TAC Table of Contents
A Superboy Story
Martha Kent sat on the living room sofa of her home holding the latest issue of Saturday Evening Post, her favorite magazine.
She only pretended to read it. Her mind was consumed with the fact that the day she knew would eventually come had arrived.
"The trucks all packed," her son Clark stated as he entered the front door. "I should be getting over to the school so I can get a good parking spot to unload."
"If you would, son, sit with me for a minute."
The two sat side-by-side as she continued, "Clark, it really doesn't seem possible that the time has passed so quickly that here you are, ready to start college. Your father would be so proud of you, just as I am."
"I know, Mom, but at least he lived to see me graduate from Smallville High School."
"Yes, he nearly popped all the buttons from his vest that night he was so proud. Son, are you sure it's the best thing for you to live on campus at Smallville Junior College. I mean, you could be a day student and still live here at home."
"I know I could, Mom, but since I'm going to go to college, I want to live on campus so I can have the full college experience. I hope you understand," the lad answered.
"Oh, I do. I didn't say what I did to feel sorry for myself. I just thought it would be easier for you keeping your Superboy identity a secret. Here it's more private. But living in a dormitory, there's always going to be a crowd nearby. I don't see how you'll be able to do all you need to do."
"Well, that's the reason I requested a room on the third floor. And it's right by the stairs. I can go straight to the roof when I need to change. Pete (Ross) wasn't thrilled to be on the top floor and have to go up and down two flights of steps all the time, but I talked him into it. It'll be O.K."
"Just be careful, son. So, from your group of friends, tell me again who all will be at the college."
"Well, Pete, of course...and Lana. Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill. That's about it."
Ma Kent inquired, "Rusty decided not to go to college?"
"Not now anyway. He's working full-time at the newspaper. He said he might change his mind and start next semester."
"While you were outside packing up the truck, I was sitting here thinking back to the day that your Dad and I took you out to Crest Valley so you could practice your flying."
The young man remembered, "Oh yes, I remember. You had made me my outfit out of the red, blue and yellow blankets I was wrapped in when you found me."
She interrupted, "Yes, but with your help. I couldn't cut or sew the material. You had to use your heat vision to cut the cloth."
"I remember putting on the suit for the first time once we reached the canyon."
"Well folks, here goes to see if I can really fly. I'll take a good running start."
"Oh Jonathan, will he make it into the air? He'll be so thrilled if he does."
Moments later, the youngster experienced a super sensation beyond compare..."Up...up...and away! I DID IT!"
"Yes, you did it. But it was another two years before we all decided you had mastered all your special abilities. Right after your fourteenth birthday, you, your Dad and I sat in this very room and agreed that it was time for you to begin your career as Superboy.
"Mom...Dad...Just as you have taught me, I will use my super powers for the good of mankind. I'll fight for the truth and justice for everyone."
"You will do just fine, Clark," Jonathan remarked.
"And, no doubt, I will have enemies, criminals who might try to get back at me by harming you and Mom if they knew you were my parents, so I shall continue to use Clark Kent as my other identity and operate as Superboy secretly."
"That's a good idea, son," Pa Kent replied. "These eyeglasses you made from your rocket will help disguise you when you're Clark."
"Oh, yes, that was a big day for all of us," the college-bound youngster answered.
"Well, I guess I'd better get going. I hate to leave you, Mother."
"Oh, I'll be just fine. With your Aunt Edith coming on to live with me and all. And you'll be just across town. At your speed, you can be here in ten seconds. And I do expect visits and for you to have dinner with us once in a while. I betcha my cooking is better than what you're going to get at college."
"No doubt about that, Mom."
She asked, "Your classes start when?"
"Tomorrow is freshmen orientation, then classes start Monday. I should get going. I'll get the truck back in a couple of hours."
They gave each other a big hug.
As the Kent truck pulled out onto the dirt road, Martha slowly closed the front door, and accepted the fact that things would never be the same again.
With freshmen orientation behind them, the first day of classes dawned as Clark and Lana headed toward the science building for their Monday-Wednesday-Friday nine o'clock Geology class.
"What a way to start a college career," the red-head lamented. "Geology. Studying rocks. I must have rocks in my head for taking this class, but my father strongly suggested it. He said Professor Peterson was very good. Well, we'll see."
Clark responded, "I'm really looking forward to it. Learning about the dynamics and physical history of the Earth should be very interesting."
They continued making stride when, from behind, another student walked past them, then stepped in front of them, forcing the couple to stop.
"Where ya headed?" came the question from the six foot, four or five inch student, who seemed to know his way around.
"Science building. Geology," Lana answered.
"What's your names?"
"Clark Kent," came the replies.
"Professor Lang's daughter?"
She responded, "That's right."
"Had him last semester," said the sophomore.
"We didn't get your name," she mentioned.
"You don't know who I am?"
"If we did, I wouldn't be asking," the red-head answered.
"I'm Biff Magillicuddy, of the basketball team. Actually, I'm the star of the basketball team."
"Congratulations," she replied. "Now we have to go. We don't want to be late."
"Lana!" Clark whispered, trying to pull in the reins a bit.
"Nice to meet you, Biff. We'll look forward to seeing you play," Kent tossed.
"Oh, you'll be seeing a lot of me before basketball rolls around. Her, that is, not you, four eyes. You said your name was Cluck? Well, Cluck, you just run on, and I'll finish walking the pretty lady to her class."
"Now, Biff, we aren't looking for trouble. Just let us go about our business, please" said the disguised super hero.
"If you don't do what I say, Cluck, trouble's gonna find you in a hurry. So, are you going or not!"
"I am, but with my girlfriend."
"Well, you can't say I didn't warn you." Magillicuddy balled up his fist and threw a punch straight towards Kent's jaw.
Clark calmly stopped the projectile by holding out his palm, grabbing Biff's right fist, then bending his fingers around it.
Applying enough pressure to make the jock begin to moan, Clark whispered in the bully's ear, "Now, Biff, like I said, we don't want any trouble, ya get it." Biff shook his hand in the affirmative. "Now, this can end just as good or as bad as you want. Understand?" A second nod. "Now, maybe you should apologize to Miss Lang, then go about your business," as more pressure was applied.
"Sure, no problem," came the answer. Sweat had formed on the basketball star's forehead. Clark released his hand.
The apology was made, and Biff excused himself. As he started to walk away, he leaned over and whispered into Clark's ear, "You sure don't look like the strong type to me."
"Well, I work out a little. See you on the basketball court."
"O.K., Clark. Nice meeting you," Magillicuddy conceded as he walked away.
Lana and Clark continued their journey.
"Well, that was impressive, Mr. Kent."
"Thank you, ma'am. We aim to please," he replied. "Now that today's hazing has concluded, shall we continue on to class?"
The two looked back to see Biff still headed away from them, wringing his right hand.
At the toll of nine, around forty students were spread throughout the science lecture hall for their geology class.
Clark and Lana sat together and had been joined by Phyllis Coates, Noel Neill, Chester Sartania and Bob Morgan, who also had registered for the journey through the world of rocks.
At this point, Professor Peterson had not made an appearance.
"Great," Phyllis complained. "I rush to get here on time, and he's late."
Noel added, "Yeah, if he's not going to be on time, I don't see how he can yell at us for..."
She was interrupted by the double doors down front opening.
The fortyish, good looking teacher entered, pushing a cart holding three metal cases.
"Good morning, students. I am Professor Peterson. I shall be your instructor from now until Christmas, or for some of you, doomsday."
"Oh great," Lana snickered, "a comedian. My Dad didn't tell me about that."
"Hush, girl," Clark scolded. "Get us tossed out of college on the first day, will ya?"
Peterson continued, "What I had planned for today will be pushed back to our next class, because something very exciting occurred last evening. May I see a show of hands of anyone here who has ever seen a meteorite? I don't mean in the newspapers or on television. I mean in real life. C'mon, raise your hands."
No hands went up.
A voice from the back of the room yelled out, "What is a meteorite?"
"Young man, I suggest you might consider heading to the registrar's office and dropping this course," answered the instructor.
The students laughed.
"Seriously class, today you are going to see, not one, but three meteorites. The Metropolis Museum of Natural History received these specimens just last week for study and research. The Director of the museum is a very close friend, and he offered a short loan of them to me to share with my students. So, let me set them up on the table, and then I'd like you to form a line, in single file, down the wall to my left. Then you can walk by and take a good look at them. I must insist that no one touch any of them, as the research of these specimens is in the very early stages. They are very delicate. So, let's start here at the front. That's right, line up down the left wall and proceed. Try to keep the line moving, but you don't have to rush."
Clark, Lana, Phyllis, Noel, Chester and Bob got up from their third row seats and got into the line.
Phyllis led the way. By the time she reached the third case, Lana and Clark were nearing the table.
"The first two look just like ordinary dirty rocks, but I like this greenish one. It would make a nice necklace," she yelled to Lana.
"It's too important a find to be strung around someone's neck," Peterson scolded Miss Coates. "O.K., the final two rows may get in line."
Clark reached the table with Lana right behind him. As he looked into the first case, he suddenly felt very warm. He shaked his head back and forth a bit.
"What's wrong?" Lana inquired.
"I don't know, feel hot and a little dizzy," Kent replied.
Moving on to the next case, Clark's legs grew weak and he began shaking slightly.
"Clark? Can you hear me?" Lana became very concerned. "Chester."
Young Sartania turned around, "Geez, Clark, your face is wringing wet. What's wrong?"
"Don't know." He could barely speak.
With both hands on the table for support, he moved to the third box.
Suddenly, he grabbed his chest, "I can't breathe!"
Kent crashed to the floor. Girls screamed. A crowd encircled.
Professor Peterson yelled, "Get back! Give him room! Someone get some water!" Bending over the fallen student, he lifted Clark's head in his hand, "What is it, son!"
"My chest! Feels like it's crushed. I can't get any air!" he whispered.
A voice in the crowd yelled, "Undo his shirt. Maybe his collar's too tight."
Clark, with what energy that remained, slammed his palm over his chest, "No, don't do that! Get me outside. Maybe the fresh air..."
His voice trailed off as he nearly slipped into unconsciousness.
Chester and Bob grabbed his arms. "Two guys get his feet, and let's get him outside! Hurry!"
By the time, the quad reached the front steps of the building, Kent had regained his senses. "Just let me sit here a minute. The fresh air is helping."
All the class followed to the outside. "Back to the lecture hall, please," implored the instructor. Reluctantly, they all returned, except Lana.
"I'm his girlfriend, I'm staying with him."
"Very well. How do you feel now, son?"
"Better, thank you. Still a bit dizzy and weak, but the pain is gone."
"You need to go to the campus infirmary and have them take a look at you. This is scary."
"No, I'll be all right. Probably a case of nerves being my first day of college classes. I just need to go to my room and take it easy."
"I'll have to fill out a report. What's your name, son?"
Lana answered for him, "Clark Kent. If you'll excuse me from class, I'll see that he gets back to the dorm."
"Of course," Peterson complied. "If you're sure everything is fine, I'll get back inside."
"Yes, I'm fine. Thank you," Clark answered.
Lana got her boyfriend on his feet, and they started for the boys' dormitory.
"Can you make it?" she asked.
"I think so."
It took fifteen minutes to get to the front door.
"This is as far as I can go. Can you make it the rest of the way?
Clark responded, "Sure. I'll be fine. Thanks."
"I'll have Pete check on you as soon as I can find him." She kissed his check. "I'm really worried. You're always the person who never gets sick."
"I'll be O.K." He opened the door and disappeared from Lana's sight. He barely had the strength to climb the two flights of steps to his third floor room, but he made it. He closed the door behind himself and collapsed on his bed unconscious.
It was after 12:30 when Pete opened the door of the room he shared with Clark Kent.
He tiptoed over to his friend's bedside and whispered, "Clark?"
"Clark?" a bit louder.
"Yeah," came a mumble. He rolled over. "Oh, hey Pete."
"How are you feeling? I heard what happened. It's all over the campus."
"Oh, that's just great. Now I'll be known as the guy who fainted on his first day of college. Actually I feel much better, Pete, just sleepy."
Young Ross asked, "Do you want me to go get you some lunch?"
Kent answered, "No thanks. I'm not hungry. Just need to sleep a bit more."
"All right. Here, let me take off your glasses so you don't break them."
"Uh, no. I'll take them off after you leave. If I take them off, Pete, I can't see you to talk."
Pete gave a slight smile. "Sure, buddy. Do you want me to call your mom and tell her what happened?"
Kent replied, "No, Pete, don't do that. You know what a worrier she is. I don't want to upset her."
"Yeah, my Mom, too. We'll, I'm heading back out now. One o'clock class. Just stopped by to look in on you. I'll be back around 4:30. A bunch of us are meeting in the cafeteria at 5:00. I know you'll be hungry by then. Get some rest."
He closed the door quietly and headed towards the stairs thinking,"This is weird. How can Clark be sick? He's Superboy."
The next thing Clark was aware, it was just past 4:30 when Pete returned.
"How ya feeling?"
"Much better. A little weak in the knees but no big deal."
"Are you ready to go eat?"
"I sure am. I'm starving."
Pete was glad to hear that response.
Lana met the two guys outside, and they made the five-minute walk to the cafeteria.
Lisa, Bob and Phyllis had saved them space at their table.
After taking turns going through the food line, they all began eating their dinner, when Noel Neill ran up to the table, all excited, "Did ya hear what happened this afternoon? A fifteen-wheel rig was coming down Morrow Mountain when the brakes failed."
"Wait a minute, Noel," Bob interrupted, "Do you mean an eighteen-wheel rig? How can a tractor trailor truck have fifteen wheels? It wouldn't be balanced."
Noel stared him down and continued, "Fifteen, eighteen, I don't care. Anyway, the brakes failed and the driver couldn't stop the truck. And you know how right at the bottom of that hill is a curve leading into the bridge over Harrison River? The driver couldn't make the turn, and just as the truck hit the side rail and was going to go off the bridge..." She stopped.
"AND!" almost everyone at the table shouted.
"Superboy dropped out of the sky, grabbed the back of the truck and stopped it just in time. The driver was scared but not injured at all. Isn't Superboy a dreamboat?"
Pete gave a slight glance at Clark and thought, "Way to go, buddy!"
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," Clark interjected. "What time did this happen?"
"About an hour ago, " the hysterical girl answered.
"How do you know this?" Kent persisted.
"I heard it on the radio just before I came over here."
"And you say Superboy stopped the truck," Clark continued.
"Yes, Clark, aren't you listening?"
"Yes, I'm listening. How do they know it was Superboy? Couldn't the driver have stopped the truck somehow?"
"No Clark," Noel, now frustrated, answered. "The driver of the fifteen or eighteen wheeler saw Superboy stop the truck. He was interviewed on the radio. Satisfied?"
"Yes, yes, I'm satisfied. Don't have a hissy-fit."
"Men!" Noel exclaimed and stormed off.
While the rest of the table members buzzed about what they had just heard, Clark became deep in thought, "How could I have stopped this truck from wreaking? I was asleep in my dorm room. Or...at least, I think I was. Could I have had a lapse of memory?"
As soon as everyone finished eating and talking, they all got up and headed out.
"What you up to tonight, Lana?" roommate Lisa asked.
"To the library. Gotta do research on a paper due later this week. I'll be there until nine when they kick me out."
Bob moved closer to Lisa, "Want to take a walk around campus?"
"Oh, Bob, I'd like to, but I swamped with homework. You'd think they'd take it easy on us the first day, but I guess college isn't like high school. But I'd love for you to walk me to my dorm."
"Great. Let's go."
Mother-like Lana told Clark he should probably go back to his room and take it easy.
"Yes ma'am. Those are my plans." Upon parting ways outside, the two exchanged a more-than-goodnight kiss.
"Come on Clark, I'll go with you," said Pete.
Bob and Lisa reached her dorm a few minutes later. "Well, rules say I can't go further than the lobby area, so I guess I'll say good night right here."
"Good night, Bob," Lisa answered, giving him a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks for walking with me. Let's do it again soon."
"Tomorrow night," Bob missed no chance.
"Sure. Good night."
As Pete and Clark reached their dorm room door, Clark thought to himself that there would no patrolling Smallville this night. What Noel had told them at dinner kept nagging at him.
After a quick breakfast with Bob Morgan, Clark Kent headed back towards the boys' dormitory. Even though it was the second day of classes at Smallville Junior College, for him it was his first (again), the previous day being a total washout due to his unusual attack during geology.
No geology today, just English 101 and Math 101. Tuesdays and Thursday were his light schedule days this semester. Nothing until eleven o'clock, so if he wanted, he could sleep in. But Clark wasn't the normal college student. Instead of using that time for some extra winks, he would, instead, use the early morning hours to patrol the Smallville area as Superboy.
So as he approached his dorm room, using his x-ray vision to see if Pete was still in the room (which he was...asleep), instead headed up the steps leading to the roof of the building. He had arranged to get a top story room for this very reason. Closing the door behind him, he stepped between the two large adjacent brick chimneys, peeled off his glasses and outer clothing and stood as Superboy. A couple of steps to the side of the building, a jump, and he was soaring across the still, early morning sky.
All looked calm in the small hamlet in which he was raised. As he passed over Grayson's General Store (formerly Kent's), he thought back to the many hours he spent there working with his late father. These nice thoughts were soon overtaken, however, by his confusion of the afternoon before. He didn't have any memory of saving that truck driver from going off Harrison Bridge into the river, yet eyewitnesses placed him there. How else could the truck have been halted at the last minute? A memory lapse as an effect of the previous day's medical episode seemed the most probable reason for his confusion. And weighing even more on his mind was the attack itself. He had never encounted anything that could hurt him, much less make him feel as though he were about to die.
His patrolling done for the morning, he banked a turn and headed back to the building from whence he had started. After coming to rest on the roof, moments later, Clark Kent quietly grabbed his English and math books from the desk in his room (Pete was still sawing logs) and started for his first class.
His morning brightened even more when he saw Lana running toward him. The bright morning sunshine hitting her red hair made the young woman look like an angel.
They enjoyed a nice kiss.
"I want to start every day for the rest of my life kissing you, Clark. I love you."
"Sounds good to me. I love you, Lana Lang."
"Did you sleep O.K.?" she asked.
"Oh yes. I feel great. Like yesterday never happened," he replied.
As they continued their walk, Lana spoke up, "I stopped by my Dad's office just now to say hey, and he told me there was some trouble in town last night."
"You remember the Colemans. They live two blocks down the street from me."
"Sure, Mr. Coleman works at the Post Office," the lad answered. "What happened?"
"Their house caught on fire around midnight. Fortunately, they escaped unharmed. The fire was put out pretty quickly so there's no extensive damage, but they'll be living at the hotel for a while."
"That's great. Uh, not the fire, I mean, but the other stuff," Kent clarified. "Thank goodness the Fire Department got there in time."
"Oh, Superboy had put out the fire before the Fire Department arrived."
Clark froze in his tracks, "Superboy?"
"Yeah, Clark, Superboy. What's so strange about that? He's always around in times of trouble."
"What time did you say this happened?"
"Excuse me, Lana, I have something I have to do," he answered as he walked quickly away, leaving his girlfriend standing alone and confused.
He reached the student union building, quickly went into the men's rest room and freaked out. "I am losing my mind! Twice now I have no memory at all of being somewhere when I thought I was sleeping." Pacing and rubbing his hands through his hair trying to get himself under control. He splashed water on his face, but with little results. Ultimately, he calmed down to the point in which he felt stable enough to get to his first class.
As he sat in his desk waiting for the class to begin, he thought, "I need medical help, but I can't go to any doctor. He'll want to give me an examination, run tests on me, etc., and I can't let that happen or my Superboy identity will be exposed.
The Boy of Steel felt helpless.
The lad could barely concentrate during his two classes of the day. He was even called out during Math 101. "Mr. Kent, are you with us? It's important that you build a foundation in this class or you'll be left behind. Staring out the window won't help you do that."
He made it back to his dorm around his second class, arriving at his room around 3:15. He had seen none of his friends on the way. At least Pete had arisen from his sleep marathon. He was not in their room. Different classes, different schedules, unlike high school. At least they would have dinner together.
He plopped down on his bed, thinking and worrying only about the two episodes he could not remember. The afternoon slumbers grabbed a hold of him, and the dual personality youngster fell asleep.
An hour and a half later, Peter nudged his friend awake. "Rise and shine, buddy, suppertime. The guys will be waiting on us."
This evening meal was virtually a carbon copy of the previous night. The same six (Lana, Pete, Clark, Lisa, Phyllis and Bob) sat at the same table chowing down on the cafeteria delicacies.
"Their hamburgers aren't as good as Burger Barn's," was Pete's food review of the evening. Everyone agreed, except Lisa and Bob, who had never consumed the food there.
Conversation was wide-spread, ranging from classes, homework, movies, cars and dating. Clark contributed very little. Bob and Lisa said little as well, as they spent most of the meal glaring into each other's eyes, almost in a daze. Bob was so entranced that he spread mayonaise all over his bread thinking he was applying butter. He snapped back to reality when he took a big bite.
And just as the night previously, in ran nervous Noel, flapping her arms with the afternoon's news update.
"Did you guys hear what happened this afternoon? It was incredible!"
The group instructed Noel to tell them before she exploded.
"Well, you know the train trestle that stretches over the gorge out the east side of the county. Just as a train started across, a section of the track gave way, and the train couldn't stop."
"AND!" almost everyone at the table shouted.
"That train was a goner, but at the last minute..."
"Superboy?" Kent butted in.
"Yes Clark, but let me tell it. It's my story," the Neill girl snapped.
"Just tell me what time!" he demanded.
"Oh, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30...around there. Anyway, Superboy swooped down at the last minute and used his body as a rail on the track so the train could pass over without wrecking. Isn't Superboy marvelous?"
Pete asked, "And you heard this on the radio, no doubt?"
"Of course, I always listen to the radio," Noel exclaimed proudly.
Bob chimed in, "Thank goodness, or we would never get any news."
The crowd laughed, except for the one of them who was no longer in his chair.
"Where's Clark?" Lana asked. "Anyone see where Clark went?"
Outside, a tormented Kent was behind the Student Union, pacing like a mad man. "ANOTHER ONE! What is happening to me!"
The sunset was nearly complete as the Boy of Steel soared through the air.
"There's only one person I can talk to about my lapses in memory."
Soon, he decreased his altitude and landed beside the hidden tunnel leading to the house in which he grew up. In a flash, he had entered his secret room inside the Kent home. Using his x-ray vision to verify Martha Kent was alone in the living room, he donned his Clark Kent disguise and opened the revolving bookcase and entered. "Hi, Mom."
"Clark!" she met him with a big hug. "I'm so glad to see you."
They sat on the sofa. "Where's Aunt Edith?"
Martha answered, "Turned in already. We did the last of the summer canning today, and she said she was exhausted."
"Good, so we talk talk freely. Mom, I'm sorry to have to drag you into this, but I have a serious problem, and you are the only person I can discuss this."
"What is it, Clark?"
The boy relates to his Earth mother the incident which occurred during the geology class.
"And since that morning, all the symptons I experienced have gone away, except now I am having memory lapses. I'm hearing about things I did, but I don't remember doing them."
"Like what, son."
"So far, saving a truck driver from crashing into Harrison River, keeping a train from going off that old trestle and putting out a fire at the Coleman's house."
Ma Kent responded, "I read about all that in the Smallville newspaper, and I am so proud of you."
"But I don't remember doing any of it. At the time each of these things happened, I was sleeping in my dorm room, or I thought I was. Do you think these blackouts are because of the attack I had?"
"I guess it could be, Clark. But I don't understand why you had this attack in the first place. Nothing can harm you, or, at least, nothing has in the eighteen years you've been with your father and me. Like I said, I don't understand it."
Kent continued, "I feel completely helpless. I don't know what to do. I can't go to a doctor, you know that."
"Son, you could go to a doctor as Superboy. I don't know what a doctor may be able to do, but as Superboy, your identity wouldn't be at risk."
"That hadn't occurred to me."
"The doctor would probably want to run some tests, but if he needs to stick you with a needle, I don't know how he'll be able to do that."
"Actually, Mom, I was thinking a psychiatrist might be able to help me more than an M.D."
Martha added, "Well, perhaps. That probably would be the way to go if you feel it's necessary. But there aren't any psychiatrists in Smallville."
"No, I'd have to go to Metropolis. I'll give it another day, then if I have any more memory lapses, I'll look into it. Thanks, Mom."
"How about a piece of my apple pie before you leave?" Martha tempted him.
"Yes ma'am. That college food can't come close to your cooking."
Mother and son sat at the kitchen table and chatted for an hour or so. Martha ensured Clark she was doing fine, although she missed him "with a passion." She didn't regret selling the general store to Dan Grayson. It would have been too much on her to keep it. And the monthly payment she received, along with her Social Security check, paid the bills. Plus having Aunt Edith with her was nice, and the two of them stayed busy with projects at home and church. And she was considering joining the Welcome Wagon.
"So don't you worry your pretty little head about me. You just get this situation straightened out. But keep me posted."
"O.K., Mom. Thank you. Well, I better get back before Pete sends out a rescue party for me. I love you, Mom."
Clark Kent exited through the bookcase, and Superboy was on his way back to the roof of his dormitory.
Just before 8:00 the following morning, a rushed Lana Lang breezed through the lobby of the girls' dormitory out the front door. She stopped only to speak to the custodian.
"Good morning, Mr. Henry."
Sweeping the front steps, the mid-fifties man returned her greeting, "Good morning, Miss Lang. I hope your day is a pleasant one."
"Thank you," she yelled over her back as she had regained her speed. She wanted to drop by her father's office before he went to class.
Clark Kent, meanwhile, headed for the cafeteria for a quick breakfast before his first class of the day...geology again. He met up with Lisa and Bob, who had advanced to the hand-holding stage of their relationship, if that is what it actually was.
"Morning you two. Holding hands, huh?" he joked.
"Yep, on the way to the preacher's to get hitched," Bob laughed.
"Congratulations. Lisa, have you seen Lana?"
"I left our room right before she did. Said she was going by her father's office and then to grab a bite," the Landon girl replied.
"Thanks." Clark continued on. "Oh, name your first boy after me."
"Will do," Lisa replied. "Married, huh."
Bob smiled, "Sure, anytime you're ready."
Clark was finishing an egg and toast when his red-haired sweetheart rushed in and plopped down in the chair next to him.
"Take it easy, Wilma Rudolph, you'll break the sound barrier."
"Thirsty." Grabbing Clark's water, she gulped the entire glass. "Thanks."
"Uh, you're welcome. Excuse me while I go get another glass of water," Kent said, shaking his head.
When he returned, his plate had been cleaned down to the enamel. "Please help yourself," he suggested.
"Sorry sweetie. Almost time for geology. No time to go through the cafeteria line."
Reaching into his pocket, Clark produced a Snickers bar. "Guess this will be my breakfast dessert, uh, unless you want it."
"No, no, you go ahead. I'm not a food thief," she answered.
"Right. So, did you see your father? Anything going on outside the iron bars of SJC (Smallville Junior College)?"
"Well, about 10:00 or 10:30 last night, a car was speeding down the main street of town, you know, in front of your store...well, former store. The cops were chasing him. He lost control of his car and ran up on the sidewalk and just about ran over Mr. McCredy, you know, he runs the hotel. He had gone to Tony's Diner for a late supper and was on his way back to work. Well, the car came to a crashing stop when it hit a lamp pole. The pole broke off and would have killed Mr. McCredy, but Superboy caught the pole. Mr. McCredy was not injured, and the cops caught the driver. Turns out he was drunk."
"Superboy again!" Clark snapped. "What time did you say?"
"It was 10:00 or 10:30. Dad heard the report this morning on the radio."
Clark pushed his chair back, it's legs made a grinding noise on the floor. Heading for the door, Lana caught up, "What's the matter?
"Nothing!" he snapped.
"Well, if it's nothing, what changed your mood all of a sudden? You jumped when I said Superboy. What is it, I know it isn't jealousy. You're not a jealous person."
"It's nothing, really. I just don't want to be late for class. My first day of geology didn't exactly go well, if you remember."
"Of course I remember." She continued talking but Clark zoned her voice out of his mind. All he could think of was he had no memory of leaving his room, being downtown, and returning. Wait a minute! Pete was in the room. He'll know if I left.
It was almost noon when Clark and Lana spied Pete on campus. "Hey, Pete, wait up," Clark yelled.
Young Ross ran the twenty-five or so feet to reach the couple. "Hey, what's up, guys?"
"Pete, tell me about what you and I did last night after we had dinner."
"What is this, "Candid Camera?"
"No, seriously," Clark implored.
"I went straight back to our room after dinner and did homework. I guess around 8:00, you came in and grabbed your books. You were at the desk, and I was on my bed. After a while, you moved to your bed. Then, a bit later, you stretched out. I asked if you were turning in, and you said no, just taking a break. Five minutes later, you were snoring like a chainsaw. I wasn't sleepy, so I walked over to the student union and watched 'Ben Casey.' It was really good, too. A woman was in the grocery store and she had a seizure..."
"Never mind that, Pete. You say you were studying when I fell asleep."
"Yeah, but just for a minute. Then I left."
"What time did you leave?"
"Around 9:45. 'Ben Casey' comes on at ten."
"What time did you return?"
"A little after eleven right after the show went off. Why the inquisition?"
Kent fumbled for an answer, "Curious, mostly. I must have been sleeping pretty good since I didn't hear you go or come back."
"Well, I didn't want to complain, but sometimes when you snore, Clark, I don't know if you're snoring or we're having a thunderstorm. Ha, ha. Gotta run. See ya later."
Lana questioned, "So, do you want to tell me what that was all about?"
"You heard what I told Pete, curiosity."
They moved on. Clark could only center his thoughts on the info Pete had given him. That during the time of the incident in town, Pete had left the room, so it was possible to leave, save Mr. McCredy and return before Pete returned.
That settled it.
"Tomorrow I'm calling a psychiatrist."
Bob's journalism class went very well for him during the afternoon. His instructor informed him that his application to work on the campus newspaper had been approved, and he would contribute as a reporter and photographer. He was issued a brand-new camera with all the latest attachments.
"This is great," Bob thought to himself, "Getting on the newspaper staff and spending time with Lisa...it's a dream come true."
Wanting to impress the campus editor and editorial staff (all sophomores), he began to scout around campus after his class let out looking for things that would make good photos.
He snapped a dozen or so on his way back to his dorm. Nothing extraordinary, but he needed to get used to his new equipment, just the same.
He flopped on his dorm room bed when he arrived, thinking of how he would someday win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.
"Maybe I can get some neat shots from my window (his room was directly below Pete and Clark's).
Grabbing his camera and opening the window as wide as possible, he looked down and around the SJC campus. He noticed that he could barely see the Smallville town district. "I'll have to go on the roof for pictures of the town."
Suddenly, something caught his eye. Looking up, he saw a moving object coming in his direction, almost as high as the lowest clouds. Even though the sun was slightly in his eyes, he could tell the object was blue and red.
"GREAT! There's Superboy flying over the school. Gotta get this in a hurry. Steady Bob, relax, don't shake. There, I think I got it. If I got him in the frame line, this fancy telephoto lens ought to give me a nice sharp picture. Oh man, if it turns out well, I'll submit it to my editor and maybe it will make the next edition. Bob, you're a genius!"
Almost 4:30, he decided to take a shower before joining "the gang" for dinner in the cafeteria.
Just a few minutes after Bob had gone down the hall to shower, the flying object reappeared, this time descending towards the open third story dorm room.
Coming through the room, the super hero walked quickly to the door, shut and locked it just as a couple students walked by.
"That was close. A few seconds later and they could have easily seen me, and my secret identity would have been in jeopardy."
Reaching into the hidden pouch on the underside of the flowing cape was taken the clothing needed to cover the red / blue uniform and red / yellow insignia now known world wide.
"Now, to change back to my alter ego of Smallville Junior College freshman Lisa Landon and get to the cafeteria to join everyone for dinner."
The now regular dinner group had taken their seats at the table they now designated as their own, with one exception.
"Hey, where's Phyllis?" Pete threw out for anyone to answer.
Lana responded first, "Her parents picked her up, and they're going out for a family dinner."
No matter, because in came Noel.
Bob stopped Noel cold, "Here comes Smallville's number one radio listener, no doubt, with today's top stories. So what happened in our little old town today?"
Calmly, the Neill girl replied, "Oh, I have no idea. The batteries in my transitor radio died this morning, and I haven't had time to buy new ones. May I sit here?
"Sure," Pete answered, "Pull up a chair and tie on the old feedbag with us."
Bob asked for a moment, "Before we get in the line, I'd like to share with you the good fortune that came my way today." He explained his getting a position with the campus newspaper. Everyone gave their congratulations, especially Lisa who planted a big one dead center on his lips, drawing the buzz of the table occupants.
The rest of the meal was filled with multiple conversations simultaneously and as a group. Soon it was time to break it up and go their separate ways.
Bob whispered into Lisa ear, "Remember, you promised that we could take a walk tonight. I plan to hold you to that promise."
"It will take little effort, Bob, let's go."
So the couple headed out, hand in hand. On the way to the girls' dorm, Bob remembered the film he wanted to process. "Oh gosh, I forgot about my first roll of film I shot this afternoon. Can we stop by the newspaper lab so I can run the roll through the chemicals. Wait. There's two shots left on this roll. Pose for me, will you?"
Lisa agreed, "Of course. So, they headed for the English building, which was still unlocked due to night classes. Reaching the lobby area, they proceeded to the campus newspaper office. Bob proudly produced a key from his pocket and unlocked the door. "I'm a big wig here, you know."
"Looks like," she laughed.
Here's the darkroom over this way.
"Bob, you know how to develop photo film?"
"Been doing it since I was twelve. I've been a photo bug since I was a little kid. Started with my Kodak Brownie. Come on in."
"I've never been in a darkroom before," Lisa admitted.
"Well, the first thing we do is turn off this light and turn on this one." He switched the lights, making the room totally red. "Now, wait a minute. I just thought of something. What can a guy in love do with the prettiest girl in the world in a dark room?" as he stepped towards her.
Stepping into his arms, she answered, "Do I have to tell you?"
"You do not," as he squeezed her tightly, their lips meet.
The adage "time flies when you're having fun" never rang more true, because fifteen minutes had passed before Lisa broke it up by reminding Bob about the roll of film.
Bob, explaining as he went, poured the appropriate chemicals into the various trays. "Some people call them pans, I call them trays."
"Got it," says the eager student.
Lisa watched as Bob went through the process like a pro. "It won't be long now. I'm interested in all of these but especially the last three because two are of you and the third is...Superboy."
"Really," she answered, very interested.
"Yeah, it was quite by accident. They had just given me the new camera, and I was testing it out when Superboy flew over the campus. So I snapped his picture. At least, I hope I did. He was moving pretty fast, so I might not have gotten him in my view finder, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. O.K., it's time to find out."
Bob pulled the Superboy picture first. "It looks like it's centered pretty well in the frame. Will you flip on the regular light please?"
The light properly illuminated the room just as he held up the photo and she turned around to look at it.
Lisa let out an easily audible gasp. “Oh!”
Bob stared at the picture for a few seconds before exclaiming, "Holy cow! That isn't Superboy like I thought. It's a flying girl in a similar looking outfit. I don't understand."
Panic struck Lisa Landon like a sledge hammer, "Oh no! This is the first time anyone has seen me in action! I wanted to keep my existence a secret. What am I going to do? I have to get out of here and think this through," she thought to herself.
"Lisa, do you know what this means? Somewhere out there is a girl who can do the things that Superboy can do."
"Hold on a minute, that may be rushing things. Think about it Bob. If what you said is true, wouldn't everyone already know about her? It could be, say, a balloon promoting some business or product. And even though you took a nice picture, there really isn't much detail in the photo to assume it's a real person. I'm not trying to burst your bubble, sweetheart, I would never do that. I just think that before you jump the gun and show this picture around, you should check into it further. I tell you what, I'll help you. Because if you represent it as real and it turns out not to be real, folks might make you a laughing stock, and I wouldn't want that. Promise me?"
"Well, all right. Maybe you're right."
"Good. Now I've got to get to the dormitory. I have a 2000-word essay on Lord Byron due tomorrow in English, and I need to finish it up. Kiss me good night."
"You're just as good as kissing as you are at taking pictures. See you tomorrow."
Bob, left alone in the darkroom, flashed back to the revelation of the photo. "Strange...Lisa seemed more shocked than curious when she saw that photo. Her reaction didn't seem normal. Then she tried to play it down to the point that there wasn't a chance it could be real. I wonder why?"
Cutting a swift path to her dorm, Lisa was in panic mode, "Well, I certainly didn't handle that very well. I hope Bob didn't notice my outcry when I saw myself flying across the sky. I'm sure he'll show everyone that photograph unless I can prevent him from doing so.
It was a restless night for Bob Morgan.
After Lisa left him in the dark room, he had stayed behind for several hours, making several more prints of the photograph he had taken showing a flying girl dressed like Superboy. He made prints of various sizes, smaller and larger. He carefully examined each with a magnifying glass, looking for detail. An 11x 14 he made started to blur due to it's size, thus not helpful. The 5 x 7 size was very beneficial. It convinced him that Lisa's theory of the floating object was inaccurate. He had never seen a commercial balloon with such defined features. Plus a balloon couldn't move through the air on its own at the speed the object was going. It couldn't have been attached to a plane or helicopter or he would have seen and heard the engine.
It had to be the real McCoy.
Morgan was certain the flying girl existed...but where was she? How long had she been here? Why Smallville? Why had no one seen her before? So many questions and not a single answer.
He gave serious thought as to what he should now do with the photo. Yes, he could immediately turn it over to the campus newspaper for publication, but his editor might take the same stand that had Lisa without his having more information. Newspapers need proof of a story before they run it, even a small college campus one. After all, he was a rookie on the staff, and he didn't want anyone to think he had maybe staged the photo just to make himself look good.
Lisa had promised to help him get to the bottom of the mysterious flying girl. Maybe the best thing is to keep a low profile for now until they came up with something more.
Perhaps if he could somehow have a conversation with Superboy, the Boy of Steel could shed some light. Obviously, Superboy had to know about this girl. Maybe they both came from the same place. After all, she was wearing a uniform just like his and was flying just like him. Maybe she is his sister or some relative, or even...his wife.
But Bob was still puzzled by Lisa's initial reaction in seeing the photo. His was one of surprise, then curiosity. Lisa almost screamed in fear or shock. Then she became very nervous and immediately had to leave.
"Let's see," Bob thought, "Lisa's first class in the morning wasn't until ten, the English class we share. I'll talk with her at breakfast. Putting our two heads together, we should be able to set a course of strategy. But, one way or another, I'm going to find out who was this flying girl?"
Just before 8:00 the following morning, a rushed Lana Lang breezed through the lobby of the girls' dormitory out the front door. She stopped only to speak to the custodian.
"Good morning, Mr. Henry."
Sweeping the front steps, the mid-fifties man returned her greeting, "Good morning, Miss Lang. I hope your day is a pleasant one."
"Thank you," she yelled over her back as she had regained her speed.
Already having their morning meal at "the table," Clark and Pete were joined by Bob Morgan.
"Where are the girls?" he inquired.
"No sign of them yet, Bob, but they'll show up," Pete countered.
Kent added, "Let's see, it's eight o'clock, if I know Lana, she should be slamming that door open in a frenzy at any second. Countdown, three, two, one..."
Slam went the door!
"Look out," Clark shouted, "Here comes Hurricane Lana, and we're right in her path!"
Stopping and leaning on the table, she managed to get out, "Gotta catch my breathe."
She leaned over towards Clark, who immediately all but threw his body over his plate of bacon, eggs and fried potatoes. "Oh no. Go get your own breakfast."
"I was only going to kiss you, silly. I don't want your breakfast."
"Good," he answered.
"Very well, no kissy for you smarty pants. Bob and I are going to load up our plates. C'mon, Bob."
"Yes ma'am," Morgan answered.
As she turned to leave, Lana swiped a piece of bacon from Clark's plate.
"YOU...!" he snapped.
Standing in the serving line, Bob asked Lana if she knew Lisa's whereabouts.
"Nope, haven't seen her today, Bob. She was gone when I got up. Ya know, if she's going out early in the morning, that's her business, but I wish she'd ask me if I wanted the window left open. This time of year, it starts to get chilly during the night. You two getting serious?"
"Well, I guess so, I hope so anyway. I think she's wonderful," was his response.
"I agree with you. Lisa is a great girl."
While Clark and Pete sat while Bob and Lana finished their breakfast, Clark asked Bob, "You look kinda tired. Didn't you go to bed last night?"
"Uh, yeah, but kinda late. Then I had trouble falling asleep. I guess I pretty much tossed and turned all night. I guess the adrenaline was still pumping, you know, getting picked for the newspaper."
"Sure, that makes sense," Pete chimed.
"All done," Lana announced, pushing back her plate.
"With the conclusion of Her Ladyship's meal, I declare this gathering adjourned," laughed Kent.
"Clark, Milton Berle's still working. We don't need a comedian," the red head jokingly scolded.
"Where ya headed' Bob?" Pete asked.
"I need to find Lisa before our ten o'clock class."
"Oh, I understand," young Ross smirked, "Good luck."
Bob decided to try the library first. No Lisa. Then the Student Union building. Not there. He knew he didn't have the time to check all the classroom buildings before ten o'clock. His best bet was her dormitory room, even though males beyond the lobby were verboten. He started for there, nevertheless.
He entered the lobby of the forbidden building and sat in a lobby chair, as if waiting for someone. The bottom of the stairs was the maximum depth for males in the girls' dorm. He didn't see anyone, so, risking suspension, he started up, as quietly and quickly as he could. Reaching the second floor without being noticed, he tested his luck and trudged upward. Now on the third floor, he edged down the hall towards room 310. At 308 he heard voices further down, so he quickly ducked into 310, the room of Lisa Landon and Lana Lang. He shook his head when he saw that Lisa or Lana had left the door open.
"They sure are trusting souls."
He quietly closed the door. "I know I'm not supposed to be in the girl's dorm, but I have to see Lisa about the photo. But she isn't here either. Lana said the window was left wide open, and it is. Why would she do that? The wind has blown papers all over the room. I'll help them out and pick them up."
Gathering up all the loose pieces of paper scattered from hither to yon, he saw the first page of her Lord Byron essay.
"Oh no. Lisa has barely started her 2000-word paper, and class starts in ten minutes. She'll get a zero for sure. Not exactly the best way to start college. I'll have to hurry to get there on time myself."
Bob checked the hallway, and finding it clear, ran to the stairway, scurried down the two flights to the lobby, and incredibly, managed to reach the outdoors without being seen.
"I wouldn't want to have to do that ten times," he exclaimed.
Meanwhile, fifteen thousand feet up, the red / blue clothed flying girl under Bob's scrutiny, headed towards the SJC campus. "All looks calm this morning around Smallville, but I lost track of the time. I must get back to school. My Earth disguise of Lisa Landon has an English class in just a few minutes."
Landing unseen in her deserted dorm room, the switch to Lisa was swift. Then the virtually never-started Lord Byron English report popped into her mind.
"A 2000-word report on Lord Byron. Using my super speed, I can write the entire report in three seconds. There, finished. Now, off to class."
Lisa entered the classroom doorway just as the bell sounded. Bob was relieved to see that she made it, but he felt badly about her not having her essay to turn in.
"Good morning, class," welcomed the instructor. "First things first. Essays are due today, so please bring them up to my desk and turn them in."
"I hate to watch this. I wonder what Lisa will tell our instructor. This is college. Teachers don't just look the other way when a student simply doesn't do an assignment."
Supporting his girlfriend, Bob stood behind her in line and was stunned when Lisa calmly handed her paper to the instructor. He did the same, and as they returned to their seats, he whispered to her, "But, Lisa, ten minutes ago, you had barely started writing your paper on Lord Byron. How could you possibly write a 2000-word essay and get to class in ten minutes? You weren't even in your room."
Lisa, startled, "Gosh. What can I tell Bob that will satisfy his curiosity? I sense he's already suspicious that I'm the flying girl in his photo."
"Well, Lisa, I'm waiting."
"Bob, first of all, I don't have to give you an explanation for anything. We are at the start of what I hope can become a great relationship. I've known you only about a week, but I already care about you very much. So understand me when I say you may be coming on a little strong about my essay, not your essay, my essay. And what makes you think I had barely started?"
He explained what he found in her room.
"You were in Lana's and my room? Bob, dummy, don't you know you could be kicked out of school for being there?"
Bob replied, "Yes, I do! But I needed to see you, and I was willing to risk it."
"We'll talk about this more later. And, like I said, I don't have to give you an explanation about my English paper, but I will. Did it not occur to you I may have put the finished copy of the report in a desk drawer for safekeeping. Like I'm going to simply leave it on top of the desk for anything to happen to it, like the wind you described. Really, Bob, do you?"
Bob gave a reply, one he would quickly regret, "Yes, Lisa, that explanation could be possible, OR maybe you actually possess the same abilities as Superboy, like writing at super speed or even, say, flying? I can't forget how you nearly jumped out of your shoes last night when we first saw the developed photo I had taken. Like, perhaps, you might be that flying girl. Could this be closer to the truth than your desk drawer explanation?"
Lisa, irritated, answered, "We can discuss this photograph, your attitude and your reasoning after class. Now, quiet!"
Meeting up after their first morning class, Lana asked Clark to go for a ride with her at the end of the academic day, "Dad drove my Impala to school this morning. He doesn't need it until six o'clock, so I thought we could take a ride this afternoon, you know, like the "good old days."
"Gosh, I'm sorry honeybun, but I have a bunch of errands I have to run today. I wish you had told me sooner."
"What errands?" she inquired.
"Just things. Nothing that you should worry your pretty red hair about. A few errands of my own and a few for my Mom."
"But I was looking forward to you and me going. Can't you run these errands later...say tomorrow?"
"I wish I could, but it's important that I do them today. I'm sorrrrrry. I know...you can take Lisa. She hasn't seen your car. Or Phyllis and Noel...or Pete. He'd love to go if he's not busy."
"Well, I guess. But I don't want you getting mad if I should come across Superboy along the way and I "pick him up."
"Lana, if Superboy goes for a ride with you, I will be most grateful."
"And why is that?"
"At least, you'll be safe...considering your driving."
Continuing their "discussion" sitting on a campus bench, Lisa and Bob volleyed back and forth...
"And, Bob, I don't react to seeing your photo of this flying girl exactly the way you think I should automatically means that I am the flying girl. That's a bit of a stretch, sweetheart. Like going from point A to point M!"
"And the non-completed essay?"
"I already explained that! What's so bizarre about putting papers in a desk drawer? Millions of people do it everyday. That doesn't make me a flying girl! You're adding one and one and getting thirty. Seriously, we're off to a great start, you and I, let's not spoil it over things such as this. You wouldn't like it if I accused you of being a werewolf just because you shaved, would you?"
"I understand your excitement over this photograph. It may very well be of monumental importance...or nothing much at all. Like we discussed last night, we need to do some more digging. You mentioned talking with Superboy, maybe a good idea. The problem with that is getting together with him. But I think it's worth a try."
"Yeah, well, O.K. I guess you're right."
"A deal?" she asked.
"Shake on it?" Lisa inquired.
"Nope. Kiss on it." They do. "I'll see you at dinner. I've got a meeting with my editor, so I gotta run. I want to get his opinion and options about the photo in the event you and I strike pay-dirt."
"Bob, do you mean you're carrying the photo around with you?"
"Yeah, in here." He held up an old lunchbox.
Lisa stated, "Honey, I don't think showing anyone the picture is a good idea. Not yet."
Bob responded, "Oh, it'll be all right. I'll make him promise not tell anyone about it."
Thinking to herself, "Bob is going to create a mess if he shows that picture to anyone. I hate to destroy someone else's property, but I can't let him show anyone his photo of me flying over Smallville. I'm not ready for the world to know about my being here. There...my x-ray vision has done the job. The contents of that box are nothing but ashes."
"Well, I guess you're going to do what you're going to do. See you at dinner."
"O.K. Thanks, Lisa."
Clark found his desk right before the bell rang for his final class of the day.
"I would have loved to go for a ride with Lana, but I have my first doctor's appointment this afternoon."
Therapy was in session in the private office of Dr. Latimer La Serne, the most respected psychiatrist in Metropolis.
"Let me say, Superboy, that I was taken completely by surprise to receive your call, but flattered that you chose me out of many doctors of my field in Metropolis."
"I thank you for working me in on such a short notice."
"Anytime. Now, what do you believe I can do for the mighty Superboy?"
"Well, Doctor, I believe I am having memory lapses."
"Indeed? And what makes you think so? Sure you'd rather sit that use the couch. It's very comfortable."
"No, sir, this is fine. In the last three or four days, there have been three instances, that I'm aware, of my performing deeds of which I have no recollection at all. Stopping a tractor trailer truck from plunging into a river, preventing a train from wrecking on a trestle and putting out a house that was burning."
La Serne commented, "Oh yes. I read about the train incident in the Daily Planet. The others I hadn't heard about. No memory at all?"
"No sir. But eyewitnesses at all three locations told police and the news media that I was there and did these things. All three occurred at times when I was in my, when I was sleeping, or I thought I was sleeping. Could I be, as they say, "walking in my sleep?"
"Well, it's possible, but..." he trailed off. "Did anyone, by chance, see you sleeping? Can anyone verify you were where you thought you were?"
The Boy of Steel answered, "That's just it. No. No one."
"Have you experienced anything out of the ordinary in the last, let's say, week or ten days? When I say ordinary, I mean, by Earth standards, because I know you do extraordinary things on a regular basis."
"Actually, yes. Three or four days ago, I became extremely ill."
"You were ill? Explain what you mean, please."
Superboy began to relay the geology story, "I first got very hot, like I had a burning fever. Then I perspired to the point my face was soaking wet. Then I felt weak and my knees began to buckle. Then a pain hit my chest like it was going to either cave in or explode. I don't know which. Then I collapsed."
"And where were you when this occurred?"
"I was in...uh...I'm sorry Dr. La Serne, I can't tell you that."
"And why not?"
"It could jeop...I'm sorry...I just can't. The reasons are very important, trust me. But I can't tell you. I'm sorry."
"I see. Well, I hope it will not hamper my helping you. But please understand that anything you say in this room is completely confidential and covered by doctor / patient privilege."
"Doctor, I understand that. If I told you where...no...I'm sorry. I just can't. It could somehow eventually affect the lives of other people, including yourself."
"I don't understand, but let's move on. How long did you suffer these symptoms?"
"They immediately began to subside when I got out into fresh air. The chest pain, heat and perspiration disappeared almost instantly. I still had some dizziness for maybe an hour or so until I fell asleep in my, uh, I fell asleep. My legs remained weak until the following morning, as well as fatigue. I thought I had slept for close to twenty-fours until I heard about the tractor trailer incident. I'm supposed to have been there, but I don't remember getting out of bed."
La Serne thought before speaking, "It doesn't sound viral to me. All these symptoms hitting you so quickly and then subsiding just as quickly. Let me ask you this, when the attack came on, were you perhaps in an environment you had never been previously?"
"Actually, yes. I was."
"Can you describe where you were? I'm beginning to think some sort of allergic reaction."
"I'm sorry, Doctor La Serne, I can't tell you where I was at the time...same reasons as before."
"I see. Is there anything else you can tell me? Wait, wait, wait. Without telling me where you were at the time of the attack, can you tell me if you have returned to the same setting since the attack?"
"Yes, I have. Twice, as a matter of fact."
"And with what reaction, the same as the first time?"
"No, sir. No reaction at all the second and third times I was there."
"Aha. Now we're possibly making progress. It's probably safe to assume that the first time you were in this setting, there was someone, something, etc., that wasn't there the second or third time you were there. If you can figure out what, that might have been the culprit. I find this all intriguing, because of all I have read or heard about you, there was nothing on Earth that could harm you."
The lad thought a moment, "Nothing on Earth! YES! YES! I believe I know the answer to the riddle. I'm sorry I can't tell you, Dr. La Serne, but please know how grateful I am because you led me right to it. You knew the right questions to ask, even if I couldn't give you all the answers."
"Superboy, I am happy that I was able to help someone who helps everyone. I hope you solve your riddle and can prevent your being affected again."
"What do I owe you for your time?"
"Knowing that I was able to help the great Superboy is payment enough. Feel free to contact me anytime you want or need to talk."
"Thank you, sir. May I use your window? I don't want to create a disturbance in your outer office."
"Of course, Goodbye, Superboy."
With two steps and a spring, the Boy of Steel was making his way through the Metropolis skyline setting his course that would return him to Smallville and Smallville Junior College.
Bob Morgan sat on the front steps leading into the Smallville Junior College girls' dormitory. He'd be there for nearly an hour before his girlfriend Lisa Landon appeared. Stopping her before she reached the first step, he blocked her way.
"We have to talk...now!"
"Bob, what's the matter? Why are you so upset?"
"Upset? I'll tell you why I'm upset! You made a complete fool of me this afternoon!" he snapped back.
"I don't understand," Landon replied.
"We'll, let me explain it to you."
Bob relived his afternoon from Hell..."After I left you, I went to the newspaper office like I told you I was going to. I proudly marched into my editor's office..."
"Hold on to your hat! On my first day on the staff, I am prepared to give you the biggest story this campus newspaper has ever had!" Bob bragged to Robert Edison, the sophomore student just appointed editor.
"Oh yeah, Morgan, well, that's great," answered Edison. "What is it?"
"Superboy is not the only person around these parts who can do all those extraordinary things he does. There is a girl just like Superboy, and she's here in Smallville."
"Really, and how do you know this, Morgan?" drilled the editor.
"Because I have seen her!"
"Uh huh. And when was this? In your dreams last night?"
"No! No! Yesterday afternoon. I saw her flying over the campus."
Edison asked, "Did you ask her out for dinner?"
Bob became agitated, "Listen Robert, I am dead serious. She's real!"
"And, naturally, you can back up your story with evidence?"
Bob returned to being calm, "I knew you would ask for proof. Yes, I have proof. Oh, do I ever have proof! I took a picture of her as she flew overhead."
"And I suppose your proof, your picture, is in the little container which is sitting on my desk? What is that, your lunchbox from grade school?"
"Yes, it's right in here," he pointed to the box.
"Well, come on man, I'd like to get out of here before the sun sets. Show me the damn picture!"
"Yes sir." Bob turned the box so the front faced his editor. He popped it open and turned the container upside down so the photos of the flying girl would fall on Edison's desk. Instead all that fell out was a pile of burnt offerings, which soiled the papers Edison had been editing.
The surly sophomore glared up at the shocked rookie, "Is this supposed to be funny? Your kind of a joke?"
"Not at all. The pictures were in there. I put them there myself."
"Listen, Morgan, I know this isn't the Daily Planet or the New York Times. We're just a small junior college newspaper, but we have a tradition here of doing good work. We don't have time to clown around. We do this on top of our college classes. We have no time to waste. And I have no more time to waste on you. I need your key, your press card and your camera right now! Your less-than-one-week career is over!"
"Please! Don't do this! The photos were in there!"
"The key, the card, the camera...now!"
A broken Bob took the press card out of his wallet and the key out of his pocket and placed them on the editor's desk. "I don't have the camera with me."
"Really...how wonderful. A reporter / photographer who doesn't carry his camera around with him at all times. Well, no matter now. If that new camera is not sitting on this desk, unharmed, in one hour, I shall notify campus security. Now, GET OUT."
Young Bob Morgan turned, his head down, and dragged himself out of the newspaper office as if he were a whipped puppy.
"And if that wasn't bad enough," he continued.
I slammed the front door leaving the building, mad as a hornet. Immediately across the way, I saw the President of the college out walking, so I went to him...
"Excuse me sir, I'm Bob Morgan, a freshman student."
"Nice to meet you, Bob."
"I rattled off to him about taking the photo, being shocked to see it wasn't Superboy, taking it to the campus paper, being humiliated, being kicked off the staff. When I stopped talking, the old geezer just looked at me for a second or two and said, 'Really, Bob, a flying girl dressed similar to Superboy. I find that difficult to believe.' Then he suggested that the strain of starting college might be stressing me out and that I should go to the infirmary and maybe they could give me something for it. That's crap!"
"Oh, Bob, I'm so sorry. But I told you that people might react that way concerning that photograph."
"And this is ALL your fault!"
"Bob, really, you are losing control. I didn't storm into the newspaper office. I suggested that you not do that, but you wouldn't listen. You're obsessed with that photograph..."
"Which you destroyed with some kind of x-ray or heat vision."
"Lisa, I thought you loved me. Things were going so well. But I don't think you have told me anything that wasn't a lie...caring for me, the flying girl, your essay excuse. Why don't you just admit it? That's you in the picture. You're just like Superboy. You destroyed my photo for your own selfish reasons. All the time we spent together this week was a fraud.. ADMIT IT! ADMIT I!"
He totally lost control, grabbing Lisa by the arm, jerking her towards him, making her fall to the ground.
At this point, a large hand grabbed Bob by the shoulder and pulled him up.
"You all right, little lady?"
"Yes, I'm O.K." (of course she wasn't injured). She looked up to see Mr. Henry, the custodian. "Thank you very much."
"Anything you want to say to this young man?" the man inquired.
"Just this...Bob, I'm sorry things turned out this way, really I am, but I must ask you to stay away from me and not make contact with me in any way. Do you understand?"
The man answered, "Oh, I think he understands. Little lady, you let me know if he bothers you in any way again. I will deal with him. Now, you're safe to run along."
Lisa thanked the man and went into her dormitory.
Mr. Henry grabbed Bob by the collar and led him around the corner, slamming his back into the brick wall.
"What in the hell are you doing!"
Bob Morgan, face to face with Lisa's rescuer, replied, "DAD!"
"Where is everybody?" Pete asked, looking around the half-empty dinner table. "Lana, is Lisa coming?"
"I thought she was. I haven't seen her since early afternoon."
"Well, I'll bet where Bob is, Lisa is," Pete replied.
Kent added, "They do seem to be getting pretty tight."
After waiting ten more minutes, Phyllis and Noel did show up, but no Lisa or Bob.
"Long enough," Pete exclaimed, "Let's eat."
A half-hour later, as the five broke camp, they all wondered aloud where Lisa and Bob could be.
Lisa's whereabouts was in her and Lana's room, across her bed, crying her eyes out. "Oh, Bob, why did you have to take that stinking photograph? The entire bottom of our relationship fell out after that. We were doing so well. I understand your enthusiasm, but I'm sorry, darling, there was much more at stake than that. I wish I could have told you the truth. But I couldn't, couldn't, couldn't. Destroying the photo of me flying over Smallville was the only thing I could think of doing to protect my secret. But now I'm sure he's more suspicious than ever that Lisa Landon is not an ordinary Earth-born college student. I'm not ready to tell Superboy about my being here, but I'm running out of options. I need to pull myself together or I'll go bonkers like poor Bob. Come on, lying here bawling my eyes out isn't helping anything. I'll make a quick change out of Lisa's clothes and wig and make a fast exit through the window. It's dark now so I'll fly really fast so I won't be seen. I need to make sure all is well in Smallville anyway.
Bob Morgan's whereabouts was a mystery.
It was close to 9:30 p.m. when Lana and Clark, hand in hand, walked out the front door of the student union building, having just attended a showing of the Friday night campus movie "Experiment in Terror."
"Whad'ya think?" Clark asked his red-headed sweetheart of four years.
"I love Glenn Ford. Kind of creepy movie. Scary, too...good though."
"So, after our first week of college, what are your thoughts?" he continued.
"About what I expected really. A lot of adjusting to do, tough classes and tough instructors, but they all seem nice. What about you?"
"Yeah, that about sums it up. Could have done without the first day distraction. Getting sick on the first day, not what I had anticipated."
"Well, you're fine now, and that's what matters," she added as they reached the steps of her dorm. "Here we are."
Kent asked her plans for the weekend.
"I'm going to run home for a while in the morning to see Dad and pick up a few more things I need. I guess I'll do that after breakfast. Then Phyllis, Noel and I are going to do some shopping."
"Why not ask Lisa to go, too. You could show her the town."
"Yeah, good idea," she agreed.
"But I'll see you tomorrow night, won't I?" the lad inquired.
"Sure, why don't we go to the drive-in? We haven't done that in a while."
"Yeah, great. What's playing?"
She sheepishly answered, "Don't know. Don't care. I hadn't planned on watching much of the movie."
"Why, you rascal," he laughed. "Then I'll look forward to not watching the movie, too. Well, good night, Lana Lang."
He gave her a kiss. As he pulled back, she pulled him back to her and planted a big one."
"Break it up you two. This isn't lover's lane," instructed a campus security officer, making his rounds.
"I understand. I was your age once, but just take it easy."
Lana laughed, "I better get inside before he locks us both up. Good night."
"See you tomorrow," Clark replied as he walked away.
Lana, very content with the status of her life, reached the third floor quickly. Approaching the room she shared with new friend Lisa Landon, she fumbled through her pocketbook for the door key but was unsuccessful in finding it.
"Oh great. Lost my key. I hope Lisa is in the room, or I'll have to get campus security to let me in."
Reaching the door, she tried the knob, but it was locked. "Rats! I wish this was one time when I had forgot to lock it." Tapping lightly to avoid making a disturbance, "Lisa. Lisa. Are you in there?"
The room was empty initially, but seconds later, Lana's roommate made her landing through the window.
"Lisa, if you're in there. Please open up. I'm locked out." This series of knocking was a bit louder.
"Just a second, Lana. Hold on," came the reply as the roommate with the big secret donned her Landon attire. Checking the mirror to make sure the brown wig was properly in place, she then opened the door.
"I'm sorry, Lana, guess I dozed off."
"That's O.K. I lost my key."
"There it is," Lisa pointed to the top of the desk.
"Oh, great. Well, at least, it isn't lost," young Lang stated, putting it into her pocketbook.
"We all missed you at dinner. You and Bob go somewhere?"
Lana immediately saw hurt in her roommate's eyes.
"No, we broke up."
"What! Lisa, I'm so sorry. I thought you two had hit it off."
"So did I. It was going really well. I thought Bob was wonderful, until this afternoon. Lana, we had a fight. It got unpleasant, and Bob lost it, and I ended up on the ground. I don't know what would have happened, but fortunately, the custodian stopped it."
"Mr. Henry?" Lana inquired.
"I don't know his name, but I'm glad he was around this afternoon. I don't know what Bob would have done."
"What did you fight about?"
"Oh Lana, please don't ask me to go into all that. It's rather personal and embarrassing."
"All right. Gosh, I am sorry, Lisa. If there's anything I can do..."
"Thanks. Being here for support is enough. Anyway, I told Bob not to contact me in any way. I want to stay away from him. The custodian, Mr. Henry, you say? He told me if Bob bothered me again to let him know, and he would take care of it. I really don't know what exactly what he meant by that. But I just hope Bob does what I asked."
Lana added, Well, so do I."
There had been something in the back of Clark's mind for some time, almost nagging at him. As he approached the front of the SJC boys' dormitory, he decided that if his roommate wasn't out somewhere, this might be as good a time as any to take care of the matter that had been hounding him.
When he entered the room he shared with Pete Ross, he was greeted by the sound of Frankie Valli singing "Dawn, go away, I'm no good for you," coming over Pete's transistor radio. Pete was stretched across the bed reading a comic book.
"Ah, doing homework, I see," Clark laughed.
"Oh, hey buddy, how was the movie?"
"Good. Lana liked it too. You not out tonight charming some pretty freshman lady?"
"Not tonight, but you know I can get a date with a pretty girl any time I want, because I'm a love magnet."
Clark responded, "I know. You've been telling me that since we were eight years old."
"Pete, I'd like to talk to you about something extremely important. O.K.?"
"Sure, buddy, should I turn off the radio?"
"Actually, leave it on. It will help drown out our voices so no one around can overhear us. I'm even going to lock the door. I don't want any distractions."
Sitting up on the bed, young Ross added, "This must be really important."
"Pete, really important."
Ross inquired, "All right. The floor is yours."
"Thanks. Is there anything that you would like to ask me or anything you would like to tell me?"
"Like what?" Ross asked.
"Like I said, Pete, anything. Because I have a sneaking suspicion that there is. This is the time. You don't have to hold anything back. I promise I will answer you truthfully," Kent replied.
Pete sat still for a minute, and squirmed on his bed a little before saying, "You mean...like a secret you might have?"
"Yes," Clark responded.
" Well...O.K." Ross paused again, took a deep breath. "Clark, I know your secret. I know that Clark Kent and Superboy are the same person." After a pause, Pete blew out a big breath..."There. I said it. Is that what you thought I would say?"
"Yes. That's it. I was sure that you knew, Pete. But to clarify things, Clark and Superboy share the same body, but we are actually two different people. Does that make sense?"
"I guess so. I can tell differences between the two of you, I mean other than Clark doesn't fly, stuff like that."
"Glad that the perception that we are two different people shows. That helps preserve my dual existence. Tell me, when did you discover that I was Superboy? This week, since we've been rooming together, or when."
"Gosh no, nearly four years ago."
"What!" Clark was surprised.
"You remember the weekend, Chester, Rusty, you and I camped out at Chester's pond?"
Clark thought back, "Yes...yes I do. We didn't catch a single fish."
"Yeah," Pete continued, "thanks for reminding me. Well, here's the way it was..."
He began to tell Clark the entire story. "We had all turned in and had gone to sleep...
After dark, some heavy clouds rolled in, bringing with them the usual springtime thunder and lightning. A loud clap of thunder startled me. Just as I opened my eyes, a huge bolt of lightning illuminated the area. I was unable to move when I saw you remove your Clark clothes revealing your Superboy outfit. You jumped into the air and flew out of my view. I thought I was dreaming. I then reached over to your sleeping bag to make sure, but you weren't in it. Then I realized that I wasn't dreaming at all. I had witnessed your changing to Superboy. I kept replaying it over and over in my mind until I was convinced it was real. I was so shaken that I couldn't get back to sleep, so I just lay there until I heard a thud outside the tent when you returned.
A moment later, you crawled back into your sleeping bag. You whispered my name for a response, but even though I was awake, I didn't answer back. I didn't want to create a problem. Then the next afternoon, I drove out to your house, and after your Mom made those compassionate remarks of how someone like Superboy needed to get away from the spotlight for piece of mind and all that, I almost burst out crying, so I decided I would never tell anyone what I knew, even you. I was afraid of what it might do to our friendship. We have been best friends since we were little kids, and the fact that Clark is Superboy wasn't going to change that in any way as far as I was concerned. Hey, don't get me wrong, I think it's really neat that my best friend is Superboy."
Clark chuckled and nodded his head.
"But it doesn't change the way it always has been between us. I give you my word, it was all totally accidental. I have never tried, in any way, to prove Clark was Superboy. I know others have, especially Lana..."
"Uh, yeah!" Kent moaned.
"...and since I found out your secret, it has always irritated me when she did stuff to trap you. I wanted to say something to her, but I didn't want to raise any suspicions."
Clark sat quietly for a bit, taking it all in. "Pete, I totally believe everything you just told me, and thank you for all of it." We are best friends, and you're right, nothing is going to change that. My life is very complex being Superboy. You know, it isn't always wonderful like you might think. Trying to keep my identity secret is very grueling. I have to be on my guard at all times. And one of the biggest negatives about it all is that it can be very lonely. You know how much I love Lana. I wish I could tell her, but I just can't, just like I didn't tell you, and that bothers me, because in a sense, I am lying to her. That hurts me a great deal."
"Man, I never thought of it like that," Ross added. "Well, old Pete is always at your service."
"Clark, I'm glad we finally got this out into the open. It takes a big weight off my back. I didn't like deceiving you."
"Actually, Pete, I understand your reasoning, and I believe it's a credit to you as a person."
"Ah, shucks. Don't make me start weeping now." he laughed. "Now that the serious discussion is over, may I ask a favor?"
"Sure. Of course."
"Could I go flying with you? I think that would be awesome."
"My pleasure. You mean, right now?
Pete responded, "No time like the present."
"Well, why not," Clark smiled. "Just...one...minute."
Pete was overwhelmed as he watched his best friend remove his glasses and transform into the Boy of Steel. "Holy cow! That's fantastic. But I kinda lost track of Clark's clothes. You didn't throw them under your bed, did you?"
"No, no. Look here." Pulling his cape around to his front, Superboy showed Pete a pouch on the underside. "I super-compress Clark's clothes and store them in there. That way, I always have them with me when I need them."
Pete scratched the top of his head, "Wow. Now, who would have thought of that? Oh...I guess you did."
Superboy asked Pete to turn out the lights and step to the window. "Stand next to me and put your arm around my waist, no under the cape, and I'll wrap my arm around you, and if you're ready..."
"I am, I am!"
"Then give a little push off with your legs, and...up...up...and away!"
As Clark and Pete started out for a hearty breakfast, they decided they would stop by Bob's room and see if he wanted to join them, if he wasn't sleeping in late since it was Saturday.
They quietly tapped on his door.
It was immediately cracked open, "Yes," said a measly voice.
"Good morning. I'm Clark, this is Pete, we wanted to ask Bob if he wanted to go to breakfast."
"Bob's gone. He withdrew from school."
"He did WHAT!" Pete gasped.
"He came storming in yesterday afternoon and threw his clothes in his suitcase. I asked him what about the rest of his stuff and he yelled, 'Burn it for all I care.' I mean he actually yelled at me. Yelling makes me nervous. I don't like yelling."
"Well, thanks. Sorry if we woke you."
"No, I wasn't asleep. I don't sleep much at night. I'd rather sleep during the day when I'm not in class." He quietly closed the door.
Lana and Phyllis were already at "the table" when Pete and Clark sat down with their breakfast trays.
"So, you guys do anything special last night?" Lana Lang inquired.
"Well, after I dropped you off at your dorm, I went straight to the room, and Pete and I just talked," Kent replied.
Phyllis chimed in, "What'd ya talk about?"
Pete answered, "Just guy stuff, right buddy?"
"Yeah. You girls would be bored if we told you everything. Don't you think so, Pete?" Clark added.
At that point, Lisa sat down with her breakfast. "Good morning, everyone."
Pete blurted, "Lisa, why did Bob drop out of school?"
"WHAT!" Lisa, Lana and Phyllis shouted collectively.
"You didn't know?"
"NO! I didn't, " Lisa answered. "When?"
"Yesterday afternoon, according to his roommate. Grabbed his clothes and took off," Pete continued.
"It's all my fault!" Lisa started to cry.
Pete, Clark and Phyllis wondered what was going on. Lana, in an abbreviated form, told them about Bob and Lisa's breaking up. They all offered their sympathies. Lisa got up and left, not touching her breakfast.
Phyllis offered, "That's too bad. I think Lisa was really getting to like Bob a lot." All shook their heads in agreement.
After a somber, quiet breakfast, the remaining four went their separate ways as each had things that needed their attention.
Clark definitely had something he wanted to do, but he first went back to Bob's dorm room. Again, the door was barely opened, and a quiet voice answered, "You again. Pete, right?"
"No, I'm Clark. I was wondering if I could come in and kind of look around Bob's stuff and see if it might give me an idea about where he went and why he left. I'm not doing this just to pry. Bob is a friend."
"Well, I guess so, but don't touch any of my stuff. I have everything exactly where I want it. Nice and tidy. I like things orderly. Bob's a slob. I'm Albert, by the way."
Clark replied, "Hi Albert," looking into the coke bottle glasses the pale-skinned student wore. Kent first looked into Bob's small closet. It was bare. The only other place in the room there was anything was the missing Morgan's desk. It was piled with notebooks, textbooks and all sorts of clutter. To spend up the process, the disguised Boy of Steel surveyed everything with his x-ray vision, turning up nothing that helped.
Just as he turned to leave, he saw the corner of some paper which had wedged between the wall and the back of the desk. He bent down and retrieved it. What he saw nearly freaked him out. It was a print of the flying girl photograph. Kent had to catch himself from blurting out anything. He stood in almost absolute shock. "What is this?" he thought to himself.
Deciding it best he vacate, he informed Albert, "I found one thing that might help, that's all. Do you mind if I take it?"
"I don't mind at all. I wish you'd take all of this junk. It's cluttering my room. I don't like clutter," answered the timid roommate.
"This is really all I need. Thank you, Albert. It was nice to meet you."
"Thank you. Please make sure the door is closed properly as you leave."
Clark Kent wasted no time in getting upstairs to his room so he could examine his big find.
He studied the photograph of what seemed to be a blonde girl in flight, which, in itself, was incredible. But, on top of that, "She's wearing a suit patterned just like mine!"
And what would Bob be doing with it? Clark sat at his desk in deep thought trying to determine if he could connect any of the dots, if indeed there were any.
After several minutes, he assumed that since Bob Morgan liked photography, it was possible Bob could have taken it. Bob did have a camera given him by the campus newspaper. So it's possible the photo had been snapped since school started a week ago. But it also could have been something Bob brought from home. So nothing conclusive there.
Kent studied the photo carefully with his super vision. It certainly looked genuine, not something cooked up in a novelty store. But still nothing conclusive.
About that time, he heard Pete heading for the room, so he hid the picture under some papers in his desk drawer.
"Hi, buddy," Pete greeted.
"Hey, Pete. Where ya been since breakfast?"
"I had to pick up some snacks at the student store to get me through the weekend. Crackers, potato chips, soda pop and beef jerky...you know, life's four basic food groups."
"Uh huh," Clark chuckled. "I need to run an errand, so I'll be gone for a short while."
Pete inquired, "A super errand?"
"Nope," came the reply, "Just an errand on foot. And you'd better not make cracks like that as they could be overheard."
"Oh yeah, sorry."
Kent was actually going to walk to the science building in the hope that Professor Peterson might be in his office. As it turned out, as he got about half way to his destination, he saw the instructor coming towards him.
"Professor Peterson, I was on my way to your office to speak with you."
Not breaking stride, the teacher answered, "I don't have Saturday office hours. I hope it can keep until Monday."
"Well, I suppose it can, but it is important," Clark informed.
"Walk with me, Mr. Kent. I'm in a bit of a hurry. What was it that you wanted to see me about?"
The lad explained that he was hoping to take another look at the three meteorites, since he really didn't get a good look at them before he became ill in class.
"What do you know about those meteorites?" snapped Peterson.
"Well, nothing. I was just hoping to be able to look at them."
The teacher responded, "Well, you can't! Now, if you will excuse me, I have to deal with something of the most importance. Good morning."
Clark halted, Peterson did not.
"Hmmm...O.K.? Guess it will have to wait until Monday like he said. Well, to the library for a couple of books."
On the main street of downtown Smallville, Lana had left Phyllis at the drug store while she walked down to pick up dry cleaning for her father.
A white car parked in a space ahead of her. The occupant waited until the red head passed the car.
"Lana!" the driver yelled.
Young Lang stopped, bent over, and saw the driver, "Bob! What are you doing here?"
"Get in with me for a minute. I need to talk to you about Lisa."
Without hesitating or thinking, she obliged Morgan.
"What's going on, Bob? Why did you drop out of school?"
Before he could answer, the SJC custodian raised up from the back seat. "Drive the car, boy!"
"Mr. Henry?" Lana said. "I don't understand. What's going on?"
"SHUT UP and you might not get hurt. I said drive, boy!"
Bob pulled the car into the street and headed down the block.
"You know where we're going, boy, so get there now!" came the man's order.
Soon the car was out of the business district headed into the country.
Lana yelled, "I demand you tell me what this is about and where we're going."
"SHUT...UP! If you don't, I'll gag you. I also have a nice blue steel friend with me, and he's just itching to talk. And when he talks, he makes a loud noise."
"Please Lana," Bob begged. "Do what he says. Please."
Wanting to wake up the following morning healthy, the red-headed beauty did as she was told as the white sedan continued deeper into the rural countryside.
By the time Clark Kent returned to his dorm room, Pete had already devoured two soft drinks and a bag of potato chips.
"You're going to spoil your lunch," Clark childed.
"Hey, not me, just a snack to tide me over," was Pete's response. "Get your errands done?"
"Partly. I got the library books I needed, but the meeting with Professor Peterson didn't happen, other than his telling me I would have to wait until Monday. Something had him very upset."
"Well, everybody has problems," young Ross answered.
Just as Kent sat down on his bed, he heard a loud voice, "Clark Kent, telephone call at the end of the hall. It's important!"
He instantly thought of his mother. Something had happened to her. He scurried down the hall and grabbed the phone, "Hello. Mom?"
"No, it's not your mother, Clark," said the mysterious voice.
"Who is this?" the lad inquired.
"Now, Clark, that hurts my feelings, that you don't remember my voice. We've talked over the telephone before, although it has been several years."
"Sorry, but I still don't know..."
He was cut off by the gruff voice, "Does four million dollars in diamonds joggle your memory? It should."
A shocked expression came over the boy's face.
"Now, we're getting somewhere. Remember I promised that our paths would cross again. Well, the time has come. Time for you to atone for all the misfortune you caused me. Not just four million dollars, but for causing me to lose my associate Muriel Bradford. REMEMBER MURIEL BRADFORD!"
"Of course I remember her," Kent replied quietly.
"It's because of you that she's dead. If you had done what you were told, she and I would be off somewhere enjoying the kind of life we aspired. But, no, you had to cross us up, and I ended up empty-handed. Muriel Bradford was my wife!"
Clark, keeping his voice low so no one would overhear, "Don't try to blame anyone other than yourself for what you did. You just got caught."
"Caught? I haven't been caught, Clarkie, just putting my Plan B into action. I just said that I ended up empty-handed. Actually, I'm not. You see, I still know that you are Superboy and that I have something that means a great deal to you."
"Such as?" Clark inquired.
"Oh, a very nice-looking eighteen-year-old red-headed young lady. I believe her name is Lana. I've been keeping an eye on her since she started at Smallville Junior College. Now she is my...guest."
"LANA! Let me talk to her!"
"Calm down, Clarkie. I believe I'm the one in charge here. I'll decide when and if you can talk to her. I'll tell you what. Not only will I let you talk to her, I'll let you see her."
"When! Where!" an excited Kent asked.
"Kent, the time has come for us to meet and talk things over. Of course, need I add that Miss Lang's life depends on how our conversation goes? Here's what we'll do. You meet me at the barn on the Sartania farm in thirty minutes. Not a minute early or a minute late or the girl dies. Do you understand?"
"Oh, yes, I'll be there. You can count on it. And will you let Lana go?"
"That depends on you, Superboy."
Kent heard a dial tone.
Without attracting attention, Kent walked back to his room and told Pete, "Call Inspector Henderson. Tell him to have the police at the Sartania barn in thirty minutes, but stay out of sight until Superboy signals him to move in. Lana's been kidnapped. Ya got that, Pete?"
"I'm flying out there right now."
Clark left his room, dashed up the steps to the roof, and seeing all was clear, changed to his alter ego of Superboy.
Even though he had thirty minutes to get to the Sartania farm, the Boy of Steel was there in less than five. He spent the next his extra time surveying the situation. Using his x-ray vision, he confirmed that there was an armed man inside the barn. The guy looked somewhat familiar, but the lad couldn't think of where he had seen this person before. They had never come face-to-face four years earlier during the diamond robbery.
Superboy also confirmed, unfortunately, that Lana Lang was being held prisoner, tied to a wooden chair near the center of the barn. What he didn't expect was the appearance of Bob Morgan, Clark Kent's new college friend.
"I don't understand. What is Bob doing there?"
The clocked zeroed in on the half-hour mandatory meeting.
"Well, here goes!" he said to himself as he lifted in flight and entered the barn by splintering a section of one of the building's sides.
"Ah, Superboy, my young friend, right on time," was his greeting.
"Skip the friend stuff. Are you all right, Miss Lang?" She nodded. "And who is this young man?" quizzed the super hero.
"Oh him? This young man is my son, although he's never been much of one."
Bob yelled, "Like you've been a loving father! Superboy, I've only seen him once or twice in my life. He deserted my mother before I was born. She had to work herself to the bone to take care of the two of us. His name is Otto Ort. I took my mother's name of Morgan, because he wasn't man enough to marry her. He showed up once or twice to cause us trouble. And now he's doing it again."
"Now, boy, let's not air our family linen in front of these folks. That's not why we are here," the gruff man stated.
"O.K., then why are we here? I kept my part of the bargain. Now I'm going to free Miss Lang and take her away from here," the Boy of Steel answered.
"Very well, Superboy, but first give me one moment. I have something you'll want to see."
The custodian turned and picked up a metal box from a table. "There's something in this box that's worth more than the four million dollars you prevented me from having." Approaching the super youngster, he opened the box a few feet from him. "See?"
A green glow emitted from the box. Superboy felt weak. The man walked closer. Superboy stumbled back, tipping Lana Lang's chair over. Striking her head on a work bench, the red head was knocked cold.
Stopping about two feet away, this Mister X took the green stone out of the container. "My theory seems to be correct. It is the green one that affects you. The two brown ones looked just like regular rocks, but this special green stone...there's something unique about it."
He waved it back and forth just out of reach causing Superboy to collapse to the floor, virtually screaming in pain.
"STOP IT! STOP IT! YOU'RE KILLING HIM!" protested Bob.
"That's why we're here, sonny." Looking down at his fallen prey, "You killed my wife, Superboy. Now, I'm going to kill you."
Barely able to speak, the critical hero asked, "So you stole these from Professor Peterson."
"Me? No, it was my boy Bob here who broke into the prof's office and took them."
"Why, Bob, why?" the lad asked.
"He told me he'd kill my friends if I didn't steal them for him. Lana, Lisa, Pete, Clark...all of them. And he would, too. He's a sick old man. I didn't know why he wanted them. I didn't know they could hurt you. Please, believe me!"
"Oh yes...Clark Kent. Well son, there's something you should know about your friend Clark. He's right in front of you. You see, Bob, Clark Kent is secretly Superboy. Clark Kent is just a disguise."
"I don't believe you!" Bob responded.
"Tell him, Superboy," he demanded, holding the rock even closer.
Nearly unconscious, the stricken hero answered, "Yes, Bob. He's telling you the truth. But how did you know the meteorites would hurt me?"
Outside the barn, a Smallville police car pulled up via silent approach. Leading the three other patrolmen was Inspector Henderson, there at Pete's request.
"Take it easy, men, until we know what's going on in there."
A second car carrying Professor Lang and Pete Ross slid on the dirt as it stopped.
Henderson, annoyed, "What are you doing here? Stay down. We don't know yet what we're dealing with here?"
Back inside, Mister X answered the helpless hero's question, "I was outside the science lab the other morning when you, well, Clark Kent, became sick. Nobody pays attention to a meek-looking custodian. I just clean up after other people. So I asked around. I heard some of the other students say that you nearly passed out when you were standing by the rocks. So, knowing you and Kent were the same guy, I took a chance that it was the rocks that caused your problem. After all, nothing on earth can harm the great Superboy. Everybody knows that. Looks like my hunch was right. Whatever this green rock is, I'm going to use it to kill you."
"NO!" Bob shouted as he lunged for the green stone.
"Don't interfere, boy, stay away!" the parent instructed.
Bob and his father engaged in a scuffle. The green rock fell just out of the Boy of Steel's reach. Again, the older man got the advantage of the fight, sending young Morgan to the dirt floor. As Bob attacked again, there was a loud shot. The youngster fell to the barn floor, motionless.
"O.K., we're going in!" shouted Henderson to his men. As they approached the barn, Ort came running out, trying to make it to his car. Seeing police, he opened-fired. Several returned police rounds cut the fleeing man down.
Pete immediately jumped up and ran for the door of the barn.
"Ross, stop!" Henderson screamed.
Pete ignored the warning and entered the barn. He ran straight to the outstretched Superboy.
"Put the green rock in that case and close the lid, Pete, hurry," instructed his super friend.
Ross obeyed, and seconds later, the effects of the meteorite began wearing off. Pete helped Superboy to his feet. "Check on Lana," the super youngster instructed.
Getting to Bob as quickly as he could, he turned the injured student over.
Blood trickled out of the boy's mouth, "You going to be O.K.?" he asked the Boy of Steel who nodded. "There's something...you should know, if you...don't already."
"Just take it easy, Bob, we're going to get you some help."
Young Morgan replied, "But I want to tell you that...there's a girl...who can...fly like you. I...took a picture...of her, but no one would...believe me. She's out there...somewhere. I think that...it...might..." He went motionless.
Pete had untied Lana and had her on her feet. When they looked at Bob, Superboy sadly shook his head. "He's gone."
Henderson and Professor Lang ran into the barn.
"Are you O.K., honey?" the college instructor asked.
"Yes, Daddy, I just got bumped on the head. I'll be fine."
Superboy, trying his best to hide the effects of the meteorite, told Hendeson, "The man shot this college student. The kid didn't make it."
"Neither did the man," Henderson replied.
"The man was Otto Ort. He was the brains behind that diamond robbery four years ago. He was married to that fake reporter from Metropolis, Muriel Bradford, who died in that car crash."
"The cop stated, "Yeah, I remember it all too well."
"Inspector, I'm going to take Lana home with me for the rest of the weekend. If you need to talk with her, she'll be with me," Professor Lang informed.
"Thank you, Professor."
"Inspector, these three meteorites were stolen from the office of Professor Peterson at the college. Please see that he gets them back safely," Superboy stated.
"Yes, I know about them. I spoke with the Professor this morning about the theft."
"And can you see that our friend Pete here gets back to the campus?"
"Sure, he can ride along with us," Henderson answered.
Stepping away with Pete privately, Superboy told his roommate, "I'll see you back at the dorm, assuming I have the strength to fly back."
"O.K., buddy, see ya there."
The Boy of Steel exited through the side wall hole he had created. Giving the strongest leap he could muster, he slowly lifted into the air.
"Lisa, I loved you the first moment I saw you. You're the most wonderful girl I have ever met, and I know we can be happy together forever. Lisa Landon, will you marry me?"
"Oh, yes Bob. I will," came her response.
Suddenly, she sat up in her bed. "A dream...of course it had to be a dream because Bob is dead. And I feel responsible for his death. Who knows how our relationship would have progressed? Now, I'll never know. He was such a sweet guy. Oh why did he have to take that photograph of me flying over the college campus? If I hadn't been there at that exact moment, none of this would have ever happened, and he would still be alive. What should I do now...go to Superboy and tell him about myself or continue keeping my existence a secret?
I do so want to be by his side in helping people, but I'm not sure that I'm ready. I certainly didn't help Bob. Oh, I don't know what to do."
Across campus in the dormitory for men, a still-weakened Clark Kent sat at his desk pondering everything that had occurred during his first week of college.
"What kind of man would kill his own son? I know this Otto Ort had a black heart, that he'd do anything to achieve his goals, but still, his own flesh and blood. Bob was a good person who overcame many obstacles having the background he had. Such a tragic waste of a young life. And I learned two important things today...that there is definitely something on Earth that can hurt, even kill me. This green rock. But, what is it, what is its origin and how many of these meteorites exist? And Bob's dying confirmation that the photograph of his I found is authentic...that there is indeed a girl on the planet who can fly like I can and even dresses in an outfit similar to mine. Does she possess all of my special abilities? Where does she come from? How long has she been here?"
Staring at the photo, this college student / super hero then looked out the window, "Somewhere she's out there. I have to find this...Supergirl."
Posted August 26, 2013
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"