By Carol Moncado <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Missy Gallant <email@example.com>
Submitted: November 2003
Summary: A day in the life of Jimmy Olsen proves to be very rough going as the unified forces of Tank, Kaethel, bad luck, and haircuts conspire against him.
This was written as a Cheer-'em-Up-Tank story when Tank was having a rough time. Carol and I wrote it because we adore Tank's writing and wanted him to know how much we appreciated him. Knowing what a mushy sap he is for Lois haircuts, *and* torturing Jimmy, we couldn't resist.
Tank, we love you and appreciate all you've written and contributed to FoLCdom!!
Jimmy sat straight up in bed.
Not again. He *had* to stop having that dream about Lois. CK was his best friend, for crying out loud. And Lois was a friend, nothing more. He'd had a teeny, tiny crush on her at one point, but that was years before when he'd first started at the Daily Planet. He was a gopher, Internet guru, researcher and little more to Lois than glorified pet dog.
Well, he liked to think that he meant a bit more to Lois than he had in the old days. After all, she wouldn't stand by and let him get hit by a truck if she could prevent it, would she?
Nah. She'd never hear the end of it from CK if she did, he thought with a chuckle. Of course, if Clark knew he was having *those* kind of dreams about his wife then it was quite possible that he would be the one driving the truck that ran him over. But somehow, his day always seemed to turn out great on the day after he had been visited by that particular dream. Smiling broadly, he closed his eyes and guiltily played in his mind all the wonderful details he could remember about it.
The ringing phone finally cut through his consciousness, reminding him of why he woke up so suddenly. He sighed and reached over to pick it up before the machine did. It was probably Lois asking why he didn't have something done ten minutes ago when she hadn't even asked him yet. He cursed silently as he bumped his left forefinger on the nightstand. That fingernail was infected now, if it hadn't been before. He'd be danged if he knew how it got that way — it was probably Lois' fault. Lois or Clark or Perry or any one of the other dozen people whose dirty work he did — literally. He grabbed the phone and mumbled a 'hello' around the finger that now protruded from the side of his mouth. It was, of course, a wrong number. Go figure. Just when he was sleeping *so well*!
Reluctantly, he stood and made his way towards the bathroom, stumbling as he did. As he tried to catch himself, he stubbed his toe and screamed in agony. It had been a minor irritant the day before, but now? He sank to the floor and looked at it, displeased with what he saw.
"HEY! CK!" Jimmy started down the courthouse steps. He'd been doing research for several hours now. The fingernail had become a dull annoyance he was trying to forget, but his glove was starting to irritate it again.
He hurried down the first few stairs of the courthouse building. Why did they have to rebuild it with 'Rocky'-like steps anyway? Diverting his attention from climbing down the steps, he began to pull the irksome glove off his hand. And his toe! He thought he'd fixed it, but that's what he got for taking medical advice from…
The patch of ice caught him by surprise and the last thing through his mind was that CK seemed to be moving awfully fast.
"Jimmy — are you okay?"
The voice came through a gray fog and sounded vaguely familiar.
"Jimmy — can you hear me?"
His eyes flickered open, trying to adjust to the light. There was CK… Darn! He wished he was dreaming about Lois again… Oh no! Did Clark find out and… was that the cause of all this pain in his head?
It was CK, wasn't it?
No, it was Superman. Why did they sound so much alike? "Are you okay, Jimmy?"
"Yeah, Superman. I'm fine. I think." He took a mental inventory. "Everything seems to be working okay. My toe's a little sore but that's only because I listened to Ralph and tried to take care of an ingrown toenail myself."
"You listened to Ralph for medical advice, Jimmy?" Lois walked into the room.
"I know, Lois. Not the smartest thing I've ever done."
"That even beats the time you freed the lab rats from Star Labs when you were dating that bird-brained animal activist. Besides, taking any kind of advice from Ralph should cause you to get your head examined." Lois rolled her eyes in remembrance, then turned to address the superhero. "Clark was outside waiting for you. Jimmy's only allowed two visitors at a time."
Superman nodded, trying not to remember the fiasco that rounding up all the white rats had caused him. "Be more careful, James. I'd rather not rescue you any more if I can help it."
Jimmy nodded. "Sure thing, Superman."
"No arguments, Jimmy, you're coming home with us."
"CK, it's fine. Just take me home."
"Jimmy, don't argue with me. Lois brought the Jeep around front and we're stopping to get Chinese on the way. There's a new place called Wilson's Wok right around the corner from our house. They say it's guaranteed to make you feel like you've never felt before."
Clark helped Jimmy into a wheelchair and wheeled him out of the room.
"It's just a mild concussion. Really, I'll be fine at home."
Clark just rolled his eyes. "You need someone to check on you every couple of hours the first night. I wouldn't want you to fall into a coma when you're sleeping."
"Excuse me." A young doctor pushed her way past them in the crowded hallway.
The blood drained from Jimmy's face as he twisted in the chair to get a better glimpse. "Oh, no."
"What?" Clark turned to look. "She's kinda cute."
"I know. She's very cute. Her name is Sarah." He put his head in his hands. "I hit on her in a French restaurant a few weeks back. She's French. I had a hard time understanding her, even though she was very proud of what she *said* was her Yankee accent. Let's say it just didn't click between us." He rubbed his chin. "I ended up with a sore jaw."
"Uh oh, hope you never need her to work on you!"
"No joke, CK. No joke. On second thought, going home with you seems like a great idea."
Jimmy groaned as he made his way to the bathroom. The Moo Goo Gai Pan had been wonderful going down, but he didn't think it would be so great a second time.
He was bending over the toilet when Clark looked in on him. "What's the matter, Jimmy?"
His only answer was certainly not what Clark wanted to hear. He clutched at his side. Where was that intense pain coming from? Surely, food poisoning didn't hurt that badly.
He barely heard Clark ask again. "Pain," he managed to croak out.
"Where?" Clark gently probed Jimmy's side.
He shrieked as Clark hit the tender spot.
"Lois, he's got appendicitis," he heard Clark call. "I'm going to get Superman to fly him to the hospital. A gentle hand rested on his back. "He'll be here soon."
Less than two minutes later, Jimmy was zooming through the air with Superman. If he hadn't been quite so ill, he might have wondered how Clark had gotten a hold of the superhero so quickly.
"Oh, man. I'm gonna be sick." He gave Superman little notice as he began losing his lunch again.
The superhero was apparently startled by the unwelcome event as Jimmy suddenly found himself plummeting through the air. The roof of the hospital was coming up awfully fast… He shrieked in pain as one leg hit the edge of the roof before he found himself in Superman's arms again. He heard Superman apologize as darkness overtook him. This just wasn't his day.
Jimmy regained consciousness to find himself with one leg in a splint and a nurse looking at his chart.
She smiled at him. "Superman apologized profusely. Your leg is going to be just fine and here in a few minutes we're going to take you to surgery for that appendix. It wasn't quite as bad as Superman first thought so we decided to take care of your leg first."
Jimmy nodded, unable to find his voice.
"It appears that the food poisoning has run its course as well."
Several minutes later he was being wheeled towards the operating room. As the doors opened in front of him, he groaned. "Oh, no."
"Mr. Olsen, are you ready for surgery?"
He could see hints of dark brown hair peeking out from under the surgical cap as she turned towards him, holding a large pair of what could only be called shears in her hand.
"Sarah? How are you?"
"It's Dr. Luddy now and I usually disembowel people for a living. But in your case I *may* make an exception and only remove your appendix."
"Um, what happened to your accent?"
"I'm not really French."
She shrugged. "It's a thing I do. I am fluent. Now," she looked at the instrument in her hand. "Are you ready for this?"
Jimmy groaned as the anesthesiologist moved the mask over his mouth. What had he gotten into?
Several days later, Jimmy was wheeling himself across the street. His appendix had ruptured during surgery so the damage wasn't as extensive as it might have been had it burst earlier, but now he had a slight infection and was feeling like something the cat dragged in. Lois and Clark would kill him if they knew he was out of the house, but he had to get something besides Lois' cooking to eat. One bout of food poisoning a week was enough, and Clark had been gone a lot — on late night stakeouts? They had been very vague about what CK had been doing.
He cursed to himself as the walk sign came on and he tried to maneuver the bulky chair with one leg sticking straight out in front of him. A screeching sound to his right made him turn. A large truck was bearing down on him and he yelled. An indecipherable, bloodcurdling scream that brought the only person who might be able to help.
The red and blue streak was almost in time. Superman landed in front of the truck, stopping it in Jimmy's path but not before the front grill of the truck bumped his leg. As he screamed in pain, the wheelchair, without Jimmy, went flying into the intersection. He landed facedown in a dirty mud puddle.
Superman removed his hands from the front of the now still truck. He glanced over to see Jimmy raise his mud-caked face from the street, then shook his head in bewilderment. Assured that his friend was just dazed, he spoke to the driver. "Hey, buddy, be more careful, would ya? Red means stop."
The grizzled old man nodded. "Sorry about that, Supes. Radio call came in."
"Distracted driving is illegal in New Troy, so please concentrate next time you're behind the wheel."
Jimmy looked at the side of the truck as it drove off. Tank's Ten-Ton Trucks was painted on the door of cab and on the side of the trailer was a larger than life size picture of his colleagues — Lois and Clark in an advertisement for the Daily Planet. The caption read… 'Start your day off with the best, and can the rest.'
Superman had promised to be more careful this time. It was just too much for Jimmy to stay in the city and he'd agreed to fly Lois and Clark to Smallville for the weekend, so taking Jimmy along also was not a problem.
Once at the farm, Jimmy Olson was proving to be a terrible patient. Not only was he recovering from surgery, food poisoning, a broken leg and a variety of extremity problems, he was bored.
Farm life apparently was not exciting enough in spite of his laid-up condition. He missed the noise of the city life, the sound of crickets was annoying and the fresh air made him dizzy for lack of the auto exhaust.
And their young friend was driving them crazy — particularly Lois. After numerous requests for snack food, via bell ringing, Lois was either going to strangle Jimmy or toss him out on his broken leg.
She chose the latter.
"Jimmy, I've spoken to the doctor, not the one who left the sponge inside you, but the second one, and he's insisting that you take your little wheelchair and get some exercise."
What she didn't mention to Jimmy was that she'd told the doctor that the bell his patient was using to call her was about to be crammed down his throat if she didn't get him out of the house. So the doctor agreed.
Jimmy groaned. "Lois, I'm trying to forget about that. Two surgeries in two days is not my idea of a good time."
"That Dr. Luddy didn't seem particularly horrified that it had been left behind. She's lucky that the observation video camera was running; no one would have believed her when she told us that a strange man had created a diversion and distracted the team from the surgery."
"I can't believe that someone would sabotage my operation like that… What warped mind would want to see me dead?" Jimmy pondered, a bit scared.
"Seems like the only clue that's been found was a bass guitar left in the waiting room of the OR. It had a name on it but nothing has turned up."
"What was that name again? It was a weird one."
Lois furrowed her eyebrows as she tried to remember the name the police had given her and after a moment it came to her.
"Nosliw. Knat Nosliw."
The only help that Jimmy needed in getting out of the farmhouse was getting down the porch steps and back into his wheelchair. After that, he was on his own.
Lois sighed a breath of relief and went upstairs to take a well-deserved bubble bath. Maybe by the time Jimmy was done with his walk the senior Kents would be back from town to help him into the house. Clark would probably be back from wherever he'd gone to a few hours earlier in his Superman disguise soon anyway.
If not, then Jimmy could wait until she was finished gathering her nerves again.
The path wasn't that hard to roll his wheelchair down, but he was tiring fast. He'd ventured pass the barns — seemed like a cow had taken a liking to him and had chosen to follow him like a puppy. He wouldn't have minded the company except Bessie had developed a fascination with his hair and he now had cow drool dripping down the back of his neck.
If he could only inspire her to walk in front of him then he could hitch a ride by using cow power. It was a bit of a stretch, but he managed to poke some grass in the gap between his cast and toes, using it as tempting morsel for the cow to follow. His leg stuck out in front of the cow and she began to walk slowly onward — he held on to her halter and let her wheel him down the path.
This wasn't so bad, he thought. His arms had been getting tired and he needed a break from pushing himself in his wheelchair. The cow seemed to be the answer to his mobility problem. Only he wished that she'd travel in the opposite direction — towards the farmhouse.
As the cow plodded on, Jimmy began thinking that he'd made a mistake in letting it take him wherever she fancied. So far she'd stayed on the path, but what if she suddenly decided to lie down somewhere and take a nap? He'd be stranded at least until dinnertime. Didn't all cows go home at dinnertime? But if he let the cow go, then he'd be stuck until he could either wheel himself home or someone found him.
He didn't want to face Lois if she had to be the one to rescue him. He admitted that he *could* have been beginning to annoy her. The furrows in her forehead were starting to remain there permanently and she did seem sort of anxious to be by herself for a while. Maybe she was mad that CK had been gone all morning.
The cow started to slow down and lost interest in trying to get the food stuck in Jimmy's cast. There was a fine patch of green grass just off the path. It sloped gently downward and Bessie was heading right for it.
He began to roll a bit faster than the cow and hung on to the halter to keep the chair upright as it tilted precariously to one side. The patch of green grass halted his progress and he breathed a sigh of relief.
Disaster was averted once again.
He leaned to the side as well as he could to let the cow munch on the grass without letting her loose. He was starting to get the hang of this country living — if you couldn't beat 'em; join 'em. The smell was nice, even without the smog of Metropolis, and the sound was filled with the songs of birds…
Suddenly dozens of wasps were buzzing wildly around him and the cow. Underneath the tall patch of tasty grass were seething wasp nests!
He swatted frantically at the flying tormenters and was beginning to get stung on his hands and face. The cow's tail switched a bit faster and she lifted her face from the grass and began to shake her head. With a loud bellow, she snorted and started running through the field. Jimmy decided that now was a good time to let the cow go and take his chances on Lois' wrath. But his hand was stuck.
The bandage from his infected finger was preventing his hand from slipping out from underneath the halter. He had to lean back into the chair so he wouldn't slip onto the ground. The wheelchair bounced wildly but came to a sudden halt when one of the wheels hit a rock and stopped abruptly. But Jimmy kept going.
He twisted and spun on the ground as the cow thundered onward. Luckily, he crashed into a pile of cut grass on the ground as it lay drying in the sun. The old halter couldn't take the strain of pulling him along and snapped.
Moments passed as the pain ebbed to a dull roar in his body. Jimmy opened his eyes and stared up into the Kansas sky through the stalks of yellow hay. Slowly he turned his head to the side and tried to look around. Mounds of grass raked into furrows seemed to go on forever…
He was lost in a hay field.
Yet it was nice not to be rolling on the ground being pulled by a disgruntled bovine. As a matter of fact, Jimmy was grateful to be lying still. He took a deep breath of relief and winced when his incision from his surgery smarted — a lot. Must have popped a stitch or two during his hay-skiing adventure. The late fall air was a bit nippy but the sun was still high in the sky so he had some time to be found before it became dark. So he closed his eyes to take a nap.
Lois looked out the living room window once more. Even though she was enjoying her peace and quiet, she had no idea what Jimmy was doing. If he hadn't returned, in say, another half an hour, then she was going to have to think about going to find him.
Hopefully he had bought a clue and was giving her the time she needed. Nah! That was too much to hope for — he was probably in trouble. She grabbed her jacket and went out to look for him.
"I can make a man out of you, Jimmy," the soft sexy voice of his co-worker moaned huskily in his ear as she pushed him backwards on the vibrating king-size bed. In a deft movement, she had straddled his waist and was caressing him with her long waist-length hair.
Jimmy gulped noisily and managed to squeak out a request. "Do that hair thing again? You know the one where…" He finished his sentence in Lois' ear. She smiled suggestively at him and proceeded to honor his wishes.
The blood pounding in his head was increasing by the second as he dreamed on. This one was so much… more than any others he had experienced. He could actually feel the bed vibrating beneath him. Almost too real.
He opened his eyes abruptly and lifted his head to look around. He wasn't dreaming about a vibrating bed any longer; the ground was really shaking! Ten feet away a huge tractor was bearing down on him. He couldn't move or scream as the machine passed over him.
A minute second of gratitude that the tractor had missed him disappeared as the tongue of the trailer hitch passed above his face. Two feet away, large rakes were scooping the dried grass in a big black hole.
This time Jimmy's scream went unheard over the roar of the machines. His world went black…
The driver of the cab shook her red hair loose from the baseball cap and grinned evilly. It was one thing to put on a pretense for the others, but she knew exactly what she was — not innocent. She had all of them fooled. Guilty was her middle name.
Reaching into her front pocket, she pulled out the sharp shears and proceeded to complete her mission. He should be well pleased.
After the deed was done, Kaethel opened the cab to the tractor and smiled at the irony of the name of the company painted on the side of the door. Very Subtle Farming Services had struck again.
"It's really a pathetic sight, isn't it, Clark?"
"Yeah, but think it's for the best. There was no other way we could have handled it." The superhero shook his head sadly. "But on the bright side, he won't be able to get himself into trouble anymore."
"Yes, he's in a safe place now. Nothing can harm him anymore — especially himself."
She smiled up at her husband as she slipped her hand into his. "I'm glad Superman found him and brought him back. I wouldn't have been able to handle it; I'd have been laughing too hard."
"I'm sure it was his pleasure, honey. He told me that removing that killer whale from a sewer drain was no picnic. Superman was glad to bail our friend out of trouble."
Lois sighed and leaned heavily against her husband. "Looks rather peaceful to me."
"I don't know, Lois. He has a rather *baleful* expression on his face."
A few feet away from them a cry of protest sounded.
"Hey, guys! Stop joking! Come on! Get me out of this thing!"
"No can do, Jimmy," Clark answered. "You're much safer where you are."
Lois grinned and followed her husband's comment with more instructions. "Save your hay; you might marry a horse."
"Or a cow."
Lois looked around the barn over to where a bee-stung cow was peacefully munching on hay next to Jimmy.
The young photographer reclined on a bale of hay, or rather *in* a bale of hay. His head was sticking out, as were his hands and feet. He wasn't able to move an inch.
"Sorry, Jimmy." The amused expression on Lois' face suddenly disappeared. "No, wait a minute! I'm not sorry! After hearing you mumble in your sleep about my hair, for Pete's sake, I'm not sorry to see you like this one stinking iota!"
"I mean, guys, how many times do I have to say I'm sorry? I didn't want to dream those dreams," he pleaded. "It's a guy thing."
Lois snorted loudly and stormed out the barn.
Clark turned to Jimmy and consoled him. "Don't worry, Jimmy. She'll get over it someday. I'm not too happy that you've been dreaming about my wife though, but I'll forgive you." Clark frowned at his words. It was still rather difficult to do now.
"But I won't forget."
"Guess it's sort of poetic justice that *my* hair got all chopped off. Didn't think a hay baler could do that. Got this nasty cut on my ear too. Almost like it was done by a pair of scissors. Nah! Guess it's just my dumb luck."
"That's why we're being so stubborn about making you stay in the hay for a while. Lois has an idea and I agree. She'll be back in a few hours and Superman is going to help her with it. But now I need to go see my folks for a bit. Try to get some rest, Jimmy."
"You mean you're going to leave me like this?"
"I'll be back in a while." Clark walked the door and tried to smile at his friend, but it wasn't easy. "Later, Jimmy." The barn door shut with a noisy bang.
The rattling of the door shook with a bit of superhuman strength, causing a large jar of molasses to fall over in the barn loft above Jimmy's head. The sticky substance began a slow trickle onto his head. The cow smelled the sweet treat and stopped eating hay and began to lick Jimmy's face and head vigorously.
He scrunched up his face in disgust, hoping the tipped jar of molasses wasn't too big.
"Come on, Jimmy! Give it another try! You can get the hang of it!" Clark said encouragingly.
"Oh, Jimmy! Stop being such a baby. I went through a lot of trouble to locate it. The least you can do is be a bit grateful. Just tilt your head to the side and just work the thing.
"Jimmy," Clark said hopefully. "This chair was made and used by the world's most famous playboy. Give it a chance."
"Who knows. It might even be some type of 'babe magnet' device." Lois was ready to leave and was not above placating him. She had an important appointment in Metropolis and didn't want to baby sit Jimmy any longer. She did think of the younger man as a brother, although today he was as an annoying, pain-in-the- neck one. She would miss him while he was gone for a few months in rehabilitation, but that would come later. Now she was living the old saying 'company is like fish, after three days it starts to smell.'
The sour look on his face was beginning to annoy her. "Listen, Jimmy. My father pulled a lot of strings in order for you to get Spencer Spencer's wheelchair and to be admitted at the Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota. At least look happy. Now tilt your head and try it out."
The door open to Jimmy's room and a nurse walked in holding a chart.
"It's time for Mr. Olsen to take a walk down to rehab. No more chatting," the red- haired nurse said cheerily.
Suddenly perked up at the sight of a cute, young woman, he turned his attention from his friends to the nurse.
Lois seized the opportunity, grabbed Clark by the hand and moved towards the door. "We'll see you soon, Jimmy," she said hastily.
Clark just had time to wave quickly before he was pulled from the room.
Jimmy hardly knew they had disappeared; he was looking at the nurse and blinking confusedly. "You look very familiar… but you're a nurse and she's a doctor. She's a brunette. You, red hair. Nah!"
"Oh, Mr. Olsen. You are not going crazy," the nurse informed. "Dr. Luddy is my twin. My name is Kaethel, and I'm the evil one. We were separated at birth. She grew up in the United States and I grew up in France."
"But you sound so… American!"
"I'm fluent. It's a thing I do," she said. "My friends in France say I have a Yankee accent which I'm very proud of. Now let's go," she laughed sardonically. "Or I just may have to get out my shears."
Jimmy gulped as his chair suddenly jerked forward. "Uh, shears. Is that a family trait or something? Your sister says she disembowels people for a living."
"And I do it for pleasure. Great entertainment at parties." She laughed again. "Just joking!"
As he was being wheeled out into the corridor, Jimmy caught a glimpse of a man peeking from behind a corner. He had a face that Jimmy couldn't quite place, but it was eerily familiar.
The blood drained from his face as he remembered. He was the guy in the surveillance camera from the operating room! And the man who had almost run him over with that huge truck!
Knat Nosliw! He looked around for Lois or Clark to tell them his discovery, but they had already gone.
Suddenly he was afraid, very afraid.
Lois tossed her head lightly and watched in the mirror as her hair bounced to the side. The ends cupped her cheek softly and feathered tendrils lay against the side of her cheek.
On the other side, her husband was nuzzling the nape of her neck and doing wonderful things to her with his lips.
"I take it you like the new hairstyle?" she asked, knowing the answer as she leaned to the side to allow him to further his exploration of her neck.
"At first, I was so mad that Jimmy made me want to cut my hair, but now I think I like it," she murmured, beginning to forget all about the disgust she had felt about her long hair, after hearing a delirious Jimmy talk about doing perverted things to it.
The new style most certainly had its effects on Clark — very pleasant effects.
His lips traveled to underneath her chin, then upward to capture her waiting mouth.
She should have cut it years ago, she pondered as all rational thought faded into the background as she concentrated on kissing her husband.