Of Smelly Rodents and Grey-Haired Women

By Mr_D8a <mr_d8a@yahoo.com>

Rated: PG

Submitted: February 2008

Summary: What would have happened if Clark had been affected by the Space Rats for as long as Lois?

Author's note: This story is all LaraMoon's fault. She assigned it to me, but then again, I decided to take up the challenge, so, I guess we are both at fault.

This is a 2007 holiday ficathon story. Some characters are introduced earlier than they were in the series. You have been forewarned. This is also a heavy A-plot story ...

For my beloved. I hope you like it.


Mr. Schott was in a foul mood. The owner of Metropolis Toys had called him in. Told him he was laid off. Actually, they said his services were no longer needed. His toys were failures. Nobody wanted talking teddy bears; they wanted action toys that did things.

Well, he was going to make a toy that did things all right. It would be an educational toy. It would teach the world a lesson it would not soon forget.

"Ms. Duffy! Get me Miranda P. Sloan on the phone."


Several weeks had gone by and everything was ready. With Miranda's help, they had created a pheromonal concoction that would release an individual's social inhibitions. Children would become the selfish little warmongers they really were and adults would be able to freely act on their impulses with no thought of the consequences.

Much like children.

They had already tested the results in the park outside the Coates Orphanage. It didn't matter that Superman had interrupted the test; they had the results that they wanted.

The short black man leaned toward his plump cohort. "The rats go on sale tomorrow, Ms. Duffy. Every toy store in Metropolis will carry them, every child will want one, everyone who comes near them will smell them and oohhhhh, Ms. Duffy, what a Christmas this will be!"

The woman worriedly looked at her employer. Mr. Schott started to laugh as he walked away.


Martha and Jonathan had come to Metropolis to do their Christmas shopping, much to Jonathan's disappointment. Having been raised in the country, the city of Metropolis was too fast-paced for his liking. Martha, on the other hand, was raised in Boston and adapted quickly to the hustle and bustle.

Both were suffering from a bad sinus infection and both of them were stuffed up. And the flight hadn't made it any better. That was probably Jonathan's real source of irritation.

Thankfully, they were beyond the toy-buying years and so had avoided the Atomic Space Rat craze that had hit Metropolis toy stores. Unfortunately, they found it in the newsroom of The Daily Planet.

"This is the last year we come to Metropolis to do our Christmas shopping. The city's too crazy. Everybody shoving, pushing, grabbing ..." was Jonathan's complaint as he walked off the elevator.

Martha laughed, "Oh, Jonathan, what are you talking about?"

It was at that moment that a pheromone-affected Lois practically jumped on them, pawing through the gifts and demanding to know if any of them were for her.

Martha was gob smacked while Jonathan responded with no little hint of sarcasm, "Gee, I don't know ... must be my imagination."


After enduring a not-very-helpful Perry, Jonathan turned to look out the window of the editor's office in time to see his son shamelessly use his heat vision to "get back" at Lois for stealing his desk decorations, causing her to stumble and fall.

In full outrageous indignation, he marched out of Perry's office and confronted his son. Martha was hot on his heels. She had never seen her husband so upset.

"Clark Jerome Kent! You get right over here, NOW!"

Clark turned around and stuck out his tongue at his father.

Now it was Martha's turn to be in shock. Clark had been a very respectful young man, once he got through the foolishness of being a boy. Thankfully, she had always had an easy time of raising him. She preferred to correct with a word and, if need be, a light swat on his rump. She had never "spanked" him, not like some parents did.

But this time, he was being downright disrespectful to his father.

"CLARK!" The anger in her voice stopped him cold. She marched over to him, grabbed him by the ear and dragged him in to the nearby conference room. Jonathan closed the door behind them.

She plopped him into a handy chair and got in his face, her finger pointing at his nose. "Clark Jerome Kent, I raised you better than to treat you father with such a poor attitude of respect! I don't know what your father saw, but you WILL tell me what you did to anger him in the first place!"

Jonathan marveled at his wife. There were no two ways about it. If she wanted an answer to something, she would get it. He didn't have to supply any information.

Clark willingly told everything. Martha was aghast. "I never had to spank you, but right now, I'd like to drop your britches and tan your hide like cheap leather!"

"Now, Martha ..."

Martha's grimaced. "But I won't. It's not just you. It's Lois, Jimmy and Perry too. What is going on?"

Clark had pulled his feet up off the floor and drew his knees to his chest. "Don't know. If Lois would just have shared her rats, maybe I wouldn't have ..."

Martha turned to him. "Rats?"

Clark jumped from his chair. "Atomic Space RATS! They are so cool! They look ugly and spray something out of their guns! It smells awful, but it makes you feel so good!"

Jonathan and Martha looked at each other. If it could affect their son, what hope did the rest of them have?


Martha sent her childish Clark home with Jonathan. She stayed behind to look after Lois, Jimmy and Perry. Thankfully, the rats seemed to have run out of their chemicals and only the four of them had been affected.

Perry was holed up in his office, listening to Elvis. Jimmy was writing his name over and over on little pieces of paper. Lois was drawing squares on the floor with a permanent marker.

Martha finally got a glimpse of what was going on in the streets. The screens on the wall showed it all.

"... reporting from the corner of Hunter and Marsh. There is rioting breaking out at ..."

"... twenty car pile-up on I-78 as several individuals were trying to exit at the same time ..."

"... school bus overturned as the bus driver missed a turn while trying to control the kids in the back ..."

"... several food banks were broken into in the last hour and several candy stores looted ..."

It went on and on. And her son was incapacitated. All he wanted to do was eat candy and hold a rat.

What would Clark do? Martha sighed. He'd get Lois to help. She looked at Lois, who was playing hopscotch in the middle of the newsroom floor.

"It might be impossible, but here goes." She walked over to Lois. "Lois, honey, can I talk to you?"

Lois turned to her and spoke in a singsong voice. "Yeah? What do you want?" There was no disrespect, only a childish curiosity.

"If you wanted to find out where these rats were coming from, what would you do?"

Lois's eyes grew wide. "I'd call Bo-bby!"

"Bobby? Bobby who?

"Bo-bby Bigmouth. He's my in-for-mant. He can find out ANYthing!" Then Lois returned to her game.

Martha's lips puckered sideways. She turned to Lois's desk and picked up her Rolodex. Under "Sources," she found a card for a Bobby Bigmouth and a phone number. There was also a note that indicated he would want food, not money. Big eater.

Martha smiled. Food she could do.


Martha arranged to meet Bobby at Clark's apartment. She wanted to check on her son. She brought Lois too, just to keep her safe. The other two seemed happy to stay at The Planet.

She knocked loudly on the door and announced that she was there, with Lois. A moment or two later, there was a distinct thud from something landing hard and then Jonathan opened the door.

Clark was sitting in front of the TV with junk food spread all around him. Lois saw some Double Fudge Crunch bars and dove in. Clark made a move to protest and Martha fixed him with a glare. "Share." It was not a suggestion.

Martha raised an eyebrow at the sight and looked at her husband. He shrugged.

"We have company coming over in about three hours. Is there any real food in the place?"

Jonathan led Martha to the kitchen. There wasn't a whole lot that she could work with. She made a list and handed it to Jonathan. There was a grocery-slash-deli around the corner.

By the time Jonathan returned, she was ready to cook.


Bobby hadn't been what she had expected him to be when he arrived. She had expected a big fat man and found instead a rail thin man with a cheerful face.

He had a blissful look on his face as the aromas from the kitchen wafted out the open door. He took a long drag of air through his nose and his bliss multiplied.

"Cornish game hens with homemade corn stuffing and homemade bread ..." Sniff. "... Apple rhubarb pie ..." Sniff. "... oyster stew ...with real butter!" He was practically drooling as he got down on one knee. "Oh, Mrs. Kent, if you weren't already married ..." He eyed Jonathan's stern look and quickly stood up. "I have the information you wanted."


Apparently, one Harry Hecklebaum was the only distributor of the artificial plague of rodents. His offices were at Third and Vine near Hobbs Bay.

After Bobby had consumed a quantity of food to rival Clark, it was decided that Jonathan would stay with the two mentally under-aged professional reporters while Martha and Bobby investigated things. Normally, Bobby wouldn't get involved, but the promise of three batches of Christmas gingerbread cookies, enticed him.


Martha and Bobby found the warehouse where the rats were stored. Slipping into the back of the building, they found nearly every square foot covered with crates of the Atomic Space Rats. There were enough for every man, woman and child in the entire city.

Just then, a delivery truck pulled up, bearing an Atomic Space Rat on the side. The driver got out and walked up to Bobby.

"Dude, sorry for the delay, but I had to take two different alternate routes to avoid some roadblocks. There are some serious individuals interested in the contents of this truck."

Smoothly, Bobby played along. "No problem, bro. I'll sign for that and you can start unloading." Bobby quickly signed an illegible squiggle and got a copy of the invoice.

They heard the sound of running feet behind them. "Hey, hey, hey! This is my place of business and you don't work here! What are you doing here?"

Martha turned to Bobby. "Must be Harry. Let's split!" Bobby headed left while Martha went right.

The driver took off after her while Harry pursued Bobby.

She swung her purse at the corner of a partially opened crate, causing the contents to spill out and tripping up the driver. She made for the front.

Bobby's long legs increased the distance between him and Harry. He kept an eye and an ear out for Martha. He couldn't let talent like that go to waste. He found a motorized pallet lift and, using the ever-present packing tape, disabled the quick-stop trigger and set the thing to run full tilt into a huge stack of crates, trapping Harry in a long crate corridor.

Seeing Martha pass by the other end of the corridor, he called out to her. "Can't stop now!" she called back and kept running. Soon, Bobby saw the driver trailing behind her. He had a knife.


Miranda smiled to herself. Her chance to exact her revenge was finally at hand. Schott had told her that there was a final phase to his project. One that would require an extremely large quantity of the pheromone compound. Especially if the rats were discovered to be the source of the outbreaks.

Over the last several weeks, he had come to completely trust her, which was greatly to her advantage. She had been busy during the last week, substituting her Revenge for the main ingredient in Schott's formula.

She had a lesson to teach Metropolis as well. It may not be "a hundred percent" lesson, but she would have her revenge.


Lara Martin, personal assistant to Miss Miranda, was beginning to feel guilty about her employer's vengeful plans. Lara was loyal to her and had kept the perfumery solvent while Miranda was in prison. However, during that time, Lara's mother had moved to Metropolis and she didn't want Mama to be affected by Miranda's "lesson plans."

So, as her employer switched the chemicals, Lara switched them with other compounds that would have a "different" effect than the first two. She just hoped that Miranda wouldn't be too mad.


Martha rounded a corner and found a nook just big enough for her to slip into and crouch down. She got out the pepper spray that she always packed for trips to Metropolis. It was an organic, pepper-based spray and its effects were short-lived, but it was enough to incapacitate for a few minutes. She was ready to use it if need be.

She heard the steps of her pursuer approaching rapidly. Actually, she heard two sets. Hopefully the other set belonged to Bobby. As the first person rounded the corner, she stuck her foot out and tripped the man. He planted his face into the unforgiving concrete. Unfortunately, it was Bobby.

"Oh, dear!" was all she got out before the driver showed up. She hit the trigger and nailed him full in the face. He screamed and crumpled to the floor in agony. She closed her eyes and held her breath as she crawled out of the nook and made her way over to Bobby. He was out cold.

The thoughts running through her head were not of the motherly variety.


Jonathan was pacing back and forth. It had been an hour since he had last seen Martha and Robert. Jonathan refused to think of him as a Bobby. Bobby was a boy's name. The man was old enough to be called a man's name. So, Robert it was.

Clark and Lois were still acting childish, but it seemed to be slowly wearing off. Lois's tone of voice was approaching normal and she seemed to be yawning a lot. Clark was too, for that matter.

Finally, about halfway through a Gilligan's Island marathon, the two of them fell asleep on the sofa, leaning on each other; Lois with her feet on the coffee table and Clark sitting cross-legged.

It was all well and good, until Clark started to float upward. This caused Lois to tilt over and hit Clark's leg. This caused Clark's "hover mode" to come off kilter and he slowly started spinning, sound asleep. There was a mild drift to his spin that was moving him ever so slightly about the room. Lois continued down until she was resting on the sofa cushion. She didn't wake up.

Jonathan cocked his head to one side and just looked at the two of them for a moment. Clark looked like a slowly rotating pinwheel and Lois started to snore. Both were totally out.

Jonathan moved over to the window and closed the blinds, just to be safe.


"Bobby. Bobby! BOBBY!" Martha wasn't having any success. In desperation, she took her finger and ran it across the nozzle of the pepper spray and then dabbed the little bit of liquid under Bobby's bloodied nose. The response was almost instantaneous.

His eyes opened up and his nose started to run. "Burns, but smells spicy." He stood and shook his head, slowly realizing his surroundings. He turned to look at the guy yelling on the ground. "We need to go."

Martha nodded in agreement. She spotted a paper on the wall that looked like an invoice. "Grab that paper and a rat and let's go."


They got out of the building unmolested and were several blocks away before they decided to stop. They conferred and decided that the next best thing would be to take the rat to Star Labs and get the substance tested. Bobby needed to go back to work, so he and Martha parted, with a promise on Martha's part for another home-cooked meal, in addition to the already promised cookies. It was the least she could do for tripping him, she insisted. Bobby wasn't about to turn her down.

Martha hailed a taxi and had the driver take her to Star Labs. The man drove like a maniac, but that was in response to the other drivers. He did a good job avoiding getting them killed. About thirty minutes later, they were at Star Labs.

After paying the man, Martha went up to the front gate and asked for Dr. Bernard Klein. The man was the most brilliant scientist on the eastern seaboard. He also was mentioned quite frequently by her son.


"Mrs. Kent, I am pleased to meet you! You have a fine son. What may I do for you?"

Once Martha was done explaining what she wanted, Dr. Klein set right to work. If both Lois and Clark were affected after being sprayed, then the rats must be the cause. He needed to find out what was in them and figure out a solution.

Martha used his phone to call her husband.


The phone ringing caused two things to happen. Clark stopped spinning and landed with a thud. Unfortunately, he had been upside-down at the time, so he landed on his head.

At least this caused him to wake up.

He looked really confused.

"Dad, what is going on?"


Hecklebaum called Schott to inform him of his contract agreement and about the old woman snooping about. Unfortunately, Schott wasn't there, so Miranda took the call.

She thanked him for his concern and assured him that they weren't going to "sell him out." Miranda smiled. It looked like the final phase was about to take place.

She picked up an internal phone and dialed her assistant's number. "Lara, start packing up the vats, we have some work to do."


Between Jonathan and Martha on the phone, Clark got a good idea of what was going on. Martha informed him of Schott's involvement and about Hecklebaum, as well. By the time they had finished, Dr. Klein had some preliminary results.

As they suspected, the stuff seemed to break down when introduced to digestive juices, forming a highly sophisticated psychotropic mind-altering drug. The really weird part was when boiled it became a completely harmless solution, low in sodium, high in Vitamin C.

Clark told his mother to stay put while he did some investigating of his own.


Per Miranda and Schott's plans, Miranda, Schott and Lara moved the large truck up to the front gate of the water-treatment plant. Lara squirted the guard with a rat and tossed it at him. This was repeated several times until they could position the truck off the main feed pipe for Metropolis. With some trial and error, they successfully dumped several thousand gallons of their concentrated concoction into the water supply. The color of the water turned a nice shade of deep blue. They didn't want to tip off anyone that something was up by changing the water to some stupid color, like orange.


Slowly, the chemical worked it way through the waterways of Metropolis. Entering every home and businesses. Waiting for someone to turn on the tap and take a drink.


Early the next day ...

Perry was looking at the lead headline that was currently hitting the streets. MUNCHIES HIT METROPOLIS by Lois Lane and Clark Kent.

He looked up and listened to the news anchor. The man was nibbling on jellybeans as he talked about local restaurants.

The information ticker was running at the bottom of the screen:

Hunger pheromones wafting through waterways;

Boil order out for all of Metropolis until further notice;

Boil order out for the following boroughs: New Troy ... Chinatown ... Little Bohemia ...Central West ... Central East ...Lower East Hobbs Bay ... Midvale ... Bakerline ... Queensland Park ... Hell's Gate ... St. Martin's Island ... Park Ridge ... Metrodale ... Highville;

Miranda P. Sloan, Lara L. Martin, Margaret Duffy, and Winslow P. Schott held for trial;

Daily Planet reporters responsible for tipping off police, FDA.

"... restaurants are being encouraged to open earlier and stay open later for then next few days; armed guards will accompany grocery-supply trucks as well. Already, local owners of every kind of food business are reporting record sales ..."

Perry smiled. Another slam-dunk for The Daily Planet.


End notes:

* Miranda's full name I pulled out of thin air. It just sounded nice.

* Martha living in Boston is my creation.

* Thank you Lara for beta-ing this story.

This was a labor of love and frustration. I just don't keep things easily from Elisabeth (I have been successful twice in thirteen years!) I am pretty sure she knows that I was working on this, but she was good and avoided temptation to look at my screen.

This was her request:

Three things I want in my fic:

1. Martha Kent

2. Space Rats

3. pheromones

Preferred season(s): S1-3

Three things I do not want in my fic:

1. evil warlords (AKA New Kryptonians)

2. PG-13 stuff

3. nudity