Chapter 5: Mr. E's Beautiful Blues

The smokestack is spitting black soot into the sunny sky
The load on the road brings a tear to the Indian's eye
The elephant won't forget what it's like inside his cage
The ringmaster's telecaster sings on an empty stage

God damn right, it's a beautiful day


They managed to be somewhat civil to one another for the rest of the day's driving. Faye wasn't exactly an ace behind the wheel but she pretty much knew what she was doing. Like she knew who had the right of way, when to use your turn signal and that you can make a right on red but not always. Driving is one of those things you don't forget, cryogenic slumber or not. Spike had to admit it was probably wise to let her drive. He pretty much nailed the mechanics of it in two seconds but he forgot that there were rules and things people expected you to obey. The glorious thing about flying was that it was in the air. There are no stoplights in space.

They didn't even bother with the radio. The odd thing was that neither one could even begin to guess what the other listened to and if they would object to it. They might have the exact same albums in their collection at home for all they knew, assuming they had album collections. But they would never let the other one find out and so the radio remained off. Instead they passed the time with some lame attempts at car games in order to avoid any actual conversation.

"Is it bigger than a bread box?" Faye asked half-heartedly.

"I dunno. What's a bread box?"

Faye sighed. "It's a box. You put bread in it."

Spike seemed to consider this far more deeply than was necessary. "Who puts bread in a box?"

"I don't know," Faye groaned, taking the tone of a mother who had an over inquisitive four-year-old. "People who don't want stale bread?"

"But that's what the twisty thing is for. On the bag." This really seemed to be bothering Spike, and in different circumstances, Faye might have found it endearing. Not today, though.

"I'm not asking for your opinion on it, lunkhead. I just want to know if it's bigger then a god damned bread box!"

"Well, I just don't know why a bread box needs to the be the reference against which all other things are measured. No one knows what a bread box is anymore. Is it bigger than a butter churn? Who knows? Is it bigger than our television in the Bebop? Oh yeah, sure. I can confidently say that it is bigger than our television."

Faye just glared at the road for a moment and the hauled off and smacked him. "Punch buggy red. No backs." Spike rubbed his arm as he watched the offending vehicle roll by. He pouted out the window for a few moments, and then slugged Faye hard in the shoulder.

"Ooooow!" she howled. "You can't do that! I said no backs!" she declared, as if this was a legal matter that could hold up in court.

"Cadillac whack," he declared. Faye crinkled her nose at him and then turned her attention to the opposite lane, which did in fact, contain a Cadillac. And so a new and extraordinarily violent game was born.


Neither of them could keep their eyes open by the time they rolled up into the parking lot of the roadside hotel. It was the first one they had come across in miles. The proprietor of the establishment seemed to be very much aware of his grip on the market, because he gave them an outrageous quote on the room. They attempted to haggle a bit, but by the time they were done, Faye was practically sprawled out seductively on the front desk and the price was still 20 woolongs over what they could afford. "Fine, screw it," Spike muttered as he yanked Faye down off the counter and strode out of the lobby. "We're camping out."

"I need to take a shower," Faye said. It was not a question.

Spike sighed. "That's your problem then. It's perfectly nice weather outside. I'm not gonna pay someone to put a roof over my head when it's not even raining." In fact, the whole concept of housing seemed like a waste to him right now. People would be better off if they had shells or something like turtles. They would certainly be richer. He grabbed some towels off a stray housekeeping cart and began to set up camp in the parking lot.

"You're serious about this?" Faye groaned. "We're just gonna pass out here on the side of the road."

"Why not?"

"I dunno. It just doesn't seem safe somehow."

Spike laughed slightly. "Faye, we're not exactly girl scouts, you know what I'm saying? Bandits should be afraid of us."

Faye nodded in reluctant agreement. "I still want to shower though."

"So shower. I am content to wallow in my own filth."

Faye huffed and then got to work on making her own little wash towel sleeping bag on the ground beside him, making sure that her partner was closer to the road. She figured the noise of the coyotes eating him first would be enough to wake her so that she could flee to safety. It took her a long time before she could even bring herself to close her eyes, and when she finally did, it wasn't long before she was interrupted. "Uh...Faye?"


"Are scorpions poisonous?"

"Um...I think so."

"Hmm. You might not want to move your leg then."


Jet had never considered purchasing curtains before but now he wondered how they ever got along without them. It just brought the whole room together. Made it seem more homey. Plus, you could close them in the morning so the sun didn't beat in on the couch. Anyone who was on the couch in the morning was almost always hung over. It was usually Spike but Jet had been known to pass out in a drunken stupor himself, and he was not appreciative of the blinding light assaulting his eyes the next morning. Yes, curtains were a fine idea. Stylish, practical and not at all gay. "So, Ed," he said cheerily. "What do you want to eat?"

Ed was pouring over the cookbook they had bought on their little shopping excursion. Money seemed to last longer without Frik and Frak blowing it out their assholes, even if they had only been gone a couple days. That was usually enough time for them to be in some sort of trouble. He enjoyed having money to buy things like cook books and curtains. In fact, he was beginning to think it was possible to buy happiness.

"Hmmmm," Ed rotated the book around so she could inspect the pictured food items from every angle. "Jet ever try baked Alaska?"

"Baked Alaska," Jet mused. "Isn't that real hard to make?"

"Five star difficulty," Ed read aloud from the page.

Jet's eyes lit up with the whiff of a challenge. "Let's do it."


Spike woke up the next morning to find Faye missing. His immediate reaction was to check his wallet, but the money was there. He breathed a sigh of relief, and then realized that a missing Faye and accounted for money probably meant that a coyote had eaten her. He peaked under the car as if he would find evidence of her abduction but there was none. He wondered what a person was expected to do in a situation like this. He didn't really feel at all like looking for her. He didn't even feel like shouting her name or anything semi-useful like that. He had just woken up. Well, if she was abducted by a pack of coyotes, she was either going to adapt to their ways and live in the bush, or escape and find her way back. Since he wasn't about to interfere with her lifestyle choices, he figured the best thing to do would be to wait around here for a bit in case she did decide to escape. At least then she would know where to find him. He tried to figure out how long it should take the average person to escape from the clutches of a coyote pack, divided that number by the amount of cigarettes he had left and multiplied it by how long it would be before he would have to take a shit. He decided that an hour was a reasonable amount of time to await her return. He was about to light up his first butt and commence the countdown when he suddenly heard a large amount of screaming coming from the hotel, followed by what sounded like a rifle going off. He turned around to see a white blur rushing towards him. "Get in the car!" the white blur screamed at him as a very large man in a wifebeater rounded the corner. He had a rifle, and was hurling some obviously non-complimentary things in the white blur's direction.

The white blur was Faye. Spike sighed as he opened the door. "So you mean I can drive?" he asked.

"Yes! Yes!" the white blur screamed as she dove in through the passenger side window. "Go drive now!"

The man fired a few shots at the Barretta, taking out one of the rear passenger windows before Spike zipped out of the parking lot and onto the road. He glanced over at Faye who was dripping wet and hastily covered in a few hotel towels. "You did not," Spike whistled.

"I told you, I needed to take a shower. How was I supposed to know Norman Bates over there was gonna come back from breakfast at that exact moment?"

"Do you even have your clothes? Or is that the ensemble for the rest of the trip?"

"I've got a spare in the back," she sighed as she attempted to crawl her way into the back seat. "Don't look."

"Wouldn't dream of it. It would ruin the mystique, since you leave so very much to the imagination."

Faye kicked him in the back of the head with her damp foot as she hurdled over the seat. "Oops," she said coyly.

Spike listened with a mixture of amusement and astonishment to the commotion going on in the backseat. She sounded like she was in the middle of some gymnastic floor routine rather than getting dressed. But at the same time, he knew there was no way in hell he could get dressed in the back seat. He'd wind up with his jacket on his left leg and his right wrapped around his head. Finally, the girl emerged perfectly dressed in a tank top and shorts. She squeezed her way into the front seat and then looked out the window dreamily as if everything that just went down was totally normal. "I'm going to have to make a No Car Chase Rule," Spike sighed. "I got one, now you got one. We're even. No more. There's only so many windows."

"Deal. Just get me a place to shower. You're the comptroller here, buddy. A shower is a necessity for a refined woman like myself. Adjust the funds accordingly."



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