By: Karen B.
Summary: The boys go undercover and hunt a ghost inside Walmart. Set early season one.
Rated: A mix of humor, hurt Sam, and brutally handsome, dashing, hero Dean. Guess I'm a skipping record -- a what? A skipping record.
Disclaimer: Like always…not the owner…just the dreamer.
Thank you ever kindly for your time in reading!
Vaya Con Dios,
Paper, scissors, rock had become more than a simple childhood game of luck and chance, but a competitive way of life. As kids,their dad was gone a lot of the time, leaving Dean in charge; until Sam had grown too big for his britches, bucking management. The simple game was turned into a vital decision making tool, a weapon taken seriously -- Winchester law. A fair and square way to end any and all squabbles. Who's turn to do dishes. Who got to make a milk run. Who took out the trash? Lit the match. Dug the grave. Scarfed down the last bowl of Lucky Charms.
Sam was observant.
Dean predictable -- scissors almost always his opening move.
Sam figured Dean secretly wished his fingers were scissors -- as he was always trying to get Sam to cut his hair.
It'd taken eight months of hard study when he was a kid, but Sam had learned how to beat Dean at the game -- when he wanted to. He'd gotten so good, even when big brother tried to mix it up, Sam could predict what Dean was about to throw that split second before forming the shape. Sam was the paper, scissors, rock king. Only once-in-a-while, out of brotherly courtesy, and his own want - of course -- did he allow Dean to win.
But not this time. Not this day. The sky was blue and the sun shined warm, but on this day, something had gone seriously wrong.
Everything started off like always. Sam had spoken the sanctified words.
'On three…one, two, three.'
And like always, the tempo of their fists matched the count.
And like always, Sam threw rock.
And like always Dean threw -- paper?
What the shit?
Where'd that come from?
It was a long fall for Sam off his kingly thrown, Dean's all to easy smile burning a hole in Sam's ego.
"Two words for you, Sammy, bag boy."
"One word for you, Dean," Sam whined. "Jerk."
Dean pointed a finger to himself. 'Winner,' he silently mouthed. Poking Sam in the chest.. "L…l…looooser." Dean drew the word out, using his best Jim Carry impersonation, still flashing an 'eternal sunshine' smile
When life handed out lemons -- Sam sucked them.
"Fine." Sam reluctantly headed inside the Super Walmart to grab two job applications, sour lemon written all over is face.
Peach Springs Arizona was just 'peachy' according to Dean. Three hundred and sixty-seven males. Three hundred and eighty-five females. 6.87 square miles. One hundred and sixty-six houses. Four restaurants. Two bars, and one Frontier Motel.
Up until recently, residence only had one grocery store, until Walmart took over the empty field at the edge of town. Shop at your own risk -- quickly becoming the stores new motto. Peach Spring's population seemingly increased by one. An annoyingly, creepy ghost floating up and down the fully stocked aisles. Scaring off customers. Destroying merchandise. Killing business, but so far nothing else.
If ghost hunting and supernatural things had an off season -- this was it. The brothers were in search of a job. Not much to search for. Sam came across three possibles.
Alligators in New York's sewers. John 'Bonzo' Bonham's face appearing on a rock in Utah, like the Virgin Mary sighted on a piece of colored glass or Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich. Last, but not least, was the small town's Walmart ghost. Dean knew Bonzo was well-and-truly dead -- nix that. Sam had tossed for alligators in the sewers, but in the end, Walmart took the crust on the pie.
Dean had said if the job turned out to be a hoax, they'd stock up on supplies and finally take that trip to the Grand Canyon.
Dressed in Khaki pants and a blue Walmart apron complete with nametag, Sam juggled groceries; squirming under the scrutiny of the latest shopper to brave the store. A little, Italian, grandmotherly type. With big, brown, cow-eyes set behind black, horn rimmed glasses and long silver hair that swooped up into a tight bun. Sam estimated her to be around eighty-one. She was tiny, four foot three at best, weighing her age at least.
"Whoops," she said, tottering into Sam, obviously on purpose, watching as he bagged her items. "I'm such an old fuddy-duddy. Can't seem to keep my balance." She tottered again, hand reaching up to caress Sam's chest, obvously feigning support.
Sam looked for help from the balding cashier, Paul, who was humming some old forties tune.
"You're on your own, sonny boy," Paul grumbled, keeping his head down. "Don't want no part of your monkey business. Had my share of ice cream scoops falling to the dust." Paul went back to scanning and humming.
"I love ice cream." The elderly woman smiled. "Fires up my engine."
"What?" Sam cocked his head in confusion. "Ice cream…" Sam's cell rang -- saved by the bell.
"Excuse me," Sam politely said, backing away reaching for his cell with one hand, still bagging items with the other.
He flipped the phone open. "What?" he asked, irritably.
"It's always you," Sam ground between his teeth. "It was you when that kid threw up oatmeal in aisle four. It was you when I chased down a frozen turkey in a runaway cart. It was you when the delivery guy busted a crate full of rotten eggs, and it was you who plotted that whole..." Sam paused. "Ladies personals incident."
"You mean Tampax Tampons," Dean chuckled. Sam cringed at the word, felt his face flush. "Yep, all me," Dean snorted. "And it's me now, too. How's it hanging, errand bitch?"
"I'll tell you how's it hang…" Sam frowned. "I'm a grocery clerk, Dean." Sam pinned the phone between ear and shoulder freeing his hands. Grandmother's sure bought a lot of food.
"Whatever you want to believe, Sammy," Dean's high-pitched laughter pierced Sam's ear.
"I prefer plastic, young man." Grandma batted her big, brown eyes at him playfully.
"Where's the beef, Sam?" More insidious laughing. "You get it, Sam, need me to explain. You know, you and grandma might want to get a roo…"
"Don't. Just don't." Sam pinned the phone tighter against his ear, reaching for a carton of cage-free eggs. "You suck," Sam said, keeping his voice low. "I should be security, not you."
"I won, if you recall, rock boy... fair and square."
"Dude, you are not about to put her canned peas on top of her eggs," Dean scolded.
"Um, really, Dean?" Sam glanced up at the closest security camera, sending Dean the silent 'if looks killed' stare. "'Cause you could give me a break," Sam whispered under his breath, bagging the peas in a separate bag.
"No breaks," Dean deadpanned.
"Thank you, sweetie," the little, Italian Grandma said, using a lavishing tone. "This may sound cliché, but you do remind me of my fourth husband, Clyde."
"More like, Bonnie," Dean belly laughed in Sam's ear.
"He was a cantankerous old coot…loved to ride the horse into the barn every night."
"I don't understand, ma'am," Sam said, not looking up, feeling himself turning three shades of pink.
"What's not to understand, Sam. Grandma speaks fluent sex. Ha!"
"Shut up!" Sam hissed into the phone.
"Excuse me, young man?" Grandma frowned.
"So…sorry, not you, ma'am, uptight boss." Sam pointed at the cell, giving the elderly lady a weak smile as he bagged a bottle of prune juice.
"Guess the older generation goes for that unwashed hair look," Dean laughed like an idiot.
"Are you having fun?" Sam huffed, cautiously peering up through his bangs to see if he was still being ogled by grandma -- he was.
"Not yet," Dean said with satisfactory. "Just getting started."
"Bite me." Sam stuffed a box of Polident into a bag, ducking back to hide behind his hair.
"Dangerous job, Sammy, bagging food for horny grandmothers…"
"Dean," Sam tsked with disgust.
Snickering, Dean said, "'Bout the toughest thing you've ever done on a job, huh, bro?"
"Yeah, Dean…" Sam's tone, full of sarcasm. "I had to go through special forces training," he growled, bagging the elderly ladies cucumbers.
"Hope you paid attention in Jedi knight school, young Winchester, you sure as hell want to know what you're doing when you handle one of those babies," Dean cackled. "That's no light saber she's got there."
"Dean…just…" Sam huffed. "Come on!"
"My, what big muscles you have." Grandma brown eyes judged his body -- head to toe.
"The better to hold you with, my dear." Crazy laughter shot like wildfire through Sam's brain.
"Um…'eh…" Sam could feel his face turn from pink to red. "Th…thank you, ma'am"
"You're a real smooth, operator, pal."
"Dean," Sam ground out. "Stop." He half-turned cupping his hand around the phone and whispering, "Just shut up already, you're supposed to be watching out for our…" Sam searched for the right word. "Our shoplifter. So what have you got?" Sam asked, bagging the last of Grandma's groceries and glancing at another well-placed security camera. If looks really could kill -- Sam would be sitting in a courtroom chair facing twenty-five to life.
"Don't give me that look, bro. I'm bored sitting up here alone. Besides, I'm all over this secret James Bond stuff. You should see what goes on in ladies lingerie, dude." Evil laughter.
"And you're point, Dean." Sam rolled his eyes.
"What about my point?"
"Get to it. I got work to do."
"Oh, bag boy," The elderly lady sweetly called.
Sam cringed, turning to face the tiny woman and quickly plastering a dimpled smile in place. "Yes, mama?"
"Go get her, tiger."
"Could you please help me out to the car with my groceries?"
"Yes, ma'am." Phone in one hand, handlebar in the other, Sam pushed the cart toward the exit.
"Sam, look, I got nothing so far." Dean finally all business. "Place is your typical Walmart. Prices dropping left and right -- no ghost droppings anywhere. I have the security codes, we'll run the same drill we always do. Give the place one more good sweep tonight when the store is closed. If we still come up with a big, fat nil…"
"We bounce," Sam finished, giving a quick glance at his watch, lunch time.
"Oh, bag boy." The little, old lady stepped up beside Sam, one wrinkled hand gently laying over his. "I can help you push."
"I got it, ma'am, and please, you can call me, Sam."
"Don't hurt yourself, bag boy. Ha!"
Sam grumbled under his breath, flipping his phone shut, and stuffing the cell back into his pocket.
"…Has anyone ever told you, you look like a celebrity?" Grandma smiled up at him, showing every one of her perfectly, pearly dentures.
No ma'am," Sam said respectfully, pushing her cart toward the automatic doors.
"You're very tall." The Italian lady was small, but sure could keep pace with Sam's long strides, walking closely next to him.
"Yes, 'm." Little old ladies sure were cute.
"And gorgeous," she said.
Sam blushed -- again.
"But, then so am I." She poked him in the ribs with a bony finger and winked.
"Yes, ma'am." Sam smiled genuinely.
"Yes, Mrs. Gio…"
"I'd rather you called me, Hazel, like your eyes."
Yes, Haz…'eh…" Sam pushed a hand through his hair, nervously. "Mrs…uh…ma'am."
He could still feel Dean's hurricane force glare. Could still hear his brother's Looney Tune, Daffy Duck laughter in his head. Sam glanced over his shoulder, peering up at yet another security camera. Passing through the automatic doors to the parking lot, Sam's middle finger shot up behind his back -- flipping Dean off.
They walked in step and side-by-side down aisle six -- snack foods. The handheld EMF meter in Sam's hand -- quiet.
"So, did you get it?" Dean asked, shining his flashlight along the shelf of snacks. "There you are." He reached out and snagged a bag of Cheetos, not missing a stride.
"Get what?" Sam asked, never taking his eyes off the meter.
"You know what." Dean ripped the bag wide-open, digging a hand in and stuffing his mouth full. "Her number."
"Those things smell like sweaty feet," Sam said in disgust.
"Uhhuh." Dean munched happily.
"You need to pay for those, Dean," Sam muttered dryly, waving the EMF back and forth in front of him. "Who's number?"
"Hazel's," Dean said bluntly, munching another mouthful of Cheetos. "Like your eyes,' he mumbled around mushy, wet orange bits.
"Would you give it up, already?" Sam shot Dean that same twenty-five to life, look.
"No." Dean smiled big, nodding his head up and down in that sick sort of 'Dean' way. "But you should, Sammy…you know… give it up." Dean batted his eyelashes. "Ha!"
"You suck," Sam grumbled.
Twenty-five to life was looking better all the time, and there was always the possibility of parole. Dean needed to back off on the whole 'Hazel' thing. Sure, the little Italian woman was sweet, but she was forty times Sam's senior. Besides, Sam wasn't into wild times even with someone his age. He had morals. He had couth. He had a score to settle with the thing that killed Jess.
"You and her, Sammy, could have yourselves some wild times."
"Dean," Sam sighed. "Focus." Sam went back to concentrating on the meter. "And don't forget to pay for those on our way out." So he was a goody two-shoes. So. Someone in the partnership needed to be.
"Don't forget to pay for those on your way out," Dean parroted. "Goody two-shoes."
They strolled past the candy section.
"No," Sam ordered, just as five-fingered Dean reached to lift a bag of Peanut M&M's.
"Bro, you're just mad because we skipped over the princess aisle," Dean griped, hand falling to his side.
"Right," Sam groaned.
They wandered up and down the aisles. Dean eyed the Hot Wheels in the toy section, Sam the hunting knives in Sporting Goods. They were just about to head over to Cosmetics, when the lights on the device went off. Sam had never seen readings so strong, the instrument in his hand going completely nu…
"Nuts!" Dean's loud voice gave Sam a jolt. "Buckets full! I've never seen readings so strong."
Sam heaved a sigh, they really needed to stay out of each other's heads.
"Son of a friggin' bitch." Dean shoved the open bag of Cheetos onto a shelf, shouldering his salt gun, eyes darting all around.
"What? Dean, what? You look freaked out."
"Someone just whispered in my ear. I'd say that's cause to freak out, Sam, don't you?"
"What'd they say?"
"Get out." Dean shrugged.
"Get out?" Sam tilted his head to one side. " You mean like in the movies, 'get out'? A ghost who likes cliché's, Dean? Crap!" Sam spun around, but there was nothing there. "It just whispered in my ear, too. Dean It knows where hunting it."
The floor rumbled and cracks suddenly started to appear on the floor, walls, then the ceiling. The spirit, consumed with rage, obviously having other plans for them.
"Sam, I think we're dealing with a pretty heavy-duty spirit here. "I want you to go back to the car. Think we might need to purify the whole store. We need those hex bags."
"Dean, I don't think…"
No time for paper, sissors, rock, Sam took off. He'd just reached the end of the aisle when he hit a cold spot. Instinctively he spun around, just as a large chunk of plaster fell behind him.
"Crap!" He jolted involuntarily, trying not to think of how badly that would have hurt had he taken that last step. "Dean, what's going on?"
Dean's back was to him, salt gun raised and ready in one hand, flashlight beam bouncing all around in the other.
"Sam," he shouted over his shoulder. "Get out of here, now! That's an order, man!"
Overhead lights flickered on and off. The cracks growing bigger, the building shaking and rumbling -- earthquake style. Fluorescent lights above shimmied and glass bulbs popped, falling down like rain.
"Not leaving yo…" Somthing smacked him in the head. Sam's knees nearly buckled, the EMF falling to the floor, but he remained standing, swaying on his feet. He winked up at Dean. Dazed, dizzy, something wet and slick sliding down the side of his face.
"Sam!" Dean spun around facing Sam, an angry snarl curling his lip. "I said… get the hell outta…you're bleeding." Dean raced toward him.
Before Dean could get to him, before Sam could raise a hand or take in his next breath…cold as stone hands gripped Sam by his neck, lifting him off his feet and slamming his back into a nearby shelf.
"D'n," he called out, choking for breath.
Sam flexed his fingers, desperate to reach up and dislodge the invisible, cold squeezing his neck. Who knew black, pin-sized dots could be so strong -- paralyzing his efforts. Sam's head was throbbing, heart pounding, lungs swelling with unreleased air.
"Son of a bitch! Leave him alone!" Sam heard the 'do or die' scramble of Dean's boots pounding his way.
Dean hollered something else in a horrified tone that Sam's deprived brain couldn't understand. He titled his head down only a fraction of an inch. Between the floating pinpricks, Sam watched as the floor beneath his dangling feet opened wider, deeper, edges jagged. Shelves full of toys and other store items tumbled into the hole, shooting thick puffs of dust clouds and fragments back upward when they hit bottom.
"Ung," Sam gasped, feet kicking, fingers fumbling to escape the invisible choke-hold.
They always did live on the edge -- but this?
"Noooo!" Dean screamed firing off a couple rounds.
Bits of salt dust hit Sam in the face. He wished the cold fingers would release him, he needed to call out to his brother, needed to take in a breath. Careful what you wish for. Sam immediately wanted to take that wish back as he was released. He sucked in one breath, blindly reaching out for Dean, grappling at nothing but air -- floating.
Shit, he wasn't floating, he was falling. Aware enough to know there was nothing around he could grab hold of. Other store objects falling with him -- some hitting him square. As if he'd been sucked into a bad dream, everything slowed, like he wasn't even in his body. Sam clenched his jaw, bracing himself for -- darkness -- waiting to hit bottom.