The prompt- "www(dot)strange-facts(dot)com/funnypic175.html"
The players- A-Blackwinged-Bird and myself.
The rules- between 1000 and 1500 words
The Cow"Did you see the sign?"
"The yellow one back there." Sam thumbed over his shoulder to the darkened road behind them. The flashlight in his hand moved, the single beam wavering against the blackened interior.
"You've got to be a bit more specific there, Sammy."
"The one with the black cow painted on it," Sam said slowly, deliberately.
"No, didn't see it."
"You're kidding me. The thing was plainly visible."
"So, it's a sign depicting a car impacting with a cow." Sam made a smacking sound with the palms of his hands. "Hitting one of those suckers makes a hell of a mess, Dean."
"Huh." Dean pursed his lips, shrugged and kept the pedal to the metal. The headlights cut a swathe of light through the resistant night.
"You should slow down," Sam said. His clothes made a shuffling sound as he shifted against the leather bench seat.
"You feeling a bit nervous there, Sammy? Are cows giving you the whole clown itchies? You know they're just big beef patties on legs. Ain't nothing to worry about."
Sam made a snorting sound and Dean glanced at him. The younger man sat stiffly, hands clenched at his sides, neck arched forward like a turtle peeking from its shell. A shaggy headed turtle who was going to give himself whiplash if he didn't loosen up.
"Relax, dude. If we see a cow, I'll stop. Let you take photos even."
"You are such a jerk."
Dean smirked, returned his attention to the road and flexed his arms. "We need to make the roadhouse by morning."
"Ellen will wait for us."
"Maybe. Maybe not."
"She won't wait if we turn into beef patties."
Dean grinned at that. Because, really, it was hard not to. "We're not going to hit—"
Dean wrenched the wheel to the right, threw the Impala into the gravel verge as several hundred pounds of fillet mignon stared balefully at them from the centre of the road. Sam made a gargled distressed sound and the Chevy lost traction.
"Son of a—"
The wheel burned Dean's palms as the backend whipped out. Stones ricocheted against the undercarriage with the force and regularity of machine gun pellets. Force pressed Dean hard against the seat and headlight beams cast a crazed lightshow against grass and wheat along the side of the road. Dean wrenched the wheel back, regained control and the cow flashed past in a blur.
Milliseconds later, they were back on the blacktop. Back in control.
"See, what wasn't so bad," Dean said. He spoke loudly, confidently, though his pulse stuttered and his mouth had gone dry.
"Stop the car."
Dean checked the rearview. He couldn't see the cow, but knew they hadn't hit it.
"Dean, you have to stop."
Dean glanced at his brother and touched the brake pedal. "Sam?"
As soon as momentum ceased, Sam climbed out of the cab and started down the road. His flashlight beam pivoted into the darkness. Dean shoved the car into park and followed.
"We didn't hit it," Dean said.
"Then what are you doing?"
Dean caught up to his brother, ground to a halt and stared. Sam had his palms pressed against the cow's flanks, biceps bulging as he struggled to coax the grass chomping beast off the bitumen.
"Don't just stand there," Sam said, his breath forming half puffs into the cool night air. "Help me."
"Dude, you're kidding me? I'm not touching that thing." Dean took a step back, his nose twitching against the unpleasantly ripe odor of fresh cow dung. "And you're not getting back in the car smelling of it either."
"Dean, just help me."
"Help you do what?"
"Get it off the road."
"It's a traffic hazard."
"I don't see any traffic."
"We were traffic, and we were almost killed."
"Not quite." Dean folded his arms across his chest and locked his knees. He looked around, taking in the flat bare field, star pocked sky and one huge cow ass. "I read once that a guy died from methane asphyxiation. Cow farted on him. I think you should step away before it… you know."
"Can you be serious."
"I am being serious. Anyway, if you move it off the road, it'll just go back on again."
"Not if we put it in a field."
"I don't see a gate around here anywhere." Dean made a mock show of looking around.
"There's one over there." Sam pointed toward the side of the road. "About fifty feet up."
Dean squinted. "You got lazer vision too now?"
"The headlights lit it after we hit the verge."
"Oh." Dean shrugged and watched his brother with something close to amusement. "That's not working," he observed after several minutes had passed.
"Really, Dean." Sam stepped back, his arms akimbo. "Thing's would run a lot smoother if you helped."
Dean arched his eyebrows and eyed the bovine cautiously. "Sam, I'm serious, this isn't our problem. There are signs warning that there might be cows on the road. You saw them. If Daisy here wants to bask in the moonlight, then who are we to trample on her dreams."
"Daisy is a traffic hazard. And yes, there is one sign, which you didn't see, so evidently it's not very effective."
"We did okay."
"Not everyone drives like you, Dean."
"You got a problem with my driving?" Dean said heatedly. His shoulders stiffened and warmth flooded his face. "Because I'm tired of your—"
"No," Sam said, cutting him off. "I don't." The younger man looked up, his eyes shining with moist honesty. "And, that was a compliment you jerk."
Sam's gaze held, unwavering. "Yeah, oh. Can we just do this?"
Sam sighed heavily, and pressed a shoulder against the cow's rather massive flank. "Someone might be killed."
Sam grunted as he leaned against the beast, the forceful shove evoking little more than an annoyed sounding snort. "Dean, can you help?"
"Do I have to?" Dean shuffled forward, his fingers clenched into the fabric folds of his jacket. "It stinks."
"I'm not asking you to marry the damned thing, just help me shift it off the road."
"There's probably no-one going to come this way for the rest of the night anyway. We haven't seen any other cars."
"Don't stand near the back."
Dean quickly side-stepped, still keeping back. "Can't we just coax it with something?"
"You got something?"
Dean looked over his shoulder to the Impala. "You think cows eat M&M's?"
"Chocolate has milk in it."
Sam jabbed toward the ground. "Here."
"That's awfully close."
"Fine. Keep your jocks on." He moved in beside his brother and gingerly pushed at the cow's flank. Thinly furred muscle slid firm beneath his hands and the animal kicked one hoof against the pavement. "You think she's ticklish?"
"Let's just get this done, Dean."
Twenty minutes later – mud splattered and cow shit speckled – Dean sat behind the wheel of the Impala, Sam beside him. Daisy watched them from behind the fence, the headlights reflecting in her opalescent eyes.
Dean wiped his hands on his thighs, grimacing as something sloughed off his fingers onto his jeans. He feared it might be cow dung, and tried not to think about it. Sam snickered and Dean glowered at him.
"You knew she was going to take a dump."
"How would I know?" Sam retorted, and his voice sounded too high, and a little choked.
Dean frowned, suspicious. "You gaped and pointed. Sam, words are more effective, even a yell maybe. Anything other than standing there staring. What the hell were you thinking?"
Sam hiccupped, his eyes wide. He knuckled one hand to his mouth. "Dude, the look on your face."
"The bitch shat on me."
"Oh God," Sam whimpered as his face reddened, his eyes bulged, and tears streaked down his face.
Dean watched, unimpressed. "It's real funny," he said dryly. "Real funny."
He cranked up the engine, cast another heated glare at his hysterical brother and glanced out the window. The cow lowed, a deep mocking sound that sounded all too much like cattle-rich laughter.
Incensed, Dean leaned out the window. "I eat steak. Lots of it. Rare, with the blood still running. How do ya like that, bitch!"
The cow regarded him impassively, gooey saliva hanging in thick glistening strands from its muzzle. It snorted, and Sam thumped a fist against the dashboard, one foot jerking in a spastic dance against the floor-well. He gasped, made a bizarre strangled noise and looked set to suffocate on his own tongue.
Dean arched an eyebrow at him. "It's not that funny."
Sam gurgled and clutched at his abdomen.
"You're on laundry duty for the next month."
"Aw, poor Sammy's tummy hurts from too much laughter."
Sam folded in on himself, coughing and gasping. "Stop."
Dean smirked. "So, do you think Daisy has a thing for me…."
- End -