scene vii

Lois & Clark sat at a little sidewalk cafe not far from the Planet. They chattered on annoyingly, as per usual, and I may have written a bit about that more specifically at some point, on the word processor, before i lost so many files of so many sorts, and now it's just beyond me to care what they were saying. Nothing original, I'm sure. So let's perhaps just skip to the point where Clark's cell phone rang, shall we?

"Hold that thought," we may as well say Clark said with a grin, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone. "Hello?" And then he rotated the phone a bit so that the speak-into-end was no longer right in front of his mouth, and he covered it with his hand. Of course, you've seen people do this many times; you've probably done it yourself. So you know what I mean. "It's Tempus!" he whispered quite audibly enough for Lois to hear.

"What does he want?"

"Well, he's only just had enough time to tell me it's him, Lois."

"Oh. Right. Sorry."

He removed his hand and moved the phone back to the proper conversational position. "What do you want?" he asked in a fashion not particularly reminiscent of Mr. Morden, the agent of the Shadows, whose head you will no doubt be able to find on a pike somewhere on Centauri Prime a few hundred years hence.

"I want to play, Supes, old boy. What else? Won't you come out and play with me?"

"Just tell me a time and a place, and I'll be there."

"Yes. No doubt well prior to the time mentioned. Well, listen, first, allow me to make the standard demands. You know, 'Come alone,' and all that. I'm sure you know the drill. ...Oh," he added casually, as if it was an afterthought, which it wasn't, "I've planted several bombs around the city, and don't bother trying to find them; you won't be able to. If you do happen to find any bombs, trust me, they belong to somebody else. So, just come at the appointed time- I will be watching for you ahead of time, but of course, I can always just tell you to come later than I want you here, to make up for your arriving unfashionably early, and get you here when I wanted in the first place. And, as I say, alone, and ready to talk. No tricks, hmmm?"

Clark sighed. "Alright, Tempus. Of course, I'll expect tricks from you."

One could very nearly hear the grin in Tempus's voice, over the phone. "You know me too well. Well, I shall simply have to endeavor to provide tricks you won't be expecting. Just to keep things interesting. ...They do say, don't they, 'Expect the unexpected.' Well, that's an amusing concept... Really never works properly, in reality. ...But I won't go into that just now. Oh, and when I say come alone, this does mean Lois isn't invited."

"What time do you want me? I can leave right now, if you like."

"Oh, how very accomodating of you. Thank you. But no, I wouldn't think of it. Go ahead and finish your lunch, old boy. There's plenty of time. Go back to work afterwards, get a cup of coffee, have pointless, mundane little chats with all your office chums."

"Gee, thanks. Now about that time and place...?"

"Of course..." And he told Clark the time and place to meet. Then he said, "Enjoy your meal. And say hi to Lois, for me." And he hung up.

Clark closed his phone and returned it to his pocket. "Well, Tempus says hi," he told Lois. "And he wants us to enjoy our meals."

"What do you suppose he meant by that? Do you think they're poisoned or something?"

Clark looked closely at the food on both their plates, and the drinks in their glasses, as only he can look. "I don't think so. I think he was just trying to be... polite... Anyway, he wants me to meet him later, to talk."

Lois scoffed. "Sure he does. This is Tempus we're talking about. I think he'll want to do more than talk."

"I'm sure. But I'll be ready. And he wants me to come alone..."

"Fine, fine. I'll just sit home and watch TV, I guess. You go have all the fun," she said with a feigned pout.

Clark grinned. "Don't worry, I'll tell you all about it when I get back. ...I do hope this will be fairly simple. I'll go, I'll listen, and then I'll bring him to jail."

"Again, this is Tempus we're talking about. It probably won't be that simple. And don't forget, he's not alone."

"I won't. I'll be careful." And they went back to enjoying their meals.

scene viii