Rating: R - Gen - Humor
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean shares the benefits of his experience to the young and unwise.
There was broke and then there was broke.
Sam could recall all the various shades between feast and famine he’d experienced throughout his nomadic lifetime. It ranged from the simple worry of whose newspaper to steal to wondering how far the next walk would be because fuel was strictly for the highway. But the exciting suck, gag and spit method of siphoning gasoline out of unattended cars really brought him back to the good old days. Sleeping in the passenger seat was usually an uncomfortable option, not the only alternative. Bathing as well as you could out of a truck stop sink got old really quick. That kind of unpleasant bullshit was what his dad had liked to call ‘getting back to basics.’
The obedient landscape of Mormon country didn’t offer up the usual crowds that lingered in bars for a nice rigged round of pool. The one and only poker game his brother had managed to find he also managed to lose even with two aces riding high. Their next P.O Box was another day away and that didn’t guarantee any plastic would be waiting for them there upon their arrival. Until then, times were going to have to be more than a little tight. Sam supposed if either one of them had had the energy to heist anything larger than a sack of sunflower seeds at rest stops they would have done it. He had never considering eating a luxury but there was a first for everything. It was a good thing that at least water and air were mostly complimentary.
So were lonesome steaming cups of coffee on a counter in a room crowded full of people with viable credit. He didn’t like taking from the rich even if he happened to be the poor, but coffee was coffee and every man had his breaking point.
Sam set one of the cups down in front of his brother.
Dean eyed the hot liquid that was suspiciously not a pure fathomless black. Its soft brown color and chemically enhanced aroma of one thousand hazelnuts caused the apprehension to shift to repulsion.
“What is this?”
“Not sure.” Sam shrugged. “Some latte maybe.”
Dean continued to stare down into it like the heavy cream artfully traced into a foam heart was slowly revealing his future.
“It’s free, Dean.”
“So is a punch in the face—“
“Then don’t drink it.”
Sam didn’t want to admit it but whatever he had pinched for himself was pretty disgusting too. Liquefied chocolate with the barest hint of coffee bean buried somewhere under the whipped froth, sprinkled mocha and sugared cinnamon. They sat in a mutual miserable silence, neither one of them even bothering with the pilfered pile of newspapers or the near dead laptop. Dean arranged himself in his chair and settled into a considering look at their surroundings while not really looking at any of it at all. It was the posture in which Sam knew meant a deep thought was going to be soon divulged.
But as predictable as his brother could be, Sam wasn’t really expecting what came out of his mouth in a conversational tone of voice that carried much too loudly to the packed afternoon shoppers around them.
“You know when you haven’t whacked off in like, I dunno, a real long time?”
Sam pretended not to notice the woman at the table directly next to them almost knock her chair over in the effort to get up. She hastily grabbed up her bags and began quickly herding her two small children away.
“Man, once I was going on a major draught. I’m talkin' over two solid weeks without even a courtesy shake in the shower.”
With a rise of his eyebrows, Sam was privately impressed. He personally hadn’t been able to get across the 24 hour mark since his biological odometer struck puberty. But there was no way in hell he was about to let his brother in on that one. Thinking more on it, he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and chewed at the inside of his lip. The past few years of what he considered his own clandestine attempts of privacy between one bathroom motel wall unexpectedly came painfully into focus. He frowned with the sudden realization that his brother might already actually know what his daily habits were whether he declared them or not.
“It was after about ten days of road. I’m talkin’ not even any sleep unless I was behind the wheel and the highway gave me five minutes of decent straight ahead.”
Sam heard a man behind them clear his throat loudly behind his raised newspaper.
“Turned out dad had to split town for one night and I ended up in the motel alone.” Dean sat back and fondly smiled like he was recalling a momentous sports event. “I mean I had the entire place all to myself.”
Sam knew how often the words ‘Winchester’ and ‘Alone’ appeared in the same sentence. He could remember many insane stretches of time where none of them had rested or stopped for anything at all. This particular scenario didn’t immediately come to mind but he could think of plenty like it and he was always somewhere in the picture. His brother noticed the alarmed look on his face.
“Nah, don’t worry, this was when you were out in Cali doin’ your thing.”
Sam felt a certain measure of relief.
“So I had a whole night completely to myself and I decided it was time to go all out.” Dean continued seriously. “You know, really go to town and do it right. I didn’t turn on a radio or a TV or anything. It was a total free for all.”
Although Sam had spent two entire years in the presence of a woman that was completely willing to be naked with him when required, he did know the type of giddy liberation his brother was referring to.
“I was workin’ it like an Olympic hopeful. I didn’t even make it to a mattress.” His brother recounted in a vague disbelief. “I mean if there had been a chick in the room she would have pressed charges or at least tried to defend herself.”
Sam decided not to ask what that meant.
“When it was all over I was thinking, huh, should I get up off the floor and even try to fix that lamp? Should I even think about round two or ya know, just go to sleep and let nature take its course?”
Sam decided not to ask what that meant either. He was summarily startled by a hand slamming down onto the table.
“Best ten seconds ever.” Dean stated emphatically. “But then I heard something.”
His brother paused in his tale to experimentally sip at his beverage. The unintentional ominous hang of the sentence reminded Sam of those passages in the bible when a prophet was suddenly made audience upon the uttered word of God. Although Sam doubted that the next part was going to include any confounding revelations, he was intrigued despite himself. There weren’t too many stories in his brother’s iniquitous stash of unusual incidents that he hadn’t already heard so many times that he couldn't recite on demand.
Sam watched the obligatory grimace over the caramel nutmeg powder sugared caffeine before the event could further unfold.
“Damn it.” Dean swallowed in disgust. “I-It’s like someone homogenized the Olsen Twins.”
“Finish the story.”
“So I look up, and this 100 year old Hispanic guy in overalls comes out of the bathroom with a mop.”
“Dude had been in there the whole time. I think he told me he was in there to replace the towels or something.” Dean shook his head with a gesture which indicated that the details of the man’s presence were clearly irrelevant. “I’m really not sure cuz he was out of there pretty quick.”
Sam waited to see if that was the end of the account. As he suspected it wasn’t.
“There’s a moral here, Sammy.” Dean nodded as he choked down another sip. “A lesson to be learned.”
“Always clear the can?” Sam guessed.
“Don’t ever work for house keeping—“
“No.” Dean pointed at him solemnly. “The moral is no good ever comes from neglect.”
Sam let his sickening candy water warm his hands instead of giving him diabetes. Tilting his head back to soak in some of the lingering sunlight, he thoughtfully considered his brother’s somber warning. Two weeks was quite a span of time to let that kind of thing go without maintenance. If he had learned anything of use with the time he had spent on the planet so far, it was that precious time in of itself was of the essence.
“God did create the world in seven days.”
“Exactly.” Dean grinned but then faltered. “Wait, what?”
Family lore was an important thing to have he supposed. Oral traditions of feats and tragedies were as imperative as photographs and yellowed birth certificates. He could only hope he would have equally beautiful epiphanies to share one day when he was an old man. Kind of like the elderly guy with the mop. Sam was pretty sure that poor soul was doomed to retelling a dramatically different version of the story until the day he died.
Rotating his coffee cup, he noticed a small promotional peel off on its side. Picking it off the cardboard he smiled at the tiny but cheerful announcement that he had just won a sandwich. One whole entire sandwich and another one half off of equivalent or comparable value. He pulled together their scattered belongings and tossed the nearly full cup into the trash.
“Hey.” Dean added. “I fixed the lamp too.”
Sam even hoped his own tales would have just as reasonable endings.