Robert Singer Esquire, aka the luckiest man on the planet; that's how he felt about his life. He was married to and loved by a beautiful woman who, as a bonus, baked the most perfect pies. He was his own boss, having his own salvage and vehicle repair business. He was always at his happiest tinkering around under the hood of a vehicle, so being able to earn from it added up to complete job satisfaction,
He and his wife, Karen, had a house on site so even his journey into work was easy. The nearest town was a place called Sioux Falls, where the biggest dramas came from such things as who would take first prize in the cake baking competition at the annual town fair. His wife was popular with the townsfolk and so, by association, was he.
Yup. As far as Robert "Bobby" Singer was concerned, it simply didn't get much better than this.
Of course at this point in his life there remained some important facts that Bobby, as yet, remained blissfully unaware of. The greatest of these being that Fate and the Gods liked to piss on folk like him just for the sheer hell of it.
When Fate looked around and set it's sights on Bobby Singer, well…..let's just say that Fate's bladder must've been exceptionally full !
Bobby's sleep was disturbed by a persistent tickling sensation to the back of his neck. He desperately tried to ignore it and to sink back into the dream he had been enjoying; wherein Mrs Singer was bending to take a pie out of the oven. In his dream she was wearing a sweet, and very small, pink gingham apron and nothing else at all. Bobby had been thoroughly enjoying the view. The annoying little sensation persisted. Keeping his eyes closed Bobby scratched at the area, lips curling into a smile when the feeling stopped. He sighed happily and snuggled in to try to recapture his dream. Only to have that irritating tickle start up again. Bobby gave up his hopes of returning to sleep and rolled onto his back, allowing himself the luxury of a slow come round. Until that damn sensation returned, this time on the end of his nose. In exasperation Bobby opened his eyes.
Laid alongside him and propping herself up on one elbow whilst smiling down at him was Karen. She brushed the feather she had been tormenting her husband with over his lips.
"Good morning Mr Singer."
Bobby returned her smile,
"And the same to you Mrs Singer."
Karen leant forward to kiss him. Bobby grabbed hold of her and pulled her down until she was laid, laughing, on top of him.
"Why Mr Singer, I do declare!"
Bobby gripped her tighter with one arm, his other hand travelling down to rest on her backside,
"You're mine now you feather wielding strumpet. There's no escape wench!"
Sat at the kitchen table, coffee in hand, Bobby watched as Karen served up breakfast,
"Karen…I've been meaning to ask…How d'yer feel about wearing pink gingham?"
"Pink ging….? What on earth are you talking about Bobby Singer?"
Bobby smiled broadly and shrugged,
"Oh, nothin'. Just think it'd suit you is all."
Karen placed Bobby's breakfast in front of him then, removing his baseball cap, she kissed him on the top of his head,
"The stuff that goes on in your head! You're a wonderful and strange man Bobby, you really are."
That was the last time they ate breakfast together and, as Bobby walked out to the yard whistling, he had no clue that it was the last time he would hear her call after him, "I love you Bobby Singer."
Bobby had been working on the engine of a green Dodge Colt for an hour when he heard a vehicle pull into the yard. Glancing out from under the hood of the Dodge, he watched as a dusty and battered pick up truck came to a standstill. Wiping his hands on a rag, Bobby strolled over to the truck. A head stuck itself out of the wound down window on the driver's side.
Bobby nodded his head once,
"S'right. Bobby Singer. How can I help?"
The driver climbed out of the vehicle. He was slightly taller than Bobby, black and well built in an athletic sort of way rather than carrying too much bulging muscle. He had an easy going smile but Bobby also got the impression that this guy could handle himself in a tight corner. Bobby guessed him to be a couple or so years older than himself. The man stretched his hand out to Bobby,
"Name's Rufus. Rufus Turner. I've got a problem with the truck an' I don't got a lotta time spare. Think you can have a look see?"
Rufus sat on an upturned packing crate watching Bobby work.
"Noticed the house up there. You live here on site?"
"Live here alone?"
Bobby paused slightly before answering and, although not sure why, he heard himself saying "Yup."
Rufus nodded and was quiet, then,
"So I'm guessin' you don't get many strangers droppin' in here?"
Bobby glanced over his shoulder at the man.
"Nope. Not so many."
Rufus met his gaze,
"How about in the past couple o' days?"
Bobby straightened up and gave Rufus his full attention.
"Nope. Take it you're looking for someone?"
"Friend of yours?"
Rufus gave a short laugh,
Bobby waited, giving the man the opportunity to explain. Instead, Rufus gave Bobby a considering look,
"You noticed anythin' ….. unusual of late around here?"
Bobby's eyes narrowed.
The man shrugged.
"Oh, I dunno. Maybe some electrical problems? Lights flickering on an' off for no good reason?"
"You working for the electric company? Look, no offence friend, but what's with all the questions?"
Before Rufus could answer, they both heard Karen call Bobby's name. Rufus looked at Bobby, one eyebrow raised, an amused expression on his face. Bobby returned his look, his face blank. Karen appeared at the workshop entrance,
"Bobby? Oh… I'm sorry. I didn't realise we had a customer."
Rufus stood up, holding his hand out to Karen,
"Mrs Singer I presume? Name's Rufus."
Bobby watched intently as Rufus and his wife shook hands, looking for any sign that the man was anything other than a friendly guy in need of a quick repair job. Karen smiled at the man.
"Would you like a coffee Mr…er…Rufus? I just came to ask Bobby if he wanted one."
Rufus dipped his head,
"Thank you Mrs Singer. That'd be great."
"Please, call me Karen. Would you like to come up to the house?"
Before Rufus was able to respond, Bobby jumped in,
Karen and Rufus both turned to him. Karen was frowning slightly. Bobby realised his tone had possibly come across as a little too sharp.
"Sorry Hon, it's just that I, er…I'm nearly finished here and I need to talk Mr Turner through what I've done and work out a price for him."
Karen gave Rufus an apologetic smile.
"Ok then. I'll bring your drinks out here."
The men watched as Karen strolled away, humming to herself. Rufus sat himself back down and eyed Bobby, his head cocked to one side.
"Why'd you tell me you lived here alone?"
"Why'd you wanna' know?"
Rufus acknowledged Bobby's reply,
Bobby straightened himself to his full height,
"Don't take offence Mr Turner…."
"Mr Turner…But you still haven't told me why you're asking so many questions. Seems to me you've swung by this way for a reason. I don't wanna' pry into your business so I'm gonna finish up here, you're gonna drink your coffee, an' then we'll be saying goodbye. That alright with you?"
Rufus looked at Bobby thoughtfully,
"Ok man. No problem."
Rufus paused as he began to climb into his truck and instead, turned to look back at Bobby, his expression serious.
"Look man. I didn't mean to freak you out. You seem like a real decent guy an' I'm real grateful for what you've done. I figure you do deserve some kinda explanation for the questions. When you said it seemed I was in these parts for a reason? You were right. Thing is, I'm hunting someone an' I know for certain he's heading out this way."
"So, you're a bounty hunter?"
Rufus gave a half smile.
"Yeah. Somethin' like that. Anyway, this guy, he's a mean one Bobby. Inhuman. He knows I'm on his trail an' he'll be looking for somewhere to hole up. An out of town place like this would suit him nicely. You need to be ready, just in case. Rufus paused, considering just how he was going to warn this guy without sounding as nutty as a 5 lb bag of peanuts.
"I'm gonna give you some advice an' it's gonna sound crazy but I'm deadly serious man. Keep a knife on you, day an' night. Keep it to hand, don't leave it layin' around. And Bobby, you gotta make absolutely certain it's made of silver."
"Yeah. Trust me Bobby, this guy…well, best I can tell you is he's not like you an' me. He's…..different. There's only certain things'll protect you and Karen against him. Might make him think twice about harmin' both of you. An' Bobby? I'm not kiddin' about this. Understand?"
Bobby looked into Rufus' eyes trying to gauge whether the man was drugged up or simply crazy. Trouble was, all Bobby's instincts told him to trust the guy and that the man wasn't simply feeding him bullshit. Crazy or not, there was something in the guy that convinced Bobby to heed his words. Bobby found himself beginning to feel nervous. Rufus pulled a business card from his pocket and held it out.
"Take this. If you ever need to, you can generally get me on one of those numbers, or leave me a message. I mean it man, call me, any time. Thanks for your help with the truck and tell Karen thanks for the coffee. Who knows? We might bump into each other again sometime when I'm not so, um, busy."
Bobby watched as the truck drove away from the yard. He shook his head, looking at the card Rufus had given him, before pocketing it safely,
"Guess it takes all sorts."
Deep in thought Bobby made his way back to the workshop, never noticing the scrawny kid laying on the floor under one of the junk cars. The kid had also been watching as the truck pulled away. The youth smiled, and for an instant his eyes changed, turning to an emotionless flat black, reminiscent of a shark.