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 11 here.
Perry waited. He was aware of the camera crew fidgeting, but he didn't fidget. He simply waited. Sometimes journalism was exciting and dangerous and heart-pounding, but more often it was a matter of waiting patiently for the story. Perry didn't mind waiting, if the story was worth waiting for.
He was pretty sure Clark Kent fell into that category.
Suddenly an engine roared, and the Kents' red truck came swerving recklessly down the driveway, so fast that it threw up dust and gravel in its wake.
The front door of the house burst open, and Martha Kent ran out onto the porch, shouting desperately. "Clark! Clark, come back!"
"He's moving!" Perry yelled. "Come on, let's go!"
The crew tossed their equipment into the X-Styles van and scrambled in. Seconds later they were careening down the road behind the red pickup. Clark was driving without the slightest regard for speed limits, and the pickup pulled away rapidly.
"Get a move on!" Perry yelled. He wasn't too worried they were going to lose the truck-- after all, the roads hereabouts were pretty flat and straight-- but he wouldn't put it past young Mr. Kent to pull a fast one of some sort.
The driver of the van shot him a dubious glance, but then he stepped on it, hard enough to throw Perry back into his seat. Perry was mildly grateful he wasn't driving. He was already in deep enough trouble with the local sheriff.
They pursued the truck for miles, around corners and down narrow roads, driving through cornfields that all looked alike to Perry. He hoped the van's driver knew where they were, because he sure as hell didn't.
Suddenly the truck's driver slammed on its brakes so hard that it fishtailed to an abrupt stop. The driver of the van cursed, stepping hard on his own brakes to avoid a collision.
Triumphantly, Perry jumped out of the van, the crew in his wake.
"Keep rolling!" he told the crew. "I want it all on tape."
The door of the pickup opened, and a tall figure climbed out. The wrong tall figure.
Perry came to a sudden halt as he realized he'd been conned. He stood there in the middle of the asphalt, gaping foolishly, and Jonathan Kent strode up to him, his weathered face grim.
"Clark," he said in his deep, resonant voice, "is not here. And he's not coming back until you people are gone. So why don't you just leave my family alone?"
He got back into the truck, slammed the door, and took off with a squeal of wheels, leaving Perry standing in the middle of a back country Kansas road, feeling like a complete and utter idiot.
Outmaneuvered by a bunch of hicks, he thought bitterly. I really have lost my touch.
He pushed the thought away and squared his shoulders.
He wasn't finished yet.
While Perry was chasing Jonathan down a back road in the middle of nowhere, Clark and Pete were throwing camping gear into the back of Pete's old, battered car. Clark glanced cautiously around, as if he expected a camera crew to jump out from behind his mom's gardenias.
"Don't worry about it, Clark," Pete said as he tossed a sleeping bag into the trunk. "They're long gone."
Clark tossed in some camping gear-- flashlights, trail mix, a coiled rope. "Thanks for doing all this, Pete."
Pete flashed his cheerful grin, like being forced to hide from a news crew was an everyday occurrence. "You know I'm always up for a little Undercover Brother. So we'll camp out tonight and check in with your parents in the morning. By then, with any luck things'll be back to normal."
Clark remembered the curtains flaming, and sighed.
"I sure hope so," he answered.
Before Perry had even dropped his butt into a dainty little chair in the Talon, Lana Lang was stalking in his direction. As his butt made contact with the chair, she dropped a sign onto the table.
He lifted it and read it out loud. "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."
She stared down her pretty nose at him and spoke coldly. "I really think you'd be more comfortable at the Wild Coyote."
Perry grinned outright, amused by her stiffness. She was so obviously used to being treated like a princess, and she wasn't about to forgive him for daring to affront her. "Well," he answered, "I was... until they threw me out."
She didn't unbend at his smile. Her spine was held so rigidly he wondered if there was a poker up her ass. "Either way," she said regally, "I'd like you to leave."
She spun on her heel and stalked away. Perry got to his feet and followed her, sighing. Obviously she wasn't going to be sweet-talked. To make this work, he was going to have to abase himself.
He figured Clark had to abase himself with this girl all the time. Poor kid.
"Sometimes," he said, "I let my enthusiasm for a story outweigh my good sense."
He'd tried for the meekest, humblest tone in his repertoire, but obviously it hadn't worked, because she turned to stare at him, one eyebrow quirking upward. "Is that your idea of an apology?"
Before he could answer, she spun on her heel and strode away again. Perry followed her.
"No, no, wait, I--" She didn't break stride, didn't glance back at him. Clearly he was going to have to work hard to sell this one. "Okay," he said, catching her by the arm, very gently, and looking as earnest as he knew how. "You're right. I'm a jerk, and I've got the broken engagements and the sleepless nights to prove it."
She looked up at him, and he thought he saw the ice in her eyes melt, just a bit. "If your job bothers you so much, why don't you stop?"
Perry hesitated, trying to come up with some convincing lie. But instead, the truth spilled out of him.
"Because I'm a journalist. It's in my blood. And sometimes you have to push to get the truth. Even when it hurts."
She looked at him dubiously, as if she wasn't sure what to say to that. At last she shrugged. "If you're finished, I'm going to call you a cab."
"They won't come." Perry flashed a wry, aren't-I-a-bad-boy smile. "It's a little issue over nonpayment of fares. But I'll make you a deal."
She frowned. "Mr. White--"
He held up a hand, cutting her off. "I will trade permanently staying out of your life for a ride to the bus stop."
She paused for a long moment. At last she nodded.
"Let me get my coat."
He watched her walk away and disappear into the kitchen.
And then he pulled out his flask and took a long, celebratory swig.
Read Chapter 13 here.