By Tank <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: January 2005 (Written: ? Who remembers?)
Summary: Lois is summoned by Perry to attend a Charity Fund-raiser. What does this entail?
Author's note: This little fic was born of duel purpose. First, it uses a concept that I came across in a magazine article some time back. It seems that the San Francisco Police have (had?) a charity function called 'Buzz the Fuzz'. The policemen (and some women) volunteer to have their head shaved to raise money for child cancer victims. The head shave was a symbolic gesture of compassion for those children who had lost their hair due to the treatment for their cancer.
When folcs on the boards were 'celebrating' Kaethel's birthday I felt I needed to acknowledge it in some manner. Knowing the woman's unnatural defense of the long-haired Lois over the more practical and attractive shorter-haired Lois, that acknowledgement just had to take the form of a 'hair-cut story'. Remembering the article, I thought it the perfect vehicle for a short fic to commemorate Kae's birthday.
As always, all trademarks and copyrights are assigned to their owners. Any and all comments are welcome at TankW1@aol.com.
Lois Lane tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear as she typed furiously on her computer keyboard. She had come in early this morning in order to finish off their latest story. She wanted to make sure it made the afternoon edition.
Suddenly her concentration was broken by movement caught by her peripheral vision. She glanced over and saw her partner settling into his desk and begin booting up his own computer.
"Hey, I thought you were headed to Smallville for vacation?" Lois asked.
Her reporting partner, and best friend, Clark Kent glanced over at her. "I'd hardly call it a vacation. I'm going home to help out with the spring planting. I'll be working long, hard hours for several days, Lois. Not much of a vacation."
Lois shrugged. "That's what you get growing up on a farm. No planting or harvesting in the big city."
Clark grinned at her. "That's true, but there's also no fresh air, and blue skies in the big city either. Actually, I like helping out on the farm whenever I can. My parents aren't getting any younger."
Lois returned his grin. "Always the dutiful son."
"Yeah, well, I'm leaving this afternoon. I just thought I'd come in and clean up a few last minute details before I go."
Just then Perry White stuck his head out of his office. "Lois! Could you come in here for a moment?"
Lois looked over at Clark, who just shrugged. "I wonder what that's all about? Perry seldom asks, he usually just commands."
Her curiosity had been aroused, and truthfully she would never have considered not answering her boss's summons, so she rose and made her way to Perry's office.
"What's up, Chief?" She walked up and sat in the chair in front of his desk.
Perry shuffled a couple of papers around on his desk. "Ah, I was wondering what you are doing this Saturday?"
Lois scrunched her face up as if mentally checking her daily planner. "Nothing special planned. Why? Do you need me to work?"
Perry kept playing with the papers in front of him. "Not exactly. I need you to volunteer to represent the Daily Planet at the Children's Cancer Research Fund event this coming Saturday."
"What do you need? You need me write up a story about it?"
Perry shook his head, not meeting Lois' eyes. "No, nothing like that. It will all be covered by the television media anyway. I just need you to show up and participate in the activities."
Lois frowned for a second. It didn't sound like a fun way to spend her Saturday, but she was a team player. She shrugged. "Sure, I guess. Clark won't be in town anyway, and we don't have any hot stories we're working on right now. I suppose I can give up my Saturday for a good cause."
"Thanks, Lois. I know that you will represent the Daily Planet proudly."
She stood up. "Whatever." She shook her finger at her boss. "Just don't say that I'm not a team player."
Lois was back at her desk within a few minutes. She quickly brought the story she was working on back up to her screen. A shadow crossed her screen. She looked up and saw Clark sitting on the edge of her desk. She smiled at herself. She knew he'd be wondering what Perry wanted.
"So," he said. "What did Perry want?"
Lois leaned back in her chair. "He just wanted to thank me for being the best reporter he's ever had the privilege to employ, and wanted me to accept a big pay raise to acknowledge it."
Clark nodded skeptically. "Really."
Lois laughed. "No, he just asked me to be the Planet's rep at the Children's Charity function this Saturday."
Clark cocked a brow. "And what did you say?"
Lois glanced at her partner. He had a strange look on his face. "I said I'd do it. I had nothing going on this weekend. Why not?"
"Whoa." Clark blew out a surprised breath. "I'm impressed, Lois. I know that you're a compassionate person, but I never would have guessed that you'd participate in something like this."
Lois gave Clark a confused look. "Like what? I've worked with and for charities before."
Clark held his hands up in a gesture of appeasement. "No, that's not what I mean. It's just that I never would have figured you as someone who would agree to shave their head."
"Agree to, what!"
Clark nodded. "Yeah, the Children's Cancer Research Fund is sponsoring the 'Shave a Scribe' event. Local print journalists and writers agree to have their heads shaved for charitable contributions. I guess the purpose is to show compassion and sensitivity to the plight of child cancer victims who have to go through treatments that cause them to lose their hair." Lois' eyes grew wide as her hand, unconsciously went to her hair. "I think they got the idea from the San Francisco 'Buzz the Fuzz' events. There, local police, both male and female, agree to shave their heads for children's cancer charities. It becomes a big media event. Lots of publicity." Clark patted Lois on the shoulder. "It's quite a sacrifice, I'm proud of you."
Lois was struck dumb. She stared at Clark for several moments, then slowly turned her head toward Perry's office. "Perry!"
Angrily, Lois strode up the ramp and stormed into her chief's office. She slammed the door behind her. Her eyes blazed as she confronted the suddenly intimidated editor. "Shave a Scribe?" Her arms flailed as she punctuated her words with gestures. "You knew about this?" White nodded weakly. "And you what? Expected me to just go along with it once I was there and found out what was involved?"
Perry put up his own hands in defense. "Now hold on, Lois. I was going to fill you in… later. I just needed a general okay first."
Lois' frown betrayed the offense she felt. "A general okay? Don't you think leaving out a salient fact like I'd have to have my head shaved would affect my decision?" She began to pace. "Why me? Why not someone else? Why not Cat, or Jimmy, or even you? Why should I be the one to be scalped in the name of charity?"
Perry stared up at the ceiling to gain a moments respite, then turned his attention back to his agitated reporter. "Look, Lois, I know this is asking an awful lot of you. You are a beautiful woman and to give up your hair, even in the name of charity, is quite a sacrifice."
"I'm not vain," she shot out.
"No, of course not. It's just a lot to ask. But, Lois, all the papers and several local authors are going to be represented at the event. Several significant people in the field are willing to take the plunge in the name of cancer research for kids." Perry shrugged. "We're the Daily Planet. We're the finest newspaper in the country, if not the world. We need a high profile presence there. Who better than our number one reporter?"
Lois' lids narrowed as she stared hard at her boss. She knew that he was appealing to her ego as a reporter because that meant the most to her. Even more than any personal vanity. Still, there was more to this than that. She was sure that Perry wasn't any more eager to have a bald female top reporter than she was.
"There's more to this than that. Clark was out last Kerth Award winner. Even though he's scheduled to be on vacation, I'm sure you could have talked him into coming back early for this if you wanted to. Let's face it, as much as I might hate to admit it, he's every bit as photogenic as I am."
"Well, Clark's not available. I'm not going to ask him to skip his vacation for this. His folks need his help." Perry shrank back from Lois' fierce gaze. "Okay, truth is, there is another reason why I asked you to do this, but I wasn't supposed to mention it. I can't order you to participate in this, Lois. It has to be of your own free will."
"But?" Her curiosity had been piqued. If Perry was playing her, he was doing a masterful job.
"I got a call from the event planners. It seems that they got an anonymous solicitation of a donation. It appears that someone is willing to give them a million dollars if you participate as a head shave volunteer."
"What?" Lois' legs suddenly felt very wobbly. She moved over and slumped into the chair. "From who?"
Perry shrugged. "That's just it. The conditions were to be no advance publicity about it. The people from the charity took a risk in calling me and asking that I try to convince you to do it. I think they thought that I could just order you to do it or something. But now I'm risking the donation by telling you. Apparently it's very important to this possible donor that they remain completely anonymous, and that no one knows about the money until after the event." Lois opened her mouth, but Perry put up his hands to forestall her words. "Don't ask because I don't know the reason why."
Lois had to take several deep breaths. "How do they know that this is a bonafide offer and not some crank trying to get his jollies by getting me to shave my head? I do know a lot of people who wouldn't mind seeing me, let's call it, inconvenienced in such a manner."
Perry shook his head. "Give me some credit, Lois. I asked that very question, but they assured me that they were convinced that the offer was legit, but they wouldn't reveal any name."
Lois leaned back in the chair and began to run her hand through her hair. She stopped halfway through, and pulled her hand out and stared at the few strands that came away with it. "It's not fair, you know," she said, pulled the hairs from between her fingers.
"I know it's not, honey. But a million dollars can do those kids a lot of good."
Lois stood and walked slowly to the office door. She paused and turned back to her boss. "You are going to owe me big time for this, Chief. Big time."
Lois stood in front of her bathroom mirror, slowly running a brush through her dark, silky locks. The week had sped by, it was Saturday morning, and in a few hours she'd have no more use for things like brushes, and combs. At least for the near future. The ironic thing was, her hair wasn't really that long. She'd just gotten it trimmed a couple of weeks ago. The raven tresses hung straight and shiny to just below her chin.
At first she was going to just go to the event casual, and unmade up; do little more than wash her face and hands. After all, why bother with make up and fixing her hair if the point was to shave it all off anyway. But then she had changed her mind. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it up right.
She'd gotten up early and showered, shampooed and set her hair in the extra large rollers. She wanted to look her best for this. Her hair was full-bodied and shone like glass in the reflected light of the bathroom bulbs. It may all be gone in a few hours, but before it was cut, it was going to look fabulous.
Lois thought that an evening gown might be overplaying it, but she did choose a very classy pair of slacks and an elegant cashmere sweater. She gave her hair a couple of last pats with her hand, as she nodded in approval. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and reaffirmed her determination. It was only hair, and it was for a good cause. No one was going to say that Lois Lane came to this event depressed and dowdy.
Lois was amazed when she entered the pavilion that had been set up for the event. Large gaily colored tents had been set up in the main courtyard of Centennial Park. The atmosphere was like that of a circus. Considering the seriousness of the affliction that they were there to fight, it seemed oddly incongruous to her.
There were several tables set up with literature and brochures to disseminate information and people manning them to answer questions. The inevitable television truck and hundreds of feet of cable leading in and out of it was off the one side. Cameras were being checked and microphones held by plastic TV talking heads were being tested.
Right in the middle of the whole affair was a raised stage and on that stage were several barber chairs. Lois had to shake her head. The planners of the event had certainly done their job to make sure the imagery would fit. This was definitely geared as a public spectacle.
It suddenly occurred to Lois that she was going to be shaved bald on camera. Most likely she would become a 10 second video clip on the evening news. She frowned. Doing something like this for the good of the charity was one thing. But to have to endure it on camera was another matter.
She recognized many of the people wandering around. Some were colleagues from other papers. Some were local authors and writers. She wondered how many were here for the same reason that she was, and how many were just here for the show.
"Why, Lois, I didn't expect to see you here." A saccharin- tinged voice intruded on her musings.
She turned to find an unwelcome sight before her. "Linda King, who would ever have thought that you had enough compassion for others to be a participant in something like this."
Linda rolled her eyes. "Oh don't be silly, Lois, I'm just here to report on this event. I would never… Omigod, don't tell me… you… you are going to be a volunteer? You are going to get your head shaved for this charity?"
Lois bristled at Linda's condescending tone. "Well, some of us care about more than where our next personal gratification is coming from."
Linda opened her mouth to fire back her response but the argument was interrupted by the sound of the event moderator. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Mark Blaine, with the Metropolis Children's Cancer Research Fund. I'll be your host for this very special fund raiser. Before we get started, I just want to thank all the wonderful volunteer scribes who have come here today to show their compassion and their support of the kids stricken by cancer and the treatments they have to undergo." He paused while the crowd responded with an appreciative applause. "Hopefully the money raised by this event today will help add another piece to the puzzle our scientists need to solve to put an end to this terrible affliction."
A startled murmur rippled through the crowd. Some people were pointing. Lois let her gaze follow the direction indicated by those nearest her. She was shocked to see Superman descending to the stage from the clear skies of Metropolis. What was he doing here? She wondered.
The M.C. reached over and shook Superman's hand, then turned back to the microphone. "Folks, it's my pleasure to introduce to you a man who needs no introduction. A busy hero who has graciously agreed to be one of our celebrity barbers for today… Superman."
Lois felt her stomach churn as Superman strode up to the mic. "Thank you Mr. Blaine. I'm only too happy to do what I can to help out a wonderful organization like yours. But the ones deserving of praise here today are those brave and caring individuals who have volunteered to undergo the ultimate haircut to support this worthy charity. They are the true heroes." Superman smiled at the crowd. "So, let's cut some hair for the kids."
Loud applause thundered through the park. Lois was numb. She couldn't believe that Superman was here. How was she ever going to go through with this now? She couldn't let him see her… bald, could she? Lois was so lost in her own thoughts that she was barely aware of the fact that Linda was gone, and an event organizer was tugging on her sleeve. She forced herself to focus on what the young woman was saying.
"Ms. Lane, I'm glad I found you. If you could just follow me, we'll get you set up in line with the other volunteers."
Lois allowed herself to be meekly led to the stage, like a lamb to the slaughter. She stood in line with the other volunteers as they were brought up on the stage. Then the first six in line were introduced and escorted to one of the six barber chairs on the stage. With cameras rolling and a constant commentary provided by a local comedian, it began.
Lois watched with a trance-like fascination as members of her particular career community were shaved by the six celebrity barbers, including the mayor and, of course, Superman. Most of the volunteers were men, but there were a few women present also. She wouldn't be the only female to be shorn that day. She recognized a few of them, but many more were just names, or bylines that she was familiar with. She took some solace in the fact that many of the better reporters in town were participating.
Once a volunteer had their naked head exposed to the world, they got up from the chair amidst cheers and catcalls from the audience, and the next 'victim' in line was introduced and lead to their fate.
"Next up is the Daily Planet's finest natural resource. A multiple Kerth Award winner, and the better half of The Hottest Team in Town. The lovely Lois Lane."
Lois felt a gentle hand on her back guiding her toward the middle chair. Her steps faltered briefly as she realized who it was that was standing behind the chair. It was Superman. The man she idolized was about to turn her into a bald-headed freak for the sake of charity. How much more cruel could the fates be?
She stopped at the chair and faced her dream man. "Hello, Superman."
He smiled. "Hello, Lois. I heard you were going to be here."
"Don't tell me… Clark?"
"Yeah, he mentioned it before he left for home."
"Well, he should be here. We're partners, if I have to be bald, then so should he. Share and share alike."
Superman laughed. "I think you are being very brave."
"I don't feel brave. I feel sort of… conspicuous."
His smile was reassuring. "Well, not everyone has the guts to do something like this to help others. Take you friend, Linda, for instance. She had the same opportunity to participate that you had, but she chose her own comfort over helping the kids."
She shrugged, embarrassed by her own timidness. She tried to recapture her resolve as she gave him a weak smile. "Yeah, well, what can I say? It's a good cause." She sat in the chair and tried not to flinch when Superman put the barber's cape around her shoulders. "I guess I'll have to get used to eating alone," she joked. "I don't think anyone will be asking me out after this for quite some time."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that, Lois. Your beauty is much more than a fashionable hairstyle. Your being here is proof of that. The fact that you are willing to make this gesture in the name of charity, to benefit the children, shows a true beauty. The beauty of the soul."
"Thanks, I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about this."
"That's quite understandable." He gave her his super-smile. "Are you ready?"
Lois cocked her head and gave Superman a wry smile of her own. "Be gentle with me, big guy."
With a laugh, Superman placed the cold metal of the clippers against her forehead and flicked them on. Cheers and whistles echoed in Lois' ears as Superman pushed the hungry blades into her thick, dark locks. She gasped silently as torrents of hair cascaded down to form a steadily growing pile in her lap.
Again, and again, Superman smoothly passed the clippers across her scalp as the pile of shorn tresses grew ever larger. Surprisingly, it wasn't an entirely unpleasant experience. It was almost liberating in a way. She became very aware of the loss of her hair as the gentle breeze blowing through the park played across her newly exposed scalp, and she was feeling a bit light-headed.
The process was over fairly quickly, and the worst part was the insecurity she felt over how funny she must now look. She'd seen a couple of other women get shaved, one who'd had extremely long hair, and they hadn't looked like escapees from a circus freak show, but Lois couldn't help but wonder.
She stood up from the chair, brushing a few stray locks from her shoulders as the crowd applauded and cheered for her. She gave everyone a sheepish smile as she rubbed her hand across her newly denuded skull. That brought on more cheers and whistles. She mumbled a thanks to Superman, and quickly left the stage.
Once off the stage she was immediately assaulted by Linda King. "Lois, I have to give you credit. I never thought you'd have the nerve to go through with it." Linda chuckled. "Though, when you consider what you had to lose, it really wasn't much of a sacrifice now was it?"
Lois bit down on her bottom lip. It was time to do something about Linda King. "Come on, Linda," Lois placed her arm around the other woman's shoulder and began forcing her toward the stage. "There's something I want to say."
Unable to pull away from Lois' firm grip, Linda had no choice but to allow herself to be dragged up onto the stage. Lois quickly located the fellow who'd been doing the running commentary and deftly relieved him of his microphone.
"Hi, everyone," she began, as the attention of the crowd was suddenly drawn to her. "As you know, I'm Lois Lane and I just gave up my hair for the kids. Well, I would like everyone to meet my good friend Linda King. She's a reporter for the Metropolis Star, and we go back a long way." Linda had stopped trying to pull away from Lois, but eyed her suspiciously. Lois gave the other woman a big grin. "I'm pleased to say that after seeing what these volunteers are doing here today, and after seeing what I just did, Linda has volunteered to shave her head if we can raise 500 dollars for the fund." Linda's eyes grew larger. "So, what do you say folks. Can we come up with another 500 bucks for this worthwhile cause? I'll start by pledging a hundred dollars myself."
"No, wait… I, " Linda tried to speak, but the clamor from the crowd was too great. The local comic, who'd been doing the commentary until Lois had commandeered his mic, now took over the cause. In mere minutes they had pledges for well over a thousand dollars. She turned to Lois, her eyes shooting lightning at her 'friend'. "I'll get you for this, Lois." Lois just smiled and followed as Linda was given special treatment and lead over to Superman's chair.
"Do her up right, Superman." Lois didn't even try to fight the ear to ear grin on her face as Linda muttered darkly while the barber's cape was pinned around her neck.
Superman held the clippers out to Lois. "Since she's your friend. Would you like to do the honors?"
"I'd love to." Lois accepted the clippers and stepped behind Linda.
It was the most fun Lois had had in a long, long time. With each pass of the clippers she would whisper in Linda's ear, reminding her about Paul, and her stolen story. Referencing the cracks Linda had made about her own haircut. The only problem was that it was over way too soon.
When she got up out of the chair, Linda wasn't quite as gracious as the other volunteers had been. With lips drawn into a tight straight line, she stared daggers at Lois for a few moments then stormed off the stage amidst cheers and whistles.
Superman came up behind Lois and placed a hand on her shoulder. "I get the impression that you and Linda aren't actually good friends."
He cocked a brow. "Some old scores to settle?"
"Oh yeah." She turned to him and gave him a grin as she rubbed her hand over her head. "You know, even if it wasn't for the good being done for the charity. It would have all been worth it just for that."
Lex Luthor put down the Sunday morning edition of the Daily Planet. The one that contained the article detailing the Children's Cancer Fund-raiser. Leaning back in his massive leather chair he reached for a cigar. As he got it lit, a special door opened and Nigel St. John entered the office.
"Have you secured the package?" Luthor asked.
The stately Englishman nodded, as he set a shoebox sized package on the heavy walnut desk. "It arrived by messenger this morning."
Luthor bent over and quickly ripped off the plain wrapping. Lifting the lid on the box he peered inside. Reaching in, he pulled out a handful of silky dark hair. He brought it up to his nose and smelled it. "How thoughtful of Lois. She washed her hair before the event." He dropped the shorn locks back into the box. "Take this down to special projects. Tell them to get started immediately." Lex took a puff on his cigar. "This should give them plenty of DNA material to work with."
"Very good, sir." Nigel gave Luthor a short bow, and picked the box up and exited the way he came.
Once St. John was gone, Lex picked his paper back up and continued his reading, all the while humming a cheery little tune. Lois Lane had canceled one too many lunch dates and had to be punished. Now that had been accomplished and he had garnered an additional prize which could prove very useful in the future. Life was good when you had the money to do anything you wanted.
Lois stepped off the elevator that following Monday morning and out into the newsroom proper. She wasn't sure how she was going to be greeted by her colleagues. She tugged, self-consciously at the ends of the short, layered wig she had on. She had purchased it yesterday. It was the same color as her hair, but the style was much shorter than she'd ever worn. She figured it would make for a quicker transition back to her own hair as it grew out. It was with a bit of trepidation that she began to move toward her desk.
She was surprised by the reactions of her co-workers. Those who generally ignored her had a warm smile for her, and those she normally exchanged greetings with made sure to compliment her on her brave actions. She couldn't help but smile at the reactions. It wasn't what she had expected.
She no sooner had sat down at her desk then a steaming cup of coffee and a chocolate donut appeared at her desk. She looked up to see the smiling face of her partner hovering over her. "Here you go, Samson."
Lois rolled her eyes, then returned the smile. "Thanks, but don't think for a minute that I've lost any of my strength."
Clark laughed. "Never. I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't have the opposite effect." Lois winked at him, and he laughed again. "Actually, Lois, I wanted to mention that I really like the wig that you chose to wear. I noticed it when you came in and was a little surprised that you picked out something that wasn't like your normal style."
Lois shrugged. "Well, it wasn't as if people who know me weren't going to know it's a wig anyway. I thought I'd use the opportunity to try out a new style." She looked around, then leaned closer to Clark and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. "Besides, it was on sale."
They both laughed. "Really though, Lois, I may get in trouble for saying this, but I think I like the short style better than your normal page. It really suits you."
She stared at her partner for several moments. His sincerity was clearly written on his face. He meant what he said. "I'm glad you like it because I think I like it a lot too. I think I might just keep it like this once my own hair grows back in."