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“Mr. Young, wait!”

Sam turned to see the desk clerk hurrying to the counter where he'd dropped off their key. “Is there a problem?”

“Uh, kinda. I owe you a refund.”

Sam's eyebrows lifted. “Excuse me?”

“Yeah, sorry.” The desk clerk scratched at his patchy beard. “I wasn't supposed to assign that room, but I forgot.”

From the reddened condition of the guy's eyes at eight AM, his mental lapse wasn't much of a shock. Sam steeled himself to hear a sordid tale of mold. Or worse yet, one that would have them sealing everything they'd taken to the room into plastic bags for a couple of weeks. “What was wrong with the room?”

The clerk gave him a look like Sam was some sort of alien. “The TV's busted.”

“Oh. Well, we didn't even turn it on, so no problem.” Sam started to turn away again.

“Listen, if my boss finds out I've screwed up again, I'm kicked to the curb.” The clerk opened the register and held out some bills. “So you get your money back, I erase your name off the register and what the ol' fart don't know won't hurt me, right?”

“Anything to help the unemployment rate,” Sam told him, and took the money with a smile. Dean was not going to believe this.

-oOo-

“I'll have the breakfast quesadilla and a big iced tea,” Dean told their young waitress and watched her harried retreat back towards the kitchen. “Wow, somebody is not having a good morning.”

Sam nodded, but his attention was more on his laptop than on their flustered waitress.

“Finding anything?” Dean asked.

"Nothing. No demon signs, no wackadoo deaths, not even a UFO sighting."

"Nobody claiming Bigfoot fathered their love child?" Dean grinned.

"Not today, at least."

The arrival of the waitress with their food interrupted their low-voiced conversation. Sam was more focused on getting his side of the table cleared off than what was set down in front of Dean.

“Uh, I don't know what this is, but it's not a quesadilla.”

Sam looked up to see Dean staring at his food like it was a subterranean life form.

“You ordered quesadilla, not the quiche?” The waitress pulled her pad out of her pocket and groaned. “Oh no-- I can't have messed up another order! I've done it four times already... I'm so sorry. It's my first day and it's probably going to be my last, too. I'll take care of it, sir, and make sure I get it right this time.” She looked on the point of tears.

She reached for Dean's plate, but he waved her away with his most charming grin. “Hey, no problem. I'll go with this. Smells good, anyway.”

“Oh! Thank you!” she blurted, and looked over at Sam. “Is yours all right at least?”

“Mine's fine,” he assured her with a smile.

As she hurried away, Dean forked up a bite and chewed. His dubious expression slid into one of surprised bliss. “It's breakfast pie! Dude, why have you not told me about this?”

“It's quiche, Dean. Assumed to be common knowledge,” Sam chuckled as he started on his own food.

“It's freakin' awesome!” Dean mumbled around a second, much larger bite.

Sam's phone rang right about the time Dean was chasing down the crumbs of his second slice of quiche. “Oh, hello Mr. Bryson. No, you caught us just in time.”

Dean laid his fork down and listened.

“Sure, we can swing by your house on the way out, no problem. See you in about ten minutes.”

“What was that about?” Dean asked as Sam dropped his phone into his pocket.

“Dunno. Just insists on seeing us if we can spare the time.”

Dean took care of their check while Sam stowed his laptop. Sam felt more than a little nervous about their meeting, and he could tell Dean was edgy too. Exorcisms were never gentle rituals at the best of times. He hadn't thought the boy had been left badly injured, but who knew what might have cropped up once the shock wore off?

-oOo-

“Can you believe it?” Dean crowed as they got the proverbial hell out of Dodge before Mr. Bryson could have an attack of donor's remorse. “Ten grand. Ten grand, Sammy! In cash-- no banks, no checks, no flashin' fake IDs, nothin'! And he apologized because it wasn't more.”

“Well, we saved his only son, body and soul. I guess he figured there wasn't a way to put a real price on that.”

Dean patted his half of the cash. “Yeah, that's true, but this is sure as heck one for the journals, 'cause it never happened before to Dad or us, or anyone else I ever heard of. We are so going to Vegas!"

Dean stuck a tape into the deck. They were treated to a noise that Metallica had never intentionally produced, then ominous silence.

"Aw come on!" Dean ejected the tape. It came only half-way out on its own. When he pulled it free, yards of crinkled tape came with it along with a steel fragment that dropped into the floorboard. "What was that?"

Sam reached down and retrieved the shard. "Uh, I think it's part of the tape head."

"NO!"

You'd think he'd traumatically lost a body part. "Dean, Dad put that cassette player in back in '87, when the eight-track died. It's time. Kiss it goodbye."

Dean flung the disemboweled tape into the back seat. He turned on the radio. '…In the arms of an aaaaanngel…' a woman warbled in a lugubrious voice.

"Oh hell no!" He twisted the tuner, but after running the dial twice and finding nothing but rap, talk, static and more country, he snapped it off again. Sam counted off three miles of blessed quiet.

"Uh, do you still have that 'pod thing?" Dean asked.

"Yes." Sam reached into the glove box and pulled it out. He set it to 'Dean's Playlist.'

"If it starts puking some of your Goo-Goo emo crap, it's going back in the 'box."

"Already got ya covered," Sam chuckled and plugged it into the jack.

'I'm travelin' down the road and I'm flirtin' with disaster. I've got the pedal to the floor and my life is running faster….'

Dean's eyebrows rose. "That… actually sounds good. Really good."

"Couple modern recording media with a set of excellent vintage speakers and that's what you get."

Dean glanced down at the iPod perched in front of the ruined tape deck. "Technology marches on, but that's the end of an era, y'know? No way to fix it."

"No reason to fix it," Sam countered. "You've still got your music, and it sounds better than it ever has."

Dean leaned back. "Day was friggin' perfect, and now this."

His expression stayed sullen, but his fingers tapped out a drum line on the steering wheel. Sam wasn't so resistant to the change, especially since it would take Dean a few days to figure out how to start swapping files around.

Sam put his sunglasses on, slid down in the seat and had a perfect nap.

-oOo-

'…day was friggin' perfect and now this… day was friggin' perfect, and now this…' Dean's words wove like a premonition through the strands of a forming nightmare. Sam sat up, roused by a sharp, rapid clicking noise.

Dean was tapping the gas gauge glass. He growled and leaned back.

Sam yawned and peered at the gauge. "We don't have half a tank?"

"We can't. This many miles she should be down to a quarter. The tank float must be stuck again."

By the time they found a station, Dean was coaxing the ol' gal to suck hard on the fumes. Sam went into the little run-down store to pick up some drinks and fork over a chunk of their new windfall for enough fuel to satisfy the big beast. He had just shut the cooler door when he saw Dean hanging up the nozzle. He'd pumped half a tank, maybe less.

Sam paid and hurried back out. "Why didn't you fill up?"

Dean wiped the dipstick, slid it back into place. "I did. We really had half a tank." He grinned and closed the hood. "Guess that last tune-up made her happy."

"Or gave her anorexia," Sam muttered. This car getting high gas mileage was roughly akin to a modern day loaves-and-fishes.

"Nah, she's still burnin' oil," Dean chuckled and they hit the road again. He reached up and patted the dash. "But now I can afford to break that bad habit of hers. After Vegas, we'll swing by Bobby's and I'll put in a new set of rings."

-oOo-

As they were walking through the Biggerson's parking lot, Sam scuffed something plastic with his shoe that sparkled in the light as it rolled.

Dean grabbed the object up before it disappeared under an SUV. "Hey, it's a coin."

He tossed it to Sam. The plastic shell encasing it was scuffed, but not too much to see that it was a medal commemorating the Pony Express, and that it was marked '.995 Silver.'

"Weird. What's it doing out here?" Sam handed it back.

"Hole in somebody's pocket?" Dean popped the big coin free of its case and flipped the medal with a flick of his thumb. It rang softly as it twirled.

"Ahh, there's nothing else that sounds like pure silver," he gloated, and stuck the coin into the watch-pocket of his jeans. "Their bad luck's my good luck charm now."

The hair rose on the back of Sam's neck. Rabbit's-feet were supposed to be good luck too….

Dean pumped a fist in the air. "Hi ho, Silver! Away!"

-oOo-

The car's inexplicable gas-sipping continued. They narrowly avoided becoming a statistic when a motor-home blew a tire right in front of them and swerved all over the road. It didn't wreck, and the occupants were shaken up but not hurt. It was a miracle no one had gotten injured or killed.

Miracles, in Sam's experience, only happened in scripture and old fables, and never without some major price tags attached. By the time they decided to get a room, a decent one for once, Sam had a headache from pure dread.

Dean had no such sense of an impending karmic backlash. He had no sense of fatigue either, and badgered Sam until he agreed to go out.

They both got lucky. Sam's karmic load got heavier.

-oOo-

"Listen!"

Dean froze, his boot in his hand. "To what?" he asked after a tense few seconds.

"The church bells. It's midnight. This day's finally over."

"Finally over?" Dean echoed, "Finally? I could take about a hundred days like today. What's eating you?"

"All day I've been in knots, waiting for the other shoe to drop."

One of the laces on Dean's boot popped him on the ear as the shoe zinged by his head and bounced off the far wall.

"There, it's dropped. You happy now?" Dean flopped back on the bed and pulled his pillow over his head. "Man, sometimes you make me want to move to Australia."


******Author's Note******

Thanks to my son for the germ of this story: "How would Sam and Dean react to a day where everything went right?"
I also owe him for the many readings of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  It's been about fifteen years, but I still can quote parts from memory.  




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May 2013

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