Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Paul-Gabriel Wiener <>

Rated: G

Submitted: Sept 2004

Summary: Lois and Clark talk about childhood pets, including Clark's troublesome pet rock. A "Guess the Author" challenge story.

This story was written for Lynn's "Guess the Author" challenge on the boards. ( ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000288) The idea was that everyone would write a story in which either Lois or Clark got a pet. The stories would be posted anonymously through Lynn, and then we'd see if anyone could guess who wrote what. Everyone ended up guessing wildly, and I don't think anyone got even half their guesses correct. Still, it was really fun, and we got some pretty good stories out of it. There were even stories from a couple of great writers who had drifted away from writing L&C.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the concept, but ended up dashing off two quickies. This is one of them.


"Clark," Lois asked her husband late one evening, "did you ever have a pet?"


"A pet. You know, like a dog or a cat or a fish. A little creature you —"

"I know what a pet is, Lois. I just wasn't expecting the question. What makes you ask?"

"I was just wondering." She put down the bottle of fish food and came over to sit with him on the couch. "When I was a kid, I always wanted a dog. Someone faithful and loving. But Mom was usually too drunk to understand, and Dad was always off somewhere else. When I did finally ask him, he said that we didn't have time to take care of a dog. That it was a big responsibility and that we'd have to feed him and walk him and play with him and all sorts of things like that. A dog isn't just a toy you can take out when you want him and then put back in the closet when you're done, he said. Then he told me that he needed to work and sent me to my room." She laughed ruefully. "Of course, by that age, I was taking care of myself and raising Lucy, too. Lucy, of course, wanted a pony. I knew there was no way that was going to happen, so I got a stuffed one for her and we pretended it was real. When I grew up, I still wanted a pet, but I knew I wouldn't be able to take care of a dog. Not with a reporter's schedule. So, I got my fish. Wanda knows me, and, in her own way, loves me. I feed her and take care of her, and I know she'll never leave me." Almost absently, she snuggled into his arms. "So, I was thinking about it, and I was wondering if you'd ever had a pet."

He hugged her close, reassuring her that Wanda wasn't the only one who loved her and would never leave. He needed her just as certainly as the fish needed water. "I grew up on a farm," he said. "There wasn't much point to having another animal around. I never really felt the need, anyway. Except, there was one thing…"


"Do you remember that craze years back? Pet rocks? They pitched it as the perfect pet. You don't have to feed it, you don't have to clean up after it…"

"… and when you take it for a walk, you don't have to keep it on a leash!"

They chuckled, sharing the memory and the silliness of it. "Well, everyone in my school had one. They'd carry them around in their backpacks and show them off and play with them. I felt like the odd one out. So, I asked my Dad for a pet rock. He agreed, but he wasn't about to go pay for one just because it came in a box. He walked out the front door and started looking. There weren't many rocks near the house, and the fields were kept pretty well clear of them, too. He ended up walking almost the whole way over to the Irigs' place. He found a rock there that looked good. It was just the right size, smooth, and was covered with small flecks of some colored mineral.

"He brought it home and gave it to me. I dropped it, feeling like my hand was burning. He was surprised. He tried giving it to me again, but I wouldn't take it. Every time he brought it close, I started feeling sick. Mom and Dad didn't know what to make of it. At first, they figured it was some strange psychological quirk. They decided to try bringing it behind me or wrapped in something, to show me that it wouldn't hurt, but, even if I couldn't see it coming, I still felt sick. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I finally realized why I reacted so strongly to a stone with little bits of green mineral."

"Kryptonite! Oh my gosh! Your pet rock was covered with Kryptonite!" She had an odd expression on her face, as if she was caught between horror and mirth. "What did you do?"

"We got rid of it, and the fad passed. Kids still had their rocks, but it wasn't such a big deal anymore. Until then, I just didn't talk about it. I already felt strange enough. I didn't want to have to try to explain why I was allergic to my pet rock!"