TUFS, Episode #14: Stranger Things Have Happened

By Julie Mack

Summary: The villains are still in Metropolis, but Lois and Clark aren't. They're in Southern California, mixing Daily Planet business with some well-deserved R&R. So, guess who gets to take center stage and save the day? Yup, that's right, Perry and Jimmy! Strange, but true. (Episode # 14 of The Unaired Fifth Season)

Created and Written by Julie Mack (Mackteach@aol.com)


The sound of rapidly clicking keypads emanating from the keyboard of Jimmy Olsen, Staff Writer added to the hustle and bustle indicating that another edition of The Daily Planet was being put together.

Occasionally, Jimmy would look up from his monitor and turn his gaze toward the windows of Perry White's office where he could see Lois Lane and Clark Kent in deep discussion with the Editor in chief. He had a natural curiosity, partly because of genetics but mainly because he had the instinct of an investigative reporter. An instinct learned and honed by watching two of the best in Metropolis.

It wasn't just that Lois and Clark were his role models for how to be a good reporter; they were also his friends. He wasn't worried about Lois and Clark though; he knew that they could take care of themselves. It was just that, not being in the office with them, he felt…left out, like he was missing a big adventure.

Things "happened" to Lois and Clark, and life and work were never dull around them. He and Perry often felt that they were "supporting characters," but they never begrudged what occurred to the intrepid reporters. After all, they may envy them a bit, but they didn't necessarily want to be the ones who had to deal with psycho psychiatrists, people who shrank people into little people, or any of the other characters and villains that Lois and Clark encountered.

The door to Perry White's office opened and Jimmy watched as Lois and Clark walked toward her desk. He couldn't help but notice their expressions. Lois had a big grin on her face while Clark looked thoughtful, almost worried. He wanted to ask what was going on, but before he could say anything, Lois looked in his direction.

"Jimmy, Perry wants to see you."

He nodded to Lois, got up and walked toward the office. He tried to remember if he had done anything wrong in the past twenty-four hours. He hadn't. He took a deep breath, knocked on the door, and walked in.


Lois watched Jimmy enter Perry's office with trepidation, the grin remaining on her face. She knew what Perry wanted to talk to Jimmy about, so she wasn't worried. She was, though, excited about their latest assignment. She talked to Clark as she looked through her phone messages.

"Finally! Something away from Metropolis. I have to admit though, Clark. I'm not too thrilled about making a presentation at the American Press Editors conference, but I guess it's a small sacrifice for going to Los Angeles."

She paused, savoring what Perry had further told them. "And can you imagine? Perry's springing for some extra days so we can relax and enjoy ourselves in the Southern California sunshine! It'll be like a second honeymoon for us. Isn't that great, Clark?"

She turned toward her husband and saw that Clark was engrossed in thought, staring off at nothing in particular. "Clark? Hello. Earth to Clark." She waved her hand in front of his eyes to get his attention.

"Huh? Oh, sorry, Lois. What were you saying?"

"That going to Los Angeles will be like a second honeymoon and…" Her voice trailed off as she saw that Clark wasn't really listening to her. "Clark, what's the matter? You were a million miles away."

He focused his attention on her. "I was just thinking about the flight to Los Angeles."

"What about it?" Clark looked at Lois. She saw something in his eyes. Something that she couldn't quite place. "Clark, what is it?"

"Lois, there's something I haven't told you about me."

"What? You're not about to sprout a third eye, are you?"

Clark allowed himself a small smile at Lois's quip. "No, honey, nothing like that." He took a deep breath. "It's just that…well, you see…it's like this…"

"Clark! Just say it! It can't be worse than what I'm imagining."

"OK. I hate flying." He said it so quickly, Lois wasn't sure that she had heard him correctly.

"Excuse me?"

"I hate … flying." He said the last word in an almost-whisper, and hurried on before Lois could react to what he had said. "Well, not the flying I do as Superman, but that other type of flying."

Lois couldn't believe what she had just heard. "Let me get this straight. You're telling me that…" She looked around before saying her next word. "SUPERMAN has a 'fear of flying'?" She stopped any further questions as Clark shook his head.

"No, Superman flies just fine. I'm telling you that CLARK KENT has a 'fear of flying.'" At Lois's look of disbelief, he elaborated. "In airplanes. Helicopters aren't so bad, but airplanes are."

Lois crossed her arms and stared at her husband as if he had indeed sprouted a third eye. "You're serious. YOU have a fear of flying."

Clark shrugged his shoulders in resignation. "What can I say? I just think, stupid as it may sound, that flying INSIDE a hull of metal is…unnatural."

"Wait a minute. I seem to recall us being in an airplane before. When you and Superman first came to Metropolis. Remember? Jason Trask's men threw me out the airplane. You didn't seem to have a fear of flying then."

Clark looked at his wife tenderly. "That's because I was worried about you, honey."

Lois smiled in response to his look before giving her husband a reassuring hug. "Honey, lots of people have this fear. It's nothing to be ashamed of."

"But I'm…Superman. I shouldn't have a fear like this." Clark sounded so forlorn that Lois's heart went out to him.

"Yes, but you're also Clark Kent. And for Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter and 'Farmboy from Kansas,' it's OK." She gave him a quick kiss. "Besides, we can just take the 'Superman Express' to Los Angeles."

Now, it was Clark's turn to look at Lois funny. "Honey, you're five months pregnant. That might not be such a good idea. Even with my aura protecting you."

"Oh." Lois thought for a moment before she grinned widely. "Well, then, I guess I'll just have to distract you during the flight."

"Lois, for six hours?"

"I have some ideas…" Her voice trailed off as she leaned toward Clark's ear. As she whispered, Clark's facial expressions changed from disbelief, to amazement, and finally to amusement. The small smile he had allowed himself earlier became a wide grin.


Jimmy fidgeted in the chair as Perry paced back and forth, talking excitedly.

"It'll be great, Jimmy! This is gonna be as big as FanFair down in Nashville! Look, here's a mock-up of the banner." Perry handed Jimmy a poster board. He read the banner out loud.

"'Metropolis MusicFest: We've Gone Country.' That's great, Chief. What did you want to see me about?"

Perry continued on as if he hadn't heard Jimmy. "I still may not be able to do the Tush Push, but I love this music. Yessir, we've got top-notch entertainment coming into town. Brooks and Dunn. Shania Twain. Alan Jackson. Vince Gill —"

Jimmy couldn't pretend he was interested anymore. "Chief!"

Perry turned to him slowly. "Yes, Jimmy?"

"Chief, this is all great. And I can see that you're all hyped up about it. But, I gotta know. What did you want to see me about?"

"I'm coming to that, son." Perry sat down behind his desk and looked at Jimmy seriously. "I want you to cover the MusicFest."

"Me? Chief, country music isn't exactly my style."

"And that's exactly why I want you to cover the MusicFest. Give a 'non-fan' point of view. Who knows? Maybe you'll even like it. After all, one million fans in Central Park for Garth Brooks can't be all wrong."

"Aw, but Chief…"

"Don't 'But, Chief' me, Jimmy. A good reporter has to be able to cover all types of stories. Even the ones that they aren't 'hyped up about.'" He stared pointedly at Jimmy before continuing. "Besides, I want you to also interview one of the new singers. I think you'll like her." His attention was distracted by movement in the newsroom. "Oh, there she is now."

He got up from behind his desk and walked to the office window. Jimmy followed him.

They watched as a petite brunette walked down the ramp toward Perry's office, stopping frequently to smile and chat with people. She looked to be in her early 20s and was casually dressed in Levi's jeans and Nikes. Her hair was pulled back into a simple ponytail, thin wisps of hair escaping from the hair clip. A Sheryl Crow tour shirt peeked out from under her Levi's denim jacket. Jimmy couldn't help but admire the pretty picture she presented.

She was followed by an older man, about Perry's age, dressed in a country-cut jacket, sporting a ten-gallon hat on his head. An pearl-encrusted arrowhead bolo tie topped a crisply starched red western shirt. His black boot-cut slacks topped a pair of red and black lizard cowboy boots. As the pair reached Perry's office, Perry grinned, opened the office door, and signaled Lois and Clark to join them.

"Perry! Ye old coot! How in the blue blazes have ye been?" Lois, Clark, and Jimmy watched in amusement as Perry was folded into a big bear hug by the man in the ten-gallon hat as he stepped into the office. The brunette grinned as she entered the office.

"Ha ha! Bill! It's been too long." He was released and stepped back. "Or, should I say 'Captain' Bill?"

"Aw shoot, Perry. What's a nickname between old fishin' buddies?"

Perry guffawed once more and, with his hand on the man's shoulder, made introductions all around.

"Lois. Clark. Jimmy. I want y'all to meet Bill Brady. 'Captain' Bill Brady. One of the darn best managers in the music business."

"Aw now, Perry. There ye go shooting yer dern fool mouth off again." Bill shook hands with the trio and winked. "Ah'm THE darn best manager in the music business." He turned to bring the young woman forward. "And this li'l lady is mah latest discovery. Everyone, this is Janie-Sue James."

"Hi, y'all." Lois and Clark nodded and smiled. Jimmy just stared. Janie-Sue smiled shyly at him. Lois recognized the look in Jimmy's eyes. Smiling, she filled in the sudden silence.

"We've heard a lot about you, Miss James. Welcome to Metropolis."

"Thank ye kindly, Lois. But please, call me Janie-Sue. Ah look around when people call me 'Miss James.' Ah kept expectin' to see Mama. Are ye gonna be doing the interview?"

Jimmy broke out of his self-induced haze. "Uh, that would be me. Jimmy Olsen. Hi." He held out his hand and Janie-Sue took it.

"Pleased to meet ye, Jimmy." Their handshake held and their gazes locked. Lois, Clark, and Perry exchanged grins. They knew Jimmy was…interested. Bill watched the silent interaction between the two young people. He cleared his throat.

"Well now, I guess we best be moseyin' along. Perry, ah just wanted to let ye know that we were in town and settled right in over at the Lexor Hotel. Jimmy, why don't you hitch a ride with us? Janie-Sue has to go to the concert venue. Ye can start the interview there and finish it up later."

"Sure. Lemme just grab my gear off my desk."

Janie-Sue, Bill, and Jimmy headed out of Perry's office. Before he closed the door, Jimmy turned to the three left in the office.

"Y'know. I'm gonna have to dig my cowboy boots out of the back of my closet. Country music may not be that bad." He grinned and closed the door, leaving Lois, Clark, and Perry to chuckle among themselves.


The closed-circuit picture showed Jimmy, Janie-Sue, and Captain Bill heading up the ramp toward the elevator while Lois and Clark left Perry's office and returned to their desks. A tall man in full "Urban Cowboy" regalia watched the proceedings with rapt attention.

"That's what ya say now, Olsen. But, let's see what happens when your buddies Lane and Kent ain't around." He flicked a switch on the control panel before him. Country music came through the intercom speaker. He looked out the window to the dimly lit room below him. On a bank of television monitors that filled the entire wall, Clint Black's latest music video played.

"Boss? This tap into the Planet's video security system works just fine. And the audio bug in White's office caught everything in there. You figgered right. Lane and Kent WILL be out of town during the MusicFest."

The video paused, capturing Clint in mid-song. BJ watched a gloved hand carefully place a cigar on the edge of the ashtray and reach of the intercom switch. The intercom came to life, the voice slightly garbled. "It's time to see what the Daily Planet is like without those two do-gooders around. BJ, does our man inside know what to do?"

"Yeah, Boss. Our man'll play his part. He'll keep an eye on Perry White for us."

"Good. Let's get started." The intercom connection closed and the music video resumed. As BJ turned to leave the monitor room, the intercom connection opened again. "Oh, and BJ?"

"Yeah, Boss?"

"I need a new pair of boots. Crocodile cowboy boots."


Lois answered from the bathroom, where she was packing her toiletries. "No, not that one, either."

Clark sat in their bed, the comforter pulled up to his waist, and made a notation in the book he was holding. "OK, scratch that one." He skimmed to the next item. "How about 'Charles'? It means 'manly.'" He waited while Lois considered his last suggestion.

Lois came into the bedroom, carrying her travel kit. She placed it into the open suitcase at the foot of their bed. Straightening up, she looked at Clark. "'Charles'? Hmmmm. Charles Kent. Charlie Kent. OK, add it to the 'Maybe' list." She read the title of the book in Clark's hands and sighed. "'Ten Thousand Baby Names'? Good things this baby isn't coming out tomorrow." She patted her swelling stomach and talked to it. "Right, sweetie-pie?" She over to the dresser and opened her lingerie drawer.

"How about…'Janie-Sue'?" Clark put the book on his covered lap and smiled at Lois. He loved watching Lois. She always brought a single-minded focus to whatever she was doing. That's what made her a top-notch reporter. Even in mundane, normal things like packing, Lois always strived to do the best possible job. He had to admit, even her cooking was getting better.

Lois smiled back. "Speaking of Janie-Sue…did you notice Jimmy's reaction when he saw her?"

"Yup. Kinda like my reaction when I met you for the first time."

"Really? Love at first sight?"

"Nope. More like a deer caught in the headlights. Frozen in place."

Lois giggled and threw the negligee she had in her hands at him. "Flatterer."

Clark held up the negligee. "Mmmmm. I like this one."

"Well, enjoy it while I still fit in it." She took it from him, carefully folding it before putting it in the suitcase. "Y'know, Clark. It's kinda too bad that we'll be at the APE conference during the MusicFest. I would have really have loved to meet George Strait."

"Well, according to Perry, he's still a 'tentative.' He's cut back on his touring and concerts quite a bit this past year. He may not even show."

"Yeah, I suppose." She closed up the suitcase. "There. All packed."

Clark looked at Lois astounded. "That's it? That's all you're packing for yourself? One suitcase?"

"Well…" she grinned. "I don't have a lot of maternity-maternity clothes yet, so I figured I'd go shopping in Los Angeles. I got a list of maternity shops from Laurie in Life and Style."

"And just what are 'maternity-maternity' clothes?"

Lois took off her robe as she explained. "Oh, you know…the pants with the expansion panel, nursing bras, maternity tops. Stuff like that. I've been lucky that most of my clothes still fit. And when my tops don't, I've been able to use your shirts."

"That reminds me of something I've been meaning to ask you."


"With all that stuff with Ariana Carlin a few months back, how come you didn't already know that you were pregnant? I mean, don't women know stuff like that? Like right away?"

Lois smiled at him. She knew what he was asking. "Now, Clark. You have to know that some women are 'regular' and some are not. I'm not."

Clark thought about that for a while, a frown creasing his brow. As understanding slowly dawned, Lois laughed gently. "Don't worry about it, sweetie. It's not that important. It's just important that I'm pregnant. That reminds me. I have a doctor's appointment when we get back from Los Angeles."

She lifted the comforter and got into the bed, snuggling close to Clark. His arm went reflexively around her, enveloping her in warmth and love. She settled her head on his chest. "But, getting back to maternity-maternity clothes. As comfy as your shirts are, they aren't made for the expanding figure of a mother-to-be."

"I'm sorry I asked."

"No, you're not. You love to take me shopping."

"It's more like I just love being with you."

"That's sweet." She snuggled even closer to Clark. "I love you, too."

Clark placed the book on the night stand and turned off the light. He held Lois to him in the dark, gently rubbing her stomach. "Don't let me forget that book. I figure on a six-hour flight we should be able to get through the T's."

Lois grinned into the darkness. "I have some other ways of keeping you distracted…" She giggled and reached under the comforter.



"Well, Son, g'night. Don't keep Janie-Sue up too late, now. She has a sound check tomorrow."

"I won't, Captain. G'night."

Jimmy watched as Bill gave Janie-Sue a quick peck on the cheek before leaving them to their desserts. He turned to Janie-Sue.

"He really cares about you."

"Yup. Ah care about him, too. My daddy was in the Army, so we moved from place to place. Ah didn't mind. Ah guess ah really was an Army brat. But, after a while, Mama got tired of movin' and she and ah settled in Nashville." Janie-Sue shrugged.

"Yeah? My dad was in the Army too. How did Captain Bill discover you?"

"In church. Mama and ah go to the same church as Captain. Y'know a lot of country singers got their start singin' in church. Travis Tritt. Suzy Boguss. Even Patty Loveless."

Jimmy took notes as Janie-Sue talked. He concentrated on doing his assignment and interviewing her. But, he kept getting distracted. She was just so "not country" in her dress, mannerisms, and interests that he tended to forget she was one of the newest and most popular stars on the Nashville music scene.

His thoughts were interrupted by the waiter bringing their desserts. "Now, who wanted the banana split?"

"He did." "She did." They said simultaneously. They looked at each other and grinned.

"Three scoops of chocolate, pineapple and strawberry topping, lots of whipped cream?"

"Oooh, that's me!" Janie-Sue's eyes got bigger than saucers as the chocolate concoction was placed before her.

"And you must be the three scoops of strawberry, pineapple and hot fudge topping, and lots of whipped cream." With a flourish, the waiter presented Jimmy with his banana split. "Enjoy."

A comfortable silence fell between Jimmy and Janie-Sue as they proceeded to eat their desserts. As they ate, Jimmy again reflected on the attraction he was feeling for the girl across from him. He had already discovered that they had a lot in common.

They both loved cheeseburgers and fries. They both liked playing computer games. They both enjoyed action movies. In fact, they were able to repeat whole scenes from all the James Bond movies. Well, except for the Timothy Dalton ones.

As for music Jimmy was amazed at the variety that Janie-Sue liked and listened to. He would have thought that she would be so involved in country music, that she wouldn't have time for any other genre. But, again, she had surprised him. She listened to Motown oldies and some of the most current rock acts. And she agreed with him that The Beatles were the one single biggest influence on modern popular music. Yeah, Janie-Sue was definitely not what he expected. He liked that. He liked her.

Before either of them knew it, their desserts were finished and the hour was late. Jimmy had promised Captain Bill he wouldn't keep Janie-Sue out too late. As they rode the elevator up to her suite, he wondered if she would object to a good night kiss.

As the elevator door opened to her floor, Janie-Sue turned to Jimmy. "Ah had a lot of fun, Jimmy. Ah'll see ye tomorrow during the sound check. Good night." With that, she quickly kissed Jimmy on the lips and scooted through the elevator doors before they closed. She turned and giggled as she saw the look of surprise on his face.

As the elevator descended to the main lobby, Jimmy grinned. Yeah, he definitely liked her. A lot.


The stage manager talked into his walkie-talkie. "Y'all got those lights set up?" Before anyone could answer, he was already at the sound board, double-checking the levels with the engineer. On stage, Shania Twain was going through her latest hit with her band.

…Don't be stupid — you know I love you

Don't be ridiculous — you know I need you

Don't be absurd — you know I want you

Don't be ridiculous…

"OK, Shania! We've got the sound levels set!" He talked into the walkie-talkie. "There! The lights are great like that!" He yelled out to everyone. "OK, gang! That's it! Y'all can call it a night." He watched as the band placed their instruments down and left the stage, careful not to step on the wires. Shania was the last to leave the stage. For a moment, the stage manager let himself become the country-music fan that he had been all his life. This MusicFest was a dream come true for him, working with and meeting some of his favorite singers.

"Hey, Shania! Think this town has any good eats?" He rushed forward to catch up to her.

From the shadows at the far end of the concert venue, a group of people watched as the stage crew, band, and singer left. BJ took the toothpick out of his mouth. "Right. Now, you know what you're supposed to do?" He looked at the gang of young punks he had hired.

One of the thugs, apparently the gang's leader, answered for the gang. "Yeah, yeah. No problem, Mr. Bill. You want us to rattle these hicks a little. No physical harm, right? Just cause some problems."

"That's right. And I *don't* want any slip-ups."

"Hey, we take pride in our work, Mr. Bill. When do we get our cash?"

BJ looked behind him. Cigar smoke wisped toward the ventilation system. The gang leader watched as the figure in the shadows handed BJ an envelope. He couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman. He tried to make out who the figure was, but all he could see was the outline of a cowboy hat and a thick jacket. Looking toward the floor, he smiled.

"Here. Half now. The other half when the 'accidents' have happened or the MusicFest is canceled."

"Cool." The gang leader stuffed the envelope into his leather jacket. He signaled to his gang that the meeting was over. "Oh, by the way. Nice boots your boss has there. Crocodile?"

"Yeah, from the Florida Everglades."

"Ain't that illegal?"

A swirl of cigar smoke came toward the men. BJ looked again at his boss before turning to the gang leader, a smirk on his face.

"And your point is?"


The next day, by the time lunch had come and gone, the pace at the Daily Plant was more frantic than usual. Usually Perry supervised the organized chaos of the newsroom from his office. But Perry White had temporarily moved his "headquarters" to the Planet's conference room. More specifically, he was juggling two jobs: editor in chief of the Daily Planet and organizer of the Metropolis MusicFest. He knew that he could trust his news teams to keep things running and that the Daily Planet would put out its usual superior edition. What was topmost on his mind, and therefore giving him the biggest headache, was the MusicFest. At the moment, he was on the phone in the Planet's conference room, papers scattered over the large table in front of him. Captain Bill was looking over some ad layouts. He looked up as Perry's Southern drawl became more pronounced.

"Ah know that Tanya's got this child custody thing hangin' over her, but believe you me there are a lot of her fans here in Metropolis. There won't be a speck of negative press while she's here for MusicFest." Perry listened for a moment. "Uh huh. Ah know — But — Y'know, ah remember a time that Elvis — Oh, you've heard that one…" Perry looked at Bill, grimacing. Bill laughed and took pity on Perry. He gestured for Perry to give him the phone.

He took it and listened to the rambling on the other line for a moment. "Charlie! Charlie! Will ye just shut yer trap for a minute? This here is Bill Brady. Now, like my GOOD FRIEND Perry told ye, there won't be ANY negative publicity for Tanya if she comes up here and performs. In fact, tell Tanya to bring the young'uns. They'll have a lot of fun. Perry can get them free passes to the Metropolis Zoo."

He paused and listened. "Yeah, I know her daughter, Presley, loves animals. Tell Tanya her little girl will love the zoo up here. Oh, and Charlie? Tell Tanya that she'll be disappointin' a lot of her fans if she doesn't perform here." Bill listened for a moment more before giving Perry a "thumbs up" sign. Perry wiped his brow and went to add Tanya Tucker's name to the chart listing all the performers.

"Right, Charlie. Thanks. Tell we'll see her and the kids up here in two days. Bye." Bill hung up the phone and smiled at Perry. "Good thing, she ain't your opening concert, Perry."

"Bill, you're a life-saver!"

"Shoot, 'tweren't nothin'. Just a li'l friendly help."

Perry was about to say something when he noticed Jimmy walking by the conference room. He opened the door and bellowed. "Jimmy!"

Jimmy came in, pencil and note pad in hand. "Hi, Chief. Hi, Captain."

"Hey, Jimmy."

"Chief, I was just working on that point of view piece about the MusicFest."

"Good. How's it comin'?"

"Not bad. Janie-Sue has been pretty helpful. She's gonna let me hang out with her during her sound check at the arena today."

Perry looked at Bill when Jimmy mentioned Janie-Sue. Bill smiled and winked at Perry.

"Ye gettin' sweet on her, son?"

Jimmy grinned and blushed. "Well, she's really pretty, Captain." He turned to Perry to explain further. "She's not at all what I expected a country singer to be like. She's normal. I mean, she doesn't have a big entourage or anything like that. She doesn't wear sequins all the time. And she doesn't have 'big hair.'"

Bill guffawed at Jimmy's last statement. "Son, even Reba and Dolly have cut their hairspray consumption way down. And the only time you'll see lots of sequins nowadays is during the CMA awards."

They all shared a laugh over Bill's comments. "Well, I'd better get back to my computer. I'm supposed to meet Janie-Sue in an hour." Jimmy turned to leave the conference room. Perry's voice stopped him.


"Yeah, Chief?"

"Are those LIZARD cowboy boots on your feet?"

Jimmy grinned sheepishly. "Uh, yeah. I forgot that I had given my boots away last winter during the clothes drive for the homeless. So Janie-Sue's guitarist traded them for my No Doubt tour jacket. Pretty cool, huh?"


The crew member wheeled the large trunk toward the stage manager. "Hey, Vern. Where should I put Reba's costumes?"

"Over there. Next to the wireless mikes."

A couple of men in their early twenties watched as the roadie wheeled the trunk into place. Ducking out of sight, they waited until the crew member had left. Checking to make sure that no one was around, they headed toward the trunk.

"Hey, let's swipe those wireless mikes, too. We can hock those easy like."


It was late morning as Lois finished unpacking and putting their suitcases in the closet of their room at the Biltmore Hotel. "Now, admit it, Clark. Flying IN the airplane wasn't all that bad, was it?"

Clark came out of the bathroom and spun out of his coat and tie and into a T-shirt and jeans. "No, but it's still seemed unnatural to me, Lois." He came up behind Lois and embraced her. "But, I've gotta admit, the time did 'fly by' with you there." He smiled into her hair before bending down and kissing her at the juncture where her neck met her collarbone.

"Mmmmmm. Glad I could help out. I still can't believe you have a fear of flying. How's your stomach?"

"Still a little queasy, but OK."

"Poor baby."

"Speaking of babies…Were you serious?"

Lois grinned. "About what?"

"About naming our baby 'Boeing'?"

Lois couldn't contain her laughter any longer. "Of course not, lunkhead! I just did that to keep your mind off the flight."

"Well, it worked. Thanks."

"Anytime, sweetheart." She turned in his arms and hugged him, enjoying the feel of being in his arms and hearing his steady heartbeat. She loved this man, and was glad that they were going to have a baby. She grinned again. "Clark?"


"How about if it's a girl we name her 'Lufthansa'?"



Jimmy sat center section as Janie-Sue completed her sound check. He found himself enjoying her voice and her cover of an old Beatles' tune.

…Why he had to go

I don't know

He wouldn't say

I said something wrong

Now I long

For yesterday…

Jimmy was amazed at Janie-Sue's talent. He could see why she had risen to the top of the charts so quickly. She had a way of taking a song and making it all hers. She wasn't just singing the song, she was feeling the song. As she finished, she looked toward Jimmy, who stood and began applauding. As the sound echoed in the venue, Jimmy realized that he wasn't the only one applauding. All of the stage crew, as well as Janie-Sue's backup band, had joined in the applause.

The stage manager came forward. "Janie-Sue, that was terrific! Ah haven't been that moved since ah heard Reba sing the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo."

"Thank ye, Vern. That's a big compliment."

"Well, ah meant it." He turned back toward the sound engineer and smiled as he got the "OK" signal. "Yer sound check went just fine. We've got the levels all marked. Thanks, Janie-Sue."

"Ye're welcome." Janie-Sue turned to the band members. "That's it for now, boys. See y'all later."

Janie-Sue bent down and continued talking to the stage manager. As the band members left the stage, Jimmy walked forward. He looked up as he heard a creaking sound. Jimmy quickly scanned the lighting and scaffolding. He heard the creak again and saw that one of the stage lights was wavering and coming loose from its standard. He ran toward the stage. "Look out!" He warned.

Janie-Sue and Vern looked toward him and then upward to where Jimmy was pointing. Janie-Sue screamed as Vern helped her jump off the stage. Moments later, the stage light came crashing down.

"Janie-Sue! Are you all right?" Jimmy and the rest of the stage crew came running up to where she and Vern stood staring at the stage.

"Yeah, Jimmy. Ah'm OK. Scared, but OK. Thanks again, Vern."

"You're welcome, Janie-Sue. Ah'm just glad you're not hurt. It's strange, though. We just checked those lights yesterday during Shania's sound check. Everything was fine. Jimmy, why don't you take Janie-Sue out of here? She's done with her sound check." He hurried off, yelling into his ever-present walkie-talkie and barking orders at the crew to triple check all the connections. The sound engineer followed him. Jimmy and Janie-Sue walked toward the exit, Jimmy's arm around her.

At the back of the concert venue, BJ smirked. He pulled out a cellular phone and dialed a number. "It's me, Boss. Yeah. Everything's going just as you planned. I'm here at the concert venue. I also heard that that tour bus broke down like you wanted." He listened for a moment. "Yeah, our man inside should be checking in tonight."

He closed the cell phone and watched the commotion down on the floor. He smiled again as, in the midst of the confusion, he spied one of the men he had hired walk up to the sound board. He turned to see another of the gang members heading toward the dressing rooms.


"Chief, it's really strange. I've been to enough concerts to know that lights are checked and re-checked. I don't believe that the stage light falling was an accident." Even though Jimmy's comments were directed toward Perry, he was talking to Janie-Sue and Captain Bill. After the accident at the concert venue, Jimmy had taken Janie-Sue back to the Planet, where they told Perry and Captain Bill what had happened.

"What makes you think that, son?"

"Well, after the light fell, Janie-Sue and I stopped and talked to some of the other acts' road crews. They said that there have been some strange things going on."

Janie-Sue sat next to Jimmy, her hand entwined in his. She nodded her agreement.

"Strange things? Like what?"

"Like Brooks and Dunn's wireless mikes are 'lost.' Alan Jackson's tour bus broke down right after he checked in at the Lexor Hotel." Perry and Bill exchanged looks.

Janie-Sue chimed in. "That's right, Jimmy. And don't forget about Reba."

"Oh, yeah. Reba McEntire's costumes can't be found, either."

While Jimmy continued with the list of strange happenings, Perry wrote the entertainers' names on the dry-erase board in the conference room.

"Brooks and Dunn. Alan Jackson. Reba. And you say that Clay Walker's dressing room was completely trashed? This is strange." He looked to Bill, hoping that he had an explanation.

Bill shrugged. "Beats the tar outta me, Perry. Can you imagine if Garth had brought in his whole show early? Good thing he's not comin' into town for another couple of days."

"Yeah. Thank Elvis for small favors. I'm glad I asked him if he could run that special errand for me." Perry studied the list.

Bill stood up and looked at Janie-Sue. "Well, darlin'. Sounds like ye've had enough excitement for the day. Let's get ye back to the hotel. Jimmy, wanna come along?"

Jimmy looked at Perry. "Chief?"

Perry waved Jimmy away, engrossed in the list of accidents, willing it to give him an answer.


As the bank of television monitors showed the trio leaving the conference room, a pair of crocodile cowboy boots tapped to the beat of the latest hit by Garth Brooks that came through the speaker system. Cigar smoke was blown out, automatically suctioned away by the air system. "BJ."

"Yeah, Boss?"

"The FanFair thing in Nashville is during the summer, right?"

"I think so. Why?"

"Well, if Perry White wants THIS MusicFest to be Metropolis' version of FanFair, shouldn't the air conditioning be turned up?"

BJ smiled. "It's February, Boss. People'll complain."

Another puff of cigar smoke wafted toward him.

"And your point is?"


"Great presentation, Lois!"

"Thanks, Nancy. Glad you enjoyed it."

"Are you kidding? It's one thing to read about your adventures and Superman, but to actually *hear* about them from Lois Lane! I wouldn't have missed your presentation for the world." Nancy looked around. "Apparently, no one else did either. You're the hit of the conference." She grinned. "In fact, I'd say that the conference went APE—"

"Don't say it, Nancy!" The two women laughed over the unspoken play on words.

Catching her breath, Nancy continued. "But, the program said you and that handsome husband of yours. Where's Clark?"

"Oh, he wasn't feeling very well. It turns out he has this fear of flying — "

"Which is gone until we have to go back to Metropolis." Clark walked up to Lois, putting his arm around her waist and kissing her on the cheek. He turned to the other woman. "Hi, Nancy. How are things in Glocamora?"

Nancy grinned and hugged Clark. "Oh you! Things are fine at the Guam Express, thank you very much. Any chance I can convince two investigative reporters to leave the excitement of Metropolis and come enjoy the peacefulness of Guam?"

Lois and Clark looked at each other, seeming to consider Nancy's question. They turned to her and answered simultaneously, grinning widely. "Nope."

Nancy laughed. "Well, can't blame a gal for trying. Listen, I gotta run. Now you two don't be strangers. Lois, I am so happy for you and Clark. You take care of yourself and that baby you're carrying." She shook a reprimanding finger at Lois, grinning all the while. "Stay away from those psycho psychiatrists."

Lois chuckled, embracing the woman. "I will, Nancy. Thanks." She released her embrace and returned to Clark's side.

"Bye, Nancy."

"Bye, Clark." She gave him the once-over, causing Clark to blush and Lois's eyebrow to rise in surprise and humor. "Yup, Lois. You are one lucky gal. See ya."

Lois and Clark watched Nancy walk away. Clark turned to Lois. "Thanks for covering for me. I caught the last part of the presentation. You were great."

Lois looked at Clark. "Thanks. Everything all right?"

"Uh huh. A high-speed chase on the 405 Freeway during rush hour. L.A's finest were glad for the 'super' help."

Lois blinked at Clark. "'High-speed'? On the 405? Sounds to me like an oxymoron. From what I hear, that freeway's highest speed is usually only around 30 MPH. Slower during rush hour." Lois and Clark shared a laugh.

"Seriously, Lois. I did catch the last part of the presentation. You were your usual self. Fantastic." He kissed her cheek. "Funny." He lightly kissed her lips. "Incredible." He kissed her again, this time lingering a moment and outlining her lips with his tongue. Breaking off the kiss, he saw the beginnings of a soft, dreamy smile on her lips.

"Thanks, honey, but I'm glad that's over. I hate public speaking. Well, unless I'm accepting a Kerth award or the Pulitzer."

"That's my wife. Confident as always." He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, cupping the side of her face. "You look tired."

"I am, a little. But, you know what I want to do?"

"I have no idea."

"I want to go to Disneyland!" She giggled. "I've always wanted to say that."

Clark checked his watch. "Now? Are you sure you're up to all that walking? It's almost time for dinner. By the time we get out there —" Lois's not-so-soft kiss stopped him.

Lois grinned. "I was thinking of going to the park tomorrow. Tonight…" She whispered in his ear.

Clark grinned. "Why, Ms. Lane! If I didn't know you better, I'd think you were trying to seduce me."

Lois smiled coyly and, pulling him by the tie, walked toward the exit. "I am."

Grinning like a school kid, Clark caught up to her and put his arm around her waist. They left the room and headed to the elevator and back to their hotel room.


"He's the only one who believed in me and my singing." Janie-Sue paused and popped another snow pea into her mouth as she tucked her legs under her on the couch in her hotel suite. "Mmmmm, Jimmy, this Chinese food is great! It certainly beats Ralph's Pagoda back in Nashville."

"You have a Ralph's Pagoda there? So do we, but I don't go there ever since Lois got sick from their moo goo gai pan."

"Well, ours took it off their menu when no one ordered it."

They laughed and Jimmy again marveled at how at ease he felt with Janie-Sue. He wasn't sure if he was in love with her, but he definitely was feeling something. Janie-Sue's voice broke into his thoughts.

"Y'know, Jimmy. It's been so much fun hanging out with ye. Thanks."

"It was my pleasure."

Janie-Sue picked up another take-out box and expertly used the chopsticks to bring a piece of broccoli to her mouth. "Yeah, but ah know that this is just part of your job. The interview and all." She nibbled thoughtfully on the broccoli, not meeting Jimmy's stare.

"If all I had wanted to do was do the interview, that would have been done in a hour back at the Planet when we first met." Jimmy wasn't all that surprised at what he had just said. It was the truth. He was, however, surprised at the look in Janie-Sue's eyes.

"Really? Ye're not just pullin' my leg?" Her voice sounded…hopeful? Jimmy wasn't sure. But, he knew how he felt at that moment.

He put down the take-out box and went to sit next to her on the couch. He took her hand in his and studied it. "No, I'm not pulling your leg." He looked into her eyes and smiled. "I… I like you, Janie-Sue. I like you a lot."

"Ah like you too, Jimmy."

The silence that suddenly hung between them didn't seem to bother either of them. Janie-Sue smiled shyly. Jimmy was amazed at how quickly his feelings for her had developed. He reached out and yanked on her ponytail playfully.

"Hey, you OK?"

"Yeah." She looked at him and squeezed his hand.

"Good." He leaned toward her. "Because I think I'm gonna kiss you."

"Ah was wondering when ye would." Her shy smile had turned into a grin that matched his.

Meeting him halfway, Janie-Sue closed her eyes and returned Jimmy's kiss.


In his hotel suite, Captain Bill was talking on the phone. His "good ol' boy" drawl was almost unnoticeable and he spoke in sharp, clipped tones.

"I'm not kiddin'. I've known him for a long time, and once Perry White has his teeth into a story, he's like a pit bull. He won't let go until he's figured out what's going on with the MusicFest."

On the other end of the line, BJ listened on the conference speaker. He looked to his accomplice who puffed on a cigar, seemingly lost in thought. Not getting a response, he spoke into the speaker. "Now, Bill, I'm sure you're exaggerating. Perry White has been editor in chief for as long as I've been reading The Daily Planet. He's out of practice, I'm sure."

"Y'all don't know him."

Before BJ could say another word, the blonde put down her cigar and spoke into the speaker phone. BJ took a step back. He had seen the look in her eyes. When she spoke, she was direct and to the point, no hint of coyness or teasing. That confirmed it. Mindy Church was not amused. "You just worry about Janie-Sue. Let us worry about Perry White. And Jimmy Olsen."

There was silence on the other end. BJ spoke into the intercom. "You got that, Bill?"

Bill reluctantly answered. "Yeah." He hung up the phone.

BJ looked at the blonde. "Don't worry, Mrs. Church. He can't connect anything to you."

Mindy Church puffed on her cigar, her voice dripping with false sweetness and innocence. "Who's worried? His only contact has been you and he only knows you as a voice on the telephone. Besides, the money that's been put in his bank account can only be traced back to Temple & Company. And that's a dead end as far as anyone is concerned. I'm not worried, BJ." She blew a smoke ring. "Not worried at all."


The next morning, on the other side of the country, Lois and Clark passed through the turnstiles at Disneyland. Clark was busy looking around and grinned as he heard and saw the Disneyland Express steam locomotive. He turned to say something to Lois, but stopped short as he saw that she was frowning as she read a sign.

"Lois, honey, what's the matter?"

She sighed, gesturing toward the sign she had been reading. "Just our luck, Clark! Of all the days for Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, *and* Star Tours to be closed for 'routine maintenance'! Don't you think that's strange?"

"Now, Lois —" He began as he saw "the look" on her face.

"Clark, what if it's a conspiracy? I mean, yeah, sure. They call this park 'The Happiest Place on Earth,' but seriously, how true can that be? Maybe it's a plot by Six Flags. Maybe it's a work stoppage. Maybe — Mmmff!"

Clark released Lois from his embrace and was pleased to see that his kiss had been effective. She had stopped babbling. Holding her in his arms, he finished her thought.

"Maybe it's just a coincidence. It happens, Lois. Let's not go looking for trouble. We're here to enjoy ourselves, OK?"

Lois conceded the point. Reluctantly. "OK. You're right." They walked under the train bridge and headed up Main Street.

Clark studied the park map he had picked up at the ticket booth. "Good. Besides, you couldn't go on those rides anyway."

"Why not?"

"Because, my dear pregnant wife, expectant mothers are not allowed on them. They're high-speed, turbulent, roller-coaster rides."

"I suppose. Just don't tell me the only ride I can go on is King Arthur's Carousel."

Clark chuckled. "No. You have a choice: It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, or Pirates of the Caribbean."

Lois considered her choices. "You call that a choice? Those are all kiddie rides!"

"OK, how about The Golden Horseshoe Revue?"

"So you can ogle the 'saloon girls'? I don't think so. Kiddie rides it is. Starting with It's a Small World. Besides, who knows when the next time we'll get some time off will be? Better take the baby to all the kiddie places now."

She patted her stomach and cooed at her unborn child. "Isn't that right, Minnie?"

"Lois? 'Minnie Kent'? I don't think so." They walked along in companionable silence before Lois spoke up.

"OK then, how about 'Goofy'. That's pretty genderless. 'Goofy Kent'. How's that sound?" She grinned as she watched for Clark's reaction to her latest name suggestion.

Clark pretended to seriously consider the name and Lois could feel her laughter threatening of bubble over. Then, he grinned. "You know, 'Lufthansa' is sounding a lot better…" He and Lois laughed as they walked hand-in-hand through Sleeping Beauty's Castle and toward It's a Small World.


Perry surveyed the scene in front of him in the conference room. "Great shades of Elvis! It's like an all-star meeting of the Grand Old Opry!"

All the top name entertainers in country music were milling about talking among themselves. Unfortunately, Perry knew what they were talking about. The series of "accidents" that had plagued the MusicFest from the very beginning had continued, with no indication of stopping. Normally, he wouldn't classify country singers as a superstitious lot, but even the best of them were starting to reconsider their participation. Alan Jackson, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, Tanya Tucker, Reba McEntire, and Clay Walker were all there, along with several of the "up and comers" who would be performing at smaller venues all over the city. Trace Adkins. Bryan White. Lee Ann Womack. Terri Clark. Chely Wright. They all looked to Perry nervously.

Tanya Tucker, the designated spokesperson for the group, spoke up. "Now, Mr. White. Ah know that ye've put a lot of time and effort into this MusicFest. And none of us want to see ye fold up yer tent, but…" She shrugged her shoulders and looked to her colleagues for help.

Alan Jackson joined in. "The fact of the matter is, Mr. White, there have been just too many accidents to think that they're all coincidences. Now, ah don't reckon that my tour bus breaking down can be counted as one of them. Ah've been havin' trouble with that bus all year long. But the technical stuff sure makes me nervous."

Kix Brooks spoke up. "That's right. Our wireless mikes still haven't been found." He nudged his partner, Ronnie Dunn, before continuing. "But, as far as Reba's costumes being lost, well now, that might just have been a good thing." A friendly laugh went up among the entertainers, Reba's being the loudest.

"Now, that's true, Kix. And shoot, since ah got mah hair cut, ah don't even mind that my hairspray is gone." She looked to her fellow Oklahoman, Vince Gill. "And ah suppose if Vince is willin' to help out a fellow Okie, ah can probably put on an acoustic set."

Vince's soft voice carried across the room. "Sure enough, Reba. It'll be just like the early days. Just you and a guitar."

Perry had watched the exchange and recognized that the entertainers weren't willing to throw in the towel just yet. They just wanted some reassurances.

"Now, folks, let me just say this. We have our best detectives in the Metropolis Police Department working on this problem. The MusicFest is somethin' that this city's needed for a long time." He paused for a moment as an idea came upon him. "As a matter of fact, Vince there just hit on somethin' that might just work."

All eyes turned to Vince Gill. He looked behind him, and seeing no one there, he returned everyone's look with his natural "aw shucks" attitude, a shrug of his shoulders, and a shy grin.

A new voice came from the doorway. "Well now, why don't you just tell us what this idea is, Perry, and we'll see if we can't just make this MusicFest the biggest thing since FanFair. I got that 'errand' done for you and finally persuaded a friend to come along and join in the fun."

Perry looked toward the doorway. Standing there were two men. They both wore Wrangler jeans and white felt cowboy hats. The younger of the two wore his trademark color-block shirt while the other wore a crisply ironed Wrangler Brushpopper shirt. The younger one took a few steps into the room, while the other one hung back, leaning in the doorway, a shy smile on his face. Perry broke into a wide grin of satisfaction and a collective sigh of relief ran through the entire group.

"Well, with you two now in town, this is sure to be the best Fest ever!" Perry looked back toward the other singers. "So, anyone still thinkin' of pullin' out?" No one answered. "OK then, here's what I was thinkin'…" Everyone crowded around Perry as he outlined his idea. Garth Brooks and George Strait joined them.


"That's great, Perry. I'm sure it'll work. It's a terrific idea, everyone going acoustic and singing their early hits. I'm sure both non-country and country music fans would really like to hear that. It'll be country music at its best. Just the singers, the fans, and a guitar." Lois chuckled. She knew that Perry was already jotting down what she had said and would somehow work it into whatever press release was needed.

Lois listened for a moment more. She smiled into the receiver. "Clark and I are having a great time, thanks. We're at Disneyland right now. Yeah, I'm taking it easy."

She held the receiver away from her ear and counted slowly to ten. "Perry. Perry. Perry! I'm pregnant, not dying! Besides, walking is good for me." She checked her watch. "Oh! I forgot you guys are three hours ahead of us. Tell Jimmy we said hi, OK? OK, Perry. See you in a couple of days. Bye."

Lois hung up the phone and went over to the frozen banana stand. She bought one and walked toward a group of people. As she got closer, she could hear the sounds of cameras clicking and whirring along with the excited voices of people. She bit into her frozen banana and smiled indulgently at the crowd. She walked over to a side bench, sat down, and just watched.

In the middle of the crowd, Superman was politely and patiently signing autographs and chatting with the group of Japanese tourists. In Japanese. Lois could hear the occasional "Domo arigato" and the deep bows of the Japanese that indicated the level of respect that they held for Superman. At one point, Superman spied Lois and shrugged his shoulders in helplessness. Lois grinned and mouthed "I understand." She knew that her husband needed this positivite reinforcement from people and didn't begrudge the interruption to their vacation time.

She watched as Superman picked up a baby and posed with it for a picture. She smiled to herself, picturing Clark holding their baby. She looked down at her stomach. "Soon, sweetie. He'll be holding you soon."

As she finished her frozen banana, she saw that the group of tourists were finally being herded together by their Disneyland tour guide. With a last few pictures taken and autographs signed, Superman took the opportunity to fly off.

As Lois wiped her mouth, Clark walked toward her and sat down. "What'd you have?"

"A frozen banana. Two dollars and seventy-five cents, Clark! What a rip-off!" Clark smiled indulgently at Lois. Lois looked at him. "By the way, thanks."

Clark smiled, leaned in, and kissed Lois, removing the last traces of chocolate from her lips. "You're welcome. Glad to be of service."

"No, I mean it. I was talking to one of the maintenance workers. He said that ever since Disney has "contracted out" their service departments, things haven't been running as smoothly as usual. If you hadn't come and fixed the boat jam, I would have gone stark-raving bonkers."

"Uh huh." Clark leaned back and looked toward the Matterhorn ride. He began whistling a tune, "It's a Small World After All," a smile playing on his lips.

Lois looked at him in alarm. "Clark! Don't. Please. Being stuck in that ride for two hours with a boat full of Japanese tourists and that tune over and over again was bad enough. The extent of my Japanese is the various types of sushi, 'domo arigato,' and 'sayonara.'"

Clark took pity on Lois and stopped, the smile remaining on his face. "OK. Where to now? The Haunted Mansion?"

Lois stood up. "Let's do it. But first, can we stop and get something to eat? 'Sashimi' here is hungry." She patted her tummy.

Clark winced. "'Sashimi'? Is that on the 'maybe list'?"

Lois grinned. "It could be." She reached for his hand and continued discussing the merits of naming their baby after raw fish as they walked toward Frontierland.


The next day, Jimmy and Perry walked through the "meet and greet" center toward Janie-Sue's booth. Perry had liked the idea of an area where the fans could chat and get autographs of their favorite stars. The entertainers, used to the concept from FanFair, were more than obliging. The "hot" singers had the longest lines, people sometimes standing in line for more than two hours just to say hello and get their picture taken with their favorite singer. Perry was glad that the lines for the "old timers" like Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings were almost as long and that many of the people standing in those lines were under the age of 30. It just proved his point that country music covered all the age groups.

Jimmy nudged Perry. "Look, Chief! There's Mindy McCready! Man, is she hot!" Jimmy let out a low whistle.

"Now, Jimmy…"

"Oh, there's her boyfriend."

"Fiancˇ, son. Fiancˇ."

"That's not what The Whisper says. They say —" He stopped at the look on Perry's face.

"You mean to tell me that you read that birdcage liner of a rag?"

Jimmy flushed and hurried to explain. "Well, uh, it's like…well…Aw, Chief. I just skim it while I'm waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store."

Perry snorted and continued walking. Jimmy took one more look at the blonde singer before hurrying to catch up with Perry who had reached Janie-Sue's booth and was talking to Captain Bill.

Janie-Sue greeted them warmly. "Hi, Mr. White! Hi, Jimmy." She gave Jimmy a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Hi, darlin'. How are you holdin' up?"

"Oh, just fine Mr. White. This is the fun part of this business. The fans are always so nice and polite. They're the reason that ah've been so lucky, so ah don't mind sessions like this at all." Janie-Sue turned to shake hands with the next person in line. Perry and Jimmy watched as Janie-Sue talked for a few minutes, signed an 8 by 10 glossy of herself, and posed for a picture.

Perry smiled. It was plain to see that there was a definite give-and-take between Janie-Sue and the fan, and that both of them left the encounter with something they would remember. Janie-Sue looked like she was having fun. Bill stood to the side chatting with Jimmy.

"Uh, Janie-Sue? I have to check with some people about these li'l mishaps. You'll be OK?"

"Oh, sure Mr. White." She stole a quick glance at Jimmy.

"I'll stick around, Chief." He looked at Janie-Sue as he spoke to Perry.

Perry watched the interaction between the two and grinned at Bill. "Well, then, I'll be seein' y'all."

"Hold on there, Perry. Ah think ah'll just tag along with y'all." Bill looked at Janie-Sue and Jimmy. "These two can hold down the fort just fine."


After the meet-and-greet session was over, the closed circuit television monitor showed Janie-Sue and Jimmy leaving the room hand-in-hand.

BJ snorted at the picture. "Good thing you own the security company that set up the cameras for the MusicFest, Mrs. Church. What next?"

Mindy Church blew smoke rings that slowly wafted toward BJ. "Have Captain Bill send the note." She studied her boots propped up on the console counter. "Do you think I can get a pair of these in red?"


Lois and Clark stood at the street corner, looking at a street map. Lois looked around her. On each side of the street, she saw small shops that hawked souvenirs of Hollywood — T-shirts, post cards, and celebrity photos. If Lois hadn't seen the street signs, she wouldn't have known the difference between this intersection and any other she had passed in Los Angeles. "So, this is it? The famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine? Not much too it."

Clark studied the map a while longer. He looked up Hollywood Boulevard, toward the west. "According to the map, Mann's Chinese Theater is that way." He looked at Lois and smiled. "Got your walking shoes on?"

Lois smiled back, her heart skipping a beat as she saw the love in Clark's eyes. "But, of course. Let's go." They proceeded westward, walking slowly and reading the names on the stars beneath their feet.

"Oh, Clark! Tallulah Bankhead. Daddy always liked her." Lois said the name a few more times. "Tallulah. Tallulah. Tallulah Kent. Hmmm. Waddaya think?"

Clark just smiled and kept quiet. He knew from yesterday that Lois was bound and determined to try anything and everything with "Kent" until she found one or two that had "just the right amount of 'normalness' for a Krypto-American baby."

Seeing a crowd at the Mann's Chinese Theater, they continued up Hollywood Boulevard. As they passed in front of the Galaxy Theater, Lois got excited as she saw a recent addition to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "Clark! Pierce Brosnan. How about that name? Pierce. Pierce Kent." Lois thought about it for a moment. "Nah. Too weird."

Turning back toward the Chinese Theater, they saw that the crowd hadn't thinned out. In fact, if anything, the crowd had gotten bigger. Clark noticed that members of the Los Angeles Police Department had put up temporary barriers and were blocking one lane of traffic. He went up to someone with a walkie-talkie. "What's going on?"

The man turned toward Clark, a smart retort on his lips. Seeing Clark, he changed his mind and answered him politely. "A very important star is getting their feet and hand prints put in the cement in about…" He check his clipboard and watch. "Five minutes." He saw that Clark was holding Lois's hand. "You and your wife can see better from over there." He pointed toward a section of the courtyard that wasn't overrun by tourists, television cameras, and paparazzi.

Clark smiled his appreciation. "Thanks."

"No problem, the wife and I have a two-month old baby. I still remember when Carlie was pregnant and in crowds. Enjoy yourselves. Feel free to take pictures."

"We will. Thanks again." He turned to Lois. "Let's go. I got us prime viewing space." Lois smiled appreciatively and let Clark run interference through the crowd.

Just as Clark got Lois settled, his superhearing tuned in. Lois recognized the look. "What is it?" She followed Clark's gaze up the street.

Up Hollywood Boulevard and across the street at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a window washers' scaffolding was beginning to give way. The two-man crew tried to regain their balance. Their efforts just caused the scaffolding to sway dangerously. They began yelling in Spanish, their shouts attracting attention on the street below them.

At the Chinese Theater, Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant had just begun his opening remarks. He stopped and looked up the street. His actions galvanized the television crews who immediately ran toward the Roosevelt. The crowd moved with them, pulling Lois along with them. Police officers ran toward the hotel, radioing in the emergency. Traffic screeched to a halt.

Lois heard the familiar swoosh that signaled a certain red-and-blue-clad superhero's arrival. She smiled to herself as she watched Superman remove the workers from their predicament and bring them to the ground. He calmed them down in Spanish.

"Madre de Dios! Muchas gracias, Superman." One worker shook Superman's hand while the other wiped his brow.

"De nada — " The crowd's gasp caused Superman to look up. He zoomed upward and caught the falling scaffolding, bringing it safely down to street level.

The police came forward and questioned the window washers. Seeing that the police had the situation under control and anxious to return to his vacation and Lois, Superman prepared to take off. Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant's shout stopped him.

"Superman! One minute!" The crowd separated to allow the diminutive entertainer through.

Superman hovered a few feet off the ground before settling back down and shaking the entertainer's hand. "Can I help you, Mr. Grant?"

"Actually, Superman, I'm hoping you will. The star we were in the process of honoring saw you in action. He has graciously offered to have YOU take his place. Please, Superman, won't you join the other people in the cement who have brought great joy, pleasure, and happiness to countless millions?"

"Well, uh…"

Seeing Superman's hesitation, Johnny Grant appealed to the crowd. "What do you say, folks? Wouldn't you like to see Superman's hand and famous red boot prints immortalized in cement in the front of the Chinese Theater?" A large shout of agreement arose from the crowd. They began clapping and chanting, "Superman! Superman!"

"Uh…" Before he could say another word, his facial expression changed, as if he heard a distant cry. "I'm sorry. I'm very flattered, but someone needs me right now." With that he flew off, leaving behind a disappointed crowd, an open-mouthed star and honorary mayor, and one slightly smirking investigative reporter.

As the crowd returned to the ceremony at the theater, Lois felt Clark come up next to her and take her hand. "What? No second emergency?"

Clark grinned sheepishly. "Just the emergency of getting back to you." He leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips.

"Mmmmm. That's nice." They walked east on Hollywood Boulevard and passed the ceremony. Lois smiled at the applause that they heard. She nudged Clark with her hip. "Chicken."

Clark stopped. "What? You WANTED me to do that?"

Lois chuckled. "Not really. Still it would have been nice to take the kids to see one day." Her gaze turned toward the star beneath her. "Oh look, Clark! Beverly Garland!"


Jimmy and Perry studied the chart in The Daily Planet's conference room. It was the same one that Perry had started when the MusicFest "accidents" had started, only now it was longer. Luckily, most of the accidents were minor and didn't deter any of the entertainers from dropping out. Perry's musings were interrupted by Jimmy.

"OK, Chief. I've watched Lois and Clark do this for a little over four years now, it can't be that difficult. Especially for a 'news hound' like you."

"Ha! You're right, Jimmy. I was doing investigative pieces when those two were still learning to read. Let's figure this out."

Jimmy thought out loud. "Now, what's the common denominator here? Alan Jackson. Brooks and Dunn. Reba McEntire. Wynonna. Clint Black. Clay Walker. Travis Tritt. All these others. Hmmmm."

The silence grew as Jimmy and Perry thought and rejected possible commonalities.

"I've got it!" They said simultaneously.

"All of these singers…" Jimmy said.

"Are 'main headliners' for the concerts." Perry finished.

"And the one opening act that is the same for all of them is…" Jimmy continued.

A third voice in the room finished Jimmy's thought. "Janie-Sue James." Perry and Jimmy turned to the doorway. Janie-Sue stood there holding an envelope. Both men walked toward her.

"Janie-Sue? What is it?" Jimmy was alarmed at how pale she looked.

She ran into Jimmy's arms. "Oh, Jimmy! Ah'm so scared." She handed the envelope to Perry. He quickly scanned the contents and grimly handed the note to Jimmy.

He looked at the note. It had been printed out on non-descript everyday bond paper. The type of paper readily available in every office. Even the Planet's. He read it aloud. "Stay away from Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. You never know when an 'accident' can happen."

Perry and Jimmy exchanged looks.

Several hours later, Jimmy and Janie-Sue sat in her dressing room at the concert venue. Perry had gotten a phone call from Inspector Henderson and Jimmy wondered if it was the break they were looking for. Perry had gone to police headquarters. Jimmy had stayed with Janie-Sue.

"Are you all right?" Jimmy's tone made his concern obvious to her.

"Ah'll be fine, Jimmy. Just don't go anywhere, OK? Ah feel better with you nearby." She smiled shyly at him.

"Uh, yeah. Um, Janie-Sue, I've been thinking…"

"About what, son?" Jimmy looked to the doorway to see Captain Bill standing there grim-faced.

Jimmy stood up. "Oh, Captain. I'm glad you're here. Perry needs me down at police headquarters. I think we've figured out about these so-called accidents. Can you stay with Janie-Sue?"

"Why, sure, Jimmy. Ah sure can." He pulled out a gun. "So can you."


Along with Inspector Henderson, Perry watched through the glass as detectives questioned the leader of the punk gang.

"And he's told you all about the MusicFest accidents?"

Inspector Henderson nodded. "Yeah. We found them snooping around Trisha Yearwood's tour bus. He said, and I quote. 'We ain't takin' this rap alone. That weren't part of the deal.' Apparently, someone paid them to run a little interference with the MusicFest goings-on."


"He keeps talking about some man all 'cowboyed-out.' Says the name is…" He checked his notes. "Bill. No last name."

"Bill?!?!?!?" Perry reacted as if he had been slapped. He didn't know what to think. It seemed that every person he was close to had betrayed his trust. Bill Church, his son Jerry, and now Bill Brady.

"Yeah. You know this guy?"

"I thought I did. Inspector, we've got to get to the concert venue."


Janie-Sue spoke through her tears. "Bill, why are you doin' this?"

Bill looked at Janie-Sue sadly. "Don't you know, darlin'? Ah'm doin' this for you. Ye are the BEST singer in Nashville. Better than LeAnn Rimes. Better than Trisha Yearwood. Better than Reba. Better than anyone." He sneered as he continued. "They've all bought into the idea of 'cross-over' and mass appeal. They're not country, anymore. They're not 'pure country.' Not like ye are."

Jimmy broke in, aware that Bill still had the gun held on the both of them. "That's not for you to decide, Captain…"

Bill turned on him. "It is! It IS for me to decide!" He continued to explain. "If all those 'acts' couldn't perform, then everyone would hear ONLY Janie-Sue. She'd be an overnight star. A COUNTRY star."

Jimmy continued. "This isn't about Janie-Sue. It's about you, isn't it? As the manager of the hottest country star around, you'd be bigger than…than…than Colonel Tom Parker!" Jimmy was glad he had paid attention to Perry's Elvis stories.

Bill preened like a rooster. "That's right. Ah'd be THE manager. After all these years of dealing with little-talent twangers and stupid record execs, they'd all have to kowtow to ME!" He laughed.

Jimmy thought to jump him, but Bill seemed to read his mind. "Now, don't be goin' and bein' a hero to impress the little lady here. You just stay put and be the good ol' city slicker that you are."

Jimmy caught a glimpse of Perry in the doorway. "I'll stay right here."

"Bill…" Perry spoke quietly and calmly.

Bill twirled around and began to back up, keeping Janie-Sue, Jimmy, and Perry in front of him. "Perry. Ye ol' hound dog. Why couldn't ye leave well enough alone? Ye had to go and start investigatin'."

Perry walked forward a few steps, keeping his voice calm and steady, even though his heart was beating rapidly. "It's what I do, Bill. You know that."

Bill muttered to himself. "Ah told 'em it wouldn't work…" He began to lower his gun. Perry took another few steps forward. The gun came back up. "Don't make me shoot ye, ol' friend." Perry stopped where he was.

Perry spoke to Bill again. "Bill. Now, I know this isn't you talkin'. You've got the respect of everyone in the industry —"

Bill interrupted him. "Respect don't pay the bills, Perry. Respect don't help me make the monthly alimony payments to three ex-wives. Ah HAD to do this Perry. Ah HAD to."

"Bill, why do you think everyone respects you? It's because of the hard work and determination that you've shown over the years. And your sense of fair play. This isn't the way. You know it. I know it. Janie-Sue knows it. Hard work is what'll make this little gal a success. God gave her the talent. Let her do it her way. The right way. What you're doing is cheating. Lying. That's not you. That's not the Bill I know."

With each word, Perry had moved closer and closer to Bill. He could see that his words were having an effect on him. He was almost close enough to get the gun. He tried again.

"Look at her, Bill. Look at how what you're doin' is affectin' her."

Jimmy had listened to Perry and watched what he was doing. "Janie-Sue said YOU were the only one who believed in her singing. Believe in HER now, Bill. She's got the talent. Don't cheat her out of what she deserves."

Janie-Sue's tears ran down her face unheeded. "Please, Bill."

Bill looked at the three of them. Perry could see the struggle Bill was having with himself. Janie-Sue and Jimmy held their breaths.

"Aw darlin'. Ah'm so sorry." He dropped his hand to his side. Perry reached over and took the gun from his hand. Bill didn't resist. He placed a hand on Bill's shoulder. Bill took a deep breath and shakily released it. He looked at Perry, unshed tears in his eyes. "Ah had no choice, Perry. No choice…"

Perry patted his shoulder. "I know, Bill. I know." He handed the gun to Inspector Henderson and watched sadly as the police took his friend away.


On the return flight home, Clark watched his wife lightly dozing by his side in business class. He tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and gently cupped the side of her face. At his touch, Lois opened her eyes to see Clark smiling at her. "What are you smiling at?"

"You." He sighed contentedly, leaned over and softly kissed her. "You are an amazing woman, Lois Lane."

"Whatever do you mean?" Lois's eyes shined brightly, reflecting the love she felt for Clark.

"Well, I think we did everything that a tourist could possibly do in three days. Shopping. Sightseeing. Disneyland. Hollywood Boulevard. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour." He grinned as he saw the look of pure satisfaction on Lois's face.

"Mmmmm. The tour." She sighed. "That George Clooney…" She sighed dreamily.

"Oh, really? I hadn't noticed."

Lois playfully punched his shoulder. "That's because you were too busy looking at Julianna Margulies."

It was Clark's turn to sigh dramatically. "Ah, Julianna…"

Lois chuckled. "Clark?"


"What about George and Julianna?"

Clark looked at Lois, frowning. "They're actors, honey. I don't think they're having an affair. Besides, I read somewhere that Clooney has a live-in girlfriend."

"No, silly! I mean the names. For our baby."

"Oh." Clark thought about it for a moment. "OK. Let's put them down on the 'maybe' list."

Lois dug the list out from her purse. Clark saw that several other names were also listed. "Hey! What other names do you have on that list?"

She held the list out of his reach. "Oh, just a few…"

Clark used his supervision to read the list. "Lois! 'Lufthansa'? 'Sashimi'? I thought you were kidding!"

Lois giggled.


"…And so, the Metropolis MusicFest looks to be a rousing success. All the top-name entertainers will perform as scheduled, along with a last minute surprise addition on the closing night. Janie-Sue James, the hot new singing sensation, will perform also, in spite of the recent arrest of her manager, Captain Bill Brady…"

The news report cut to a taped interview of Reba McEntire, Janie-Sue by her side. "Norville and ah will make sure that Janie-Sue's career goes in the right direction. She's a talented little lady and she deserves a fair chance. All of Nashville is behind her one hundred percent."

BJ clicked off the television. "Tough break, Mrs. Church. Good thing you told me to tell those punks that my name was Bill."

Mindy puffed on her cigar and shrugged her shoulders. "It couldn't be helped, BJ. Besides, this was only a test. I wanted to see what would happen if those two goodie-goodies Lane and Kent weren't in town. I underestimated Perry White. And Jimmy Olsen. I won't do that again. Someone once told me something I've never forgotten. Know thy enemy. I didn't understand it then, but I do now."

Mindy laughed. "I just had a kind of a thought."

"What's that, Boss?"

"I know MY enemies. But, they don't know me. Oooh, I like it." She looked to the side of her chair. "BJ?"

"Yeah, Boss?"

She pointed to the side of her chair with her cigar. "Get rid of those. I don't think I wanna see them anymore."

"Right, Boss." BJ reached down and picked up the pair of crocodile cowboy boots. He walked out of the room, leaving Mindy Church to her cigar and thoughts.


Jimmy and Janie-Sue walked down the short hallway to the stage entrance. "Are you SURE you're gonna be OK?"

Janie-Sue smiled. "Absolutely. Reba and Vince and everyone else have been so kind and supportive. Ah'll be fine." She bit her lower lip and studied her Nikes. "Uh, Jimmy. There's somethin' ah've been meanin' to tell ye…" Her voice trailed off.

"That it won't work out between us and you hope that we can be good friends?"

Janie-Sue looked up at him. "Ye too?"

Jimmy gently pulled on her ponytail. "Yeah. Me too." He leaned over and kissed her softly. "Besides, I've learned something from you."

"Really? What's that?"

"That country music isn't that bad. And it's not all hairspray and sequins. There's a real honesty to the music. And the people." He smiled.

Janie-Sue returned his smile with one of her own. "Y'know, ah've learned something too."

"And that would be?"

"That there are some 'city slickers' who have more country in them than they think." Janie-Sue gave him a quick kiss and went on-stage for her final rehearsal.

Jimmy lingered there for a moment, lost in thought. A grin came across his face as an idea hit him. He took one last look toward the stage before leaving the concert venue and heading to The Daily Planet.


"That last song was a real tear-jerker, Janie-Sue. I don't think I'll ever listen to 'Yesterday' in quite the same way."

"Thanks, Lois. Ah'm glad ye liked it."

Lois, Clark, Jimmy, and Janie-Sue were relaxing backstage in her dressing room. Janie-Sue had just finished her set on the last night of MusicFest. Jimmy looked around at the flowers that filled the room.

"Janie-Sue, if I were a judge of fan reaction, I'd say that you were quite a hit with Metropolis."

She smiled and winked at Clark. "Those aren't from the fans, Jimmy. Those are from Shania Twain, Deana Carter, Kevin Sharp and lots of others. All letting me know that they're all behind me one hundred per cent."

They all fell silent for a minute. Clark decided to change the subject.

"By the way, Jimmy. Nice article. I like the title: 'Janie-Sue James: A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll.' Not bad." Lois nodded her agreement.

"Thanks, CK. Lois. That means a lot coming from you two."

Their attention was caught by Perry's appearance in the doorway. Lois and Clark looked at him in amazement as they saw what he was wearing. Perry had definitely "gone country." He wore a red and white cowboy shirt with horseshoes embroidered on the shoulders and white fringe hanging from the sleeves. On his head was a brand new ten-gallon white felt cowboy hat. A large silver buckle helped keep his Wrangler jeans in place. A pair of lizard cowboy boots were on his feet. He looked down the hallway and yelled.

"OK Vince! See y'all in a week!" He entered the dressing room and paraded before the four. "Well, what y'all think? Ranger Bob of Riders in the Sky loaned me one of his outfits."

Lois smiled indulgently. Clark and Jimmy exchanged looks.

Janie-Sue giggled. "Mr. White? Ye look happier than a pig in slop!"

"Well, now, darlin'. That's because …" Perry paused for dramatic effect. "I've just been invited to sit in on a jam session at the Grand Old Opry! Isn't that great?"

Janie-Sue and Lois hugged him. Clark and Jimmy offered their congratulations.

"That's great, Chief!"

"Isn't it? It's Nashville's way of thanking me for bringin' a little country to the big city." He looked at the four of them. "Did I ever tell y'all the story of how Elvis —" A knock on the open door interrupted him. Perry looked up and grinned.

"Excuse me, y'all. I was told Lois Lane was in here?"

"That's me." Lois turned toward the door. "Can I —" Lois's mouth opened, but no sound came forth as she came face-to-face with George Strait. Perry laughed. Garth Brooks' "errand" had been successful, all right. For only the second time since he had known her, Lois Lane was speechless.

Clark stepped in and held his hand out. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Strait. Lois and I are big fans of yours. Lois has all your CDs."

George Strait shook hands with Clark. "Well, thank ye, Clark. Oh, and it's George. Mr. Strait is my daddy." He turned to Lois. "Lois? I'm a big fan of yers."

Lois swallowed and found her voice. "Of me?" she squeaked.

"Yup. The articles and stories about Superman that ye and Clark write have been great reading. When our son, Bubba, was younger, he'd run 'round the ranch with a towel 'round his neck, pretending HE was Superman."

As he continued with his story, George Strait's natural grin widened and his blue eyes twinkled with amusement . "Ye don't know how many times Norma and ah had to yell 'Help, Superman!' Heck, Bubba even had me name our top thoroughbreds after ye two." The room laughed at the anecdote.

"Well, ah gotta go sing for my supper. It was a pleasure meeting y'all." He turned to Janie-Sue. "Reba's husband is your manager now?" Janie-Sue nodded. "Let's get together. Ah'm starting to work on my summer tour plans and ah'd like ye to be a part of it." Janie-Sue grinned and nodded, slightly stunned. Going on tour with George Strait was considered by many in the industry as the ultimate stamp of approval. Perry and Jimmy went over to congratulate her.

George placed a reassuring hand on Janie-Sue's shoulder. "We'll talk later." Turning back to Lois and Clark, he asked. "Why don't y'all watch the concert from the wings?" He reached into the back pocket of his Wrangler jeans. "Ah jest happen to have some extra access passes." He handed them both to Lois and Clark.

Lois grinned like she had just been given a lifetime supply of chocolate. Clark grinned, seeing the look on Lois's face. He hadn't seen that look of open hero-worship and amazement since he first flew her into the Planet's newsroom over four years ago. They walked with the singer toward the stage. He chatted with Lois. "So, have y'all decided on a name for your baby?"


Perry, Jimmy, and Janie-Sue watched the three leave the dressing room. Perry turned to Janie-Sue, his face suddenly serious. "Darlin', I am so sorry about Bill. I don't know what got into him."

"It's all right, Mr. White. Ah don't blame you. Ah don't even blame Bill. Before all of this, he treated me like ah was his daughter. Ah started thinkin' of him as my second daddy. Ah'd like to remember that about him." Perry nodded.

As they talked, a frown came over Jimmy's features. "Chief?"

"Yeah, Jimmy?"

"There's something that's been bothering me about this whole thing."

"What's that, son?"

Jimmy shook his head. "I can't put my finger on it. It's something Bill said…"

Perry waved it off. "Well, Jimmy, we can figure it out later." He paused as they heard the announcement over the speaker system.

"And now, ladies and gentleman. A special surprise treat for y'all. Let's welcome the CMA's reigning Male Vocalist of the Year…George Strait!" A burst of applause and screaming followed the announcement, increasing in volume and intensity as George Strait walked on stage.

"Come on, you two! This is one concert I ain't missin'!" Janie-Sue grabbed Perry's and Jimmy's hands and they headed toward the stage.


Clark held Lois in front of him, his hands placed protectively over her stomach. Lois leaned back against Clark, enjoying the feel of his arms around her, her foot tapping to the beat of "The Fireman." As the song ended and the audience cheered, she nudged Clark and pointed across the stage as she saw Janie-Sue, Perry, and Jimmy. They waved to each other across the stage.

Their attention was captured by George's announcement. "Thank ye, Metropolis! Y'all make a Texas boy feel right at home. This next song usually goes out to my wife, Norma. But tonight, ah'd like to dedicate it to two people who ah have long admired and finally got the chance to meet."

A cheer went up and George waited patiently until the crowd again quieted down. "Y'all know them as 'the hottest team in town.' Lois Lane and Clark Kent, this one is for y'all." He signaled to his back-up band, Ace in the Hole. As the opening strains began, those familiar with the song began applauding and cheering.

Our love is unconditional

We knew it from the start

I could see it in your eyes

You could hear it in my heart…

I cross my heart

And promise to

Give all I've got to give

To make all your dreams come true…

"Mmmm, Clark. I love this song." Lois swayed in Clark's arms to the music, softly humming along with George's singing.

Clark kissed the top of Lois's head and leaned down to whisper in her ear. "He's right. My love for you and our baby IS unconditional."

Lois shivered at Clark's warm breath on her ear. "Yeah?" Her voice sounded breathless to him.

"Yeah. Cross my heart." He turned her in his arms and captured her mouth in a kiss that sealed his promise. Lois returned his kiss with all the love and passion in her.

Breaking off the kiss and catching her breath, Lois looked into Clark's eyes. "Clark?"

Clark looked into Lois's bright eyes. "Yeah?"

"What about 'Bubba'?" Lois giggled.

Clark tipped her chin up and saw the love and laughter in her eyes. He chuckled and answered her question the only way he could. He kissed her.




an Afterword by Julie Mack

My thanks and deepest appreciation to Kat Picson and Craig Byrne fer their editing efforts and for puttin' up with all of mah strange sense of humor. Y'all are the best! Thanks also to mah online friends in Texas and Tennessee who helped with settin' me straight 'bout "y'all" and "ye". Thanks, y'all (since there were more than one of ye involved <G>)

Stealin' a line from Mindy Church, "Ooh! I just had a kind of a thought." How about a story that combines two of mah interests — L&C and country music? Sounded good to me. But ah couldn't just leave it at that. Ah had to "tweak" it a little. Twist it around. Have some fun. Now, y'all don't get me wrong. Ah LOVE Lois and Clark. Ah've laughed, cried, screamed, cheered, and yelled along with everyone else as they've gone through their weekly adventures in the pursuit of truth, justice, and the American Way. But…whut about the other players? Besides, at five months pregnant, L&C deserved some R&R. Ah decided to write a story where Lois and Clark are NOT the ones having to solve the crime or crisis. That wouldn't be THAT unusual, now would it? STRANGER Things Have Happened.

Ah've always liked Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, the "elder statesman" and the "young cub" at the Daily Planet. Their characters were never really explored on the show. Well, OK, except for TDWCIFTC, LW, and AKAS. But, seriously…Perry wasn't always editor in chief and durin' the TUFS season, Jimmy's been promoted to Staff Writer. It was time to let them take center stage. Again. So, Perry and Jimmy are the lead characters this time 'round. Different? Yeah, ah know. But still, Stranger Things HAVE Happened.

Ah love a good WAFF just as much as the next person. So L&C get WAFFy…but in a funny kind of way. One thing 'bout the baby names…when ah was carryin' mah first one, anythin' and everythin' was fair game as a name. Street signs. Foods. City names. Brand names. Sometimes even names in a baby book. Whut kin ah say? Stranger Things Have Happened.

Speakin' of WAFF, JIMMY gets the gal AND WAFFy, and it ain't played for laughs. Ye see? Stranger Things HAVE Happened.

And PERRY gets to use some of them good ol' reporter investigatin' skills. Like ah said. Stranger Things Have Happened.

All the country singers mentioned in this episode are some of the persons thet ah listen to on a regular basis. Aw right, ah'll admit it. Ah listen to a certain actor's fiancee, too. But, only once in a blue moon. It jest goes to show ye. Stranger Things Have Happened.

So, that's how this story came about. We know that Perry has been a life-long Elvis fan, so by extension ah made him a country music fan too (although he still cain't Tush Push worth a hill of beans!). And Jimmy gets to play romantic lead…fer a while <G>. Lois and Clark still have adventure, but most of all, they have FUN.

Oh, one more thing. Since he's MY favorite country singer, George Strait just happens to be Lois's favorite country singer, too. And yeah, ah DO have all of George's CDs <G>.

Ah hope y'all enjoyed readin' this little ditty. Ah know thet ah had a fun time writin' it. Shoot, while ah was writin' this yarn, ah was happier than a pig in slop! Stranger Things Have Happened. <G>