By Elisabeth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: December 2007
Summary: A vacation for the weary Kent family gives them more excitement than they had expected.
Martha rubbed her neck as she made her way across the parking lot and into the museum. A few days into the trip, her whole body had started to ache, but this was probably the only road-trip her family would ever take, so she tried not to ruin it by complaining.
Clark sped past her and ambled up the steps, two at a time. Martha supposed all ten-year-olds had this much energy, speed and endurance—didn't they? Still, it made her feel old to grit her teeth past every pothole and bump on the road while her son played spaceship in the back of the station wagon.
"Back still stiff?" Jonathon wondered.
"I'll manage," she assured him. She leaned into him, gladly accepting the hand he offered.
"You still think this trip is such a good idea?"
"Yes," Martha reassured him, squeezing his hand to emphasize her support. "I understand what a sacrifice this is for you. I know traveling in the summertime doesn't sit well with you, especially long enough to drive halfway across the country and back, but the farm is going to be just fine. Your cousin really needed the work, even if it is for such a short time. And for once in our lives we had the money set aside to pay him and take a vacation. But most importantly, this is probably the only chance we'll ever get to travel, all three of us, on a trip like this. So yes, I think this trip is a good idea."
Jonathon smirked at her. "Just wondered if you'd changed your mind when your body started to mold itself to the car seat."
"It's a little late to change my mind." Martha smiled back.
Jonathon glanced around The Metropolis Museum of Science and Adventure. "I wonder where Clark has wandered off to?"
There was so much to look at that Clark raced ahead as soon as he reached the museum door. He didn't even glance back to notice as the gap between his parents and himself widened. Inside the door was a life-sized model of a dinosaur. If you pulled the levers, his head would swing out as if he were truly moving. He enjoyed that for a few minutes before running along to find the next exhibit.
A weird-looking tethered miniature hot-air balloon caught his eye. He paused long enough to skim through the accompanying information; it was a Roziere balloon which was able to fly farther and faster than traditional hot-air balloons due to its pocket of helium gas. Behind it lay some models of balloons that had been used in battle. That was interesting, but not as exciting as tanks.
He skipped the room with the floor-to-ceiling computer inside. Mom might like that, but computers looked pretty boring to him.
Around the corner he stepped into the Amazon rain forest. His jaw slackened as he tilted his head to see the whole thing. The water flowed down from an upper floor like a torrential waterfall from a high cliff. It was loud and smelled mossy and dirty. So cool!
He was just reading about the water cycle when a small boy—maybe two or three years old—bumped into him. The kid sidled up next to him and pretended to read what Clark read. Clark ignored him. He had better things to do than to babysit.
After awhile the boy wandered away, poking behind this corner and snooping behind that. Clark couldn't quite say why he kept an eye on the tyke, but it was a good thing he did.
Moments later, the boy fished around in his pocket, finally coming up with a house key. He fiddled with it for awhile, looking for a place to put his little treasure. Spying an electrical outlet he shoved the key in as far as it would go.
Clark was pretty fast, so he jumped to push the little boy out of the way before he injured himself. He raced between heartbeats, hoping to get there in time.
So intent was he in his mission that he didn't even notice as another kid about the same age as Clark jumped to the rescue. They jostled each other as each did his best to tackle the little kid and hopefully throw him out of danger's way.
Instantaneous lights brought a roar like water to his ears. His head flew back with a will of its own. Grayness flooded Clark's senses as electricity flowed out of his body and into the next. Three kids flew across the room, the last two landing in a tangled heap atop each other.
"Sal? Bobby?" The women's voice was high-pitched as she frantically ran toward her babies. "My babies! Are you boys all right?"
She scooped her toddler into her arms, looking him over carefully. Clark and the other hero sorted out their own bodies, standing carefully and examining arms, legs and everything in between. There were no visible burns, although the odor of singed hair hung over the scene.
In the background, a docent hurried to call 9-1-1, but Clark didn't care. He only had eyes for his mom as she hurried his way.
"Are you okay?" she worried.
"I think so," he said in a shaky voice. He dashed unshed tears from his eyes with the back of his hand. Ten was too old to cry, especially since he wasn't really hurt. Still, he hugged his mom close, just to make her feel better.
As he pulled away Mom, Dad dragged him into another embrace. The big man was shaking.
"Are you sure you're all right, son?" he asked. He straightened to get a better look at his child.
"Mm hmm," he mumbled.
"Then we had better get out of here before the ambulance arrives. We don't want those doctors to get their hands on you."
The last thing they heard as they left the room was the sounds of a hysterical mother berating her children, obviously relieved they had survived intact. "If you had died, I would have killed you both! You two are going to be the death of me someday!"
"It's only a little rice, Clark. Give me a break." She swatted his hands away from the little white box, pushing him back into the passenger seat. "It's not like he doesn't have another four cartons. Now, where is that sweet 'n sour sauce?"
"Lois, we pay all of our other snitches." He frowned as he reminded her of the obvious. "Why are you always trying to filch a little of Bobby's payment off the top?"
She waved him off. "It's not like he minds."
"Of course, he minds. He always catches you. And then, he pouts."
From his vantage point down the street, Bobby smiled. Lois was so busted. Clark was right — Bobby did always catch her — although Clark had no idea why.
Ever since that day in the museum, Bobby could hear things no one else could hear. While he didn't have vision like Superman, he could also see things way far away. He was tough, too, and fast. Plus, he could eat like an eight-year-old and still keep his thin-as-a-rail good looks.
He had walked away from the electrocution unscathed, feeling only a strange sense of power as it washed over him.
He'd been fast enough to save Sal, as well. The doctors at the E.R. spent a lot more time examining his little brother, since he had obvious entrance and exit wounds. But since the kid's heart never stopped and they never found anything wrong, they eventually released Sal with a clean bill of health.
The only side effects for his little brother were minor. Even to this day Sal still magnetized watches so they ran backward after he'd worn them two, three days and, for a few weeks, the television would change channels every time his kid brother walked by. That was kind of cool. Ma never believed him when he said he didn't hit no buttons.
Ma never believed Bobby about the things he could hear or see, neither. She said he read too many comic books, which was true. But with Ma, if it wasn't in Britannica, it wasn't true.
What Ma didn't believe made Bobby into the best snitch in Metropolis. He could see and hear everything that went down on the street from a block away. It kept him both alive and in business.
It also kept Lois from ripping him off. After all, he was the best there was, and he deserved to be paid in full.
Bobby crept into the backseat, hoping to scare the newspapermen into next week, but he could never sneak up on Clark.
After the usual 'Hi, How-are-you's', Bobby took inventory of his sack.
"What is this? Where's all my rice?"
Clark simply raised an eyebrow to Lois as he handed it over.
Yeah. Life was good.
Author's Note: With special thanks to James for my inspiration. He pitched me an idea over dinner one night. I shot his idea down as too lame but then took it in a whole new direction myself. Also, I owe him my thanks for convincing me 'Bobby Bibzap' was a bad title.
Muse's Note: Yeah, I like her idea a whole lot better than my original idea that Bobby was Clark's long lost brother or that he was the result of his grandfather being an earlier launch from Krypton.