The Tower of Babble

By Paul-Gabriel Wiener <>

Rated: G

Submitted: February 2005

Summary: Watch and be amazed as Lois Lane manages to unwittingly babble her way through two scavenger hunt lists!

This is only my second story to have grown out of a title. Originally, I'd been thinking of starting an MB thread in which Lois would babble continuously from one post to the next. I found, though, that to get things started, I needed something for her to babble about. I needed some random things, and what better place to find them than a scavenger hunt list? I thought about it for a while, then decided to turn the whole thing into a scavenger hunt response. I picked the two most recent lists — Queen of the Capes's 30 item list (;f=3;t=00 0382 ) and a 20 item list I'd posted myself (;f=3;t=00 0399 ). All 50 items are included in the story, along with a few other things.

Thanks to Sara Kraft for Beta Reading. Once again, she saved me from embarrassment, helped get me on the right track, provided laughs and encouragement, and was very patient with my constant queries and endless revisions as I very slowly put the ending together.

Thanks also to my GE, Sherry, for her prompt and extremely careful reading, as well as her very nice comments. :)


The sound of the ringing phone woke Clark from a deep sleep. He rolled over and glanced at the clock. Three AM. Who would be calling him at three AM?

"Hello, Clark?"

Oh. Of course. "Lois? Are you okay?"

"No! I'm not okay! I was tired but I couldn't fall asleep so I started watching Ivory Tower and… Oh no! I just told you I watch Ivory Tower! I can't believe I told you I watch a soap opera!"

"It's okay, Lois. I won't think any less of you…"

"But I guess it could be worse," Lois continued, as if she hadn't even heard him, "I could have told you I have a closet full of stuffed animals or something. Then what would you think? It's a good thing I don't have that closet full any more. I'd have to run and throw them all out before you saw. Just toss them around. I can see it now. My llama. My three penguins. My souvenir lab rat that I got from Doctor Klein. That beaver I got from Canada. The Coca Cola polar bear. All of them, just flying through the air and heading for the trash bin. That would be bad. Just not right."

"Well, I suppose, but I think stuffed animals are nice…"

"Of course, I'd have to keep Clark. That bear is special. He's from you."

Clark's ears perked up. The stuffed bear he'd won for her back in Smallville! She still had that? Maybe…

"Oh, and the Elvis I bought that time that Perry convinced Superman to go up with the Flying Elvi to raise money for victims of Las Vegas wedding scams. That was weird, wasn't it? Almost as weird as that time Cat Grant and the cast of Rent were singing show tunes to raise money for HIV awareness. Although I suppose that wasn't really weird. It was for a good cause, too. And it's not like it was as weird as that time I dressed up in that spandex Wonder Woman outfit for the Daily Planet's National Be Kind To Squirrels Day masquerade ball and Lex was ogling me and I had to dance with him because he asked in front of everyone and I couldn't just say no. That was awful. So, I still have that Elvis, and it's not like Superman gave it to me, but still, it's a link to him, you know? So I'd have to keep that, too. Right near Clark bear."

Clark wasn't quite sure he'd followed all that, but the thought that the bear was sharing shelf space with an Elvis doll just because of Superman was not exactly comforting.

"So anyway, I was watching Ivory Tower and Timmy was out riding and suddenly a duck flew at him and he fell off the horse! I don't know if he'll live or be paralyzed or maybe even have amnesia! Oh no! I'm sure he's going to have amnesia! How are they ever going to find the long-lost treasure he'd only just discovered if he has amnesia, Clark? They needed that treasure to save the farm! It's horrible, Clark! I don't know if I can watch that! But what else am I supposed to watch? That annoying woman who presses the button to get the lotto numbers? Some stupid game show where you have to dress up in drag to win? Or that movie with the dinosaurs? Or, I know! An infomercial for the latest gadget, like some hot dog fryer or something. How would you like to spend your time frying hot dogs, Clark? I don't think so. Who even fries hot dogs, anyway? I mean, they should be… I don't know. Microwaved? Boiled? Something. What do you do with hot dogs? Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it's not frying. Oh, you know what, Clark? All this talk of hot dogs is getting me hungry. I'm going to switch phones."

Clark shook his head, trying to sort through the verbal quagmire. He still hadn't gotten anywhere by the time she came back on the line.

"Okay, I'm on the portable now, in the kitchen. What were we talking about?"

Clark, who had been busy wondering exactly that, fumbled for something to say.

"Never mind. I guess it couldn't have been too important if I can't remember."

"Lois, if it wasn't important, why did you call me at three in the morning?"

"Well, uhm… the thing is, Clark… Hey! Where are all my spoons? I don't have any spoons left? Oh, great. I just made a whole bowl of cereal for nothing. My greatest culinary enterprise of the day, wasted! Clark, how can I be out of spoons? I mean, you go to all the effort of getting out the cereal and pouring it in the bowl and carefully mixing in the milk and even go the extra mile to add in some banana and you're all smug because you've done such a good job and didn't break anything or even splash too much on the counter, and next thing you know, bam! There are no spoons! It's not right, Clark."

"Er… yeah… I guess not."

"So now what am I supposed to eat? I've got a plate of spaghetti here in the fridge, but I don't want cold spaghetti in the middle of the night. Besides, I don't have spoons. You're supposed to have a spoon to twirl the spaghetti, aren't you? Clark, the world is conspiring against me."

"Honk, honk," Clark responded, doing his best Harpo impression. The way Lois was going on, he had a feeling it wouldn't make a difference what he said.

"So what else do I have in here?" Lois continued, confirming Clark's suspicions. "Hmm. Ice cream. Hey, wait a second. This isn't chocolate marshmallow. It's something called Mershmegy made by Queen Of The Capes Dairies. Where'd I get this? Why did I get this? Why does it say 'Shma!' on the side? And why is the logo a picture of a statue of Thor battling a frost giant and saying 'Muggy, muggy, I'm your little monkey-muffin, Cheeze-face?' Who made this?"

Clark looked out the window and started counting snowflakes as they drifted by. He'd picked out 52 before the next one looked oddly familiar. In fact, it looked an awful lot like snowflake #17. Could it be? … No, wait. They weren't identical, after all. #17 had a spike that was three thousandths of an inch longer.

"… really, what kind of person would think of something like this? It makes no sense. Who in their right mind would…"

Having lost count of the snowflakes (and not really feeling like starting again), Clark turned his attention inward. He tried to think of something amusing. Lois's mention of a monkey reminded him of a comic book he'd seen on Jimmy's desk earlier that week. Something about a Kung-Fu chimp. That was a fun idea, but Clark didn't know what Kung-Fu chimps fought. He thought for a moment, and then selected Lex Luthor as the chimp's imaginary foe.

"… I mean, 'Muggy, muggy?' I don't know what language that is, but it's not English, and I'm pretty sure it's nothing Thor would say, either. And hey, they misspelled 'cheese.' You'd think someone would have caught that before…"

The chimp took out Lex with a flying windmill kick to the head. It began advancing on its next foe — Tempus.

"… should put it back, I guess. I've left the freezer open too long. Besides, I'm still hungry. Ooo, hey! I've still got a bit of Perry's cake! You know, the one we got to celebrate his twentieth year as Editor-In-Chief? The one that said 'Get To It, Or Elvis!' That was a good party, wasn't it? Even if I was late because of that stupid broken traffic light. I can't believe I missed Perry's reaction to the cake. At least I was there for the hidden office supplies scavenger hunt. Oh, but you missed that, didn't you? You had to leave again to… what was it that time? Run to the toy store, I think. You needed to pick up a model of a Stutz Bearcat or something before they closed because it was your nephew's birthday and you'd forgotten to get his gift. Really, Clark. You're so forgetful! I mean, it seems like you have a good enough memory when we're working on a story, but you're constantly forgetting everything else! Birthdays, appointments, cheese shipments… I'm going to have to get you an organizer, Clark. You really should be more responsible about these things. Maybe if you had it all written down, you wouldn't have to rush off and do everything at the last minute."

"Well, I… uhm…"

"Anyway, I was talking about the scavenger hunt. It started off when Jimmy gave everyone the list and said 'All right, gang, let's split up and look for clues!' Which, really, when you think about it, is a pretty odd way to start off a scavenger hunt. We were looking for office supplies and things, not clues! I guess he just likes his cartoons or something. That's Jimmy. So we all went around looking for stuff off the list, and Myerson and I ended up running into each other in the closet with all the lightbulbs. He looked at me and he said, 'How many Metropolis Star reporters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?' And I grabbed the florescent bulb that was on the list and told him, 'Just one, but while he's busy doing it, I've already scooped him!' Then I walked out before he realized that I had the last bulb. That was great. Of course, Perry won the whole thing; he knows the building better than anyone. But imagine how things would have gone if you'd been there to help! If you'd been working with me, I could have been a contender!"

"That's great, Lois. I'm glad you value my help. But that still doesn't explain why you decided to call me in the middle of the night."

"Oh, hey, Clark! Talking about the lightbulb thing reminded me… Have you heard about the latest project over at S.T.A.R. Labs? Apparently, they're working on a Krypton-powered light."

"Lovely, Lois, but that's not — Did you just say 'Krypton'?"

"Yeah. Not the planet, of course. The gas. Seems they were sitting around talking about halogen lamps, and someone thought they could go one better. So he started looking into the noble gasses. Which doesn't seem like it would work. I mean, the noble gasses are inert. They don't react with anything. I remember that much from high school chemistry. I don't know what they're planning to do with the stuff. Seems like pretty weird science to me."

"Very interesting. Really. But, come on, Lois. It's the middle of the night. I'm happy to talk to you at any time, but I don't think you called to talk to me about light bulbs or ice cream or soap operas or whatever else you've been telling me. What is it, Lois?"

There was a pause. He could hear her take a deep breath. "Dan came by tonight. He brought one of those… things of his. I don't know what it is, really. Looks like someone accidentally skewered a songbird with a kite and then tried to make a mobile out of it. Seriously, why does he think these things make good gifts, and where does he get them? Who makes them? Who sells them? How did they convince him to pay for them? Can you imagine someone trying to —"


"Okay, the thing is… He asked me out."

"I… see."

"I mean, I can't really say I'm surprised. He's been showing a lot of interest. But still, to hear the words… It got me to thinking, Clark. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I realized I needed to talk to you about it. But it's not really that easy to talk about so I guess I kind of got carried away talking about other things instead of talking to you because it was just easier than actually talking about the matter at hand, which is kind of silly, really. I mean, it's the middle of the night and all and I woke you up and I'm sorry that I woke you up and then I end up talking to you about cereal and everything else instead of actually talking about what I'm talking about and now —"

"Lois, you're doing it again."

"Oh, right. Look, Clark, I need to know… How would you feel if I said yes to Dan?"

Clark shifted uncomfortably, and thought it fortunate that Lois couldn't see him. "I think you should be able to date whomever you want…"

"That's not what I asked, Clark," Lois said, sharply.

"How would I feel? To be honest, Lois…"

"Yes, Clark. That would be nice."

"I wouldn't like it. I don't think he's right for you."

"And who would be right for me, Clark?"

"Well… Uhm…"

"Yes, Clark?"

"Lois, why are you asking me this?"

"Why do you think, Clark? You know what? Never mind. Just answer the question."

"What about me?"

"What do you mean, what about you, Clark? I'm asking you the question…"

"No, I mean… Lois, would you go out with me?"

"You're asking me this now, Clark? Over the phone? At three in the morning?"

"It wasn't exactly my idea to speak at this time of night, Lois…"

"Just kidding, Clark… So, where are you taking me?"

"Well, there's that place in… No, that's too far. Too bad, or I could show you that one I like in China… town. Uhm, Chez Trois? No, not for a first date. How about the Daily Planet street fair? No, that's not for another few days. Too long a wait. You know, I've been imagining all these great places to take you, but none of them really seems right for a first date. Hmm…"

"You've taken me on imaginary dates?"

"Uhm… that is… you see…"

"Clark, don't babble on me."

"I don't… well, maybe I was, a little…"

"Why don't you sleep on it, Clark? Pick me up at 8:00 and surprise me, okay?"

"It's a date."

"Good night, Clark."

"Good night, Lois."

Clark hung up the phone, then drifted off to some very sweet dreams.