Part of the baby Clex series.
It was a nice sunny day on the Kent farm, not too hot with a nice cooling westerly breeze. Lex and Clark were in the field next to the house, planting radish and lettuce in the soil for their mom. Pa Kent was in the barn nearby cleaning out.
Clark had stopped planting and was looking through the fence. Lex rolled his wheelchair over to see what Clark was looking at. It didn’t make sense to him. The bull was climbing on top of the cow. Clark looked up questioningly to Lex, and Lex shrugged his shoulders.
‘Playing leep fwog?’ Clark asked.
‘Must be.’ Lex smiled. ‘Not doing a very good job though.’ It was at that moment Martha came out to call them in for a snack. She shrieked at Jonathan.
‘The bull’s escaped, the bull!’ Jonathan came running out of the barn expecting to see carnage everywhere. He looked over at the bull.
‘It’s ok Martha he’s just…’ He turned saw the kids and smiled. ‘Ah…’ Jonathan had never seen his wife blush quite so much in all the time he’d known her.
‘Leep fwog.’ Said Clark pointing at the animals. Lex was confused but had cottoned on to the fact his parents were lost for words. He giggled under his hand.
‘What are they doing Dad?’ Lex asked innocently. Jonathan smiled.
‘They’re playing leap frog.’ He answered and took of like a cheetah on speed. Martha looked after Jonathan as he disappeared and swallowed hard.
‘Momma?’ Asked Clark who looked confused.
‘Honey why don’t you and your brother come inside and I’ll explain it to you.’ Martha hoisted Clark up on to her hip and followed Lex inside.
They’d been sat at the table with milk and cookie’s for 10 minutes and Martha still hadn’t said anything.
‘Momma s’plane?’ Martha nodded making her decision.
‘Well really I should tell you about the birds and the bees.’ Martha paused. ‘Well the bees, uhm the bees….’ Martha realised she had no idea what the birds and bees did, she blushed. ‘Well birds bill and coo, bees’ sting, and the stork brings babies and leaves them in the cabbage patch.’ With that Martha gave them both apples and dismissed them.
Once outside Lex shook his head.
‘I already knew that.’
Lex and Clarks bedroom was snug and warm with yellow walls and heavy velvet curtains. Clark wriggled in his bed, something obviously on his mind.
‘X? If we pant cabbiges, we get baby yes?’ Lex turned over to look at Clarks face.
‘That’s what mom said Clarkie Bear.’ Lex replied. Clark sighed.
‘How we get poopy?’ Clark asked, Lex giggled.
‘Puppy Clark, poopy is something the cows do.’ Clark looked confused.
‘I fought daddy called dat sh….’ Lex interrupted before Clark could finish.
‘That’s poop Clark.’ Lex smiled.
‘Kay X, how we get baby doggie?’ Clark beamed the idea forming in his mind.
‘Puppy.’ Lex said.
‘Me say poopy X!’ Clark looked over to Lex's bed it was shaking from laughter, but Clark was getting slightly annoyed. His brilliant idea was being turned into a joke. Not that he didn’t like Lex being happy, but a puppy was very important.
‘I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it, you’re just so cute sometimes.’ Clark beamed at Lex. ‘So about this puppy. I think that if we planted cabbages we would get a baby, mom might like that but she wouldn’t let us play with it. So I think since a puppy is smaller than a baby we should plant something smaller than a cabbage.’ Clark could see the logic in Lex’s though process.
‘So what we pant X?’ Asked Clark.
‘I think we should plant Brussel sprouts.’ Clark made a motion as if he was being sick. ‘I know Clark I hate sprouts too, but we’ll get a puppy. Isn’t it worth it?’ Clark sighted resigned to this fate worse than death.
‘There’s no Brussel sprout seeds here Clark.’ Clark frowned, they’d looked all over the barn for the seeds and found everything but Brussel sprouts.
‘We go to Foremans? Buy sum?’ Asked Clark. Lex shook his head.
‘Dad’s in the back field and Mom’s baking. There’s no one to take us.’ Lex patted Clark’s head. ‘Maybe we can go tomorrow.’ Clark looked at Lex with his big green eyes.
‘You big boy now. Dadda says so. I push you to shop, and we buy seeds. And I not be on own cause I with big boy.’ Clark did have a good argument, well to a 9 year old it sounded good.
It was 3 miles to Forman’s hardware shop on the main street of Smallville. Lex pushed himself for a mile wishing he had an electric wheelchair. Then Clark took over. Unfortunately he was unable to see over the wheelchair so there were a few bumps on the way.
As they rolled down the main street people stared at the weird looking boy in his magic wheelchair apparently wheeling itself. Lex ignored them like he did with the kids in school. Clark rolled Lex into the shop and up the seed isle. There were lots of different ones. Lex started to read out the names.
‘These are the different Brussels sprouts they have Nelson, Content, Bosworth, Trafalgar, Wellington, Darkmar, Falstaff and Rubine red button sprouts, Noisette Baby sprout seeds.’ Clark’s eyes went big. ‘Noisette Baby sprout seeds it is then, we’ll get 2 packets just in case.’
Clark rolled Lex up to the counter where a familure face was waiting. It was Pa Kent.
‘Where have you been? Your mother went out to look for you and you were gone. We thought something had happened to you.’ Clark looked at the floor hoping that it might hide a hidden exit.
‘I’m sorry dad, we just wanted some seeds.’ Said Lex Jonathan took the seeds from Lex and paid for them.
‘Ok boys you have your seeds.’ Jonathan handed them back to Lex in a paper bag. ‘Now we’re not mad at you boys.’ The boys followed him back to the truck that was haphazardly parked on the street outside the Beanery. ‘But you should tell us if you want to go out. You’re too small to be out on your own.’ Lex frowned.
‘You said I was a big boy dad. I’m 9 and 2 fifths. Which is technically closer to 9 and a half than nine which is closer to 10.’ Jonathan looked at Lex.
‘Now don’t try to confuse me so I’ll change the subject. Just tell us if you want to go somewhere and we’ll take you as soon as we can.’ Jonathan lifted Lex into the cab, collapsed the wheelchair and slid it in beside Lex. ‘I thought you both hated sprouts?’ Jonathan closed the door.
‘So.’ Said Clark as he sat back to look at his handiwork. A row of seeds about as straight as a dogs hind leg. ‘When they bee growd?’ Lex rubbed the dirt off Clarks face with his t-shirt.
‘It says on the packet 82 days which is 11 weeks 5 days. It doesn’t say when you get a puppy, but it might be longer. Cause the stalk will have to see the proper grown Brussel sprouts I think.’ Lex sucked his thumb deep in thought.
‘Thas a lon time. You wan sum joose X?’ Clark passed Lex a carton of orange juice and sat looking at the ground thoughtfully.
‘We could use organic fertiliser to make them grow faster. Put poopy on to make a puppy.’ Lex giggled.
‘I fink I wait. I no like poopy I like poopies.’ Then Lex laughed if he laughed any harder he felt like he was going to split his sides. Clark looked at him exasperated.
Side order of Brussel sprouts for dinner again. Lex and Clark had done such a good job growing their sprouts they forgot they’d have to eat them. The house was starting to smell like the inside of a baked bean tin. But however many there were on the stalk when they looked under the plant every morning there was still no puppy.
The plant was starting to wither slightly in the last of the summer sun. Martha did the dishes while Jonathan watched the television. The boys sat together at the table quietly whispering to each other as they finished their dessert.
‘No poopy yet X. Plant is tired too.’ Lex sighed frustrated at himself.
‘We’ve tried everything Clark, we put flags around it so the stalk could see and everything. I can’t find anything in my encyclopaedia to help either.’ They were miserable, and had been for days. Martha listened to their conversation quietly.
‘Momma said babies come from the cabbage patch though.’ Said Clark.
‘Maybe we should try broccoli, or peas?’
Clark frowned, there was no way he was eating peas for 14 weeks in a row. Lex looked at the picture Clark had drawn that their mom had stuck to the fridge.
‘I have an idea.’ Exclaimed Lex.
Jonathan and Martha put the kids to sleep and lay together, warm in their crisp fresh bed sheets.
‘They think that the stork is going to deliver a puppy to their Brussel Sprout patch.’ Said Martha. Jonathan shifted onto his side so that he could look into Martha’s eyes.
‘I thought that you were going to tell them about the birds and the bees?’ Martha frowned and rested her hand against Jonathans chest.
‘Because you of course chickened out.’ Jonathan smiled at her.
‘Sorry about that honey.’ Martha batted his arm.
‘The thing was, that when I got to the point of telling them what the birds and the bees do I realised I didn’t know myself. So I told them that the stalk brings babies to the cabbage patch. This way I get to keep my babies forever.’ Martha smiled.
‘You know you are a strange woman, I’m so glad I married you.’ Jonthan kissed her lips softly. ‘Of course there is the whole thing of them wanting a dog.’
Lex finished colouring the letter ‘h’ and sighed happily. It was complete. The sign saying ‘Brussel Sprout Patch’ was done and would be laminated so it wouldn’t get wet and put by their Brussel sprout patch. The stalk would never miss it now. Especially not with the drawing Clark had done on it.
‘I think we’re going to have a puppy really soon Clark.’ Lex smiled at his brother as he laminated the sheet. ‘We had better think of a name or three.’
Soon they were hammering a bamboo cane into the ground and attaching the sign. Lex looked up at the sky.
‘I hope that the stalk comes soon, because the weather looks like it’s going to turn horrible. I wouldn’t like it if our puppy got a cold.’ Jonathan hurried over to them just before the rain started to pour and helped them inside. The weather changed rapidly.
Lex and Clark sat inside sadly looking out of the window at their Brussel sprout patch as lightning flashed all around.
Clark climbed into Lex’s bed that night. He secretly hoped the stalk hadn’t come in the storm. He hugged Lex close and sniffed.
‘Poopy will be ok?’ He asked Lex, while wiping his tear away with his pyjama sleeve.
‘Of course he will Clark.’ Lex had the confidence that if the stalk had been he wouldn’t have left a baby puppy alone and scared in a storm. Clark squeezed Lex tighter. ‘Why don’t you try and get some sleep Clarkie Bear?’ Lex gently ran his fingers through Clark’s soft dark locks. Two minutes later they were both asleep, snoring quietly.
Most of the Brussel sprout plants were all over the ground, and the sign was gone. Clark ran out and tripped in the mud. He started to cry. They’d tried so hard to get the stalk come, and although he was glad he hadn’t, he was still upset. Lex wheeled as close to Clark as he could and stretched his hand to help him up.
‘Come on Clark, it’s ok. We can fix all of this and make a new sign. Let’s go and get you clean and dry.’ Clark managed to stand up and turned to walk towards the house.
Clark took a deep breath, his body shaking at the sound.
‘Yap, yap.’ They turned around at the same time to see a sandy Labrador retriever puppy stood under one of the remaining Brussel sprout plants.
‘Oh my god.’ Lex put his hand over his mouth in awe. Clark caught the puppy’s eye. It came running toward them hitting the plants and knocking the dew off onto itself. Clark patted his head.
‘Wow!’ He said as the puppy shook and covered him in water. ‘Brussel sprouts are good.’
Jonathan and Martha looked on from the kitchen window smiling.