By Lilly M. <email@example.com>
Summary: When Lois asks Clark about an unusual object she finds on his bookshelf, he spins the story of where he found it: under the sea, in the city of New Atlantis — where it was given to him by a mermaid. This humorous story was written in response to Debby Stark's "fiction idea" challenge. Here is my conclusion to Debby Stark's story. I hope you (and she) like it. BTW, Clark's friend, LORI from the comics, does not exist in this Superman Universe. Please send comments, etc. to me at Lilly M.firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a dark and stormy night, the blizzard keeping everyone inside. Clark had just returned home and his wife confirmed it; Metropolis was snowed in and no one needed Superman.
After eating the satisfying meal Clark whipped together, Lois approached Clark's book case. She looked over the souvenirs he collected from all over the world. One in particular caught her eye. She picked up the unusual item, looked at it from all sides, and turned, holding it out so he could see it.
"Oh, that's a Dinglehopper."
"No, really, it's a Dinglehopper."
"I got it from Atlantis. I was only 20 years old at the time, on summer vacation from Smallville U."
"Atlantis, the lost city under the sea? Yeah, right!"
"Okay, well it was actually New Atlantis. The old city is still lost."
"Of course not! You believe in a man from another planet, but not that there could be another civilization living in the bottom of the Ocean?"
"Okay, okay, I concede. So you found this thing there?"
"Nah, it was given to me, by one of King Neptune's daughters."
"King Neptune…you're full of it, Kent!"
"No, really, Lois! It's true!"
"So I bet there's a story behind it."
"There sure is."
"Well, we have *plenty* of time, so you can tell me *all* about it."
"Then come here. I'll show you how it works and I'll tell you how I got it…"
As they cuddled closely on the sofa the lights went out. He lit candles for her, increasing the spooky atmosphere as he began his story…
"Okay, once upon a time…"
"Be serious, Kent!" Lois warned.
"Okay, okay," Clark sighed. "I'm not sure I want to talk now, since the lights have gone out. Let's just smooch."
"Clark," Lois said, exasperated. She then sighed as Clark kissed her neck. "If you don't behave I'll wack you on the head with this Dinglehopper!"
"Okay," Clark said, resigned, and started his story. "When I was younger I was very fascinated with the Ocean. Y'know, How deep does it go? Is it really bottomless? That sort of thing. And well, I was also a bit reckless then, too…"
"No kidding?" Lois said, sarcastically.
"Be quiet! No comments from the peanut gallery! Anyway, I was a bit cocky, and I was sure I could hold my breath long enough to find the bottom, if there was one. So one day in June I sped off toward the middle of the Atlantic and dove in!"
Clark paused to be dramatic, which caused Lois to become annoyed.
"And it was cold! Well, I'm not that affected by temperature, as you know, but it had a very cold feeling. It was cold and dark and spooky. And I didn't see much aqua life, either. I must have frightened everything away with the waves I made. So I slowed down. My eyes began to focus and it was then I realized I was staring into the eyes of one of the biggest, meanest sharks I had ever seen! I mean, this guy would eat JAWS for breakfast!"
"Oh, god!" Lois said, getting into the story.
"And well, I forgot about the fact that it couldn't hurt me. This thing scared the bee-hee-jees out of me! Before I could get away it opened up its big maw, with its rows of sharp, pointy teeth…and WHAM!!!"
Clark grabbed a hold of Lois with both hands, mimicking the shark attack.
Lois screamed loudly. Then yelled, "Clark, that wasn't funny!"
Clark laughed and settled his arm around her and finished the story. "It got a hold of my chest, and would've eaten me alive if I were a human. Instead it got my Royals T-shirt. I loved that shirt. Anyway, it chased me for a bit, but I out-raced it. Then I swam through a thick foliage of some kind of seaweed and got stuck. When I finally entangled myself I was blinded by a bright light."
"What kind of bright light?"
"Well, it wasn't really all that bright. It just seemed so after swimming through the darkness. I was able to see very well, and the strange feelings I had earlier of coldness was gone. It was very peaceful and I felt relaxed and light-headed."
"Light-headed?" Lois asked, confused.
"Yeah, well, I was running out of air. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was so awed by the beauty of the place. And this may sound morbid to you, but I didn't seem to mind. I was perfectly content to die in this beautiful place."
"It's true. I started to close my eyes and drift off. I vaguely felt something flow across my face, like seaweed, but softer. I opened my eyes and saw that I was surrounded by an abundance of red hair. Then, don't you hit me for this, Lois, I saw pretty milky-white breasts. Not as pretty as yours, mind you, but they were really nice in the eyes of a green twenty year old."
"You're still pretty green, Kent. So, how long were you ogling this girl?"
"About a minute," Clark said with a smile. Lois hit him with a pillow and he laughed. "Anyway, I FINALLY looked up into a pair of beautiful light-green eyes. The girl smiled at me. I noticed two gill-like slits on her neck before she leaned over and kissed me on the mouth. My lungs felt rejuvenated and I was no longer light-headed. She then grabbed my hand and started to show me around the coral city. I was awed, Lois. Not just by the underwater city, which was incredible, but by this girl who epitomized my mermaid fantasy to a T!"
Lois groaned, "Clark, I don't think I'm ready to hear about your mermaid fantasy."
"Well, I'm sure it's no different than any other guy's. She had a small silver circlet on her head…and nothing else. Anyway, we passed several other citizens of this underwater world who looked at me strangely, and at my legs, but didn't bother us. I was confused but everything became clear when we headed toward a bright shining coral structure that looked like a palace. The mermaid led me to a throne room and an older man was there, with a gold crown of jewels on his head and a big spear in his hand. He was upset with the mermaid, apparently, and started to scold her, though I couldn't hear or understand anything. This fish-king looked at me as if he wanted me dead. Apparently he didn't care for Land-dwellers.
"After a few minutes, the girl gave me this," Clark held up the Dinglehopper. "And then I could understand them."
"Ah," Lois said, amused by his tale. "A universal-translator!"
"I guess, though they called it a Dinglehopper, well, that's the English translation. Anyway, the king, who ended up being King Neptune, wanted to know how I got there, to New Atlantis. Apparently I was on the ocean floor, and no human could make it that far down alive. So I told him I wasn't human. I don't know how I told him, but I did. And he understood. Then he attacked me with his spear."
"What! He attacked you? What happened?"
"Well, the beautiful mermaid who found me was screaming, telling her father not to hurt me. When the spear hit my chest, it broke in two, and the king was surprised. He looked down at his broken spear and looked up at me in fear, as if he thought I was going to attack him. I told him I wasn't going to hurt anyone, that I was there in peace. He then welcomed me. He wanted to betroth me to his daughter, Kara, the pretty mermaid who found me, but I was an outsider and would not survive, despite my obvious strength."
"Oh god, not another betrothal!" Lois moaned.
Clark laughed. "Well, I thanked him for his kind offer but agreed that I wouldn't survive. 'The Kiss of Air' Kara gave me earlier lasted about another 24 hours. In that time Kara showed me around the beautiful city of New Atlantis and told me the history, and how they were descendants of the lost city of Atlantis, which was never found. She was very content to stay there, and wasn't at all interested in visiting land, though it was against their law."
"Really?" Lois asked, fascinated.
"Yeah, if anyone went past the boundaries of the city and went to the surface of the sea, they were banned from the city forever. They probably wouldn't survive, though, because of all the predators out beyond the city. It was really quite incredible. The society, though small, was very peaceful.
"Well, when my air-time was getting short Kara escorted me to the boundaries of the city, where the ocean started to get cold and dark again. She kissed me good-bye and wished me well. She also allowed me to keep the Dinglehopper. Then, using her fin, she created a strong water current which propelled me upwards. I made it to the surface a few minutes later, awed, and out of breath."
"Wow, Clark, that's an incredible story. Have you ever gone back?"
"I've tried, but I never found it again. I certainly hope New Atlantis didn't get lost too!"
Lois shivered and Clark put his arm around her.
"Cold, Lois? Why don't I heat up some tea? I'll be right back!"
Clark stood up and walked to the kitchen. Lois smiled and looked down at the Dinglehopper. She was amazed at all the places her husband had been. She saw some strange scribbling on the side of the object and squinted her eyes. She held it up to a candle to get a better look at the writing. It said, "Made in Japan." She then turned and glared at her husband, who just pulled a doosey of a joke on her. She stood up and threw the Dinglehopper at him with all her strength.
Clark turned from heating the tea with his heat-vision and caught the gadget. He saw the gleam in Lois's eye and knew he had been found out. "It really happened, Lois, honest! I may have been dreaming at the time, but…"
"Oooh, you! Wait till I get my hands on you!" Lois yelled as she chased him around the apartment.
UNDER THE SEA
"How has our Earth-dwelling friend been, Kara? Have you checked up on him lately?"
"Yes, Father, he has a very lovely wife and a baby on the way, though they don't know it yet. They are very happy."
"I am glad. He was unique. The kiss you have him before he left was for the best. He now believes his visit here was a dream. You know this is for the best, don't you, Kara?"
"Yes, Father, though I miss him. He was very intelligent, and good company, for a Land-dweller."
"So it's time to find you a husband. How about that nice young fellow who does my bookkeeping?"
"Pleeese, Daddy! He just wants to be a prince. He's been kissing your fin something fierce!"
"Kara! Okay, so maybe he is a bit wimpy. I assume you have somebody in mind? And no more weirdoes with pierced tail fins and spiked hair!"
"As a matter of fact, Daddy, I know someone who is perfect…"