By Carla Humbert (Beverly9@aol.com)
Summary: How to go from farmboy to superhero in one second or less. Very funny story!
May 1995 — Introduction: this is an idea that has been poking around in my head for quite a while. I believe that as "super" as Clark is, nothing comes without practice; including his talents. As strong and fast as he is, he still has to work at timing and coordination. So every time I see him change at super-speed into Supes and back into Clark, I can't help wondering how long he had to practice that. So here is my theory, and I got a little silly writing it, but had such a good time. Comments are welcome and appreciated. Here's to all those other L&C fans out there. this obviously is set somewhere in the middle of the pilot episode-
Quick Change (or, How to Go From Farmboy to Superhero in One Second or Less)
Part 1: In the Kitchen
Martha Kent was in her kitchen, sitting at her table, drinking a cup of oolong tea. She was exhausted. For the past 24 hours straight she had been at her sewing machine, putting together the outfit of a Superhero. After countless tries with various styles, she found one that Clark seemed happy with. Every time she closed her eyes, visions of needles, bobbins and neon-colored spandex ran through her brain. So now she was trying to get her mind to calm down. The truth was, it wasn't too much different from making Halloween costumes for Clark; when he was a child. His onion costume when he was five had been much more difficult. However, that wasn't an onion costume for a grown man, nor did this onion plan to make a career of saving people and becoming a national icon. No, this was no mere vegetable: this was going to be a symbol of courage and righteousness. Martha started to giggle as images of Clark swooping down to save a possible victim dressed as a huge onion. She giggled more until tears started to stream out of her eyes. It had been a very long night.
Jonathan and Clark appeared at the kitchen doorway.
"Mom, are you all right?" Clark asked concerned. He was dressed in a mixture of his usual clothing and the new blue and red outfit.
Martha nodded, unable to speak. She was holding a hand over her mouth to stifle more laughter.
"Martha, I think you had better get some sleep." Jonathan said with concern.
His wife just nodded some more. She slowly took her hand away from her mouth cautiously and took a deep breath. "I am tired. What are you doing, Clark?"
"Practicing changing in and out of the outfit at top speed. I want to be able to fly into action on a second's notice."
"That shouldn't be too much trouble for you." Martha said fondly. "You have always been the fastest dresser I know."
Clark nodded. "Normally, yes. But this is different. It's with clothes I'm not familiar with, I'll have to change quickly, without notice, stash all my street clothes and be ready to fly."
Jonathan thought about it. "I see your problem. You could duck into the men's room, or a closet, or a phone booth."
"What if there is nowhere to duck into?" Clark asked. "I think I should be able to, if need be, just change so quickly no one will notice that Clark was just standing there and now it's…this new guy."
Martha asked, "How are those compartments in your cape working?"
"Great, Mom! I can put all of my regular clothes in the hidden pockets and no one can notice anything. The Velcro closures are pure genius."
"I figured you wouldn't want to deal with a dozen zippers each and every time you needed to change."
"Son, "Jonathan continued, "I still think that you should duck out of the way to change, no matter how fast you are. It would confuse people to see this…blur, and then have you be someone completely different."
"Okay, Dad. You may be right. I'll make an excuse, duck out of sight, change and fly."
Jonathan nodded. "Try it again."
Clark took a deep breath and spun into a blurry version of himself. In the wake of the tornado he caused, he knocked three pictures off the kitchen wall and sent a basket of fruit that was on the table to go flying across the room. He stopped spinning wearing only his street clothes, his new costume no where to be seen. "How was that?" He asked breathlessly.
Martha was glaring at him.
Jonathan was trying not to laugh. "Yup, no one will notice you, Son."
Clark looked around, sheepishly. "Sorry."
Martha bent to pick up broken glass. "Take it outside, you two."
"I mean it, take it outside! My kitchen can't handle much of this."
"Martha, it's cold outside." Jonathan protested.
Martha looked up at her husband. "That doesn't bother Clark."
"Clark is impervious to cold. I am merely human."
"So wear a coat, human." Martha smiled at her husband. "Go practice this quick change outdoors; where he can't bump into anything. I'll clean up in here."
"Do you want me to help, Mom?"
"No, Honey, go outside and play."
"We aren't playing." Clark mumbled as he went to fetch his dad's coat.
"Son," Jonathan said as they were walking out of the door. "Do you have a name for this Superhero of yours?"
"No, not yet."
Martha, on her hands and knees under the table, rescuing fallen fruit started to laugh again.
Jonathan shook his head. "Martha, leave the mess and get some sleep!"
"I will as soon as I pick up, it'll only take me a minute." Then she started laughing some more.
Clark, with his super hearing thought he heard her saying "Onion-Man" between her giggles, but he shook his head. That made no sense. He followed his dad outside.
Part 2: In the Field
Jonathan stood poised with his stopwatch. "Go!"
Clark whirred and stopped dressed as his new Superhero. Mostly.
"You still have your glasses on, and you forgot to change shoes."
"Darn!" Clark looked down at his feet. Sure enough, at the end of his blue spandex legs was a battered pair of Nikes.
Clark changed back into his street clothes at a slower speed. "Okay, I'm ready."
Again the Clark tornado caused the nearby wheat to blow madly and Jonathan stood back. When the motion stopped, he checked the watch.
"How was that?" Clark asked.
"Better." Jonathan looked over his son carefully. "Your cape is on backwards."
"No!" Clark craned his neck to find out that his dad was right. "This is harder than I thought."
"Everything takes practice." Jonathan reassured. "You'll get it."
So Clark kept changing, Jonathan kept timing and the wheat kept blowing.
Finally, Clark could consistently change from hero to civilian in record time with all clothing parts in the right place. Once or twice he mixed up the red trunks of his outfit with his plain white Haines briefs which caused Jonathan to roll around in the wheat laughing until he turned red. The whole time Clark stood over him saying, "It's not that funny. It's not that funny, c'mon Dad. Stop it, cut it out. Okay, that's enough." Clark's protests only made Jonathan laugh more. Finally Clark lifted Jonathan to his feet with one hand and brushed him off. "Are you done?"
"Yes, sorry." Jonathan apologized. "You are definitely improving."
"I just thought of something." Clark said.
"Does it involve going in to get warm?" Jonathan asked.
"Oh, sorry, Dad. Yes, let's go in."
They went into the kitchen to find Martha asleep seated at the table with her head in her arms. Clark quietly lifted her up with no effort and whisked her up to her room. He laid her on the bed and kissed her gently on the forehead. "I love you, Mom," he whispered. "Thank you for everything."
While he was upstairs he went to his room and changed from his jeans and T-shirt, to nice slacks, dress shirt, good shoes, blazer and a red striped tie. He went back down to find Jonathan seated and drinking coffee.
"Are you going out?" He asked.
"No, I just realized that if I get a good job and have to dress well, I'd better be able to change out of more than simple jeans and shirt. This is bound to be more difficult. Let's go." Clark headed to the door.
"Yes, "Jonathan sighed. "Let's go."
Clark already had all the practice of before on his side, but it was much more difficult to change out of this set of clothes. He consistently kept forgetting to tie his tie.
"How am I doing, Dad?"
"Much better. Let's try a simulation."
"Pretend you really have to change into what's-his- name to save someone, put some heart into it!"
"Okay." Clark stood in full dress clothes, adjusting his shirt and tie.
Jonathan started to scream dramatically. "Help, help! My cow is drowning!"
Clark just stared at his dad.
"Save the cow, help, any Superhero!" Jonathan stopped and looked disappointed. "Son, the cow would be dead by now."
"Save a drowning cow? Not a lot of cows in Metropolis."
"And there aren't many muggings in Smallville, I have to go with what I know."
Clark smiled and shook his head. His dad was having too much fun at this. This father- son bonding ritual was never covered in any of the parenting books.
Clark nodded and pretended to look nonchalant. "Ready. I'm just a normal citizen, walking down the street."
"Help! Help, someone just mugged me and stole my cow!"
Clark reached for his tie and in a wave of motion changed again and took off flying.
"Wow!" Jonathan breathed.
In seconds Clark returned carrying a large cow that he stood in front of Jonathan.
"Here you are, Sir."
The cow looked very distressed.
"Thank you. Clark, that was excellent! Everything seems to be in place, outfit-wise" Jonathan stroked the cow's ear. "Did you have to bring Daisy? She's skittish enough as it is."
"I'll go put her away." Clark grabbed the cow again and took off, slightly slower this time. Daisy was mooing plaintively the whole way.
When he came back, he changed back into Clark one more time. "I've got it, now."
"Where are your glasses?"
Clark reached up to his face. "Oh no!" He rummaged through his clothes and found them still in his cape. "I thought I had it."
"Let's run some drills." Jonathan said.
"You weren't this persistent coaching me in football!"
"Anyone can coach football, Clark. I'm breaking new ground, here."
"As long as I don't have to rescue anymore livestock."
"Agreed. Change from Clark to tights-man and back as many times as you can in 30 seconds." Jonathan prepared the stopwatch.
"I'm going to start calling him Brenda if you don't start working."
"Okay, 30 seconds, go."
Clark made 32 changes in the allotted time, most of which were perfect. Both men were pleased. Clark made a mental note to get a name, quick. He also found out his worst changes were when he let his mind wander to Lois Lane at work. He kept having to remind himself to concentrate on the clothing.
Jonathan could tell when he let his concentration down. "Quit thinking about girls."
"What makes you think it's girls?" Clark wanted to know.
"Because when I was your age, and dating your mother, I would have given my left eye to have that talent to remove clothing at that speed."
"Dad!" Clark yelled, "I don't want to hear that! I wasn't thinking anything like that!"
"Of course you weren't. Let's try a few more and call it a day."
Clark made two more changes. Both were perfect and caused minimal damage to his surroundings. Then he tried changes while flying, while upside down, while running, and while thinking about Lois. After the last one, he noticed he wasn't wearing the tie. He looked everywhere for it, through both sets of clothing, but couldn't find it.
"What did you do with it?" Jonathan wanted to know.
Clark shook his head. "I have no idea. Could it have blown away during a change?"
"I guess it could have, or you just vaporized it."
"Right, I'm sorry. I'll get you a new tie."
Jonathan asked, "That was my red-striped tie?"
"Great. Lose my tie. If I was you, I'd wear very bright and unusual ties from now on and maybe you won't lose them."
"Good idea, Dad."
"I loved that tie."
"It was a dull tie, Dad."
"I loved that tie," he repeated.
"Let's go in, Dad. I think I'm ready to hit Metropolis as a quick changing super-hero. Thanks to your help."
"No problem, all fathers teach their sons to dress at some point. Just usually not at that speed." Jonathan laughed.
As they walked back to the house, Clark made a few more quick changes. He made another one going up the steps to his room, where he speed changed back into his jeans. He thought about how it felt to have a costume, superpowers and a secret identity. He wondered how all of it was going to go over in Metropolis. In a way he was worried and in a way he was excited. He was going to be able to use his powers to help people, and still be able to live a normal life. One thing was for sure; it wasn't going to be dull.