By Debby Stark <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted October 2000
Summary: Lois is alarmed when a phone call interrupts an important discussion with Perry.
FEEDBACK: Comments welcome in all forums I have access to
No Editing please (too short to edit really…)
Saving Geckoboy, a love story
"White here. I'm busy, what do you want? …Oh, yes, I remember you."
"Who is it?"
"It's Kent, Lois, not that it's any of your business."
"Kent… Somebody Kent, Kent Somebody… Clark? Oh, Kent Clark — Oh? …sorry. Clark Kent. You remember him, Lois, or you should. You burst in here during his interview."
"Needs a trim."
"I could smell the manure on his overalls."
"and polite—he rose when you entered."
"Not every man does that these days,"
"I swear he practiced pig calls on his way out of here."
"especially when it's just you coming in."
"I'm about the only one who'll stand for you—ah, Kent, you still there? What's all that noise?… You're in a police station? At… okay, I've got it, 42nd and Elm… Quit muttering, Lois, it's not polite— Kent? Why'd you call? Laurie said it's something about the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre and the riot. I'm sorry, but that's hours old, that's old news by now… Okay, I understand, I'm the only person you know in town, right."
"Just a minute, Kent. Lois, repeat after me, 'employment applications, resumes and writing samples are always private and confidential'."
"Yeah, whatever. Now about my expense account for my investigation of the sabotage of…"
"Kent, why are you… Okay, you were just out walking this afternoon… happened on the theatre… you saw lots of people… artists, bohemians… elderly people… and school children? The reports didn't mention… All peaceful, yes… and unarmed? Except for… placards and souvenir playbills and popcorn boxes, right, I guess they'd… But listen here, the police reports said… You're telling me the police just attacked everyone? You heard a signal? Wait, wait. You saw SWAT teams attack octogenarians and toddlers?… and you were…"
"Beaten to a bloody pulp?"
"But you're all right, good… Oh, my… Oh, my… You stopped an officer from clubbing a… Not stopped but…? You stopped him… them… Oh, my… And you stood in front of a… but then you got… Oh, my… How many went to the hospital?… Oh, my… I knew we should have had someone there—were there any other reporters there at all?"
"Geckoboy's not a reporter and he wouldn't know one if he…"
"NONE? This is incredible! And you got PICTURES? Yes, I understand… You told them you were a tourist, good idea… well, yes, I know you are one, but… but the police will've taken… You rewound the film first and they didn't see you do it? You're sure? …Well, I understand you can't be until you get your things back but… Listen, Kent, I want you outta there and in here Right Now… Bail? How much? That's not very… Okay, it's more than you have… This is your first offense ever? In your whole life? Not even in… where? Tunisia? When you… And they still set it that high? Yes, it is upsetting, your parents'll… No, I'm sure your parents will be proud of you… You're more upset about all the others—well, of course you'd be. I'd be, too, considering… Well, you don't need a lawyer, son. I'll pull some strings and… For your friends, too, yes, I'll see what I can… All right, all right, listen: if you write the story right—"
"I can write it, Chief!"
"Just a minute, Kent. Lois, I know you'd write the whole damn paper if you had time, but I thought you were too busy hunting down more Prometheus rumors—"
"They're not rumors!"
"Until you bring me proof, they're rumors and that's all they are. Listen, Kent, if you write the story right, and I'll help you, the Planet will make your friends into heroes. But first we've got to get you out of there, fast. I'll send… someone who's not busy at the moment to bail you out—"
"Not me! I AM busy! Send… Send Jimmy!"
"Nope, Jimmy's not authorized to handle bail money."
"Then authorize him! He springs Geckoboy, I shake down the police and climb all over Henderson and—"
"The only money I can authorize him to handle is the money I was going to budget for your Prometheus investigation, but—"
"But that's extortion!"
"No, that's an executive decision. You're lucky I'm giving you a choice. I send Jimmy to spring Geckob… I mean, Kent, and you spend the next week in the morgue doing your research rather than gallivanting across half the country on a wild goose ch—"
"All right, all right! But I will NOT baby-sit that farmboy once he's in here! I don't even want to SEE him again!"
"Whatever. Go by Accounting on your way out. I'll have'em cut a check for you. Kent, you still there? I'm sending—hear that slam? She's on her way. You remember what she looks like? Yeah, you've got that right. She's a little tornado."
Original version can be found at
Author's notes: This story took only a few hours total to write if you include email "conversations" with my proofer. I'd like to say "30 minutes", but there was a lot of thought behind it. It started the morning of October 25 while I was in my reading room (bathroom), perusing Adbusters magazine, #32, and an article about anarchy. The author of the article notes that most people think it awful if a protester hits a police officer. He explored this idea by talking to an anarchist friend. The anarchist recounted a story of being in an anti- death penalty protest in Montreal. Even before the march started, police had sealed the marchers in an alley—and then attacked them. The witness mimed "the way a baton to the face knocked his friend down onto the bike she was pushing." The article goes on in more depth, but I was already thinking: what would Lois and/or Clark do if caught in such a situation? What kind of story can I write about this for them? First, I can't use Superman; he's too overwhelming, no police would ignore civil rights with Superman there. Clark's better to put in that situation (I prefer writing about him anyhow). When in his life would something like this be most surprising to him? Early on— yet when he's in Metropolis already, where such an action would surprise him because he's got an idealic view of the place. We know of one protest march he witnessed, so I'll put him there, and twist this and change that…
That gave me who and where, and the pilot offered enough of a why (the protest). "How" to tell the story required more thought, but I did that in the shower. Out of the shower I stopped by my computer long enough to jot down a few sentences to spark my memory if I couldn't get back to the story idea for a while. Then I made my breakfast and prepared my lunch. This gave me more time to think.
How to tell the story? Whose point of view? I prefer Clark's, but for some reason I didn't want to worry about writing a lot descriptive narrative—what the police station looks like from CK's POV, or what Perry's office looks like from Perry's or Lois's POV—because, frankly, we fans either already know that or can easily guess. Also, I didn't want to describe emotions because I think I wanted to accept the challenge of conveying them to the reader via only what was said between X number of characters. I also wanted to convey a sense of urgency. All those limitations ruled out telling the story from CK's POV, or bouncing from him to the others. That kind of narrative story telling is too wordy—this had to be something told fast.
While I ate breakfast sitting before my computer (doesn't everyone do that?), I wrote the bulk of the story. I took it to work and was able to give it about 10 more minutes during a break. For example, I changed "Geckoman" to "Geckoboy" because that would reinforce for the reader Lois's opinion of the outsider (she'd barely seen him but had already filed him away). That evening I sent it off to my proofer, who has a number of her own short stories I hope she'll soon send to the list, and got her feedback.
My advice then to new writers is: take situations you come across or even read about and apply them to L&C and see what happens next!
October 27, 2000