Rating: PG - Gen - wee!Chesters - Outside POV
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Outside POV - A little boy eating lunch at school is shocked and offended to discover another student recognizes all his secret codes...
The tap of his spork was as steady and precise as a WW11 radio operator’s hand right in the middle of a blitz.
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• • • — — — • • •
Hunkering down over the end of the table, the cadence sped up a little. It was imperative to time each strike perfectly or the concise letters of the alphabet turned dits and dahs would blur into one another. If the message was garbled then the other navy ships would not receive the correct information. It was his job and no one else’s to bravely dispatch an urgent rally to the fleet. They had taken on 500 direct torpedo hits and 1000 kamikaze planes. The ship was going down fast into savage squid infested waters and everyone was counting on him to get the message out before—
“Okay children!” An old lady chirped. “All 5th graders with lunch tickets may proceed to the line!”
He looked up from his work in irritation.
The ancient lunch monitor was herding all the hungry students into orderly rows by the plastic trays.
With a sigh, he poked at his unopened Red Ranger lunchbox. That wait with the other kids was never one he had the pleasure of joining. While he tried to loudly make fun of those doomed to the gritty Sloppy Joes and boiled gray hot dogs, he secretly coveted the mystery of it all. There was a meal schedule posted on the classroom bulletin board every week but the cooks in hairnets never managed to keep to it. When there was supposed to be soggy spaghetti there was dried lasagna. After everyone had already been warned of the impending goulash, the next thing you knew there would be glorious pepperoni pizza. The fun of playing Russian roulette with your lunch aside, there was always the guarantee of pudding cups and endless cartons of chocolate milk.
“Last call!” She cautioned. “All children with tickets must get in line!”
The spacious gym served as many functions in the small grade school. It was a gymnasium of course, but the hoops could be raised for voting booths or tables for Bingo games on the weekends. At the moment with the kitchen windows rolled up, the room assumed its most demanding occupation; a cafeteria.
With a short sigh, he slid his lunch box front and center.
There were never any grand surprises to be found in there. Every day his mom dutifully prepared an adequate representation of the Four Holy Food groups. They were all sitting neatly packed in all their whole grain, no sugar, low fat splendor. Even the mildly tolerable wheat bread had been replaced by some wacky no flour junk his mom had started baking at home. Chewing the tough stuff made his jaw ache. Celery and carrot sticks had no delicious dip to drown them in. The dry oatmeal cookie that sat as a sad punch line to the daily joke was of little solace.
The spork was taken back up with renewed vigor.
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He’d been given an entire book on Morse code for Christmas but only one sequence had stuck in his memory. The manual had stated that the short set of three letters were what every good soldier ought to know by heart in case of dire emergency. But he was fairly certain that the intricate signal wasn't handed out to just anyone. In fact, he was positive that only the very highly skilled were aware of its existence. The complex cipher was recognized only by the trained elite of the green berets of the intergalactic special forces squad—
“Yer only supposed to make a Mayday signal if you’re in trouble.”
He looked sideways at the only other kid sitting at the table.
Sometimes the librarian lady would eat her microwave Lean Cuisine with him but most of the time his hour was spent alone. There were exceptions to the rule from time to time. Whenever a new kid was introduced into class they were usually shunned for a while. For the first few days any unknowns were driven into the exile of the corner table until everyone else got to liking them. Nonetheless, it had already been a few days and the new kid was still around for some reason.
Swinging his legs thoughtfully, he supposed the incident on the first day the boy arrived hadn’t quite worn off yet. When the Queen of the Class had stuck out her finger and made fun of his ratty jeans and weird plaid shirt everyone laughed until the teacher made them quit it. He begrudgingly looked at the shaggy hair and the untied sneakers.
Such humiliations usually dulled after a while, but he knew better than anybody that sometimes that stuff never really went away at all.
“It’s Morse code,” he impatiently decided to explain. “It’s not a Mayday, it’s—“
“It’s SOS,” the new kid told him. “That’s the same thing.”
He bit at his lip. If this kid knew that it was Morse code in the first place than he was probably right. He tried to remember what the book said but he couldn’t think of anything but the cool pictures of gigantic war ships and explosions. However, with his top secret code infiltrated, he felt slightly annoyed that his covert operations were being observed.
“I know other spy codes,” he quickly assured the new kid. “I can’t tell you ‘em cuz they’re really secret.”
“So do I,” the kid asserted. “Samuel Morse made up the codes. I know them even better because that’s my name too.”
“Morse?” he asked doubtfully.
“I bet you don’t know more than me.”
The kid named Sam shrugged.
Flustered at the exchange, he figured that any company was better than no company at all. He got up and slid his stuff down to the other end where Sam was. Sam cleared the way for him, regarding him with some curiosity as he took a seat.
“I could tell you another secret code if you want?” Sam offered.
His excitement was superseded by any fear that his false claim would be discovered if required to reciprocate.
“It goes like this,” Sam started tapping the table. “You have to do it slow on the radio. It cuts down the impedance.”
“When the transmission lags on the line.”
“I knew that,” he said in a professional tone. “But-But my radio never lags.”
Sam was still drumming out the new code. He tried to listen carefully but it all sounded like one long indecipherable beat of noise. Gnawing at his lip again, he pretended it all made perfect encrypted sense. When it was over, he at least didn’t have to feign the appearance of being impressed.
“So?” he blew at his bangs. “What’s it mean?”
“It means you have to wait where you are,” Sam flipped open his own lunch box. “Stand by and help is on the way.”
It was difficult not to stare wide eyed into the spacious container sitting between them. Eyeing his own Power Ranger box self consciously, he abruptly felt some shame for his love of the masked intrepid heroes. But now he knew exactly what he was going to start demanding for his birthday that was half a year away. He wanted a plain metal box like Sam's. No decorations on it or stupid pictures, just those huge latches and a place for a real life thermos to fit in.
“Aw man, is that peanut butter and jelly?”
“Yeah.” Sam actually sounded disappointed.
A peanut butter ban had been established in the house after his mom had instituted her newest diet. There was a lot of complaining about how having a baby had made her fat, but the last baby in the house was a long time gone. His little sister was in the third grade and she could take herself to the bathroom just fine.
Trying to position an arm to cover his grossly inferior food, he found he didn’t want the new kid to get a good look at the lame extravaganza of soy cheese and organic poultry.
"Is that real Yoo-hoo?" he asked Sam forlornly.
Unable to help himself, he began digging in wonder through the rest of the bounty that Sam didn’t seem all that thrilled about. It was filled with every item that his parent brutally bypassed in the grocery store. Sometimes he’d escape to wander down the tantalizing snack aisle just to dream what it would be like to have all the chocolate coated, marshmallow dipped and cinnamon sugared crap he wanted. But even the luckiest kid in class didn’t have a stash like this one. The dented metal box was crammed full with BBQ pork rinds, fruit roll ups, Drake's Cakes and not one leafy green in sight.
He blinked in awe at the sight of a full sized Butterfinger Crisp bar.
“Your mom is awesome.” he concluded.
“What’s that?” Sam timidly asked.
The new kid was looking tentatively over at the monstrosity he'd been trying to hide in his hands. Looking down in embarrassment at the homemade sandwich he couldn’t think of anything to say but the truth.
“It-It’s this weird turkey stuff,” he mumbled. “With bean sprouts and cheese that’s not even made of real cheese—“
Sam sat forward eagerly.
“You can have mine?” Sam said readily. “And all this stuff?”
He stared in dazed disbelief at the impossible pile of delicious contraband before him.
“Um, 'cept the rice crispy treat,” Sam hastily amended. "And the Yoo-hoo."
Busting open a greasy bag of potato chips he started to wonder why this kid wasn't busy on his way to being the most popular guy in school. With just a few flagrant displays of this kind of wealth, he was willing to bet it could even score the attentions of the unattainable class beauty with the curly red pigtails.
He shook his head as he sniffed the uncertain composition of a Slim Jim.
“If… If you want?” Sam shyly dug his own spork into a cup of macrobiotic applesauce. “We could trade every day maybe?”
Savoring the first bite of forbidden Wonder Bread, he closed his eyes to relish the forgotten magnificence of grape jam as it mixed flawlessly with chunky Jif. Ripping open sugar coated cellophane, he tried to eat the P&J simultaneously with a fist full of pretzels.
“O-Only if you really wanna.” Sam qualified nervously.
Glancing up to watch his mother’s artfully minced crudité being enjoyed despite the burn of raw ginger, he had to feel a little guilty for giving a firm nod to seal the deal. The frantic pace of his blissful consumption slowed as the doubt sunk in. Even if someone was a little dumber than you were, it wasn’t very nice to take advantage. His mom was always babbling on and on about how you only got into Heaven by being friendly.
Taking a deep breath, he decided to put forth a gesture of good will.
“Do you want to hear one of my secret codes?” he proposed around a mouthful of Twinkie. “It’s really secret so you’ve never heard it.”
Sam grinned back, sitting up in ready anticipation. “Is it another form of digital modulation?” he asked hopefully. “Like a semaphore?”