By Alicia U. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: September 2004
Summary: In this prequel to the author's story "DuckyMan," Lois turns to Clark's mother for some advice.
Ring! Ring! Ring!
"I'm coming! I'm coming!" Martha Kent exclaimed even though the phone couldn't understand and relay her message. She hastily stepped away from her sculpture, but she didn't rush to answer the phone. Whoever was calling would have to wait until she washed her hands. She certainly didn't want to get plaster all over the phone.
Ring! Ring! Ring!
"Okay, I'm coming already!" She dried her hands on a nearby towel and took a few running steps towards the phone. This had better be important! If she went through all that trouble for a telemarketer she just might snap. How many times did she have to tell those people that she didn't want to change her long distance provider, refinance her mortgage, get new windows for the house, or invest in a new feed for the horses?
Well, if the person on the other end of the line hadn't hung up after six rings, it was probably something important. They needed to invest in an answering machine. How could they have a fax machine but no answering machine?
She jogged the last few paces to the phone and breathlessly said, "Hello?"
"Hi, Martha," a woman's voice came over the line. "It's Lois."
Okay, so it wasn't a telemarketer. Thank goodness. "Oh, Lois! It's great to hear from you."
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
"Oh, nonsense, Lois. I always have time for you." She cast a quick glance at her rapidly-drying plaster sculpture and fought the urge to sigh in disappointment. There would always be more plaster. She might never get another chance to have this conversation.
When Lois said nothing in response, Martha prodded her further, "What's the matter, dear?"
Martha heard Lois take a deep breath on the other end of the line. Then the younger woman said, "I'm not really sure why I called. I mean, I guess I could have asked Clark directly, but I couldn't face him. I mean, I guess I could have asked someone else, but it just didn't seem right, and then I remembered that you said I could call you any time I had a problem, but …"
Martha shook her head, trying to find an appropriate place to interrupt. Now seemed like as good a time as any. "Of course you can always call me, Lois. Like I said, it's wonderful to hear from you. But slow down and at least tell me your problem so I can try to help you."
"Oh," she said sheepishly. "I guess you probably know what I'm calling about."
The older woman nodded. "Clark."
"He's driving me insane!"
"Oh?" was all Martha said, letting Lois continue, knowing all too well what her problem probably was.
"I know he's your son and you have to defend him, and I probably shouldn't even be talking to you about him, but, Martha, he's making me crazy."
What else was new? Before she could respond, Lois was talking again.
"We had a deal. He said he would do this for me. Sure I might have slammed the door in his face, but he can't just tell me he loves me and wants to marry me, then run away like this. Maybe I'm at fault at least a little bit, but how does that give him the right to leave me? How can he hope that anything will ever get even remotely serious, when he leaves me all alone looking like an idiot? Why do I put up with him? It's like he agrees to do something then he has some fear of commitment or something. Either that or he is afraid of me, afraid of hurting me, afraid of telling me that he doesn't love me." She paused for a second, then her tone changed. "Martha, if he doesn't want to do this, if he's embarrassed or whatever, he could at least tell me. It's not like I'm going to make him go outside."
Wow. What a mouthful. What a situation. Clark had sure dug himself into a hole with the woman he loved. So deeply that she was calling his mother for advice. "Lois," Martha said, "I don't know what to tell you. Maybe just that I know he cares for you more than anything else in the world. Honey, that boy'd move mountains for you." She wanted to add, 'And he actually could move that mountain if you asked.' "And believe me, he's going to do this for you."
"Then why is he so scared of me? It's not like I could physically make him do it. Come on, it's not even that bad."
Before Martha could answer, she heard a 'whoosh' and then a sonic boom and then footsteps in the hallway. Then she heard his voice. "Hey, Mom!" Clark exclaimed.
Interesting development. Criminals weren't the only ones who could hatch evil plots. Martha Kent was quite devious in her own way. The wheels were already turning in her head.
Martha let the phone drop to her side without bothering to say anything more to Lois. If Clark wouldn't talk to Lois, then Martha would have to facilitate things. Underhanded? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
"Hey, honey!" Martha called. "I'm in the kitchen."
"Mom," Clark moaned, and his face peeked out from the side of the door.
He looked horrible. His face was drawn, and it looked like he hadn't slept in days. "Honey, what's wrong?"
Clark sank down into one of the kitchen chairs, and heaved a large sigh. "I don't know. It's Lois."
Martha looked at the phone in her hand, knowing Lois was listening to their conversation. She was a little surprised that Lois wasn't saying anything. Maybe she was in shock. Or maybe the plan was working. "Lois?" Martha prodded.
"Yeah," he said. He grabbed a corner of his cape and fiddled with it as he spoke. "I don't know what to do. I love her so much, but I don't think she believes me."
Clark sighed deeply. "Every time we start to talk, I hear something."
"What do you mean?" Martha asked innocently.
He threw his hands into the air. "Everything. A plane crash, or a hostage situation, or a bank robbery, or a cat stuck up in a tree. I don't know what to do. It's not like I can ignore any of them."
"Well, the cat stuck in a tree isn't earth shattering."
Clark rolled his eyes. "Well, yeah. But everything else. I just wish …"
"That you could get some earplugs?" Martha said.
"I just want to be normal, Mom. Is that too much to ask? How many other guys have to leave their girlfriend alone in the middle of a movie because they have to put out a fire?"
Then Clark's head jolted up, like he heard something. "Mom. Are you on the phone with someone?" His face turned ghostly white.
"Clark," Lois said softly, menacingly. "There you are. Get your Super little butt back to Metropolis right now. You think I'm going to marry you if you keep running away from me?"
Clark gulped. "Lois. You're on the phone with Lois?"
Martha shrugged innocently. "She called me."
"Why did she call you? Why didn't you tell me?"
Martha felt badly about what she had done, but if she hadn't intervened, he might never have talked to her and she might have never forgiven him.
"Clark!" Lois's voice was louder now. "I'd better see you in two minutes. Don't even try to tell me about electrical storms over Cleveland AGAIN."
"No buts, Kent." Lois's voice took on a stern tone. "Get back here right now. You said there was an earthquake in China, and you're at your parents' house?"
Martha looked at him sternly. "What did he tell you?"
"He thinks now that I know he's Superman he can just run off at any time to get away from me?"
"I've never done that!" Clark exclaimed. He ran a hand through his hair and stood up. "Lois, there really was an earthquake in China."
"I know, but you've never been faced with this deal before. I mean, I want you to do some sort of penance, but maybe this is too much." Martha could hear Lois take a deep breath. "Maybe I'm being too hard on you. Fine. If you don't want to wear the He-Man costume, I guess …"
"Lois!" Martha exclaimed. "Don't back down now. He looks so cute in the He-Man costume." He-Man, Superman … both superhuman figures with very real secret identities. At least He-Man never asked a woman to mary him without telling her his true identity!
"Mom!" Clark exclaimed. He sighed resolutely. "Okay, I'll do it. How bad can it be?"
"It's Halloween, Clark," Martha said. "And you promised. You owe it to Lois."
"I know." His head fell. "I'll do the skit, too." He shook his head slowly. "Eight more years. But why He-Man? Are you sure?"
Martha shook her head. "Clark, you know why you have to be He- Man."
"I know," he said again. "Prince Adam was really He-Man." With a sigh, he said, "Why couldn't I have told her myself? Only eight more years. How much worse can it get?" Without saying 'goodbye,' Clark took to the sky.
"You have no idea," Martha said softly. "Never invade Russia, and never try to defeat a team of Lois Lane and Martha Kent. It just never works."
She heard Lois laughing on the other end of the line so she put the phone to her ear and said, "He just left. Make sure you call me back and tell me how it went."
"Oh, don't worry," the younger woman said. "I will."
After she put the phone down, Martha grabbed the broom and began sweeping the excess plaster into a pile, imagining just what Lois would do to poor Clark when he got home. She felt bad for her son, but she knew he deserved everything he was getting and then some.
Jonathan came in the kitchen door, and flopped down on one of the chairs. "Was that Clark I heard?"
"Yeah. He just left."
"He didn't stay?"
Martha grinned deviously. "I think he had something to do in Metropolis." She placed the broom against the wall and came up behind her husband. "He and Lois have a lot to do."
"Aah. The night of penance. What is he going as this year?"
Jonathan nodded thoughtfully. "Eight more years. How many more cartoon secret identities can there be?"
"Plenty," Martha said evasively.
"Oh really?" He sounded like he didn't believe her. Well, she was just going to have to prove her cartoon knowledge.
"Well, year one was Superman. Year two He-Man." She considered it for a second. "Darkwing Duck, obviously. Lois is looking forward to that one. Then you have the Lone Ranger and Robin Hood." She paused for a second considering her options. "Then we have Underdog. Wouldn't he look cute as a dog?"
Jonathan rolled his eyes.
Martha continued, not letting her husband get a word in edgewise. "Then there's the Green Hornet, Zorro, the Flash, and the Hulk." She took a breath. "All cartoon heroes with secret identities. Well, all but Superman."
"Did I ever tell you that you watch way too much television?"
This story is a prequel to DuckyMan
Information about He-Man can be found here
I used to love this show as a kid! I had all the action figures.