"Farmboys in the City?" Lex repeated in disbelief.
The lady across from him gave a sigh. "Look, Mr. Luthor. You hired my company to find you a romantic match because you've had five failed marriages and would like to go through a professional company this time. However, you refuse to let us use your name or even how much you make – even by reducing that number by several zeros. Our company normally screens candidates very closely, but all of them are aware that they are lining up to date potential millionaires – that's why they sign up with us. For us to effectively hide how much you make and still find you a good match, we have to go through another company and slot you within their network. I assure you, we are still maintaining the same high level of screening and reviewing each candidate personally to ensure quality dates."
Lex was still stuck on the name. "Farmboys in the City?"
With an obvious effort of will, the lady didn't roll her eyes. "It was a reality show a few years ago. People from the rural areas move to the city to live, but are having a hard time finding people... city people who are jaded with politics but who don't want to move away... finding the common ground. The show only lasted a single season, but the idea took off in the big cities, with a number of people wanting to know how they could sign up. So they started the dating service, keeping the name from the reality show."
"I'm not a farmboy," Lex said flatly. He wouldn't go near farms since his accident at nine years old. When his father had tried many years ago to make him go back, he'd flatly refused and gone his own way. Only now that his father had passed away was he back in Metropolis and taking up the family business. He still wouldn't go near a farm, though.
"They're not all farmboys, that's just the title. People from rural areas is the qualification for their side. You're the other half – the city half," she explained patiently. "Looking for the unspoiled rural woman – or man – who will win your heart."
"That's a pretty tall order," Lex said. "I'm just looking for a comfortable sixth marriage without somebody trying to kill me.
She gritted her teeth. "Will you do this?"
"Why not?" It wasn't like he'd done any better on his own.
So, apparently rural misses and misters that moved to the big city generally had more in common with big city people than they'd been rumored to have. Lex glowered at the girl in her yellow print dress and sunhat and thought sourly that greed blacked even the brightest sunflowers. With a shake of his head, he went off for a drink and then didn't go back.
"I thought you said this would work!" He complained on the phone to his handler. Or so he'd started thinking of her.
"Give it one more try," she answered, sounding frazzled. "We're working under some real constraints not being able to use our normal pool. But this next man should be worth it. He's a genuine farmboy, and apparently very nice. Doesn't make a lot of money but isn't looking for any either – he's comfortable where he is. He just wants to meet somebody new."
"Okay, fine," Lex said and hung up the phone. Normally, she would give him many more details, but he had real work to do. This dating thing didn't need to waste any more of his time.
Lex sat across from the reporter and sighed. Obviously another miss. "Weren't you and your delightful partner in my office last week? Obviously my security needs some work if you were able to infiltrate 'Farmboys in the City' like this." Lex leaned forward. "I warn you, one hint of this in the society papers and---"
"I am a farmboy!" The reporter burst out, sounding harassed. He pushed up his glasses. "Or was. I came to the city ten years ago. For the record, I'm an investigative reporter, not a society one, and I had no clue my blind date, 'Alex', was you! I was as surprised as you were." He reached for the glass of water, almost knocking it over before he could bring it to his mouth and drink.
Lex leaned back in his chair and eyed the reporter, Clark Kent. The reporter nee farmboy really had appeared surprised when Lex had sat down, checking his printout twice while Lex was looking him over. There were enough mysterious things in the world that even with as much of a scientist as Lex liked to be, he still believed in the randomness of things called 'chance' as well. "Okay," he said.
The reporter/farmboy blinked. "Okay?" he said hesitantly.
Lex smiled. Not a full out smile, but not his corporate one either. Just enough to let the other man know he was willing to work with it. "If you're a farmboy, I'm a city boy. We might as well give it a try."
Slowly, Clark smiled back. "Well... okay. Let's try."