By Pam Jernigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: August, 2003
Summary: Poor Jason Mazik. He's all set to blackmail Clark Kent about being Superman… but what on earth is Clark doing that keeps him too busy to take phone calls? Another look at the events in Jude Williams' "It's a Thing He Does at Parties."
Author's Note: This story is a companion piece to "It's a Thing He Does at Parties" by Jude Williams, and she very kindly allowed me to post this little bit of fluff. Jude describes her story this way: "Linda King puts up a new hurdle for Lois and Clark as they search for romantic bliss on an alternate route from WWW to Ultrawoman. Clark is forced to become a contestant in the Metropolis Super Hero Pageant, and several non-L&C celebrities make guest appearances." The story opens right at the beginning of ATAI, but with Jason Mazik nowhere in evidence, and late one night I couldn't help wondering what poor Jace would think about that…
Jason Mazik smiled and wiggled his fingers in anticipation as he reached for the phone. Ever since he'd read the strange diary he'd found among his father's effects, he'd been planning the best way to take advantage of the information contained therein. Now, everything was set — planned to the last detail — and it was time to let Clark Kent know that there was a new boss in town. He giggled as he dialed.
The phone rang once, twice … three times. "Hello," came a cheery voice. "You've reached Clark Kent's answering machine—"
Jace slammed down the phone, scowling at it in mild frustration. But it was okay, he reminded himself. He'd researched Kent, and had a pretty good guess where he might be, instead.
Checking to make sure his notes were in place — it wouldn't do to forget the details of his demands, after all — Jace dialed the second number on his list.
BEEP — BEEP — BEEP
Jace slammed down the phone again at the busy signal. Darn it, who *else* would be calling Lois Lane's apartment at this hour of the morning?? He stood up, and took a short walk around his office to calm himself. The call wouldn't last long, calls rarely did. He would try again.
"Hello, you've reached Lois Lane — please leave a message."
Jace barely managed to get the phone disconnected before growling his frustration aloud. He couldn't very well blackmail Clark Kent if Clark Kent didn't know he even existed!
He took a deep breath and hastily reviewed his plan. It was okay. He had some time yet this morning before things started to go seriously sour. He'd just wait a half-hour or so, to allow for traffic time, and then he'd catch them at the Daily Planet.
"Good morning, Daily Planet."
"Clark Kent's desk, please," Jace said, as pleasantly as he could manage.
"Ooh, I'm sorry — CK just, um, stepped out of the office."
Damn! "And when do you expect him back?"
"Oh, I don't know." There seemed to be a hint of laughter in the young man's voice, which irritated Jace no end. He was the only one allowed to laugh in this scenario! "I think Lois was taking him to — buy a new suit."
Jace frowned. "I'm sorry?"
"Never mind, I shouldn't have said anything. Can I take a message?"
"Um, no! No, thank you, I'll have to try him later."
Jace slammed down the phone again. This was insane.
"Sorry, Mr. Kent is unavailable — at the gym, I think."
"Oh, Clark? He's out of the office at the moment," the female voice confided chattily. "Trying to squeeze in a quick breakfast with his parents while they're in town — the poor man's hardly seen them at all, with everything else going on."
"No, he's not here right now — hey, are you the guy who keeps calling?"
Jace froze, unwilling to identify himself, but desperate to figure out exactly what was going on. "Well, yes — I really need to speak with Mr. Kent."
"Gee, I'm sorry, but Perry and Linda and Lois have got him running ragged this week; the poor guy is hardly ever in here between tux fittings and dance lessons."
"Oh, haven't you heard? Well, look, there's an article in today's Daily Planet, okay? Page B- 4. I've gotta go — want to give me your number this time?"
"No, I'm … not where I can be reached."
"Okay, well, better luck next time."
Jace barely heard the young man's goodbye as he hung up the phone once again, glaring at it for good measure. He'd already checked today's paper, noting that there were no bylines from Lane & Kent, but he hadn't checked the inside of the city section. Hurriedly, he flipped to the indicated page. After some confusion with headlines, he found the pertinent article.
Jace shook his head in astonishment. A Superman look-alike contest — no, a *pageant* — and Clark Kent would be competing in it. Was he insane? How dare he reveal his own secret before Jace could threaten to do it himself?
He cursed as he thought of the ruin of all his elaborate plans. Was there some cosmic force working against him? Well, Jason Mazik was never out of options — there were other ways to get himself some diamonds. A little more risky, but it couldn't be helped. At least he'd be pretty sure that Superman would be too busy to interfere.
Idly, he read further, and as details began to penetrate, he couldn't help laughing. A chorus, a talent competition, evening wear *and* Superman suit exhibitions. "Well, I've got to admit it's hilarious," he chuckled, regaining his usual good cheer. "Clark Kent in a Superman pageant. This I have *got* to see!"