You Can't Fool An Old News Hound
by M. Scott Eiland

"Perry, I'm telling you--I've been working on this for weeks now, and I'm sure I'm right." Lois Lane stared at her boss, willing him to give in and let her pursue the story. "The signs are all there--they look a lot alike, they're never seen together, Clark always puts on a vanishing act when something happens--"

"I read your report, Lois--I don't need a recap." Perry White sat behind his desk, frowning at his ace reporter. His hair had gone gray, but he had aged little otherwise in the past seven years. He looked at Lois with a thoughtful expression and added, "Lois, I appreciate your work, your talent, and your instinct for what makes a great story--but you're just wrong: Clark Kent isn't Superman." Lois scowled at him, and he chuckled ruefully as he added, "Believe me--I found out that Clark is an ordinary human being the hard way when I first met him seven years ago. Have a seat, and I'll tell you the whole sordid tale."

Lois blinked and sat down--Perry rarely hinted about his past, and a full-blown story was worth putting a potential Pulitzer-winning story on hold for a little while. Perry sighed, and spoke for fully thirty minutes, weaving a tale of broken dreams and bent principles, and ending up with a desperate grasp at what he thought would be the story that would send him back to the top--the alleged superhuman powers of Clark Kent, high school student and local hero. When he had finished, he looked at Lois and concluded, "I quit the tabloid show the next day and started pushing hard to get my career started again the right way--had to go to Central City to avoid Luthor complications, but I made it back up the ladder and moved back here two years ago after the old man was no longer a problem. You know the rest."

Lois nodded, then glanced outside the office, looking at Clark placidly working on a story. She looked back at Perry and asked bluntly: "You're sure about this, Perry?"

"Very sure, Lois." Perry looked out at Clark and smiled, commenting, "He's a big Boy Scout, all right--just not a big blue Boy Scout." Lois sighed and turned to leave, and Perry interjected: "Lois, could you leave your report and notes? They might be good for determining who Superman really is--shame to let a lot of good research go to waste."

Lois looked at Perry suspiciously for a moment, but Perry's expression was calm. She shrugged, dropped the folder on his desk, and departed without another word.

Clark--who made a habit of listening for nearby conversations using the words "Clark" and "Superman" in close proximity--smiled in satisfaction as Lois passed him with an irritated expression and glanced over at Perry's office, feeling a moment of warmth towards the older man. Wish I could tell you the real story, Perry--but it's better this way He sighed and went back to work.

Perry waited for Clark to turn back to his article, then pulled out a key and unlocked the bottom drawer in his desk. He pulled out an unmarked three-ring binder and opened it--the first item within was Lois' front page article from the Planet last year, describing the nature of Superman's powers, including the fact that they were based on solar energy. He turned the page, and there was an article about the intense solar storms of seven years before. He turned to the back of the binder--passing other articles regarding Superman's past-- and put Lois' report and notes into the pocket before closing it and putting it back into the drawer and locking it. He looked over at Clark again and smiled fondly.

You owe me, Clark

That thought pleased him and left him content for a few seconds before he realized that he was behind schedule for the day, and he needed coffee desperately. He walked to his office door, opened it, and bellowed: "OLSEN!!!"

The hapless cub reporter scrambled to respond to his boss' summons, and Perry smiled.


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