By Bethy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November 2001
Summary: Lois is falling victim to another prankster, but this time it's all in good fun.
Lois exited the Daily Planet building and headed for the peaceful privacy of her Jeep. After dealing with annoying incompetents all day, most of whom didn't deserve their jobs, she was glad for a chance to be alone.
As she neared the silver Cherokee, she noticed a slip of paper under the windshield wiper and stifled a groan. How could she have gotten a ticket? She was parked in the area reserved for Daily Planet employees with her Daily Planet parking pass displayed prominently on her dashboard.
She grabbed the paper and angrily opened it.
"Smile! It confuses people." Beside the typewritten words she saw a hand-drawn smiley face. Reluctantly, she allowed a slight smile to emerge. Soon she was grinning. She didn't know who put this there, but she'd be willing to bet her next Kerth that it had been Clark. The only problem was how…They'd worked together all day, and the only times they'd been apart was when they were chasing separate leads — but they had both left and returned in her jeep, and the note hadn't been there then. And Clark was still upstairs, finishing up a sidebar on one of his articles.
No matter, she'd find out soon. And then it was payback time. She grinned as she got in the jeep and headed home.
The next day, she found another note.
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving's not for you. And remember to smile — it confuses people." Again, it had a hand-drawn smiley face after the typewritten words.
For the next week, Lois found a note on her windshield almost every day.
"If a man speaks in a forest, and there's no woman around, is he still wrong?"
"The three major food groups: Drive-Thru, Take-Out, and Delivery."
"Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?"
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
"What if the Hokey-Pokey really *is* what it's all about?"
"If at first you don't succeed…sky diving's not for you."
And with each one, she was told to smile — it confuses people. She did have to admit, she grinned when she read them, and found herself smiling even more than usual during her workdays and even when alone.
Finally, one day, she caught Clark printing out a note. He wasn't obvious about it, but he made sure not to let her see it. However, before he could cover it up, she caught a glimpse of "— it confuses peop-"
A grin tried to erupt, but she fought it back. This would be no fun if he knew that she knew.
As soon as Clark disappeared — to return a video or pick up dry cleaning or some other banal task; she was in such a good mood she didn't even question his flimsy excuse — Lois called Jimmy over.
"Have you ever toilet-papered someone's house?"
He looked at her askance, obviously wondering where this was going. "Is this for a story?"
"No." Shoot, maybe she should have told him that it was. No, then he'd be likely to mention something to Clark or Perry and she'd be found out. "No, I want to play a prank on Clark, but I've never toilet-papered anyone before. I've always wanted to try, but never got the chance, and now I want to get Clark, and I don't want to do anything destructive, or dangerous, just something funny."
"Um…" Jimmy was hesitant.
"Come on, Jimmy. Do you know how? You can even help me, if you want."
"Are you sure Clark won't be mad?"
"Of course not." She hoped. "It's just a harmless prank. He'll laugh."
"Okay. First, we need a time when he's guaranteed to be out of the apartment for a long stretch of time. And we need toilet paper, obviously. And then we'll need to be able to get into the apartment before we can do anything. Do you still remember how to pick locks?"
"Of course I do," she replied indignantly. "But we won't need that skill for Clark. I know where he hides his spare key. But getting him out of the place for a while… That could be a problem."
"Olsen!" Perry's voice pierced their mini-conference.
"I'll think about it, Lois, and get back to you later, okay?" he asked as he ran off.
"Okay, Jimmy." She sat down and tried to work, but her mind kept running away, coming up with insane ideas of how to get Clark away from home. Her resolve was only strengthened when she reached her car that evening to be told to "Remember, you're unique, just like everybody else." She had no trouble obeying the order to smile — but this time it was in anticipation.
Clark unlocked his apartment door Sunday night after a weekend in Kansas and thought how good it was to go home. He'd been planning to go see his parents for a while now, but Super activities kept getting in the way. Not to mention the stress of Lois's perpetually grouchy moods. He'd come up with the idea of leaving anonymous 'happy' notes on her car and was thrilled with how her attitude had brightened. He loved making her happy, but he did have to admit he was also glad that she was a little easier to work with when in a good mood.
He opened the door and stepped straight into a wall of toilet paper. He broke through it easily and then stared agape at his apartment. There was toilet paper *everywhere!* Draped over furniture, taped to the ceiling and floating down, woven through tiny gaps like the lampshade. What—? Who—?
He grinned. It had to be Lois. She must have discovered that he was the one leaving the notes. She couldn't be truly angry, or he would have gotten a lecture by now. Or the silent treatment. No, she was having fun with him.
He began plowing through the whiteness toward the kitchen as his mind began formulating a plan to get back at her. Because, of course, she had to realize that this meant war.
Lois decided to be 'nice' and pick Clark up the next morning for work. She knocked on his door, eagerly anticipating the sight of his toilet papered apartment and the playful frustration she'd see on his face.
She was disappointed. Clark opened the door with a cheery grin on his face — and a perfectly clean apartment behind him. How had he managed to do that? Her thoughts were indignant — she and Jimmy had taken almost three hours to do their work, and she knew he hadn't returned until late the night before. Cleaning up was always harder than making the mess; how had he found the time to clean it already?
She looked at him suspiciously. He didn't mention the scene he'd found at all, and acted as if nothing were wrong.
"You want to come in for a minute?"
"Uh…no, no thanks. We'd better get going." Something was going on, but she couldn't figure out what just now.
If she didn't know better, she'd think Clark hadn't even seen the toilet papering. But she and Jimmy were the only ones who'd known about it, and he'd gone out for ice cream in celebration with her afterwards. There was no time for him to have cleaned up the mess. And she certainly hadn't.
A light bulb went off. He knew it had been her! And so he was denying her the pleasure of seeing his reaction! She grinned in pleasure. She had got him, but good!
Clark waited three days to get Lois back. It was worth the torture of waiting just to see Lois in her paranoia. She was careful opening drawers, cautious turning on her computer, and wary whenever she approached her car.
He wanted to wait until she fully let down her guard, but knew his patience wouldn't last that long. So after three days, he cornered Jimmy while she was busy.
"Jimmy, I need you to do me a favor."
"Sure, CK. What do you need?"
He looked back toward their desk space to make sure Lois was still occupied. "Lois pulled a prank on me and now I want to get her back." Was it his imagination, or did Jimmy look uncomfortable? He wouldn't have thought Jimmy would be the type to be uncomfortable with pranks. Maybe he was worried it would get out of hand.
"Don't worry, I don't want to do anything dangerous. Just funny and maybe slightly annoying." By now Jimmy was grinning and nodding his head.
"Okay, what do you have in mind?"
Quickly, Clark outlined his plan and then they both smothered their laughter.
"When do you want to do this?"
"This afternoon, before she leaves work."
Three days. It had been three days and still no retribution from Clark. Lois was beginning to think something had gone wrong and he hadn't found the toilet papering after all.
Then, Wednesday evening when she exited the Planet, she knew he'd struck. Her mouth dropped open as she saw her jeep. She stopped in her tracks and simply laughed.
*Well, I guess I have to admit, he did a good job,* she thought to herself.
Her jeep was covered in Saran wrap. Criss-crossed, back and forth, it wove around the entire car. And underneath the Saran wrap were balloons. As she got closer, she realized the balloons had writing on them. "GOTCHA!" the one closest to her proclaimed.
*Yes, Clark, you did. But you just wait, I'll get you back, and even better.*
Still grinning, she set about uncovering her car so that she could go home and plan her attack.
Lois decided that since Clark seemed to have had fun with the Saran wrap, one good turn deserved another. She made a quick trip to the grocery store on the way home and picked up a few rolls.
The next morning, she grabbed Jimmy.
"I need you to help me again."
She gave him a withering look and he started almost imperceptibly. "Oh, that. Okay," he sighed, "What are you planning?"
She summed up her plan, similar to toilet papering, but much more subtle, and finished with, "Clark's covering Superman's speech tonight. It'll be the perfect time to get him. Meet me at his apartment at 7:15, okay?" She didn't even wait for an answer before heading back to work.
Clark sighed with relief as he finally headed home. He hated making speeches, especially as Superman. And he really hated accepting awards. He had to appear properly humble and grateful, without seeming false.
He decided to use the front door tonight, not even thinking about the current prank war between him and Lois. He assumed that she, like him, would want to wait a few days in order to let the tension build.
He was wrong.
The first thing he saw was a large, multi-colored sign hanging on the door.
"Darling, please reconsider your decision.
If you don't marry me, I'll just *DIE!!!*
Your Dearest Love,
He grinned as pulled it off. This was Lois's idea of retaliation? He had to admit it was funny, but he expected so much more from her. Still laughing, he opened the door.
And walked into an invisible wall that conformed to his body and moved with him, but refused to let him through. Saran wrap!
Now this was more like it! Lois was obviously using his own methods against him. He poked a finger through to make a hole and quickly tore the rest of the obstruction away. Once inside he found that the cling wrap had been taped above the doorjamb, then stretched tightly to the floor, where it was again taped.
*Pretty good trick,* he thought. *Now, what can I do to top that?*
He saw the message light blinking near the phone and pushed play.
"Mr. Kent? This is Mrs. Billings, your neighbor." He knew her. Sweet old woman, living alone after her husband died and her children established their own lives. Sometimes he saw her when getting mail, and they would stop to chat. "I just wanted you to know, I saw that note on your door. Don't you know it's not nice to leave a lady hanging like that? I'm very disappointed in you. I thought you were made of better stuff."
He saved the message — he was sure Lois would get a laugh out of it, too.
He lost himself in thought as he headed toward the bedroom, only to walk into another invisible wall. This time he laughed out loud before he forced his way through.
Since she had used the Saran wrap against him, he would play along with the wedding plans. This time it was his turn to use her own tactic against her. He'd just have to talk to Jimmy tomorrow and they'd be all set to go.
Lois got frustrated as Jimmy refused to shut up. Clark had just left for the day and she was ready to go home, too.
"So I really don't know what to do now, Lois," he said, finishing up an incredibly long narrative about his latest girlfriend problems. "I mean, I think I really like her this time, but she's really pushing for commitment and I'm not positive I'm ready for the steps she's hinting at. What do you think I should do?"
She tried to be sympathetic, really she did. It was just that Jimmy thought he 'really liked' half the girls he met. What could she say in the face of that? "I'd say to take it slow. If you really love each other, it will endure the test of time. I know that sounds clich‚d, and maybe it is, but that's the best advice I can offer. And now," she gathered her papers and grabbed her coat, "I've really got to go. I'll see you tomorrow!" she called over her shoulder as she made her getaway.
She was sure it wouldn't be too long before Clark retaliated, and she wanted to have her next prank planned and ready to go. But, with the way he'd waited last time, she figured she had a few days at least.
She had to laugh as she saw her jeep. She guessed it was only fair that, since she was being consistent with getting his apartment, it made sense that he was consistent with her jeep.
Soap writing was across the front windshield, side windows, and back. Balloons had been tied to the rearview mirrors, and a string of soda pop cans trailed behind the back bumper.
A sign posted above the bumper proclaimed "JUST MARRIED!" and she found a tiny note written across the bottom. "Your note convinced me and now the answer's yes."
She found a piece of tissue in order to clear the front enough to drive and then headed home, laughing at the odd looks she kept getting from other drivers.
"Jimmy, I really need your help this time." She didn't even wait until he had taken off his coat to catch Jimmy. He looked uncomfortable, but she ignored it.
"Clark got me back Friday night and I want to get him today. No waiting. Can you manage to come up with an excuse to leave today? If Perry gets mad, I'll take the blame, but I want to do this so it's ready when Clark goes home tonight."
She worked at her desk for a while, then made the excuse of needing to meet a source in order to leave. She caught Jimmy's eye and indicated the elevator. "My jeep, now," she mouthed.
This was going to be too easy.
This time when Clark opened the door, he was cautious as he entered. The weekend had been calm, but Lois had disappeared for a long stretch that day, and when she returned she had seemed absolutely exhausted. She said she was meeting a source, but he'd never seen her that worn out from a simple meeting before. No, he had a sneaking suspicion that he would find something…out of place.
Door checked out fine. Stairs were okay. And then his gaze traveled up to the view of the main room.
Holy cow. He walked slowly around to survey her handiwork. It was no surprise that she had been so tired, because it didn't look like she had left even one piece of furniture untouched. The TV was in the kitchen, his bed in the living room, his couch in the bedroom. Not to mention the pictures that were upside down, the dishes in his closet and the trophies underneath the bathroom sink.
And instead of his favorite picture of Lois, a grinning ape with a chocolate-smeared mouth had been carefully placed in the frame. Naturally, Lois would pick a picture with chocolate.
He'd have to think a while to figure out how to retaliate this time. Since Lois had put so much time and effort into this project, he didn't want to let her down in return. He'd have to come up with a doozy of a plan.
Lois was happy. She was having a blast with this prank war, she was still getting happy notes on her car, and it was Friday and Clark still hadn't come up with a response to her latest job! She was the champion!
"Morning, Clark," she chirped as he entered the newsroom.
"Good morning, Lois," he replied and she grinned at his wary tone. He never knew which way to take it when she was in such a good mood. Good; keep him on his toes.
She tried to think of a way to subtly get him to concede defeat, but didn't want to force it. She wanted him to admit it on his own. It was more gratifying that way.
A few hours later she noticed Clark pull Jimmy aside and speak with the younger man discreetly. She wondered what that was all about. Was Clark trying to scoop her? No, her mind immediately decided, Clark would never do that to her. There was a day when she would have expected it, because she would have expected it of anyone. But now she knew better than that. Clark would never intentionally hurt her or anyone else.
She settled in to her work and resolved to hound Clark later about his 'secret meeting.'
But by the end of the day, she'd forgotten. She went home, had a nice, relaxed evening (for once), and even got some work done on her novel. She knew that if she were serious about writing, she needed a set schedule of when to write, not just when inspiration struck, but with writing all day at work, she often didn't feel like it at home. Not to mention her usual load of…distractions.
So the next morning she was rested and eager to face the day. Maybe today she could get Clark to admit defeat. Then she remembered it was Saturday. She wouldn't see Clark again until Monday. Barring any emergencies at work, of course.
Oh, well, she desperately needed to go grocery shopping and pick up her dry cleaning. She could do that, and then maybe *casually* stop over at Clark's and subtly gloat.
Unfortunately, she left her apartment to find her beloved jeep jacked up. Literally. All four tires had been removed (and neatly stacked underneath), the front sitting on blocks and the back still on jacks.
*Ooh, Clark, I'm gonna get you!* was her happily angered thought. She was happy because now the war would go on. And she'd have another chance to best Clark.
Unfortunately, she still had the immediate problem to deal with. While she was perfectly capable of putting the tires back on, it would be a time-consuming process.
Since Clark had been the one 'smart' enough to take them off, she'd just have to make him help her put them back on. It wasn't too long a walk to his apartment. She'd just drop by there first.
She knocked on his door and smiled a cheery grin when he answered. "Good morning, Clark! How are you doing on this beautiful day?"
She barged past him without waiting for an invitation and headed toward the kitchen, where she could smell something delicious. "Ooh, what are you cooking? And can I have some?"
Lois barely heard his, 'Sure, help yourself," before she plunged on. They served themselves and sat down as she talked.
"Guess what I found this morning?"
Clark put forth an innocent face and she nodded in satisfaction. "That's right, I found my car jacked up. Literally!"
He smothered a laugh.
"Now, I could put the tires back on myself." She practically dared him to argue. "But I decided that it would make a nice, fun project for us to do *together.* What do you think? After all," she dropped the bomb, "I'm sure you had so much fun taking them off that you would have just as much putting them on." She smiled sweetly.
His eyebrows went up. "Does this mean you're admitting defeat?"
She snorted. "Heck, no. Just you wait. I'll come up with a wonderful plan and Jimmy and I will get you better than ever."
"Yeah, Jimmy. You know, the guy we work with? What, you think I moved all your furniture by myself?" *Not that I couldn't,* Lois thought to herself in defense. *It was just faster with Jimmy.*
"No, I guess I didn't really think about it. But…"
"Well…" He hesitated, "Jimmy's kind of been helping me, too. I didn't know he was helping you when I asked him and I guess…"
"You mean that Jimmy's been helping both sides? That traitor! Ooh, just wait 'till I get my hands on him. That punk! That jerk!"
Clark just sat there and let her rant. When she reached a breaking point, he cut in. "I have an idea."
Startled, Lois looked at him questioningly. She'd almost forgotten that Jimmy had been a traitor to both of them. "What?"
"What do you say we get him back?" Clark grinned mischievously.
"Oh?" She liked this idea. "What did you have in mind?"
"Well, first we go put the tires back on your jeep. Then…" He leaned forward and detailed his idea. Lois made a few suggestions, they coordinated their watches, and set off to get Jimmy back.
"Hey, Jimmy," Clark said into the phone.
"Hey, CK, what's up?"
"I was just wondering if you'd like to come over and watch the game. From what I've heard, it should be a close one, and it's more fun to watch those with a friend." He and Jimmy had been getting closer during this prank war, so Clark figured it wouldn't seem too out of the blue for him to invite Jimmy over like this.
"Yeah, give me a minute and I'll be right over." Jimmy sounded pleasantly surprised. "Want me to bring anything?"
"Nah," Clark answered. "Just yourself." *And your car,* he thought to himself with a grin.
When Jimmy arrived, he found chips, colas and freshly made brownies. "Man, I'm coming to your place to watch the game more often!" he joked.
"Sure," Clark replied, watching carefully as Jimmy shed his jacket, complete with keys in a pocket. "Why don't I hang that up for you?"
He hung it up, discreetly pocketing the keys. The game started and soon both men were engrossed. At one point, during a commercial break, Clark got up to refill the chip bowl. "Want anything while I'm up?" he called from the kitchen.
He heard Jimmy's negative even as he snuck over to the window to slip the keys to Lois.
"Phase One complete. Now the fate of the mission rests on you." They grinned at each other before Lois slipped away and Clark returned to the game.
A while later, Jimmy's pager went off. Both Clark and Jimmy looked up, startled.
"What was that?" Clark asked, knowing full well the answer.
"My pager," Jimmy sighed. "Just a sec. Can I use your phone?"
"Sure." Clark watched as Jimmy dug the pager from his jacket pocket, frowned at the unfamiliar number, and then punched it into the phone.
"Jimmy Olsen. You paged me?" A pause. "The what?" Another pause, and then incredulity. "I don't know what you're talking about! My car is definitely *not* for sale!" He listened again. "Look, I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but it's no longer for sale." This time, his tone was apologetic, even kind. "That's all right, I'm sorry for your trouble. Thanks. Good-bye."
Before Jimmy could hang up, Clark developed a sudden, pressing need to go to the bathroom. Almost as soon as Jimmy was off the phone, Clark heard his pager go off again. *This is almost better than we planned!*
After a few minutes, he came back out and casually asked Jimmy who had paged him, all the while smothering his grin.
"You won't believe this, CK! Some wacko took my car and put a for sale sign on it! Now I'm getting all these pages of people wanting to buy it!"
Clark wanted to laugh out loud. Jimmy didn't even suspect him!
"I'm sorry. Do you want to go pick it up?"
"I can't," Jimmy said morosely. "I don't know where it is."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the first caller wanted the car on the corner of Stevenson and Main, the second wanted the car on the corner of Blakely and Spencer, and the third said it was in the parking lot of the CostMart off of I-75!"
*Lois, you are a genius!*
Poor Jimmy remained distracted through the rest of the game. He kept getting calls, and with each one, he found a new location for his car. Finally, it seemed Lois took pity on him. Jimmy got a page, and this time, the caller inquired about the car parked on Clinton Street.
"Clark! This time it's on your street! Help me look for it, please?"
"Sure." Clark grinned — he knew exactly where it was.
They walked out of Clark's apartment to see Jimmy's car, parked exactly where he left it. The top was down and Lois grinned over at the men.
In unison, Lois and Clark chorused, "GOTCHA!"
Author's Note: This story was inspired by the prank war that my brother, sister and I had this summer with our cousins and their friends. We had a blast and I just thought I *had* to put into a story. Most of the pranks here were actual ones that we did, so I know they work and aren't destructive (the key thing to remember when having a prank war, otherwise parents get a little…mad).
The characters from L&C:TNAOS don't belong to me, blah, blah, blah.
Thanks to my betas ChristyL and ShivaSaavik, to James for the lists of one-liners, and to all the kind folcs on Zoom's message boards and the listserv for their comments and laughter. :D
Comments welcome at email@example.com