nearly 2:00 a.m. when Martha Kent reached the top of the stairs,
turned on the lamp sitting on the hall table and gently tapped on
her son's closed bedroom door.
"What is it Mom?" Clark asked as he
opened the door.
"Mrs. Ellsworth is on the telephone.
She is very worried. Rusty hasn't come home. Maybe you can calm
"Sure," Clark replied, reaching
for the upstairs phone beside the lamp. "Hello...Mrs.
The troubled lady apologized for waking
up two-thirds of the Kent household. She then told Clark that
Rusty had been scheduled to work until around eleven, and she
expected him home shortly thereafter. "I'm worried out of my
mind. He should have been home long ago. I thought about calling
the police but thought you might have an idea where Rusty might
be. I was hoping he was there with you."
isn't here. I haven't seen Rusty since this afternoon. He did say
he had to work, however."
"Oh Lord, I guess I
should call the police."
Clark stopped her. "That's
probably not necessary at this point, Mrs. Ellsworth. I'll bet
Rusty stopped at the Burger Barn or somewhere to get something to
eat and ran into somebody he knows. They're probably sitting in a
booth talking and have lost track of the time. Let me make a few
calls and check around, and I'll call you back. Now, please don't
worry Mrs. Ellsworth."
"Thank you Clark. I'm
sorry to bother you with this, but since Mr. Ellsworth passed
away, well, Rusty's all I have and I know I worry too much,
"Yes ma'am. Try not to worry. I'll let
you know what I find out. Good-bye."
nervous wreck, Mom," Clark relates to Martha.
know son, I hope he hasn't been hurt or been in an accident."
doubt it, Mom. Like I said, probably ran into a friend after work
and they're just talking somewhere, but I'll go look for Rusty,
but as Superboy. Since it's dark, I'll use my window instead of
the tunnel. Now, you go on back to bed, and don't you
"All right, son, but I doubt I'll be
able to sleep," Ma Kent replies as she goes back down the
Within a few seconds, Clark's pajamas hit the
floor, and his alter-ego, Superboy leaped through the open
bedroom window into the night sky.
over the hamlet of Smallville early on a Saturday morning,
Superboy saw little activity. Only two eateries and one gas
station operated round-the-clock.
sign of friend Rusty at either the Pizza Palace or the Burger
Barn. The gas station looked all but asleep, only the blinking
neon Esso sign showing any signs of life.
as Superboy passed over the Smallville Sentinel, the town's
six-day-a-week newspaper, where Rusty worked part-time as
assistant to custodian Oscar Hamilton, "There's Rusty's
truck, parked in the alley next to the loading dock. Why would he
be here this time of night?"
beside the door to the press room, Superboy checked the vehicle
and found no one. As he approached the door leading into the
building, he saw that it was ajar.
he is working late, or something is not right here," he
thought to himself, "he certainly wouldn't leave the door
Boy of Steel entered the Sentinel building. "I'll use my
x-ray vision to see if anyone is here." Scanning the area,
he spied Rusty, sitting in a chair on the second floor.
down behind the sleeping printing press, Superboy emerged as
Clark Kent. "Clark told Mrs. Ellsworth that he would look
for Rusty, so Clark will find Rusty. No need getting Superboy
involved. Too much explaining."
took the stairs to the upper floor and was startled to discover
his friend in the Editor's office. And the locked door had been
what are you doing here in the middle of the night?" There
was no response. Again, Clark called out. Nothing. Having turned
on a light, he saw that Rusty's eyes were glazed over and that
the lad was not himself. Placing a call to the police, Clark told
the desk sergeant what he had discovered and perhaps the editor,
Laurence Larson, should be called. "I'll wait here,"
Clark informed the police.
minutes passed before law enforcement arrived in Larson's office,
followed shortly by editor Larson himself.
going on here!" demanded Larson. "Seems a working man
can't get a good night's sleep anymore without two hoodlums
breaking into his building! Wait a minute...that's Rusty, he
works for me! And Clark Kent, I would never had suspected you
would do something like this. Why, I've known your folks for
hold on, Mr. Larson," Officer Henderson interrupted. "We
don't know exactly what is going on here...yet. Young Kent said
he found Rusty here, that the boy's mother had called him and
told him that her son had not come home, and that he went looking
for him. By the way, Kent, how did you get to town? I didn't see
your dad's truck anywhere outside."
someone gave me a ride," Clark answered sheepishly.
Ellsworth looks like he's been drinking," the editor
doesn't drink, sir," Kent answered, again coming to the aid
of his friend. "But something is wrong with him. He needs to
see a doctor."
Henderson instructs his patrolman to take Rusty to the emergency
room right away and have him checked out. "Make sure they
draw blood. That'll tell us if he's been drinking. Kent, you stay
Larson, what time did the boy finish work tonight?" the
don't know for sure, I wasn't here. But we can check his time
card and I'll call Oscar, but they're usually out of here by
eleven. I don't like anyone to be here after that."
the door to this office was definitely pryed open. Does Oscar or
the boy have a key to this office?"
answers, "No, just me. The boy has a key only to the back
door and the custodian's closet. All the offices they clean are
left unlocked at night."
can you look around your office, Mr. Larson, and see if anything
editor checks all of his desk drawers and finds nothing out of
the ordinary. But then he notices something. "Wait a minute,
someone has been in my filing cabinet. The third drawer isn't
closed all the way."
thumbing through its contents, Larson tells Henderson that
everything seems to be in order. "Hold it! There is a file
you know which file? It may be what the culprit was after,"
I do. How bizarre. It's my file on...Superboy."
clark blurts out.
ever since Superboy first appeared in Smallville a while back, I
have kept a folder him."
sort of stuff is in your file" Henderson wanted to
anytime we run a story about him either helping someone of doing
things for the town. There's a couple of audio recordings of
speeches he has made at the high school, the Red Cross, the fire
department, things like that. And clippings from the Metropolis
Daily Planet. Superboy makes their headlines as well as ours. Yes
sir, that's what the thieves took. They took my Superboy
the Ellsworth kid didn't have it on him. He probably had an
accomplice, you know, handed it off to him. You don't happen to
have it, do you Kent?"
I told you how I ended up here. Ask Mrs. Ellsworth. She'll tell
now that we know what was taken, the question is why would anyone
risk breaking in here and going to jail just to take a file on
Superboy?" Henderson wondered.
answered, Curiosity perhaps? You know, we see Superboy in
Smallville quite often when he's helping others, but other than
that, we know very little about him. I mean, where he lives and
things of that nature. I've even heard several folks speculate
that Superboy might live behind the disguise of someone else, but
that's just the grapevine and the Ladies' League gossiping. But
it is something to think about."
it was time to remove himself from this sensitive conversation,
Clark asked Henderson if he could go, that he needed to contact
Mrs. Ellsworth and meet her at the hospital.
kid, but I'll probably need to talk with you more about all of
sir, good night," Clark replied as he went into the hall,
stopped at an open office to call Rusty's mom, then on to the
hospital just two blocks down the street.
virtually no sleep, Clark was up very early. Fortunately,
Kryptonians do not require as much rest as Earthlings.
eight o'clock, he was sitting next to Rusty's hospital bed as his
friend finished his breakfast tray.
"Clark, I really
want to thank you for coming to my aid during the night. Officer
Henderson told me what happened when he was here a while
"Did he ask you a lot of questions?"
really. The doctor told him he'd have to come back after lunch.
I'm still pretty groggy."
Clark asked Rusty what he
could remember about the night's events.
"Oscar and I
finished work around 10:45. We walked out together. I had
forgotten to take anything to eat, so I was starving, so I
stopped at the Burger Barn on the way home. I sat at the counter
like I usually do when I'm alone. A few minutes later, a man sat
down on the very next stool. We exchanged 'hellos' and about that
time my BLT came, so I started eating. Then we talked some
"About what?" Clark inquired.
general stuff. He asked me if I went to Smallville High, I said
yes; if I worked after school, I told him I worked part-time at
the Sentinel; what sports I like, I said baseball and football;
and if I had a girlfriend, I said unfortunately no, at least not
a steady one."
really, I just answered what he asked. And that's the last thing
I remember...until I woke up in this bed a little bit ago with a
doctor and nurse staring down at me."
had you ever seen this man before?"
The lad answered,
"Nope, total stranger. Said he was passing through
Smallville on his way to Metropolis for a meeting on
"Does the doc know what happened to
"He said I had some kind of drug in my
system...a 'truth serum' of some kind, like what was used on POWs
during the war. Clark, this guy had to be the person who gave it
to me. The doctor said he probably put it in my milk when I
wasn't watching him. All I know is that I was just sitting there
eating my sandwich, and my lights went out. Officer Henderson
said that I broke into Mr. Larson's office and stole something
from his personal filing cabinet. But I didn't! At least I don't
remember doing it. He didn't tell me what I stole. Do you
Young Kent replied, "Mr. Larson said
that, as far as he knew, the only thing missing was a file folder
and some tape recordings of Superboy. And since you didn't have
the file when we found you, I'm sure they're thinking your
'accomplice' now had it. He even asked me if I had it."
I don't need to steal a file about Superboy. I know Superboy."
"Well, if someone is gonna break
into the Sentinel, why not hit the payroll office? There's
probably some cash there. Why would anyone want to steal a
Superboy folder and nothing else?"
someone thinks there's something in the Superboy file worth more
than money. Rusty, I can't tell you how much I wish I knew.
Anyway, when do you get to get out of here?"
doctor said probably tomorrow. The drug should be out of my
system by then." The worried boy added," but will I get
to go home or will they take me to jail?"
doubt that will happen, Rusty. After the police talk with the
doctor further, I'm sure they'll realize you had no idea what
happened and aren't responsible. I've got to get to the store.
Dad's all alone."
"Thanks again, Clark, and for
"See ya, Rusty," Clark
answers, leaving the room.
8:45, Clark rushed through the front door of Kent's General
Store, the family-owned business. "Sorry I'm late,
"That's O.K., son, it's been slow so far.
I'm just ringing up some things for Mrs. Coates."
morning, Clark," the lady says.
Coates. Tell Phyllis I said hello. We have some classes
"I know. She talks about you a good
bit. I'll tell her you said 'hey'."
$16.48, Mrs. Coates...out of twenty...and here's your change. We
appreciate your business and hope you'll stop back by
"I'm sure I will, Mr. Kent. Goodbye,
"Bye, Ma'am." And another satisfied
customer headed down the street.
Clark then told his
father of the events that began some seven hours earlier, from
Mrs. Ellsworth's telephone call (which failed to awaken the tired
store owner) up through the hospital visit to
"Incredible, son. Things like this are very
rare in Smallville. I'm glad Rusty's going to be all right. His
mother doesn't need this kind of stress, with Mr. Ellsworth being
gone less than a year."
"No, neither one of them
The bell on the front door gave out a loud
ring, signifying someone had entered the store.
thin man with dark oily hair and pencil-thin moustache walked
around an aisle or two until noticing Jonathan and Clark behind
"Good morning," he said, greeting
the store owners.
"Good morning, sir. May I help you
find anything?" the elder Kent replied.
looking over your nice little town. Thought I'd come in and
browse a bit. You don't see many general stores around these
"No, I guess we're part of a dying
breed," Jonathan laughed. "If you need any help, just
holler." He turned to Clark, "Son, can you get to
stocking some shelves with the new merchandise that came in
yesterday? We can't sell it from the store room."
grinned, "Sure, Dad."
The potential customer
continued his stroll around the store before coming to rest at
the counter. "You do sell a little bit of everything here,
"Pretty much. No livestock or
automobiles but most anything else. I'm Jonathan Kent and that's
my son Clark."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Kent. You
too, Clark. My name's Canfield...Martin Canfield." Looking
outside, "Is Smallville always this quiet?"
Kent answered, "Actually, most of the time it is. Everybody
knows everybody. A nice peaceful place to live and raise a
family. Now and then, we see a bit of excitement. Too much
drinking on a Saturday night or the teenagers spinning their
tires and making-out at the drive-in. That's pretty much
"Not much crime?" the visitor
"Oh, not really, at least nothing major. Like
I said, a peaceful town. But when things do get testy, we have an
excellent police department and, of course, Superboy."
yes, Superboy. I've seen him on the television news and read
about him in magazines. And he seems to make the newspapers a
lot. Just curious...do you know him?" asked Canfield.
met him a couple of times. Helped me fix a flat tire on my truck
a while back. We're lucky to have him," was Jonathan's
"Where'd he come from? Anyone know? And how
long has he been around here? I assume he lives here in
Smallville since he's seen here so often," Canfield's
Kent, getting a bit apprehensive
about the seemingly endless Superboy questions, answered, "A
year or so, I guess. Is that right, Clark?"
guess so," the lad replied, as he continued to stock the
"Folks here don't seem to know much about
him. The important thing is that he's usually around when people
need him. When did you get into town, Mr. Canfield, and planning
to stay with us long?" Jonathan asked, putting the visitor
on the receiving end of questions.
yesterday. I had a grueling week on the road, traveling salesman,
and was plain wore out. So I checked into the hotel up the street
and got about fifteen hours of shut-eye. I have a big sales
meeting come Monday morning. I'm just passing through on my way
That last phrase perked Clark's
attention. "That's what Rusty said the man at the counter
told him last night," Clark thought to himself. Young Kent
made his way to the counter, "Dad, I need to see you in the
store room about..."
At that point, the town alarm
began blaring. "A fire!" Jonathan
Simultaneously, Jim Hammond threw open the front
door, "Jonathan! Dan Grayson's repair store is on fire, and
the water pressure's way down. The whole block might go up if we
don't stop it!"
Jonathan, making for the front door,
yelled, "Clark, I've got to go! You stay here and take care
"O.K., Dad. Anything I can get you,
"No, boy, I'm gonna wander down
the street to the fire."
Clark then rushed into the
store room, shutting the door behind and immediately made his
switch to Superboy. He pushed back a big wooden crate nailed to a
trap door to a secret tunnel which lead away from the building
into the woods. He had dug the tunnel so he, as Superboy, could
enter and leave the store without detection. Only he and his
parents knew of its existence. The red and blue-costumed lad
dropped into the tunnel, and the trap door closed behind him.
back into the store and now wanting the lad's assistance,
Canfield opened the door to the back room, "Son, can I pay
you for a pack of cigarettes? Young man...Clark?" Not
getting an answer, he entered the back area looking for the
missing boy. "Now, where did that kid go? He didn't come out
the front door and the back door is still padlocked from the
inside. WHERE IS HE? And how did he get out?"
the street, Smallville firemen could only watch as flames began
to spread throughout the Grayson repair shop.
in there?" shouted fire chief Bill Kennedy.
thank goodness. I was the only one in there when it started,"
Dan Grayson answered.
"Dan, we're doing the best we
can, but with the water pressure down like it is, I don't know
how much we can do."
Just then, the assembled crowd
gasped as the flames began to disappear. "What
Superboy stepped out of the store onto the
sidewalk. "It's out, Chief Kennedy. Doesn't appear to be
much structual damage inside. Just smoke."
you do it, Superboy?" asked the chief.
my super breath couldn't handle."
Grayson shook hands
with the superhero, "I owe you everything, Superboy. You
saved my neck."
"You're very welcome, Mr.
Grayson. Glad I was flying over Smallville and saw the smoke.
Now, if you'll excuse me..." and he jumped into the air and
disappeared over the trees behind the town.
extended a helping hand, "Dan, if you need anything, let me
know. Please excuse me. I need to get back to the store. Clark's
There was no one in the Kent General
Store when Jonathan returned. In the store room, Superboy entered
through the trap door. Seconds later, Clark emerged from the
"You did a great job, son. A little repair
work, and no one will ever know there was a fire."
Pa. Did you happen to see anything of Mr. Canfield when you were
down at the fire?"
"I didn't, but I was
pre-occupied with what was going on," answered senior
Clark explained to his dad that right before the
fire alarm erupted, he needed to tell him something about
Canfield. "Like what, son?"
Canfield said he was 'passing through Smallville on his way to
Metropolis', that's the same phrase the man told Rusty last night
at the Burger Barn. And that he got to Smallville yesterday, just
hours before Rusty was drugged. There could be a
"You mean you think Canfield could
be the man who drugged Rusty? Could just be a coincidence,
"Yeah, maybe, but I'm going to go up to
the hotel and ask some questions about this Mr. Canfield,"
Clark told his father as he was leaving the store.
on the shoulder of the highway about twenty miles outside
Smallville was a shiny new black Cadillac. The automobile's
occupants consisted of a single man. Listening to the radio, he
heard the breaking news account of how Superboy had extinguished
the downtown fire within minutes.
The man, thinking out
loud, "Interesting how just after hearing the fire alarm,
the Kent kid went into the back room, but when I followed, he was
gone with the back door locked from the inside. Then Superboy
appeared very quickly right down the block and put out the fire.
I wonder...the Kent kid and Superboy are roughly the same age,
same height, same hair color. Hmmm...things are adding up."
man closed a file folder he was holding, tossed it into an
attache next to him on the front seat and snapped the case
Martin Canfield pulled the Caddy back onto the
highway and continued onward towards Metropolis.
a puzzled look on his face when he returned to their
"Anything?" his dad inquired.
I asked Mr. McCredy at the hotel what room Mr. Canfield was
staying, he told me Canfield had checked out a little bit ago.
Mr. McCredy said he was supposed to stay until tomorrow, but he
was told an important business matter had come up, and he had to
leave right away. Wonder what changed his plans?"
it could be anything. He said he had a business meeting Monday in
Metropolis. Maybe something to do with that or maybe a family
emergency came up. Don't jump the gun."
conceded, "Yeah, maybe. But this whole thing with Rusty and
the mystery man, and now, this Mr. Canfield. And a missing
newspaper file about me, I mean, Superboy. It could all be
connected, but there's no proof linking it all together. I have
an idea. Superboy needs to drop by the hotel. I'll need a roll of
scotch tape. Be back in a while, Dad."
A moment later
found Superboy approaching the front desk of the Smallville
Hotel. The clerk on duty, Arthur McCredy, exclaimed, "Superboy!
What a pleasure. Would you like to register?"
Kryptonian replied, "Actually, no. But I would like to ask a
favor. Could you spare a few index cards and might I visit the
room in which a Mr. Canfield stayed last night? The room hasn't
been cleaned yet, has it?"
"No, not cleaned yet.
Mrs. Harper's on her lunch break. Be my guest," he giggles.
"And here are the index cards and the key, second door on
you right upstairs."
Inside room four, Superboy
thought, "The room is probably full of fingerprints from a
lot of different guests, but, AH!, my best shot at getting
Canfield's prints...that drinking glass on the nightstand."
Using the tape, he lifted several prints from the glass exterior,
then attached the tape strips to the index cards.
stopping by the desk to thank Mr. McCredy, he then flew to the
Smallville P.D. and asked Officer Henderson, who was grumpy
having to work the weekend shift, to check the fingerprints for
any kind of match.
"I'll let you know," was the
Then Superboy returned to the Kent
store, where, as Clark Kent, waited on customers the rest of the
a sunny Monday afternoon, Clark Kent headed for the parking lot
of Smallville High School to board the bus that would deliver him
"Hey Clark, wait up."
pretty red-haired Lana Lang ran up beside Clark and grabbed his
hand. They were a couple. "I'll drive you home. Who wants to
ride that smelly old bus?"
The two jumped into the front seat, tossing
their school books into the back. Lana turned the key and peeled
out of the parking lot in the brand-new 1961 Chevy Impala her
dad, a professor at Smallville Junior College, bought her for her
"Take it easy, Leadfoot, we don't
have to set a new land speed record," Clark told her as they
turned off onto the country road which lead to the Kent
residence. "I've already had enough dealings with the police
"Yeah, how's that going, Clark? Rusty
wasn't at school today. Is he O.K.?"
all right. Just takes a few days getting that "truth drug"
out of his system."
Lana inquired, "Do you think
the cops are going to arrest him for breaking into Mr. Larson's
"I don't believe so. Once they talked
to his doctor, they realized Rusty wasn't responsible for what he
did. He gave them a description of the man, and they'll go from
As the Chevy approached the Kent home, Clark
found himself staring at this pretty girl, thinking how much he
really liked her. "If she would only stop trying to prove
that I'm Superboy..."
his thoughts, Lana slammed on the brakes, skidding a few few on
the dirt driveway, bring the Impala to a sudden halt.
we are!" she shouted.
"Maybe I should get out
and kiss the ground," young Kent replied.
Martha Kent was sitting on the living
room sofa reading the latest Saturday Evening Post as the teens
entered the front door.
"Hi, Mom. Lana drove me home,
or maybe I should say, flew me home."
"Hello, kids. How was school
"All right, I guess," Lana answered
before Clark could get a word out. "We're going to work on
our algebra homewook."
"Well, I just took a
batch of oatmeal raisin cookies out of the oven. I'll bring you
their seats at the dining room table and spread out their school
work. Clark took particular notice of how closely his girlfriend
sat next to him. "Lana, I need a bit more room, please.
You're almost on my lap."
"Well, what's wrong
with that?" she fired back, "I bet if you saw me
sitting on Superboy's lap, you'd be jealous."
if that would ever happen..." he laughed.
"Well, maybe it will and maybe it won't. You don't believe
Superboy might be interested in me?"
cookies...thanks again, Mom."
"I hope I won't be
a bother if I get back to my magazine," Martha answered as
she sat back down on the sofa.
"Not at all."
half hour later, the cookie plate was empty, and the algebra
homework was but half finished.
anyone?" the gracious hostess asked.
Mrs. Kent. But they were great."
A minute or two into
the next math problem, the redhead straightened up in her chair,
"What was that noise?"
young Kent asked back.
"I heard a beeping noise. You
Jokingly (knowing full
well to what she referred), Clark replied, "Maybe one of
those flying saucers from outer space landed in the front yard.
Lana, let's take a break. I can't see anything but
"Funny boy," she answered, not
Clark and his mother's eyes made contact, Martha
knowing that Clark needed Lana out of there as the beeping noise
was actually a call for Superboy.
"Lana, I know what,
come help me in the kitchen. I still have five dozen more cookies
I have to make for the Ladies' League bake sale."
Mrs. Kent. And Clark, while we're baking cookies, you can cuddle
up on the sofa and take yourself an itsy, bitsy nap since you're
so tired," she taunted as she went through the door into the
With the coast now clear, Clark approached the
bookcase behind his father's desk. Pushing a hidden button, the
shelves swung open, revealing a small hidden area known only by
the members of the Kent household. Clark entered, swinging the
bookcase closed behind him.
The beeping noise Lana had
heard was emitted from a special short wave radio linked directly
to the Smallville Police Department. "This is Superboy, how
can I help you?"
"Superboy, we have a situation
out off Appletree Lane. Some old coot in a deserted shack
open-fired on one of our men patrolling the area. Two tires are
flat, and the officer is pinned down behind his squad car. You
can probably get there before we can."
my way," Clark exclaimed as he began peeling off his sweater
and shirt, revealing the "S" insignia on his super
On the other side of the bookcase, Lana has
returned to flirt, only to find the room void of her boyfriend.
"Geez, where has he gone now? He's always disappearing.
You'd think he was a magician," stomping back to the
Superboy, ready for action, lifted a trapdoor and
dropped into the dark hole, which was actually a tunnel just like
the one at the Kent store. Exiting in a wooded area, he was in
flight to Appletree Lane.
Boy of Steel hovered over the Appletree Lane shack, surveyed the
situation, then came to earth right behind the compromised
thank goodness. I was just doing my afternoon patrolling when
shots rang out and my tires went flat. Whoever is in there is a
crackerjack shot. Anytime I tried to make a move, he's fired at
me," a rattled Officer Gannis related.
Walking towards the dilapidated
structure, Superboy shouted a warning, "You inside, the
fun's over. Do this the easy way. Come out with your hands in the
air or I'm coming in for you. You won't like how that will turn
A pair of rifle shots blasted the silence. Two
hot bullets ricocheted off the red and yellow "S" on
the crime fighter's chest. "Very well, if that's what you
The Kryptonian crashed through the side wall
of the shack, splintering the pine boards into fragments. He
grabbed the rifle from the assassin, bent the barrel into a
pretzel and planted a right fist on the shooter's glass jaw. He
then carried the unconscious man to the patrol car and dumped him
into the back seat.
"Well, I'll be," Gannis
exclaimed while cuffing his prisoner. "It's Turk Jackson. He
has a record longer than a 33 1/3 album. I thought he was still
in state prison."
"Well, he'll be back there in
a short time but for a long time," chuckled Superboy.
"Officer Gannis, two flats and only one spare?"
problem. Headquarters has a tow truck and another car on the way,
so Mr. Jackson and I will be back at the station in no time.
Thanks for your help, Superboy."
Mr. Jackson will probably sleep for a while," he answered,
leaving the ground, then making the quick flight back to the Kent
home. Emerging from behind the bookcase, Clark greeted his
mother, "I'm back, Mom. I saw from the air that Lana's car
was gone. How long did she stay?"
"Uh, not very
long at all after you left, or as she put it, your magic act. Be
prepared for the cold shoulder at school tomorrow."
know. I've been frostbiten from it before. Mom, what am I going
to do with Lana? I'm crazy about her, but you know how careful I
have to be with her. I'm not sure who she likes more...Clark or
Martha sits down at the kitchen table with
her son, "Clark, I can only imagine how frustrating this
must be for you. Lana might be torn with the situation, too. I
can tell by watching when you two are together that she cares for
you a great deal. It's a testament to you as a person that she
cares for both of you. I suspect her feelings for Superboy are
more like having a crush on a movie star. But for Clark, a true
"I wish I could tell her my secret, but
I know that's not possible. She would be in constant danger from
my criminal enemies, just like you and Dad would be. I always
have to be on my toes when I'm with her because she often makes
cracks about Clark being Superboy. I never know what she's up
"What kind of cracks?" Martha
"Oh, a couple of weeks ago, she said something
like why don't I take her to a drive-in movie, and when I told
her I couldn't that night, she said that she might ask Superboy
to take her. Then maybe she could go sometime with both Clark and
Superboy, but that might not be possible, if..."
Clark continued, "Well, she stopped right
there. That's what worries me. In the past, she's tried a number
of times to trip me up in her finding out my secret, so that's
why I say I have to be extra careful when she's around. But I
want her to be around. See what I mean?"
understand. I know it's difficult for you."
hours later, Professor Lang and Lana were finishing their dinner.
"Great dinner, honey. My night to cook tomorrow."
"Do you want to watch some TV with
"I'd like to, Daddy, but I have some
Algebra to finish. I meant to do it all at the Kent's this
afternoon, but Clark disappeared...again."
asked, "Disappeared? Did something happen to him?"
not like that. He was in the living room one minute. I went into
the kitchen with his mother for just a moment, and when I went
back into the living room, he was gone. So I came home. He can
really be rude sometimes. On the way home, I thought of Superboy
and what he might be doing at that exact moment."
dear, I don't get the connection. What does one have to do with
"Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. Daddy,
have you ever noticed how sometimes Clark disappears one second
and Superboy shows up right after that? Or the other way
"Can't say I have, honey."
I HAVE! And more than once."
Professor Lang laughed,
"Lana, if you're implying that Clark Kent and Superboy are
the same person, well, I might have to make an appointment for
you with one of my collegues. Ha...ha..."
just thinking out loud, Daddy. I'll finish my algebra, then we
can watch some television."
"SEA HUNT's on at
8:00. One of my favorites," the professor answered.
the Kent living room, Clark got his father up to speed with the
day's activities. "Glad you were able to help Officer
Gannis. He's a good man...been a customer for at least ten
At that point, Clark heard the beeping sound
of the secret short wave radio. "Sounds like a job for
Superboy, Dad." Clark quickly vanished behind the
To Pa Kent's surprise, Clark returned in a
matter of minutes.
"False alarm?" Jonathan
"It was Officer Henderson calling about the
Canfield fingerprints Superboy took him Saturday. There was a
positive match in the F.B.I. records in Washington. The prints
belong to a habitual felon who's been either indicted or
convicted of just about everything, including murder. They
couldn't make the murder charge stick, but he's done time in
Attica and Leavenworth for other felonies. Somehow, he was
paroled six weeks ago. Turns out his name isn't Martin Canfield
after all...it's Marty Mitchell."
streaking through the Metropolis hotel window from the night
skyline provided the vision necessary for a telephone number to
"Hey, it's me.
How was the flight from Germany?"
Well, was your trip to Smallville worthwhile?"
say so. You were right. The hick newspaper did have a substantial
file on Superboy. I have it, and I've read it all. Virtually
everything anyone in town knows about him is in there. I agree
with you about him having another identity. And I have a pretty
good idea who it is. I actually met him as the other guy. Now,
all we have to do is prove it, and we'll have him in our hip
pocket. When do you want to meet?"
night, ten o'clock. Usual place. Make sure you bring the
Lana sat on her bed,
not finishing her homework, but instead, in deep thought. "O.K.,
Clark Kent, you think you can treat me like you did today and get
away with it? Well, I'm here to say that you can't. Even if you
are Superboy and have to dash off to help someone, you could at
least have the common courtesy to tell me the truth. After all, I
am your girlfirend. Well, come school tomorrow, I'm going to find
out for sure if you are Superboy, once and for all!"
So read the banner stretched above the
main entrance at Smallville High School the following morning
when students arrived for class.
Clark, Pete and Rusty
stepped off the bus to find Lana and her girlfriends Phyllis and
Noel waiting for them.
"Isn't it exciting, Spring
Festival and all?" the girls exclaimed.
yeah, sure," the males replied, a bit less
"What's wrong with you guys!
There's the big parade through downtown Smallville in the
afternoon and then the big dance in the gym Friday night. It's
the highlight of the year!"
"Uh, yeah, sure,"
the males replied, a bit less enthusiastically.
come on girls," Lana told Noel and Phyllis. "Let's go
inside. Boys, geez,what can I say? They don't know what's really
As they were left stranded in the parking
lot, Pete asked his buddies if they had dates for the dance.
Clark said he was taking Lana, and Rusty told them he's escorting
"I don't have a date," Pete
"Why don't you ask Judy Nugent?"
Rusty suggested. "She probably doesn't have a date
"Judy Nugent? The quiet girl in homeroom
who transferred in this semester? The one with the owl-framed
glasses and freckles? Not a chance."
Pete. I've talked to her a few times. She seems real nice. And
what's wrong with freckles? I read in a movie magazine that
Sandra Dee has freckles. That's no big deal," retorted
"Sandra Dee does not have freckles. I saw A
SUMMER PLACE three times at the drive-in, and there were no
Rusty answered, "Pete, they put
makeup over them. That's what they do in the movies. You really
ought to ask Judy. You don't want to go stag. If you have a date,
it will be easier for us all to hang out together."
I'll think about it." And off they went into the school.
the students sat in homeroom waiting for the first period bell, a
voice came over the school intercom, "Good morning,
students. This is Principal Winters. No doubt you all saw the big
banner outside the school this morning concerning our Spring
Festival this Friday. It's going to be a big day here at SHS.
Classes will be dismissed Friday at noon, so students can finish
work on the floats for the parade. At 4:00, the parade through
the town will begin. The queen and her court will each ride in
their own convertible, donated by our two local car dealerships.
And the grand marshal of this year's parade will
A giant roar went up in the
Lana leaned over to Clark, "Oh my
gosh...Superboy! Isn't that fantastic? What a big
"Sure, Lana, it's swell."
you don't sound very excited about it."
it's really great, Lana, really," Kent answered. Naturally
the announcement came as no surprise to him as he had accepted
the principal's invitation a week earlier.
for the announcement of the Queen's Court," Principal
Winters continued. Based on the student body voting held last
week, the Maids of Honor will be...Phyllis Coates, Myra Van
Cleave, Noel Neill and Nancy Quinn."
another roar from the students.
"And your Spring
Festival Queen will be...Lana Lang."
"Oh my gosh!" Lana screamed, "I
don't believe it."
"Wait a minute, Clark, you knew about
this last week. Why didn't you tell me?"
the ballot-counting committee was sworn to secrecy. I couldn't
"Well, I should have forced or
tricked you into telling me, Mr. Kent."
know about that, Lana, I'm pretty good at keeping a secret,"
finishing the reading of the day's announcements, the bell for
first period rang, and the halls became crowded with the
wayfarers headed to their respective classes, all of them buzzing
about the festival.
Third period every Tuesday found Clark
in chemistry lab, alongside his lab partner Pete Ross. As the
teams worked at their stations, Pete informed Clark that he had
decided to ask Judy Nugent to the dance.
Pete. But let's pay attention to what we're doing. Messing with
acid can be dangerous."
Oscar Quinn, the chemistry
professor, instructed the teams to carefully pour their beaker of
hydrochloric acid into the flask of a prepared solution.
ignoring Clark's advice and rambling on about Judy and the dance,
let the beaker of acid slip from his hand. The glass container
shattered when it hit the lab table, splattering Clark.
Clark, are you all right?"
youngster turned his body, facing the wall. Fearing the worst, as
he looked down, he saw that the chemical had instantly dissolved
a baseball-sized hole in his striped shirt, exposing a corner
portion of a red and yellow "S" and a blue patch of his
secret outfit underneath. To prevent the class from discovering
his secret identity as Superboy, the lad immediately covered the
exposed area with his arms and ran from the room.
your skin!" Professor Quinn yelled as Clark passed, "Class,
I'll be back as soon as I can." Quinn, assuming Kent had run
to the nearest washroom, followed, but upon arrival, he found the
place empty. "He should have come here. Where did he
Instead, Kent had dashed to the boys' locker
room. Fortunately, the gym class was out on the baseball field,
so the locker area was vacant. Opening his locker, he quickly
grabbed and put on his Smallville Physical Education sweatshirt,
covering the visible
costume of his alter-ego.
way back to the lab, he encountered Professor Quinn and explained
that he was not injured. "Fortunately, the acid didn't get
on my skin, just my shirt. I'm fine." Of course, the
damaging liquid did get on his hands, but it could do no harm to
the Boy of Steel.
Pete was very, very apologetic to Clark.
"I'm so sorry. I'm just clumsy and stupid."
Pete, you're NOT. You just weren't paying attention. Anyway,
everything's all right. It's just an ordinary piece of
However, the clothing under that clothing
is anything but ordinary.
At lunch, Lana ran over to Clark
in the cafeteria, all excited. "Oh Clark, we all heard what
happened in chemistry. Are you O.K.?" pecking him on the
"Yes, I'm fine...really."
with the sweatshirt? You know gym clothes aren't permitted in the
Clark, thought to himself, "Oh,
Lana, if you only knew."
"They made an exception
since my shirt was ruined. Believe me, I couldn't very well
finish the day the way I was," came his answer.
O.K. Hey, I'll drive you home today. I need to talk to you about
something very important." Before running off, the perky
redhead leaned over and gave him another kiss, this time flush on
his mouth, drawing a rise from the nearby kids eating their
The far-from-ordinary day at Smallville High ended
as Lana and Clark were on their journey to the Kent home. Per
usual, he had to caution the driver, "Take it easy on the
gas pedal, Leadfoot."
"Hey, who's driving this
car?" Lana snapped.
"That's what worries me,"
Kent laughed. "Now, what did you want to discuss with me?
And what was that big kiss at lunch all about?"
wanted you and everyone there to know that I love you, Clark. And
that I don't want anything to happen to you like what happened in
"Well, I love you too, Lana
"Oh, do you, Clark,
speaking of chemisty..." the lass continued.
we?" questioned the lad.
"We were. Our chemistry
book says that acid can cause serious burns if it gets on the
"I know that. Fortunately, it
"Or maybe it really did...and you
weren't burned because..." her voice trailed.
in the Sam Hill are you going on about?"
what I'm saying, let me put it in the form of a scientific
theory...(a) Acid won't burn Superboy, (b) You weren't burned,
thus, (c) maybe you're Superboy."
"That's just wonderful. First, you tell me you love me. Then
you immediately start talking about Superboy. That makes me feel
really great! Look, Madame Curie, let's drop this nonsense. You
pretend that I'm Superboy, and I'll pretend that you're Connie
Stevens. Fair? That should make for a wonderful
"All right, I'm sorry,"
answered the redhead.
"So, have we covered what you
wanted to talk to me about?"
went on. "Isn't it wonderful that Superboy is going to be
Grand Marshal of our parade?"
Came the reply, "Back
to him again...O.K...yes, Lana, it's wonderful. I already said
that it was. And I think it's great you are the Spring Festival
Queen. And since we're going together, does that make me the
"Gosh, hadn't thought of that. Anyway,
you will be escorting the queen. And Superboy will be at the
"I know...I know."
How did you know that? Mr. Winters only announced that Superboy
would be in the parade. He didn't announce he would also be at
the dance. I only found out about that right before we left
school when Mr. Winters stopped me in the hall."
she did it to me again. Gotta think fast," thinking to
"Uh, I overheard a couple of teachers
talking about it last week when the committee was counting the
ballots. That's how."
"Oh...well, here's some
good news...since I am the festival queen, I used my "royal"
authority to make some arrangements for the parade.
as," Clark inquired carefully.
"We all know the
queen and her court members and the Grand Marshal are going to
ride in the parade, right?"
he plowed on.
"Well, Mr. Kent, lucky you...I signed
you up to be Superboy's driver! Won't that be great!"
Clark screamed, without thinking.
"Lana, listen...uh...well...I wanted to
see the parade, and how can I see the parade if I'm in the
"Sorry...too bad...done deal," she
"I won't do it!" was the reply.
Impala's brakes locked, and the car slid to a sudden halt.
"Clark, if you won't do this itsy bitsy favor for me, you
can walk the rest of the way home. Don't call me, don't talk to
me, don't anything me. What's the big deal? It's just driving a
car through town. Holy cow!"
young Kent slowly answered. "I thought you said you loved
"Oh, but I do."
a strange way of showing it, Lana Lang."
resumed its journey down the dirt road.
minutes before ten o'clock at a somewhat seedy motel on the
outskirts of Metropolis, a new Cadillac pulled up in front of
cabin seven. The dark figure of a man carrying an attache exited
the car, stepped up to the door and lightly knocked.
who is it?" came from inside.
light in the room went out, the door opened halfway, and a voice
beckoned, "Come in, Marty. Sit down at the table."
host turned on the lamp which sat on the table, "This is all
the light we'll need. So, your trip to Smallville was a
Ex-con Marty Mitchell replied, "I
believe it was. Here's the Superboy file."
read it after you leave. So, you believe you can put your finger
on this guy?"
Mitchell shared his information, from
his arrival in Smallville, how he got the file, the meeting of
the Kents in their store, through Clark Kent's disappearance from
the store's back room.
"I had planned on staying as
long as it took to get a lead on Superboy. Then I read the
clippings in the newspaper's file, particularly on local
citizen's comments addressing Superboy's personal info. That
nobody knows where he lives, how he's seldom seen unless there's
a crisis, and especially a number of comments assuming he might
disguise himself as somebody else. It didn't make sense to me
that he would hide out in a cave or something and show up only
when he's needed. I figure he's got to live among the townspeople
where he has access to the everyday goings on. So I walked around
downtown the other morning looking the place over. I stopped a
number of folks telling them I was a tourist hoping to meet
Superboy. They all said they knew who he was, but didn't know how
to find him. I went into a number of stores telling them the same
line but no luck. The Kent kid was the first teenager I saw that
morning. My plan was to talk with him, feel him out whether or
not Superboy hung around with kids at the high school, but the
kid's old man was there, so I started with him. Then this fire
alarm went off and everyone scattered. The old man ran down the
street, and the kid ran into the back room, leaving me there all
alone. I could have backed a truck up to the door and taken half
their merchandise, no one was there to stop me. Then I went into
the back room to talk with the kid since his dad had left. But
the kid was gone too. I couldn't risk being caught back there in
case anyone showed back up, so I left. But I did notice the only
back door was padlocked from the inside, and both of the windows
were locked too. So as I left the store, I wandered down to where
the crowd was at this fire, and Superboy was there. I saw him.
Then it dawned on me that I might run into the kid I "Mickey
Finned" so I high tailed it out of town."
you might have been a little lucky with the Kent kid, but you did
good work. He sounds like a strong possibility."
think so Boss. If the kid is also Superboy, he could have gotten
out of that room somehow and been at the fire in a minute or
less. I mean, it was just three or four stores from where we
were. Then return to his store, change his clothes and nobody
would be the wiser. I really want to get back into that
storeroom. If I can find out how he got out of there, that might
be the clincher."
"You're right, Marty. We need
to be sure. But I can't send you back to Smallville. It could
easily attract the kind of attention we don't need. Someone you
already encountered might recognize you. I'll send someone else
to pick up where you left off. And I have just the perfect person
"O.K. Boss, so what do you want me to
"Marty, you will do nothing. Your work is
finished...for good." The ex-con saw only a glimpse of blue
steel. A silenced bullet blasted into his forehead. Compulsive
lawbreaker Marty Mitchell slumped over in the chair. He had
broken the law for the last time.
The other figure calmly
got up, took the attache which contained the Superboy history,
turned off the table lamp, exited the motel room and faded into
the thickness of the night.
was sitting in his school desk when the final bell of the day
sounded. The students filed out, chattering to one another. Clark
"Going to stay all night Clark,"
joked the teacher.
"No ma'am. I just need a couple
more minutes to finish a paragraph, then I'm going."
I have a meeting, so I'm going now. Shut the door when you leave,
"Yes ma'am. Goodnight."
alone in the classroom, Clark, using his super speed, finished
all of his homework assignments in twenty seconds, grabbed his
books, and headed down the main hall of the building.
he's closed his locker, Rusty ran up to him, "Good, you're
"What's going on Rusty?"
Lana driving you home?"
Clark replied, "Not
today. I have to relieve Pa at the store. He has a town council
meeting in about an hour."
"Great. I'll take you
to the store, but first, I have to drop by the police department.
You can go with me. It won't take but a minute."
why do you have to go to the police department? Bald tires on
your truck again, Rusty?"
"No, Officer Henderson
called me last night and asked me to come in and see if I can
identify a photograph of the man who drugged me."
then, let's go!" Clark, thinking to himself, "What a
coincidence. I had planned on dropping by the P.D. as Superboy,
but this will work just as well."
Ten minutes later,
the two young men walked into Officer Henderson's office.
wanted to see me, Mr. Henderson?" Rusty asks.
Rusty. Oh, how are you Kent?"
was Clark's reply.
"Rusty, I'm going to spread out on
my desk photographs of six different men, and if you see the man
who talked to you the other night at the Burger Boy, pick him
The boy immediately grabbed the fourth photo.
"This is the man!"
"Are you absolutely
"YES SIR! I'll never forget that
Clark offered, "Why that's the man who
came in our store Saturday morning and talked with my dad and me.
He said his name was Martin Canfield."
answered, "That might be the name he gave to you and the
name he used to register at the hotel, but his real name is Marty
Mitchell. Has a record a mile long."
Mitchell, huh," Clark answered, even though he already knew
the man's real name.
Rusty blurted out, "Mr.
Henderson, you catch this guy and I'll dance into the courthouse
and testify he's the man...after what he did to me!"
won't be necessary, Rusty, it will never happen," came the
was found dead this morning, at a motel a few miles this side of
Metropolis. Cleaning lady went in to clean the room and found him
slumped over in a chair, with a bullet in his head. Funny thing,
too. The bed had not been slept in, nothing found in the
bathroom, no luggage or anything, just a very dead Marty
Mitchell. A car registered to him was parked outside."
what do we do now, Mr. Henderson?" Rusty
"Nothing. It's over as far as we're
concerned. The murder occurred in the jurisdiction of Metropolis.
It's their case. The man who drugged you is dead, you're O.K.
That's the end of it."
"Mr. Henderson, was the
file folder taken from Mr. Larson's office in the room?"
asked young Kent.
"No, like I said, nothing there but
a very dead Marty Mitchell."
"Then it isn't
over," Clark added, "Do the Metropolis police have any
"The MPD's thought, for now anyway, is
that Mitchell met someone at the motel and the person who was
already there probably killed him. As to why, who knows at this
point? Could have been an argument, a card game, even a drug deal
gone bad. The room was registered to a Clem Beauchamp, but that's
probably as phony a name as Martin Canfield. No one at the motel
ever saw Beauchamp, or whoever. Reserved the room by phone and
paid by a moneygram before arrival. Left instructions for the
door to be left unlocked. They're trying to ID some fingerprints
other than Mitchell's and the cleaning lady's. That's all I know.
I'll alert them that you identified Mitchell's photograph. Thanks
for coming in Rusty. Say hello to your mother."
and Rusty walked out onto the sidewalk towards Rusty's truck.
"Hop in, Clark. I'll drop you off at the store."
think I'll walk, Rusty, thanks anyway. I need some fresh air
since I'll be inside for the rest of the afternoon."
Clark, I'll see ya tomorrow," Rusty responded, as he fired
up his vehicle and pulled away."
Kent, walking down
an alley, removed his glasses, thinking out loud, "I can get
to the store quicker as Superboy, and that will give me a few
minutes to talk with Pa before he leaves for his meeting." A
few seconds behind some stacked crates and the Boy of Steel was
in the air toward the secret entrance of the tunnel which lead to
the Kent General Store.
Jonathan Kent, ready to leave,
impatiently saw his son Clark enter from the store room. "There
you are, son, I was about to give up on you. I have to leave a
little early for the meeting."
"Can I tell you
something first, Pa?"
"Sorry, son, it will have
to keep until supper," as the bell on the door rang from
An hour and a half later meant six o'clock.
Clark locked the front door, turned the OPEN sign around to
CLOSED, entered the store room, transformed to Superboy, left
through the hidden trap door, and headed home for another Martha
Kent deluxe dinner.
you, Dear Lord, we pray. Amen."
The Kents, seated at
the dinner table, began the rotation of servings for the nightly
family meal. This night, it was Martha's County Fair
award-winning country style steak with mashed potatoes and some
green beans she had canned the previous summer. Along with her
homemade biscuits, the Kent family was in high clover.
son, what did you want to tell me at the store this afternoon?"
Jonathan got the ball rolling.
The youngster related
everything he and Rusty had learned visiting police
"MURDERED! Canfield, I mean Mitchell,
was murdered. That's incredible!"
"I know, Dad.
Shot in the head."
Martha interrupted, "Clark,
we're having our dinner."
"And the Metropolis police have no leads
"Not according to Officer
Henderson," Clark answered. "This entire situation is
very unnerving, and regardless of the kind of man he was, no one
deserves being shot in the head. Gosh, sorry again Mom. And a big
concern remaining is that the file about me, well Superboy, is
out there somewhere. There's no way to know if Mitchell took it
with him to the motel, or if he did and the killer now has it.
But I have to find it. It's become such an issue in my life over
the past few days, and I don't even know what's in it. There
could even be material that somehow links Superboy back to you
two. I don't know. If I were certain it was just some speeches I
made and some Sentinel stories about how I rescued Mr.
Barnhardt's cows from drowning, that's no big deal. But Mr.
Larson is a smart man and has a lot of connections in the
journalistic world. He could have stuff he acquired from people
interjected, "Instead of wasting your energy worrying about
what might be in the file, I'd concentrate on how to find the
"You're right, Mom, but I'm at ground
zero there as well. Any ideas, Dad?"
thinking...Martha, some more potatoes please? Thanks. Clark, all
I can think of right now is to stay in touch with Officer
Henderson, but as Superboy. If Clark keeps asking, that would
look suspicious. Another biscuit please, Martha."
just have a gut feeling that Mitchell didn't do all this for
himself, he was working for someone else. Otherwise, why would he
be killed, unless this Smallville stuff and his being in that
motel aren't related. There's just not enough evidence that leads
anywhere. Oh, I could just go outside and uproot a tree!"
stop talking like that and eat your supper," Martha scolded.
" I pressed your best suit this afternoon for the dance
Friday night. Don't forget to order a corsage for Lana. What
color dress is she wearing?"
"Uh, I don't know.
I'll ask her tomorrow."
"Son, have you thought more about how
you're going to handle this parade situation Lana has "arranged"
for you?" asked Pa Kent.
"Not really. I've had
this other stuff on my mind and haven't given it much
"Well, you'll have to think of
something. Obviously you can't drive the convertible as Clark and
ride in the car as Superboy while going down the main street of
"Not funny, Dad. I'm sure this
arrangement of Lana's is another one of her schemes to prove that
I'm Superboy. Anyone could drive that car. But she had to use her
influence as festival queen to set this up. Women!"
pushed back his plate, "Martha, I can't eat another bite.
But how do you keep topping yourself with meals like this time
after time? Oh, I forgot to ask, how did your bake sale go this
"Oh, Jonathan, the Ladies League
raised nearly two hundred dollars. Ruby Jones is taking the money
to the Midvale Orphanage tomorrow morning. She asked me to go
with her, but I declined."
Martha. I know they can use the money."
almost forgot. Dad, is it O.K. if I get off from the store
Saturday around three o'clock? Rusty and Pete are going to go
camping at Mr. Sartania's pond. His son Chester will be there
too. Mr. Sartania gave his permission. I'll be home in time for
Pa Kent gave in, "Sure son. That will
7:30 Clark. You're going to be late for school!" Martha all
but shouted through her son's closed door.
I'm up," a sleepy voice answered.
breakfast is on the table, son."
Ma Kent was putting
the finishing touches on her scrubbed skillet when Clark took his
place at the table.
"That's more like it. I knocked
on your door at 7:15, and you said you were awake."
Mom, I guess I dozed back off."
She told Clark that
she had already taken his father to work as she needed the truck
to run errands during the day. "Come straight home from
school. I have some things I need you to do for me.
"The bus will be here any minute, so eat
your breakfast." They heard the blowing horn. "Oh my
goodness, it's here already."
Clark, using his super
speed, devoured his breakfast in seconds, kissed his mother on
the cheek, "Bye Mom. See you after school." And out the
door he went.
"I wish he would chew his food better,"
Martha thought to herself. Always a mother.
found Mrs. Kent in the living room ironing in front of her
favorite soap opera when Clark came through the front door. "Hi
son, how was school?"
"Fine. Everyone's all
geared up about the festival tomorrow, so there probably wasn't
much learning going on today. Even the teachers seemed
"Did you ask Lana about her
"A nice white
orchid will go perfectly with a blue dress. I need you to go into
town and pick up some things for me. I was going to do it all
this morning, but I decided at the last minute to ride with Mrs.
Jones to Midvale Orphanage, so I didn't get my errands
"Sure, Mom. What do you need?"
run by the florist and get Lana's orchid. Do that last so it
won't be in the heat too long. Run by the drug store and pick up
your father's prescription, pick up my iron from Mr. Grayson's
repair shop. He called a bit ago and said that it was ready. Then
bring your father home when he closes the store. Can you remember
"Prescription, iron, orchid, Dad, I
mean, prescription, iron, Dad, orchid. Got it. I'll go
"Thank you son."
the semi-bumpy dirt road towards Smallville, Clark was in deep
thought. "I still have to figure out a way to get out of
driving the car in the parade tomorrow afternoon. Ooooh, that
Lana makes me so mad sometimes, always trying to prove that I'm
Superboy. Why can't she just..."
Without any warning,
there was a huge explosion from under the hood of the truck. The
vehicle came to a stop sideways on the road. Another explosion
and the truck became an inferno. From the dense black smoke, the
figure of Clark walked into sunlight.
Clark then noticed that the blast has
taken its toll on his apparel. Standing on the country road, he
was dressed 25% Clark and 75% Superboy.
goodness no one's around. I've got to get home right away and
take care of this." Clark completed the change to the Boy of
Steel and flew towards the secret tunnel entrance in the woods.
Seconds later, after using his x-ray vision, making sure Martha
was still alone, he entered the living room through the
She was startled to see Superboy enter the room.
"What are you doing? You never dress as Superboy in the
"The truck exploded and burned. It's a
goner, Mom. Be right back." In an instant, he was up the
stairs to his bedroom and back down. "The blast burned my
clothes. I've got to get back out there. Somebody's bound to come
along, and Clark has to be there. Call Dad and tell him what
happened." Superboy exited via the bookcase and was back at
the scene in seconds. Coming over the hill was a fire truck and
police car. He quickly jumped behind some bushes and covered his
red and blue outfit with fresh attire.
He stepped onto the
dirt road just as the vehicles came to rest. Officer Henderson
was the first to reach him. "What happened, Clark?"
was heading towards town when, out of the blue, they was a huge
noise and the truck caught on fire."
"How in the
world did you get out without being hurt?
spare tire on the road behind the destroyed vehicle, Clark,
thinking quickly, answered, "Well, I wasn't in the truck
when it blew up. I hit a bump in the road, and the spare fell out
of the back. So I had stopped and was back there picking up the
tire when the truck exploded."
"I'd say you are
one lucky boy. If you had been inside the cab, I wouldn't be
talking to you."
"Officer Henderson, we're
finished here. We have the fire out. I'll send for a tow truck,"
interrupted a fireman.
"O.K. Hank. Any idea what
might have happened?"
"Probably a ruptured fuel
line. Gasoline hit the hot engine and...kaboom. We'll probably
know more after we get it in the shop and go over the wreckage.
You're a lucky boy, young man. Glad you're all right."
you, sir," Kent replied. "Officer Henderson, how did
you know to come out here?"
"Fire department got
a call from Mrs. Carmichael up the road here. She saw a big cloud
of black smoke. That's not normal, you know. Hop in, I'll give
you a lift home."
Clark, instead, asked for a ride
into town. He still had errands to run.
The early evening
found the three Kents in their kitchen, Jonathan at the table
smoking his pipe with Martha and Clark washing and drying the
supper dishes. Hearing the telephone ring, Jonathan said, "I'll
get it," as he headed into the living room. He was back in
"Let's sit down. That was Henderson at
the police department."
"What is it, Jonathan?"
a concerned Martha inquired.
"It turns out that our
truck didn't have a leaky fuel line after all. It was a
"BOMB!" Clark and Martha
"They hope to know more tomorrow, but they've
found a portion of the casing and detonator of the bomb. There's
no question. It was no accident. Oh, Lord, Martha, if you had run
your errands this morning, you would have been in the
"Who would want to blow me up!"
Martha said, shaken and angry.
"Henderson assumes it
was meant for me. He asked me if I knew of anyone who would want
to kill me. I told him no. I really don't. I try to get along
Everyone in Smallville likes and respects you."
am on the Town Council. Maybe a disgruntled citizen is angry
about an issue the Council has dealt with, but I can't think of
anything controversial that has come before us for several years.
Oh, Martha, I don't understand this at all."
rising from his chair, "I'm going to check the entire house
with my x-ray vision to make sure there aren't any more
surprises. Then I'm going on my evening patrol around town and
when I get back, Superboy will be on guard all night."
of the Kent family got much sleep that night.
the citizens of Smallville awoke the following morning, it was to
mixed emotions. It was raining, and raining heavily. The farmers
were glad to see it as the year's corn crop had recently been
planted. But for Smallville High students, it was an unwelcome
"It's not fair!" Lana told her father as
they had breakfast. "Today's Spring Festival day...the
parade and the dance."
"Sweetheart, just because
it's raining now doesn't mean it will rain all day. I bet the sun
will be out by lunch time."
"It better be!"
the redhead stated, leaving for school. Her ire was shown by the
slamming of the door.
Upon their arrivals at SHS, the
students ran from the buses and cars into the building to prevent
their soakings. As they sat in their homerooms, Principal
Winters' voice came across the intercom, "Good morning
students. It looks as if we may have a problem with the day's
festivities. I shall monitor the situation and make an
announcement by eleven o'clock concerning our scheduled parade.
As for now, classes will end at lunchtime as previously
Lana leaned over to Clark's desk, "What
do you think, Clark? Do you think it will stop raining?"
how would I know? I'm not a meterologist."
You're a lot of help," as the bell for first period
The school secretary walked into Principal
Winters' office. "There's a young lady who wishes to see
"Please bring her in."
eyes brightened as he spied a late twenties woman,
shoulder-length blonde hair and sparkling green eyes.
Winters?" she inquired. "My name is Muriel Bradford
from the Metropolis Blade. My editor sent me to Smallville to do
a feature story on your school's Spring Festival."
really?" he responded, studying the press credentials handed
him. "And how can I help?"
"I was hoping to
spend the day at your school and interview faculty members,
students, and of course, you, regarding the day's events. What it
means to everyone and to the town, that sort of thing. Naturally,
you would be featured very prominently. My boss thought it would
make for a great human interest story, and he's promised me
plenty of space."
"I think that would be
wonderful," he answered. "You have my approval. When
would this story be running in the Blade?"
answered, "It would run in Sunday's paper, in the People
"Sure, that will be fine. However,
I'll have to ask that you not disturb anyone while they are in
their classes. Feel free to talk with the students during class
changes and morning break. As of now, classes are set to let out
at lunchtime for our parade this afternoon. But that will depend
on the weather. How long do you propose to be here?"
I'm prepared to stay through the dance tonight, if that's O.K. I
want to cover everything from right now forward, including the
"Very well. Please let me know if I can
be of further assistance to you," the somewhat flirting
principal told his guest.
"Thank you Mr. Winters,"
she replied leaving his office, "I certainly will."
eager reporter wasted no time in tackling her story.
first period, she interviewed close to twenty students, male and
female, as they rushed through the halls for their next
During the ten-minute morning break, she came
across a group consisting of Lana, Clark, Rusty, Pete, Phyllis
and Judy. They're all still distraught about the weather, except
She introduced herself, and the kids were
happy to accommodate her. All liked to see their names in the
newspaper, especially in a big city paper like the
"What's it like growing up in a small town? I
don't really know because I was brought up in Detroit, then
worked for a paper in Dallas, and now Metropolis."
"Yeah, not bad."
your name?" she asked Pete.
what do kids your age do for fun and excitement?"
the soda fountain at the drug store, the drive-in theatre, the
"I'm Rusty. I work at the
Smallville Sentinel after school. And I like to fish and camp
Phyllis chimed in, "Girls have slumber
parties and play a lot of records, and of course, talk on the
phone with girlfriends."
"How about you, young
man. Your name?"
do you like about Smallville?
"It's a friendly town.
Everybody knows everybody and willing to help each other out. You
"Great. Thanks. What's the best thing
about your town? Is Smallville really the corn capital of the
Lana answered, "Well, the
Chamber of Commerce thinks it is." They all
Bradford asked, "Anything else of worthy
Almost in unison, "Superboy!"
me about him."
Phyllis replied, "Don't you know
"Well, of course, I've heard of
him. But I've only been in Metropolis about a month. Do any of
you know him?"
"I do!" Pete yelled.
"Superboy and I are real good friends."
right," Rusty snapped sarcastically, "Just because
Superboy pulled you out of a well last summer doesn't exactly
make you blood brothers." Everyone laughed again.
about you Clark?"
"Well, I've met him, but
that's about it."
Bradford continued, "Does
Superboy go to school here?
"Oh no," most
answered in unison. "No one knows much..."
third period bell rang.
"We have to go,"
announced the group.
"O.K. Thanks for talking with
Shortly, the Metropolis reporter was the lone person
standing in an otherwise empty hall.
Just as eleven o'clock rolled
around, Principal Winters, as promised, was back on the intercom
with an announcement.
"This is Principal Winters. As
you can all tell by looking out your windows, the rain has not
let up since our arrival this morning. I have just spoken with
the Metropolis Weather Bureau, and they have told me that the
rain should continue in Smallville well into tonight, maybe early
tomorrow morning. We may receive as much as two inches of
precipitation before it stops. Due to these conditions, I must
cancel our scheduled parade for this afternoon. The band cannot
risk damage to their uniforms getting soaked, and the
convertibles we had lined up would have to have the tops up. And
we can't ask the townspeople to stand out in the pouring rain to
watch. I regret this very much, but, as they say, you cannot
fight Mother Nature. The dance, however, will proceed as planned,
beginning at seven o'clock. We will now revert to the normal
school day schedule. Again, I regret this must be done. That is
A collective groan could be heard all over the
high school, perhaps with one exception...Clark Kent.
at his desk, thinking to himself, "Whew! That solves my
dilemma of having to drive Superboy in the parade. Maybe this
won't be such a bad day after all."
But two doors
down in another classroom, Lana Lang was mad as a hornet, "Clark,
you lucky dog! I knew I had you this time, but I'm not going to
let a rainy day stop me from proving that you're Superboy. I'll
think of something else!"
of all makes and colors filed into the student parking area of
Smallville High School. Guys in their best Sunday suits and gals
in their fancy dresses adorned the area. Many were still
disheartened that the day's rain had washed out the afternoon
parade, but Mother Nature gave the Spring Festival attendees a
break. The rain had subsided around six o'clock. At least all the
fresh dresses were spared getting wet scurrying into the
and Lana exited her Impala from the front seat, while Rusty and
date Elaine Carson from the back seat.
there's Pete and Judy," informed Rusty. "Hey, we're
three couples met up at the bottom of the steps and entered the
gym as a group.
festival committee and faculty had the gym decorated beautifully.
Crepe paper streaming everywhere, balloons, glitter, even corn
husks (probably suggested by the C of C). On the stage was an
ornate throne (at least by Smallville standards) with two smaller
thrones on each side. By evening's end, Lana would rule the
festival as queen from the center throne.
was saying hello to everyone, avoiding the faculty when they can.
Pete said that hanging around the faculty members wasn't cool.
"Kookie would never do that," he stated.
minutes later, Principal Winters took to the microphone. "Here
he goes," said Elaine. "Yep, he loves to make
speeches," added Lana.
evening students of Smallville High School. Welcome to the Spring
Festival dance. Let's forget about the parade situation and make
up for it here tonight by everyone having a wonderful time. Now,
please be on your best behavior. Don't spoil tonight by not being
ladies and gentlemen."
brother," murmured Rusty.
continued, "Around nine o'clock, we shall have the formal
announcement of our Queen's Court, followed by an appearance of
our guest of honor...Superboy. Superboy will then dance the first
song with our Queen. So, for now, let the fun begin!"
records played and played and played. A fast dance, a slow dance
and a continuing mixture. Rusty complained at the refreshment
table that the new shoes he was wearing were making his feet
hurt. "Well, at least you didn't wear your gym sneakers like
you threatened to do," his date Elaine told him as she
dragged him back onto the dance floor.
there's that reporter. Hey, Miss Bradford!" Rusty
through the dancing couples, she passed by and said, "Hello
Larry. Having fun?" "I'm Rusty."
Rusty. I talked to a lot of faces today."
O.K.," he answered. "Gosh, you're pretty."
riled, told him, "Remember, you brought me to the dance.
Besides, she's too old for you. She's gotta be at least twenty
clock moved forward, and soon it was time for the special event.
The principal again monopolized the microphone. "We shall
now proceed with the Queen's Court. Ladies, when I call your
name, please come up on the stage and take your place in your
to slip away, Clark excused himself from his group of friends,
"I'll be right back. I spilled punch all over my hands and
they're sticky. I need to wash them."
your hands? You'll miss Lana's coronation," they reply.
I won't. I'll be right back." Clark walked slowly out into
the hall. Removing his glasses, he vanished around the
four Maids of Honor, now in their seats, "And now, young
ladies and gentlemen, it's my honor to present to you this year's
Queen of the Spring Festival...Miss Lana Lang." The place
erupted. Lana walked onto the stage and took her place in the
queen's throne. "And now, to place the crown on Miss Lang's
head," the principal continued, "I give you our special
guest of honor...SUPERBOY!"
place erupted, even louder.
stepped from behind the stage curtain, acknowledged the crowd's
approval, took the crown from a satin pillow and placed it atop
Lana's head. He then took her hand and lead her down to the dance
floor, and the queen's dance began.
Lana Lang," he told her.
you Superboy. This is a dream come true." The music
continued. "Oh, Superboy, you are a great dancer. Don't tell
him I said this, but you dance much better than Clark
was the reply.
this must be what Heaven is like. I feel like I'm
because you are."
looked down and saw that the two of them were floating a foot
above the floor. Her expression brought a laugh from the crowd.
But soon the song was over. The Boy of Steel returned her to her
throne, gave her a soft kiss on her cheek, waved to the crowd and
flew out the front door of the gym.
gasped, "Man, that was INCREDIBLE, huh Pete!"
say," Pete agreed. "Where's Clark? Oh, they you are.
Did you see all that?"
having just returned, "Yep. I saw every bit of it."
returned to the group. Elaine and Judy were pea green with envy.
"You got to dance with Superboy! WOW!"
special part of the evening now over, everyone headed back onto
the dance floor. On the way, Lana was congratulated by Muriel
Bradford, still with notebook in hand, working on her story.
"Clark? It's Clark, right?"
I borrow you for a moment? I'd like to get a few comments from
you on how it feels to be the escort of the festival queen. You
don't mind, do you Lana?"
go ahead. I'll be at the refreshment table, Clark."
won't take but a minute, Clark. It's so loud in hear. Let's step
down the hall where it's quiet."
you say," Clark responded, following her down the hall.
the hall out of sight of anyone and only a trace of the gymnasium
noise, Muriel Bradford stopped, "This is far
"Gosh, it is pretty loud in there. So
what questions do you want to ask me?" Kent inquired.
reporter began, "Let's start with...Lana's dancing with
Superboy, did that make you jealous?"
surprised by her question, "Uh, no. Not at all. Why should
"I guess I struck a nerve with your male
"It's not that Miss Bradford. He would
have danced with whoever had been selected queen. And it was just
She answered, "I understand your not
being jealous. There is really no reason for you to be jealous of
Superboy, being that you ARE Superboy!"
nothing but silence. Finally able to speak, Kent replied, "Miss
Bradford, what are you talking about?"
heard me. You have perfect hearing. I mean just what I said. I
know that you, Clark Kent, are Superboy, so let's stop playing
games with one another! You get me."
lady, I don't know why you're doing this, but..."
him, "What would you say if I told you that I was in the
vicinity of your home yesterday afternoon?"
"Why...because that's where I planted the
bomb in your father's pickup truck. That a good enough
Clark, about to completely lose control,
"YOU COULD HAVE KILLED MY MOM OR DAD!"
answered calmly, "I've done worse in my life than blow up an
old man or woman. Now, you need to calm down and lower your
voice. I promise you, for once you are not in charge of the
Holding back his anger, Clark continued,
"Why would you want to kill my parents?"
don't. It's you I'm after. Geez, kid, do I have to draw you a
diagram? Listen, yesterday morning I saw that your mother drove
your father to work, then returned home with your truck. About a
half hour before your bus dropped you off after school, I
installed the explosive. I assumed that one of you would drive
back to town to bring your father home. So I had a 50/50 shot it
would be you. I won. You drove the truck. Look, I don't like
killing people unless it's necessary. I'd felt bad if Mrs. Kent
had died, for a minute or two anyway. As for you, I already had
good reason to believe that you are Superboy. If you weren't, you
wouldn't be standing here, and that would be such a shame. But if
you were, the explosion wouldn't hurt you. And here you are, so I
am correct. Clark Kent is Superboy. That's about it."
he answered, back in control. "After what you did, do you
think I'm going to let you just walk out of here and do nothing!
I'm turning you over to the police for attempted
"Better think twice about that. I'll
tell them your big secret."
"My word against
yours," Clark boasted. "I'll chance it."
you touch me...I just remembered something else. Have a look at
this." She handed Kent a manila envelope. "Open
Shock took hold of the youngster as he pulled
out an 8x10 photograph which showed him clearly standing on the
dirt road beside the smouldering truck, his Clark Kent clothing
shreaded and burned revealing him as Superboy. "That kind of
tilts the scale back my way, don't you think? Pretty good
picture, huh. You know, if my name was really Muriel Bradford and
if I really worked for a newspaper, I might have a future as a
photographer. And before you start ripping up that picture, I
should tell you that I have a stack of copies, in a very safe
"So you were at the blast site as well
as my house?"
"But of course," she boasted.
"Gotta make sure I got the job done. It's like this,
Clarkie, I'm pretty good with explosives. I've used them many
times. The bomb in your truck had a timing device set to go off
five minutes after the truck was started. So I simply drove
towards town at the legal speed I assumed you would drive, hid in
the woods by the road and waited. My predicted spot of impact was
off only thirty feet, not bad I'd say. I saw it all, and with a
telescopic lens, I got a beautiful photo. So get this taking me
to the cops stuff out of your head."
Pausing for a
moment, a dejected Clark asked, "So what do you
"Nothing for the moment, but sometime
soon, you'll hear from me again. An acquaintance of mine and I
have some big plans, and those big plans now involve
"Plans involving something illegal no
doubt?" he asked.
"Oh, but of course, Clarkie.
So just to make sure we have an understanding, let me summarize
our partnership. If you are not totally cooperative with me,
those photos I have will be released to every television station
and newspaper in the country, and your Clark Kent identity will
be worthless. If, by chance, you decide that you will sacrifice
your secret identity, just remember, I know where your parents
are, and I know who your friends are. You can't protect all of
them all at once. Remember what happened yesterday. I have no
conscience. I'll kill as many of your people as I have to. So
"I am NOT your partner!"
better stop thinking that way. It isn't healthy. Talk to you
soon," as she turned away and walked confidently out the
back door of the gym into the darkness.
Clark could do
nothing but stand helplessly and look down the dimly-lit hallway.
and young Kent were strangers the entire night. How could he get
any rest with what had transpired at the dance?
after question ran through his mind. This mystery woman who
called herself Muriel Bradford. Who was she, really? He knew she
wasn't a Metropolis reporter as claimed, but instead a confessed
executioner. She mentioned an acquaintance. Who could that be?
Was she be connected in any way to Marty Mitchell? Did she kill
him? Did she now have the file folder stolen from the Smallville
He didn't have any answers, but he now knew she
had photos showing that Clark was Superboy. And with these
photos, he was a victim of blackmail. When will she contact him
and what will be her demands? She mentioned an "acquaintance,"
so she wasn't acting alone. Who can that be?
He can't go
after her in any way, or she'll release the extortion
The Boy of Steel had never been in this kind of
situation. He was at a loss of what to do.
By sunrise, he
had decided that, at least for now, he will not tell his adoptive
parents. This kind of news would be such a shock that either of
them could suffer serious health issues. He would not take the
risk. After all, it's his problem. He caused it. He would have to
take care of it...if possible.
The Kent General Store
opened at the usual eight o'clock, just like every Saturday. It
started busier than usual with people in and out of the store.
Most of the women wanted plants to set out or seeds to get their
vegetable gardens going for the spring and summer.
the bell on the door gave a loud ring. Clark looked up to see
Rusty and Lana approaching.
Rusty spoke up, "Ready to go camping this afternoon? We're
going to have a great time. We'll catch our fish dinner right out
of Mr. Sartania's pond, and fry them up right there over our
"Yeah, that'll be great. Hey
Lana, a bit subdued, "Hey Clark. I must
say, you weren't a barrel of laughs most of last night. Are you
Clark responded, "I'm sorry. I
didn't mean to put a damper on your evening. I guess the loud
noise and loud music gave me a headache near the end of the
"Well, you didn't say ten words on the
way home. I thought perhaps you might be jealous because I danced
"No. Headache. Not Superboy. I'm
glad you got to dance with him. What did you talk about?"
exaggerated, "Oh, he told me he wanted to take me out for a
date, fly me to Metropolis and light up the town. I told him you
were my boyfriend, so I had to think it over."
Rusty jumped in.
"Well...not exactly. Actually, he
didn't ask me out at all, but he was very, very nice."
Clark, I'll pick Pete up on the way back to town, then stop by
here to get you around three. Did you bring all your
"Yeah, Rusty, it's in the back. I'll be
ready at three," Clark answered.
Heading for the
door, Lana turned to say, "Well, you pioneers have a good
time. Catch enough fish to bring home. Gotta run some errands for
my mom. Bye..."
"I've got to get back to work,
"Gotcha, see ya at three. Boy, it's
gonna be great!" The door slammed behind Rusty, almost
knocking the bell off the door.
Mr. Smullens. Come back," Clark addressed a store
Several blasts from a truck horn signified that
it was camping time. "Dad, Rusty and Pete are outside. O.K.
for me to go?"
"Sure, son, I can handle it from
here. Have a good time and remember, you promised to be home
tomorrow in time for church."
Clark replied, grabbing his gear but thinking to himself, "How
can I have a good time with what's hanging over me?"
Clark reached the street, Rusty yelled to young Kent to toss his
stuff in the back of the truck and hop in. He did so, joining
Rusty and Pete in what was now a cramped front seat.
men, we're off. This is going to be great. Fish right out of the
pond for dinner. And just spending time with the guys," an
excited Rusty exclaimed, heading down the town street, making a
right turn onto Maxwell Road, which would take them out the ten
miles to the Sartania farm.
Upon their arrival, they found
that Chester Sartania was there ahead of them. "Just pull it
off the road, Rusty, and park it there,"requested the host
The guys unloaded their stuff and walked down to the
pond, where Chester had already pitched his tent. "Who wants
to bunk in my tent?" he asked. "Doesn't matter to
"Oh, I will," Rusty, the first to
answer said. "That all right with you guys?"
Pete and Clark answered in unison.
"O.K. Clark, let's
get our tent set up," suggested Pete. Clark agreed but
suggested that their tent not be as close to the pond as the
other. "I'd rather be a little bit further away from the
water. How about there?" he requested, pointing to a spot
about twenty-five feet from the other tent."
you say," Pete agreed.
"While you guys get your
tent set up, Rusty and I will get wood for the campfire,"
Chester told all.
"I can already hear those catfish
sizzling over our fire right now," Rusty answered.
tasks completed, the four teens got out their rods and tackle
boxes, and quickly, there were four lines in the pond, baited for
innocent fish to latch on.
Two hours later, it was time to
cook supper and eat. Chester had the fire going. Each of the guys
sat down and held their hot dog covered sticks over the
Rusty was angry, "Chester, where are all those
catfish that are supposed to be in your pond? We didn't even get
Chester, annoyed, "Apparently,
they're still in the pond. And we did get a nibble...Clark caught
a coat hanger."
"Funny, funny, funny."
a delicious meal of hot dogs and beans, the four gathered back
around the fire for the usual topics of conversation...girls and
girls. The dance was mentioned. What girls looked great and what
girls didn't. Superboy's being there and that sexy blonde
reporter from Metropolis, something Clark didn't need to
Soon it was dark, and after a few ghost stories that
they'd all heard before, the fire was getting low. So they
decided to turn in and get an early jump with the sun and try
their luck with the fishing poles again before breaking
Rusty and Chester went to their tent, and Clark and
Pete went to their's. Pete sheepishly asked Clark if he was going
to wear pajamas. "No, Pete, we tough guys don't wear pj's on
a camping trip. We sleep in our clothes," laughing.
my mom made me bring a pair, but I'll just wrinkle them up so
she'll think I used them."
Clark said. And soon the rugged men of the wilderness were fast
After dark, some heavy clouds rolled in bringing
with them the usual springtime thunder and lightning. Clark was
awakened by his super hearing. "I hear screams."
Sitting up, he used his x-ray vision to see an automobile
overturned in a deep ditch about a mile away on the road to
Midvale. "Gee, there's people trapped in that car. This is a
job for Superboy. I'll have to slip away."
He got out
of his sleeping bag, stepped outside the tent and began removing
his Kent clothes. A loud clap of thunder then startled Pete. Just
as he opened his eyes, a huge bolt of lightning illuminated the
area. He was unable to move when he saw Clark complete his
transformation to Superboy and leap into the air out of view. "Oh
my gosh! I must be dreaming!" The lad whispered, "Clark!
Clark!" Getting no answer, he reached over to Kent's
sleeping bag, finding it deserted. "I'm not dreaming! I did
see Clark changing into Superboy."
the Boy of Steel arrived at the wrecked car, pulled it from the
ditch and rested it in the road. "Is anyone hurt?" he
asked the occupants. "Superboy, my kids and I are not hurt,
but I think my wife's arm is broken. Again, using his x-ray
vision to examine the lady's injured limb, he concurred. "Yes,
there is a fracture. But don't worry. I'll fly her to the
hospital and inform the police to get help out here for you. Just
stay with your kids. Help will be here shortly."
deer ran out in front of us and I swerved and lost control. Thank
you Superboy." The lad from Krypton carefully took hold of
the injured woman and lifted off for Smallville."
in the tent, Pete was replaying what he had just witnessed over
and over in his head. "It's incredible! There can't be any
mistake. I saw Clark turn into Superboy! I saw it! My friend
Clark Kent is actually this amazing person Superboy. I'll have to
pretend to be sleeping when he returns."
minutes later, Pete heard a light thud outside the tent and just
seconds later, Clark delicately entered the tent and crawled back
into his sleeping bag. "Pete, Pete, you asleep?" Clark
Pete didn't answer, to give the illusion
that he was.
Clark, resting his head on his pillow,
thought to himself, "Good. I was able to get away and back
as Superboy without being missed."
Pete was finally
able to get back to sleep, a smile on his face.
following afternoon, Pete Ross decided to ride over to the Kent
home. Witnessing his best friend Clark's transformation into the
Boy of Steel had been all he could think about since the night
Should he tell Clark what he saw or not? Maybe a
chat with his buddy would help him decide.
Pete, come on in," Clark welcomed him. "Ma, Pa...Pete's
"Come in and sit down Pete," Martha
instructed. "So, Clark told us that your fellows had a fun
"Yes, ma'am, even if we didn't
catch any fish," he laughed.
A few minutes into their
conversation, Clark noticed, "Hey Pete. Is something wrong?
You have a strange expression on your face?"
"Something on your mind,
maybe?" his friend inquired.
"Well, this may
sound funny, but I've been thinking about Superboy all
"Superboy?" the three Kents said
almost in unison.
"Yeah. I guess it's because I saw
him at the dance Friday night and he's always in the newspaper
for doing good things for people. I was kind of daydreaming on
the way over how great it would be to be like him," Pete
continued. "You know, to be able to fly and to be strong
like he is. I wonder where he comes from and of all places in the
world, why he's here in Smallville."
interjected, "Well, I suppose a lot of people have asked
that question Pete. But nobody seems to know."
don't you think it's odd that we never see him doing things like
just walking down the street or going to the movies, like all the
other guys his age? He just appears when he's needed."
offered, "Maybe it's because he wants to live a private
life. I suppose if everyone knew more about him, Smallville would
be packed with people wanting to see him, and that wouldn't be
fair to him, would it?"
"And our small town
wouldn't stay such a nice small town with tourists and curiosity
seekers always around," Pa Kent added.
suppose you're right," answered Pete.
"We're very fortunate having Superboy nearby to help us all
and to assist the police fight crime. If privacy is something he
wants, I feel we should respect that. I certainly don't want to
jeopardize his being near Smallville. Life in our community has
been so much better since he's been here, hasn't it?"
yes ma'am. You feel that way Clark?"
"Well, I'd better be going. Thanks
for listening to a goofy teenager on a Sunday afternoon"
Pete started to leave.
"How about a piece of pie
before you go?" Martha offered.
"Next time, Mrs.
Kent, but thanks. See ya at school tomorrow Clark."
Pete. See ya."
Young Mr. Ross started his car and
headed out the driveway back towards town.
A few miles
down the road, Pete pulled over to think. "Mr. and Mrs. Kent
are such nice people. Obviously they've gone to great lengths to
keep Clark's identity a secret. It must be tough on all three of
them living with that everyday. And the things they said made a
lot of sense. If the world knew Clark was Superboy, their front
yard would be full of nosy people every day. They would never
have a moment's peace. And Clark has always been a great
At that point, Pete saw a red and blue
streak flying across the clear sky.
goes Clark, uh, Superboy on his way to help someone." He
smiled, "well, if the Kents want it to be a secret, then I'm
going to keep their secret. I'll never tell anyone."
the vehicle into gear, he started back up the dirt road towards
home proudly thinking to himself, "Imagine Pete Ross,
besides the Kent family, you're the only person in the world who
knows that Clark Kent is Superboy. WOW!"
did young Ross realize that his statement was incorrect.
morning found the students at Smallville High still buzzing about
the festival dance.
But in the office of the school,
Principal Winters was madder than a hornet.
tell something is bothering you, Mr. Winters, may I help?"
asked the secretary.
"Yesterday morning, I made a
special trip to the newsstand to pick up a copy of the Sunday
Metropolis Blade to read the article about the spring festival.
And you know what...there was no article. And just now, I just
got off the telephone with the editor of the Blade asking about
our story, and he said 'What story?'"
I told him,
"What story? The one about our spring festival written by
Muriel Bradford. Then he told me he didn't know anything about
it. And that he doesn't have a reporter named Muriel Bradford!
What in the Sam Hill is going on around here!"
is peculiar," answered the school secretary.
not going completely crazy, am I? There was a reporter from the
Metropolis Blade here last Friday, wasn't there? I mean,
you...you brought her into my office."
I did. She was real all right. At least, she was a real person. A
real reporter, well, maybe not."
Winters fumed, "Why
in blue blazes would a pretty young woman make all of that up?
And spend an entire day and night hanging around if she wasn't a
real reporter. It doesn't make any sense to me."
don't know, Mr. Winters," was her reply.
the principal's bad mood, things were calm in Smallville
throughout the morning...almost. Clark was eating lunch in the
cafeteria with his buddies when the school suddenly lost
Elaine Carson, looking out the lunch room
window, shouted, "That old tree across the street finally
came down...right through the power lines. Hey, maybe they'll
have to let us go home early since we don't have power."
pushing himself back from the table, informed the guys, "Gosh!
I just remembered something I was supposed to do. I'll be back in
"Ah, you can do it later," Rusty
Pete Ross, knowing exactly why Clark needed to
make a quick exit, said, "Go ahead Clark. I'll put up your
quickly down the hall, out the door which lead to the baseball
field. Making sure no one was in the vicinity, he ducked into one
of the dugouts. Removing his shirt and sweater revealing his
secret suit underneath, he thought to himself, "Nice of Pete
to help me out, not knowing it enabled me to become
Then, a flash of red and blue out of the
dugout and landing on the other side of the school, Superboy
lifted the tree off the street and the downed lines.
everyone, it's Superboy!" Elaine shouted. Soon a mass of
students headed for the exit to get a better glimpse of their
Within seconds, the Boy of Steel had fused the
broken power lines with his x-ray vision, and the electricity was
restored. "Back to class," he joked to the crowd of
kids and lifted off into the sky.
Heading towards their
next class, Rusty and Pete were overtaken by Clark in the
hallway. "How did they get the power back on so fast?"
Rusty told him, "Superboy did it. It was
"Oh, O.K.," Kent
Looking at Clark, Pete gave a big grin.
as Clark finished clearing the dinner table for Martha, Jonathan
stepped into the kitchen, "Clark, phone call for you. Some
it Lana?" he inquired.
"No, not Lana. She didn't
give her name."
at the desk in the living room, the super youngster picked up the
"Well, hello there
Clarkie," a feminine voice spoke, "You know who this
is, don't you?"
"Yes, I know. What do you want?"
was his stern reply.
"The fun and games are over big
boy. It's time to go to work. That won't be a problem, will it,
"No problem," Clark answered,
"Good. The entire world doesn't have to know
that Clark Kent is secretly Superboy, but of course, that could
"I said no problem. What do I have to
She continued, "Clarkie is going to need to
play hooky from school tomorrow, ya got that?"
do what?" he asked.
"Just stay by your
telephone. Tomorrow morning sometime, you'll get a call with your
instructions. If by any chance, you don't answer the call, the
news media will get those very striking photographs of you
wearing that adorable red and blue outfit. Do you
say you understand!"
"I UNDERSTAND!" he
"Good. Sleep well tonight," and the
line clicked dead.
Somberly walking back into the kitchen,
Clark informed his parents that he will not be going to school
the following morning.
"Why, son?" asked
"Superboy's going to be very busy tomorrow,"
the boy replied.
sat on the living room sofa much of the next morning waiting for
the telephone to ring.
"Son, didn't you say that you
were in for a busy day today?" Ma Kent asked, carrying clean
laundry up the stairs. "Doesn't look much like it to me,"
"I'm waiting for a phone call Mom. Then
things will get busy." Clark, thinking to himself, "It's
still best that my parents don't know the pickle I'm in. Telling
them would only cause them unnecessary grief."
back down the stairs, Martha mentioned, "If there's things
you need to be doing, I can take a message for you."
O.K. Mom, it's important that I take the call," again
thinking, "or she'll expose my Superboy secret
"Suit yourself," Martha
chattered, heading into the kitchen.
It was a few minutes
before noon when the telephone sounded. Clark grabbed it after
the first ring.
"Nice to hear that you're prompt and
that you are taking me seriously Superboy," came that same
feminine voice as the night before.
"All right. What
do you want from me!" the boy asked.
listen very carefully. I'll not repeat myself...At three o'clock
this afternoon, the Metropolis Diamond Exchange will be receiving
a shipment of South African stones worth around four million
dollars. They are to be transported in a Brink's armored truck to
the side door of the Exchange. Of course, it will be heavily
guarded. Superboy will be there when the delivery arrives and
will take possession of the diamonds. They'll be locked in a
heavy metal container. How you get possession is up to you. After
all, you're robbing the truck, not me. You will fly the diamonds
to me at the Bolick Motor Court on highway 52 on the south side
of Metropolis. I'll be in bungalow six awaiting your arrival.
I'll know exactly when the truck arrives at the Exchange. I'll
give you fifteen minutes to get there with the stones. If you're
not, or if I see any sign of law enforcement, the world will
learn your secret. I'm warning you. NO TRICKS!"
then what?" Clark inquired.
"I'll tell you when
you deliver the diamonds. Now remember, NO TRICKS! Do you
say you understand!"
"I UNDERSTAND!" he
"Fifteen minutes after the truck arrives at
the Exchange." The line went silent.
An hour later, a
new sedan was parked along side the Smallville High School
baseball field. The occupant watched a boys' P.E. class play a
game. Moments later, a bell rang, sending the guys scrambling
back to the main building. All but one, that is. Clark's buddy
Pete stayed behind for a moment to gather up the bats and balls.
Throwing the full bag over his shoulder, he headed towards the
building. As he passed by the sedan, a friendly feminine voice
rang out, "Hi, it's Pete, right?"
stopped and said, "Yes, that's right." He leaned down
to see into the car and recognized the person, "Oh, hi Miss
Bradford. What are you doing here?"
"Just in the
neighborhood for a story and saw you boys playing ball, so I
stopped to watch for a minute."
"Oh, neat, well
it's nice seeing you again, but I have to get this stuff put up
and get to..."
She interrupts, "I was hoping you
could do me a favor. Sit with me for a moment."
ma'am, I'd love to but, like I said, I have to..."
interruption, "Then I must insist," producing a shiny
blue steel pistol. "Get in the car...NOW! Try anything, and
I'll put three slugs in ya before you can turn
Convinced, Pete dropped the bag of equipment
and got into the passenger side of the front seat. His head was
met by a striking metal blow from the gun butt. The boy slumped
over against the door. The sedan
then slowly pulled out of the parking lot onto the highway and
disappeared over a ridge.
pertinent events occurred simultaneously at 3:12 in the
was the doorbell of the Kent home sounding. Martha, working on
her ironing and watching her daily soap opera, answered the door
to find Lana standing alone on the porch.
hello Lana," Ma Kent greeted the visitor.
Mrs. Kent. Since Clark wasn't in school today, I thought I'd
check by and see what's wrong."
very serious, dear. Clark woke up during the night not feeling
well, so I thought I'd better keep him home today. Hopefully,
he'll be back at school tomorrow."
Lana added, "That's good news. Could I see him and say
stammering a bit, "Uh...he's upstairs sleeping right now.
Probably not a good idea to wake him. He needs his rest. But I'll
tell him you came by and if he's feeling better after supper,
I'll have him call you. How's that?"
Lang replied, "Oh, that's fine. Bye Mrs. Kent."
course, Martha was spinning a tale when she said he was upstairs
asleep. She was covering for her son Clark as he was off
somewhere as his alter ego of Superboy.
he actually was, at 3:12 p.m., was landing in front of bungalow
six of the Bolick Motor Court on highway 52, just south of
Metropolis. He carried a two x two foot heavy metal case.
Instantly, the cabin door opened.
to see you made it on time," the young woman, hardly a lady,
said. "Let me open the trunk of my car. Put the case in
Boy of Steel complied.
give me the key." He again obliged.
woman, known to Smallville as reporter Muriel Bradford, opened
the box and gasped at the sight. "Look at that! Incredible!
Just look at the sunlight sparkle off of four million dollars
worth of diamonds."
warned her, "Don't you know it isn't wise to look directly
into the sun?"
the hell does that mean?" she asked.
if you don't know..." he trailed off.
if I want a philosophy class from you Clarkie..."
her, the Kryptonian inquired, "Now what happens?"
me...I have places to go. For you...nothing, and I mean nothing.
You are to remain here for the next two hours, taking no action
to stop me from completing my plans. And to make sure you do what
you're told, it's only fair that I tell you I have taken out a,
shall we say, life insurance policy on someone close to you. So
you can lose two different ways. The world will learn your secret
identity and someone very close to you will not see another
sunrise. Now, are we clear?"
could only answer, "We're clear."
working with you Clarkie." The blonde closed and locked the
case of gems, shut the trunk, and got behind the steering wheel.
The superhero, standing back a bit in the cabin as to not attract
any attention, noticed his blackmailer bending down as if looking
for something on the floor of the car. After a few more seconds,
she shoved the vehicle in gear, tore out of the motor court and
accelerated down highway 52 towards Midvale.
the ground under where the car had been parked, rested a black
leather case. "What the...?" Superboy thought. Taking
it back into the cabin, he opened the satchel. To his surprise
and relief was a stack of the revealing photographs of Clark as
Superboy as well as the negative. "This must be what she was
looking for when she got into the car. But how did it get under
playing field just leveled off a bit," he grinned. With a
flash of his heat vision, Superboy incinerated the case and all
of its contents.
it's time for my blackmailer to pay the piper," he thought
as he ran out the cabin door and headed skyward.
high through the afternoon sky, Superboy reached into the hidden
pouch on the underside of his crimson cape and pulled out a
transitorized walkie-talkie. "Calling Inspector Shayne, do
you read me, over?"
and clear, Superboy, over," came the reply from Metropolis
police officer Don Shayne.
person we want is driving on highway 52 towards Midvale in a new
black sedan, Kansas plates," reported the Boy of Steel.
"Don't make a move until I tell you. She mentioned having a
hostage for insurance, but right now, she's alone in the car.
We've got to see where she leads us, because I don't know who or
where the hostage is, over."
she see you flying overhead? Over," asked Shayne.
he answered, "I'm actually in the clouds out of sight. I'm
using my super telescopic vision...hold on! The car is pulling
off the right side of the road. It's stopped at either a tobacco
curing barn or some kind of smokehouse. O.K. Two people came out
of the building. One is a grown man. The other is a...oh no! The
hostage is a Smallville High School student named Pete Ross. His
hands are tied and he's blindfolded. The man just shoved him into
the back seat and got in beside him. Hold off! We can't risk
anything. They'll kill the Ross boy! Over."
answered Shayne. "I'll stay a quarter mile behind them. Let
me know if there's any change, over."
continued his flight over the fleeing sedan out of sight of its
passengers. "She's going 85-90 miles per hour," he said
to himself. Looking back, he could see Shayne's patrol car still
on the trail.
a shot rang out from the criminal car. "Superboy, they made
me! They're firing at us, over."
shoot, over," yelled the superhero.
Superboy gasped as he saw his friend Pete ejected out the door of
the back seat, rolling across the highway.
the hostage is out of the car. I'll tend to him. Do what you have
to do to stop that car!, over."
over," was the reply. "Watch out for the boy as we
pass," Shayne instructed his partner, "Now, step on
zoomed down, landing beside Ross, who was grimacing in pain.
"Pete, don't move," he instructed.
how did you find me?"
Superboy, Pete," while freeing the boy's hands and removing
the blindfold. "You're pretty banged up. Be still."
shoulder's killing me."
your collarbone is broken," x-ray vision revealed. "I've
got to get you to the hospital." At this point, Pete passed
out. "Inspector, I'm taking Pete Ross to the Smallville
hospital. The rest is up to you, over and out."
squad car increased its speed and drew closer to the fleeing
vehicle. Again, shots rang out from the sedan. This time, the
officers returned fire. Several more rounds were exchanged. At
that point, Shayne's aim was true. His shot pierced the back
window of the sedan, striking the blonde driver in the back. She
slumped over the steering wheel, and the car veered first left,
then right, then overturned several times, coming to rest
upright. A few seconds passed before the police officers stopped
their vehicle. Before they could exit their car, the sedan
exploded into a vast inferno.
for the wagon and fire department, Murphy. There's nothing we can
do for them now."
nightfall that same evening, Superboy sat in Inspector Shayne's
office at the Metropolis PD.
is Pete Ross, Superboy?"
banged up a good bit. Skid burns from the pavement, scratches, a
few cuts and a broken collarbone, but the doctors said he'll be
back to normal in about eight weeks."
could he tell you about all of this," Shayne asked.
won't be able to talk to him until morning. He'll be sedated
glad it wasn't any worse. He could easily be dead," the cop
expressed. "So, may I assume you got the crate of diamonds
back to the Exchange safely?" chuckled the
"Oh yes. They're safely back in the Diamond Exchange vault.
You can check with them if you'd like."
word's good enough for me Superboy. But how exactly did you get
them in the first place?" Shayne inquired.
I was ordered to hijack a Brink's truck to get the diamonds, but
that seemed too complicated, involving guards' safety and
everything. So after I received my intructions, I called the
President of the Exchange and just asked him if I could 'borrow'
the diamonds for a little while. I told him the stones could help
us capture a very dangerous criminal, and he released them into
my custody... on my word he would get them back, of course,"
Superboy laughed. "He seemed a bit miffed that the box was
scorched a good bit, but at least the gems weren't damaged.
That's why they make the storage cases out of the same materials
as commercial airliner black boxes."
remarked the cop.
what did you find out about the man and woman?" Superboy
much. The car was burned to a crisp. The driver's body was pretty
much consumed by the fire. All the lab could be sure of was the
corpse was that of a woman. We'll probably never know who this
'fake reporter' really was.
the man?" the lad inquired.
Brace yourself. When the fire department got the fire out at the
scene, my partner and I looked the shell of the car over
thoroughly, and there was no man!"
Of course there was!" Superboy shouted.
we know there was a man in the car during the chase. There were
two people shooting at me, the driver from the left side and a
man from the right back seat. He just vanished into thin
he jumped from the car before the wreck."
don't see how, Superboy, my partner and I had them in clear
vision from the moment of their first shot until the car rolled.
We would have seen him if he had jumped out. I can't explain what
happened to him. Believe me, it's all I've been thinking about
since I got back to the station. Like I said, he just
Boy of Steel scratched his head, "Incredible."
policeman then asked Superboy why he cooperated with the woman
and brought her the diamonds in the first place. "Uh, very
simple...She told me if I didn't work with her that 'someone very
close to me would not see another sunrise.' I had to take her
threat seriously. I didn't at the time know the identity or the
whereabouts of her hostage."
good. Just for my report. That's about it for now. Thank you for
your help today, Superboy. I hope we can work together again in
pleasure, Inspector Shayne, I will let you know if Pete Ross can
shed any light on all of this. May I use your window?"
course," smiled Shayne.
night," Superman replied as he projected himself into the
night, heading back to Smallville.
mostly sleepless night was spent by the Boy of Steel trying to
figure how the mystery man had made his escape.
the table eating the breakfast Martha had prepared for him, the
young man stated, "I'll have to miss another day of school,
Mom. I have to go, as Superboy, to see Pete at the hospital. I'm
hoping he can fill in some of the blanks of what happened
"O.K., I'll cover for you again if
anyone calls or comes by like Lana did yesterday. My goodness,
such an incredible story you told us last night."
sure is, bye Mom," Clark kissed her cheek.
through the living room, disappeared through the revolving
bookcase, shed his Kent clothing and was off to the hospital as
Lots of heads turned and lips moved as the
superhero made his way through the hospital corridors to the room
of his friend Pete Ross. "Morning Superboy," was the
majority of the greetings from people he encountered. "Good
morning," he answered.
His knock on the injured boy's
door was answered by Pete's dad. "Hello Superboy, I'm Lank
Ross, Pete's father."
"Very happy to know you,
Mr. Ross," he answered, even though Clark had met him many
"Son, I'll leave you two to visit. I'll
be at work if you need anything, and I'll be back during my lunch
"O.K., Dad," the son
Superboy pulled up a chair next to the hospital
bed, "Pete, do you feel like talking a little. I'm hoping
you can clarify some things about what happened
relayed to the Boy of Steel what had happened at the ball field
at school. How the woman reporter had pulled a gun on him and
made him get into her car. "Then she hit me with the gun and
the next thing I remember, she slammed on the brakes and stopped
the car. I was blindfolded so I didn't know where we were. But
when she hit the brakes, something under the front seat bumped my
feet. She opened her door and got out. So I reached down and
grabbed what felt like a satchel or something. Then I got out and
kicked the satchel under her car. I thought maybe it would help
someone find me. Or, at least, I hoped it would."
go on," Superboy said, thinking "so that's how the
satchel got there."
"She took me inside and tied
me to a chair. She told me not to "get cute" or she'd
shoot me between the eyes. And if she did, I wouldn't be her
first victim. That was good enough for me. She then made a
telephone call. I don't know who she called. But ten, maybe
fifteen minutes later, she let a man into the room. He had a very
low and gruff voice. I was too far away to understand anything
they were saying except, after he cut me loose from the chair and
tied my hands, he said, 'We need to go.' Then he led me outside
and put me in the back seat of a car and we drove off. I was
"I know, Pete, I know. Anything
else?" Superboy comforted.
"We rode maybe ten
minutes, then the car pulled off the road to the right. He got
out, then opened my door and pulled me out. He took me into
somewhere. It was really hot in there."
a smokehouse, Pete."
"Yeah, that makes sense.
Anyway, I think I might have dozed off from the heat and being
scared and all. Next thing I remember he's shaking me saying,
'Get up' and 'Let's go.' Then we went outside and he put me back
into a car. He said something and then I knew she was in the car
"Did they talk to one another going
down the highway?" asked the superhero.
some. He said, 'Everything go O.K.?' She said, 'Yeah, fine. The
goods are in the trunk.' 'And how was our friend?' 'Gentle as a
pussycat,' she said. Then he said something like as soon as they
were out of the country, he was going to release a photograph and
then the entire world would know. And then she told him that the
photo was missing. And he started yelling at her. Then they were
violently shouting back and forth at each other, and I figured
this was my chance to get away, so I reached over, pulled the
door handle and rolled out of the car."
you took a big chance doing that," Superboy informed.
know. But I figured that I rather take my chances of surviving
that way instead of getting shot in the head. I really didn't
have to give it a lot of thought. So, what happened to
"Well, after you rolled out of the car,
they wrecked and the woman was killed. The man, somehow, got
away. Anything else you can tell me about him besides his
"No, never saw him. I was blindfolded.
Sorry," a dejected Pete answered.
Pete, you've been a big help. Because I found the satchel you
took out of her car at the motor court."
What was in it?"
"Uh, important papers that
helped us figure out they robbed the Metropolis Diamond Exchange,
and other stuff." Of course, Superboy didn't tell young Ross
about the blackmailing photos showing Clark as Superboy, but they
are but ashes now.
"Well, Pete Ross, I'll report what
you told me to the Metropolis Police. Maybe they'll give you a
medal," he chuckled.
"Thanks for saving me
Supeboy. I'll always be grateful."
Pete. You're the real hero. Get your rest. So long,"
Superboy bid as he left.
"See ya Clark," Pete
Of A Teenage Superboy” Epilogue
Yet, most things remained the same.
Smallville murmured with the usual hum of activity, the wheels of
industry turned, breathing life into the city. Rusty and Elaine
Carson broke up, got back together, then broke up again. Pete
made a full recovery from his injuries, only a small scar on his
shoulder as a physical reminder of that dreadful day. Perky Lana
remained her normal self, wanting to make out with Clark one
moment, then being suspicious of him the next.
Kent's double life remained as it had been for some time now,
juggling Clark's going to school and working part-time at the
family store and, as Superboy, helping and protecting people,
both at home and afar.
As he slept, a middle-of-the-night
phone call caused Martha Kent to beckon her son from slumber. He
answered the telephone outside his bedroom door. "Hello,
Clark, or should I say, Superboy. I suspect you have been
wondering what became of me."
Knowing full well who
was calling, Clark demanded, "Where are you and what do you
"Ha...ha...that will be my little secret.
You know, you're not the only person who can have secrets. Just
consider this a courtesy call and perhaps, a concession. I admit
you won the first round. But the game's not over. Just remember I
know that Clark and Superboy are the same person, even though I
can't prove it...at least for now. But you cost me four million
dollars, and somewhere down the road, that will cost you. Isn't
it ironic that you don't know my secrets, but I know yours. Well,
until our paths cross again..." A maniacal laugh followed,
"Hello, HELLO!" Clark
He immediately dialed the operator and asked if
the just-completed call could be traced. "One moment,"
answered the feminine voice. Thirty seconds later, the operator
informed Clark that the Kent telephone line had not been used for
almost eight hours.
Young Kent walked slowly into his room
and plopped back into his bed. Additional sleep was not possible.
It occurred to him that this entire encounter had started with a
telephone call piercing the night. And now, another. All he could
think of was this phantom of a man, apparently a permanent thorn
in his side. This mystery man...this Mister X.
May 31, 2013