The Players: Carikube and myself
The rules: Between 1000 and 1500 words
"I'm just saying, Sam. Those losers deserve to be laughed out of that room."
"No, Sam. Simon tells it like it is, man. He tells the truth, that's all."
"He completely humiliates those people! They're trying to fulfill their dreams, and he mocks them. He's rude and cruel and he's going to hell."
Dean laughed and shifted his knuckles forward on the steering wheel. "Come on. The Birmingham chick in the big bird outfit? You seriously thought she had a chance at becoming the next American Idol?"
Sam folded his arms over his chest and looked out at the countryside.
"Dude, she was 50," Dean laughed.
"She told everyone she was 26!"
Sam looked at Dean. Jesus, it sucked when he was right. "Fine. But they don't need to make those people cry."
"Maybe those people need to grow a set."
Time for a subject change. "Are we there yet? I'm starving." Now that he thought about it, his stomach was rumbling.
Dean raised his eyebrows and gestured out at the endless fields. "Does it look like we're there, college boy?"
"Bite me." Up ahead, an unrecognizable road sign came into view. Sam leaned forward, squinting to see through the sun's glare. "You see that sign?"
Dean straightened a little, his eyes narrowing. "What the hell is that?"
The Impala rumbled closer, slower as Dean let off the gas. The sign came into focus and Sam cocked his head. It was a picture of a car running headfirst into a large cow, the word 'Beware' printed across the bottom in a strip of yellow.
They glanced at each other. "What the fuck…"
Dean brought the Impala to a stop just next to the sign. The highway was deserted and had been for miles. "Dean, what are you doing?"
Dean put the car in 'park' and cut the engine. The sweet sound of silence washed through the car. "Getting a closer look. Come on."
"What? But it's…" Sam watched Dean get out of the car. "Just a sign," he sighed, alone. "Why do I put up with this?" he mumbled, opening the door. He stepped out.
"Here," Dean said, tossing his cell phone over the roof of the car. "Take my picture with the killer cow sign."
Sam caught the phone in one hand. "Dean, what are you doing."
"What do you mean?" Dean asked, propping and elbow on the corner of the sign. "I'm getting my picture taken."
"Dammit, Sam, what the hell is wrong with you?"
"Me?" Sam retorted, shifting his weight. "You're the one getting friendly with a road sign. What's wrong with you?"
Dean threw his hand in the air and the shadow danced across his face. "Just take my picture already."
Sam barely hesitated. "Why?"
"Because, Sam! Because we've been over every inch of this country and I've never seen a sign like this before. Because it's funny. Because it's new. Because I like it." Dean's voice dropped as he looked away. "Because maybe I want to pretend we really are just on a road trip, not having to deal with all this other shit."
The revelation shook him. Sam looked at the pavement and contemplated how best to pull his foot from his mouth. He twirled the phone in his fingers. "Okay," he said, gently. He looked up. Dean looked pissed, so Sam plowed ahead. "Okay. I'll do it. Ready?"
Dean schooled his features and plastered on a grin. He straightened and leaned against the sign as if it were a blue-eyed bombshell. "Cheese."
And Sam stood there, his feet on the solid yellow line, aiming the cell phone at his brother. He felt like an idiot, but realized that if Dean could make a fool of himself, Sam could too. Besides, it's not like anyone could see them. There were only the sounds of grasshoppers and locusts, the rustling, musky wheat crop, the blinding sun in a bright blue sky. And each other.
The phone mimicked the sound of a camera shutter and Sam saved the image before handing it back to Dean. "Here. Freak."
Dean grinned. "Your turn."
"Come on Sammy. Do it. Take your picture with the killer cow sign."
"Do it, Sam. We're not going anywhere until you do." He stepped to the car, grabbed the keys, and threw them into the field. "Whoops."
"Dean, what the hell, man. How are we gonna-"
"Would you relax?" Dean said. "They're not going anywhere. Just let me take your picture."
Dean had finally lost it. Sam eyed the sign, his mind struggling to keep up with the situation. "But-"
Dean crossed his arms dramatically and started tapping his toes. "Waiting, princess."
Sam recognized a mule when he saw one. "Fine. You are such an ass," he mumbled, trading places with Dean to stand next to the sign.
"No, I'm your big brother."
"And that's different, how?"
Dean took the picture. "Well, I'm a lot cleaner, for one. Now was that so hard?"
"You're cleaner? That was lame."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Can we leave now?"
"Sure. Go get the keys."
"No. You threw them."
"Observant, aren't you?" Dean sighed dramatically and started across the ditch. "Fine. We'll look together."
Grudgingly, Sam followed. The sun beat down on his head, neck and arms. Grey dust and gravel crunched under his shoes. Then he got an idea. "Hey Dean?"
"We're not too far from Dearborn."
Dean picked his way through the field, head down and shoulders hunched. "Yeah? So?"
Sam used his hand to push aside the golden ears of wheat as he searched. The bristly seeds flaked off against his fingers. "Well, the Henry Ford Museum is up there. Supposed to be really cool. I thought we could check it out."
Dean stopped. He turned around, squinting against the sun. All around him, the wheat swayed. "Yeah, okay. That'd be cool."
Sam smiled. Dean smiled in return, and Sam felt proud.
Then Dean said, "But you're going to have to find the keys first." He turned away.
"Me?" Sam replied indignantly, even as he began looking again. "We're going to be out here forever, Dean. I'm hungry."
"Quit bitching. You made me do it, it's just as much your fault as it is mine."
Sam jumped as a huge grasshopper buzzed into the air, bouncing off his chest. He batted at it belatedly, quickly glancing at Dean. "It's my fault because I wouldn't pose next to a road sign?"
Sam shook his head in exasperation. Sometimes it was best just to smile and nod.
Dean stopped suddenly. "Found 'em," he announced, staring at the ground.
Sam came up next to him. "Good. Let's get out of-" Sam stopped talking as he stared at the keys, or more importantly, where they had landed. "I am so not picking those up."
Dean didn't move. "I'll flip you for it."
Sam eyed the large pile of cow dung at their feet. Dead in the center of it sat the keys. He put his hand on Dean's shoulder. "You're my brother, and I'd die for you, but I am not sticking my hand in cow manure to get your keys."
Dean chuckled. "Hey Sam."
"Why are poltergeists like laxatives?"
Sam raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"They can irritate the shit out of you."
"Nice," Sam snorted, turning toward the Impala. "Get your keys and let's go find somewhere to eat."
Sam rolled his eyes, looking up into the clear blue sky. "What?"
"What's brown and sits on a piano bench?"
Sam sighed. "What."
"Beethoven's First Movement."