My Impish Valentine
by Christine Nightstar
Having to keep two girlfriends happy on Valentine’s Day was a difficult enough problem for C.J. Kent. But what will Superboy do when Mr. Mxyztplk’s youngest daughter also gets a crush on him? Introducing the little darling of the fifth dimension, Miss Mtzyjnx!
Clark Kent Jr., or C.J. as he liked to be called, awoke at five A.M. for his morning chores when his alarm clock went off. Having heard a strange noise while he was trying to wake up, he quickly scanned around with his x-ray vision for anything amiss, but everything seemed normal. He continued with his morning routine, but still felt uneasy about something.
By the time he had gotten downstairs, he saw a cup of hot chocolate with tiny heart-shaped marshmallows, three eggs fried over easy, four strips of bacon perfectly cooked, three pieces of wheat toast the way he liked them, and six pancakes grilled to perfection, with real maple syrup sitting beside the heart-shaped plates, along with grape jelly and salt and pepper, each in heart-shaped containers. It was strange, since he hadn’t smelled anything cooking while he was upstairs.
Looking down, he saw a card by his plate, which read as follows: To Superboy (C.J.) from a secret admirer.
“Well, that’s weird…” C.J. muttered, sitting down at the table. He scanned around again to see if Pa was up, but then again hearts and anonymous notes weren’t really his style; and, of course, he also remembered Superman was going to be out of town for while. Ma was still fast asleep, taking a well-deserved break while little Mary slept peacefully through the night, especially since she’d been up late making some last-minute revisions of today’s edition of the Smallville Gazette. Jenny Olsen was certainly capable of doing something this thoughtful, but the last time he’d called her at this time in the morning, she’d threatened to start wearing kryptonite jewelry on a regular basis, so he knew she wasn’t exactly a morning person. And as for Laurie Lemmon, she would never have gone to all this trouble in the first place, since she liked boys to chase her, not the other way around.
The handwriting wasn’t Jenny’s or Laurie’s, anyway. In fact, the handwriting wasn’t from anyone C.J. knew. He could tell, since Batwing had been schooling him in some finer points of Criminology over the last few Junior JSA meetings. Recently, Superboy and Batwing had been discussing that Wonder Girl who’d occasionally been seen fighting crime in Washington, D.C. over the last year or so, and if the team should try to recruit her as a new member. (*) But they decided to wait until the next full meeting to bring it up for discussion, especially since there were still some other potential recruits to consider.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Wonder Woman: The Green-Eyed Monster.]
C.J. took his time eating this delicious-but-mysteriously-provided breakfast, since he wasn’t in any hurry to go out into the cold of a Kansas winter to do his morning chores. Besides, sunrise was a couple of hours away, which would give him time to think about what to get Jenny and Laurie for Valentine’s Day. It was tough, because he wanted to keep his options open with both of them, but still didn’t want to lose either of them to some other guy because of his own neglect.
By the time he finished with breakfast and put his dishes in the sink to soak, he heard knocking on the door. When he answered it, he found yet another card from his secret admirer, which read: Your chores are already done! Love, your secret admirer.
“This is beyond weird.” Looking to the left and right of the door, using both his telescopic and x-ray vision, C.J. confirmed that his chores had indeed already been done. There wasn’t a single snowflake on the driveway, the barn floor was spotless, and the cows had all been milked.
Pa, Kara, and John Garrick were the only ones that he knew were fast enough to pull off stunts like this, but this really wasn’t their style. A walk through the farm didn’t show anything unusual, either, though probably Batwing would have already spotted a few clues by now.
With his chores done and breakfast eaten, C.J. decided to indulge in a shower before school, hoping it would shake his brain into gear enough for him to figure out what was going on.
The trip into town that morning was unusual as well, because a young girl with unearthly red hair was following him all the way to school. She seemed to be a couple of years younger than he was, about thirteen or fourteen. He didn’t recognize her, and he hadn’t heard of any new people moving to Smallville, either. The strange thing was that, every time he looked back, she smiled brightly at him even when he pretended to look somewhere else, and every time he stopped, she also stopped.
“And this day just gets weirder and weirder…” C.J. muttered to himself as he continued walking to school. Or was he? It took a few more moments to realize that he hadn’t been getting any closer to school despite walking at a brisk pace for several minutes. Did this have something to do with the girl behind him?
As he turned around to confront her, he was startled to find that she was suddenly right behind him. “Wow, you’re cute, Superboy!” she said, beaming up at him brightly, her face looking almost impish.
“I-I think you’re mistaken. I’m C.J. Kent, not Superboy,” C.J. said, and tried to pull off that super-hypnosis trick that Superman sometimes used to keep people from seeing through his disguise.
“Oh, really?” she asked, squinting her eyes as she peered at him. “Then why are you trying to cloud my mind? And why are you wearing Superboy’s outfit under your clothes?”
“I’m not trying any such thing!” C.J. replied defensively. “And it’s long underwear, to keep me warm.”
“Whatever you sa-ay, Superboy…” the girl replied, skipping merrily beside him. “I’ve known who you were for a long time now. Been watching you. This is my first time here, and I chose to see you, and if you’re really nice I’ll even be your girlfriend.”
“G-girlfriend?” C.J. repeated incredulously, then frowned. “Wait, you’ve been watching me? How?”
“Well, I don’t know how my dad’s stuff works,” she said with a shrug. “Well, not all of it, but I know he used to come here a lot — Mom always says Dad is simply obsessed with Superman — she comes from this world, too. (*) My big sister came here a few times, too, before she went and got married and had a kid.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1946: The Wish Master and Power Girl: Power Trip.]
“What’s your name?” he asked, a sinking feeling in his stomach.
She flashed him a mischievous look and replied, “Now that would be telling.”
“Well, uh, I’m going to be late for school, so…” C.J. said, trying to end the conversation.
“No, you aren’t, silly!” she said, playfully pushing him with one hand. “We have all the time in the world!”
“Look, I don’t want to be mean or anything,” C.J. began, “but I’m really a bit old for you, and besides, I already have a girlfriend.”
And then it happened — the younger girl’s appearance changed with a pop, and suddenly she looked about seventeen, had long strawberry-blonde hair, and wore a tight cheerleader outfit consisting of a short skirt with white stockings and a Smallville letterman jacket.
“Aw, crap,” was all that C.J. could say when it hit him who this strange girl’s dad must be.
Trying to shake a love-struck girl was hard enough, but throw in the fact that she was a fifth-dimensional imp, and that was certainly a problem worthy of Superboy, let alone Superman or the whole Justice Society of America.
They kept walking alongside each other until C.J. finally disappeared at super-speed the moment she became distracted by a plane flying overhead. Flying away as fast as he could to get to school, having changed in a split second into his costume, Superboy looked back and found to his great relief that his fangirl was nowhere in sight.
Hoping he had a stroke of luck, he landed in a dark corner on the school grounds and changed back into his regular clothes. As he headed for the door and quickly scanned around for signs of the strange girl, she popped up directly in front of him.
“Well, you obviously don’t like cheerleaders — but how about bad girls?” she said, instantaneously altering her appearance to look like she belonged on Harley-Davidson. Now she had a punk hairdo and wore a leather jacket, a tube top, too-tight leather pants that left nothing to the imagination, and stiletto-heel boots.
“I have a girlfriend I like very much — can’t you leave me alone?” he asked, trying to speed away to class once again.
“Aw, c’mon, C.J.,” his pursuer said. “Who’re you trying to kid? You’ve never been able to decide between the brainy girl next door, Jenny Olsen, and the rich popular girl, Laurie Lemmon — almost like you think you’re Archie, and they’re Betty and Veronica! And y’know what I think? I think you couldn’t decide between them ’cause you hadn’t met me yet!”
It was only by the time she finished speaking that she realized he had already flown off again in a burst of speed that would have made Whiz Kid proud. “Oh, pooh.”
At Smallville High, mere seconds after C.J. Kent had reached his homeroom, there was an announcement on the PA system that his homeroom teacher had gotten into a car accident that morning and had been taken to the hospital for observation, so the principal had called in a substitute. Just as C.J. was wondering if his teacher was going to be all right, a vivaciously beautiful substitute teacher walked in. She had scarlet-red hair that cascaded over her shoulders, she had long legs with a short skirt with a scandalous slit along the side, and she wore a white blouse that was just too tight to be believed. His pursuer was back.
Leaning over his desk, she whispered in his ear in a breathy tone, “Hot for teacher, huh, Superboy?”
“Gee, look at the time. I’ve got to get to the next class,” C.J. said, and sped off. But as he went, every class was the same. He’d just enter the room, and she would appear in a different outfit, one of any number of teenage fantasy girls. It was getting ridiculous.
“When did I get pulled into a Pepe Le Pew cartoon?” C.J. asked himself, because every time he turned around, there she was, and he was playing the part of the black cat with the white stripe running away from her. It was all so weird that he began to wonder if this was really happening.
In case it was, he decided that he needed to get away from the school and out of his civilian clothing as soon as possible before any of his teachers or fellow students began to wonder what was going on. But as soon as he flew out of the building at super-speed into the clouds above, revealing his Superboy outfit beneath his civilian clothing, the girl was right there with him, hovering in midair.
“I didn’t take you for the type that liked cartoons, Superboy, but I can be whatever you want me to be!” she said, and suddenly looked exactly like Bugs Bunny in drag.
“Gah!” Superboy gasped as she batted her eyes at him and patted her bunny ears back. “Now look — I don’t even know you — I don’t even know your name!”
“But my dad always says I shouldn’t tell any third-dimensional people my name,” she said, reverting to her original appearance.
“Aha!” exclaimed Superboy. “So you are fifth-dimensional! I knew it!” His pursuer looked at him with confusion. “Well, if I don’t know your name, how can I tell you how I feel about you?” he asked, trying to use logic.
A smile broke over her face, until she started to frown; she’d already guessed that he was trying to trick her. “You just want to get me to say my name backwards or something like that!”
“Well, what can I call you?” Superboy said, shrugging. “Your dad uses his name, and even Power Girl can call your sister the Yellow Peri. How can you ask to be my girlfriend when I don’t even know you?”
With this last question, she was already on the verge of tears. “You… don’t… like me-e-e!” she bawled, tears freely flowing down her cheeks.
“I don’t know you!” insisted Superboy, trying to stop her from crying. “So how can I like or dislike you? I’m sure you’re a nice person and all, but…”
“I did all that stuff for you, and you still don’t like me!” she cried, still weeping.
“It was all very sweet of you, really it was,” said Superboy. “But I do have a girlfriend, and I’ve never seen you before, and you suddenly thrust yourself upon me. What am I supposed to think?”
“S-so you… you don’t hate me?” she asked, her tears starting to fade in a glimmer of hope.
“Like I said before, I don’t like or dislike you, because I just don’t know you,” he replied.
“So… you’re saying there’s a chance I can become your girlfriend?” she squeaked in barely-held-back excitement.
“Uh, let’s just say that I won’t know until I get to know you,” said Superboy, “but you have to promise to let things between me and my current girlfriend go their own way. Otherwise, you’ll not only make me lose her friendship, but you’ll also lose mine.”
“Does… does that mean you’re willing to be my friend?” she squeaked again in excitement, almost jumping for joy.
“Once I know who my friend is — yes,” Superboy said.
At that moment, a loud pop sounded ten feet away from them, and a goofy-looking short man with an overlarge bald head who was wearing a purple and green suit and a Derby hat suddenly appeared.
“Miss Mtzyjnx, your mother and I have been looking all over for you!” Mr. Mxyztplk shouted at the girl. “Your teachers called me saying you were playing hooky from school!”
“Your Dad is Mr. Mxyztplk?”
“Stay outta this, blue boy,” Mxyztplk said with a wave of his hand. “This is between me and my little darling.”
“But Daddy, Superboy said he’d be my frie–” Mtzyjnx began, but before she could finish her sentence, she disappeared with a single snap of her father’s fingers back to the fifth dimension.
“Kids these days,” Mr. Mxyztplk muttered, shaking his head. “A crush on Superboy? Of all the harebrained ideas! Where, oh, where did I go wrong? Girls ain’t nothin’ but trouble.” Taking a moment to light up a cigar, Mr. Mxyztplk puffed away as he put one hand around Superboy’s shoulder and said, “You seem like a nice kid — well-mannered, polite, and always ready to go the extra mile, just like yer pop. But I gotta say, boy, if you ever break my little Mtzy’s heart… well, it won’t exactly be fun ‘n’ games no more, no, sirree, bob!”
Superboy gulped audibly, but found himself unable to speak.
“Cat got your tongue, huh?” said the fifth-dimensional imp. “Well, I gotta go and make sure my baby girl doesn’t skip her classes again. But tell your pop I’ll see him in ninety days or so. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do!”
“Uh, okay…?” Superboy replied.
At that, Mr. Mxyztplk snapped his fingers again, and disappeared with a quiet pop.
C.J. Kent suddenly found himself back in bed, waking up just as he’d done earlier that morning. Only, as he looked at his clock radio, he realized that he hadn’t just been sent back home — Mr. Mxyztplk had reset all of his daughter’s magic, even turning back the clock to five A.M. From the looks of things, C.J. would have to do all of his chores after all.
“What a strange girl!” he sighed. “How can I be sure she’s really gone? And worse, how am I going to get rid of little Miss Mtzyjnx the next time without angering her dad? And here I thought juggling two girlfriends on Valentine’s Day would be the most difficult thing to pull off today!”