By Richard Frantz Jr. <email@example.com>
Submitted: March 2006
Summary: Small things do matter and sometimes being a hero is very simple.
[Disclaimer: Clark Kent, etc, are not my property and are used solely for noncommercial purposes.]
Clark knocked and entered, causing Perry to look up from complaining to Lois. "Did you get the story?" demanded Perry. "And I really hope it was a bigger story than we expected or we may have the dog show on page one… and I assigned Ralph to write it."
Clark considered and then answered, "That happens to be an interesting story -"
"That's a lousy lead for a story, son," warned Perry.
"Yes. As you may have guessed by now… the story I went out for fell through. No story at all."
Lois didn't openly wink at Clark but she did play with her wedding ring, her way of letting him know she loved him.
Clark responded by twisting the matching ring on his hand.
Perry, his highly trained editor's instincts acting up in response to the way Clark had said that there was no story, raised an eyebrow. "That took you quite a while for no story."
Clark hemmed and hawed, perhaps a tad theatrically. "Not getting the story didn't take too long. But on the way back I saw an old man with car trouble and I stopped and offered assistance."
"And how long did it take you to call a tow truck on your cell phone?" asked Perry, who hadn't lost the knack for doing an interview.
Lois just looked on, wondering if she should take notes on how Perry interviewed Clark.
"Not long at all to call the tow truck. But he seemed so upset about missing an important meeting that I gave him a lift… to 1st Ave and 46th Street."
"Clark, that's very nice of you," said Lois, "but you were supposed to be working -"
"Did you say 1st and 46th?" demanded Perry.
"Yes," said Clark.
"Why?" asked Lois.
"Oh, I just think I've been there," said Perry, sitting back comfortably in his chair, oddly relaxed.
"So anyway, I gave him a lift over to the other side of the city, trying to remember why that address sounded familiar -"
"- And on the way he told me this fascinating story about his life. He's from this little place in Asia. As a young man he became a teacher."
"So you spent the afternoon interviewing a retired teacher, Smallville?" asked Lois.
"Well, not exactly. One day his dog ran away and when no one would find it he became the dog catcher too."
"So you interviewed a retired dog catcher?" asked Lois.
"Well, not exactly. The dogs kept getting into trouble with all the refuse that wasn't being collected so he complained about the sanitation… and they told him to fix it if it bothered him. So he also became the head of trash collection."
"So you -" began Lois.
"Well, not exactly. Then there was an outbreak of infection and since he was already in charge of sanitation he also became the health inspector. He had to have an assistant do the dog catching and he didn't get much time to teach."
"So -" began Lois.
"Well, not exactly. He became known as the person who got things done. So they eventually elected him mayor."
"So you interviewed the mayor -" began Lois.
Jimmy stuck his head in the door. "Hey, CK! Here's that background material on Timor-Leste you wanted."
"Why did you want material on… wherever that was?" asked Lois.
"That's the country the old man was from. I thought the story of how he started out as dogcatcher would make a nice sidebar to the story I got when I interviewed him at his new job. He's had to take a leave of absence from being mayor… so he can be ambassador to the UN."
"And the UN happens to be at 1st and 46th," put in Perry.
"It is?" asked Lois.
"Oh, yes," answered Clark. "And they have impressive security. You wouldn't believe how long it takes just to drop off an ambassador. In fact, it took so long… and I'd been such a nice listener… that he invited me in. He even gave me an interview about his meeting after he had it."
"Was it a good meeting?"
"Oh, yes, a very good meeting. He had to coordinate a coalition of UN ambassadors trying to force a motion to investigate and stop corruption, in an oil-for-food scam, which will eliminate gunrunning, stop the corruption and reduce starvation."
"We knew about that motion, but it wasn't going anywhere…" said Perry.
"It is now. It passed. The news should hit the wire any time now. And I've already got the story written and a nice sidebar on the people involved."
Perry smiled, reached for his blue pencil and said, "Good job. Get out here, kids. Take the rest of the day off."
Lois unlocked the door of their brownstone. "You've been seeming… depressed… all the way home. Is something the matter?"
"Not really…" answered Clark, checking the answering machine.
"Well, it's odd. I've done all these things and it's just strange to think that the greatest thing I've accomplished this year is giving an old guy with car trouble a lift. Seems anyone could have done that."
Lois stepped over and put her arms around his neck. She stood on her tiptoes so her nose was next to his. "You'll always be Superman to me." And she kissed him.
For those of you who are curious, the UN mailing address is
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Timor-Leste became a UN member in 2002, making it one of the two most recent admissions, according to http://www.un.org/Overview/growth.htm
Trivia question: What other country joined the UN in 2002?
Timor-Leste is also known as East Timor; for more information see
This story was inspired by the web comic strip at http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com/0626.htm by Paul Gadzikowski.
Trivia Answer: Switzerland!
Microfiction version (<300 words)
Clark returned from getting the Jeep's oil changed, gave his wife the keys, and sat down on the bed next to her.
"It took longer than normal to get the oil changed, so I assume Superman duties came up," said Lois.
"No, actually they didn't…"
"No, actually the world is having a definite upswing."
"So what —"
"On the way back I stopped to help an old man having car trouble. He was so upset about missing an important meeting that I gave him a lift to it."
"That was a nice little thing for you to do."
"Maybe not so little. The meeting he had to go to was with UN ambassadors that he was coordinating to begin an investigation into money being siphoned off, from an oil-for-food program, that is being used to support gunrunning. I smell Lex in there."
"So why are you depressed?"
"It's been a slow month for rescues. Do you realize the biggest thing I've done this year is give an old man a lift? It seems anyone could have done that."
"Maybe, but you'll always be Superman to me," she promised, kissing him.