This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race
For the spnbreaksthelaw challenge. The law they’re breaking is on the books in AZ: if you bother the cottontails or bullfrogs, you will be fined. 1670 words, blatant silliness, and PG-13 for language, as always. Title courtesy of Fall Out Boy because apparently that’s who Sam listens to.
Dean was right in the middle of explaining why Blue Oyster Cult was a better band than any other band that had a color in its name when he suddenly fell silent and pulled off the road.
Sam looked around to see if he could pick out the reason before he said, “What’d you see?”
“Not sure,” Dean said, putting the Impala in park and leaving the engine running. He opened his door a little and checked for any oncoming traffic before leaving the car and slamming the door behind.
Sam watched him walk up the road a little in the rearview before he got out. Dean was checking the side of the road, slowly advancing on a misshapen lump about twenty yards behind the car with fur that stirred in the slight breeze. When he stopped close to it and stared down in obvious confusion, Sam got out and walked over. He had opened his mouth to say ‘not another goddamn game of name that roadkill’ when he realized that Dean didn’t have that in mind at all.
He wasn’t sure what he was really looking at, at first, but then he made out the yellow-green, wrinkled skin of a very large amphibian along with the white-tipped brown fur and long feet of a rabbit. The ears were flat against its skull. Both were obviously dead but hadn’t been for long - they both still had their eyes and the flies hadn’t descended. Normally, a frog and a rabbit on the side of the road, even together, wouldn’t do much to phase either Winchester.
“Holy shit,” Sam said. Then he started to laugh.
If they hadn’t known better, they’d have had to say it looked like the rabbit was engaging in a little cross-species romance.
Dean’s tone was a study in nonchalance. “No way this is a coincidence, right?”
“Why did the frog and the rabbit cross the road?” Sam said through his laughter. “Wait, I think it’s an American Bullfrog and a desert cottontail.”
“It’s a frog getting topped by a rabbit,” Dean said. “This is the kinkiest thing I’ve seen all week. And it hasn’t even been a slow week.”
Sam glanced up and down the dusty, two lane road and didn’t see anything else gracing the shoulders, dead or alive. It was hot and dry and randomly dotted with scrub brush for miles. They were only crossing Arizona to get to New Mexico and see if there really was a mapinguari eating people in Pinon. “No way there’s water anywhere around here unless it’s way underground.So where the hell did the bullfrog come from?”
“Who cares?” Dean said. “This is hilarious.” He flipped his phone open and took a couple of pictures of the scene. “Can’t tell me the frog wasn’t roofied first.”
“Dean,” Sam said. “There’s – “
“Bugs should’ve taken that left at Albuquerque, huh?” Dean said.
“We gotta – “
“Not even a taxidermist could’ve pulled this off with such an eye for art,” Dean said.
“They both taste like chicken,” Dean said. “Why did the critters that taste like chicken cross the road?”
“Shit,” Sam said.
A cop pulled off the road near them in a white and green car with a logo that indicated he was with the Hayden Police.
They both watched the cop get out and walk toward them – an out of shape, middle-aged white guy with sunglasses that were too large to be taken seriously. Dean flipped his phone shut and glanced at Sam. “Roscoe or Enos?”
“Roscoe,” Sam murmured.
There was nothing good about being checked out by a cop out in the middle of nowhere. Especially when it was way out in the desert with little to no chance of anyone else coming by in time to talk about it later. Sam and Dean were both wearing their sidearms and it was going to cause a problem if the cop decided to shake them down. They were always 50-50 in how they felt about cops – Sam’s views and a few recent positive experiences had caused Dean to ease up, and Sam had seen enough of what happened in small towns with scarecrows to become a bit more suspicious. At least there was only one. If it came down to it, they’d knock him out, stuff him in his car, and take off.
The cop came within several feet, scuffed his boots to a stop on the pavement, and stared at them with his hands on his hips. “Boys,” he said.
“Officer,” Dean said, and no matter how hard he tried, he was never going to say that word without just a touch of ridicule.
“Let’s see some ID,” the cop said.
The both handed over their fake driver’s licenses of the week.
The cop studied them for a moment, then handed them back. “Car trouble?”
“No sir,” Sam said. “Just stretching our legs.”
The cop nodded. “Try to keep the a/c to a minimum on these roads,” he said. “You overheat and break down out here, it’ll be awhile before someone happens by.”
“Thanks. We’ll keep that in mind.”
The cop started to turn away, then paused. “What you got, there?”
“Here?” Dean said. “Something got hit by a car. It’s nothing.”
The cop leaned around to look at the frog and bunny show, then cleared his throat. “You boys think this is funny?”
“What, this?” Sam said. “Oh, hey, no. Of course not. They were...this was already like this before we got here.”
“Right,” Dean said. “I mean, who would drive along until they found a frog, and a rabbit, and then put them on the side of the road and make it look like they were inventing frobbits?” He grinned.
The cop did not. “You boys realize this is Hayden? You go getting all these old laws off the internet and then go see if you can really get yourselves in trouble or not? Is that it?”
Sam and Dean had identical expressions of confusion on their faces, and could feel it.
“You tourists come through here, think it’s funny to act out all the little laws on the books that no one ever bothered to fix, mess with the cops when they got better things to do? This seem like fun to you? I’ll show you how fun it is.”
He stalked off toward his car. Sam and Dean glanced at each other with trepidation. Sam shrugged.
The cop came back with a ticket book and began scribbling. “Here, this’ll make you kids happy. You can frame it after you pay up. In Hayden, bothering the bullfrogs and cottontails is prohibited. Just like it says on the internet. Okay?” He tore the ticket off and handed it to Dean. “Five hundred bucks, wiseasses.”
Dean stared at the ticket. “For what? Are you serious? We didn’t even touch the damn things.”
“Might wanna shut your mouths and drive on outta here before I decide to take you in,” the cop said. “Put that on the internet.” He walked back to his car and got in, slamming the door but not pulling away.
By then, Dean was using the word ‘fuck’ as a verb, adjective, noun, pronoun, dangling modifier and possibly as the key object in an infinitive phrase. He was pulling a gold medal in the cursing Olympics.
“You do realize, the ticket’s written for ‘Nathan Torrance’,” Sam said. “It’s not like you have to pay it.”
“He thinks we posed dead animals, Sam!” Dean yelled. “He thinks we created bestiality necrophilia!”
“Quit stopping to look at roadkill,” Sam said. “Can we go, now?”
The point became moot when a huge bullfrog landed on the roof of the cop car with a damp thud.
Sam and Dean looked up at the sky in tandem. Sam learned that ‘fuck’ could also be used as an adverb, a conjunction and an interjection.
Sam barely ducked a pair of rabbits as they sprinted for the car; a bullfrog landed on the Impala’s hood and exploded. Frogs and rabbits began falling from the sky, eerily silent except for the occasional sound of a flinch-inducing impact.
They made it to the car and slammed the doors, watching the cop start to get out of his car and then change his mind several times. Several more bullfrogs landed on the hood and then sat stunned for a moment before hopping down. Dean realized the frog guts on the windshield would bake on in the sun if he didn’t do something, so he flipped the washers on and scraped most of it away.
It only went on for about twenty seconds; then the stream of rabbits and frogs tapered off. A final cottontail landed near the driver’s side door and then crawled away, as most of the other animals had.
It was silent for a long moment. The cop car slowly pulled away, weaving around the straggling and once-airborne local fauna.
“Okay, then,” Dean said. “That was new.” He looked at Sam. “I don’t even care why it happened, do you?”
“Nope,” Sam said, carefully staring straight ahead. “Shit happens.”
“Wish I’d seen the cop’s face,” Dean said.
“Wish I could read the report he has to file,” Sam said. “I’ll hack into their system later.”
“There’s really a law about ‘bothering’ frogs and rabbits in this crazy-ass place?”
“Five hundred bucks worth,” Sam said. “Try not to run any over. They’re having one hell of a day already.”
“If any of ‘em dented my baby, yeah, I’m running ‘em over.”
He waited another minute or so, letting most of the remaining stunned animals wander off to one side of the road or the other. Most had survived, somehow. He kind of wanted to run into the cop again, but knew it was best that he not push his luck, so he waited. As he pulled away, another frog was dislodged from the roof of the car and tumbled down the back window.
Dean crumpled up the ticket and threw it into the backseat. ‘Bothering’ was so relative.
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