Big Bart's 'All You Can Eat' Diner, Maple Springs
"… sigh ..."
Sam glanced upwards from the sports pages of a crumpled copy of the Maple County News, and grimaced as Dean didn't even bother trying to stifle a lavish yawn that stretched across his face, proudly displaying a mass of chewed burger.
Lifting his newspaper once again, Sam took a sip of mango smoothie and returned to his reading.
Sam's eyes flicked upwards again, glaring darkly over the top of the newspaper.
"Bored, bored, bored."
Dean slumped in his chair, staring at the ceiling and making a point of not looking at his brother.
Jaw clenching in frustration, Sam realised he had read the same line five times.
"Bored … bored … boredy … boredy … Boredsville, Arizona."
Swearing quietly, Sam found himself reading the same line yet again; it wasn't even an interesting line.
"… sigh ..."
"Okay dude, out with it," he snapped, slamming the newspaper on the table and scattering Dean's few remaining fries across the plastic gingham tablecloth; "you've been in a major funk all week. What the hell's wrong with you?"
Dean looked up wide-eyed over the greasy napkin that he was scrubbing across his lips, as if Sam's outburst was unexpected.
"Woah, easy sasquatch; who rattled your cage?"
"You did," snapped Sam; "now spill before I throttle you; what's wrong?"
Dean's raised eyebrow had 'I'd like to see you try, princess' written all over it.
"I'm bored," he eventually replied calmly.
"Yeah, I got that bit;" Sam snorted, "just … just read a book or something."
Dean rolled his eyes. "I don't mean here, like, right this instant; I mean generally," he grumbled; "I'm bored with our life!"
Sam choked briefly on his smoothie. "Dude, we dice with death on a daily basis; how can you be bored?"
Dean let out a long exasperated sigh which suggested he was attempting to make himself understood to a cretin. "No Sam, what we do on a daily basis is find some stupid friggin' douchebag spirit, wreck our backs digging up its skeevy old bones, burn the bones, gank the spirit, return to some putrescent diner like this for food that any decent person wouldn't feed a dog, then find some flea pit motel with all the salubrious charm of an epidemic and crash there until the next day when we get up and do it all over again."
Stunned into silence, partly by Dean's outburst and partly from hearing his brother use words like 'putrescent' and 'salubrious', Sam studied Dean's face. It stared back at him, brimming with earnest petulance and three words flashed through his mind.
Mid. Life. Crisis.
Having finished their meal, the brothers retired to their motel which, in line with Dean's tirade, bore all the hallmarks of a giant cholera culture.
"So, what do you suggest then?" Sam asked.
Dean shrugged as he pulled a small pack of peanut M&M's from his duffle; "dunno."
"Real helpful dude," Sam snorted.
Dean huffed and poured the pack's entire contents into his mouth.
"Feel like a vacation?"
Sam winced; "and without the peanuts …?"
Dean swallowed deeply, and Sam paused, watching his brother's throat convulse as 50 grams of M&M's headed south.
"Can't afford it," Dean grunted, screwing up the empty pack and tossing it in the general direction of the trashcan.
"What about we take up some honest work for a while, and actually have some money to spend," Sam suggested; "the garage downtown is advertising for car washers?"
He instantly withered under the weight of Dean's contempt.
A brief silence settled over the room.
"I know," Sam announced suddenly; "why don't we find something really exotic to hunt?"
Dean's head tilted, a quizzical look settled across his face.
"Okay," Sam began; "look, you're bored with just hunting common garden-variety suburban spirits, so lets find something really unusual to hunt."
"I don't know," Sam shrugged; "something like ... a unicorn for instance."
"Why would you wanna hunt a unicorn?" Dean replied, his voice rising to something approaching a whine; "they're nice. Anything that farts rainbows has gotta be worth preserving in my book."
Sam scraped his fingers through his hair; "I don't want to hunt unicorns, I'm just using them as an example," He replied, pausing for a moment before continuing; "okay, let's say … something like Ogopogo, or a mothman or something really weird that we've never come across before."
Dean's face was suddenly alight with curiosity and Sam could see he was buying into the idea.
"The Loch Ness Monster," Dean grinned; "let's gank Nessie!"
"Slight problem there, man;" Sam replied; "there's only one Nessie and he lives in Scotland. So unless you're gonna swim the Atlantic, then you've gotta …" He made subtle flapping motions with his arms.
"Phht, nah, not Nessie then;" Dean grunted; "he's only some stupid big lizard thing anyway."
Another brief silence settled between them.
"I know;" Sam spoke up hesitantly; "what about a mermaid?"
Dean paused. "Are they the ones that drown sailors when they sing?"
"No," Sam shook his head; "they're sirens."
"Do they eat people, or kill them?"
"Not that I know of."
"So, what do they do then?"
Sam chewed on his lip as he dredged through his extremely-limited-verging-on-non-existen
"I don't know; they just kinda sit on rocks and comb their hair, I guess."
Dean cocked an eyebrow; "and you would wanna hunt a thing like that, why exactly?"
"Because they're hard to find and even harder to catch," Sam replied enthusiastically; "It would be a challenge and an adventure!"
"Sam, you know the rules," Dean sighed; "we don't kill things that don't do any harm."
"Yes, but we don't kill it, see?" Sam grinned, gripping Dean by the shoulders; "we just catch it for the thrill of the chase, and then throw it back. Think of it like a kind of extreme angling!"
Sam could see the wheels in Dean's mind turning as he gave the idea serious consideration. A sparkle of purpose and excitement had returned to his eyes and Sam inwardly congratulated himself for putting it there.
"Hey Sam," Dean began, his face morphing into a wide grin; "aren't mermaids supposed to be hot?"
Sam deflated; okay, that's not what he was expecting.
"Well, the ones in the Disney movies are, I suppose," he shrugged; "well as hot as you can be when you're basically half a haddock."
"And we don't kill it – er - her," Dean checked once again; "or hurt her."
"Nope, not a scratch," Sam reassured.
"Unless of course, we find out she's a fugly killer monster bitch," Dean added; "then it's open season. Deal?"
"Deal," Sam nodded firmly.
Dean leapt onto his bed and grinned, "right then, get your nose in that laptop and find us a mermaid."
"Hey," Sam snorted angrily; "how come you're the one who's bored and I still end up doing all the work?"
Dean grinned as he drew another pack of M&M's out of his duffel, "savin' my energy for reelin' in our special catch baby bro!"
He tipped the pack's entire contents into his gaping maw and nestled contentedly back against his pillows.
"Jerk!" Sam snapped, and switched on the computer.