A CLARK/LEX EPIC OF STAGGERING GENIUS
by Punk Maneuverability and Tiffany Rawlins

 

What the Christian Right would refer to as an "Agenda" but what is more commonly known as a "Table of Contents"

i. Authors' Notes (this is not a drabble)
derivative works as a postmodern statement of voracious, nay, cannibalistic consumerism -- 100 words that kill -- payola -- AOL Time Warner acts as an enabler for Punk and Tiff -- blame is laid

1. Based on a True Story (Introduction)
in the car -- anecdotal evidence suggesting corn should be x-rated -- moving violations -- I question the role of domestic discipline and chickens -- barnyards -- the state of public education in Kansas -- the aforepromised cow

2. Gaze (The cow IS the drabble. It leaves you wondering, what's the POINT?)
Clark on his back in the city -- reconnoitering -- eye contact -- my habit of exaggeration -- we search for the philosopher's stone -- public spectacle

3. The one with Fig. 1 (where X marks the spot)
Metropolis, both spic and span -- pencils -- the hunger of a free-range heart -- a summit -- we reinvent the telephone -- late onset psychokinesis? no.

4. Inertia Vanquished, Dinner Achieved (eating in)
Cut due to lack of interest on the part of the authors and/or fan base1.

5. The List (of Lies)
Homeric epithets -- Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet -- Donna Reed -- blowjob challenge -- Clark lies in bed

6. This is a Naked Interview (I'll tell you incredible stories)
still in bed -- homework epiphany -- certain doom -- I volunteer despite my misgivings and Clark's flopping around like a breathless trout -- what it means to be an adult -- the interview commences -- a small amount of narrative license -- history lesson -- chosen

7. Aria (we know how this story ends)
one last thing -- field trips -- closer to home -- strangers with candy -- runaway excuses -- can't talk to a man with a shotgun in his hands -- self denial -- key facts to remember -- bedtime -- Lex the Great -- this isn't the end.

1The subject of a "fan base" and the opinions thereof and the relative value of fan vs. critical acceptance alone was enough to kill our spirits.

 

i. AUTHORS' NOTES

This work is in no way to be considered derivative of David ("Dave") Eggers' work A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, it is just an extreme coincidence that the titles reflect each other and may suggest a rip in the time/space continuum. Of course if you prefer to believe that it is, in fact, derivative, particularly if you find such things to be "meta" or "pomo" or in any way theoretically or ideologically superior to "plagiarism" or "lack of creativity," the authors recognize your God-given, spilled-American-blood-protected right to do so. The authors (Punk "runpunkrun" Maneuverability and Tiffany "wearemany" Rawlins) would like to make clear the following (in small type):

1. The text that follows is not a drabble.

2. Drabbles are artificial constructs on real storytelling that, in their increasing popularity, have been statistically proven to be creating a void in serious narrative arcs not unlike "Video Killed the Radio Star" and its actual effect on the relative importance of radio distribution, payola, and the natural laws of Great Art.

3. We, that is, the authors, were lamenting the resulting lack of a Clark/Lex Epic of Staggering Genius.

4. The writing of a small, perhaps infinitesimal work of fiction about fictional characters may, in fact, further contribute to the trend noted in No. 2.

5. However it is of no great matter to the authors.

6. One of the great benefits of co-authorship is the ability to blame anything that doesn't work on the other.

7. This is her fault.

8. A portion of the text that follows appeared in AOL Instant Messenger in a somewhat different form.

9. Feedback will likely be neither read nor acknowledged, but should nonetheless be sent to punk and tiff, and may result in the receipt of a cow. Not an actual cow, of course, but the digital representation of a bovine.

10. Of course we are now unconvinced of any genius, staggering or otherwise, that may still remain in this text.

 

1. BASED ON A TRUE STORY

It's great fun. We are attacking Kansas, Clark and I, pushing the Aston1 to its limit because what good are long endless roads in the middle of nowhere if you can't drive too fast, and I started thinking, thinking about who feeds all those chickens that peck at my ankles whenever I walk through the stables because I don't have a chicken master or a chicken keeper or whoever it is that takes care of these chickens I didn't even know I had and I figure life is kind of like those chickens because there's a lot of scratching, a lot of scratching and not much success at getting out of the fucking barnyard, and Clark, when you've got someone in your stable like Clark,2 you want to get out of the fucking barnyard.3

1Actually, I was driving the Porsche that day, but in retrospect I really should have taken out the Aston because the 2003 Porsche Boxster S really does not allow for the sort of fooling around that high school boys, which I am not but Clark is, like to engage in and consequently my pants ended up stained with dirt and corna because you really can't get a satisfying blowjob in a Porsche.

aA selective editing of the main properties of corn, as defined by Microsoft Encarta 99: corn: The corn plant has an erect, solid stem, rather than the hollow one of most other grasses. The many varieties of corn show widely differing characteristics. In flint corn, the horny starch extends over the top of the kernel, so that there is no denting. Popcorn is a light, highly popular snack throughout the United States, a variant of flint corn with small kernels of great hardness. When heated, the moisture in the kernels expands, causing the kernels to pop open.

2In all fairness, I have not, up until this point, allowed the object of my sometime affection to comment on his inclusion, which was rendered without his consent, in this tale.

CLARK is now reading over my shoulder because he was quite literally raised in a BARN.

CLARK (curious): What are you writing, Lex?

To which I reply: LEX (without, of course, shouting my own name first followed by the impending colon): I suppose you could call them my memoirs.

CLARK (confused now, I blame the public education system): I could?

3Here is a drawing of a cow:

an MS PAINT drawing of a cow

 

2. GAZE

Clark lies on his back in Metropolis Park's North Field, because we've come all the way to my city, to my skyscrapers and sleek-hatted chauffeurs and millions of people carefully not looking at each other and still Clark wants to feel like he's outside, has some strange animal need to feel nature's pull even when I've dragged him out here to get away from that kind of influence, but anyway I don't really care even though I make a big deal out of it, I make a federal case, he says, a mountain out of a molehill, something out of nothing, but, "Oh," I say, "alchemy is what we do best," and he laughs like the child he practically still is and kisses me, right there in the park under the shadow of brilliant buildings, and people look at us, they gawk, they gaze, they stare, they gasp aloud with their hands over their mouths and no one out here in the wilds of urban life can bear to acknowledge each other under normal circumstances but these are not and I can't blame them because they're staring at Clark and I understand. I mean, have you fucking seen Clark?

 

3. THE ONE WITH FIG. 1

We have scoured Metropolis like two explorers from another world. Clark makes me see things differently, see my old city new, see it big and noisy and brilliant again, and after discovering all its secrets, finding its alleyway edens and street cafes and tiny little stores selling pencils and lunchboxes and travel dictionaries and beads, I am tired, and Clark, bless his farm-raised free-range organic heart, is hungry. We discuss the problem.

"I'm hungry," he says, head in my lap. overhead diagram of a room, an x marks the spot where the phone is on the coffee table

"Bring me the phone," I say. "We'll order in."

"Where's the phone?"

"It's there, on the table." (see fig. 1)

"Where?"

"On the table."

"Where?"

"There! On the table!" I point at the phone, psychically, with my eyes. I send desperate agitating thought-rays at the phone because the phone is right there, but my hands are in Clark's hair and the phone is still on the table. I think hard at the phone. The phone does not move. I do not develop psychokinesis.

"You get it," Clark says.

"You're closer." He is. We are on the couch. If he got up, he'd be closer to the phone.

"I'm hungry," he says.

 

4. INERTIA VANQUISHED, DINNER ACHIEVED

[Cut due to lack of interest on the part of the authors and/or fan base.]

 

5. I TAUGHT HIM EVERYTHING HE KNOWS

1. EXAGGERATION
{He has Himalayan cheekbones and Aegean eyes and sunset lips.}

2. FLATTERY
{"Oh, Lex," he says, leaning on the loft railing and smiling down at me, and I almost forget to listen to the rest. "You don't have to say that, you know I want to go."}

3. OMISSION
{"We're going to see the new exhibit at the natural history museum, Mr. Kent."}

4. COLLUSION
{"I suppose that would be all right," Martha says over a bowl of batter. "They'll be back tonight, Jonathan."}

5. COMMISSION
{"Clark, even if I did pull over, there's no way you'll be able to give me a decent blowjob in a car this size."}


HOW CLARK LIES

1. On his side, one arm curved out over a pillow or me, the other under his head. He props one foot on his other ankle like a stack of firewood. Sometimes his hair falls across his forehead.

2. By some pattern I have yet to determine, perhaps alternate Wednesdays or every other even-numbered Saturday, he varies this by lying on his back, legs spread and arms wide. Though he may tell you otherwise, I do not let him hold me against his chest.

3. Sometimes he lies on his stomach, pressed against soft sheets, squirming as my tongue pushes into him.

 

6. THIS IS A NAKED INTERVIEW

After dinner, in bed, on top of the sheets, but underneath me, Clark remembers he has an assignment due Monday. He moans and flops around. He presses his face into the pillows. He says there's no way he'll get it done in time. He says it's required. He says he can't graduate without it. He says he's doomed.

He needs to interview an adult about their job. I volunteer. He flops around some more, obviously distressed by the thought I am an adult.

"You spent your last two paychecks on a first edition autographed copy of Warrior Angel!" he shouts.

Let the record show that at the time of the interview we are both naked, though Clark is in italics.

Okay, name and job title, I guess.

Lex Luthor, CEO of LexCorp.

What does a CEO do, anyway?

Everything.

Lex, that's not an answer.

I'm responsible for the welfare of the entire company: operations, marketing, strategy, financing, human resources, hiring, firing, compliance with safety regulations, sales, PR. I have people under me that specialize in these areas, but it's my job to monitor them, to cultivate the senior management teams, and of course don't forget the development of the ever important company culture that determines whether or not there are casual Fridays or alcoholic Halloween parties.

So, uh, what do you like best about your job?

I like that I'm in charge. Are you rolling your eyes at me?

No. What kind of an education or training does your position require?

Please stop giggling. I attended-- Shouldn't you be writing this down?

I don't see why.

Your memory couldn't possibly be this good. There's a notepad in the nightstand. Why don't you get it out?

There's no reason to. This never actually happened. It's merely a composite of several conversations we've had, of the times I had to leave your bed in order to go home and do chores and you resented it, a generic example of the many afternoons you did my homework for me because you miss being in school even though you won't admit it.

I want people to know that my interest in you extends beyond the mere physical, Clark, that I want to talk with you, hear about your day at school, help you with your studies, teach you about the world, the tragedies and triumphs of men: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Congolese Civil War, Kristallnacht, Derrida, Alexander II, Schubert, Schopenhauer, Willem van Tetrode, Yoshizawa Ayame, and I never did your homework for you.

I know. I was just teasing. You got very serious there.

This is serious stuff, Clark.

If I really did have to interview someone, you know I'd pick you, right?

I know.

 

7. ARIA

Oh fuck I was going to say: Clark's parents don't know about this, about any of it except that sometimes we take trips to Metropolis with an approved cultural purpose and sometimes on weekends when we stay in Smallville he comes home later than he should and that more often than is really appropriate given the difference in our ages I have been seen waiting for him outside the school in the car and ready to take their son away from the innocent childhood he never had, ready to elope to a matinee or the Talon or anyplace we'll never actually go because we'll be trying to fuck in a front seat the size of a junior accountant's desk.

Of course they know something, maybe even all of it, because there was a time when Clark would pull on his jeans and practice his excuses and now he goes when he's ready and comes when he can, no apologies for not being able to steal away earlier without getting caught. Then again he's never shown up breathless and scared with a backpack full of clothes, and there's never been a man with a shotgun on my front steps, so I decide that I can safely employ the usual amount of self-deception that being in love with Clark requires, and if that makes me have more in common with the Kents than I perhaps would like, the key fact to remember is that I have fewer secrets than Clark.

So it's after midnight, after curfew, and Clark waves from the porch and steps through the screen door. The light blinks off a minute later and I'm not the one who can see through walls so I don't know if he stops in the kitchen for a late snack or goes to kiss his mother goodnight or climbs quietly up to his room and takes off his clothes and thinks of me-- And when I get into my empty bed I think of Clark-- When I wake up alone I think of the way his thighs stretch taut and strong when he holds himself above me-- I would conquer galaxies to keep him safe, I would create languages devoted to the eternal inventory of his beauty--I would do anything but give him up and that, we both know, as we stare, sated, across pillows in sequestered hideouts near and far, that is our undoing. And we don't care, we won't stop because-- I mean, you don't even know us, but you must know that much. Is there anyone alive who can say they didn't see this coming?