TAC Table of Contents
Clark Kent and his buddies were gathered around the bulletin board in the main hall of Smallville High School. A particular sheet of paper had grabbed their attention.
Each of the guys read it silently to themselves when they heard a female voice.
"Spring. Don't you just love Spring? It's my favorite season," announced the redheaded freshman. "The end of another long, dreary winter. Time to get outside, plant a flower garden, open the windows, put the top down on my car. Don't you love it?"
"Yeah, Spring's great," Kent answered Lana Lang.
"You know what else I like about this time of year?" she asked.
A male voice, a bit irritated by her interruption, "No, but I'm sure you're going to tell us."
"You don't have to be ugly," she sniped. "The other thing I like about Spring, well, the poem says it best...In the Spring a young man's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of..."
"BASEBALL!" the circle of males shouted.
"Baseball? NO! NO! NO! Love," she insisted.
"Not me. I'd rather play baseball," Chester Sartania replied.
"Me, too!" another agreed.
"Why am I standing here wasting my time with your boys? You need to get your priorities straight. Baseball, geez, what a waste of time. You can have your old baseball. I'm sticking with love," Lana lectured.
"And who would be the object of your wild and passionate love, Lana?"
"The same fellow as yesterday, the same today and the same tomorrow," she answered.
"Well, I know who that would be," Kent interjected. "Superboy."
"You got that right!" she replied.
"Superboy!" Rusty Ellsworth spoke up. "Now that would be a one-sided romance. Superboy's much too busy to have a grilfriend, Lana. He's got too many other things to do."
"We'll just see about that Rusty!"
"Well, good luck to you, Lana. Let me know how it works out," Ellsworth snickered.
"Oh, there's Phyllis and Noel. Gotta go. Baseball...sheesh," she stated as she took off down the hall towards her girlfriends.
The guys refocused on the announcement of baseball tryouts the following afternoon after school let out.
"We should have a pretty good team this year," Pete Ross announced. "We lost only three guys from last year, and this year's seniors are pretty strong. We're in good shape pitching-wise."
"Good analysis," a husky voice chimed in.
They turned to see Coach Feller, the baseball coach.
"Any of you trying out for the squad?"
"I am," Chester answered.
"You're Sartania, aren't you?" the coach asked. "You're pretty good sized for a freshman."
"Yes sir. Chester Sartania. I'll be at tryouts tomorrow."
"Great." Pointing to Pete, "How about you?"
"I'm not very athletic, Coach. But I'd love to talk to you about being the team's manager."
"Fine. Be at tryouts then." Summing up Rusty, he stated, "You're a bit small. Are you very fast?"
"Oh, I can't tryout, Coach. I have a job after school. I work at the Smallville Sentinel. I'm a newspaper man."
"Oh, what do you do there?" the coach inquired.
"I'm the custodian's assistant now, but someday I'm going to be their top reporter."
"Good for you, son. Well, I hope you'll be able to come to some of our games."
The coach then looked over the last member of the group.
"What about you, son? You're a good size and look to be in very good shape."
"Coach, I would really like to tryout, but I'm afraid I can't," Clark responded. "I have to work afternoons with my dad at our store uptown. Kent's General Store."
The lad was telling the truth. He did often work after school. The other reason he wouldn't be playing competitive baseball, or any other sport at Smallville High, was because of an agreement he had made with his parents. Because of the extraordinary abilities he possessed, it wouldn't be fair or safe for any of the other athletes. And the reason he had these special abilities was because, with the glasses and quiet demeanor, the youth hid the fact that Clark Kent was the Boy of Steel...SUPERBOY.
Powerful. Fearless. Invulnerable.
The only survivor of the doomed planet Krypton, home of a race of fine and noble humans far advanced over those of our own world. Whose scientist father sent him hurtling into the far reaches of inter-stellar space in a tiny craft moments before great Krypton exploded into a billion fragments, speeding the space ship on its course for planet Earth, where landing safely, the infant was found and adopted by the Smallville couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named the child Clark and reared him as their own.
Now, sixteen years later, the boy is a freshman at Smallville High School. A decision was made with his parents sometime earlier, and still carefully guarded, that the meek retiring manner of Clark Kent would hide the exciting secret known only to himself and his foster parents...the secret that Clark Kent was in reality...SUPERBOY, champion of the oppressed, enemy of all evil doers, dedicated to the cause of truth and justice.
It had been a busy morning at Kent's General Store, and the afternoon had proven to be no different.
A half dozen customers were shopping in the store. Clark was assisting Mrs. Neill, his friend Noel's mom, when the telephone rang. Jonathan was nearer, so he grabbed it.
"Kent's General Store...oh, hi Martha, we're kinda busy right now." He listened intently. "OK, I'll tell him. Bye."
The elder Kent called for his son.
"That was your mother. The signal lamp was just flashing."
The lad turned his back on the occupants inside the store and quickly dialed the Smallville Police Department.
As quietly as possible, not to be overheard, he told the police officer it was Superboy on the line.
"Superboy, we've got a mess out on the Cliffton Highway. A fence is down, and the road is full of cows. We have an officer on the site to direct traffic, but he could really use your help."
"I'll be there shortly," he replied, hanging up the receiver. Clark signaled his father that he had to leave. Jonathan gave approval.
The youngster casually walked towards the store's back room and closed the door behind him.
"No time to waste. Must get there before there's an accident," he thought as he removed his sweater and unbuttoned his shirt revealing the red and yellow 'S' insignia on the chest of his blue costume. This is a job for Superboy."
Mrs. Neill was looking around, bewildered.
"Jonathan, what happened to Clark? He was just here helping me?"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Neill. He had to run an important errand for me. I'll be glad to help you."
Ready to spring into action, the boy from Krypton lifted the large wooden crate revealing the hidden tunnel which led away from the store. Seconds later, he was airborne towards the Cliffton Highway. Arriving quickly, he came to land beside the officer.
"You do have a mess here, don't you Officer Mooney? Give me a second."
The super youth grabbed the broken fence wire, seared it together with his heat vision, then one by one, returned each of the escaped cattle back inside the enclosed pasture. He was finished in two minutes.
"There you go, Officer. All done."
"Thanks, Superboy, you're a life saver."
The policeman had traffic flowing in its normal rhythm as the hero took off.
As he made his descent towards the tunnel's outside entrance, Superboy noticed someone waving at him from below, a few blocks from his destination.
"Uh-oh, it's Lana. Well, I guess I'd better see what she wants. Something might be wrong."
Shortly, he stood beside the redhead outside the white picket fence that surrounded her property.
"Hi Superboy. How are you? I haven't seen you for like forever. I missed you."
"I'm fine, Miss Lang. I hope you're doing well."
"Now, Superboy, you promised to call me Lana."
"I'm sorry, Lana. Is there something I can do for you?"
"Yes, sure is. I mean, I'm not in any danger or anything like that, not this time. But I did want to ask you something."
"Such as?" he responded.
"Well, since it's finally warm weather again, I was hoping you would go to the drive-in movie with me this weekend. We can take my Impala and put the top down, or if you'd rather have privacy, we could keep the top up."
"Miss Lang, I mean Lana, it's kind of you to ask, but I really can't go with you, because..."
Cutting him off, "If you're afraid of creating a disturbance by being seen, I mean, you could wear a disguise or something. Maybe my dad's overcoat and hat."
"I doubt I would be inconspicuous wearing an overcoat and hat at a drive-in movie this time of year. Lana, what I was trying to say, the reason I'm unable to go is because my schedule is very busy, and I never know when and where I might be needed, so having any kind of social life is difficult. It wouldn't be fair to you."
"Oh I wouldn't mind. I just want to spend some time with you and get to know you better."
"I'm flattered that you feel that way, Lana, but I have to decline your invitation. Why not ask some young man you know from school? I know some of those fellows. I'd be happy to recommend..."
"Oh, I know everyone at school. I wanted to go with you."
"I'm sorry, I just can't. And I really must be going now. I have somewhere I need to be. I'll be seeing you, Lana."
As he flew away, she wiped a tear from her cheek. "He didn't even notice my new dress I wore especially for him. He doesn't know how mad I am about him. Superboy, don't you know that I love you?"
"Would you pass the green beans, please Mom?"
"Martha, your son spent some of his afternoon herding cattle," Jonathan chuckled as he relayed the incident to his wife.
"What? Herding cattle?"
"Not exactly, Mom. I didn't really herd them. I picked them up and put them back into the pasture. I guess you could say I was in the cattle moving business."
A round of laughter encircled the Kent dining table.
"Oh, and Lana asked me to go to the drive-in with her this weekend, but I had to say no."
"Why is that, son? You and Lana have gone together many times," Martha wanted to know.
"Because she asked Superboy, not Clark."
"Oh dear me. Well, I guess you did the right thing," she replied.
"She actually came on pretty strong. I tried to divert her to asking Clark, but she wouldn't budge."
Jonathan moaned, "I know this must be hard on you, son."
"You mean, she won't go on a date with Clark, but she'd throw herself in front of a truck for Superboy?" the lad answered. "Yes, it was hard at first, but I'm dealing with it the best I can. It's kind of weird being jealous of yourself, but I'm trying to get past it. I'm finished, may I be excused? I need to work on my Superboy journals."
"Of course, your father will be thrilled to help me with the dishes."
Jonathan gave out a groan. "The weatherman said we're going to get some rain tonight," he added.
"Yeah, it's going to be a wet patrol of Smallville tonight," Clark answered as he pushed open the bookcase leading into his secret room.
A couple of hours passed.
Clark was coming down the steps from upstairs when he saw his parents heading for their bedroom.
"I'm going out on patrol. See you in the morning," he told them.
"Good night, son."
Shortly the Boy of Steel exited the tunnel deep in the woods behind the Kent home and streaked through the pouring rain.
Later, as midnight approached, a lonely figured hovered over the silent, wet streets of Smallville.
"All my classmates have been asleep for hours, never dreaming that their friend Clark Kent is Superboy and is flying above their homes, watching out for their safety."
Biology. The class that sent chills up the spines of many Smallville High students, as well as those in every high school in the United States.
Gathering and identifying leaves during Autumn was easy compared to the dissecting of frogs in the Spring. Lana Lang had remarked she didn't think she could do it. That was upcoming in the next few days. But today was a day of sitting and listening to Mr. Cusack lecturing about amphibians, then copying his notes from the blackboard. The lecture, lasting thirty minutes, seemed like thirty hours. The last half of the class was to be spent copying.
Cusack had been teaching Biology at SHS almost as long as Withers had been Principal. A very slender man with thinning hair and moustache, he took no nonsense from students and demanded, rather than earning, respect. He usually got it.
He seated his students in pairs alphabetically. Each desk accommodated a pair. Clark being a 'K' and Lana being an 'L' sat together. Kent enjoyed the time with her, most of the time. The occasions, which had been frequent, in which she went on and on about how dreamy Superboy was, often made him feel bad. He wanted so badly to just tell her what she often suspected. Yes Lana, Clark and Superboy are one. The romantic problems which existed between the three would be solved. But he couldn't.
During the note copying part of the day's class, his super sensitive hearing heard someone say the name Superboy. Focusing his x-ray vision through the blackboard into the next door school office, he saw Principal Withers talking with Coach Feller, the baseball mentor. It seemed the coach was wanting to talk with Superboy about something but didn't know how to make contact. He then watched as Feller left the office and walked down the main hall towards the P.E. department at the rear of the building.
With everyone heavily absorbed with getting their notes completed before the end of class, Kent finished in a matter of seconds. He wanted to go see the coach.
He had a plan. He moaned quietly a time or two. Only his biology partner could hear him.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"I don't feel so good."
"No talking," Cusack instructed.
Using that as a catalyst, Kent walked to the teacher's desk.
"Mr. Cusack, I'm feeling really hot and light-headed. I think I need some fresh air. May I step outside for a few minutes, please?"
"Kent, I don't let students out of my class just because they want to have a smoke. You'll have to wait till morning break like the others. Return to your seat."
"No sir, it's not that. I don't smoke. Really, I need some fresh air. Please..."
"Oh, go ahead, but if Mr. Withers catches you wandering the halls, I will not be responsible."
The youth expressed thanks, left the classroom and quickly walked to the side door away from the office. Outside, he darted into a thicket of shrubbery where he changed to his other identity, jumped into the air and came down beside the school's back door.
With the hall deserted, he made it unseen to Feller's office, located at the entrance to the P.E. locker rooms.
Knocking on the ajar door, he whispered, "Coach Feller?"
"Yeah, come in."
The Boy of Steel entered the office. Feller was seated behind his desk, chewing on the remains of his morning cigar.
"Superboy!" he gasped.
"It's nice to meet you, Coach. I understand you wanted to see me."
"Uh, well, yes I do. But how in the devil did you know that?"
"I'm here, Coach. That's the important thing. Now, what can I do for you?"
"Well, Superboy, I don't know how much time you have for sports with your busy schedule and all, but the Smallville High baseball season will be starting week after next. We're having tryouts now, and practice starts Monday."
The lad responded, "I love baseball. It is America's pastime."
"That's great. Well, here's the situation. Our team uniforms are very old, some are almost rags. The School Board didn't allocate enough money this year for new uniforms. Only about half of what is needed."
"Sorry to hear that, Coach."
"I feel really bad having to put my guys in those awful uniforms. New ones would really pick up their morale, and this could be a really good season for us. I had this idea that we could kick off our season, say next Saturday, with a three inning scrimmage game with another school. The Boosters Club could sell hot dogs and soda pop. And I was hoping you would make a personal appearance. I have no doubt you would draw a really big crowd for us. We could set up an autograph table. Charge a buck for your autograph and give them a chance to get their pictures taken with you. And maybe you could even speak before the game. A fun-filled afternoon. It would really start off our season with a bang. Will you do it, Superboy, please?"
"Gosh, Coach, I've never done anything like this before."
"It would give the community as a whole the opportunity to meet and thank you for all you've done for us.And, like I said, it'd really be a boost for my team. Hopefully, we'd raise enough money for those new uniforms. What do you say?"
"Coach, normally I don't like to draw attention to myself, but...it is a great cause." He paused. "Sure. You can count on me. Next Saturday."
Shaking the Boy of Steel's hand, Feller was beside himself with gratitude.
Reversing his movements in visiting the coach, the lad from Krypton dropped into the shrubbery outside the school building. Pulling his garments from the hidden pouch of his cape, he covered the instantly-recognizable red, blue and yellow outfit Martha Kent had designed and sewn from the blankets which had wrapped him as an infant during his journey to Earth. Soon Clark Kent had reappeared.
"Just enough time to return to Biology before the bell rings."
Upon his entrance into the classroom, his teacher Mr. Cusack asked if he felt better.
"Yes sir. Thank you."
As he went to sit in his desk, the bell sounded. Grabbing his books, Lana Lang walked out with him.
"Are you OK now, Clark?"
"Yeah, I feel better now. Just had a hot flash, I guess."
"Funny, Clark, funny," she replied in a sarcastic tone.
News, good or bad, traveled fast in the quaint hamlet of Smallville. Around four in the afternoon, the bell on the front door of Kent's General Store sounded. In came running young Benjy Banks.
"Hi Clark. Hi Mr. Kent. Here are your papers. Superboy's on the front page again."
He dropped them on the main counter next to the cash register.
"Thanks, Benjy. You doing OK?"
"Couldn't be better. Bye Clark. Bye Mr. Kent. See ya tomorrow."
Town busybody Lucinda Hobbs, shopping in the store, grabbed the top copy of the Sentinel just as Jonathan cut the twine holding the stack together.
"Let's see what the Boy Wonder is up to today..." she stated. She glanced through reporter Tim Harding's front page story, then announcing to all in the store, taking pride in giving her report before anyone else could read the article, "It says that Superboy is going to appear at the high school next Saturday afternoon to help the baseball team raise money for new uniforms. Well, that's sweet of him, isn't it? Says he's going to sign autographs for a dollar and people can pay to have their picture taken with him. A dollar for an autograph or picture? Is that crazy Winters out of his mind? Who's gonna pay a dollar for that? The next time that Principal comes into the drug store, I'm going to give him a piece of my mind."
"As if she could spare it," Jonathan thought.
"Let me ask you something Clark Kent," she went on. "I don't know what your father pays you here, but I'm sure you work hard for your money. Would you pay a whole dollar to get your picture taken with Superboy?"
"Oh, I don't know, Miss Hobbs. A photo of me with Superboy might be worth more than a dollar."
His dad had to cover his face to keep from laughing.
"Well, you're crazy if you do. I hope the team can get their new uniforms, but this is the nuttiest thing I've heard since the President said we would land a man on the moon someday soon. Just wait until I see that Withers."
At the first opportunity to talk with the store void of customers, the elder Kent asked his son when this public appearance idea came about.
"This morning. And I must say that Coach Feller hasn't wasted any time getting the word out. I hope I've done the right thing."
It's a wonder the Smallville telephone system didn't blow fuses that evening. Harding's front page article had started an avalanche of excitement over the phone lines. Nearly every girl who attended the high school was making non-stop calls from the moment they read the paper. The ones with party lines almost went to war trying to get access to an open line.
Heading the charge was a certain redhead, and one of her first calls, after her father had declared a telephone moratorium during their dinner, was to the Kent house.
"For you son," Jonathan extended the receiver. Quietly moving his lips, "It's Lana."
The boy rolled his eyes, "but of course. Hi Lana. What's up?"
"Clark, have you seen today's paper?"
"Uh, yes I have."
"Isn't it wonderful? Actually it's bigger than wonderful. It's incredible."
"May I assume you're referring to the Superboy article?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"Of course, silly boy, I'm not calling about the classified ads. I'm just in orbit thinking about it."
"Yeah, it sounds like it might be fun. There's a baseball game, ya know."
"Who cares about that! I'm going to get my picture made with Superboy over and over and over. And a hundred autographed pictures. I'm going to clean out my savings account and spend it all on Superboy."
"Your might want to check with your dad about that, Lana."
"This is going to be the biggest day of my life, other than the day Superboy first showed up in Smallville and stopped that airplane from crashing. The day my life changed forever. You're going, aren't you, Clark? You know what, you and I can have our picture taken with Superboy, the three of us. Wouldn't that be something?"
"Oh yeah, that would really be something! Actually Lana, I hope I can go, but I'm not sure if..."
"Aha! I knew you'd say something like that. It's odd, Clark, that you and Superboy are never at the same place at the same time. And I know why."
Kent's body stiffened awaiting her next statement. The two of them had been down this road on numerous occasions.
"It's just what I've suspected since Superboy first appeared in Smallville. You, Clark Kent, are...jealous of Superboy. Well, am I right or not?"
He relaxed a bit. "Well, Lana, if you're talking about the fact that you have romantic feelings for him and not me, maybe I am."
"Oh, Clark, let's not dredge that up again."
"Well, you asked."
"I meant you're jealous Superboy's getting all this attention," she explained.
"You know me better than that, Lana Lang. I don't need the spotlight shining on me. I'm happy minding my own business. I don't like being the center of attention."
"Well, I do. And when Superboy and I start going steady, well, never mind."
"Don't count your chickens, Lana." Just then he observed the signal lamp blinking. "Lana, my Dad needs to use the phone, so I have to go. I'll see ya at school tomorrow."
"All right, Clark Kent. I have a hundred more calls to make anyway. See ya. Bye."
Kent placed the receiver in the cradle of the instrument and turned to his father. "Crazy, just crazy. I'd better see why the police are calling."
He vanished behind the bookcase. Seconds later, Superboy informed the officer, "I'm on my way."
Eleven o'clock rolled around and found Lana across her bed, still talking on the phone. Her enthusiasm had not diminished.
Her father,a professor at Smallville Junior College, opened her bedroom door.
"Lana, if you don't go to bed this very minute, I'm going to pull that Princess phone out of the wall by the cord."
"OK, Daddy. Sorry Phyllis. I have to go. See ya tomorrow."
Bright and early on Saturday morning, Clark Kent was outside the family business sweeping the sidewalk when he heard a familiar voice literally screaming at him from up the street at the town square.
He threw up his hand and waved to Lana Lang as she entered Gower's Drug Store.
"I might regret this, but I think I'll go up there and she what she's up to today?" he thought.
He put the broom inside the front door and told Jonathan where he was going. Then made the journey to Gower's.
As he entered, Lana was at the main counter, barking out what she needed to Lucinda Hobbs.
"Oh, and a pouch of my Dad's pipe tobacco."
"I shouldn't be selling you tobacco, Lana, but since it's for Professor Lang, I'll make an exception," Hobbs informed her.
"Miss Hobbs, you've been selling it to me since I was ten years old."
"I know, I know, but I'm just letting you know that if I didn't want to, I wouldn't have to. You are underage, you know," always obsessed with having the last word. All right, dearie, it all comes to $8.45. A charge, I presume, as always?"
"Yes ma'am. Thank you."
"Let me ask you something else, dearie," Hobbs went on.
Lana hated being called 'dearie.'
"Are you planning to go to that baseball thing next Saturday at the high school?"
Clark joined the two at the counter.
"Sure! I wouldn't miss it for anything," the redhead replied. "Superboy will be there!"
"Yes, I know, I read the paper. How about you, Clark. Are you going?"
"Uh, I hope to, if I can get off from the store."
"And do you two plan to pay a dollar just to get Superboy's autograph?"
"Are you kidding? And my picture taken with him, too," was Lana's quick response. "In fact, more than one."
"How about you, Clark?"
"Well, I guess so."
Lucinda pressed, "But what's the big deal? I don't understand."
"Miss Hobbs, we're talking about Superboy! The dreamiest hunk of man I've ever seen."
"I guess I'll never figure out you teenagers."
"I bet back in your day, you were ape over someone. C'mon. Be honest," the redhead went on the attack.
"Well, I'll admit, Frankie was a cutie."
"I believe she's referring to Frank Sinatra, Lana."
"Frank Sinatra, why, he's an old man," she snapped.
"Actually, he's not that old, Lana. And he's been a big star for twenty years now."
"Well, maybe so, but he's no Superboy."
Lucinda, now really ready to argue, "If Frankie walked through that door over there, I would probably faint dead away."
"What if Superboy walked in?"
"I'd be nice to him, of course, just as I am to all my customers, but I wouldn't go, as you say, 'ape' over him."
Clark excused himself, "I'm going to let you ladies hash this out between yourselves. I've got to get to the Sentinel."
"The Sentinel? Why do you have to go to the Sentinel?" Lana inquired.
"Did I say Sentinel? I meant the store. My Dad needs me. Bye ladies."
As he walked back down the block, he scolded himself, "Nice, Clark, nice." The youngster was due at the newspaper office during the morning, but as the Boy of Steel. The editor, Laurence Larson, had agreed to provide several hundred photos of Superboy for the baseball benefit, and a photographer was going to take some head shots."
Back inside the store's back room, Clark made the change to his other identity and exited through the tunnel. Just for fun, he decided to make a stop at the drug store on his way to the newspaper.
Lana and Lucinda were still hashing at the counter when the spinster Hobbs exclaimed,"Oh my goodness! There he is!"
"Who? Frank Sinatra," Lana laughed.
"No silly, Superboy."
The teen did a quick 180 as her hero walked through the door.
"Good morning, ladies."
"Superboy, what are you doing here!" Lang asked.
"Thought I'd come in for a milkshake."
"You two know each other?" the busybody asked.
"Of course we know each other," Lana snapped, "More than once Superboy has come to my aid one way or another. You see, Miss Hobbs, I kinda have the knack of getting myself into jams sometimes. I can think of quite a few when I needed Superboy's help."
"Yes, Lana, I can believe that," Hobbs remarked.
The Boy of Steel thought to himself, "And some when you weren't even aware. Like that time at Parson's Pond...
A bunch of kids were swimming one afternoon, many waiting their turn for the diving board, except Lana that is. She climbed a tree beside the pond, about fifteen feet up.
'Hey everyone, look up here at me,' she shouted down to her friends. 'I'm gonna dive in from up here.'
'The diving board isn't good enough for Lana. She always has to do something spectacular to get attention,' one of the kids stated.
I happened to be there as Clark Kent. I yelled to her, "No, Lana, don't dive in from there. It's too dangerous.'
'Don't be silly, Clark. You may be a scared stick-in-the-mud, but I'm not.'
My x-ray vision revealed jagged rocks below the surface in the area she was going to dive. I had to act fast. Since everyone's attention was directed at Lana's showing off, it gave me a chance to make a quick change to Superboy. Moving in a blur of speed, I went underwater out of sight. It would have been easy for me to move the rocks or even crush them, rendering them harmless, but I decided to do something else to hopefully teach her a little lesson. As she hurtled towards the water, I blanketed the rocks in thick mud to cushion her fall and give her a big surprise. As she proudly emerged from the pond, she was unaware she was covered in gunk.
'You called Clark a stick-in-the-mud, Lana. Well, look at you. That's what you get for showing off.'
She was quite embarrassed."
"What flavor milkshake did you want, Superboy?" Lucinda asked.
"Actually, I'm late for an appointment, so I'll have to wait until another time."
He stepped around to the side of the counter and put his arm around Lucinda Hobbs.
"But thank you. You're a nice lady."
She fainted into his arms.
Take all of the signs that dressed windows of every store in downtown Smallville, combine them with the same signs on virtually every pole that protruded from the ground, toss in coverage in the Smallville Sentinel and the announcements on the town's 1000-watt AM radio station, and it might have been the best job of promoting an event since 'Gone With The Wind' opened in Atlanta back in 1939.
If any resident in or around Smallville wasn't aware of the upcoming fund raiser at the high school on Saturday, they must be Rip Van Winkle and slept through the entire week.
One citizen who counted the seconds away was star-struck Lana Lang. All she had thought about since the announcement was first made...Superboy, Superboy, Superboy. A crush, true love or an obsession? Who knew? Her anticipation of the event was diminished only by the fact that she hadn't seen the Boy of Steel the entire week.
Actually, she had, every day in school. She just didn't know she had seen him. In fact, he sat right beside her in Biology class, not as a super hero but as mild-mannered Clark Kent, her close friend. Her current strong feelings for Superboy dominated the girl to the point that the part-time desire in proving Clark was Superboy hadn't been apparent for some time.
For that, Kent could be grateful.
And finally, the sun came up on what the town was calling Super Saturday.
The front door of Kent's General Store had been unlocked less than five minutes when the eager Lana entered.
"Well, today's the day."
"So it is."
"You don't sound very excited, Clark. Don't let that big green monster get the best of you."
"Lana, there's no big green monster. I hope the event is a huge success."
"You are going to be there, aren't you?"
"I hope so, Lana. As I've told you all week, it depends on how busy the store is this afternoon."
"I bet everyone in town will be at the school, so the store won't be busy at all."
"You may be right. We'll have to wait and see," he replied.
"I'm going over about one o'clock to get in the autograph line. Superboy is scheduled to be there at two."
"I hope to see you there, Lana."
Heading for the door, she stated, "Well, you'd better be there."
There wasn't any doubt he would be.
It turned out, for once, the redhead was right.
By one o'clock in the afternoon, the streets and stores of downtown Smallville looked as if it were one in the morning.
Lana Lang had planned on being the first in the Superboy autograph line. She had hedged on going at an hour past noon. She arrived at the Smallville High School baseball field in her Impala convertible at twelve thirty and was shocked and upset there were a dozen female students already in line. Wasting no time, she jumped into place.
The two o'clock event was now ten minutes shy of starting, when someone shouted, "LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! HERE HE COMES!"
The special guest landed right at home plate and was quickly joined by Principal Winters and Coach Feller.
"Welcome, Superboy," Winters exclaimed. "Looks like the whole town and then some are here."
"Yes, sir, there's a lot more people here than I expected," he replied.
A bunch of these people started to make their way towards the home plate area. Officer Bill Henderson quickly announced through his bullhorn to please stay off the field. It had already been prepared for the upcoming scrimmage game with Midvale High.
Henderson instructed three officers to escort the guest of honor to the microphone area where Winters would make opening remarks. This came as a surprise to no one.
"I hope the old windbag doesn't talk all afternoon," went through the minds of many.
Sharply at two, the long-time Principal began. Henderson, seeing the crowd was getting antsy, signaled the school leader that he should wrap it up so the autograph and picture sessions could begin. Fortunately, he complied.
The same officers then escorted Superboy to his table and the first lucky person, Gloria Buckley, handed the assigned faculty member her dollar.
"Could you make it 'To Gloria,' please?"
"Of course," as he smiled at her.
"Now a picture, please?" she asked, handing the teacher another buck. She scooted around the table as he stood. He placed his arm around her shoulder as the Smallville Sentinel photographer snapped the shutter.
"Thank you, Superboy."
"Thank you, Gloria."
And so the process continued. Ten minutes passed until Lana Lang's turn.
"Hi, Superboy!" she said.
"Hello, Lana, how are you today?"
"Dreamy," she answered, making sure those close by realized he knew her name.
"I'll take one of each pose and a picture. Here's my five dollars."
"Lana, we have only a limited number," he informed her. "Don't want anyone who wants a photo to miss out."
"My money's as good as anyone's. Four photos please."
He relented, thinking it easier than for her to make a scene, which might be a distinct possibility.
"Sign them, 'To Lana, Love Superboy.' Now the picture."
The love-struck teen hugged him with the force that might have broken the normal teenage boy's rib cage.
Grabbing her signed photos, she was crushed that the inscription mentioned nothing of love but instead 'To Lana, Your friend, Superboy.'
If he hadn't been scheduled for a baseball exhibition before the game, she would have left the school at that moment.
The photo signing and picture taking took an extra half hour than had been scheduled. And yes, they did run out of the furnished photos, but people still paid a buck for an autograph on book bags, notebooks and notebook paper. And fortunately, the Sentinel photographer had brought lots of film for his camera, so everyone got what they wanted.
"Looks like the team will be getting those new uniforms," Winters said to his coach.
"Mr. Winters, the uniforms were paid for an hour ago. We've taken in enough for new uniforms and a new batting cage."
As the autograph session was winding down, Coach Feller approached Henderson.
"Bill, I'm a bit concerned. One of my players isn't here yet, and it's not like him to be late. I called his house, and his father told me he left their house at 1:30. Maybe he had car trouble on the way."
"OK, we'll check it. Which player?"
"Murphy," Henderson signaled for his assistant. "You know the Sartania farm, don't you?"
"I need you to backtrack from here to their farm. The boy isn't here yet. His car might have broken down. Let me hear from you as quickly as possible."
"On my way," Murphy responded.
Soon, the Super Exhibition got underway. The special guest was very self-conscious of "showing off" but he went along with the coach's suggestions since the event was for a worthy cause.
First, he ran the bases at super speed. All the spectators saw was infield dust all the way around the diamond. Next, a half-dozen Smallville players hit fly balls all at once into different areas of the outfield. Superboy caught them all.
Feller then instructed his four starting pitchers to simultaneously throw their best fast ball towards the gifted batter. All four pitches were knocked over the outfield fence out of anyone's sight.
Still no sign of Chester Sartania. Feller told Henderson they needed to go ahead and get the game started.
"I'll let you know as soon as Murphy reports in, Coach."
Just as Smallville came to bat in the bottom of the first, Henderson heard a voice over his walkie-talkie.
"I read you, Murphy. Any sign of the boy?"
"Affirmative. I found him beside the road about two miles from his house. I've called for an ambulance. You might want to get out here. The boy's been savagely beaten. We have a crime scene out here."
Officer Bill Henderson brought his patrol car to a stop roughly fifty feet from fellow officer Murphy's vehicle and the Sartania family truck.
"What we got here, Murphy?"
"When I arrived, I found the boy off the road here in the ditch. He was face up, and I didn't need Sherlock Holmes to help me see he had been beaten up really bad. It must have happened some time ago because his face was already swelling, and bruises were starting to show. His face was red, so he had to have been looking up towards the sun for a good bit."
"Did he say anything?"
"Negative. He was unconscious. Still was when they put him in the ambulance."
"Yeah, the ambulance went by me on my way out here."
"Judging by the tracks in the road, looks like someone forced the truck to pull on to the shoulder."
"Yeah, I see that. Get on the horn, Murphy, and get the lab boys out here right away. I want this truck dusted for prints, inside and out, top to bottom. And a moulage of both sets of tire tracks. Sartania's truck tires are a bit worn, but this other set looks like close-to-new. I want to know the make of these tires in very detail. Then call the tire manufacturers and find out what new cars come off the line with them. Then call every business that sells tires within, say 100 miles, and get a list of every set of these tires that have been sold in the last month."
"A hundred miles includes Metropolis."
"Then, I guess, you'd better get started. Get whoever's on duty at the station to help you."
"Yes, sir. But since it's Saturday, it may slow things down a little."
"Stay on it until you get the information."
"Yes, sir. I'll radio for the lab boys."
"One more thing, Murphy, any chance of this being a robbery?"
"Well, the kid had his wallet in his back pocket, license and eight dollars in it, and he was wearing his wristwatch. Judging from that, I'd say this was not a robbery."
"Thanks. Go ahead and make your call."
Henderson stood silently, observing the crime scene, making both mental and written notes. He put his hands on his hips in disgust, wondering why someone would do such a hideous thing to a, as far as he knew, good sixteen year-old.
"Boys are on their way, Bill," Murphy informed his superior.
"Good. Make sure your protect these tire tracks from traffic until the guys finish up. I'll ride on down to the Sartania farm and try to explain to Chet and Edna what has happened to their son. Then I'm going to the hospital to check on the boy."
"Yes, sir, I'll take care of things here. And I don't envy what you have to do."
"As they say, Murphy, it's a rotten job, but..."
An hour had passed since Henderson knocked on the front door of Chet, Edna and Chester Sartania. As soon as the police officer had informed the parents that their son had been injured, he gave them an escort to the hospital, with lights flashing and siren blaring. As they passed the scene of the incident, Henderson observed all three members of the crime lab busy at work, carrying out his instructions.
"Someone will be out soon to talk with you," an emergency room nurse told the shaken parents upon their arrival. "Perhaps you'd like to have a seat over there," she gestured.
"I can't sit down! I want to see my boy!" Chet barked.
Bill Henderson stepped in, "Chet, c'mon, sit down. I know this is difficult, but someone will be out to talk to us as soon as they can. Let them do their jobs. Now, calm down, for Edna's sake, as well as your own...please."
"Let's use the time to go over some things, Chet. The sooner I can ask you both some questions, the better our chances of catching whoever did this to Chester."
"Sure, Bill, sure," the father replied, rubbing his hands through his graying hair. "Who would do this to our son, Bill? It doesn't make any sense. Chester's never given anyone trouble in his life."
"Well, let's see if we can narrow it down any. Has Chester complained about anything recently? I mean, a kid or kids bothering him at school?"
"No, not at all. Chester's a big boy for his age, but he's a gentle boy. But he could give a good account of himself against any student at the high school."
"Well, maybe not, if he was outnumbered two or three to one."
"All I can tell you is that he hasn't said anything about any troubles at school."
Edna added, "He's been on cloud nine since he made the varsity baseball team. Not many freshmen do that."
"You're right about that," Henderson responded.
"His grades are good," she went on. "He's made the honor roll each grading period since he started high school last Fall. Mr. Henderson, Chester wears his heart on his sleeve. Chet or I can always tell if something is bothering him."
"OK. Tell me, does Chester have a girlfriend? You know, romantic issues can be a problem for young people. Mary breaks up with John, then starts dating Joe. John doesn't usually take kindly to that. John often goes after Joe. Jealousy is often a reason for trouble."
"Naw, no girl friend. He really doesn't have time for one right now. With studying, baseball practice every day and working with me on the farm, that takes up all his waking hours. No, that's not it."
"His guy friends, who are they? Maybe they might know something Chester hasn't told you. Teenagers don't tell their parents everything. I'd like to talk to them."
"Well, let's see, there's the Ross boy...and the Ellsworth boy, they're his closest friends."
"And Clark Kent, Chet, don't forget him," she stated.
"Oh yeah, that's right, Jonathan's boy. He and Chester are good friends, too. Those are the boys he's been hanging out with ever since grade school."
"Good. I happen to know those three pretty well. I'll speak with them. Maybe they can be helpful."
"Mr. & Mrs. Sartania?" a voice was heard.
"Yes," they jumped up to see Dr. Anderson, the doctor on call.
"How is he? Can we see him?" they anxiously asked.
"Not just yet. I've ordered a second set of x-rays. We'll be sending him to a room as soon as the techs are through with him. Then you can see him."
"So how is he? Is he going to be all right?"
"From what we know right now, he most likely will be fine, but it's going to take some time for him to heal. He's been through a lot. Someone gave him a pretty bad beating."
"How bad," Edna asked, unable to hold back the tears.
"I've read the first set of x-rays. Chester has a concussion. His nose is broken. Fortunately, his jaw is not, but his face is badly swollen and bruised. He has, at least, two broken ribs."
"Is he conscious, Dr. Anderson?"
"Yes, Bill, he did wake up, but I had to sedate him because of the pain, so he's not in any condition to answer questions, not now. With the rib situation, he needs to stay as still as possible, so the ribs don't puncture his lungs. We're trying to determine if there's any internal bleeding. I don't believe so, but we'll see what the second set of x-rays tell us. The next week or so will be rough going for him, but he's young and strong. That's to his advantage. It's amazing what a young body can absorb and bounce back from. Now, I need to get back. As soon as we get home in his room, I'll have a nurse come and get you."
"Thank you, Doctor," they all expressed their gratitude as the medical man disappeared behind the swinging metal doors.
"While we wait, let me ask just a couple more questions, please?" the veteran officer asked.
"As I said, I'll talk with Pete, Rusty and Clark. If they can shed any light on the situation, I'll explore it. I want you both to know that the entire department will do everything possible to get to the bottom of this."
"Now, let me tell you that in my twenty-plus years of being a police officer, I have had to deal with other cases that appear to be similar to this one. Sometimes, if the perpetrator isn't after the victim directly, he often does something like this, using someone else as a ways and means of sending a message to someone else. So, I have to ask, is there anyone you can think of who might want to harm either you or Edna?"
"You mean someone might beat up my kid because they had a beef with me!"
"Chet, it has been known to happen."
"What kind of man would go against another by harming their child?"
"A cowardly one, but as I said, it happens. Or we're dealing with some random psychopath who randomly chose Chester at will. Now, please think Chet, is there anyone who might want to cause harm to you?"
He pondered the question for a moment before answering.
"Bill, I can't think of a single soul. I try to get along with everyone. We go to church like you do, we joined the P.T.A., I belong to the local grange. That's about it. No problems at any of those places."
"Well, has anything happened recently, I mean, out of your regular routine?"
"No, everything's been normal. Well, I did go round and round on the phone last month with a guy at the power company about my bill. It was way too high. I called to complain about it. The fellow was a bit rude at first, but he checked into it and discovered I was right, and the power company corrected the overcharge in the bill I got last week. They wouldn't come after us for that."
"No, they wouldn't," Henderson agreed.
"There was the trouble I had nearly ten years ago with Henry Welch, the next door neighbor, about a boundary dispute. He took me to court, and the judge sided with me, and that was that. Henry wasn't happy he lost the case, but he's been dead a couple years now."
"So there's nothing else you can think of? Even the smallest thing, even if it doesn't seem important?"
"Excuse me," a nurse's voice broke the dialogue. "Mr. and Mrs. Sartania, I can take you to your son now. Please follow me."
Chet and Edna jumped up and started off with the nurse.
"Sorry, Bill, we'll have to continue this later."
"Of course, but soon...please," the office implored.
As she continued towards the elevator, Edna turned to Henderson, "I just remembered something. The man who knocked on our door night before last when we were sitting down to supper."
"You're not eating your hamburger," the man observed. "Aren't you hungry?"
"No, not really," Lana Lang answered her father as they sat in a booth at the Burger Barn.
"Didn't you have fun at the school this afternoon? It's all you could talk about all week, how much you were looking forward to it."
"It was all right, I guess. Daddy, can we go home now?"
The junior college instructor answered, "Give me a few minutes to finish my burger. I, for one, am hungry."
"You got to see Superboy, didn't you?" he inquired between chews.
"Yes, I saw him. Talked to him for a minute. He was very busy all afternoon with all the autographs and stuff."
"And how was the game?"
"To be honest, I didn't really pay much attention to it."
"Well, when we get home we can watch television. My programs are on tonight."
"Which ones, Daddy? You have a lot of favorite shows."
"'Have Gun Will Travel' and 'Gunsmoke.' Paladin and Matt Dillon. I love those guys. I'm really glad 'Gunsmoke' is an hour now. That Chester really cracks me up, the way he always argues with Doc. There, I'm finished. We can go now."
On the short ride home, Lana spoke nary a word.
"What's the matter, honey? Are you coming down with something?"
"No, Daddy, just tired. When we get home, I think I'll just go to bed."
Entering their living room, Professor Lang turned on the TV, plopped down in his favorite chair and lit his pipe. His daughter went straight to her room. She sat on the edge of her bed and looked at her newly-acquired photographs of Superboy, already framed and adorning her wall. None had the inscription she had asked. None said 'Love, Superboy.' Just 'Your Friend.'
"Friend. Tonight everyone in town has a signed picture of her hero that says 'Your Friend, Superboy.' Why can't he feel about me the way I feel about him? Oh, he's so powerful...so handsome...so clever...and so indifferent to me. M-my romance with Superboy just hasn't got a chance.
By the time church let out the following morning, most folks in and around Smallville knew about the tragedy from the previous day. Sentinel reporter Tim Harding, using the info released to the press, had already written his article of the incident, needing only to update police activity and hospital info on victim Chester Sartania come Monday morning. The local newspaper missed a big breaking story as they published no Sunday edition. Editor Laurence Larson envisioned extra sales dollars flying by his window, just as Superboy could. The local telephone company would, no doubt, experience another hike in line useage, as soon as everyone consumed their Sunday dinner.
Young Clark Kent, who carried with him a super secret, told his folks to go on home without him. He was going to try to get in to see his injured friend.
When he announced himself at the hospital reception desk, he was told that only immediate family was permitted to visit. But catching a break, Chet Sartania spotted the visitor and informed the nurse that the youth could go upstairs with him.
"Mrs. Sartania and I both slept in chairs beside Chester's bed last night. Then I ran home at dawn to do the farm chores. Cows gotta be milked, no matter what. I just got back. Grabbed some coffee in the canteen downstairs. Oh, I'm sorry, Clark. Can I get you anything?"
"Oh, no sir, thanks. I was just hoping I could see Chester. Thanks for letting me come up with you."
"Glad to, Clark. If he's awake, it will probably lift his spirits to see you."
"Has he told you what happened?"
"Not yet. He's been heavily sedated since the ambulance got him here," the parent answered as the elevator came to a stop and the door opened.
As the two approached room 212, they spotted Bill Henderson in the hall, speaking with rookie officer Kyle Perdue.
"Morning, Bill, I told Clark he could come up with me. Is that all right?"
"Of course. How are you, Clark?"
"Fine, Mr. Henderson," came the response as he and the father entered the room.
Once inside, they found Edna Sartania by her son's side. Chester was groggy but awake. Kent was both shocked and angered when he saw the battered face of his friend.
Henderson entered shortly after and asked Chester if he was up to answering any questions.
"I believe so."
"Good, Tell me what happened, Chester."
"I was on my way to the school for the ball game. I saw a car coming up behind me pretty fast. It pulled out, I thought it was going to pass, but it cut in front of me. I almost ran into the ditch, but I got the truck stopped."
"What make of car?"
"It was a Lincoln Continental, looked new, either black or very dark blue. Looked like the kind of car the President rides in sometimes. I've seen his car on television."
"Did you get the tag number by any chance?"
"Sorry, I didn't. Things happened kinda fast."
"That's OK, son, you're doing fine. Then what happened?"
"Two men jumped out and grabbed me out of the truck. I thought they were robbing me, but I wondered why would two tall men in fancy pin-striped black suits driving in that fancy car rob someone in an old pickup."
"Did they say anything?"
"Not a word. One held my hands behind my back, and the other one hit me in the face. I could feel blood coming out of my nose. Then he hit me again. That's all I remember, until a bit ago when I woke up and Mom was here with me."
Henderson was taking notes as fast as he could.
"Now, Chester, what did the men look like?"
"I didn't get a good look at them, just their eyes, they were wearing masks."
"What kind of masks? Ski masks, pillow cases, what?"
"Well, this is gonna sound crazy, but they looked like the Great Bolos."
A puzzled cop looked at the others, then admitted he didn't know who the Great Bolos were.
"Is that a rock and roll group?"
"I know, Mr. Henderson," Kent volunteered. "The Great Bolos are a tag team on the pro wrestling TV show that comes on Saturday afternoons. Is that who you mean, Chester?"
"Yeah, that's right."
"That does sound a bit far-fetched, Chester, are you sure?"
"Yes sir. Their masks looked just like the Great Bolos. Half dark blue, half white."
Henderson removed his hat, scratched his head, then replaced his headgear.
"Sorry folks, but I have to give this young man a little something so he can get some rest. I'll have to ask you to leave, except the parents," instructed the nurse.
Exiting the room, Henderson asked Kent more about the wrestling show.
"It's on Channel 7 every Saturday afternoon at 4:00. I don't get to watch it much because I'm usually working at the store, but I've seen the Great Bolos. They're the bad guys who always cheat to win. And they wear blue and white masks to keep their identities a mystery." (Even though he didn't cheat, the youth could identify with hiding another identity.)
"I guess it looks like I'm going to have to develop an interest in professional wrestling," the cop said. "Well, thanks for the info, Clark."
"Mr. Henderson, I don't mean to butt in, but is Superboy aware of what all that's happened?"
"I'm not sure. I tried to contact him this morning, but I haven't been able to get in touch with him."
The Kents were, no doubt, sitting in a church pew when the call for assistance was sent.
Chet Sartania stepped into the hall and joined them.
"I heard you talking about Superboy. Is he going to help us," the desperate parent inquired.
"I'm sure he will, Chet, as soon as I can reach him," Henderson responded.
"You mean you have a way of contacting Superboy?"
"Chet, I'm not at liberty to really discuss that. But more times than not, I can find him when I need him. As a matter of fact, I'm heading back to the deaptment now to try again. I just hope he's not on the other side of world."
Young Kent thought, "If you only knew Superboy was standing right beside you. But the best thing to do was to get home so I can respond when the signal lamp begins to flash."
"Oh, Chet, another question...Last night, Edna mentioned that a man knocked on your front door the other night when you were eating supper. It may not be important, but would you tell me about that?"
Smallville Police Officer William J. Henderson parked his patrol car in front of a tiny building which looked to be a former gas station, now the offices of the Metropolis Wrestling Association. He stepped to the closed door and gave a rapping knock.
A small, overweight balding man opened the door.
"Mr. Bleaker?" the policeman inquired.
"Yes, I'm Sam Bleaker." Spotting the police car, he continued, "And you must be Mr. Henderson from Smallville. Come in, come in."
The two walked across the small room. "Please have a seat."
"Thanks," Henderson stated as he sat.
"I hope you found the place without difficulty. It is easy to miss."
"Actually, I did have to turn around and backtrack a little. I was looking for a much larger place."
"Oh, this is all the space I need. Just me, a part-time secretary and the wrestler who books the matches and lines up the buildings where we have shows. The only time the wrestlers are here is when I hire them, fire them or pay them. So, how can Sam Bleaker be of service to the Smallville Police Department?"
Henderson reached into his jacket pocket, then handed Bleaker a twice-fold piece of paper.
"And what's this?" the wrestling promoter asked.
"Mr. Bleaker, I don't have time to watch much television, so I confess that I have never seen your wrestling program, but am I told you have a wrestler, two actually, who wear masks like in the drawing you see."
Bleaker stared at the image, "Yes, yes I do. The Great Bolo and Bolo, my hottest drawing tag team. What about it?"
Henderson answered, painting broad strokes, telling the man about the attack on Chester Sartania.
"The victim's description of the two men who attacked him were of good size, pro wrestling size as a matter of fact. He gave this description of the masks worn by his assailants to our sketch artist, who drew the picture you're looking at. Do your wrestlers wear masks that look like that?"
"Well, yes they do. Are you thinking my two men attacked this young man on a rural country road in Smallville?"
"I have to check it out, Mr. Bleaker."
"And when did this attack take place?"
"This past Saturday afternoon, between one and three o'clock."
"Mr. Henderson, it couldn't have been my men. They worked the wrestling show I promoted in Lawrence, Kansas, this past Saturday night. No way they could have been in Smallville. Just a minute..."
He reached for a clipboard.
"Let me see...this is the sign-in sheet from Saturday's show. Here it is. They arrived at the arena together and signed in at two fifty Saturday afternoon. Lawrence is a good three hours from Smallville, so it couldn't have been them."
"I see. I'd like to speak with them if I could. Could you call them down here?"
"Well, they're not here, Metropolis I mean. They won't be back in town until the weekend. We have a big show at the Metropolis Coliseum this Saturday night. They're in Lenexa right now. I have shows this week in Lenexa, Salina, Kansas City, Olathe and Shawnee. The Bolos are booked on every one of those shows. That's the life of a pro wrestler. A lot of traveling."
"Hmmm," is all the policeman uttered.
"Mr. Henderson, there's no way these men can be involved in this crime. Granted, in the ring, the Bolos are mean, dirty rule breakers, but that's what I pay them to be. Outside the ring, they are both nice guys with wives and kids. If necessary, I can provide the names of a dozen people who will vouch that the Bolos were at the Lawrence arena when I said. In spite of pro wrestling's reputation, I run a straight-forward, honest business. I have nothing to hide. I treat my employees fair and pay them well. Last year, each of the Bolos made over $50,000. If you insist of talking to them, I'll certainly arrange it. But I assume you would want to see them unmasked, and that would be very risky to my business. You see, if word got out who these men really were, it would kill the gimmick. Their masked identities are their gimmick. Naturally, I know who they are, but the other wrestlers don't even know. That's by design. I believe it creates more intrigue when they're in the ring."
"$50,000?" said the impressed Henderson.
"Yep, $50,000. It's like this. If a wrestler is over with the crowd and can put people in the seats, they'll make good money. The Bolos are my most hated wrestlers. As long as people pay to see them get beat up, they'll work for me. When the program starts to drop off, I'll have some babyface team unmask them, then they'll move on to another wrestling territory. That's the way the business works. If you don't draw, you don't stay."
"You said 'babyface'?"
"Oh, sorry, the good guys are called babyfaces, the bad guys, heels. Been that way forever."
"I see. No, I guess I won't need to talk to them, at least for now. I thank you, Mr. Bleaker, for your time. I enjoyed learning a little about your business. Lot of people like wrestling, huh?"
"Mr. Henderson, our TV show on Channel 7 is the highest-rated local show the station has on the air. Wrestling is huge."
"Interesting. One more question, and it's 'off the record,' do you tell the wrestlers who's going to win and lose?"
Bleaker dodged the question, "Here's a couple of duckets for Saturday's show here in Metropolis."
"I get it. Thanks just the same, but accepting gifts is against department regulations."
"One more thing, please...if there's any way you can keep this mask stuff out of the press, I'd be grateful. I regret what happened to that young man and hope he'll be all right, but the negative publicity about the masks the men wore looking like my Bolos, well, you understand."
"I can't promise, Mr. Bleaker, but I'll do what I can."
Afternoon Metropolis rush hour traffic prevented the Smallville policeman from making it back in the usual hour. It was almost six thirty when Henderson reached the county line. Shortly, a call came over his radio.
"This is Henderson, over."
The dispatcher's voice, breaking up slightly, informed him that he was needed on rural Perth County road, seven miles past the cut-off to the Cliffton highway. Murphy had come across a crime scene on his way back into town.
Another male teen had been beaten.
Just as the Kent family prepared to sit down for their dinner, the signal lamp on Jonathan's desk began flashing off and on.
"Uh oh, something's up," Clark remarked. "Let me go check it."
Closing the bookcase behind him, he flipped the switch on his CB radio link to Smallville Police headquarters.
"This is Superboy."
The voice on the other end asked the young man to meet Bill Henderson on Perth County road.
"I'm leaving right away."
Kent leaned out from behind the bookcase to inform his parents he had to go. Jonathan and Martha followed into the secret room.
"Any idea what's wrong, son?" Jonathan asked.
"No, they didn't say," Clark replied as he removed his outer clothing, revealing his Boy of Steel uniform. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
The elder Kent lifted the trapdoor in the floor for his son.
"Take care, son," Martha wished as the lad disappeared into the darkness below.
Soaring across the Smallville sky, Superboy spotted below two police cars and a pickup truck. An ambulance was making its way down the rural dirt road.
"There's Superboy!" Officer Murphy informed his superior.
Shortly, the Kryptonian stood beside Henderson.
"What is it?"
A solemn Henderson answered, "I'll show you."
The two walked around the side of the truck. A body was in the ditch by the side of the road.
"This young man isn't as fortunate as Chester Sartania. This boy is dead."
The crime scene looked much like the one from the previous weekend. Henderson followed the same investigation pattern, i.e., fingerprints, tire marks.
The ambulance arrived and two emergency squad members jumped out and grabbed the stretcher from the rear door of their vehicle.
"You fellows need not hurry. This one didn't make it." Turning back to Superboy, the cop said, "His driver's license says his name is Alan Harper. Lives further down Perth County Road. Do you know him?"
"I don't know him," the Boy of Steel responded, "but I recognize him. He's a starting pitcher on the Smallville baseball team. He pitched to me at the event this past weekend. Probably was hijacked on his way home from practice."
"Another baseball player. What in hell is going on? Coincidence that two kids are beaten in less than a week, and they both just happen to be on the high school baseball team?"
"I'm not a big believer in coincidences, Officer Henderson. It's possible of course, but I just don't know. We know baseball is a common link between Harper and Sartania, but maybe they have something else in common. Something we don't know about."
"Such as?" the officer inquired.
Superboy looked Henderson straight in the eyes and replied, "I wish I knew."
"Ah, here come the crime lab guys. Murphy, same drill as last Saturday, you got it? I've got to go inform the parents."
"Right, boss," Murphy responded.
"I want the reports on my desk in two hours, understood."
Turning to Superboy, the cop stated he was going to the Harper home to give another set of parents the devastating news about their child. Then back to his office where he would call and inform the Principal and baseball coach.
"God, sometimes I hate this job."
The murder of Alan Harper was the lead story on the Smallville radio station's morning newscast. Laurence Larson's Sentinel had been scooped again.
The students waiting outside the school building were all very quiet. Clark Kent stood in a circle with Pete Ross, Rusty Ellsworth, Phyllis Coates and Lana Lang. Conversation was sparse, as if all were in a state of shock.
Just as the first bell rang, signaling the call to homeroom, Kent's super sensitive hearing picked up the far off sound of several sirens.
All those outside headed towards the front door steps to the main entrance of Smallville High School. All but one, that is. "I should check out the sirens," Clark thought to himself as he delicately dropped back in the crowd. As soon as he could, he disappeared around the building. Finding a safe place to change to his other identity, he swiftly was in the air, chasing the screaming sirens.
Following a message from Principal Winters, surprisingly brief, concerning the passing of Alan Harper, Kent's homeroom teacher took the daily roll.
Reaching the Ks, "Clark Kent?"
Classmates looked at the direction of an empty desk.
"No Clark Kent today?" the instructor asked.
"He was outside with us just a minute ago," Lana Lang stated.
"I'll go look for him," Rusty volunteered.
"No, Rusty. Keep your seat. I'll mark him down as absent."
Rusty and Pete stared at one another, showing a confused look as to what had happened to their friend.
"Where did that boy go?" Lana thought to herself.
Clark Kent would not get back to Smallville High that school day.
The sirens he had heard as the school day began had led him, as Superboy, to the crime scene of yet another attacked student.
Gil Perkins was roughed up a bit, but before serious damage could occur, another car coming down the road had scared off the assailants.
At noon sharp, he sat behind closed doors at the police station, along with Officer Bill Henderson and the Police Commissioner.
"All right, Bill, where do we stand?" the commanding officer requested.
"Commissioner, Superboy, I believe I have the motive behind these three attacks. No suspects yet, but we're making headway."
"Well, let's hear it, Bill. The entire town's getting whipped up into a frenzy."
"I'm pretty sure we can rule out someone trying to ruin Coach Feller's baseball team. The young man attacked this morning, Gil Perkins, isn't on the Smallville High baseball team. As a matter of fact, Perkins doesn't play any sports at the high school. But I have found a similar thread between Chester Sartania, Alan Harper and Gil Perkins."
"That's great," the Boy of Steel offered. "What is it?"
"I have talked with all the parents of the three boys, and within the last ten days, the Sartanias, the Harpers and the Perkins have all received an offer to sell their farms. And all three turned down their offers."
"Interesting, go on," the Commissioner instructed.
"Chet Sartania's offer was first. Chet said that one night last week, just as they were sitting down to dinner, a man knocked on the door. Chet thought he was a salesman of some kind - - - brushes, shoes or the like. The man identified himself as a real estate broker from Metropolis who had been sent by a client to make an offer on Chet's land. Said he had checked the tax records and would pay Chet twenty-five percent above the appraised value of his land. Chet told him that he had no interest in selling his farm. That he was a third generation farmer and planned to pass the property on to his son. The man offered a second time, but Chet slammed the door in his face and went back to eat."
'Who was at the door,' Edna asked.
'A pesky little man who offered to buy our farm. Said he'd pay twenty-five percent above the appraised rate of the place. He must be crazy. We struggle to make ends meet some years. Said he was from Metropolis and was representing a client. His client must have a hole in his head, wanting to buy a farm in Smallville.'
'So you didn't know him,' she went on.
'Never saw him before in my life. Scrawny little guy. When I first saw him, I thought of that guy on TV, oh what's his name? Barney Fife. Yeah, Barney Fife. Built like that. Had a small mustache though. Nice looking suit he was wearing. I bet it was custom made.'
"Then Saturday afternoon, Chester Sartania was beaten up," Henderson continued. "The Harpers and the Perkins told me the similar stories, except it wasn't the same man who came to their homes. The so-called real estate brokers had the same pitch as the little man, but were different people. One was tall and thin, the other was average height and average build. But shortly after the offers were made and refused, well, you know what happened. Alan Harper was beaten to death, and the Perkins boy attacked this morning."
"So, whoever is behind all of this is striking back at the families by attacking their children. Incredible," the Commissioner stated.
"Cowards. Every one of them."
"We can probably rule out organized syndicates. Doesn't fit their MO. They usually don't strike back by hurting a man's wife or kids. They'd just go after the man of the family," Henderson offered.
"Unless whoever is in charge has gone rogue," Superboy offered.
"I have contacted the radio station, and Tim Harding said he'd have the story in today's Sentinel. I'm asking anyone who might receive a similar offer to sell their property to call us here right away."
"Good," the Boy of Steel and Commissioner nodded.
"Coach Feller's still not convinced someone's not after his players, so starting tomorrow morning he is requiring all his team to ride the school bus in the morning, and he's taking the players home after practice in the school activity bus. He won't get home until dark, because he'll have to drive all over the county, but he says it's worth it."
"Well...now that we have an idea why these attacks have happened, all we have to do is catch the people responsible," the Commissioner said. "Good work, Bill."
"Maybe the story in the media will scare these people off, and there won't be any more attacks," Henderson replied.
Superboy sat quietly, then expressed his opinion, "I wonder."
On the same country road between the Kent farm and the town of Smallville, was the run-down Benson place, consisting of an old wooden house and barn, neither of which had seen a coat of paint in many moons. It's occupants numbered two, Wilton Benson, the father and Wheaton, his only offspring. The two of them farmed the land and since Mrs. Benson's passing less than two years prior, household duties were added to their daily duties. Both of them had been forced to learn how to cook after Mrs. Benson died. Either that or starve.
The two Bensons kept to themselves. The old man had been born and brought up in the old house, barely surviving the Great Depression, and figured on dying there as well, when it was his time to go. The kid didn't have time to play with other kids while growing up, and even now, as a Smallville High freshman, no time for after school activities. He was needed at home to help get the work done.
They did have indoor plumbing, a modification made after the boy was born, as well as electricity, but no television or telephone. They didn't take the Sentinel, and since Wheaton went into town sparingly, were pretty much shut off from the community, except for what news the boy heard at school.
Clark Kent was probably the closet thing to a friend Wheaton had. They didn't hang out together, like Kent did with Pete, Rusty and Chester, but riding the school bus together, 'Wheat' often would sit next to Clark, and they would spend the time riding to and from school talking. Kent felt sorry for Wheat, who was a great guy, but due to his circumstances, had to lead the hermit-like life he did.
Kent, as Superboy, had had only one meeting with the Bensons. He helped them take down a huge tree in their front yard so it wouldn't come down onto their house. He remembered how startled they had been when he landed in their yard beside them.
'Hello, may I give you a hand with this tree?"'
There was no answer. The Benson males just stood like statues, staring at one another with a "what the hell" expression on both their faces.
'Step back, please.' As if they were choreographed, Wilton and Wheat stepped back in unison.
With one swipe of one hand, Superboy gave the massive tree trunk a judo-like chop, knocking out a huge chunk. Then one push brought down the monster.
The statues remained frozen, wild-eyed in disbelief.
'Shall I chop it up for firewood?'
The statues remained frozen, wild-eyed in disbelief.
'Great. I'll take that for a yes.'
Within a minute, a multitude of more judo chops, and the tree was now ready for the winter's fireplace.
'Where would you like it stacked?'
At last, Wilton thawed and pointed, "Uh, next to the house will be fine."
At almost lightning speed, Superboy had the wood neatly stacked.
'Can I pull the stump out for you, Mr. Benson?'
The farmer barely managed to answer, "That's not necessary. We'll just put a flower pot on it or sumthin'.'
The Benson's old, beat-up pickup truck pulled out of the dirt driveway and headed towards Smallville. Wilton waved as it disappeared from sight.
No more than two miles down the road, the teenager noticed in his rear view mirror a black car approaching at a very fast pace. Almost instantly, the big Lincoln Continental was right on the rear bumper of the Benson truck. The youngster, hoping the car would pass, gave a signal with his left arm, signifying the road was clear. Almost on cue, the Lincoln pulled into the other lane to pass. Three-fourths of the way clear of the truck, the Continental swerved to the right, forcing the pickup to stop.
Immediately, two large men in dark sharkskin suits and wearing red and blue masks jumped out. One went to the passenger door of the truck, the other to the passenger side.
"All right, kid. Get out. NOW!"
The driver followed the instructions.
"What is it you want? I don't have any money?"
"We don't want your money, Benson. You are the Benson kid, aren't you?"
"Yeah, sure, but if you're not robbing me, why the masks?"
"That shouldn't be your biggest concern, kid." He yelled for his partner to join him. "Actually, you might say we're teachers."
"I don't understand."
"We're here to teach your old man a lesson. Our associate who stopped by your place yesterday didn't appreciate having a shotgun pointed at him. Hold him tight!" he ordered his colleague.
The boy was in a helpless position, his arms held behind his back.
The vocal masked man announced the lesson for the day would begin with a lashing. Removing his leather belt, he told the kid, "Maybe now your old man will learn that you don't say NO to the wrong people."
He ripped open the plaid, flannel shirt of his captive...and froze.
Flipping off the straw hat which shielded his face, "What's wrong, gentleman? Surprised? Now, let's take off the masks."
"Not so tough now, are you? Two big thugs beating up teenagers. You must be proud."
"Listen, Superboy, we were just..." the until now silent man started to say.
"Shut up! Don't say anything!" instructed the other.
"Well, gentlemen, your days of killing are over," reported the Boy of Steel.
"Does that mean you're going to kill us?"
"Not a chance," the youth replied. "That would make me no better than you. Gentlemen, as soon as I correct my attire, you two have a date with Mr. Henderson at police headquarters."
"You mean...you're going to fly us there?"
"Certainly, do you know a better way? I promise you'll love it."
"Do you have any idea who you just captured!" Henderson exclaimed as he walked back into his office, where Superboy was waiting.
"No, but I'm anxious to know," the young crimefighter answered.
"Max Krugar and Dan Dobey!"
"Should I recognize those names, Officer Henderson?"
"Krugar and Dobey have been on the FBI's most wanted list for several years. Their rap sheets are as long as my arm. Racketeering, assault with intent to kill, murder, you name it. It's all here on their records I just got off the wire from Washington. An FBI agent from Metropolis is driving down tomorrow morning. Superboy, you may just get some kind of citation for bringing in those two birds."
"I don't want a citation. I just want to find out why they've done what they've done. When can we interrogate them?"
"In a few minutes. But first, I'd like you to tell me how you managed to catch them. One of those coincidences you don't put much stock in?"
"Not really," the Boy of Steel explained, "Here, sit down and I'll tell you. Clark Kent was actually involved in the beginning."
"Clark Kent, Jonathan's son?"
"Yes. It was like this. This morning, on the bus heading for school, Wheaton Benson got aboard and sat next to Kent. They began talking, as they do most mornings...
'Clark, the craziest thing happened yesterday afternoon,' Wheaton began.
'Oh yeah,' Clark responded, 'What happened?'
'A man came by our place around supper time. My Dad and I were about to eat when we heard a knock on the door. I can't even remember the last time anyone knocked on our door. Dad went to talk to him. A moment later, their voices got louder. Sounded like there might be some trouble. My Dad sometimes has quite a temper, you know.'
'No, I didn't know,' Kent interjected.
'Well, they exchanged a few more words when my Dad grabbed the 12-gauge and pointed it at the man and told him to get off our property. The man almost ran to his car. He took off in a hurry. He did yell back at us that we would be very sorry. I was scared he might go to the cops, but Dad said he wasn't worried, that he'd been threatened before, and the man was trespassing. But here's the crazy part about all this. When we sat down to eat, I asked why the man had stopped at our place.'
'And...' Kent asked.
'Clark, this guy wanted to buy our farm. Can you believe that? Now, who in their right mind would want to buy our place? One of the worst hunks of ground in the county. And the house and barn are just as bad. That man had to be plain stupid. Said he'd even pay twenty-five per cent more than it's worth.'
'And your father wasn't interested?'
'He just stared at the man and said you want me to sell you my farm...just like that? And just where would I go, and what would I do? That's when things started to get escalated.'
Clark stopped him there, 'Wheat, I want you to do me a favor. When you get off the bus this afternoon, I want you to stay home, as close to your Dad as possible. Under no circumstances, leave your property. Promise?'
'Well, sure, I guess so, but why?'
'I'll explain later, just promise me you'll do what I ask.'
' All right, Clark. I promise.'
"Later in the morning," Superman told Henderson, "I ran into Kent and he..."
"At Smallville High?" the cop interrupted.
"Uh, that's right. There was something I needed to do at the school. It's just fortunate that Kent saw me. Anyway, he told me about his conversation with Wheaton Benson. So right after he got home this afternoon, I flew to the Benson place. I explained to them what had been going on. They had no idea. They hadn't seen the newspaper article."
'How did you know about the offer on the farm?' Wheat asked. 'The only person I told was Clark Kent.'
'I've taken over for Clark. Now, I have a plan how we might force their hands.'
"I would disguise myself as Wheaton and take off in their truck and hope I would be followed, like the other boys."
"How did you know they would follow you today?"
"I didn't, Officer Henderson. I was willing to make a run in their truck every day until those men showed up. But based on the three previous attacks, they weren't waiting very long to strike. Fortunately, they picked the first day."
"Coincidence?" Henderson smiled.
"Luck, perhaps. Now, can we go talk to them?"
"Yes, let's go. I have Krugar in one room and Dobey in another. Any guesses which one we should start with?"
"Dobey's the one who started to talk at the scene. He may be the weaker link," Superboy replied.
"Then Dobey it is."
"Dan Dobey," Bill Henderson began as he and the Boy of Steel entered the depressive cinderblock room. No window, nothing, except a heavy wooden table which was attached to the floor. The captured thug was handcuffed to a metal bar fastened to the table. "You've been a busy man since you were twenty, Mr. Dobey."
"A guy's got to make a living," came the sarcastic response.
"Well, let's chat about how you've been making a living the last couple of weeks. The other stuff I'll leave to the F.B.I. Oh, by the way, one of their agents is driving down here tomorrow to pay you a visit. Now, if I know anything about how they operate, and I do by the way, I figure he'll have at least one federal warrant permitting him to take you back to Metropolis. After that, I can't do a thing for you. So it's now or never, Dobey. Cooperate, and I'll talk to the D.A. about giving you a break."
"Yeah, right!" Dobey smirked.
"Your buddy, Mr. Krugar, is down the hall being asked the same questions I'm going to ask you. If he cooperates before you do, then I'll have no use for your information, and you'll be on your own."
"He won't squeal," the bound man said.
"Then don't blow your chance. Ya know, Dobey, I've been a cop a long time, and I trust my cop instinct. I have a feeling that you're really not bright enough to be the top dog in what's been going on. No offense."
"None taken, copper," he laughed.
Slamming his fist on the table, Henderson went on, "But I've got a young man in the hospital and one in the morgue because of you. Now I want some answers!"
"I didn't have anything to do with what you're talking about. Now, leave me alone!"
"Now, you listen to me. If I walk out that door, you're going down for assault with intent to kill and MURDER! Your car's tire tread matches perfectly with the tracks found at the three other crime scenes. You were wearing the same mask this afternoon that your first victim described to me. Now, if you weren't involved with the previous attacks, you'd better tell me who was!"
There was no response.
"C'mon, Superboy, let's go," the officer said heading for the door.
"No, wait!" Dan Dobey yelled. "What kind of deal?"
"That's up to the District Attorney, but just so you know, people in Smallville don't take lightly to grown men showing up in their town and beating and killing their children. I'd hate to have to face them on a jury being charged with murder. I can hear the gas pellet dropping already."
"OK OK, I was just following orders."
"Whose orders? Krugar's?"
"No, no, no. Max is just a hired hand like me. We get our orders from another guy."
"His name!" Henderson shouted.
"It's Dirken!" Dobey spilled.
"His first name?" the cop demanded.
"I don't know his first name. I just know him as Dirken. He's the one who hired us."
"Where can we find this Dirken?" Superboy joined in.
"I don't know. We met him only once. At a coffee shop in Topeka."
"Couple of weeks ago. Krugar and I were having breakfast, and he just walked up and sat down at our table. He knew all about us. Our backgrounds, our arrest records, everything. Said he had some work for us. Said we'd make a lot of money, but it might get messy. Depended on how the 'hayseeds' in Smallville behaved. That's what he called them, 'hayseeds.'"
"What about the so-called real estate agents. Did Dirken hire them, too?"
"I don't know anything about any real estate agents. Dirken just contacted us the four different times and told us we were to beat up these teenagers. He said to do a really good job, that they wanted to send a strong message to the parents. We didn't mean for that kid to die. That's all I know. AND THAT'S THE TRUTH!"
"You said 'they'...who else besides Dirken?"
"I don't know, but Dirken said 'they'. Maybe Dirken's partner, I don't know," Dobey insisted.
"Or maybe even higher up the chain than Dirken," the Boy of Steel suggested. "How did he contact you and Krugar?"
At that moment, there was simultaneously a yellow streak of light, an electrical sound and Dobey's scream. Superboy jumped in front of Henderson to shield him.
"My God, what just happened!" the cop yelled.
"I'm not sure. Are you all right?"
"Yes, I'm fine. I'll open the door and let this smoke out," the officer stated.
Murphy ran down the hall, "Bill, Something happened to Krugar. He's dead!"
Superboy stepped into the hall,
"So is Dobey. No need for the F.B.I. agent to make the trip now."
"There was a bright light flash, a strange sound and Krugar screamed and fell over onto the table," Murphy exclaimed.
"Same here, Murphy," Bill Henderson responded. "I'm going to take a look at Dobey."
"Let me, Mr. Henderson," Superboy requested. "Something else could still happen. Please wait out here in the hall."
The Boy of Steel approached the body of Dan Dobey. Using his x-ray vision on the corpse, he immediately discovered something. Carefully loosening the man's tie and opening his collar, he stared at a thin metal collar around the man's neck. It appeared to be made of silver, maybe zinc. Using his super strength, he broke the collar and removed it, setting it on the table.
"You may come in now, Mr. Henderson."
The officer looked at the object with a puzzled look on his face.
"What in Heaven's name?"
"I'm not sure," Superboy answered. "Officer Murphy, would you check and see if Krugar is wearing one of these as well? If he is, don't try to remove it."
"And Murphy," Henderson added, "Call Abe at the morgue. Tell him we have a couple of customers for him."
A couple of hours had passed. The Boy of Steel sat in Henderson's office with the policeman. Henderson took a phone call, listened intently, then hung up.
"That was Abe. His autopsy on Krugar and Dobey revealed that both men died of an extreme electrical shot. They were electrocuted. Transmitted through these collars, no doubt."
"I've been studying these metal collars," Superboy stated. "Look at this small circle on the front of the collar. The electrical current which killed the two men burned it pretty badly, but I would almost bet the farm that it contained some sort of transmitter. Whoever is behind this more than likely killed them via a remote control radio signal."
"And by coincidence, just as Dobey was going to tell us more about this guy Dirken, he was electrocuted."
"Back to coincidences, Mr. Henderson? I'm not so sure. The transmitter, besides having the capabilities of sending an electrical current, might also have been able to receive an electrical current."
"I'm not following," the confused officer admitted.
"Someone, Dirken perhaps, may have been listening in on our conversation with Dobey. When that person felt Dobey was telling too much, he gave him the juice."
"But who would agree to wear such a thing around their neck, unless they weren't aware of what it could do to them?"
"I don't know," Superboy replied. "I have a hundred questions and no answers. But one thing I know, we've got to find this man Dirken."
Over the course of the following week, Smallville returned to its normal murmuring with its usual hum of activity, the wheels of industry turned, breathing life into the town. The Smallville High baseball team, even without the services of the injured Chester Sartania and the late Alan Harper, had won its first three games. Chester was now recuperating at home, under the constant watch of his parents. Henderson still had open cases on his desk, even with the capture and mysterious demises of the two fugitives who had attacked members of the town's youth. He and his fellow crime fighter, Superboy, were still hard at work trying to figure out who was behind the attacks besides Dan Dobey and Max Krugar, and just as important, determining the motive behind their criminal acts. On the plus side, there had been no further assaults. Perhaps the deaths of Dobey and Krugar had put it all to rest.
The Kent family's dinner conversation was interrupted by the sounding of their doorbell.
"I'll get it," Clark volunteered.
Opening the door, he was greeted by the voice of a lovely woman, brunette, early thirties, obviously influenced by the First Lady's fashions...beige knit suit and matching pillbox hat.
Some would have been forced to hold back an impolite wolf whistle, but Clark's eyes fixated on the car parked in his drive.
"What a beautiful car," he commented as he stared at the baby blue convertible. What kind of car is that?"
"Oh, it's a Porsche."
"Wow, I've never seen one of those before, I mean in person," Kent offered. "Are you having car trouble? You're welcome to use our phone."
"No, no. I'm not having car trouble."
"Well, we were in the process of eating our dinner, so if you're selling something, maybe you should stop back by another time."
"Wrong again, young man. I'm not selling anything. I was hoping to speak with Jonathan Kent. Is he here?"
"Yes, he is, but as I told you, we're having dinner."
"Well, I'd appreciate it if you could call him to the door. Tell him there's a young lady on the porch who would like to buy your farm."
Will the pieces of the puzzle come together?
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Adventures of Superboy...
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Posted: May 27, 2015
"Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"