Chapter 10: The Battle of Who Could Care Less

Do you not hear me anymore?
I know it's not your thing to care
I know it's cool to be so bored...
Will you never rest
Fighting the battle of who could care less

Faye was up the next morning reasonably bright eyed and bushy tailed, brushing her teeth about nine thousand times over before she was ready to head down to the brunch. "Hey, can we just be Spike and Faye this morning or do we still have to be yuppies?" Spike asked her, still in his boxers.

"We already got the tickets," she grinned, fanning them out like a deck of cards. "Spike and Faye it is."

"Good. That hair shit dried like cement. I don't know how anyone uses that stuff."

The brunch was really more like a raid. They strode into the dining hall and proceeded to shovel mountains of food on their plates far beyond what a normal person could reasonably digest. Spike was quite amused to note that they were not the only ones doing this. There were a few other painfully middle class shlubs stocking up, ones who no doubt pulled a similar scam or else lost their second mortgage at the tables last night. Vegas. It was a hell of a town. "Look alive, Faye," Spike warned her before tossing about six bagels into her purse from downtown. Faye filled the purse up the rest of the way with fruit, muffins and other non-sticky type items. When they thought they scored a reasonable trove of treasures, they bee lined it out of there, Spike bumping into some haughty looking suit on the way out. "Sorry," he waved apologetically before he caught up with Faye.

"Now we just return the clothes we bought," Faye said while shoving a hard-boiled egg into her mouth. "And we should have enough money to rent another car to Arizona."

"Oh yeah," Spike rolled his eyes as he snatched an apple from her purse. "This trip has been a piece of cake." They both froze as they rounded the corner. There was some hotel security knocking on their suite door. They both yelped and ducked back into the stairwell. "What the hell is that about?" he whispered to her.

"Poker Alice," Faye shrugged. "She gets around."

Spike shook his head as he led her quickly out of the hotel and out through an emergency exit, sounding off one of those annoying little beeps that no one listens to anyway. "Hang out here for a second. I'll be right back."

"Where are you going?"

"Hey, you had your night o' fun. I'll take it from here," Spike said as he darted back around the hotel. He wouldn't be as easily recognized as his notorious cohort and he didn't even recognize himself from last night. He figured his plan should be pretty easy. He fingered the little slip of paper he had in his pocket. Man, he loved bumping into rich people. For a skilled pickpocket such as himself, they were like walking pi–atas. Today's little score landed him something quite invaluable. Today he managed to get a valet ticket. He handed the ticket over to the valet confidentially and behaved not at all unusual when he was rewarded with a cherry red Mustang convertible. Why should he behave strangely? It was his car. He tipped the driver extremely generously and putted casually out of the garage. That is until he rounded the corner, and then he floored it. He couldn't remember all those right on red types of rules so he sort of made them up as he went, masking his glee over their incredible good luck until he pulled up next to Faye. "Hey, baby, want some candy?"

"Holy shit, I LOVE you," she screamed as she booted him over to the passenger side and took off, making a sound that was something just shy of "yippee."


They rode in blissful silence for awhile, letting the wind whip their hair around into chaotic little nests. "How did you pull this off?" Faye asked him eventually.

"I don't reveal all my secrets on the first date," he said dryly. "What I want to know is why you don't pull what you did last night more often."

"What do you think I'm doing when I take off half the time?" she shrugged, and then her eyes widened at what she had just casually revealed. She thought that maybe if she shut up now and changed the subject she could get away with it. "Yeah so about that local sports team?" Dammit. Why was she only sharp tongued at the worst possible moments?

"So let me get this straight," Spike said darkly. "You take off with our money, spend the night in a swanky hotel and eat for free, then come back without said money and eat all of our food."


"Dammit, Faye!" Spike kicked the glove compartment. "Just when I was beginning to think you were slightly redeemable as a human being."

"Oh, don't give me that righteous crap."

"What righteous crap?"

"Like I'm the only one who screws people on this ship. You do it all the damn time."

"How do I screw people?"

"How about running off all the time and getting shot up and cut up and thrown out of..."

"How does that affect anyone else?"

"Yeah, Ok. Like it doesn't affect Jet that you end up half dead every other week."

"It shouldn't."

"Yeah, well there are lots of things in life that shouldn't happen, Spike, but they do anyway. And even if you can't possibly wrap your self-absorbed little brain around the fact that some people actually care about you..."

"Oh, please."

"...then at least you should consider your little business deal. Where does it land Jet if you get yourself killed, huh?"

"What are you his lawyer?"

"NO! My point is that you're an asshole too so leave me the fuck alone!"

"All right!" Spike yelled, but it was sort of at himself. The shrew had a point, and that fact alone pissed him off greatly. He honestly never realized that the crap he pulled sometimes could be considered selfish but sort of was. He never considered it at all, actually. When it came to that part of his life, there was nothing more to consider. Just things he knew he had to do, no matter what. "All right," he continued in a rational tone of voice. "But I have my reasons. You don't have to get them, but I know them at least. I wonder sometimes if you even know why you do the things you do."

"You wanna know why?"

"Yeah, I do, actually."

"I'll tell you why. Cause if I'm screwing then I can't get screwed!" she shouted in a voice that sounded on the verge of tears. She paused for a second, to make sure she remained on the verge of tears and not submersed in them, and then added, "And I am sick to death of being screwed."

Spike rolled his eyes towards the window, fumbling in his pants for a pack of smokes. He sucked on one unlit for a second, just letting the taste of it settle on his tongue before he sparked up. "We're not looking to screw you, Faye," he muttered softly.

"No...but you will. You are going to screw me someday, Spike. Whether you mean to or not."

Spike knew what she meant by that. She meant he was going to get himself killed. And he didn't argue with it because he knew it was true, and he didn't apologize for it because he wasn't sorry. But he did sigh a little bit, because it made him sad. "Well," he said gently. "I'll tell you what. You just go on screwing me and I'll just go on screwing you. It ain't exactly love but it sure beats screwing yourself."

Faye chuckled slightly before extending her own cig for a light. "It's a deal."


Jet and Ed were watching television. It had been several days and they had run out of fun things to do. They had been watching television for almost an entire day. Ein was licking himself. It was almost rhythmic, the constant slurping sound of his tongue against his course fur. There was a leak coming from somewhere too. Jet couldn't find it when he went looking, because like a good leak it stopped as soon as Jet rose from the sofa. But he could hear it. Lick, drip, lick, drip, lick, drip. It was not only noisy but uncomfortably moist.

"It's been awhile since we've heard from them, huh?" Jet asked lazily.

"Yep, yep," Ed replied, equally lethargic.

"'s nice to have quiet all the time."

"Quuuuiiiiiieeeetttttt," Ed sighed. "Quiet, quiet, quiet."

Lick, drip, lick, drip, lick, drip, lick.

"Let's try to call them."

"OK!" Ed leaped suddenly from the couch in a whoop of joy.


They were pretty quiet for the rest of the trip. There was some grappling with the map and some minor bickering about gas and when they should give up and ask for directions. But they did make it to Arizona. They stood smoking at the state line for a second, not wanting to rush this momentous occasion. " I've come to loathe that name," Spike sighed.

"Don't loathe it yet. I've still got something waiting for me here and I don't want you to jinx it."

"What do you think it is?"

"I dunno. Maybe it's a treasure map and we have to spend the night in a haunted house or something to get it. Or maybe it's the deed to a nice house somewhere or maybe there will be a limo waiting for me because it turns out I am the princess of Genovia."

"Or maybe it's just a bunch of bills." Faye scrunched up her face at this horrifying new prospect, and then rubbed her cigarette out on Spike's boot. "Well...come on."

They only got a little ways into the state before they needed gas again. None of the road movies Spike or Faye had ever seen had mentioned the business of gas or getting your oil changed or anything like that. It was a bitch. They pulled angrily into the station as if it was the car's fault it needed fuel. Faye decided she wanted to pump the gas, much to the delight of the male gas attendants. There was something decidedly suggestive about the way she handled the pump that made Spike roll his eyes. They sat on the hood of the car for a bit, waiting for the tank to fill, when they suddenly got a whiff of something wonderful. Bacon. They both turned at the same time and saw a diner. Both of their stomachs rumbled in response. "How we doin' on the hotel booty?" he asked Faye.

Faye went rummaging through her purse. "We have an orange left. And an unidentified muffin."


"Yeah...I dunno what flavor it is. It's like kinda pinkish colored and it has some sort of nut in it."

"Banana nut?"

"I don't think so," she sniffed it and then took a bite. She rolled it around in her mouth for awhile before she shrugged and said, "I still don't know."

"Is it bad?"

"It doesn't offend me, no. But I can't say it's as good as that bacon is smelling. How we doing on funds?"

Spike paid at the pump and then checked his account. "4,000 left."

"What if we got like the breakfast special and split it?"

"I dunno, Faye..."

"Aw, come on. Are we ever going to be in a situation where our lives will depend on 10 woolongs?"

"We will now that you just said that."

"Spiiiiiiike," she whined like a pro. A good whiner can turn a one-syllable word into at least three.

Spike wasn't going to lie. He wanted bacon. So he shrugged and the two of went off into the diner across the road to split the trucker special. As they were sitting there munching away, Spike looked outside and noticed what looked like an ISSP agent examining their car. Well, that wasn't good. He was trying to formulate some sort of plan when he was tapped on the shoulder. He turned around and was met by someone's fist. Faye just raised an eyebrow and moved her plate of eggs out of the way as Spike sat back up with a dazed expression.

"I knew she was your sister or somethin'," the boy grumbled. The kid from the casino. "Do you know how much money you cost me, fag? They kicked me out and confiscated my chips!"

Spike's eyes were still on the agents, who seemed to be questioning the pump attendants. Hopefully, they weren't the kind of people who cooperated with cops. "Sorry about that," he said absently.

"Yeah, I'll make you sorry," he snapped and wound up to hit him again.

Spike easily evaded him this time as Faye gave him a "what the fuck?" sort of look. He gave her a "don't worry about it" look in return and then turned to catch the kid's foot, which was coming at him. Spike twisted it so the kid toppled neatly in the seat. "Ok. From one gambler to another, I feel bad about the chips," he said quickly. "So I'm giving you a chance to make it up. You have cards, Faye?"

"Do I have cards..." she muttered as she dug through her purse and tossed him a deck.

"Good. Round of black jack. Winner take all."

"And what's all?" the kid sniffed. "These," Spike tossed the car keys down on the table.

Faye looked at him like she was going to strangle him but then looked out the window to see the agents slowly making their way through the gas station. She was even sure she saw someone pointing at the diner. Shit. "I'll deal," she said quickly.

"Hell no! I don't trust her! And what do I bet on this?"

"Nothing," Spike said quickly. "I win, I walk. That's it."

The kid seemed to consider this and Spike wished he considered faster. Finally he said, "All right. But she ain't dealing."

"Fine," Spike rolled his eyes. "You," he pointed at an old man sitting with his buddies in the corner. They had amassed quite an audience at this point.


"Yeah. Deal."

The old guy wobbled over to him as his two friends poked their heads up to get a better look. "You know, this reminds me a time back when we were digging the old..."

"Today," Spike snapped at him.

The old man looked offended. "Kids," he grumbled, and his friends rose up a chorus of disdain for the youth before he dealt the cards. The kid had 17, Spike had 19.

"Hit me," Spike said, and everyone gasped.

"I like to live dangerously," he said in his best suave voice but inside, he was screaming. The agents were making their way over here and wouldn't it just be his luck he'd pull a damn 2 or an ace. Faye seemed to be thinking the same thing as she stood up next to him, her tension almost tangible. The old man seemed to be taking nine years to flip the card, drawing it out for his own amusement. The cowboys kept looking back and forth, from the card to the agents as the kid licked his lips. Everyone in the whole diner was on the edge of their seat. Finally, the old man flipped over the card and Faye actually screamed and closed her eyes as it hit the table.

"3," the old man said. "22. Bust."

The crowd all groaned as the kid yelped in delight. He waved his hand out smugly for the keys. Spike did his best to look pissed off, gave him the keys, and it about two seconds, he and Faye disappeared out the back.

"Does anyone in here own a red Mustang convertible?" the cops announced as they entered the room. The kid grinned widely.

"Why," he said with a snarky expression. "I believe I do."


Back to The Agent Orange Collection

Back to Main