The Winchester Universe As Seen By the Man On the Street
All external POVs, I came up with these:
Guided Tour - a young girl on a boring vacation
Legal Guardian - a school teacher
Night Shift - a weary waitress
Off the Grid - a hardcore survialist
Passenger - a young hitchhiker
Previous Conditions - an ER doctor
Retrograde - a woman walking alone at night
The Sting - a cat bugler
Over Time - an office guy working late
I think that's all of 'em... Anyway, this is another of that type of thing. External POV into the landscape of the super and the natural where the usual main characters are still there, just through a stranger's eyes. I like doing these a lot, and I hope to come up with more sooner or later...
Title: Red Dye No. 5
Rating: PG - Gen - Outside POV
Spoilers: General (for aired episodes only)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Outside POV - A young girl in a quiet neighborhood looks forward to the daily arrival of the ice cream man.
It took a lot of energy and concentration to be the largest and most effective pain in the ass you could possibly be.
Some of it was simple. Ignoring all the 5 minute warnings was start. You have 5 minutes to get in that shower. You have 5 minutes to get to bed. You have 5 minutes to get into that car. Add up all those minutes and you got some pretty impressive yelling from one or both parents. Usually.
Not so much anymore.
She idly clicked her tap shoes on the sun hot driveway, seated in a very unfeminine manner in her very girly sun dress from church. The old lawn chair she’d retrieved from the garage creaked as she tossed one bare knee over its aluminum arm. Some of her efforts were more thought out and infinitely more subtle. Like annoying her mother by walking around in the backyard with her dance shoes on. Cutting her own bangs with the sewing shears. Using the Bedazzler on their Irish Setter’s proud leather collar. Playing with the hose just after her father had washed and waxed their new car. The possibilities were as endless as the flavors and shades of Gatorade her part time soccer coach dad kept stocked in their rec room.
The late afternoon was hot and the backyard offered a lot of shade and her own personal swing set but she had no time for that stuff. She had work to do. Looking up and down the empty street she blew at her sweaty bangs in annoyance. She wished she’d at least thought to bring some reading material out here while she waited. Her mother had seen her walk out the door in the special dress reserved only for Sundays and hadn’t said a word. It was almost impossible to get anything out of them these days.
Not ever since what happened.
The kid had lived at the very end of her street but he had sat everyday practically right next to her in class. Everyone made fun of his last name because it sounded a lot like ‘smelly’. It was strange sitting in her classroom all day long with the empty desk that now sat beside her instead. She kept thinking someone ought to take it away. Hide it. Lock it up in some closet and never take it back out again.
Her parents had gone to the funeral and left her with the babysitter. That had been two weeks ago but ever since then everything had changed. Her street got quiet. No one played outside anymore. She herself was restricted to in-view only areas which happened to include several square yards of prime driveway location. No matter what she did or how hard she tried, she couldn’t seem to get much more than the occasional stern word from her now subdued and startled guardians. She wasn’t reprimanded when she didn’t finish her vegetables. There was all the cake she wanted afterwards if that was on her mind.
Her bedtime was accompanied by her mother making sure her door was wide open. Small but long kisses on her forehead and strange shaking hands that stroked back her hair as they mumbled goodnight.
The steady click-clack of her metal shod toe to heel cadence on the concrete suddenly paused.
Sitting straight up in her seat like she imagined one of those meerkats on Animal Planet might do, she finally heard it. It came almost every day almost at the exact same time give or take an hour. Barely able to keep the smile off her face, she saw the doors of a few near by houses open. Kids she only saw in solemn silence in school were peeking their heads out into the bright dusky heat of the afternoon.
She stood up and bounced on her toes in excitement.
There was no telling why or how but their street had a new visitor that came rain or shine. She, herself could hardly believe her own luck. These things always happened on TV and in movies but she had never seen one roll down her very own actual road before. The music was always ahead of it, chimed loud and clear on some speakers. When it crested over the hill she straightened out her dress and glanced back at the living room window. Her mother was there, just behind the part of the curtain and the gray haze of the window screen.
Her mother nodded.
With a small victory cheer to herself she clacked down into the forbidden no man’s zone of the driveways end and into the even murkier territory of the asphalt. Several other kids were taking the same path as she was, walking and running to the parked cheerful white vehicle that sat neatly against the curb.
Standing impatiently in the small line her eyes scanned the numerous choices and decisions, plastered and pasted to the truck’s side in a rainbow of artfully portrayed confections. Lemon iced. Chocolate dipped. Rice crispy coating. It even had sundaes if your mom gave you more than a dollar to spend. She wasn’t sure why she always agonized over her selection up until the very moment she was the one standing at the chin high counter at the truck’s side. It wasn’t as if she ever got anything different.
“Strawberry ice cream sandwich?”
She blushed a little when she realized the ice cream man had her daily request memorized. Carefully putting the dollar on the counter she waited for the magical request to be handed to her.
“Hot today huh?”
She nodded, unwrapping the already melty sandwich and starting the serene ritual of licking it up both its sides first.
“Not a whole lot of customers.” The man observed, looking out behind her to the three or so children that had formed the line. “Where is everybody?”
Shrugging, she was more intent on her ice cream disappearing than any conversation with some ice cream guy. He’d been the same one that had driven the truck every time she had seen it roll by her home. Looking up at him between licks, she thought he didn’t really dress or seem much like any ice cream guy. At least the ones she had in her head. They were always old men in white overalls with small round glasses that smiled a lot.
Not this person.
He smiled a lot sure, but he was wearing some ancient black T-shirt with a rock band that looked like the old crusty ones on her dad’s precious lame records. That and some even older jeans. It kind of reminded her of the creepy men that ran the rides at the yearly carnival that set up on the old stretch of Taylor’s farm at the edge of town. Although, she had to admit, this guy didn’t reek like cigarettes and disgusting BO from never ever washing your clothes. And his hair wasn’t in some greasy gross pony tail either, it was chopped short and seemed kind of clean.
The guy had seated himself comfortably behind the counter and had gotten a popsicle of his own. A red one.
“Red’s the best kind.” She told him.
“That’s what some may believe,” He said thoughtfully. “But in all actuality, it’s totally not true.”
Pausing on her quickly liquefying mess, she regarded him doubtfully. Everyone knew the best was red. She ate the red ones first out of the box every time before her dad even knew they even had popsicles in the house.
“Now, I can see from the look in yer eyes that you think I’m full of sh—uh, that I’m yankin’ yer chain.”
She wasn’t exactly sure what he meant but she got the gist.
“Red is cherry.” She further explained. Blowpops. Twizzlers. Bubblicious. Lifesavers. Pie. Coke. Any dumb head that knew anything knew that cherry was where it was happening.
“Yeah, yeah, but the really good ones… well,” Hesitating before setting his crossed ankles up on the counter, he took a long solicitous slurp off his red pop. “I’m not sure I should say.”
Blinking up at him, she felt herself chewing at her lip. If he was an ice cream guy than he probably knew his stuff. If there was a popsicle out there somewhere that was better than red than she was going to find out what the heck it was.
“Where do kids get to play around here anyway?”
The question came out of no where but for some reason it didn’t seem all that strange to her. If she saw her empty boring old road she’d wonder where all the action was too.
“Driveway.” She pointed as she licked what was left on the pink sticky wrapper.
Looking around she saw that all of the other truck’s small patrons had wandered back into their own fenced in guarded areas. She was the only one still standing around without even any ice cream left to be eating. Feeling a little stupid she wondered if she should just leave. But for some reason, she didn’t want to. Not just yet.
“Driveway?” He repeated incredulously, bravely biting the top off his ice and chewing it. “That must suck.”
“It does suck.” She redirected her arm down the street. “Used to play down there.”
Sighing a little she let her arm drop. That way was the end of the cul-de-sac. That was where old ‘smelly’ had lived. The house was empty now. She had seen moving trucks there right after the funeral and no one ever said anything after that. But what she was really thinking about was the spot right behind where the crumbling curb of the circle ended and the woods began.
“There’s statues.” She told him. “And old stones.”
You didn’t have to go too far to get to it either. It was a break in the tangle of the forest, almost garden like with the overgrown vines and thick carpet of green moss that grew underfoot. She sometimes liked to read the dates out loud and she liked one stone slab in particular because it had her very own birthday on it with just a different year. She missed going back there all the time. It was kind of peaceful.
Looking up she found that the man had been waiting to see if she had any more to say. He looked so interested she quickly tried to think of anything else he might like to hear.
“Purple ones? They’re- they’re ok too?”
With a grin, the ice cream man bit down on the flat red tinged stick, his lips stained the same. She giggled a little bit when he checked his own redder tongue in the side mirror that jutted out from the counter’s edge.
“I better get goin’. This thing tops out at about 35 even with the pedal to the metal.” He mumbled to her confidentially as he stood up and stretched. “And well, thanks.”
She wasn’t sure what he was thanking her for so she shrugged.
“Oh and uh, here.”
Staring at the dollar, she saw it was the same carefully folded one given to him for her ice cream. It seemed that he was now apparently giving it right back. No one did that. She cocked her head at the weird guy.
“What for?” She asked cautiously.
“Ya know,” He sighed and took a good look down at the far end of her street. “Just in case my route changes.”
Reaching out to take the money, she felt something in her stomach flip and then sink down to her tap shoes. The truck wasn’t going to be making any more trips down her nowhere street anymore was what he meant. Probably because not enough kids were allowed to come out and buy anything.
Looking back at her house, she saw her mother had come out to the front step and had called out her name. The ice cream man leaned down out of the window to wave over at her.
“That yer mom?” He asked.
“You’d better get goin’ too then huh?”
Smiling around the popsicle stick hanging from the side of his mouth, he winked and slid down the noisy metal slanted door down. This was it. That was the end. No more daily vigilant waits for signs of music. No more waiting anxiously as her mother tried to find the neatest dollar bill in her cluttered purse.
She stepped back when the engine grumbled to life, unwilling to return to her patch of assigned driveway just yet. Lingering in the rising fumes of the truck’s exhaust, she felt a little like those tragic ladies in the movies watching some old train leave a station.
She moved over to the passenger side window, wide open and almost as broad as the truck door was. The man was seated behind the humungous steering wheel and trying really hard to shove the thing into gear. He was using a lot of words her dad usually ended up apologizing for when the football games were on.
“I was just kiddin'!” He shouted over the painful sound of the grinding gearbox. “Red's the only way to go!”
Smiling back before she really meant to, the gear suddenly snapped into place and the vehicle lurched forward. With a small sigh, she listened to her name being called out once again.
One day she’d have a truck just like that one. It would have nothing but cherry flavored ice cream in it. Cherry candy. Cherry soda. Even cherry cotton candy. Struck by her own sudden and brilliant idea she picked up her pace, her metal soles clicking in double time up past the mailbox.
As she walked back to her house, she glanced over her shoulder to watch the truck recede over the hill at the top of her street. Crumpling her wrapper in one hand, she looked down at the crisp folded dollar in her other. It didn’t seem very fair that that miraculous truck should just arrive like it did. Arrive like some gift from somewhere nice and then just vanish again like it had never been here at all.
The forest that hid her playground down at the end of the street seemed darker than the day had gotten already. The sun was no longer beating down hot, but simmering warm as the creeping twilight started to stain the edges of the sky. Slumping back into her lawn chair, she could smell dinner cooking. Filled to the brim with ice cream she knew neither of her parents would make her eat it if she said she just didn’t feel like it. They’d let her watch TV until she fell asleep on the sofa. If she asked, she was pretty sure they could have blueberry pancakes for breakfast again too.
She stared down hard at the invisible line across the cement that sectioned her off from the world as she had known it.
It didn’t seem very fair at all.