By Anne D. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted November 2000
Summary: A humorous story that relates a "disastrous" evening for the Kents, explaining one more reason why Lois shouldn't try to cook.
"This is one of the rare times I'm actually dreading going to work," Lois remarked as she and Clark entered the elevator from the parking garage.
"Well, honey, there's a chance, slight I know, that no one's picked up on what happened last night. I wonder which reporter was assigned to City Beat."
As they stepped into the newsroom, Lois was disturbed to discover the answer to Clark's question. It had to have been Ralph because he looked guilty as he waited for them, snooping at their desks, but, fortunately for him, not touching anything. Lois cleared her throat menacingly as she approached, and Ralph turned around quickly. However, he didn't look nervous enough, not a good sign.
"Hey, Lane, Kent, sounds like you had a hot time in the old town last night," Ralph snickered. "Your address was all over the place in Emergency Services."
"Ralph…" Lois snarled. He scurried out of her way as she sat down at her desk.
"Um, Ralph, we had a rough night, but nothing important happened," Clark added to his wife's abrupt comment. "All false alarms. Nothing for anyone to worry about."
Perry poked his head out from his office at that moment. "Okay, you two, get in here now. After confirming what Ralph found out, I gotta know why the police, fire department, and even an ambulance reported to your home last night. This has gotta be good."
Lois put her head in her hands and whimpered, "Oh, no…"
"Honey, don't worry. I'll explain," Clark reassured her.
Perry didn't close his door when he entered his office behind them, leaving Ralph to hear their explanation from his position standing directly outside. Ralph seemed leery about coming all the way in and facing the wrath of Lois. Clark understood Perry's action, knowing that since Ralph was apparently the one who found out about last night, he had earned the right to hear the whole story. But Clark would have rather done without that particular staff member in the audience. He wished they didn't have an audience at all, what with other curious staffers pausing to look in now.
"Well, Chief, like you heard me say earlier to Ralph, nothing important happened. I had to leave right before dinner for an errand and Lois was starving…"
The evening before, as Clark started getting everything out for their stirfry dinner, he heard an alarm begin shrilling across town.
"I'll be back as soon as I can, honey!" he promised as he prepared to leave.
"I know, but hurry, I'm absolutely famished…"
After Clark was gone, Lois looked at the preparations, her stomach growled, and she promptly decided that she would at least start the dinner. Hopefully she wouldn't mess up the meal that badly and maybe even speed things up for when Clark returned.
Remembering how Clark started this dish in all the times she'd watched him, she added a little cooking oil to the wok and turned on the heat. After waiting what she hoped was the right amount of time, she added the moist, bite-size chicken pieces. They sizzled and immediately the overly hot oil started smoking up the kitchen. The alarm directly outside in the dining room went off.
"Crud!" Lois griped to herself. "I can't do anything right!" She turned the heat off, opened the windows and doors, and immediately went into the laundry room to get the alarm instruction book stored near the control box. Checking the number for the monitoring service, she grabbed the phone and started dialing.
"Hello, this is Lois Lane. I'm afraid I accidentally set off my smoke alarm… again. I hope you haven't called the fire department yet."
"No, ma'am, we haven't. What is your password?"
Lois gave it to the woman and was reassured that they wouldn't report the alarm unless it continued for 15 minutes. Lois thanked her, put the phone down and immediately headed for the smoke alarm, which was really getting on her nerves. Screaming at it didn't seem to help, so she grabbed a chair, pulled it directly under the alarm, and climbed up to the annoying device. Opening the cover and fanning didn't stop it from sounding. Lois was getting really frustrated and started muttering that she would never touch a stove again.
Meanwhile, Clark had finished at the jewelry story, marveling at the stupidity of some crooks. As he approached his home to feed his starving wife, he heard another alarm and thought for a second Lois might have to wait a little longer — until he realized the alarm was coming from his own home. As he flew in, he choked back his laughter at his wife standing on a chair, screaming at the smoke alarm.
"Honey, looks like you didn't wait for me!"
"It's not my fault! How was I to know that if I added the chicken when the oil was too hot, the alarm would go off and refuse to stop?"
"I'm sorry. Let's see if I can help any." He floated up next to where she was standing on the chair and blew softly at the alarm. The alarm simply ignored his superbreath. After repeating this act with a little more strength to his breath, he realized Lois' dilemma.
"I think the alarm is malfunctioning. We better call the company that installed the system and see what they suggest."
While Clark made that call, Lois called the monitoring service back to request more time than 15 minutes. This time a man answered and apologized, but said that 15 minutes was the longest they could wait, since there might be a fire that Lois didn't know about. Despite her arguing, the man said he had no choice.
"Clark, I think we are going to have some guests in a few minutes."
"The fire department? How long has it been since the alarm went off?"
"Closing in on 15 minutes, which is all they will allow, I'm afraid."
"I had to leave a message on the alarm company's answering machine, so let's see if I can shut it off myself," Clark replied. "If I can just cut off the wire to the unit, then…" He looked through the ceiling, followed some wires and severed one with his heat vision, leaving a microscopic hole in the ceiling. The alarm instantly changed sounds in an ominous manner, but obviously didn't shut off.
"Oh, I bet now the equipment thinks the fire burned the wires…" Lois said, resigned to the inevitable.
"Oh, I didn't think of that…"
As Lois headed back to the phone for her third call to the service, she complained, "Tell me again why we need a monitored system?" Clark could only give her an apologetic look.
When she hung up the phone this time, she looked at Clark and grimaced. "Honey, the fire department is coming out because of me, but the police are coming out because you severed that wire."
"Great, just great!" he replied, raking his hand through his hair, becoming frustrated too.
"Just remember — part of this is your fault now! Some little tiny part, I know, but it's not all my fault…"
"Glad we got that straight." Lois had to smile at her usually unperturbed husband. "By the way, why did you have to desert me in the kitchen this time? Anything newsworthy?"
"A break-in at Larson's Jewelers." Clark waited for Lois to realize the implications of what he had just said.
"Isn't that the store that shares an alley with a police station? Someone… Ralph? Didn't Ralph write a story about that last week?"
"Yes, something about it being a great location for a jewelry store. Anyway, the crooks found that out too, since the police arrived there about the same time as I did! And don't forget Ralph mentioned in his article that there's a Metro Gym franchise right next door and apparently off-duty police officers like to work out there."
"Good thing the crooks didn't read that story! Sounds like we aren't the only ones having a bad evening, but serves them right. It's just too bad we can't write that robbery story tonight and not have to be here for this."
"Well, whoever is on call at police headquarters tonight will cover the attempted jewelry store robbery, not us."
Surprisingly in the few minutes it took to discuss this, both the fire truck and a police car arrived, which interested the neighbors immensely and embarrassed Lois and Clark to no end. After having a good laugh and fortunately not asking how the wire got severed, the policemen left, but the firemen insisted on searching the premises, just in case. Meanwhile, a man from the alarm installation company returned their call and talked Clark through properly disconnecting the smoke alarm. The man promised a repairman would come out the next afternoon. Soon, the firemen left too and Clark could start salvaging what remained of the dinner.
"Sounds like your fire alarm just broke down, but that doesn't explain theambulance coming out," Perry observed as Clark finished his narrative.
Lois jumped in, "Oh, I can explain that."
From outside, Ralph added, "And don't forget the fire department and police came out two times."
"Did they report that?" Lois griped. "That was completely uncalled for. There was no reason for them returning to our house, unless they were looking for more laughs! I'm sure they had more important work to do! Anyway, after everyone left and Clark started work on dinner — mind you, I was still starving — I returned the alarm instruction book I had taken out of the laundry room back to its place in the cabinet. I guess I was a little irritated about everything that'd been happening, so I might have slammed the door to the room a little harder than normal. Anyway, a few seconds later, the alarm went off again! There was no smoke anywhere! Even if someone was breaking in, the perimeter controls were off from when I opened the windows and doors earlier. So I went back to the control box to find out what was wrong this time. I couldn't believe what happened! The door to the control box had been left open and the broom had fallen from the wall and its handle was laying on a button with the letter A on it."
"A for ambulance," Perry laughed. "I don't believe it!"
"Believe it! Since it was a panic button, even though we called and tried to stop the report, it was too late. And the policemen and firemen who had just been out there heard the call for an ambulance and decided to come back to see which of us fell out of the chair. I will never be able to look at my neighbors again!"
"Honey," Clark whispered, "you don't talk to them anyhow, so there's no loss there…"
She glared at him. "Just be grateful I haven't had time to bake them a cake!"
Perry just had to laugh, but he tried to reassure them, too. "Well, kids, I guess this really isn't newsworthy after all. I'm sure everyone will laugh about it, then forget about it just as quickly. You probably won't hear anything else about it after this morning."
"I hope not."
Ralph walked away, grumbling that he thought it would be a better story. In his opinion, the attempted jewelry store robbery last night was more interesting than this. He was pleased with how well that tied in with his article last week.
As Lois and Clark left their boss' office, Jimmy looked up at them from Lois' desk.
"Hey, Lois, what's up? Henderson's on the phone and wants to know why you were wasting our tax dollars last night!"
"Oh, no… It's not my fault!"
I would like to thank(?) Debby for putting so much effort into editing this story that I felt so guilty that I had to submit it. I would also like to thank Dawn and LabRat for their support and encouragement. All and any comments welcome.