Apr 16, 2021 7:05 AM
Mal's truck needs some work. Bella can help.
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It's a quiet June afternoon in Sabillasville, Maryland. The air's so laden with humidity you could swim it it, and the heat radiates in wavering lines off the asphalt. But it's quiet as they get, given the drone of cicadas! And the rattling whir of a shop fan. And the banging of someone pinning some kind of metal part down onto a workbench and having their way with it. And the sound of someone singing enthusiastically, if not very tunefully. And the sound of an engine revving, coughing, and dying. And a bit of swearing.

Perhaps not quite the quietest June afternoon.

A figure emerges from a tiny garage tucked up in one of the cheaper parts of town, grease-stained tank top and jeans and boots that were made for stomping, wiping their face with a rag that looks only clean enough to spread the grease around. They tuck their thumbs into their pockets and lean back against the framing of the garage door, catching their breath and taking a sip of a cold bottle of water. Business is slow today, but that's alright by them - plenty of time then to commune with the project cars.

They're about to step back inside for round 2 with those timing valves when there's the sound of an engine in obvious distress in the distance.

A smile breaks through the grease and ash. New friends for them today after all...

Total: 14
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"Aww, girl, no..."

Why's she do him like this! She should have been good for another hundred miles at least before that blew, get him out of the middle of nowhere and into the middle of ... somewhere.

Mal lays off the gas and drives his girl as easy as he can manage, until the big red hunk of junk pulls all gentle-like into spittin'-distance of somewhere as claims to be a garage. Then she kicks once and rolls over, and he has to trot on his own two feet for the last block-and-a-half, boots slapping heavy on the asphalt.

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They can smell burning oil. This one's going to have to stay and get comfortable.

Their eyes roam over the chassis, lingering for a moment on a tarp covering some very exciting looking lumps. "Nice truck you got there."

"Shame about those gaskets - guy like you seems keen on doing your own maintenance, but this one you'd better leave to the pros. Come on, beautiful, let's get you up on a lift."

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"Watch it! You ask before you start sweet-talkin' another guy's girl!"

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"You want her healthy, dontcha? Settle down and help me get her inside."

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"You the boss 'round here?"

He's sizing them up, visibly, taking in calloused hands and sweat-tracks through grease and the muscles it takes to jack up a car or loosen a lug nut.

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"Yep."

This man's eyes are lingering on their body a bit longer than they're comfortable with.

"Best you knock off the wandering eyes, friend."

Maybe they'll throw them a bone.

"Do yourself a favor and grab me a flashlight from inside, 'k?"

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To (perhaps) his credit, his gaze is sweeping over their hands and their biceps and where they'd carry a concealed gun, not traveling anywhere more intimate.

"Ain't a man got the right to look at what's before him?" he protests, regardless, opening the door and fishing around in the glove compartment for a flashlight.

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If they were looking for armaments on them, then they're not going to find anything. Their shotgun is leaned up against the workbench inside.

"Nope. Pop the hood and hand me a 1/4" socket."

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"You want a lot, y'know that?"

He tosses them the heavy flashlight from a few yards away, with no regard for sanity or safety.

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They ignore his comment and snatch the flashlight from the air effortlessly, tucking it between shoulder and ear as they peer inside the engine cavity. Their nose wrinkles.

"You ever consider not driving her while she's burning oil?"

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"Crossed my mind once or twice."

Wrench.

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Catch.

"This is going to be an ordeal to repair, you know. Gonna have to strip the whole thing down to check her rings and gaskets. Some quality time." (This last part directed fondly at the truck.)

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He puts a hand defensively on the truck, with exactly the attitude of a man shielding the family jewels.

"Serenity don't need all that! Just a quick fix to keep her runnin'."

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"You want Serenity to live a long, happy life. The quick fix here will leave her clogging pipes, and coughing and sputtering until she siezes for good. All in all, a pretty bad way to go. So, instead of being Mr Protective Dad over here hurting those you claim to care bout, you're going to help me clean her properly and repair all that's needful. Y'understand?"

Total: 14
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