Smallville: Son of Jor-El
Clark Kent gave himself one last glance in the rearview mirror, ran his hand through his hair and got out of the truck. He grabbed the crate with the Talon's weekly produce order out of the back, then stopped to breathe in the fresh Kansas air. It really was a beautiful day outside, and he was glad that he was almost done with his errands so that he could enjoy the rest of it.
He walked into the Talon, hoping Lana wouldn't be too busy and they could talk for awhile. Things had actually been going well between them lately, and he was hoping that if he didn't make a total mess of things, he'd get up the courage to ask her to go to the BNL concert with him that weekend.
As luck would have it, business was slow that afternoon, and Clark managed to catch Lana as she was finishing up cleaning one of the tables.
"Hey Lana," Clark said with a big smile.
"Oh, hi Clark!" she said, her face brightening. "You can just put that behind the counter, I'll take care of it in a minute."
"Okay." Clark set the produce crate down behind the counter, then walked back over to Lana. "So… slow day?"
"Kind of. I guess everyone's out enjoying this nice weather."
"Yeah, makes sense." Clark took a deep breath and tried to focus on sounding casual. "So, you doing anything this weekend?"
Lana gave him a suspicious eye. She could sense what was coming, and, while she wanted to get excited at the thought of Clark asking her to do something, it seemed that more often than not, any plans they made always fell through.
"I'm not sure yet. Chloe and I were thinking of making a trip to the Galleria Mall in Grandville ."
Clark nodded. "Oh. That's cool."
"Why, Clark? What's up?"
"Oh, I just… uh…"
Just then, a short old man in a bowler hat walked up to them. "Excuse me, miss," he said, smiling and tipping his hat. "Could I trouble you for a cup of coffee?"
Lana turned her attention from Clark to the old man. "Sure! Why don't you have a seat, I'll bring it right out."
"Ah, if I might get it 'to go'?"
Clark exhaled. Great timing, old man. Another swing and miss for Clark Kent. He watched as Lana went over to the coffee machine, then glanced at the door. Maybe he should just leave, and save himself any further embarrassment.
"Mr. Kent, if I may have a word with you," the old man said.
Clark blinked. "Me?"
"How do you know my name?"
"I know quite a lot about you, Clark. I'm afraid I don't have time to explain everything quite yet, but suffice it to say that it's imperative that you come with me. The future of your world, and several others, may depend upon it."
Clark laughed. "I'm sorry, I don't even know your name, and I have no clue what you're talking about."
"Of course, how rude of me." The man removed his hat and made a slight bow. "My name is Herbert George Wells."
"As in H.G. Wells, the writer?"
"One and the same."
"Okay, English was never my best subject, but I'm pretty sure H.G. Wells died a long time ago."
"Ah, but time is relative, my boy. Quite relative."
Lana returned with the coffee. "Do you two know each other, Clark?"
"No," Clark said, looking a little uncomfortable.
"You seem to be awfully chatty for two people who've never met," Lana said.
The man who had identified himself as H.G. Wells took a sip of the coffee. "Mmm," he said. "Delightful, miss!"
"Hey, I have to get going, Lana," Clark said. "Can I… give you a call, later? After you get out of work?"
Lana pursed her lips, once again skeptical of Clark's intentions. "Sure. I'll wait right by the phone," she said, sarcasm seeping through a little stronger then she'd intended. Then she gave Clark a little smile to let him know she hadn't meant that to be quite as mean as it sounded.
As Clark turned to walk out, Wells followed behind him.
"Clark, please, I do need to speak with you."
"Look," Clark said, a little annoyed that he hadn't secured the date with Lana that he'd hoped for. "I really don't have time for this, and I really don't want to be bothered."
"I know your secret," Wells said.
Clark stared at him. Over the past few years, there had been several people who had learned his secret, and good things rarely came of it. The names Sam Phalen, Roger Nixon, Tina Greer and Van McNulty all came too readily to mind.
"What do you want?" Clark breathed through clenched teeth.
"As I said, the future depends on you coming with me, my boy. I will be able to explain everything in due time."
"Wait a minute," Clark said. "H.G. Wells… wrote 'The Time Machine'… And you're saying the future depends on me coming with you… Don't tell me you expect me to believe you're a time traveler!"
Wells took a sip of the coffee. "When you step outside, you will see that in your haste to see Miss Lang, you accidentally parked in front of a fire hydrant. That incorrigible Sheriff Adams is writing you a parking ticket as we speak. When you try to protest, she will comment on the amount of time you spend here, and make a reference to you needing glasses."
Clark stared at Wells for another moment, then ran out the door.
Next to his truck stood Sheriff Adams, writing him a ticket for parking in front of a fire hydrant.
"Sheriff Adams," Clark said, running up to her. "I'm sorry, I can't believe I parked in front of that hydrant!"
"Ahh, Mr. Kent," Adams said, her voice filled with her usual sense of disdain. "I should've known this was your truck, Lord knows it's here often enough. You'd think with as much time as you spend at this coffee house you'd have noticed a little thing like a fire hydrant and a no parking sign, hm? Or do you need to start wearin' them glasses again like you had awhile back?"
Clark was dumbfounded. "Um. Yes, ma'am."
"All I get today is a 'yes ma'am'? No glib comeback or snappy remark? I'm disappointed, Mr. Kent." She continued filling out the ticket. "Next time, be a little more careful, hm?"
By now Clark wasn't even hearing her. He'd already turned back toward the Talon, to see Wells standing in the doorway. Wells glanced at his pocket watch.
"I wouldn't worry about the ticket, Clark," Wells said, as Clark approached him. "You won't have to pay it, anyway. If I were you I'd worry about the Smallville Savings and Loan."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Blue Sedan, license plate BYC 224," Wells said.
The sound of an alarm shattered the peaceful air of the previously quiet afternoon. Clark turned to see that, up the street, three armed men were running out of the Smallville Savings and Loan, carrying bags full of money.
Sheriff Adams cursed under her breath and ran for her squad car, leaving Clark's parking ticket unfinished.
Clark looked back at Wells. Wells just nodded.
With all onlookers distracted by the commotion up the street, Clark slipped away in a burst of super speed. In an instant, he was up the street, across from the Savings and Loan, as the men were running towards a car that was waiting for them.
The car was a blue Sedan with the license plate BYC 224.
Fire filled Clark's eyes as blasts of heat vision tore from them, burning the tires on the getaway car. In seconds all four tires were flat, stranding the would-be getaway car, and leaving the robbers as easy prey for the police to round up.
Clark zipped back over to Wells, who smiled and took another sip of his coffee.
"All right," Clark said with a sigh. "I'm ready to listen."