Multiplication Tables

By Anonpip <>

Rated G

Submitted March 2008

Summary: A tale of young Clark.

Author's Note: All characters are the property of Warner Bros, December 3rd Productions, ABC, and anyone else who may have a legal claim on them. The story, however, is mine.

Credit for the idea behind this story goes to someone, but I stupidly forgot to write down whom, and I can't recall. In a feedback thread to a story on the boards (and sadly I can't recall which one), someone commented on little Clark Kent being yelled at by his teacher over multiplication (or something like that) and on reading that, most of this story burst fully formed into my head. It's very short, but it was never intended to be much more than a cute distraction from real life. Hopefully it does that well, since it can hardly do anything else.

Thanks to Dana, for letting me know that in Superman canon Clark was named after Martha's maiden name. I have changed the name of his maternal grandparents to reflect that.

Also thanks to Larissa for GEing this for me.


Eight year old Clark Kent stared out the window watching the fifth graders moving back and forth on the swings. The sun was shining and the grass had just been mowed, lending an earthy, fresh scent to the air. He wanted to be outside. He did not understand why Mrs. Lowenstein insisted on them staying inside all day.

It wasn't even as if they had been doing anything important. They spent the morning working on some stupid science experiment where they mixed two clear liquids together and the liquid turned green. That had been cool the first time they did it -- back in the second grade. At least if they were going to stay inside doing chemistry, they should have made something blow up. He could understand staying inside to make something blow up.

After lunch and recess was the worst, though. Mrs. Lowenstein had given them a vocabulary quiz. It was so unfair to have a quiz after being outside for a little while. At least he had gotten 100%.

Now she was going over multiplication tables. Why, Clark did not know. When would he ever need to know what nine times ten was? He wanted to be outside on the swings. Of course, he would not be able to get near them with the fifth graders there. But a boy could dream, couldn't he?

"Clark Kent!" came the very exasperated voice of Mrs. Lowenstein.

Feeling the blood rush to his cheeks, Clark looked up. He schooled his eyes into the look that always made his mother forget why she was scolding him. Nearly instantaneously, Mrs. Lowenstein's eyes softened. "What is eight times seven, Clark?" she asked.

"Fifty-six," Clark replied, trying hard to remember not to look out the window. Multiplication was easy for him. He could memorize things without too much effort. Just looking at a piece of paper, he could visualize what was on it for months after. His mom said he was lucky and he supposed she was right. If only it meant he could go out and play while the other kids tried to remember what six times seven was.

Finally Mrs. Lowenstein decided they had had enough math for the day and asked them all to take out their notebooks. "I'd like you to spend the next hour writing an essay on how you plan to spend your summer vacation," she informed them.

Clark groaned. There was no more looking out the window now. No amount of memorizing ever helped him to write and he was not very good at it either, so it took much more concentration to get a paragraph on the paper than doing other school work.

Clark sat back at his desk for a few minutes first, thinking about his summer vacation. Summer was a busy time on the farm, so they rarely went away, but this year Grandma and Grandpa Clark were coming to visit. Clark liked when they came by. Grandma always insisted he should be able to eat as many cookies as he wanted as long as he ate his vegetables and Mom didn't like to argue with her mother, so she let him. And Grandpa would make a barbeque in the evening while Mom and Dad finished the day's chores. They'd have chicken, usually with corn. Clark liked corn on the cob. Particularly with the freshly churned butter Grandma always brought from home.

The low angle of light in the window reminded Clark that he was supposed to be writing and he took out his pencil and started describing what he expected from his grandparents' visit.


"Look at my tree house, Grandpa," Clark said as he dragged Ron Clark across the yard by the hand.

"That's a mighty strong grip you've got there, kiddo," Ron said, but Clark did not hear him as he had let go and run ahead. Ron shook his hand to get the blood flowing again, "A very strong grip," he whispered to himself.

By the time he had caught up with Clark, the boy had climbed up into the tree house and was sitting on the edge waiting for him. Ron stepped onto the bottom rung of wood attached to the tree gingerly. Jonathan had assured him the ladder was strong enough to support an adult, but that did not completely convince Ron.

Finally, feeling relieved, he made his way to the highest rung about seven feet off the ground and he hoisted himself inside. "Nice looking place," he commented, looking around.

"Want a cookie, Grandpa?" Clark asked.

"You keep cookies here?" Ron asked.

Clark blushed, "Don't tell, Mom. Sometimes I sneak a few extra before bed and bring them here in the morning."

Ron laughed, "It'll be our little secret. I sure could go for one of your mom's cookies right now."

"They're the best, aren't they?" Clark said as he held out a small container to his grandfather.

"Mmmhmm," Ron replied as he bit into a chocolate chip.

"Maybe you can help me sneak an extra couple of Grandma's buckeye balls tonight?" Clark asked, his eyes wide with excitement.

Leaning over to ruffle Clark's hair, Ron said, "As long as you'll share. Grandma never lets me have enough of her buckeye balls."

"Look, Grandpa," Clark said as he got up and leaned out of the tree house. "I hid more treats up here," he said as he reached around blindly on the roof.

"Careful, Clark," Ron said. "You don't want to fall."

"Why not?" Clark asked, confused, as his head entered the house again, this time holding up a small thermos.

Ron laughed at the immortal feeling of youth. "Cause it would hurt, that's why."

"No, it wouldn't," Clark said matter-of-factly as he took a swig from the thermos before passing it to his grandfather.

"Do you see how far the ground is from here?" Ron asked his grandson. "That's a long way. People get hurt when they fall that far."

"I fell yesterday," Clark said as he took another bite of his oatmeal raisin cookie. "It didn't hurt at all," he informed his grandfather.

Ron laughed. Clark had always seemed to have an overactive imagination. "Well, just be careful anyway," he said.

"Okay, Grandpa."

A few moments later, Ron asked, "Are you ready to head back? If we get there early enough, Grandma might let you lick the spoon she's using to mix the peanut butter for the buckeye balls."

"Oh, yeah!" Clark said and then before Ron could react, he had jumped out of the tree house.

Feeling the scream stuck in his throat, Ron glanced down, sure his grandson would be a heap on the ground. But the ground was empty. The ground was empty?

"Come on, Grandpa!" Clark impatiently called.

Ron looked up and saw Clark already several feet away from the tree house, completely unharmed.

He went down the makeshift ladder as quickly as he could, and scooping Clark up in his arms, he squeezed the boy tightly.

It was a miracle. That was the only explanation for how his only grandson had not been seriously injured. "Come on, Clark. I think Grandma might let you lick the chocolate out of the bowl as well."