Perry and full cast, from "Perry"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Read Chapter 6 here.
"So the tractor... fell out of the sky... right in front of a reporter."
Clark shuffled his feet and lowered his head, feeling miserable. He and his parents had struggled for years to keep his secret, and now, due to some wonky surge of strength, he was in dire jeopardy of being exposed. His dad didn't look at all happy about it.
"I'm sorry, Dad," he said, hunching his shoulders defensively. "I didn't mean to."
"Of course you didn't." His dad clapped him on the shoulder reassuringly, but his expression was still grim. "And since Mr. White was standing there watching, there wasn't any way you could grab it and haul it back to the farm before someone found it, either."
Clark didn't bother mentioning there wasn't much tractor left to haul back to the farm. He didn't even want to see his dad's face when he saw the pathetic scraps of metal that had once been a serviceable, if cranky, tractor.
God, he thought wretchedly. I complicate their lives so badly sometimes.
He'd run away this past summer because he'd messed up his parents' lives so much, and when he'd finally come back, he'd sworn never to do it again.
And yet here he was, screwing things up for them again.
Aloud, he said, "I'm pretty sure he called the sheriff. We need to get back out there and try to explain what happened."
Jonathan lifted his eyebrows. "Right. We can just tell Sheriff Adams that you threw a tractor two miles. That'll go over well, I'm sure."
Clark scowled, not at all amused by his father's gentle sarcasm. "I'm talking about a cover story, Dad. We need to make something up."
Jonathan sighed. "Yeah," he answered. "You're right. But why do I get the feeling that no matter what we tell Sheriff Adams... she's not going to buy it?"
Sheriff Adams was a small but formidable woman, with a decided drawl and an attitude the size of Texas. She stood in the middle of the road, looking over the wreckage of the tractor, then bent and picked up the dented license plate. She studied it for a moment, then walked back to where Clark and Jonathan were standing.
"Mr. Kent." As always, her no-nonsense voice grated on Jonathan's nerves. He and the sheriff had had more than one run-in. "You want to tell me how your tractor wound up scattered over two lanes of county blacktop?"
Jonathan did his utmost not to look guilty. Unfortunately, his son was standing right beside him, wearing an expression of stark guilt that suggested he was a mass murderer. Clark had never had much of a poker face.
"Well," he answered. "Uh. We were pulling up to the farm in our truck, and we, uh, saw somebody had put it on the back of a flatbed."
Adams didn't look at all impressed by the story he and Clark had hastily concocted. Well, he'd never been a very good liar, either. The fact that he'd kept Clark's secret all these years was, he thought, due more to luck than skill at lying. "So," Adams said cynically, "you're saying this someone was stealing it."
Clark put on a serious, honest expression, and spoke very earnestly. "I tried to follow them," he volunteered. "By the time I got here, it must've fallen off their truck."
Perry White, standing at the edge of the road, stuck his nose into the conversation, rather to Jonathan's annoyance. "I'm telling you, Sheriff, it fell out of the sky."
Adams rolled her eyes. She might have a strong suspicion that the Kents weren't being entirely straight with her, but she wasn't crazy or stupid enough to believe that tractors could just fall out of the sky, either. She retorted, "And last night you were beggin' the nurses to keep the flying monkeys out of your room."
White looked slightly abashed. But he turned his head, staring at Clark intently, and in his eyes Jonathan saw an expression that made him very uncomfortable. It was a look that said White, at least, was certain of what he'd seen. He might not be sober-- he almost certainly wasn't, given the way he wove when he tried to take a step-- but he wasn't going to be talked out of believing what he'd seen with his own two eyes.
"Kid," White said, "you're saying you had nothing whatsover to do with this?"
Adams rolled her eyes. "What exactly could young Mr. Kent have had to do with it?" she demanded irritably.
Clark looked at the sheriff, still wearing his most earnest, aw-shucks expression. "To be honest, Sheriff, I'm not sure exactly what happened."
White clearly wasn't fooled by Clark's efforts to look innocent. "He's hiding something, Chief."
Adams spun around. She'd never taken kindly to people getting in the way of her investigations. "Mr. White," she said sharply, "there's another bus in about an hour. I suggest you catch it." She glared at him. "And don't call me chief!"
Adams headed back toward her car, and Jonathan put an arm around his son, steering him out of Perry's earshot. Now that the sheriff was no longer watching them, Clark's artificial expression of innocence crumbled, and he looked glum.
"Dad, I'm really sorry about the tractor. It's a total loss."
Jonathan sighed. He appreciated Clark's concern, because he had no clue how in the hell they were going to afford a new tractor if insurance didn't pay for it. But bad as that was, it wasn't the big problem right now.
"I'm not all that worried about the tractor," he answered. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Perry still watching them, his eyes alert and suspicious. "Whatever's going on with your abilities... our family's wound up smack-dab in the middle of Perry White's radar."
The kid did this.
Perry might not be totally sober-- in fact, he was pretty damn inebriated-- but still, he was good at reading body language. That had been part of what had made him a great reporter, back in the day. And everything about Clark, from his unhappy expression to the set of his shoulders, proclaimed clearly, This is all my fault.
Perry wasn't clear on how the kid could have caused this. But the mystery of it intrigued him in a way nothing had intrigued him in years. Despite the sheriff's words, he had no intentions of leaving Littleville. He wasn't sure what was going on here, but what he was certain of was that there was something really odd about Clark Kent, despite the boy's apparent normalcy.
Perry tallied up what he knew in his mind. The kid can walk through power lines. He can tear the doors off cars. He can just pop into existence out of nowhere. He's strong as a horse.
And somehow, some way, Clark Kent had had something to do with the flying tractor.
It was definitely a mystery. And Perry had a feeling he knew exactly who could help him solve it.
It was, he thought, time to pay Miss Penchant for the Truth another visit.
Read Chapter 8 here.