This is for anyone out there who knows what it's like to be in the car with a native of Podunk, KS.

Disclaimer: you know the drill.

Parallel Lives

Clark circled around Eddie's Diner three times. The third time I unclenched my jaw long enough to scowl. "There was a space right there."

"I didn't like that spot." He sounded so calm. So reasonable. We were five minutes late meeting a source.

"There was nothing WRONG with that spot." Did he think that the heavens were going to open up, the angels rejoice and sing as the perfect stall was revealed to him? "Look, if we go around this time, and it's still there, you're parking in it. We're late already, and that one was FINE. It had enough ROOM!"

I could see his shoulders slowly raising up towards his ears as the tension built. He was getting mad at ME. "The F-150 behind it was over the line and into the space. It's not legal, and I don't think I can get it in there."

"It's a COMPACT, Clark. So what if it's not legal? The guy in front of him's parked WAY far up, you have enough room to get in." I sighed in frustration. "You act like you've never parallel parked before."

As he turned the corner, he continued staring straight ahead, not reacting, not even breathing.

"Oh my God. You've never parallel parked." I knew Clark Kent's deepest, darkest secret. "How the hell did you pass the test?" Better yet, how did you live in the city this long and manage to avoid it? Oh yeah, that flying thing.

"They don't exactly HAVE parking issues in Kansas." Why did he sound exasperated? /I/ wasn't the one who couldn't parallel park. "I did it for the test. Once."

We turned the corner one more time, and I saw that same stall open. We were having incredibly good luck, and he was a stupid bumpkin who couldn't parallel park. "It's like riding a bike." I pointed to the spot furiously, letting him know he wasn't going to get out of it this time.

He put his turn signal on as he slowed, pulling just past the spot. I could tell he was getting nervous at holding up traffic behind him, anxiety was creased across his forehead, and he looked like he wanted to apologies to all of the people behind him. I didn't know if it was the Kansas or the Boy scout that made him too terminally polite for the aggressiveness required to drive in the city.

"I didn't exactly...do it right."

"And they gave you your license?" I looked behind us. "Turn harder. Ok. Straighten out. Straighten OUT!"

He huffed, then slowed down. "I'm trying!"

"Turn hard, now! You're gunna hit the--" The back wheel slammed into the curb. Damn Kansas and it's rolling plains and parking lots and damn whoever it was in Smallville that gave my husband a license.

"The state trooper who did the test said I was close enough, and that I'd never need it, so he passed me off on it after he told Pa to get me some practice with it."

He put the car into drive and pulled forward so slowly I thought I was going to die. "Keep going. What're you waiting for?"

His jaw squared, and he refused to look at me. "I'm trying not to hit the car in front of me."

I rubbed my forehead. I was going to have a migraine. "YOU HAVE X-RAY VISION! Can't you see you have three feet?"

"Just let me do this!" He inched the car up, and then put it in reverse. Turning the wheel, he cut it too hard and slammed the front wheel into the curb. "I told you I didn't want to drive today."

"Just get out. Get out and let me do it!" I began opening the door, and he looked like I'd just urinated in public or something.

"You can't just... GET OUT."

"CLARK KENT! We're LATE! Pull forward and get the wheels off the curb, or get out and let ME do it!"

He inched the car to the left and forward, looking like he was going to shoot heat beams out of his eyes and fry my head. "I'm driving. We can't just play Chinese fire drill because I'm not going fast enough."

I folded my arms over my chest. "Why not?"

"That's just not how things are done!"

I almost growled at him. "Ok. Good. Fine. You're away from the curb. Now put it in park, and let's get the hell out of here."

But he didn't put it into park. He looked behind him, and backed up again. "I'm kaddywompas."

"You're about to get your butt kicked is what you are. I don't care if you're crooked. You're in the spot. You're legal. Lets GO." Why couldn't I have been born with laser eye beams? The enormous truck behind us was closer to the oncoming cars than we were. It'd get its shiny silver ass hit WAY before we would.

But he didn't stop. He cut the wheel hard one more time, and actually go the stupid thing straight.

"NOW can we get out?" I grabbed my purse and had my hand on the door handle before I realized he wasn't turning the car off. "NOW what?"

He took a deep, calming breath. "Just let me make sure I'm even between the lines."

Without waiting for him to inch backward another foot and a half, I opened the door and got out.

"WHAT?" he called after me as I slammed the door.

Shutting the car off, he got out. He got as far as the curb, looked back at the vehicle and discretely grabbed beneath the bumper and lifted the front of the car four inches toward the curb, then continued on after me. "Lois!"

"I have to call a man in Gotham about a Kryptonite ring," I muttered under my breath, grabbing the door handle to the diner and yanking it.

He filed in behind me. "Well, I couldn't just leave it all..."

"Kaddywompas?" I sneered quietly as we approached the shaggy college student in the back booth.

"Kaddywompas? I don't know where you ever learned a word like that," he grinned, making eye contact with our informant.

Those non-existent laser beams shot out of my eyes at him but I smiled too, letting the young man in the booth know we were the people he was to meet. He wasn't allowed to park ever again. He wasn't allowed to DRIVE ever again. I couldn't afford the emotional pain, the ulcer and migraine discomfort or the torn out sidewalls on my tires.

THE END