Characters: Dee, Ryo, Commissioner Rose, OCs.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: Broken down in the middle of nowhere, Dee and Ryo should be thankful to find a motel at all.
Word Count: 997
Written For: Challenge #027: Flophouse at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Piece of shit car!” Dee kicked one of the wheels in annoyance, glaring at the vehicle. “We should’ve used mine.”
Ryo had to agree with his partner. The hood of the unmarked police car was up and smoke was billowing out of the engine cavity. “There’s no way we’re fixing this,” he sighed. “Looks like we’ll need a tow truck.”
“You think? Damn! The precinct needs to invest in some halfway decent wheels.” Dee kicked the car again for good measure. It didn’t improve their situation, but it made him feel marginally better.
They’d been on the way to Chicago, a good two-day drive, to question a convict at the Cook County DoC facility who might have information pertinent to a recent homicide they were investigating. Normally, they would’ve flown but Commissioner Rose had decided such a short trip didn’t merit the expense of air fair. Dee suspected they were being punished for his slight case of insubordination the previous week. For all his high and mighty ‘tude, Rose had turned petty vindictiveness into an art form and he never passed up a chance of making Dee’s life difficult.
Dee hadn’t cared, he liked road trips and getting out of New York for a few days would be like a paid vacation. Everything had been great when they’d started out, driving a nondescript sedan from the motor pool, but the hadn’t even made it as far as Pittsburgh before the engine started to lose power, and he’d pulled off the interstate near a place with the charming name of Knobsville, intending to find a garage and get the car looked at. A mile or two short of town, the engine coughed and died, and that was when the smoke had started oozing out from under the hood.
So now here they were, in the middle of nowhere, with a broken down car. The whole thing sucked. To make matters worse, because they were in a completely unfamiliar area, they didn’t even have the number for a local garage; they’d have to go find one. Added to that, it was getting on towards evening, and the sky looked like rain. How could the day possibly get any worse?
“We’ll have to leave the car here and walk into the nearest town,” Ryo said, popping the trunk and pulling out their bags. “At least nobody’s likely to steal it.” Dee had managed to coast off the road onto the grass verge when the engine cut out, so it wouldn’t pose a danger to passing traffic, assuming there ever was any along this road. They hadn’t seen another car since leaving the interstate.
“Let’s get movin’ then,” Dee grumbled. “Before the rain starts.”
Slinging their bag straps over their shoulders, they set off along the road in the direction they’d been heading, hoping to find a garage.
On the outskirts of Knobsville, they found what they were looking for. It was a ramshackle place with a sign above the door reading ‘Frank’s Garage’ and a couple of pumps out front, but the sight of a tow truck lifted their spirits.
“He’p you boys?” an elderly man asked as they walked across the weed-pocked forecourt.
“Our car broke down a couple miles back,” Ryo explained. “We need to get it towed in for repairs.”
“Yep, we c’n do that for ya, but not ‘til mornin’. Frank closes up around here at five sharp to take care o’ the livestock. Won’t be back in until eight tomorrow.”
Dee sagged. “Perfect! What else can go wrong?” He knew he shouldn’t have spoken the moment the first drops of rain hit him.
“Is there anywhere around here we can spend the night?”
“Sure is! We got us a motel, just keep on down the road another mile or so, ya can’t miss it.”
“Best news yet,” Dee sighed, hoisting his bag and starting off, Ryo beside him.
The old man called after them. “Don’t you worry none ‘bout yer car. Frank’ll get ‘er towed first thing.”
“That’s comforting to know,” Dee muttered.
If anything, the ‘motel’ was even more rundown than the garage. Four tattered cabins squatted side by side among weeds and the ‘Vacancies’ sign flickered fitfully, looking on the verge of giving up.
They eyed the place dubiously, not feeling optimistic about the accommodations, but made for the office anyway. “At least we’ll be out of the rain,” Ryo said.
“If the roof don’t leak.”
An old woman looked up from her knitting. “Can I he’p you?”
“We need a cabin for the night.”
She frowned suspiciously, looking past them. “Where’s your car?”
“Broke down outside town. Frank’s going to fix it in the morning,” Ryo told her. That seemed to be good enough. They signed in, accepted the key to cabin one, and dashed through the rain, letting themselves in as quickly as they could.
The inside wasn’t any better than the outside. “Home away from home,” Dee muttered wryly, looking around by the dim daylight coming through the dusty window. The carpet was badly worn, the curtains and bedcovers threadbare, and there was a faint scent of mildew. “Lovely.”
“It’s only for one night,” Ryo reminded him. “And at least it’s clean.” It was true. Despite the shabbiness, the floor looked recently swept and the linen freshly washed. The bathroom towels, though worn, dried them off well enough.
“Don’t suppose you packed any food, did ya?” Dee asked hopefully. “All I’ve got is this.” He held up a pack of peppermint gum.
A knock interrupted them, and Ryo opened the door to reveal the old lady carrying a covered tray. “Thought you boys might be hungry so I made ya sammiches and a bit o’ pie. Coffee too.” She handed Ryo the tray and scurried back to her office without waiting for a reply.
Setting the tray down, Ryo removed the cover.
Dee grinned, mouth watering. “Accommodations might not be up to much, but the room service is first class!”