Like Shooting Fish in a Barrow

By Paul-Gabriel Wiener <>

Rated PG

Submitted September 2004

Summary: In this response to Yvonne Connell's TOGOM challenge, Clark reacts a little more quickly, and things go a little differently…

This was inspired by a challenge posted on the boards by Yvonne Connell. The challenge was to write a TOGOM story in which Clark doesn't pretend to die. This is one of the stories that resulted…


"Clark, no!" Lois's shout made him pause for a moment. He wasn't going to let Dillenger get his paws on her, but maybe there was a better option. As he stepped back to think about it, a flicker of movement caught his eye. Clyde was raising a gun. If he didn't do something, fast, he was going to be shot. That could make for a tricky situation. He leaned forward and down, pretending to duck, but in reality lining himself up for a better angle on the gun. Lowering his glasses, he fired a short but intense burst of heat at the inside of the barrel.

Clyde pulled the trigger. The gun, subtlely distorted, misfired. Clyde dropped it, his hand burned by the small explosion. Capone rounded on him. "You moron. What do you think you're doing? I can't be linked to a murder!"

Bonnie, who had been flirting heavily with Clark moments before, came up beside her partner, fiercely protective. "Don't you talk to my Clyde like that! He was just defending my honor, weren't you, baby?"

"Oh, come off it, Toots," Dillenger put in. "You've been throwing yourself at every guy we've met."

Clyde bristled at that. Deprived of his gun, he prepared to launch himself at Dillenger. Capone looked furious. "Drop it, all of youse. We don't have time for this."

"Oh? Who died and made you king?" Bonnie demanded.

Clark watched in amazement, feeling as if he'd thrown a pebble amongst dragon's teeth. The gangsters were still squabbling when the police arrived. Three officers had to pull Clyde off Dillenger before he could be arrested. Clark shook his head.

After everything settled down, he walked an oddly thoughtful Lois to her Jeep. Once they were inside, instead of driving off, she just sat there. She almost looked like she was shaking. "Lois? Are you okay?"

"Am I okay?" she echoed incredulously. "Clark, you almost died tonight. If that gun hadn't misfired…" she stopped, unable to finish the sentence.

He reached out to her. "But it did, and I'm fine."

She closed her eyes, taking comfort in that. They sat there, holding hands, taking satisfaction in the knowledge that they were both alive and well. After a while, she straightened, and, visibly bracing herself, she spoke. "Clark, there's something I need to say… I almost lost you tonight. Tomorrow, something could happen to either one of us. I know our relationship has been… hard to define. I thought that was okay, that we had time, that there was no real need to push things forward, but tonight made me realize that I shouldn't take that for granted." She paused to take a deep breath. He waited, hoping he knew what was coming next, not daring to believe it. "Clark, I've been thinking… maybe there's more to our relationship than just friendship… Do you think… Do you feel it, too?"

He froze, caught in the wonder of the moment. "Yes, Lois," he heard himself say, "I feel it, too." He was about to continue when another thought intruded. She'd been worried, afraid she was going to lose him. She deserved better than that, especially if they were going to become more involved. He drew in a breath, and then forced the words out. "But before we get into that, there's something I need to tell you, too…"