Magic 8-Ball

By JDG <>

Rating: PG

Submitted: August 2007

Summary: Just how accurate is a magic 8-ball?

Many thanks to Nicholle, for the beta and for the laughs. I asked before posting if I should do this and my 8-ball said, "My sources say no."


"It's an 8-ball," Jimmy said, as if he was talking to a child. "You know? A Magic 8-ball? You ask it a question, shake it a little, turn it over and it gives you the answer."

Lois rolled her eyes.

"It's never wrong," Jimmy persisted. "That's the really cool part."

She held her hand out and Jimmy gave her the 8-ball. She shook it hard and muttered, "Is Jimmy an idiot?"

When she turned the ball over a small triangle appeared in the blue fluid that read, <My reply is no>

Lois sighed and set the 8-ball down on her desk. "Thanks, Jimmy," she said, with just a trace of sarcasm. "I've been on the lookout for an oracle."

Jimmy chose to ignore her tone and moved away with a smile.

A few minutes later Clark came past her desk. "Hey, a Magic 8-ball! I haven't seen one of these in years." He picked it up and shook it, then turned it over and smiled at the answer.

Lois tapped a pencil impatiently against her desk. "I should have guessed that you would have had one of these as a kid."

"It's never wrong, you know," Clark said with mock solemnity.

She bared her teeth in an approximation of a smile. "Maybe you should do an article on superstitions and the backwater yokels who believe in them."

He ignored the insult and lightly answered, "If you don't believe in it, why do you have one on your desk?"

"Jimmy," Lois said, as if that explained everything.

Clark shrugged and set the toy back down. "So have you asked it a question?"

She shoved the 8-ball further to the side. "Yes, but it was wrong."

"I doubt that." Clark's eyes were twinkling with amusement and Lois had to smother the urge to pick up the 8-ball and throw it at him.

She picked up the ball and shook it vigorously. "Is Clark an idiot?"

She turned the ball over and the answer floated into view. <Don't count on it>

"See," Clark said with a satisfied grin. "It's never wrong."

Lois shook the 8-ball again. "Will Clark just go away now and let me work?"

She turned it over and the answer was, <Concentrate and ask again>

"Sometimes you try to force an answer," Clark told her with a wink, "and the ball won't play along."

She could see his shoulders shaking with laughter as he walked to his desk.

Twenty minutes later, after she had grown disgusted with the story on her computer screen, her attention drifted to the black and white plastic toy on her desk. It was hokey, but what if she really could ask a simple yes or no question and get an answer?

Lois reached for the ball, hefting its slight weight in her hands as she considered her options.

/Will I see Superman today?/ she thought.

<Without a doubt>

Well, now, that was promising.

/Will Superman talk to me when I see him?/

<It is decidedly so>

This was going to be easy to prove or disprove. All she had to do was wait until the end of the day and see if, in fact, Superman showed up and talked to her.

But why stop there? Why not ask it what she *really* wanted to know?

/Does Superman like me?/

<You may rely on it>

She bit her lip to suppress a smile. Then she wondered if she was being too vague. Of course he liked her. Superman seemed to like everyone. She gave the ball an extra hard shake for good measure as she asked her next question.

/Does he *really* like me? As more than a friend?/

<Signs point to yes>

A flood of questions ran through her mind, but none of them had a simple yes/no answer. Lois let out a small sigh. This was tricky.

/Will he ever kiss me again?/


The thought of a future kiss made her squirm happily in her chair. She wondered where he was, right now.

/Is Superman in Metropolis right now?/

<Signs point to yes>

So, if he was in Metropolis, and she would see him and talk to him later, was it possible that he would kiss her again today?

/Will he kiss me today?/

<Concentrate and ask again>

She sighed impatiently. /Will Superman kiss me today?/

<Reply hazy, try again>

Did the ball think she was trying to force an answer? Fine. She'd just have to ask it something else, then. Something else about the Man of Steel that she had always wanted to know…

/Does Superman live in Metropolis?/

<All signs point to yes>

/Will I ever see where he lives?/

<Without a doubt>

She grinned to herself.

"I take it you're getting good answers," Clark said from his desk.

Lois quickly set the 8-ball down and pretended she hadn't heard him. There was no way Clark could know what she had been asking. He might guess it involved Superman — but he couldn't prove it.

Clark. Her eyebrows furrowed as a thought occurred to her. Clark probably already knew where Superman lived. After all, he seemed to be able to contact him when no one else could. She glanced over, but Clark was now reading his computer screen.

/Does Clark know where Superman lives?/

<You may rely on it>

Rely on it? Seriously? Her eyes narrowed at her partner's perfidy. If he knew where Superman lived; why hadn't he told her?

/Will he ever tell me?/

<Better not tell you now>

She set the ball down hard and peeked over at Clark again. He had gone back to typing. She watched him for a few seconds and then shook the ball viciously.

/Does Clark trust me?/

<Cannot predict now>

That answer stung. Was that why he hadn't told her? Come to think of it, she had no idea how Clark had even ended up being such good friends with Superman. She was the one who had seen him first! And yet, at some point in those first few days after Superman arrived on the scene, Clark was the one who started getting all the really good Superman stories. Why? Was it because they were both new to Metropolis? Clark had been a fish out of water, but surely Superman hadn't felt that way.

What had made her think that Superman arrived in town at roughly the same time as Clark? Just because no one had seen Superman before the near-disastrous Prometheus launch didn't mean that he was new to Metropolis — did it?

/Was Superman new to Metropolis?/ she thought — hoping the ball could sense exactly when she meant. It was specific enough in her mind, after all.

<It is certain>

So why pick Clark as his friend? Why not her? Why not someone who already knew the city?

/Does Superman like Clark more than me?/

<Very doubtful>

But why Clark? Lois glared at him as he typed away. Why him? Sure, Clark was nice in a bland sort of way but Superman was a man of action and Clark was… Clark.

/Does he trust Clark more than me?/

<Most likely>

More questions tumbled through her mind, pushing away the hurt that Superman trusted her partner more than her. Did Clark know all there was to know about Superman? He knew where he lived — if the ball was to be trusted. But did he know more than that? Did he know what Superman did in his spare time? Come to think of it — what did Superman do when he wasn't flying around in tights? Did he always wear them?

She shook the ball and concentrated. /Does Superman ever walk around dressed like a regular person?/

<It is certain>

Good god! Was it really certain? Was that the secret to Superman? The rest of the time he was dressed like a normal guy and no one had noticed? What if that was how Clark knew him? What if it was something as simple as Superman moving into Clark's building that had started the friendship between them? What if that was how was how Clark knew all his secrets?

/Do Superman and Clark live in the same building?/


Little spots danced in her vision. What if the ball was right? What if that was how Clark knew him? She shook the ball.

/Does Superman sit at home all day and just wait for bad things to happen?/

<My reply is no>

He didn't sit at home. So where did he go? If he was dressing like a normal person, maybe he had a job? Because, unless he was independently wealthy, he had to earn money, didn't he?

/Does he have a job — besides being Superman?/

<It is certain>

/Does Clark know what it is?/


That fink! How could he sit there and look so innocent when he was sitting on a secret that big? There had to be a way to bully it out of him. She didn't want to know for a story; she just wanted to know because it was unfair that Clark should know something so huge and she didn't.

/Can I get Clark to tell me?/

<Ask again later>

Later? Why later? For that matter, why hadn't Clark told her?

/Has Superman told him not to tell me?/

<Very doubtful>

So if Superman hadn't forbidden Clark to tell her then it was Clark's hang-up between her and the man of her dreams. Was Clark jealous? Was that why he refused to share?

/Is Clark jealous of Superman?/

<Reply hazy. Try again.>

What to do?

If Superman lived in Clark's building, he had to come home sometime. She could surveil the place and watch for him. She wondered what his disguise was. Did he wear a beard? A wig? Thick glasses? Did he talk with a fake accent? Dress like a hippie?

She idly shook the ball. /Does he wear a beard?/

<My sources say no>


<Very doubtful>


<Without a doubt>

Now that was interesting. Lois fished the morning edition of the Planet out of her garbage can and set it on her desk. There was a picture of Superman on the front page. She picked up a pen and doodled some glasses on him. Then she frowned at the picture. There was something familiar about him, but the Suit had to go. She drew a t-shirt over his chest and her eyes went wide.

She glanced over at Clark and then back at the newspaper. It couldn't possibly be that simple and yet…

/Is Clark Superman?/

<Yes> said the 8-ball.

She looked up, her heart pounding in her chest, and saw that Clark was watching her, his head tilted in curiosity.

"Are you Superman?" she whispered.

His mouth opened and then he glanced to either side. No one was paying the slightest attention to them. Clark rose from his desk and walked over to hers. Lois watched him approach, her eyes wide with new recognition. When he was standing next to her, he leaned down and looked at the 8-ball, still displaying its answer of "yes".

"The ball is never wrong," he told her softly. Their eyes met and he gave her a hopeful smile. "Can we go somewhere and talk?"

Lois tipped the 8-ball and they both looked to see the new answer.

<Yes — definitely>