are sometimes consequences that go along with our actions. Some
consequences are minor, but some have long-term effects on our
"Mom stop, please. I really
need to stop you for a minute," Kent insisted.
"All right, what is it?"
"What you think happened
last night, didn't happen. It started out to, but Lisa and I
talked it over and decided that we should take some time with our
"Martha," Lisa began,
"Clark and I love each other. We certainly don't deny that.
It just happened. You understand falling in love."
"Lisa, honey, of course I
do. I've fallen in love several times in my life. But you and
Clark's falling in love is a bit more complicated. We're talking
about four people here, not just two. Each of you live as two
different people. That's complicated enough as it is. And
difficult. What I'm trying to say is, "Did you fall in love
with Clark or with Superboy? And was it Lisa falling in love or
was it Supergirl? Do you see what I mean?”
"I do Martha. I do. Let me
just say that even though Clark and I live our lives as two
different people, that's for the most part, just from the
exterior. You know, a wig or a pair of eyeglasses. But in our
hearts, Lisa and Supergirl have the emotions and philosophies,
and I believe Clark is the same way. Your son is the good person
you and Mr. Kent reared. You taught him the things he needed to
learn. And he learned much of what he knows being Clark Kent. So,
you see, Superboy is not really a different person than Clark,
but more of an extension of Clark. The same holds for me. It
doesn't matter if I'm flying into outer space with him or sitting
on the couch with him, I love him the same."
"Is that how you feel, son?"
"Yes, Mom, it is. Neither
Lisa or I ever saw our relationship working together becoming
this way. It just happened. We talked it over last night. We
understand it will change some of the perspectives of, well, what
we do. But we're both willing to take that chance. We'll adjust,
Mom, you'll have to trust us. Just because we are both who we are
doesn't mean we can't have personal happiness, does it?"
"Of course not, son. It's
just more complicated. But since each one of you has special
abilities, and not just being able to fly through the air or see
through brick walls, I hope you have the emotional abilities to
"Don't worry, Martha. We'll
be fine," Lisa comforted and shifted gears. "A minute
ago, you mentioned that you had been in love several times. Was
Mr. Kent not your first true love?"
"Oh mercy no. I fell
head-over-heels in what I thought was love during the eighth
grade. A boy named Gibby Jenkins. I persuaded him to take me to a
school dance. We hit it off from the start and ended up going out
together for about three years. Then the mill closed down where
we lived. It was the Depression. Things were bad. But my father
got a job in one of the mills here, so he moved us all to
Smallville. I never saw or heard from Gibby again. Years later I
heard that he didn't come back from Korea. So many of them didn't
you know. But my very first day at my new school, which was the
same Smallville High, I saw this good-lookin' fellow in the hall,
and my heart about exploded. Talk about love at first sight.
Jonathan Kent. Cuter than Cary Grant, I thought. His buddies
called him J-Bird."
"J-Bird?" Lisa laughed.
continued. "Well, I want you to know that I made it clear to
him almost right away that I was available, so we went for a
drive one Friday night. The week after graduation, we got
married. This house was where Jonathan was born and grew up. All
his brothers and sisters eventually moved away, but he and I
stayed. After his parents were both gone, he worked it out with
the others that he would keep the house. And this is the only
place I've lived since we were married. We never had children,
although we wanted a couple of 'em, that is, until that day that
this guy over here came streaking through the sky and
crash-landed in our pasture. Jonathan called it one of those
"new-fangled" rockets. Since he fell from the sky, we
always thought of Clark as our gift from Heaven."
"When did you start noticing
that your "bundle of joy" (she said sarcastically,
grinning at her new boyfriend) came to Earth with powers and
abilities far beyond those of mortal men?"
"Almost right away. We
figured he was just a couple of months old when we got him. One
morning, I was..." She stopped herself. "Look at the
time. You're both have jobs to get to. Finish your breakfast
before it gets completely cold. We'll finish this later."
Both plates were empty in seconds
due to some super-speed eating. Martha was kissed on the cheek,
once from each direction. As the two left the kitchen, she asked,
"Leave it open." She took a sip of her coffee, made an
unpleasant face when the cold liquid hit her lips and watched the
two young adults disappear through the often-used bookcase.
"Good luck, kids."
faster than usual towards town, the two in red and blue
immediately made up the short time they had to get to their jobs.
A slight problem faced them, however, as they approached their
destinations. Dan Grayson and employee Brody Murphy were outside
the back of the General Store unloading a grain delivery. And a
truck loaded with rolls of newsprint, along with several Sentinel
employees, occupied the alley leading into the newspaper
building. Not opening for another hour, the public library showed
no signs of activity, so the flying duo set down in the back. She
made a quick change to her alter-ego. He decided to check in at
the Sentinel as he was, so he suggested he go one way and she the
Thinking about mounds of old
invoices she would be digging through trying to track those cans
of Crimson Kiss Red paint, she turned the corner of the library
and stepped onto the town sidewalk heading towards Grayson's.
Coming towards her were two girls, probably eleven or twelve
years of age, on their roller skates. "Let's race!" one
girl said to the other. Lisa also observed a break in the
sidewalk ahead of the oncoming youngsters. "They're not
paying attention. When they hit that bad spot, they'll fall for
sure." Quickly using her heat vision, she fused the crack
until it was smooth enough for them to pass over it. She stepped
aside as they passed, and they continued on, never knowing they
could have been badly injured.
Everyone in the Sentinel who
spotted Superboy walking down the hall either yelled to him or
patted him on the back as he passed. "Hello Rusty," he
greeted the eager reporter.
"Hey Superboy, how ya
"I'm fine, thanks. Still
like your job?"
"Man, yeah! Don't tell Mr.
Larson, but I'd do it for half what he pays me."
"Very well, my lips are
sealed. So, you're doing O.K.?"
"Are you kiddin'? Eighty
bucks a week, before taxes."
"Well, good for you. I
stopped by to see if you had any further information on the
"Nah. I was hoping you came
to give me something." He looked down at his watch.
"Sorry, Superboy, not
really. It's two till, and Clark's not here yet. He's usually
here by now."
"Clark Kent? I think I saw
him down the street as I was flying into town. I'm sure he's on
his way. And since neither of us have information to share, I'll
be on mine."
"On your what?" the
young newsman asked.
"On my way. I said Kent is
on his way, and I'll be on mine."
"Oh yeah, I get it. Well,
thanks for coming by. Maybe next time we'll have something to
The Boy of Steel exited into the
alleyway, now vacant. The paper truck was gone. Clark Kent
immediately entered through the same door.
"Good morning," Kent
said as he sat down in what had become his chair.
"Hey Clark, you missed
Superboy. He was just here."
"Actually, I saw him
outside. What did he want?"
"To see if I had any new
info on the murders. But I don't."
"Hmmm," young Kent
A couple of blocks down the
street, Lisa Landon arrived at the front door of Grayson's
General Store to find the door was still locked. Walking around
to the back, she spoke to both Dan and Brody. Grayson told her
they were running a few minutes behind and would she open up for
him and wait on anyone until the truck was unloaded. "Yes
sir," she answered.
Ten minutes had passed when Dan
relieved her up front. He informed her he had pulled the sales
receipts for the last two months and had put them on the desk for
her inspection. She wasted no time in digging into them. Keeping
them in order and starting with the most recent, she saw an
immediate problem when she found a charge slip with a paint sale.
The receipt was written "gallon paint" and the price,
but that was the only notation. The charge slip did not specify
the color of the paint that was sold. Continuing through the
stack, now going back three weeks, all sales of gallon cans of
paint were listed the same way. Hearing Brody working outside her
office, she closed the door and, with super speed, quickly
finished the entire stack. They were all the same.
Making her way to the front of
the store, she couldn't help but notice Brody hard at work. He
was mumbling to himself. When their eyes met, he came to a dead
halt. "What are you looking at?"
"I'm sorry Brody, I didn't
mean to stare, I heard you say something. I thought you were
talking to me."
"Well, I wasn't."
"Do you fell all right
"I feel great! Why are you
"You're wringing wet. Are
you sure you're O.K."
"Look, why shouldn't I be
wringing wet. It's summer. It's hot! I've been unloading
forty-pound grain sacks for over an hour. You'd be hot too if you
had to do any real work, not just push papers around."
"All right. I'm sorry,"
Her apology was rejected. "Look
Lisa, you made it clear you want to have nothing to do with me,
so you don't need to pretend to be concerned, whether I'm hot or
wet, or ANYTHING! Just leave me alone!"
The door to the front of the
store opened just far enough for Dan to lean in and ask if
anything was wrong. "I could hear voices in the store. The
customers heard it too."
"It was my fault, Mr.
Grayson. It won't happen again," Murphy stepped up. "Mr.
"Would it be all right if I
took a half hour and went home to shower and change clothes. I've
got grain stuck all over me and it seems I'm giving off foul odor
from sweatin' that is offensive to Miss Landon. I'll only take
half an hour for lunch to make up the time."
Grayson's and Landon's eyes
connected. "Sure, Brody, that's fine."
"Thank you. I'll be back in
half an hour." They heard his truck peel out down the alley
to the street.
"Could I speak with you for
a minute, Mr. Grayson?"
"Let me finish up with these
folks first, and Lisa, I have no problem if you call me Dan
instead of Mr. Grayson."
"That's better," he
Brody, still upset, slammed the
door of the back porch of his house. He stormed into the kitchen
past his mother, who was standing at the sink snapping fresh
green beans. "Aren't you going to speak to your mother, and
why are you home?"
"HELLO, and I'm going to
take a shower. I stink!"
She asked if he was feeling all
right. He answered loudly that he felt just fine. "I'm going
to take a shower!"
Mrs. Murphy stopped at the closed
bathroom door. "Brody, honey, did you take your medicine
"I asked you if you took
your medicine this morning. Your allergy medicine and your
medicine for anxiety."
"No, but I will. First, I'm
taking a shower!"
The poor single parent just
turned, went back into the kitchen and resumed her bean snapping.
Ten minutes later, her son, now fresh and neat, headed for the
back door. "I'm going back to work."
"Can't you kiss your
Mother?" He took the time to honor her request. "Did
you take your medicine?"
"Yes, I took my medicine."
"Both of them."
"Your allergy medicine AND
your anxiety medicine?"
"Anxiety medicine?" he
"Yes, the medicine you told
me the doctor gave you for anxiety, to keep you calm."
"Oh...yes Mother, I took it.
See ya at supper." Seeing the beans in her hand, "Green
beans huh, can't wait." And the door slammed.
"Now, Lisa, what's on your
"Mr. Grayson, I mean Dan, I
went through the stack of the sales receipts you left out for
"Already? All of them?"
"Yes, it didn't take long.
You haven't sold that much paint the last two months."
"No, I guess not. Most folks
around Smallville do their painting at the start of spring. The
big jobs anyway, then they get their crops planted. So, what did
When she told him paint colors
were not specified, he seemed surprised. "By golly, that's
right. I forgot. I should have remembered."
"I'm just curious, how do
you reorder by color if you don't keep records?"
"Uh, to tell you the truth,
I just check the shelves out here and in the back, then order
what colors that are low. It's, uh, easier for me that way than
to have to dig through all the paperwork."
"I see," she replied.
Walking back to her desk, she
thought it strange that knowing this was a police request, he
would forget to mention it to Inspector Henderson right away.
Sitting at her desk, she heard
the back door slam.
"Great, Brody's back."
to her delight, Lisa noticed that her co-worker Brody Murphy was
in a much better mood when he returned to Grayson's General
Store. The shower, she assumed, must have cooled him off. He
stuck his head into the office and apologized to Lisa for "going
off" on her. She told him to forget it.
Murphy had her fresh green beans in the pot on the stove. Knowing
her son's habits, she assumed his bedroom would be a mess yet
again since he had made an unusual trip home in the middle of the
morning. Upon entering her only child's fortress of solitude, she
quickly saw she was correct. The dirty clothes, covered with
specks of grain, were thrown on the floor and on his single bed,
the same one he had used since he was only a few years old.
Picking up the discarded garments gently to prevent the grain
from getting deeper into her carpet, the thin, frazzled woman
noticed her son's bed not as she had left it when she made it up
after Brody had left for work the first time. The spread did not
hit the floor evenly. She was always meticulous about getting it
just right. Nothing was too good for her boy. And her mother had
always told her that if unexpected guests drop by, as long as the
beds were made and the dishes were washed and put away, her house
was presentable. But now the spread looked as if something had
been slid under the mattress. She shook her head in a bit of
disgust as she, one time, had found several magazines near the
same place. Magazines that weren't of the Famous Monsters of
she pulled the hidden object out from the mattress, she was
puzzled. She held in her hand, not a magazine, but a small black
leather pouch which zipped on three of the four sides. She knew
Brody didn't like her "snooping around" his things.
They had several confrontations about that recently. But the
woman's curiosity overcame her. Inside the pouch she found a
syringe and needle, some rubber tubing and two small plastic
bags, both empty, except for small white flakes in each. Also
contained in the pouch was her missing eighth table spoon she had
some time back searched high and low for in all the kitchen
drawers. Mrs. Murphy had given up on ever finding it, assuming
she had accidentally thrown it away in the trash. She had no idea
what all of this might be, but after giving it thought, figured
it was probably the prescription her son had told her their
doctor had prescribed for his anxiety. "Why couldn't the
doctor just give Brody pills or capsules like he usually did?"
But not wanting another spat with her boy, she returned the pouch
to where she found it.
Landon was still curious about her boss not remembering to tell
Inspector Henderson about the sales receipts not identifying
paint colors. Sure, it was possible he simply forgot like he
said, but it didn't quite ring true to her. After all, he owned
the store and had been following this procedure for quite a
while. Her thoughts were interrupted with Grayson's voice calling
out, "Lisa could you come here please?"
out front, she asked, "Yes, sir?"
you do me a big favor?"
just remembered that I left the house this morning without my
lunch. Meatloaf sandwich leftover from last night's dinner. Take
my truck, and run to my house and pick it up for me, will ya? You
know where I live, don't you?"
truck's out back. Keys are in it. The sack is on the kitchen
sir, I'll be back shortly." She passed by a busy Brody in
the store room on her way out. He asked where she was going. She
told him and why. "Oh," was his only response.
moment later, something popped into Dan's head, causing him to
bolt into the store room. "WHERE'S LISA?"
gone. Something wrong, Mr. Grayson?"
no, not a problem," the store owner answered, walking back
behind the counter with a look of concern on his middle-aged
was only fifteen minutes later when Lisa turned into the alley
for the back of the store. Being a fairly novice driver, she
applied the brakes a bit too hard. The truck stopped suddenly,
making the bagged lunch and flashlight on the front seat fall to
off the engine, she got out and turned around to retrieve Dan's
midday meal and replace the flashlight to the seat. Bending over,
something caught her attention. An old hand towel partially
wrapped around a metal container. Both can and towel had stains
on them..red stains. Holding the can in her hand, she read the
label...Schuler Crimson Kiss Red paint. It had been opened and,
judging from its weight, partially used. That explained the
stains. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" said a voice which made
the young girl jump.
spun around to see Brody standing at the back door. "Just
putting Mr. Garyson's flashlight back on the front seat. Afraid I
hit the brakes too hard and the flashlight kept on going."
if you're not used to driving someone else's vehicle, that can
happen," came his answer. She re-wrapped the can inside the
towel, putting it back under the seat. "Hey, Mr. Grayson
came looking for ya right after you left. Seemed kinda upset. I
told him you had already gone." He offered her a smoke, then
pulled back, remembering she didn't indulge.
guess I'll get back to work," she replied as she past him.
her way to deliver last night's meatloaf, she was upset about
finding the paint can. All of a sudden, she was having bad vibes
about her boss. He seemed like such a nice man, but events of the
day (the sales invoices and the spray can) were very troubling.
Maybe he came chasing her because he remembered the can was under
the seat, and she might find it. "Here's your lunch."
thanks Lisa. Everything go all right."
sir. Brody said you came looking for me just as I left. Anything
no, nothing wrong. Uh, ya know, it occurred to me that after I
asked you to run home for me, I, uh, wasn't sure you had a
driver's license. You do, don't you?"
sure. Clark taught me how to drive a few months ago."
Good boy, that Clark," Grayson answered. "Kinda late
getting your license, wasn't it? Most kids want to as soon as
they turn sixteen. So, how do you like driving?"
it's fine. I like flying better."
aware of what she really meant, he answered, "Yes, I like to
fly. Well, thanks again for getting my lunch for me."
welcome," she answered as she went back to her desk,
thinking that Clark should know about her discovery as soon as
a sheet of paper out of his Remington so fast the carriage made a
saw-like sound, Rusty proudly stated, "Done! How about some
lunch," Kent replied, "Rusty, I promised Lisa I would
meet her at Tony's. She wanted to talk to me about something. You
don't mind if I skip today, do you?"
you guys go on. I'll run some errands and see you back here in an
hour or so."
couple sat in Tony's Diner sipping their water. Looking up above
their booth, Lisa saw a rifle mounted on the wall. It was unusual
looking because the barrel of the rifle was bent backwards.
"The Superboy rifle, huh?"
grinned and answered, "Yeah." The owner himself
came to take their order. "Afternoon, Clark. This your
I'd like you to meet Lisa Landon. We went to Smallville College
together. She works for Dan Grayson."
I'ma very happy to meet you. Now, what can Tony get you today?"
and a Coke for me, Tony. Lisa?"
salad on toast and milk please."
right up." As he started to walk away, Clark stopped him,
"Hey Tony, Superboy been in lately?"
kiddin'? Why, Superboy eats here almost every day."
played along, "Is that right Tony? He must like the food
yeah, he loves it. Ya see, Superboy and me, well, we'rea close
friends. He bent that rifle there."
what Clark was telling me."
day a mean man came in here and tried to hold me up. But
because we best friends, Superboy, he was here in a flash. He
took the rifle away from the guy and bent it so it no shoot. Then
Superboy and me, we took the man to jail. Right Clark?"
what I heard Tony," winking at Lisa.
restaurant owner answered, "No, don't takea my word for it.
Justa ask Superboy when ya see him."
I believe you Tony. And besides, you're closer to Superboy than I
am. When you
him, Tony, say hello for me."
sure will Clark."
asked, "Hey Tony, what about Supergirl? Do you know her,
oh sure, we good friends, too. But I not know her as much as I
know Superboy, but she's very nice. Luncha coming right up."
soon as Tony was clear, Clark and Lisa began discussing what had
transpired during the morning. Clark was in denial, believing it
wasn't possible that his family's long-time friend Dan Grayson
could have anything to do with the recent robberies and the
murdering of three innocent people.
don't want to believe it either, but I saw what I saw," she
said. "Clark, what should we do?"
one thing we shouldn't do is jump to conclusions based on
circumstantial evidence and something he said he forgot."
have been convicted on circumstantial evidence before," she
I know. But this is Dan Grayson. I've known him all my life. I
know I'm biased, but I don't want to do anything until we know
more. Dan can't be involved in all this. I'd stake my secret
identity on it."
you don't think we should tell Henderson?"
yet, Lisa. I don't want to disgrace Dan in this town with so
little to go on and have it not pay off. If more turns up, we'll
do what needs to be done. But, I'd like to wait. Will you go
along with me on this, please?"
course. And I'll keep my eyes and ears open at work," she
the young crime fighters munched on their sandwiches, Lucinda
Hobbs, Smallville's busiest of busy bodies and clerk at Gower's
Drug Store, stopped rearranging the cigar shelf to
wait on an early afternoon customer.
good afternoon Louisa," the snoop greeted her old friend.
"Haven't seen you in here lately."
Louisa replied. "Haven't really needed anything. But I can
use a few things today."
can I get for you dearie?"
need a jar of Vaseline, a jar of Noxzema and a bottle of my hair
coloring. You won't tell anyone about the hair coloring, will you
heavens no, dearie, my lips are sealed. They'll never hear it
from me. That all?"
almost forgot. I need a refill on my arthritis medicine."
me tell Mr. Gower about the refill, and I'll be right back to
get...let's see, Vaseline, Noxzema and, uh, you-know-what."
made a quick walk around the counter. Coming to a translucent
glass window, she bent her head over so she could speak through
the small hole at the bottom. "Mr. Gower, refill on Louisa
Murphy's arthritis prescription."
I'm here, I might as well get Brody's two prescriptions filled.
The one for his allergies and the one for his anxiety."
Hobbs relayed the message to the town's only druggist.
be a few minutes, honey. There's a couple prescriptions ahead of
you. Read a magazine. The new LOOK came in yesterday. I won't
charge you to read it."
bell on the drug store door rang as Rusty made his entrance. "Oh
hey Mrs. Murphy, Miss Hobbs." Lucinda never married, and it
wasn't difficult to figure out why.
Louisa Murphy answered. "How's your Mother?"
fine, Mrs. Murphy, I hope you are."
well as can be expected, I guess," came the response.
I help you with anything Rusty?" Lucinda asked.
just yet. I'll just look around."
couple minutes later, Mr. Gower, no more than five and a half
feet tall, with thinning grey hair and a small matching
moustache, stepped from his cubby hole where he did most of
his work and placed two bottles on the counter next to where
Lucinda was standing. "Mrs. Murphy, here is your
arthritis refill and Brody's allergy refill. I don't have a
prescription on file for any anxiety medicine for him."
Mr. Gower, you must have one. He went to the doctor and the
doctor gave him medicine for anxiety. He's been all nervous and
excited for the last couple of weeks. One minute he's fine, then
the next he's short-tempered and unpleasant. One time he
almost...well," she stopped short. "So I sent him to
I'm sorry, but I have no such prescription for him. Perhaps
you could check with his doctor."
guess he had it filled somewhere else," she fretted.
this is the only drug store in Smallville. But perhaps he filled
it in Metropolis or Midvale. Are you sure you didn't
couldn't have. He told me he had a prescription for anxiety, and
my baby wouldn't lie to me. This is so confusing."
Gower touched his employee's arm, "Lucinda, perhaps Rusty
can use some help over there." She reluctantly walked away,
afraid she might miss out on some juicy gossip.
Mrs. Murphy back towards his work station, he asked her in what
way she was confused. She told him of what she had found under
her son's mattress, not really understanding why their doctor
gave him a prescription so complex instead of just a pill.
Knowing immediately what she had described, Gower tried to
console his customer and friend. He handed her purchases to her,
"A charge?" "Yes, please," she responded.
"I'll look into it for you and let you know what I find out,
you, Mr. Gower."
at all," the kind man answered.
not able to decide on anything, left the store with Mrs. Murphy.
"Mind if I walk with you as far as the Sentinel?"
would be nice, Russell," she stated as Rusty grimaced,
hearing the name he never used.
stood motionlessly, digesting what he had been told by this poor
she passed by him, headed back to the cigar shelf, Lucinda Hobbs
whispered, "Did you know she dyes her hair?"
Gower was distracted most of the afternoon, having trouble
focusing on the work he had to get done. Prescriptions had to be
filled for his customers who routinely stopped in on their way
home from work. From the description Mrs. Murphy had given him
about her son's little black pouch, he was convinced Brody was
using illegal narcotics, most likely heroin. But what should he
do? Should he call the police and report his suspicions? He had
no proof, just hearsay conversation. After all, he hadn't seen
the pouch. And although the chances were slim it wasn't
narcotics, if he were wrong, he would cause a lot of grief for
this single mother and her only child. And Louisa Murphy's health
was fragile. A big shock or scandal could cause serious damage to
day's edition of the Sentinel was soon to hit the street. It was
a slow news day in Smallville. With no new information about the
town's shocking crime wave, all Rusty and Clark could contribute
were the previous day's arrests, and none amounted to anything
more than traffic citations and one domestic dispute. The
Pridmores had been at it again. Patricia Pridmore had stormed
into the magistrate's office the previous afternoon claiming her
husband had struck her with a wet bath towel. By the time the
magistrate filled out the proper paperwork for her to sign, she
changed her mind about pressing charges and left. This wasn't the
first time the husband and wife had quarreled. It probably
wouldn't be the last. The front page consisted of world and
still had that can of spray paint on her mind. She kept a close
eye on Dan Grayson, hoping her gut feelings were wrong. Brody
acted properly for most of the afternoon but began talking to
himself again as quitting time approached.
was a rare afternoon that neither Superboy or Supergirl were
needed. Clark and Lisa liked times such as this. It usually
signified that all was well in their small town.
and Clark walked out of the Sentinel at about the same time Lisa
and Brody left Grayson's. The work day, at least regular hours,
was finished. Brody took off in his truck, Rusty in his Fairlane,
leaving Lisa and Clark behind to meet behind the General
Store where they made quick wardrobe changes and flew off in
tandem for home. Reaching the secret room of the Kent house via
their secret tunnel, they postponed their transitions for several
minutes. They chose to enjoy each other's company.
was ten minutes after six when Gower locked the doors of his drug
store. He had stayed open a bit longer so any latecomers could
pick up prescriptions, but the last came at 5:50. As he got
behind the wheel of his car, he decided he would follow through
on what he had decided to do. He'd go the couple of streets out
of his way on his way home to drive by the Murphy residence. He
assumed that being the dinner hour that both Brody and his mother
would be home. But if the boy's truck wasn't there, he would stop
to talk with Louisa. He approached their home slowly. The truck
was not in the driveway, so he parked on the street and went to
the front door. "Just a minute," he heard from the
inside. It was nearly a minute when Louisa Murphy finally opened
the door. "Mr. Gower?" She was holding a wet washcloth
to her cheek. "Are you all right, Mrs. Murphy," he
answered that she had bumped into an open kitchen cabinet
door, but she was fine. He wasn't so sure about her answer and
could tell she had been crying. He asked if he could come in for
a moment and if she would show him the black leather pouch she
had described to him earlier. She agreed. "Have a seat, Mr.
Gower. I'll get it." She returned rather quickly and
informed the druggist that the pouch wasn't where she had found
it that morning. He asked if Brody had been home. "He came
in after work. I told him to wash up for dinner. He told me he
wasn't hungry and was going back out after he changed clothes.
And I had worked most of the day fixing a nice supper for him.
Fresh corn and green beans, biscuits and baked pork chops. But he
said he was going out and when I answered back is when he, I mean
I walked into the cabinet door. Mr. Gower, I don't know what's
come over him lately. One minute he's my boy Brody, and the next,
well, it's like he's a different person. Short-tempered,
disrespectful. I don't know what to do with him. The medicine the
doctor gave him seemed to be helping, but now you say that there
wasn't any medicine. I don't understand."
there anything else you want to tell me, Mrs. Murphy. I'll
do anything I can."
but it's nice of you to drop by. Please tell your wife hello for
me," she asked as she walked her guest to the door, unable
to hide the fact she wanted him to leave. "I certainly
will," he replied. "Now, if we can do anything for you,
please call on us."
you." And the door closed.
his way down the front walk to his car, Gower convinced himself
that her son was definitely using narcotics. The highs and lows
of the drugs accounted for his mood swings and personality
changes. He was also convinced that Brody was abusing his mother.
Both beliefs, however, might be difficult to prove. First he
wanted to share this information with his wife and get her
opinion, but he had already decided to call police headquarters
the next morning and turn it all over to them.
pulled away from the curb and headed for his home, not seeing the
parked pick-up truck at the end of the block behind him.
slumber came to a sudden halt when the loud ringing of the
telephone pierced the dark bedroom. A fumbling hand wasn't able
to grasp the receiver until the fourth ring.
answered the half-asleep voice.
this is Gower. Who's calling?"
the police department, Mr. Gower. So sorry to disturb you, but
there's been a break-in at your drug store, and we're going to
need you to come down here."
be there in fifteen minutes."
distraught druggist turned on the bedside lamp and replaced the
receiver into the cradle of the phone.
is it, dear?" his wife asked, having been awakened.
broke into the store, and the police want me down there. I need
to get dressed."
you want me to go with you?"
no, sweetheart, you go on back to sleep. I'll be back as soon as
time is it?" she asked.
9:35." He kissed her forehead, grabbed his clothes and went
down the hall to the bathroom to dress.
out in the country in a different direction, two signal watches
gave alerts to the two who wore them. A female voice spoke first,
"This is Supergirl."
this is Henderson." A yawn interrupted his calling. "There's
been trouble at Gower's Drug Store."
be there shortly." She threw back the covers, opened her
bedroom door and started down the hall. Clark was already
standing at the top of the stairs. "I heard. You want me to
go?" he asked.
I'll take it. Go on back to bed. If I need you, I'll call."
the stairs and through the bookcase, Supergirl was en route to
town before Clark could climb back into his bed.
she approached the crime scene, she observed the now
all-too-familiar parade of parked patrol cars. She landed just a
few feet from an officer. "Inspector Henderson here?"
is it, a burglary?"
cop responded, "Burglary and homicide."
Who?" she inquired.
owner, Mr. Gower. You can go on in."
brought her up to speed. Side door kicked in, safe blown, any
money that might have been in the safe was taken, some drugs gone
(exactly what drugs unknown), Gower on floor in his prescription
area, bad head wound which probably accounted for his death (the
coroner would confirm) and a message sprayed in red on the wall
near Gower's lifeless body.
tell me," she said, "SOON
IT WILL END."
afraid so," Henderson moaned. "I've sent a man to get
Lucinda Hobbs. Maybe she can shed some light on the stolen
drugs and possible missing money. According to the three cash
registers in the store, the day's take was around six hundred
dollars, assuming the registers are reset every day. And there's
not a dime in the place, not even money to open with in the
morning. I also sent a man to be with Mrs. Gower. This is going
to devastate her. They'd been married nearly fifty years."
called it in?" Supergirl asked the beleaguered detective.
Kelley, making his routine patrol around 10:30. Saw the door
open, came in, and found things just as they are. Radioed in at
10:32. I got here at 10:55. Called you and Superboy as soon as I
arrived. I almost
to bed tonight."
me, Inspector," Officer Chandler, still guarding the door,
took a dispatch from the station. Call just came in. Murphy
residence, Fulton Street. Somebody dead."
on it. Kelley, I have to take another call. You take over here."
Turning to the super hero, "Will you stay here and assist
course," she responded.
Supergirl will stay here to help out. The coroner and Lucinda
Hobbs should be here shortly. You know what to do when she
sir," the young patrolman answered his boss.
Supergirl, I'd appreciate it if you could get in touch with
Superboy. If he's available, we could use him."
Inspector, I believe I can locate him."
started his patrol car and headed to Fulton Street. Not wanting
to wake up the entire town, he chose a silent approach. Entering
the residence, he first saw Brody sitting on the edge of the
couch, hands on chin bawling like a baby. "Your mother?"
He nodded. "Where?" came the cop's next question. Young
Murphy pointed towards the kitchen. As he approached the room, he
was thinking a heart attack, stroke or something of the sort.
Louisa Murphy wasn't in the best of health. But it took him no
time at all realizing he had walked into another crime scene. She
was sprawled on the floor of the kitchen, face up. She had bled
from the nose enough to form a small pool beside her head. There
was swelling on her face, and bruises had begun to form.
used the living room phone to call it in to headquarters. Then
asked the sergeant to locate Superboy and request he come to the
second murder scene. He then sat down next to Brody. "Son, I
have to ask you some questions, are you up for it?"
guess so," the distraught boy answered.
me what you know."
just came in a bit ago and found her on the floor. I called the
police right away. That's all I know."
door did you enter?"
time did you come home, and where had you been?"
was around 11:15, I guess. I didn't really look at my watch. But
I left the bowling alley when they closed at 11:00 and came
straight home. So 11:15 sounds about right."
detective continued as he took notes. "What time did you go
7:30, I believe, because I got to the alley about 7:45."
you go alone or pick someone up on the way?"
I went alone, but I was supposed to meet Butch Raffety at 8:00."
Brody, you're doing fine," Henderson went on, "And did
Raffety show up?"
a few minutes after I got there."
Raffety was there the entire evening?"
we walked out together."
time did you get home from work?"
I'd say. I was at the store until 5:30."
you and your mother had supper together?"
well actually no. She had supper ready when I got home, but I
wasn't hungry. I had a headache, so I went to my room and took a
nap. I was going to eat something when I woke up, but I slept
until around 7:20. There wasn't time by then even though she
tried to get me to eat. I told her I had to go and that I'd eat
at the snack bar when I got to the alley, which I did."
did you have?"
hot dog, fries and a Seven-Up. Why is that important?"
routine, son. A police officer gets all the facts he can."
That's really all I know," he insisted.
more question Brody, had you and your mother had any trouble?"
Of course not! What...you think I KILLED her!"
I didn't say that at all. Like I said, I have to ask these
questions. It's my job. Some of the questions aren't pretty."
was a quiet knock on the door.
volunteered, "Let me get that." Opening the door, he
stepped back, "Superboy, come in. This is Brody Murphy.
I know who you are. The guy who is supposed to help people. Why
weren't you here to help my mother? She's in there...dead!"
I am very sorry about what has happened. But I can't be
everywhere at once."
late for apologies. Officer, may I go to my room. I want to
but I need you to stay there. We'll be here for a good while. The
men from our crime lab will have to do what they do, and the
coroner will be here as soon as he can. It may take most of the
night. Oh, Brody, one more question. In your comings and goings
since you came home from work, did you see anything, I mean
anything out of the ordinary in the neighborhood. Any strangers
walking on the sidewalk that sort of thing."
let me think...no, I don't think so...except..." his voice
cut him off, "No, I didn't see any strangers, but there was
a vehicle parked down the street."
this when you came home from work?"
sir, when I was leaving for the bowling alley."
his notes, the detective confirmed, "That would be about
sir. I mean, it wasn't a strange vehicle. I know whose it is, I
just wondered what it was doing parked on my
at that time of night. It was starting to get dark, and when I
saw it, I thought he would have been home by then.
whose car was it?"
wasn't a car. It's a truck."
Ellsworth stood on the outside of Gower's Drug Store looking in.
Patrolman Kelley, left in charge, refused to let the reporter
enter until Inspector Henderson returned.
going to hear about this Kelley," Rusty shouted, "I
represent the press, first amendment, all that stuff."
represent the press from the sidewalk!" was his
walked over to Ellsworth, trying to comfort him, "Rusty,
Kelley's just doing his job. Take it easy on him. You'll get the
information you need. Right now, there's a lot going on. Let us
you tell me anything Supergirl?"
trying to piece some things together. But someone killed Mr.
Gower and perhaps robbed the drug store."
Gower is dead?"
afraid so. The lab men are about finished up here. The coroner's
inside going over things now."
you know what time it happened?"
Kelley called it in about 10:30. The coroner will have to
determine the time of death."
Henderson?" was the reporter's next question.
was here but was called away to something else. I'll talk to you
more later. I need to get back. Please, be patient."
more thing, Supergirl, did the killer leave his calling card in
red? You know what I mean."
very aggitated Lucinda Hobbs had looked over the entire store.
She confirmed to Kelley that there was money stolen. Gower
cleared the registers every day, so according to the totals, the
intruder got $597.00 and some change. She had stayed at work
until 5:45, and since the bank closed at 5:00, Gower couldn't
have made a bank deposit. But this was not unusual. Often, he
waited to balance the ledger the next morning, then went to the
bank. In the thirty years he had run the business, he had never
been robbed. As for the missing drugs, she had no idea what was
taken. Someone would have to check the stock against the
inventory sheets to determine what was missing. And
that someone wouldn't be her. She wanted to get out of there as
quickly as possible. Just thinking of what had happened to her
long-time boss and friend was making her queasy.
asked another officer to return Lucinda to her home and see she
got inside safely. "We'll call you if we need you. Thanks
for coming down. You've been a big help."
comment made Lucinda Hobbs feel like the Queen of England.
enforcement in Smallville, including two super heroes, were on
the crime scenes until almost dawn. The coroner got both of the
victims to the morgue. His surgical work would begin in a few
hours. Henderson, in a state of haziness from lack of sleep and
food, stopped by his house long enough to shower,
shave, change clothes and wolf down a big breakfast
(including almost a quart of black coffee). Then drove straight
to his office. Clark and Lisa had reported home for a change of
clothes and to give Martha the horrific news of her two friends.
As they made their flight back into the town to report to their
respective jobs, Henderson contacted them, first thanking them
for their help during the night and then to request their
presence at his office around one o'clock. "I want to take a
hard look at all the evidence we have and try to make some sense
out of it."
and Supergirl both told him they would be there.
hearing the events of the night from Rusty, Clark had to show
surprise and shock as he knew nothing of what had happened (as
Kent anyway). "Why didn't you call me?" he could safely
wasn't trying to shut you out, Clark, but I had it covered. After
I got what Kelley and Supergirl told me at the drug store, I went
to the Murphy house. Henderson and Superboy were there and gave
me what they could about Mrs. Murphy. Hope you're not mad."
I'm not mad."
I need you to take one of the homicides, and I'll take the other.
You and I are going to own the front page today, buddy. Which one
do you want?"
give me Mrs. Murphy," being more familiar with that case
since he was actually there.
you have trouble reading my notes, just ask and I'll translate,"
two typewriters clicked almost in harmony as the young men
prepared their respective stories. Even typing at human speed,
Clark seemed far ahead of his mentor. Rusty seemed jumpy and
nervous, having to replace sheet after sheet in the carriage of
trouble concentrating. Can't seem to focus on what I'm doing. I
guess I'm distracted."
can go to another office if my typing is bothering you."
not you, Clark. It's...well...oh, I might as well tell you. Crap,
Clark! I've been drafted!"
Remingtons were now silent. "Drafted!" Kent exclaimed.
I got home yesterday afternoon, there was a letter waiting for me
on the table. My mom was trying not to cry. She knew what it
asked, "What did it say?"
mean besides 'Greetings'? Well, it said I am to report for my
physical in Metropolis next week. Depending on how that goes, I
guess they'll tell me."
I don't know what to say."
it isn't that I'm against serving my country. But why now? My
career as a reporter's just getting into high gear, and I was
hoping if I was drafted, it would be later down the road. I
expected to be called eventually, I mean I am 1-A,
but geez, not now."
you told anyone else?"
no one. I've been thinking if I should tell Mr. Larson, because I
guess there's always a chance I could fail my physical, and
then I would have bothered him for no reason. What do you think I
should do, Clark?"
please don't ask me. I really don't know what to tell you."
I guess I can decide later. Let's get back to work. Deadline in
Dan Grayson and Lisa Landon were surprised, almost shocked, when
young Brody Murphy reported for work, considering his mother had
been murdered only twelve hours earlier. Both expressed
their deepest sympathies. "I might as well come to work. It
might help me keep my mind off what happened. Sure don't want to
stay at home. It's a crime scene, a damn crime scene. The cops
told me that I should actually not go home, not even to sleep,
until they completely finish up. So last night, I slept in my
I wish you would have called me. You could have slept at my
actually didn't do much sleeping anyway, so it's no big deal."
for the time being, you can stay at my house."
Mr. Grayson. You sure I wouldn't be putting you out?"
at all. You'd be good company. My wife's in Kansas City for a few
days visiting her two sisters. I have plenty of room."
if you really don't mind, I'll take you up on that. Oh, I'm gonna
need some time off to make arrangements for my mom's funeral. As
soon as the police release her body, that is," he stated,
lowering his head.
course, I'll be glad to help you with that too, Brody, if you
need me. Your mother was a fine woman. You meant everything to
you. I should get to work. Anything urgent you need me to do, Mr.
there is. Luke Maynard is coming by for a load of mulch. You can
go ahead and stack twenty of the large sacks near the delivery
stood outside her office area watching Brody move the large bags
to the back door. Even though the two of them hadn't gotten off
on the right foot, she did feel badly for him. Nineteen, maybe
twenty years old, no parents. She wondered what he would do know
that his mother was gone. She hoped their small frame house was
paid off, so he could, at least, sell it if he needed money. His
pay from the store surely couldn't cover all the bills he would
have. Even though it was only mid-morning, the Smallville summer
day was heating up quickly, almost to ninety already. Brody was
panting and had worked up a good sweat. He hadn't noticed Lisa's
watching, so without thinking about the consequences, he peeled
off his long-sleeve shirt and tossed it over a chair close by.
With her sharp vision, the young girl was taken back at what she
saw. Black needle marks near the bend of his left arm. These
"tracks" were often a sign of mainlining heroin. Was
Brody a junkie, she asked herself? It could
the sudden mood swings she had witnessed and been a target.
was seated in the detective's office. He and Henderson were
awaiting Supergirl's arrival. The lawman stood at his window
looking for her. "Here she comes," he said, opening the
glass panes and stepping back. As soon as she was inside, he
quickly returned the windows to their original positions. "Don't
want to waste the air conditioning."
does feel better than the last time I was here, Inspector,"
the Boy of Steel chuckled.
me up how the commissioner won't let us turn on the A/C until the
middle of June. Gotta save the taxpayer's money he says, while he
with a window unit running...since the first of May."
we get started?" she asks.
he responded, taking his seat behind the desk. "What I want
us to do is to take a look at each one of the incidents starting
with the high school, review the evidence we've acquired at each
site and see if we can come up with a common denominator."
logical," the two red and blue dressed figures stated.
the high school. A door jimmied open, SOON
IT WILL END painted
with a brush on a wall in the main hallway. Nothing stolen, no
damage to the property. We assumed it was a malicious act of
breaking and entering and vandalism, probably by one or more
kids with nothing better to do on a hot summer night. No
fingerprints to help us. Next up, Dickerson's Trucking Company,
also hit at night, office door not jimmied but kicked in, safe
kind of explosive Inspector?" she inquired.
we found indicates ordinary dynamite. Duct tape on the safe tells
us the stick was taped to the front of the safe by the
tumblers. Not a complicated process. Most anyone could do it. The
same painted message, this time on the back of the building.
Again no useable prints. Bank bag containing $1844 taken.
Dickerson's insurance covered the damage but not the money. Next
the Luthor house. Front doors kicked in like at Dickerson's. Rock
Templeton's head crushed by a crowbar. No useable prints.
Nothing apparently damaged or stolen. Same painted message on
wall. Picture on floor suggests the intruder was looking for
a wall safe."
really speculation, isn't it Inspector?"
Superboy, it is. I'm also speculating that the reason nothing in
the house was disturbed was because Templeton appeared
suddenly and the intruder killed him, then probably panicked
and fled the scene. Next is the hotel. No forced entry. Doors
were unlocked. Arthur McCredy's head beat in with a heavy paper
weight. Ethel McCredy killed upstairs. A man wanting money, she
said before dying, hit her in the head with gun. The blow from
the gun killed her said the coroner. Cash drawer emptied.
Speculating," he looked at Superboy, "a small amount of
money was taken. Same message painted on wall, except this time,
spray painted. Now to last night. Gower's Drug Store, side door
knocked in, safe blown in same manner as Dickerson's, money
stolen, right at $600 according to Lucinda Hobbs, same message,
again spray painted, on wall near Gower's body, some drugs yet to
be determined probably stolen. And, of course, no useable prints
unless Lucinda did it. Her prints are everywhere except Gower's
prescription-filling area. Of course, I'm not serious about that.
Then to the Murphy house. No sign of forced entry, no sign of
struggle, no painted message anywhere, just poor Louisa Murphy on
the kitchen floor in her own blood and her son in the living
room. And that is the physical evidence we have at this point."
completed on Mr. Gower and Mrs. Murphy?" Superboy asked.
finished right before lunch. How Horace can stand to eat right
after what he did this morning, I'll never know. But here are his
findings. Gower died from a severe blow to the head by a firm
metal object. Fits the pattern as the other murders. In this
case, though, we haven't found the murder weapon. Louisa
Murphy died from a severe beating to the face and head. No
foreign objects were used. She was beaten to death by someone's
fist or fists. She died of a massive concussion and head trauma.
Her left cheekbone and jaw were shattered. Kids, someone
savagely beat the living daylights out of that poor woman.
No fingerprints in the house were found, other than her own and
her son Brody's."
about Brody's alibi. Did it check out?" asked the Boy of
He told me he left the house at 7:30 and arrived at the bowling
alley at 7:45, where he remained until 11:00, then went home,
finding his mother's body around 11:15. This was corroborated by
his friend Butch Raffety. Raffety told me they were together the
the coroner fix the time of death?"
Horace said Louisa Murphy died anytime between 7:30 and 8:30."
about Mr. Gower?"
was killed between 9:30 and 10:30. BUT, there's a fly in the
ointment about Gower," Henderson stated.
do you mean," Superboy asked, leaning forward.
talked with Mrs. Gower this morning before the doctor sedated her
again. This has hit her hard. Doc said she's near a complete
breakdown. But here's what doesn't add up...she said that Gower
got a call from the police department asking him to come down to
the drug store because of a burglary. He got this call at 9:35.
Well, no one here
Gower at all. We didn't know about the burglary until Kelley
called it in at 10:32."
the female crime fighter acknowledged. "So someone, claiming
to be a policeman, lured Mr. Gower to the store,
robbed and killed him and vanished before 10:30."
has to be. The phoney burglary call explains why he was at his
store at that hour. I can't make much sense out of all of this.
Nothing is consistent all the way from start to finish," the
let's look at the people we know who could be connected to all of
this," Superboy suggested. "In theory, there's the
school principal. But I don't see any connection between him and
any of the other incidents. Mr. Dickerson, I don't see any reason
why he'd damage his own building and steal his own money. If the
money was covered by insurance, maybe, but we know it wasn't. I'm
sure you checked that."
replied, "Of course I did, and it wasn't covered."
was that man at the hotel, what was it , Van Allen or something?"
Vallen," the cop answered, "No, he's not involved. Just
a poor salesman who wanted to go to sleep and found a dead body.
not that I suspect him of anything, but Laurence Larson, he
bought the same kind of paint used at two of the crime scenes,
and had one can disappear
you said disappear, not stolen," Henderson asked.
can't make any assumptions. We know Larson bought three cans of
paint and we found only two. It could have been stolen or Larson
could have used it. Now we know he hadn't used it for
painting his patio furniture, which is why he bought the paint,
this all according to him."
cautioned, "Inspector, there's someone else who has to be
considered. You won't like it and I don't either."
it anyway," the cop demanded.
just can't believe that Dan is involved in any of these horrible
of us want to believe it either. However, we know the red paint
came from his store. By his own words, he told you he sold it to
Larson, which means he also knew where the paint went. He could
have taken that can out of Larson's garage. And last night Brody
Murphy told you he saw Grayson's truck parked down the street
from the Murphy house. Up until then, I was thinking that we were
dealing with two different killers, because Louisa Murphy's death
seemed to have no common threads with the others. And I am sorry
to tell you there's something else that has come to my attention.
And I apologize for not telling you this immediately, but I
wasn't wanting to believe Dan Grayson had any involvement, just
as you don't."
what is it?" a puzzled Henderson requested.
eyes with Supergirl briefly, "Lisa Landon, one of Grayson's
employees, accidentally found what could be that third can of
spray paint in Grayson's truck."
you know this how?"
told me in confidence. She was confused about what to do. See,
she likes Dan as much as we do. I take full responsibility,
Inspector. I convinced her not to say anything for the
time being and that I would handle the situation. So I place
myself in your hands."
knock it off. Ya think I'm going to throw Superboy into the
slammer? Come on." He got up from his desk.
Grayson's store. I want to talk with Dan...and Lisa Landon."
eyes again met her counterpart's. "Inspector, I'm not going
to be able to accompany the two of you. I have somewhere
important I need to be. You can let me know what you find
sure. I will. You know what? I think we may have just solved this
out the door of the precinct, Henderson yelled for Officer Kelley
to join him. "What's up, Inspector?"
a ride with me Kelley. Superboy, how about you?"
found a parking space a short distance past the front of
Grayson's General Store. It took the officer two attempts to get
a clean parallel park. "Not a word from either one of you,"
he warned his two passengers. As the threesome stepped onto the
sidewalk, Superboy suggested they enter from the rear, as not to
attract unnecessary attention on the street.
had already returned, now in the guise of Lisa Landon, and was
filing some paperwork as the visitors passed the office on their
way to the front of the store. The two super heroes smiled at one
another. Grayson and Brody Murphy were on the sales floor
assisting several customers. Henderson stopped several feet from
the store owner. "Dan, can I see you for a minute?"
hey Bill, sure, what's on your mind?"
we should talk in the back where it's more private."
all right." He called for Lisa to relieve him in the front
of the store, but Henderson stated he needed to see her, too."
can you handle this for a few minutes? I'll be in the back."
two officers, Grayson and the Boy of Steel stepped into the
store's back room.
started, "Dan, I need to ask you a few questions. You have
the right not to answer, but if you do refuse, we'll need to go
to my office. I'm here on official police business."
what's this all about?" the bewildered Grayson asked.
your truck was seen last night near the Murphy residence. Ya
wanna tell me why?"
I dropped by a friend's house near the Murphy's, but I was never
Murphy's. What, you think I had something to do with Louisa
Murphy's death? C'mon, Bill, really..."
cop was taken a bit by surprise. "Charlie King's? Why were
you at Charlie King's?"
took some groceries by for Roberta and the kids and to see how
they were doing. Charlie's funeral was just the other day, and
you know, usually after all the preparations and service are
over, that's when it all really hits. I just wanted to see if I
could do anything for them."
time did you get there, Dan?"
7:15, I'd say. Not exactly sure. I closed here at 6:00, then did
some ordering, grabbed a bite at Tony's, then stopped by
Charlie's on my way home."
didn't you eat at home with your wife?"
gone to Kansas City for a few days to visit her sisters. I ate at
Tony's because my cooking isn't much to shout about."
taking notes, continued, "So, you arrived around
What time did you leave?"
stayed probably a half-hour, so close to 7:45, give or take a few
minutes. Roberta and I talked for a few minutes, then I played
with her kids for a bit. Then she said she needed to put
them in the tub and get them ready for bed, so I left."
did you do after that?"
went home, Bill."
home," Henderson quizzed.
anyone vouch for you?"
I guess not. Like I said, my wife's out of town, so I was alone
the rest of the night. Come on Bill, this is crazy."
Louisa died between 7:30 and 8:30, and you were near the
crime scene during that time."
I was near the crime scene during that time but not at
crime scene. What possible reason would I have to kill that poor
this point, Dan, if I could supply you with a motive for killing
her, we'd be at the station. But Dan, there's more."
called for Lisa Landon to join them. "Miss Landon, Superboy
has told me what you told him you found."
looked disappointed at him, "Superboy, you told him."
sorry, Miss Landon, I had no choice." Of course this banter
was purely for the two cops and Grayson's benefit.
Landon, please, for the record, tell all of us what you have
already told Superboy."
sorry Mr. Grayson. I feel badly for having to do this."
don't have to feel that way, Lisa, say what you have to say."
the other day when I drove your truck and returned to the store,
I saw a can of red spray paint wrapped in a towel in your
Grayson reacted, now obviously shocked. "Bill, I know
do I need a warrant to search your truck and store? I can have
one in an hour."
now not so quick to waive his rights, thought for a minute and
perhaps in a display of pride, told the detective that a warrant
wasn't necessary. Search away, the store, his truck, even his
house. He maintained he had done nothing wrong. Henderson told
Kelley and Superboy to check the truck, which was parked in the
rear of the building. Bill excused Lisa, who went back into the
you really don't believe I had anything to do with the stuff
that's been going on...do you?"
solemn cop replied that as his friend, no. But as a policeman, he
had to follow the evidence, albeit circumstantial.
took a nosedive for Grayson when Kelley and the Boy of Steel
reentered the store's back door. In one hand, Kelley carefully
handled the red-stained towel wrapped around the can of spray
paint. And in his other hand, he carried a Smallville Bank
deposit bag, with Gower Drug Store written on it in dark ink.
Inside the bag was a little less than five hundred dollars.
Kelley stated that the items were stashed under the front seat of
Grayson's truck. A very sad Superboy verified what Kelley said.
does it. I'm sorry Dan, but..."
interrupted the officer, "Inspector, I know things don't
look good for Mr. Grayson. But all the evidence pointing to him
Just because Mr. Grayson was on the same street as one of last
night's murders doesn't mean he committed it. All of the
neighbors on the street were there, too. And someone could have
planted these items in his truck."
Superboy, I'm aware of that. But Dan is also the only supplier of
this paint in town, and even if he sold all of it he had, he knew
Larry Larson bought it all because he made the sale to Larson.
I'm sorry, Dan..."
Dan Grayson is one of the best friends this town has ever had.
You know it, and I know it. I know I'm biased in thinking he's
not responsible for any of this mess, but without motive, you
know the D.A. is not going to proceed with it. Will you consider
this, Inspector? Until you establish a motive for his
involvement, hold off arresting Mr. Grayson, so he can continue
running his business. I'm sure he will give us his word that he
will be available for more questioning at any time and that he
will not leave the community. How about it Inspector?"
Dan, do you agree to those terms?"
Bill, I do. I place myself in your hands."
well. Kelley, bring those items. Let's get back to the station."
Superboy. I don't know how to thank you. I hope you believe me
when I tell you I had nothing to do with any of this."
do believe you, Mr. Grayson, but that's not going to be enough.
Somehow, we have to prove
feet were perched up on his desk. Reporter Rusty Ellsworth was
both in a quandry and aggravated. Clark had relayed what had gone
down at Grayson's General Store. Rusty, too, was in the Grayson
camp that Dan couldn't be responsible with the recent crime wave.
However, the reporter in him felt compelled to write it up for a
front page story, even though it would have to be in the next
day's edition. The current Sentinel was already being delivered.
the radio station gets wind of this, Clark, they'll have it
on the air in no time. Then if we don't report it, it will make
the paper look bad, and Larson doesn't like the Sentinel looking
Rusty, you know what will happen if you print it. Dan Grayson's
reputation will be severely damaged in town, even if he's later
proven innocent. You know how people react to things like that."
I know, like when everyone believed you were Superboy. I get it.
But Grayson's being the lead suspect is true. If it weren't for
Superboy, Grayson would be in a cell at police headquarters right
now. We can't overlook the truth just because someone's a friend.
Oh, by the way, how did you come into the information about
Grayson's involvement anyway? You weren't there."
you know a reporter never reveals his sources."
funny. Did Henderson tell you?"
no. All right, it was Superboy," Kent responded sheepishly.
you two sure are chummy these days."
really, I just ran into him and asked him if there was any
progress in the investigation, and he, uh, told me what had just
ya see, he told you because he knows you're working at the
Sentinel, and it's good copy. That's why we should print it,
Clark. Everything inside me is telling me to write it up."
tell you what, Rusty, I'm going to go talk with Mr. Larson about
this. You wanna come with me?"
me! I can tell you what he'll say. He'll say a good reporter can
make up his own mind. If you go asking him his opinion, he
probably tell you you're no good at your job."
I'm going to risk it," Kent responded as he left his mentor
alone, feet still propped on the desk. Oh well, Rusty thought how
nice it had
working with his buddy.
desk was mostly cleared off for the day. The day's paper was in
customers' hands, and Larson took pride in another day's good
work. He had listened intently as Kent presented him with the
facts and his argument that they should "sit" on the
Grayson story until there were more developments.
the Sentinel is run on integrity. We don't print things that we
can't substantiate. We're not a gossip rag. I'm sure that if
Superboy gave you this information, then it's accurate. Verify
with Henderson if you want, but I feel we should report what has
happened. I don't want to see Dan's reputation hurt any more than
you, but it is our responsibility to print the news."
sir," Clark said, taking a chance, "How would you feel
if we reported that Henderson had questioned you about the paint
cans in your garage? If we printed that, your reputation would be
damaged the same as Mr. Grayson's."
do you know about that!" he screamed. "Superboy tell
you that, too!" Kent sat motionless. "Next time I see
that guy, I'm going to give him a piece of my mind. He's a, well,
a super blabbermouth!"
trying to be a good reporter for you, Mr. Larson."
get out of my office!"
sir," he answered as he rose and made his way to the door.
one foot out into the hall, Clark was called back. "Sit back
down son. Sorry for my outburst. Clark, I want to tell you
something. Once in a while, when I'm sitting here behind my desk,
I get carried away and think like I'm the editor of the New York
Times or the Metropolis Daily Planet and forget that I am
actually the editor of the Smallville Sentinel. You just
reminded me of that. Things are different running a little town
paper. Sometimes, it's important and necessary that we weigh the
information we have alongside the effects of what it might do to
our citizens. We're all friends here in town, and I wouldn't want
to be responsible for hurting anyone unnecessarily. Very
well...until we know for sure that Dan is responsible for what's
been happening or until he is arrested, we'll keep it out of
the paper. This may come back to haunt me, but I want you to
know that if Dan turns out to be the guilty party, the Sentinel
will go after him with both barrels blasting. Is that
sir, it is."
have a gift for writing, Kent, I've learned that in the short
time you've been here. I mean, your Charlie King story, you are
that rare reporter who can write with your heart as well as your
typewriter. I'd like you to consider full-time employment with
thank you sir, but, as I told you, I'm starting Metropolis
University in the fall, so I really can't consider it."
one thing I always try to teach young people is to have options.
You're in a much better situation if the choice is yours, not
someone else's. I would never discourage anyone from furthering
their education. But I'm offering you a chance to get hands-on
experience in the field of journalism, and down the road, it
could be very helpful to you if you chose to resume school. And
I'll admit, I have a selfish motive in this. You'd be helping out
the Sentinel, I mean, with Ellsworth being drafted and all. If he
passes his Army physical, he's going to be leaving soon, and
you're in a position to slide right into his spot."
Larson, my mind's really made up about school, but I appreciate
your kind words."
understand, Kent, but it's an open offer if you change your
are you sure?" Clark asked Lisa.
was at the kitchen sink working on the supper dishes. Lisa had
begged off assisting on this night as she needed to talk to
Clark. The matriarch didn't mind going solo, as she assumed their
conversation was important. Lisa explained to her boyfriend how
she had come to the conclusion that Brody Murphy, her
co-worker at Grayson's General Store, was using narcotics,
perhaps heroin. "You don't get the kind of needle marks I
saw on his arm from a tetanus shot. It all makes sense, Clark.
The highs and lows of heroin addiction would explain the sudden
changes in his temperament. One minute he's fine, then ten
minutes later, he's wringing wet, shaking and yelling. The day
his mother was killed, he went home mid-morning to take a shower
because he had grain all over himself. His mood was very
disrespectful, even violent before he left. But when he returned
about a half-hour later, he was fine. Maybe he went home for a
guess that's possible," Kent responded. "But you said
that you had an idea who was behind the robberies and
murders. Are you thinking it's Brody? That's a
pretty big leap from point A to point B. Why would he do such
things? He knew Mr. Gower and the McCredys. He's known them his
entire life. Why would he kill them, unless..." his voice
you're now thinking the same way I am," she answered. "Money
could be the reason. There's no way Brody could support a heroin
habit on the money he makes at the store. To have a steady supply
of heroin, he'd have to have a steady supply of money, big
there was a large sum of cash at Luthor's house makes sense. But
what about Dickerson's? How would Brody know that George
Dickerson's safe would be loaded on that particular night? And
the same goes for Gower's Drug Store. Sometimes Mr. Gower made
his bank deposits in the afternoon and sometimes the next
morning. You think he robbed the store and killed Mr. Gower just
on a chance he'd strike it rich?"
confessed she didn't have an answer for that. What if his motive
was strictly to commit robbery, and the murders just happened
because something went wrong. No one was at Dickerson's, so no
one was hurt. Brody might have thought Luthor's mansion
was vacant, but Rock Templeton surprised him, so he had to kill
him so he couldn't be identified. But the hotel. A mid-week
night's take there wouldn't buy enough smack for two days. Why
bother robbing the McCredys?
perhaps, he was in withdrawal and wasn't thinking rationally. But
what about his mother, she didn't have any money. And why would
he kill his own mother, assuming the same person murdered her as
well as the others. And the SOON
IT WILL END message
left at the crime scenes, except
the Murphy house. What's that all about? Lisa, there are too many
inconsistencies. Nothing was taken at the high school, no one
hurt, yet there was the painted message. But at the Murphy house,
there was a murder but no
It all doesn't come together."
replied, "I know. But I still have a feeling, Brody's the
guy we want. Call it my feminine intuition."
Inspector Henderson can't arrest anyone on feminine intuition.
Brody may be a junkie and may need money to pay for his drugs,
but I don't see how we can prove he's a murderer."
lowered her head in dejection. "You're right."
of this for one day," Kent suggested, "Let's get out of
here for a while and go somewhere we can clear our heads."
right, where do you suggest?"
he grinned. He swung open the door to the kitchen and asked his
mother if she needed any help. They had finished talking. She
shooed him off, telling him she was finishing up. When told he
and Lisa were going out, Martha asked if they needed the truck
keys. They wouldn't, they would provide their own transportation.
She told him to have a good time.
go," he told Lisa, taking her hand. Putting the bookcase
back to its proper position, the two young adults embraced. She
removed the eyeglasses from the bridge of his nose, and he
reciprocated by pulling off the wig she used to cover her silky,
blonde hair. Again their lips met, then parted and changed to
their airborne attire. Lifting the trap door, the duo was soon
exiting the secret tunnel in the woods away from the Kent house
and propelling themselves into the clouds.
was a beautiful Mid-western summer night. Mostly clear, stars
visible with a scattered cloud covering over the
now-troubled Smallville. As the couple floated in tandem, they
drew close enough so they could soar with their arms around one
another. At this moment, all was blissful for the two. They
exchanged smiles and kisses. The world's super hero couple had
developed strong feelings. Slowing down to an almost hover, they
faced each other and professed their love.
know," he stated, "We're going to have to make a
decision pretty soon as to how our relationship is going to go.
When a man and woman are in love, well, we're going to want
now," she whispered.
like now," was his answer.
a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction
without itself being affected.
a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.
a person whose talk, enthusiasm or energy causes others to be
more enthusiastic or energetic.
advantage of living in a little town like Smallville is that most
of the stores one needs to visit on a regular basis are bunched
together. Most folks, when venturing into town, usually find a
parking space and make all of their shopping stops without having
to move their cars. When their arms are full, they simply deposit
their goods into the car and head on off to more stores. The
Smallville business district is comprised of four blocks, all on
Main Street. There is a town square, but the intersecting street
is, for the most part, residential.
having their own automobiles, Clark Kent and Lisa Landon didn't
have to worry about getting a good parking place. They used
another form of transportation. Getting to and from town from the
Kent home everyday was a breeze, literally. On this sunny, summer
morning, the duo touched down behind Grayson's General Store. The
area was clear of anyone, this time. Using the alley leading to
Main Street, they parted as Clark headed up the sidewalk towards
the Smallville Sentinel. Lisa had her hand on the front door of
Grayson's when she remembered that her clothes were probably
ready for pickup right across the street at the hamlet's only dry
cleaners. So she crossed, entered and paid for her group of
skirts and blouses, and started back across the way to report for
work. Ten feet into the street, she bobbled then dropped her
purse. The usual contents of a young woman's handbag spread
across the asphalt. Her boss, Dan Grayson, was placing some
displays on the sidewalk in front of his business when he spotted
his employee bent down retrieving her scattered items. The driver
of a car heading Lisa's way didn't see what Grayson had. All Dan
was able to do was yell, "LISA, LOOK OUT!" Just as the
front bumper was about to make contact, a blue streak moved her
to safety. The car came to a sudden halt, making the rear tires
lady, that was a close one," said the Boy of Steel, making
contact with his partner's eyes." He approached the driver
of the car. "Morning Mrs. Parker, are you O.K.?"
I think so. A little rattled. I'm so sorry, I didn't see anyone
in the street. I was going to Elsie's to get my hair done."
fortunately no one was hurt. But please be more aware when you're
behind the wheel of a car."
I will Superboy. Tell the young lady I'm sorry. But she shouldn't
have been jaywalking." The car resumed its journey.
he approached the sidewalk, he scolded, "She's right, Miss
Landon. You should always use the crosswalk at the corner where
there's a traffic light."
the cleaners is just across...no, you're right Superboy. I
shouldn't have jaywalked. I won't do it again, I promise."
handed her a broken comb and smashed tube of lipstick. "I'm
afraid Mrs. Parker ran over these, but certainly better than
running over you. There's been enough bad things happening in
thank you, Superboy, for helping me," she acknowledged.
welcome, Miss Landon, glad I was nearby. So long, Mr. Grayson."
as he sprung into the air, he gave Lisa a wink.
better get you inside Lisa, in case Gladys decides to drive back
almost eleven o'clock, Kent was banging his Sentinel typewriter
when his signal watch shook his wrist. Alone in the office he had
been sharing with Rusty Ellsworth, he answered freely, "This
it's me. You alone?"
Larson sent Rusty to cover the Methodist Church Ladies League
luncheon. Our friend isn't happy. Why are you calling?
Do you need Superboy's help again, Miss Landon?" he answered
ha,"she replied. "Oh, by the way, thanks for the
lecture you gave me on the sidewalk about jaywalking."
was purely for Dan's benefit. Having seen you nearly run down by
a woman going to get her hair fixed might change his mind if he
should ever have suspicions that you're Supergirl. You got the
same lecture I would give anyone."
boss, anyway, the reason I called is to ask you to stay close if
you can the rest of the day in case I need you."
expecting trouble?" he inquired.
I hope not. But I'm hoping for a confession."
asked, "A confession?"
from Brody. If the timing is right, I might give him a little
nudge and see what happens."
Listen Lisa, this whole thing could blow up in your face. Like we
discussed last night, we don't have..."
you," she interrupted, "Bye."
wait." Realizing she had signed off, he could only shake his
the first to congratulate me Clark. I just turned in my exciting
story about the Methodist
Ladies League luncheon. If I don't get the Pulitzer for it, I'll
jump off a bridge."
exciting, huh?" Kent replied.
yeah. The highlight was Lucinda Hobbs complaining there were too
many pecans in the pecan pie. No, strike that, even more
thrilling was the twenty minute acceptance speech Gladys Parker
made when it was announced she would be the new president come
September. If the Army takes me, I doubt boot camp could be any
worse than sitting through all of that. Anything reportable this
it seems Gladys has been busy today. She nearly ran down Lisa
Landon with her car on Main Street this morning," Clark
responded. "Superboy prevented any injuries, so I decided
not to write it up. It would just be embarrassing for both of
them. So I worked on an article about what it's like to leave
your hometown and go away to school. A human interest thing."
are still your plans?"
thought you might be tempted to stay since Larson offered
you a full-time job. Get some hands-on experience, save some
money, you can always finish college later," Rusty hinted.
"And if I do leave, you could slide right in and take over.
You'd be great at it Clark."
it's one of the main things on my mind right now. I'm thinking it
over." The other item on his mind was what Lisa was up to
down the street at Grayson's General Store.
Dan worked the front of the store, Lisa figured now was the time.
She stepped out of the office to the back where Brody Murphy was
stacking inventory. It took a few minutes before the lad noticed
her staring at him.
I can help you with Lisa," he asked.
continued his task for several more minutes before he noticed she
hadn't budged. Stopping again, he repeated his question. Again
she said she was fine.
why are you standing there staring at me?"
I wanted tell you that I haven't been completely honest with
he responded, "About what?"
real reason why I didn't want to go out with you."
again? Lisa, you made it very clear it was because of your
relationship with Pete Ross."
that's what I mean Brody. Pete really had nothing to do with it."
seems like you're just dying to tell me something Lisa, so
just say it and leave me alone. I'm busy!"
I would never go out with a guy who 'uses'."
What do you mean by that?"
know what I mean! Drugs! Narcotics! Heroin! Is that plain enough
you're crazy? Now LEAVE ME ALONE!"
know you're a junkie Brody. I've seen the track marks on your
accused froze for a bit, then continued working. "You really
need to leave me alone. You could get into a lot of trouble
making false accusations like that."
prove I'm wrong. Take off your shirt and show me your arms. If
I'm wrong, I'll apologize."
very upset, Brody stormed out the back door of the store. Lisa
assumed her plan had been unsuccessful, so she summoned Kent via
her signal watch.
the page, Clark excused himself from Rusty, "Little boy's
room. Be back in a minute." Reaching the men's room, he
confessed, "Well, I tried to rile him up but he left. I
thought I could..." her voice trailed, "Wait, he's
reentered, pacing back and forth. He explained he went outside to
calm himself down. Then he repeated what he had told Lisa about
how she could get into trouble if she didn't shut up. Using his
super-hearing, Kent monitored what was going on.
Lisa. Even if I am using "h" and I'm not saying I am.
It's my problem, no one else's. But I'm telling you, you're
show me your left arm."
just won't quit, will you?" he answered, becoming
I was thinking about it, and well, if a person had a heroin
habit, that could run into a good amount of money, much more than
you make working here at the store. You'd have to find money
somewhere else. Like stealing. Maybe even Dickerson's Trucking
Company. Somebody robbed them and got nearly two thousand
dollars. That would keep you going for how long Brody, a couple
where else in town could you find a large amount of cash, short
of robbing the bank? Why, Lex Luthor's place, of course.
Even though he's out of town, there's probably a fortune locked
up in a safe, if you could find it. But when you broke in, you
didn't know the Templeton guy was there. He saw you, and you
killed him. Maybe you didn't mean to kill him, but you did."
TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP!"
why kill the McCredy's, Brody? They didn't have any money. Just
two nice people. But you killed them, anyway!"
DON'T UNDERSTAND, LISA!"
pressed, "And Mr. Gower. Why him? You could have just robbed
wasn't me. Mr. Grayson robbed and killed Gower. The cops found
the money in his truck."
Brody, don't you realize that the police know you planted that
money bag in Mr. Grayson's truck? And what's with the red paint.
Why leave the same message at all your crime scenes?"
what Brody," she answered, "Tell me. Maybe I'll
Brody explained, "He made me do it."
at the Sentinel, Kent had heard enough. It was time for Superboy
to get down there.
the enraged kid yelled.
DON'T KNOW HIS NAME!" he yelled.
hearing the commotion, stepped through the door into the store
room. "What's going on back here?"
his boss, Murphy panicked and pulled a pistol from the back of
his jeans. Without warning, he fired a shot at Grayson, hitting
the door frame. Grayson quickly backed out, grabbed the arms of
his two female customers and got them outside just as
Superboy's feet hit the sidewalk.
got a gun. He shot at me. He's got Lisa Landon in there with
Boy of Steel instructed Grayson to go next door and alert
slowly entered the general store. Brody saw him immediately and
grabbed Lisa. Holding his arm across her throat and pointing the
gun at her head, he shouted, "One more step Superboy and
I'll kill her. I WILL! Now back off!" He walked his captive
to the door, closed and bolted it. Then the same to the back
door. "Anyone comes in, she's dead! I mean it!"
of course, knew Lisa was in no danger, but had to play along to
protect her identity. Two squad cars, Henderson's and Kelley's,
sirens blasting, double-parked right outside. A crowd gathered on
the sidewalk. Jumping out, the detective instructed
Officer Kelley to cover the store's back door. Entering the
store, he asked Superboy the status.
Murphy's locked himself in the back room. He has a gun and Lisa
Landon as a hostage."
Murphy? What the..."
your killer, Inspector."
your men to stand down or he'll kill her!"
set of footsteps sounded as Rusty Ellsworth ran inside. "What's
out of here Rusty, now!" the Boy of Steel commanded.
Mr. Grayson can fill you in."
can we do, Superboy?" the cop asked.
at the moment. I'm watching them with my x-ray vision. He still
has the gun at her head. If we try to go in, he'll shoot her."
hostage asked her captor, "You said someone made you do it.
You mean kill those people?"
didn't want to, but he made me, the same guy who got me hooked on
the stuff. Then I had no choice. I had to do what he said. If I
did what he told me, then soon it would end, he said."
why kill your own mother!"
DIDN'T KILL MY MOTHER! He did! I loved my mother! She meant more
to me than anything. When he told me what he had done, I wanted
to kill him, too!"
is this HE, Brody?"
told you I don't know his name! Somebody help me! I'm burning up!
He's going to kill me! Help me!"
you have yourself a witness to his confessions if
can get her out of there alive," Superboy stated.
plan had worked. Both she and Superboy had heard, first-hand,
Brody confess to all of the crimes, except the murder of his
mother Louisa Murphy. Now to diffuse the explosion she had
started. "It's all right, Brody, just calm down, I'll help
you. But I can only help you if you give me the gun. Do you
understand? Brody? Will you give me the gun?"
can't. He's out there. If I go out there, he'll kill me."
do you mean? Inspector Henderson? Superboy? They won't hurt you
Brody. That want to help you."
not them, HIM! He's out there somewhere."
had failed, so the only thing Lisa could think to do was to
try to get herself to cover, permitting Superboy to enter and
diffuse the situation. When she felt her captor take a deep
breath, she tried spinning away from his clutching arm. All she
accomplished was Murphy's grabbing the collar of her blouse,
ripping it as she twisted.
the other side of the door, the Boy of Steel gasped at what
happened. "Oh no!" he thought to himself.
the Hell?" Brody shouted, looking directly at his
hostage, her blouse torn down the front, exposing a bright
let me explain..." she attempted to calm him. "Now you
know the gun can't hurt me, so let me have it so no one else gets
hurt. I want to help you."
said it won't hurt her, so it's pointless! Now go and leave me
alone! That's all I can do!"
she asked, "What do you mean, Brody?"
DON'T MAKE ME!" he yelled, discharging three shots directly
GOING IN!" Henderson exclaimed.
Inspector, not just yet," Superboy stopped him.
he shot her!"
go, but in a minute. Please, Inspector, let me handle this!"
hostage from the planet Septron crossed to the now-crying killer.
Using the palm of her hand, she thumped him in the forehead just
enough to render him unconscious. "Now, what to do about my
I'm going in there right now. Please stand aside."
that all was clear, he easily kicked in the door. Lisa was
sitting at her office desk, both hands on her face, as if she had
actually been in danger.
Landon, you're O.K.?" the detective asked.
I guess so, just shaken up."
heard three shots."
has the worst aim I've ever seen," she answered. "I
thought I was a goner," she stated as she slide her right
hand down to her skirt pocket which held the three flattened
shells she had quickly picked up from the floor after they struck
did you subdue him?"
she answered, "After he fired the gun, he panicked, I guess,
then turned towards the back door and tripped and hit his head on
commanded Kelley and O'Halloran to take Murphy to the station and
lock him up.
is yours?" Henderson asked, pointing to the ripped blouse on
top of the desk.
it's mine. During our scuffle, he ripped my blouse."
why I held you back from entering, Inspector. I saw Miss
Landon's blouse was torn, and I thought she might want to correct
her attire before she had to answer questions. I'm sorry, Miss
Landon, that I was privy to seeing that."
chuckled, "That seems a minor point now after what all went
on. Ya know, I need to get my priorities straight. After nearly
being shot, my main concern was my torn blouse? Wow, that's
crazy? But, believe me, Inspector, I couldn't let you see me the
way I was. Fortunately, I had a change of clothes here."
a bewildered cop asked.
picked up my dry cleaning this morning."
smiled, pinching the replacement blouse between two
fingers, "I'm sure glad I had this with me."
dedicated police officer missed the winks between the world's two
most powerful persons.
quiet weeks in Smallville had passed since the hostage incident
and confession had taken place in Grayson's General Store.
I've been a cop for a long time, but this Brody Murphy
situation is probably the strangest thing I have ever had to deal
with since I pinned on my badge," Henderson told his invited
visitor from behind the desk in his office. "I was
hoping Supergirl could join us. She told me she'd be here. Maybe
I should signal her."
she probably got delayed doing something. We can go ahead
and start. I'll fill her in if she doesn't make it."
the rear of the police department building, the feminine super
hero came to earth.
you wish, and there's one other thing. We've known each other
long enough that I would appreciate it you would call me
Bill, like my close friends do."
honored you consider me a close friend. O.K., Bill."
all," the detective continued, "you're not a teenager
any more. You're an adult now. One of these days, we'll all be
calling you Superman instead of Superboy."
was a tapping on the closed door. "Oh, there she is,
come in Supergirl," he called. The door cracked open slowly.
Lisa Landon stuck her head in.
afternoon, Inspector Henderson," Landon greeted.
Lisa, come in. I was thinking that you were Supergirl."
remark startled her, causing her to shoot a concerned look at her
counterpart. The Boy of Steel returned a quick reaction,
signifying Henderson meant something else.
I meant to say was that I was expecting
She was supposed to be here."
can come back later," Lisa offered.
no, it's fine. I just wanted to tell you that I talked with the
D.A. this morning, and he wanted me to tell you that he doesn't
know yet if you'll be needed to testify when Brody Murphy's case
goes to trial."
well, I saw the District Attorney this morning, and he already
irritated Henderson answered, "Then I'm sorry I got you down
here for nothing. I apologize for making you leave your job for
you didn't. I'm on my lunch hour. I was on my way back to work."
of communication between two departments. You'd think the D.A.
could have had someone call me so I wouldn't have bothered you.
O.K. Inspector Henderson. It's not a problem. Well, I'll leave
you two alone."
she started out the door, Superboy shook her hand and asked her
if she was doing all right, considering the ordeal she had
experienced and how brave she had been. She told him bravery had
nothing to do with anything. It was probably adrenaline that kept
her from fainting dead away. "I'm fine Superboy, nice of you
to ask." She squeezed his hand so he knew she approved of
the little "play acting" he did for the officer.
the door, the Boy of Steel returned to his chair. "When I
think of what could have happened in that store room..."
she can say she wasn't brave all she wants, but I know
as Henderson was speaking, there was another knock on the door.
"Come in." The door opened again, and this time, it was
"I apologize to both of you for being late and holding
quite all right. We hadn't really even started. Lisa Landon was
just here about what the three of us are going to discuss.
Landon?" the Girl of Steel answered, "Yes, we spoke
let's get started. I know you two are busy."
I'll need to get back to the Sentinel," he blurted out,
immediately realizing his faux pas.
Sentinel? I don't understand," the cop answered, his
yes, it seems Clark Kent needs my help on a story, and he
can't get started unless I'm there."
I get it. Anyway, here's what's been going on with our Brody
Murphy. We transferred him to Metropolis the day after his
arrest. Well, you already know that. He's being treated by both
G.P.s and psychiatrists. The G.P.s are dealing with his
heroin addiction, and the shrinks are evaluating him mentally.
Seems this is one really mixed-up young man. The doctors are
theorizing it all started with Brody and his mother. Louisa Brody
was such an overbearing parent, they tell me. She didn't want her
boy to grow up. She was so afraid he'd move away, like many do,
that she laid so much guilt on him, the boy put up a defensive
mental shield to protect himself. This shield, they're thinking,
was the creation of an entirely different person. Not a real
person per say, but real in Brody's mind. Kind of split
personality. Reminds me of that movie about that creepy motel and
the man and his dead mother he hid in their basement."
that's the one. Of course, I'm no doctor, but that's what it
sounds like to me. Anyway, according to the psychiatrists, and
this is really wild, the "other guy" got Brody hooked
on heroin to escape the dominance of his mother. Once
he was hooked, he needed money to support his habit. So he turned
to robbery. Dickerson's Trucking Company."
how did he know Dickerson's safe would be loaded with cash the
exact night he robbed it?" Superboy asked.
out, very simple. Brody was heading to the drug store the
afternoon Dickerson came out of the bank carrying the bulging
bank bag. They passed on the sidewalk. So he assumed the
money would be in George's safe. He used that money to buy
drugs in Metropolis. Now, the doctors are going with the theory
that this "other personality" was calling the shots,
and Brody was the stooge. They believe that when Brody was "high"
he was in control of himself, but when he came "down"
this "other guy" took over and gave the orders. I'm
telling ya, this is very complicated. The shrinks don't have all
the answeres. They said it could take months to get to the bottom
the other killings?" she asks.
house was for money. The McCredy's, just for the sake of killing.
This "other guy" convinced Brody to kill them just to
prove Brody had to take orders from him. Now, Gower is a
different story. The day Louisa Murphy was murdered, she
discovered that Brody was hooked on heroin, except she didn't
know exactly what was going on. But she confided to Mr. Gower
what she knew. Something about Brody telling his mother he was
taking anxiety medicine, but Gower didn't have a doctor's
prescription. Gower was a smart old gentleman. He figured it out.
Brody or the "other guy" saw Gower coming out of the
Murphy house early that evening. As soon as Gower was gone, he
went in, confronted his mother, she told him why Gower was there,
and he beat his mother to death. Remember, Brody told me that he
left his house at 7:30 and arrived at the bowling alley at
7:45, where he remained until 11:00, then went home, and found
his mother's body around 11:15. Well, he may have "found"
her body around 11:15, but he killed her before he left to go
out, right after Gower left the house."
that fits, but what about Mr. Gower? He died between 9:30 and
10:30, according to the coroner. What about Brody's alibi?"
it seems that Brody's alibi, Butch Raffety wasn't completely
honest when he said Brody didn't leave the alley until 11:00.
Seems Murphy did
around 9:25 and returned right before the alley closed. Mr.
Raffety told the D.A. that he had "forgotten" about
the District Attornet going to charge Raffety?"
don't know, but he's making the kid sweat it out, not knowing if
he is or not."
then called Gower around 9:35, posing as a policeman telling him
the drug store had been robbed. So he lured Gower to the store
and killed him to keep him from telling anyone about his heroin
habit. Then blew the safe and stole the money," Henderson
continued. "On his way to bowl around 7:30, he had
seen Dan Grayson's truck parked in front of the Hill
residence, and one of Brody's personalities, don't ask me
which, decided to sacrifice the most of the money from
Gower's by planting it in Dan's truck, along with the spray paint
can which he had planted earlier, to throw us off his trail."
all, actually, very clever, Inspector Henderson. Could Brody be
faking this psychotic condition?" Supergirl inquired.
don't ask me. That's the doctors' jobs."
what is the signifigance of the
IT WILL END message?"
thinking it has something to do with as soon as he killed his
mother, his troubles would end. But they're not positive. May not
ever really know. Like I said, this all could take months."
Boy of Steel concluded, "So, Bill, do you think Brody will
stand trial for his crimes?"
don't know that either. That's up to the doctors, the D.A. and a
judge. But how sad, all of this. Five innocent citizens dead. Now
I know Rock Templeton wasn't the nicest guy around, but he didn't
deserve his head being caved in. But Gower, the McCredy's and
Louisa Murphy. Gone. My God, what a world!"
mustn't lose faith, Bill, there's still plenty of good things
going on out there. And it's our jobs to keep that balance on the
one thing I do
if you two ever left Smallville, I'd retire. I'm so used to
having you both around to help us, well, I wouldn't want to go
back to the way it was before I knew you. And, Supergirl, if this
young man (patting Superboy on the shoulder) is going to call me
Bill, I think you should, too."
she answered. "You'll update us as you learn more?"
know I will." Walking them to the door, "Superboy, poor
Clark Kent's probably pulling his hair out wondering where you
are. And Supergirl, what's on your schedule the rest of the day?"
some of the same I do every afternoon, then home."
yes, home, and where would that be?" he slyly asked.
Bill, you know I can't tell you that."
you both have to live somewhere. I just thought maybe you could
let your old cop friend in on some juicy secrets. I'm sure you
know that folks assume that each of you disguise yourselves from
time to time so you can be in public without attracting
attention. Like last year, when everyone was saying that you
(looking at Superboy) and Kent were the same person. Of
course, we all know that isn't true, but isn't there something
you could tell me?"
well, Bill. I'll tell you. You're a good detective. You'll find
out eventually." Supergirl volunteered. "Superboy's
really Lex Luthor and I'm Lucinda Hobbs."
get out of here, both of you, before I arrest you for loitering."
you sure about this, son?"
Mom," Clark Kent answered, "I've thought it through
very carefully. I told Mr. Larson this afternoon that I'm
accepting his job offer. I'm going to be a full-time reporter at
the Sentinel. I also called Metropolis University and withdrew my
application to start there in the Fall."
I respect your decision, Clark, but can you tell me what made you
change your mind? Finishing college is very important. And those
had been your plans since high school."
thing Mr. Larson told me when he asked me to stay on at the paper
was how important it is to have options. Well, he provided me
with an option. Working at the Sentinel gives me access to
information about things that Superboy needs to know about. Not
just locally, but all over the world. I won't have to be limited
to just being called by the Smallville Police. This helps
Supergirl as well. And if I moved to Metropolis, she and I would
be separated to a large degree."
guess I can understand that," Martha commented. "But
college. Guess I'm hung up on that."
can always get my four-year degree, Mom. And I intend to do that.
It's just that right now doesn't seem to be the time. And you
know how Lisa and I feel about each other. We want to be
together as much as possible, not living in two different towns."
love, yes, I remember how it was. Well Clark, I guess I can trust
a son who can change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel
in his bare hands to handle his own life."
Mom. So I guess this means, if you don't mind, that you'll have a
boarder a while longer, but at least now I can pay you some
took his hands. "As long as you want."
was sitting on the couch thumbing through the day's edition of
the Smallville Sentinel as Clark sat down beside her.
article in the paper today, Mr. Kent, " she said in a flirty
you, Miss Landon." They leaned until their lips touched.
love you, ya know," he whispered in her ear.
great, because I love you, too."
stated, "And thanks for giving Mom and me a chance to talk.
You didn't do any super-eavesdropping, did you?"
I wouldn't do that." She kissed him again.
have an idea. Let's go out for a while, someplace we can be
alone," came his suggestion.
the old deserted Robinson smokehouse where we used to meet?"
actually, I had someplace more romantic in mind. Say, someplace
sunny in the Pacific."
at this time of night?" she chuckled.
forgetting your geography? It's still daytime in the middle of
it is. O.K., let's go."
couple, hand in hand, stepped into the kitchen to tell Martha
they were going out.
or pleasure?" she asked.
fun kids," came her answer swooshing them away.
later, the two exited their secret tunnel and were headed west by
air. As they journeyed, the summer sky went from dark of night
back into the light of day.
might be a quiet place," Superboy pointed to a small island.
nice," she responded. Using their x-ray vision, they saw no
one in the vicinity, so they landed right where the blue ocean
met the shore. Walking in the shallow water, the waves diminished
to a trickle as it splashed against the four red boots.
told Mom about my decision to stay in Smallville. After I
explained everything, she seemed content with it."
you positive that's what you want to do?"
I'm sure. It's the best thing to do, for the time being."
Iike I told you, Lisa could move to Metropolis, too."
we both moved our base to Metropolis, and Clark and
Lisa both moved there, it could raise too many eyebrows.
Smallville is good. And I'm fine with it, I promise."
then, I'm fine with it, too," came her response.
also been thinking about something else, and this seems like a
perfect time to bring it up."
have my undivided attention."
Boy of Steel wrapped his hands around hers. "I could draw
this out into a long speech, but we both know how much we love
spark of anticipation shot through her body.
into her lovely, cool blue eyes, he asked, "Supergirl, will
you marry me?"