By Alisha Knight <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November 2008
Summary: A misunderstanding at Martha's favorite sewing store inspires an unusual and hilarious idea.
Standard disclaimers apply.
Smallville was a strange place, Kathy thought as she stood behind the till at the town's only sewing store. Take old Mrs. Bowe for example, who was currently perusing the shelves looking at the brightly coloured wool Kathy bought purely for her to buy. She spent all her spare time knitting scarves and sweaters for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Even her great-grandchildren were now too old to be wearing home-made sweaters, preferring their clothes to belong to some brand, even if it was a brand that branded itself as not-a-brand. Making clothes was growing obsolete and independent little stores like Kathy's were quickly being swallowed up by big chain department stores. Certainly most of her customers only bought basic needles and thread to use for mending.
Mrs. Bowe brought her wool selection, with some equally garish cotton thread and a new knitting book to the till. Kathy tried not to grimace at the colours the woman had selected as she added up the cost of her purchases. Whatever new masterpiece she was planning was never going to see the light of day once its new owner had received it, that much was certain. Kathy wondered if Mrs. Bowe knew that her relatives didn't appreciate her skills. She had heard a rumour that any relative that bothered sending her the odd letter or visited regularly only received plain scarves or some embroidered picture to hang on a wall as their gifts.
The bell on the door jingled just as Mrs. Bowe turned to leave and Kathy's strangest customer of all entered the store.
Martha used to come in and buy needles, black thread and some denim to stitch up the holes in her husband's clothes. Occasionally she'd buy other things as well to fix specific items of clothes, and when Clark was a small boy she had come in practically every other day to keep up with the holes he made in his clothes, but back then there was nothing to make her stand out as a particularly strange customer.
Not until a couple of months ago, when she'd come in and bought up Kathy's entire stock of spandex. She'd merely raised an eyebrow and gone to get the scraps out of storage. There wasn't much call for spandex in a farming community, but she bought in the odd cheap off-cut from her supplier just before Halloween each year for costumes. She'd apologised for the lack of choice, although there was enough for her to make a few outfits. Martha had been extremely excited at the available colours and patterns and had bought pretty much her whole stock in that one transaction.
Then she'd returned with some scraps, the blue and red. And asked for twice the same amount of the blue again, with about half of the red. She now came in about once a month to get more spandex and she had also started buying up large quantities of the same thin red fabric after experimenting with various types.
Kathy's supplier had laughed when Kathy told him about Martha Kent and he'd told her that she must be a trend setter. The cost of her materials dropped dramatically in the first few weeks since the first order had been set up. It had been no surprise to learn that it was the same material used in making Superman costumes. Since his appearance, demand for the fabric had gone up and subsequently the prices went down. Kathy never thought to question the timing and had merely assumed that as Clark Kent worked at the Daily Planet and was a close friend of Superman, that Martha had been one of the first people to know about him.
"I got your order in yesterday, Mrs. Kent," Kathy said as soon as eye contact was made. "Is it just the material?"
"No, I need some blue zippers and thread as well," Martha replied as she walked over to the correct shelves and picked up a handful of each.
Kathy merely raised an eyebrow as she brought out the spandex and tallied up the cost. "You know," she ventured as the items were placed in Martha's shopping bags, "I never thought of Mr. Kent as being the type."
She shrugged, a little embarrassed. "Well, you know, dressing up. Certainly as someone like Superman, anyway. It's none of my business, I know, but I do wonder at the amount of material you seem to get through. Still, it's good for business so I'm not complaining."
Martha certainly hoped that Kathy misinterpreted the flush that graced her face and supposed she ought to be grateful that Kathy hadn't worked out the real reason she bought all this fabric. She was no Jocasta, in fact she suddenly realised that she was probably about the only woman in the world who *didn't* have fantasies surrounding Superman. The idea was so sickening that she actually wanted to correct Kathy right there and then, but then she thought that perhaps it was better for her to think that either she or Jonathan had a Superman fetish than to work out that Superman was her son and that these fabrics would be made into a real Superman outfit.
Then suddenly she smiled as she got an idea, and looked back at the embarrassed woman behind the counter.
Jonathan trudged into the farmhouse, dirt flying off his boots as he made his way into the kitchen, hoping to find some delicious treat cooked by his wife sitting out unguarded. There were no smells of cooking, but that never dampened his enthusiasm for fresh food. If nothing else, he would make himself a sandwich while he waited for dinner. After a hard day's labour, he deserved every morsel.
"Ah-ha!" His fiery wife appeared in the kitchen, glasses slipping down her nose. She'd obviously been too engrossed in her latest project to realise they were about to fall off, a trait in her that Jonathan loved. Then he noticed, in terror, that she was brandishing her well-used tape measure at him.
"Martha," he cautioned, evading her as she chased him around the table. "What are you up to?"
"It's a surprise. Kathy gave me the greatest idea at the store today."
"You got Clark's fabric," Jonathan tried to change the subject as he peered past the doorway to the room where Martha had set up her old sewing machine.
"Yes, now stand still while I measure you." He gave up and stood still for her. He would never win, that was a certainty, especially when Martha was this determined. "Kathy thinks I buy all this spandex for you."
"*WHAT*!!!" Martha tried to stifle a giggle. She didn't remember ever seeing her husband looking so shocked, even the first time he saw his son flying. Then his look changed and he appeared absolutely petrified. "Hang on. You're not... you're not making *me* a Superman costume, are you?"
Martha laughed. "Don't be so ridiculous, although it would be a good cover. I don't really want Kathy to know the real reason for my order. I think I'm going to start making Clark buy his own spandex to try and avoid suspicion. Anyway, you'd look awful in blue, dear. I've got something a little different in mind for you."
She jotted down some numbers on a sheet of paper she had wedged in her pocket with the pencil that had been stuck behind her ear, noticing that she'd done nothing to allay his fears with her revelation. "Something darker, a little more flattering to your fuller figure." She fondly patted his round belly as she continued taking measurements. "How do you feel about Batman?"
Just in case anyone didn't understand the reference -- in Greek mythology Jocasta was the mother/wife of Oedipus.