HAMBURGERS

AND

DREAMS

By: Karen B.

Summary: Weechester. A short story surrounding that seaside shack in Delaware where Dean found his favorite hamburger. Mostly just young, brotherly fluff with a tad of Dean angst. Dean is eleven and a half. Sammy is seven and a half.

Disclaimer: Kripke slaved over the hot stove -- in a greasy apron -- I just enjoy his cooking.

Have a happy day,

Sunshine,

Karen

*****

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world -- John Muir

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This summer was much better than last year. Dad wasn't around as usual, leaving me at the age of almost twelve a single father to my baby brother, Sammy. I was used to it though, and Sammy was a good kid, just too smart for his own good most times. Things were easier when he was a baby and couldn't talk, he'd just cry until I figured out what he wanted -- now the kid never shut it.

The summer before sucked, we'd rented a trailer in Detroit. A rundown rust-bucket hidden behind the dumpster of crappy pizza shop -- windows full of bullet holes. The pizza sucked, it was always cold, tasted like plywood, and worse they used toppings with wings. The day I picked a dead fly out from between my teeth -- was the day I never ordered again.

I was good at a lot of things, but that summer I sucked when it came to sleeping. Giant-assed rats crawling through the trailer in the middle of the night, kept me reaching under my pillow for my knife. If Sammy saw one he'd freak out and neither of us would get any sleep. I must have taken out fifty rats that summer, dumping their bloody bodies in the dumpster -- man I hate rats.

This year Dad dumped us off in a cool place. Compared to living in Detroit, Delaware was a pineapple under the sea. We'd rented a beach house, right on the Atlantic Ocean. Chicks playing volleyball, blue water, soft sand, pain in the ass seagulls instead of rats -- chicks. A mile down the road, saving us from starvation, dreaded flies, and the Macdonald's stomach ache -- lived the best, bitchin' burger in the world. The biggest, baddest double bacon cheeseburger was housed inside a small, gray and blue stained seaside shack. The owner and cook was a friendly, old man wearing a greasy, white apron and long brown hair tied back in a pony tail -- like a girl. His name was Al , and he was a cool guy even if I suspected Al was short for Alice.

Only one problem, Dad didn't leave us with enough money for anything extra. Hamburgers, unfrozen, cooked by a guy named Al and severed with a smile -- extra. I knew we wouldn't be back this way. Murphy's law said so. Anytime we came to a place I loved -- it was a cinch we'd never pass this way again. I hated Murphy and his freaked up laws. I was determine to set a world record -- eat a burger morning, noon, night. Me, being an awesomely handsome and smarter than the average kid -- devised a plan.

Turns out people are pigs, and the beach was littered with cans. Beer cans, pop cans, and the occasional piece of sheet metal. There was a recycle machine two miles down the opposite road from the hamburger shack. Wasn't easy dragging our stash that far, cars whizzing by, the summer sun bouncing off the blacktop, but the trip was worth the price in the end. At ten cents a can, Sammy and I could squirrel away at least one burger a day -- each on a good day.

Operation moneymaker in place -- I drug Sammy alongside me and headed toward the beach. Garbage bags in hand we got to work. The sky was blue and the sun shined. Being here, made it hard to imagine the nightmarish things I knew were out there -- hacking people up.

"Sammy, score that one." I nodded toward a crinkled can cleverly disguising itself as a hunk of seaweed being tossed around on a wave.

"Why do we have to pick up trash all day, Dean?" Sammy whined, reaching down and grabbing the bouncing can out of the water-- Dr. Pepper.

"Sammy, one dude's trash is another dude's…"

"Trash," Sammy complained, shoving the can -- seaweed and all -- into his bag. "It's gross."

"Whatever, twerp." I kicked at a wet newspaper, snagging the can underneath - RC.

"Why can't we hunt seashells, instead?" Sammy pouted, dragging his bag along in the sand, leaving behind a trail.

"Seashells don't buy hamburgers, Sammy." I dug inside one of the wastebaskets that lined the beach pulling out four cans -- Miller, Bud-light, 7-Up, and…

"…Hamburgers just go in one end and out the other, Dean. Seashells you can keep forever."

Kid was smart. "You're a real smart-ass sometimes." I chucked the Sunkist can into my bag.

"Not as smart-ass, dad," Sammy grumbled, scuffing at a seashell, but not bothering to pick it up.

"As, not ass, nerd, and that's right, pal! Dad is smart, don't you forget that," I reminded, sternly.

Sammy was having a real hard time understanding all the moving around. All the times dad was gone. Why he had to wear big brother hand-me downs, and eat Pork-n-Beans straight out of a can with a plastic fork because we had no microwave, stove, or even a refrigerator sometimes. I was determine to keep the truth from Sammy as long as I could, but it was getting harder and harder all the time. Like I said, the kid was smart. Sooner or later I'd have to spill the Winchester beans right into the little dude's Spidey lunchbox. He already was asking way too many questions about Dad's work, and what happen to mom, why we couldn't have a real house with a dog. Telling Sammy monsters were real wouldn't be like telling him he was adopted; or that we'd paid a dollar, saw him in some circus sideshow and decided to bring him home -- saving him from the life of a freak.

I sighed, stopping to score four Coke cans, two Diet Pepsies, and one Tab.

I glanced up to see a hot blond, wearing a leopard bikini stroll by, just as I opened my mouth to say 'hi,' Sammy started yelling.

"Dean! Dean, look what I found."

"Not now!" I turned, to see Sammy bending down about to pick up a huge, glass-like blob. "Son of a bitch! Sammy!" I dropped my bag and took off down the shoreline. "Don't friggin' touch that!" I knocked into Sammy, landing on top of him. We lay motionless in the surf for a second before the crying started. "Dude, come on." I rolled off to the side, brushing sandy tears from his eyes.

"I call bullshit, Dean."

"What? No! Sammy, you can't call bullshit -- this isn't a game. That…" I pointed at the creature. "Jellyfish -- stings like a bee -- maybe worse."

"I just wanted to take it home to show, daddy," Sammy cried.

"Don't ever touch one. Dead or alive!" I yelled.

"You're mad," Sammy sniffled

"Sammy, I'm not mad." I lowered my voice. "I just don't ever want you to get hurt -- ever. I'm sorry I knocked you down so hard."

"Really?"

"Totally." I pulled Sammy to his feet and hugged him to me. "You okay, little brother?"

"Can we get ice cream with some of our trash money, Dean?" Sammy rubbed his nose against my tee shirt

"Sure thing, dofus. Just stop calling our stash, trash."

"What's a, dofus?"

"You're a, dofus -- dofus." I playfully rubbed Sammy's mopy hair.

"I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces of me -- sticks on you!" Sammy poked out his tongue. "Ha. Ha. Ha." He pulled away, skipping down the beach happily -- smart-ass kid was so easy.

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"Dean! Dean!" Sammy jumped up and down waving his arms. "Guess what I found." He pointed to a giant-sized cardboard box.

"A giant-assed, hippopotamus," I snorted. Sure wasn't a box full of porno flicks. I stuffed a crushed grape soda can into my bag. "Sammy, whatever it is just don't touch it," I warned sprinting over, and peering into the box. "Huh," I mumbled in shock, sticking my hand inside, and clinking around the contents. "Holy fu…crap." I peered up at Sammy. "Awesome! Little brother, we hit the mother load." I elbowed Sammy in the ribs. "This should keep us in burgers for the next two weeks."

"And ice cream." Sammy beamed.

"And ice cream." I smiled. "Good job, dillweed."

"What's a dillweed?"

"You're a dillweed, dillweed."

"I'm rubber, you're glue..."

"Don't!" I ordered, lets just go cash in, okay?"

Sammy and I each took a side and dragged that clanking cardboard box, along with two trash bags full of cans all the way to the machine. That night we sat at an outdoor picnic table under a large red and blue striped umbrella, stuffing our faces with burgers, and ice cream.

We had the whole deck to ourselves. Sammy and I ate quietly. The Pina Colada song playing over the loudspeakers. I watched the crazines of a flock of seagulls -- rats with wings -- spiraling like fighter planes through the pinkish sky.

Al came over and set a bottle of Ketchup done on our table, and a complimentary boat of pickles.

"You're destine to go places, Dean -- a brilliant entrepreneur." He headed back to his grill.

"Huh, what do you make of that?" I took a huge bite out of my Shack Burger.

"He watches us collecting cans for money." Sammy didn't take his eyes off his bowl. "Means, you're a good businessman" He shoved another huge spoonful of vanilla into his mouth.

"I know what it means, bookworm boy." I frowned.

It wasn't normal for a seven-and-a-half- year-old to know that word; or to shove ice cream down his throat at the speed of Sonic, and never once live through a brain-freeze -- friggin' creepy.

"Look." Sammy pointed toward the back of the shack. "Al has the same big boxes that we found all those cans in."

Following Sammy's finger, he was right, they were the same giant-sized boxes. I stole a peek at Al -- he winked, then went back to flipping burgers, and wiping his spatula on his apron.

I sighed swallowing down another bite of my bad-boy burger -- we wouldn't be sticking around much longer. But while we were here, I'd do my part letting Al know how much I appreciated him -- eating as many burgers as I could.

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I sat in the sand watching Sammy slop through the waves and digging seashells up with a plastic red shovel. He had a nice collection going, his matching red pail nearly full. He looked happy. I was sad. This was going to be our last night here. Dad had called earlier today, said to pack up we'd be hitting the road by morning. I didn't have the heart to tell Sammy just yet. I felt bad for him, he wouldn't understand, and I couldn't make him understand. Not without telling him the truth -- I wasn't going there. Not yet. Not until I had to.

"Look, Dean." Sammy waved a large shell above his head.

"Cool, Sammy." I waved back, taking in a deep breath and closing my eyes.

Sammy, he'd really gotten used to this place -- we both had. I got it, Sammy was never gonna be a normal kid, but I still had dreams for him. Like the three of us being a real family. Going to a real baseball game, eating hotdogs, sharing a Coke, saving the can -- catching a fly ball.

I was four when Sammy was born. I'm almost twelve now and still think of him as my baby. I've fed him, changed him, bathed him, played with him, punished him, cried with him, and held him whenever he needed me to. Maybe one day our lives would change, but for now…for now…I'd keep watching over Sammy, keep him safe, keep him happy, keep him close.

"You'll pay for that." I opened my eyes, looking up at the sand-coated kid standing over me with a plastic, red pail full of saltwater. "It'll be the last thing you do, Sammy," I warned.

"How did you know?" Sammy emptied the bucket into the sand, instead of pouring the water over my head.

"I have super powers." I shrugged.

Sammy smiled big, and his eyes got wide. I couldn't help but laugh, if I opened my eyes that wide -- they'd probably fall out of my head.

"Dean." Sammy's smile suddenly faded and he got very quiet, staring down at the clumpy wet ground.

"What's wrong, dude?"

"I heard you talking to daddy."

"Oh."

Sammy looked up.

"I know I'm supposed to be a big boy, and not cry, but I don't want to leave."

I swallowed hard, staring into puppy eyes. What could I say.

"You look cute when you pout, dork." I cuffed his shoulder.

Sammy stomped his foot. "Cute is for babies."

"I know." I stood, dusting sand off my jeans.

"Shutup, Dean!"

"Super powers, Sammy." I flexed my arms, stretching nonchalantly. "I dare you to catch me." I pulled a bump and run, pushing Sammy a little off balance. "Tag, you're it," I laughed, taking off down the beach in a full out run.

Never one to shy away from a dare, I could hear my little brother's feet pounding the sand -- right behind me. I hoped things would always be like this for us -- that was my dream.

The end

Author's note: Please Recycle!