Dean and his younger brother Sam were driving through yet another small town and Dean's stomach started to growl.
"Dude, I hope that was your stomach," Sam said while glancing over at his older brother, who was behind the wheel. "Yeah, I'm starving. What did you think it was?"
"I don't know but whatever it was sounded angry."
"We gotta find someplace to eat."
"Look," the younger of the two said, "There's a diner right over there." Dean looked over in the direction that Sam was pointing and saw a small diner bearing a neon sign that read "EAT".
"A little demanding don't you think?" remarked Dean as he got out of the car. "Hey you're starving remember? You shouldn't need to be told twice."
They entered the diner which someone had attempted to give a 50's theme. Or perhaps it was opened in the 50's and no one ever updated it. By the looks of the place the latter seemed to be the case. The hostess, who looked to be in her early 60's and bore a nametag which read Mildred, came over and told them to go ahead and seat themselves. The only other people in the diner were a middle-aged couple, the cook who stood in front of a grill behind the large front counter, a young busboy, and Mildred who was now coming their way with menus.
The boys had selected a seat in a back booth so as not to be overheard in case the conversation shifted to a subject of the supernatural persuasion as it always did.
After placing their orders- the usual burger and fries for Dean, a hot turkey sandwich for Sam, and a round of beers- Dean got up to use the bathroom. Sam used the time to check his emails on his palm pilot.
Dean returned with a look of revulsion and was about to tell Sammy not to go in there but just as he opened his mouth to speak, Mildred arrived with their orders. As they were eating Dean looked around and declared with an air of disappointment, "Dude, you are so not picking the restaurant anymore."
"What? Why not? The food isn't that bad is it?"
"No it's worse actually," he said looking down at his plate realizing just how bad the food was. "No that's not the reason."
"Then what is?"
"There is not one hot chick in this place. Every time you pick where we eat it's dead. What do you repel girls or something? We really need to work on that." Sam rolled his eyes and ignored his brother. He was more concerned about how he was going to manage to swallow the forkful of gluey mashed potatoes he just shoved into his mouth to keep him from retorting something back to him. He wasn't in the mood to argue tonight although Dean seemed to be raring to go.
After swallowing hard Sam said, "We better find a motel after this so we can get an early start tomorrow. It's still a few hours drive to San Antonio."
"So why can't we just finish it tonight it's only,"…Dean checks his watch…"7:30."
"Dean I'm tired. I just want to take a shower and go to sleep. Besides you had the radio up so loud today that my ears are ringing."
"Fine we'll go nighty-night early tonight if that's what makes my Sammy happy."
"Oh shut up Dean and pay the check so we can get out of here," Sam replied with a scowl.
Mildred had brought the check over while they were discussing what to do with the rest of their night. Dean pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and opened it and found that it was empty. It was then that he remembered that last night while at a bar he played pool with an old bar-hound. He ended up losing everything in his wallet, which came to a grand total of $56 dollars. But Sam didn't know that, that is until now.
"Uhhh….Sam how about you pay the check and I'll go start the car," Dean said hurriedly as he shut his wallet and headed for the door.
"Dean I don't have any cash on me, I used all I had for gas money this morning. Where's the money you had last night?"
Dean gave him a look that said whoops, I'm sorry, and please forgive me- all at the same time.
"Dude, what'd you do with the money?", Sam asked clearly annoyed. Then a thought struck him and a look of disbelief washed over his face. "Tell me you didn't play that guy last night for money."
"Come on how was I supposed to know he was that good? He hustled me!"
"Dean the man was telling stories about how he played in competitions and even played on T.V…more than once!"
"I thought he was making it up!"
"Whatever man, just go use the credit card."
"Alright I'm going, I'm going." Dean stalked over to the front counter where Mildred was waiting patiently to be paid and when he handed her the credit card she looked at him over her horn-rimmed bifocals and said "Can't you read boy?"
"What are you-" Dean trailed off as his gaze followed where Mildred was pointing. Behind her taped to the wall was a handwritten sign that read, much to Dean's dismay, "Cash Only". "And we don't have an ATM either," she stated as if she heard what would have been his next question a million times before.
Dean gave her a look so innocent it could have given Sam's puppy-dog face a run for it's money and said, "I don't suppose you take rain checks?" The look Mildred gave him did all the talking.
After clearing his throat he mumbled, "Yeah, didn't think so."
"Well I can't let you two leave without paying so I think you're gonna have to earn your meal."
With that Dean turned to Sam, both of them clearly confused, who turned his hands palms up signaling to Dean he didn't have any ideas.
"What exactly do you mean by earn?", Dean asked praying she didn't mean what he thought she meant.
Mildred smiled at the boys not a happy smile or even a sympathetic smile- no more of a 'your-ass-is-in-big-trouble' smile. They both gulped.
"You boys come with me," she said, the sick smile still on her face. They didn't move. She turned back around saying, "Well if you'd rather have me call the sheriff than so be it. But be warned cause he don't take kindly to thieves around these parts…" She picked up the receiver for the old rotary phone that hung on the wall.
Now Sam piped up, "Wait, we aren't thieves, we didn't know we couldn't pay wi-", but Mildred cut him off stating that they should have thought about that before they ate the meals she and the cook worked so hard to prepare. She began to dial.
"Wait!", they said in unison and that was all she needed to hear. Again she motioned for them to follow her. She lead them behind the counter and into the kitchen in the back.
"So what are we going to be doing to-" and as Dean took in the entire kitchen he immediately saw what she wanted them to do. "You've got to be kidding me."
"Oh she don't kid, son." This was the first time they heard the cook speak. This was also the first time they were close enough to see the name written on his nametag. It read Larry.
"Get to it you two, I've got the sheriff on speed dial," Mildred added sternly as she and Larry left through the swinging door.
"Man, I don't believe this," Sam said facing Dean, with his back to the enormous pile of dirty dishes and greasy pots and pans piled what seemed to be sky high. "It's going to take all night to finish these."
Mildred poked her head into the kitchen as he said this holding out what looking like two balls of string.
"You boys are gonna have to wear these. You ain't supposed to be allowed back here without them."
They took them and after stretching them out they realized what she had given them.
"Lady, there is no way in hell that I'm wearing a hairnet," Dean said indignantly.
"Oh yes you are or Sheriff Tyler will be down here in a jiffy."
After some grumbling under his breath and then out loud after the old bat, as he had called her, left he finally put it on. They walked over to the large sink and looked at what it contained with disgust.
Everything was covered with 'leftovers' along with the flies and knats that seemed to be enjoying helping themselves to them.
"I think a few stray hairs are the least of your worries," Dean stated getting a little louder with every word, probably with the hopes that they would hear him, "I can't believe we ate here." As he took another look in the sink he added, "You think if I puke it all back up they'd still consider it theft?" His younger brother looked over and saw that a smile flickered across his face.
Sam looked like he was going to consider it for a second then quickly shook his head to clear the thought saying, "Dean let's just get this over with so we can get the hell out of here. You wash, I'll dry."
"Why do I have to touch the nasty dishes?"
"Because you're the one who lost all our cash."
"Well it was your idea to come here in the first place," Dean stated defensively. "We could have gone someplace that excepts credit cards like every other modernized joint in this country."
"How was I supposed to know they weren't going to accept credit cards. I was just trying to find the closest place to eat before you tried to take a bite out of the steering wheel. Now come on the sooner we get started the sooner we can leave."
"Say, speaking of leave," that oh-so-familiar mischievous Dean smile crossed his face as he took another look around the room, "is there another way out of here?"
"No," they looked around the room to see whose voice it was. It belonged to the person whose head was now poking through the door, Larry. He added, "The only other way out is that door to the alley but it's locked." They looked at him with irritation because in his hand he held up a key.
"Don't you know that's probably a fire hazard ?"
"We have a fire extinguisher."
"What you need is few roach motels," Dean uttered as the swinging door closed.
The boys set to work and soon Dean was elbow deep in suds and the front of Sam's shirt was getting more soaked by the minute as Dean slung plate after soaking plate in his direction. He figured it was to get back at him for picking this dump. It didn't look so bad to him from the outside but apparently looks can be deceiving.
Dean was having a hard time washing a particularly large pot, luckily the last of the mess, because it was so deep it could barely fit in the sink let alone get under the faucet so he could rinse it off. Sam took this opportunity while his brother was preoccupied to dry his hands and get out his camera phone. He aimed it at Dean and was able to get a few good shots of him without Dean even noticing. Then he decided to go for a nice head shot to make sure he got the hairnet in. He took aim and at exactly the right moment Dean turned his head to declare that he was finally finished. A perfect shot.
"Sammy I'm gonna kill you!"
Sam was laughing so hard he could barely control himself. Just as Dean was about to snatch the phone away from Sam, Mildred entered the room to check on their progress. They stopped to look at her, both with their hands in mid-air as Sam being taller than Dean was trying to keep the phone just out of Dean's reach.
"Alright that's enough you two. Come with me."
They exchanged looks as the lady again disappeared through the door.
"Hopefully she's going to throw us out," Dean stated looking at Sam as he went through the door.
"I wouldn't count on it," Sam said as he came through after Dean and saw that she was standing there waiting for them with a bucket full of cleaning supplies for no less than a bathroom.
As Dean turned to see just what had made his younger brother's face go that shade of white he said, "Oh no, uh uh. Sweetheart I don't do bathrooms. You're out of your mind if you think we're gonna clean that bathroom. It's disgusting!"
"So you admit you used it?"
"Yeah I used it. So what?"
"You used it, you clean it. That bathroom is for paying customers only."
"What?? If I had known that I'd have gone out in the alley. Lady you're off your rocker if you think I made all the mess in there. If I had, I'd have taken myself to the hospital to have myself checked out. Have you even been in there lately? It looks like it hasn't been cleaned in this decade!!"
"You're probably not that far off, son," said Larry.
Dean was so upset and outraged that she was taking all this this far he could barely see straight.
"If you don't want to clean it I could call the sheriff-"
"Yeah yeah, the sheriff, we know,", Dean retorted annoyed by the threat.
"Well just so you know the last person caught stealing in this town spent six months in the county jail, and all he took were the towels out of one of the motels down the street."
"Fine," Dean growled through gritted teeth. "All this for a measly $17.25" He continued to grumble obscenities all the way through the dining room through to the back until he entered the bathroom, Sam trailing behind him with the bucket of supplies hanging limply at his sides. Sam was thinking to himself maybe the bathroom wouldn't be as bad as his older brother said it was. Dean tended to blow things out of proportion, especially if it was something he didn't want to do. But when Sam crossed the threshold behind his brother he knew every word was true and then some. It was a standard public bathroom layout. Although in this particular facility the floor was completely wet, the three stalls lined up against the wall were dented and the blue paint was peeling off. Thankfully he couldn't see what was behind the doors because he didn't think he wanted to see everything this particular diners facilities had to offer just yet. All he could see for now was the wet toilet paper trailing from underneath the stall and out into the main part of the small, dank room. Next to the last stall were two urinals which seemed to have been out of commission for some time. There were two sinks on the wall opposite the stalls which were the cleanest things in the room. Which kind of made everything seem grosser.
As the two brothers stood there trying to decide were to start someone else entered the room. It was Larry.
"Mildred sent me in here to make sure you two get to work. She doesn't want you here any longer than you need to be."
"Trust me, dude, we're seriously considering the six months minimum in the county jail. It can't be any worse than this," said Dean sarcastically.
"Let's just get this over with," said Sam with a sigh. So much for a shower and going to bed early he thought to himself.
They exchanged looks and then each moved in front of a stall deciding silently to divide and conquer. Each pushing a door open with their foot, they surveyed the damage. Then cringing Dean and Sam stepped into their respective stalls both with their hands safely inside rubber gloves. They scrubbed, washed, rinsed, wiped, and more often than not gagged their way through their disgusting task.
After several minutes that seemed like hours Dean spoke, though it was hard seeing as he was trying his best to breathe through his mouth to prevent himself from gagging because of the foul smell. "Hey Samby."
"Yeah Dean," Sam replied through a muffled cough. He too was breathing through his mouth.
"You know whad used to comb to mind when I thoughd ob peeble who are brabe?"
"Firefighders, peeble in the military, you know peeble like thadt, oh and me ob course. Bud you know who combs to mind know?"
"Who?" Sam replied a little annoyed with the guessing game and- for lack of a better word- all this crap.
"Janitors and custodians, man, dey gotta be like the brabest group of sons a bitches eber."
With that they heard Larry groan like someone had socked him in the stomach. They heard him cross the room and the next sound they heard was the sound the stall on end clicking shut
Sam and Dean both exited their stalls at the same time and looked at each other both with same 'what-was-that-all-about' look on their face.
"Uhhh…are you okay?" Sam asked knocking softly on the door of the stall. The groans then continued followed by the cook stating it must have been something he ate.
"Ugh, if they think we're cleaning up after him they're nuts," Dean exclaimed in a hushed tone.
As the bathroom started to smell worse, if that was even possible, Sam stated, "We have got to get out of here."
Just as he said that he looked up and saw something he hadn't noticed before. A window. It was across the room, adjacent to the sinks, high up on the wall.
"Hey Dean, I've got an idea." He motioned towards it. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Hell yeah! Thank God! We can get some fresh air in here before we asphyxiate."
After removing his rubber gloves Sam slapped Dean on the back of the head.
"Ow!" Dean wheeled around, looked at his brother, and stated indignantly, "Dude, what was that for?"
"We aren't opening the window to get fresh air, we're gonna open it and get out. I can't take this anymore."
Sam made sure to keep his voice so down so as not the tip off the cook, although he was sure Larry was a little preoccupied at the moment.
"Alright, good then let's get out of here. Give me a boost geek boy."
Sam gave him a boost alright. A little too overzealously after that last comment. Dean almost tipped sideways and had to grab hold of the sill to keep from falling into the putrid urinal. He got the latch undone, which was a task in and of itself since it was half rusted shut. With some effort he was able to get the window open.
"Could you hurry this up a bit bro, you're not exactly light."
"Sammy I'm going as fast as I can. It's not my fault you're lacking in the upper body strength department. Now shhhhh!" With that he hoisted himself through the small opening and Sam heard him crash into some aluminum trash cans on the way down.
"Hey what's going on out there?!", asked the dubious cook.
"Dammit, Dean! And he's telling me to be quiet?!", Sam muttered to himself. Soon Sam was slithering through the window and a second crash was heard. Then a third. The third was made by the cook flying out of the stall and into the dining room like a bat out of hell. "They've escaped!", he shouted.
"What do you mean they've escaped?!", Mildred asked a surprised look. "Where'd they go?" Suddenly her surprised look turned to one of question. She was glaring at Larry. "And how exactly did they leave if you were watching them?"
"Uhhh… well….I had some of your 'famous' chili for lunch, that's what happened!", said the cook in his own defense.
"Well don't just stand there, DO SOMETHING!"
While Mildred and the cook were shouting at each other trying to place blame, Sam and Dean were able to go around the building, go through the alleyway, and get to the car which was parked out front on the street. They drove by as the cook burst through the front door and onto the sidewalk in an attempt to chase the car, Mildred trailing behind him.
"Haha, later suckers!", Dean shouted out the open window. He was glad to be out of that hell-hole but he most grateful for the fresh air.
They decided to drive through to the next town and out of Sheriff Tyler's jurisdiction. After spotting a decent motel and paying for their room, they got their stuff out of the car. The brother's had barely spoken to each other since they got into the car. For one, they were to tired and frankly shocked at the events of the past few hours. Both had a hot shower and a warm bed on their minds…..
The following morning….
Dean awoke to Sam on the bed next to his in a fit of laughter.
"Dude, would you please shut up? What exactly is so funny anyway?"
It was only after sitting up and blinking his eyes to shake the last remnants of sleep from them did he realize what exactly his baby brother found so funny. "Sammy give me that right now!", Dean demanded with his brow deeply furrowed. Sam continued to laugh as Dean got up off the bed to force his brother to hand him over his source of merriment.
"Sam, give me the phone. That's not funny!'
"Oh yeah it is," Sam replied barely able to breath. He got up off the bed backing away from his older brother who was growing more annoyed with every step. Sam put his hand above his head just high enough to keep it out of Dean's reach.
"Amount of money lost getting hustled by an old bar-hound -$56,
Money spent on gas -$45,
Cost of meal we couldn't afford to pay -$17.25,
Getting a snapshot of your brother wearing a hairnet? -Priceless."
With that Sam fell into a renewed fit of laughter. Dean was anything but amused and stormed into the bathroom declaring that he would get him back. "Yeah right, bring it on Mr. Clean!", Sam shouted at the closed bathroom door.
Dean poked his head out of the door saying, "If you thought itching powder in your underwear was bad just wait. You better watch you're back, geek boy!" Then let out his best maniacal laugh.