Submitted November, 2010
Summary: While Clark is off being Superman, Lois tells their children a bedtime story.
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While Clark is off being Superman, Lois tells their children a bedtime story. This story is in response to the "That Extra Hour" challenge. (http://www.lcficmbs.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000933;p=1#000000)
The character of Spiderman is owned by Marvel Comics. All other recognizable characters belong to DC comics and to Warner Brothers. I'm just borrowing them for a little not-for-profit fun. The original 'Just So' stories were written by Rudyard Kipling.
Clark cocked his head for a few seconds, and then stood up. "Honey, I just remembered I left some important papers at work..." This was, of course, for the benefit of the younger members of the Kent clan. Martha had been let in on "The Secret" a year ago, but JonJon and P.J. were not yet deemed mature enough to be burdened with it.
"Go! I'll tuck the kids in."
Shortly thereafter, the twins were lying in their beds. Martha entered their room in time to hear the bedtime story.
As always, Lois asked the kids what they wanted to hear.
"A story about Daddy," was JonJon's request.
P.J. chimed in. "No, not Daddy -- Spidey! Tell us about Spidey!" He clutched his Spiderman doll to his chest.
"You always want to hear about Spidey!" Martha groused. "How about some romance for a change?"
JonJon thought of something else. "Could we have a 'Just So' story?"
Lois chuckled as she held up both hands in mock surrender. "O.K., guys! That's enough! Let's see... A 'Just So' story with Daddy, Spiderman, and romance. Hmm.... Got it!
"Once upon a time, many years ago, before any of you were born -- in fact, not very long after your Daddy and I first met -- he had a problem. You see, he had fallen in love with me and wanted to start dating me, but he didn't want to do so until he told me he was Spiderman, and..."
P.J. shrieked, "Daddy is Spiderman!?"
Lois corrected him immediately. "No, P.J., Daddy isn't really Spiderman. This is a 'Just So' story, remember? 'Just So' stories aren't really true. This is just a 'Let's Pretend.'"
P.J. slumped despondently. "Oh."
"But in this story, we are pretending that he is Spiderman. So anyway, he hadn't told me of his alter ego, and he was afraid to do so. One day when he was alone in his apartment, he sighed and said aloud to himself, 'I wish I could just tell Lois that I am Spiderman and ask her out on a date.'
"Unknown to him, an imp named 'Myxy' from the fifth dimension was listening in. The imp suddenly appeared in the room and spoke to your now-startled father. 'Your request has been granted.'
"'What? Who are you? What are you talking about?'
"Myxy told Daddy his name, and then he vanished as suddenly as he had appeared.
"The next day, when Daddy arrived at the Daily Planet and saw me, he fell into a brief trance. He walked up to me and told me, right where everyone could hear, that he was Spiderman, and then he asked me out. As soon as he had finished his request, he snapped out of his trance and was horrified by what he had just done. But it was too late -- the cat was out of the bag. You can't let loose a bombshell like that in a newsroom and not have it published for all the world to know.
"Soon, his life became miserable. He was never able to go anywhere without people coming up to him and asking him for his autograph. He lived in fear that some villain would kidnap Grandma and Grandpa Kent to get to him. He knew that this situation couldn't continue. He went to the library and read all he could on imps, and there he learned what you all know – that there is only one way to undo an imp's magic and make him leave the third dimension, and that is to get him to -- " Lois paused and looked expectantly at her children.
They chorused, "Say his name backwards!"
Lois smiled at their enthusiasm. "Right. So Daddy came up with a plan to do just that. And as quickly as he thought of his idea, he decided to implement it. He called out Myxy's name and the imp appeared.
"Now, your Daddy was very unhappy about everything that had happened, but he pretended to be grateful to Myxy. He said to him, 'Mr. Myxy, I am so glad you gave me the courage to tell Lois my secret! I've been trying to come up with a gift to give you to thank you, but what can a mere three-dimensional human have that a five dimensional imp would want? Then I thought of the answer: I could teach you something you don't know. Do you know how to scat?'
"'What's scatting?' asked the imp.
"'It's a type of singing using nonsense syllables. Here, let's try some. Some scat uses a call-response structure. I'll sing some nonsense syllables and then you sing them after me. What do you think? Do you want to try it?'
"'It sounds like it could be fun. OK.'
"Your Daddy started to snap his fingers to provide a rhythm and started singing, 'A SKEET diddle liddle liddle yxym do.'
"And Myxy echoed it. 'A SKEET diddle liddle liddle yxym do.' As he started to fade, he realized that he had been tricked into saying his name backwards. (Singing counts as speaking for the purposes of banishing imps.) The moment he disappeared, everything went back to the way it had been before Daddy had made his ill-fated wish.
"And so, to this very day, we turn back the clocks every fall to remember when time went backward for the whole world."
Normally, JonJon -- always the most logical child in the family -- would have objected that if the world had reverted back to the way it had been, no one would have remembered what had happened, so how would they know to commemorate the event with changing the clocks back? But Lois also knew that she was safe from such questioning since, by this point, the twins were both sound asleep. Lois and Martha tiptoed out of the room.
The robbery had been nearby and run-of-the-mill, so Clark had been able to indulge himself by listening to Lois' bedtime story even while foiling the thieves. As he flew back, he gave in to the chuckle he had been suppressing in order to maintain his stern Superman facade. He marveled anew at how well Lois could weave truth and fiction into a yarn fit for their kids. He wondered how much of the incident Lois consciously remembered. He had almost forgotten it himself, and since Myxy had never returned to their world again, he had never thought to mention it to her. He knew that once Martha was asleep, he and Lois were going to have a very interesting conversation...