Characters: Dee, Ryo, Chief Smith, OMC.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: A bad storm hits New York overnight, causing a lot of damage, but it’s not all bad news.
Word Count: 1802
Written Using: The tw100 prompt ‘Branch’.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Glancing out the window, Dee groaned; the weather was still horrendous. He’d lived in New York his entire life and he was sure tropical storms never used to come this far north, but that was climate change for you; weather systems were screwed up across the whole planet.
It had made for a largely sleepless night; between the wind howling like a horde of banshees around the building and the rain hammering so hard against the windows he’d worried the glass might shatter beneath the onslaught, it had been too noisy for him to do more than nap during the brief lulls. Not even hiding under the pillows with the covers pulled up over his head had done much to block out the noise.
The wind was still gusting hard when he dragged himself out of bed a little after six, way earlier than he would have liked to get up but there hadn’t seemed much point staying in bed any longer, and anyway, he wanted to check that none of the apartment’s windows had been damaged or sprung a leak, in case he needed to make repairs before work. It was a relief to find they were all fine, and he was pleased to see the rain wasn’t as heavy as it had been the night before. He went to shower and dress grateful that the old brownstone he lived in was so solidly built and well maintained. Some parts of the city probably hadn’t fared so well.
Feeling like he had all the time in the world, he treated himself to a leisurely breakfast, and was still congratulating himself on having come through the worst of the storm intact as he stepped out of the building to begin his daily commute. But what he saw as he came down the stoop stopped him in his tracks.
There were only two trees on his street, both of them impressive mature specimens, but the closest one to his building had dropped a massive branch right on his car, denting both the roof and the hood, scratching the paintwork, and shattering the windshield.
“What the fuck?” He glared at the culprit. “Stupid frickin’ tree! Why’d it haveta be my car?”
It probably wasn’t fair to blame the tree; it had been as much a casualty of the storm as his car had. Several of its branches had been ripped clean off and strewn across the street, but Dee was in no mood to be sympathetic towards it. His car was a classic, lovingly restored and meticulously cared for. To find it wrecked like this was heart-breaking.
Pulling out his phone, Dee called Eddie Blake, a friend of his who was a mechanic. He didn’t bother with pleasantries, just jumped right in with, “Damned tree dropped a branch on the Charger!”
“Good mornin’ to you too.” Eddie sounded vaguely amused. “Daresay you’re not the only one that’s happened to after last night’s storm. What’s the damage?”
Dee walked slowly around his car, checking it out. “Smashed windshield, dented hood and roof. Probably gonna need a respray too; paintwork’s a mess.”
“I can imagine. Better bring her in if she’ll start. If not, call me back and I’ll come out in the truck.
“Thanks, Eddie; I appreciate it. See ya in a bit.” Dee ended the call and hauled the branch off his poor car, shoving it up against the buildings, as far out of the way as he could so it wouldn’t block the sidewalk. Then he had to clear broken glass off the driver’s seat and out from under the pedals before he could even try to get her going.
Against all odds she started first time, the engine purring to life despite the battering her bodywork had taken. Fixing the damage was going to cost, but at least it seemed to be mostly cosmetic. Pulling away from the curb, Dee headed for the garage, glad it was only a few blocks away. Driving with no windshield through the tail end of the storm was no picnic; the gusting wind took his breath away and the rain was blowing in his face, causing him to squint. He supposed he should be thankful that the leafy branch had kept the worst of the rain from seeping into the car, so the seats had only been a bit damp and a wipe down with a rag had taken care of the problem. Sitting in a puddle of water would not have been fun, and he would have had to return home and change before heading for work. As it was, he was going to be late.
Leaving the car with Eddie, who slapped him on the shoulder and told him it wasn’t as bad as it looked, Dee legged it for the nearest subway station, putting a call through to the precinct on the way.
“I’m gonna be a bit late in, Sir. Frickin’ tree branch fell on my car, smashed the windscreen; had to take it in for repairs.”
“Think yourself lucky; whole damned tree’s come down on the motor pool here, totalled three cars and flattened the fence. Got a couple guys out there with chainsaws, cutting it up. Good thing no one was there at the time. Just get here as soon as you can; we’re in for one hell of a day.” The Chief hung up before Dee could reply, so while he was making his way down to the platform to wait for his train, he called Ryo.
“Hey, babe; everything okay where you are?”
“Better than I expected after last night. Power’s out at home, I think there’s a line down somewhere, and there’re a lot of fallen branches, but I don’t think they’ve caused any serious damage. I cleared what I could off the street. Makes me glad my car’s in for a service.”
“That’s good, wish mine had been. Two trees on the street, nearest one’s a good twenty feet from where I park, but my car still practically got flattened. Don’t worry though, I wasn’t in it at the time. You at work yet?”
“Well watch out. Gonna be a shortage of usable vehicles today; the badger says there’s a whole tree come down on the motor pool. With any luck it’s flattened that junker we’ve been drivin’.”
“Huh. That must be why I can hear chainsaws.”
“Probably got ‘em goin’ all over the city, clearin’ debris; we’re gonna have a busy day. Better hope the storm doesn’t decide to swing back around and have another go at us, take down everything it missed first time around.”
“Don’t even joke about it; I didn’t get much sleep last night, and every time the wind drops I think I’ve gone deaf.”
“I know what ya mean. Listen, gotta go, think the train’s comin’.” Dee could hear the rumble as it approached and feel the vibrations through the soles of his feet. “See ya at work; I’ll be about a half hour, maybe forty minutes. Depends what conditions outside the subway station are like.”
“Okay, just be careful, watch out for falling branches and steer clear of trees. I don’t want anything falling on you.”
“Not too many of either in the subway,” Dee pointed out. “Not unless something’s really gone wrong.”
“I meant when you’re back out on the street, dummy. It’s a good four blocks to the precinct from the station you get off at.”
“I know that; I was just teasin’. Promise I’ll be careful; just make sure you are too. Love ya.”
“Love you too, Dee.” Ryo hung up and Dee shoved his phone back in his pocket just as the train came screeching into the station.
It was packed, which wasn’t that surprising. A lot of streets were likely blocked with fallen trees or other debris, making the subway the best bet for commuters. Safer too. Still, he squeezed into a carriage and endured the ride. This was going to be his life until his car was fixed. At least Eddie would let him pay for the repairs by instalments. There were definite advantages to having a buddy who worked in a garage, especially since Eddie knew classic cars inside out.
Battling his way off the train at his stop, Dee took the stairs to the street three at a time, not wanting to be any later than he had to be. He wouldn’t put it past the old badger to make him stay on at the end of shift to make up for being late. Jogging from the station to the precinct, he could hear the chainsaws going before he was halfway, and as he turned the last corner he could see the massive tree that had fallen across the motor pool. A bunch of guys were swarming over and around it, cutting branches off and dragging them away. The chain-link fence that surrounded the precinct’s parking lot was pretty much wrecked; once the tree was out of the way, repairing that would be high on the Chief’s list of priorities.
Dee almost cheered when he saw the rear of a dark brown Oldsmobile with a very familiar licence plate poking out from beneath the tree. Despite all the branches in the way, he could see the roof was completely caved in, and the trunk was resting on the ground, the rear wheels splayed in a way that told him the back axle had probably sapped in two. It was the worst car in the two-seven’s motor pool, forever breaking down in stupid ways. Nobody liked being stuck with it, and by the look of it, no one would ever have to drive it again. Once they got the tree off it, that piece of crap would be heading straight for the junkyard, where it should have been sent years ago. Whistling jauntily, he scrambled over a stretch of broken fence and headed indoors, bypassing the elevator with its Out of Order sign, and running up the stairs.
“Did you see?” Ryo asked, grinning as Dee entered their small office a few minutes later.
“Yep!” Dee high-fived his partner “Score! No more havin’ to put up with the dodgy suspension, tires that go down at random, air con that doesn’t work, and windshield wipers that screech like fingernails on a blackboard.”
“Not to mention a trunk that pops open every time we hit a pothole, and the passenger side window that can’t be opened because the handle broke off.”
“For all the damage it’s caused across the city, at least the storm got one thing right.”
Ryo nodded. “Perfect example of every cloud having a silver lining.”
Just then, the precinct’s power came back on, and Ryo laughed.
“Looks like we can even have coffee!”
The day was definitely looking up.