Title: we could be heroes
Betas: Many thanks to kittyzams and lemmealone.
Author's Notes: Written for the Spn Summer Gen Fic Exchange and originally posted there. My prompt was “the social value of tall tales”.
Summary: A tall tale is a uniquely American story form that features a larger-than-life, or superhuman, main character with a specific task. Many tall tales are based on actual people or on a composite of actual people. Exaggeration is the major element in tall tales.
Dean and Sam Winchester traveled the highways of America in a black Chevy Impala. Two brothers on a road trip. Saving people; hunting things. The family business. They faced the creatures and monsters that were the stuff of nightmares and urban legends.
Tall tales have existed in many cultures, but it was in America during the 1800s that they found their true home. These stories were a way that people could come to terms with the vast and inhospitable lands they'd come to inhabit. In its early years, America was a country made for heroes and these heroes faced big challenges and overcame them in amazing ways, and without the aid of cell phones.
By the early 21st century, these lands had been explored, exploited, and were truly known. But there was a new landscape that was just as terrifying – one where the climate was changing, violence was rife, reality television was popular and day-to-day survival could be as difficult in the suburbs as it had been on the frontier.
It was a time made for heroes and tall tales.
Dean was good at telling stories. It was a skill honed over countless hours on the road and long nights stuck in cabins with no TV or radio or even rats that could carry a tune. He told stories to entertain Sam and himself; stories to explain why their dad was gone or why they traveled so much. Stories to convince himself that their life was cool, and not hard and lonely and sometimes scary.
Stretched out on the back seat of the Impala, Dean would amaze Sam with tales about the towns they were passing through, where just off the highway sat giant balls of twine that were bigger than a house, or swamps with mosquitoes the size of condors.
Sam would believe nearly anything. As they lay awake not listening for the low rumble of the Impala, Dean told Sam stories about how Coke could eat through concrete, and how if you played with yourself too much your hands would get hairy and once that stray cats got cooked into burgers in highway diners, until Sam refused to eat anything but fries for a week. It was something Dean exploited; sometimes for Sam’s own good, and sometimes for fun, although occasionally he hated Sam for trusting him so much.
He told Sam stories to keep the truth from him, until one cold grey December in a motel in Nebraska. Christmas was blowing in on a cold wind, and their Dad had been gone for three days. Sam just kept pushing, interrogating Dean with all the persistence of the trial lawyer he’d one day aspire to be. Dean avoided, and lied and blustered, until Sam played his trump card --Dad’s journal. Sam slapped it down on the bedside table and looked up at Dean.
“Are monsters real?”
Dean looked at the journal, and at Sam, and then at the worn green-yellow carpet. If he told Sam the truth, there was no going back. Sam would no longer be a normal kid; one whose fear of the dark could be soothed with a nightlight, and not by sleeping with a knife under his pillow. At the same time he wanted Sam to know the world as he did, wanted to share the thrills and the fears of a world where monsters were very real. Years later, he would hate himself for being so selfish.
“First thing you have to know,” said Dean, “is that we have the coolest dad in the world. He's a superhero.”
Except, he thought, if Dad really was a superhero he wouldn’t come home with infected wounds that took weeks to heal, or drink so much whiskey, or look sad all the time.
Sam’s eyes were wide. “He is?”
“Yeah. Monsters are real. Dad fights them.” Dean chewed at his bottom lip. “He's fighting them right now.”
It was a tale most kids of Sam’s age would pick up as a comic book lie, told to cover the mundane truth of a deadbeat dad who drank too much and got into fights.
But something in Sam knew that this tall tale was true.
We all have personal myths running through our heads and some chapters can withstand fact checking while others will fail miserably.
Five facts and one lie about Dean Winchester:
1. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Dean Winchester.
2. After Dean Winchester visited the Virgin Islands, they weren’t.
3. The first rule of Fight Club is Dean Winchester.
4. The internet was invented by Dean Winchester so he could watch porn.
5. Chuck Norris once challenged Vin Diesel to an arm wrestling match. Dean Winchester won.
6. Dean Winchester didn’t miss Sam when he left for college.
Dean and Sam Winchester traveled the highways of America in a black Chevy Impala that had submachine guns mounted on the hood, and a water cannon that sprayed holy water on the roof. It could reach speeds of 300 miles an hour and travel from San Diego to Baltimore on a single tank of gas.
Home ==> Horror ==> Tales of the Supernatural
UPDATE: Following tales now rated “likely to be true”.
* Chanting ‘Bloody Mary’ in front of a mirror summons a vengeful spirit
* Townspeople sacrifice honeymooning couples to a pagan god who lives in a tree
* Pagan gods who live in a suburban home take human sacrifices at Christmas
* Woman who died in car accident doesn’t realize she is dead and haunts the highway where she expired
* Lovelorn teen brings back girl he loved from the dead and she eats his brains
* Clowns are evil
* Hollywood writer bitter over butchered script summons ghosts to kill studio executives
* There is a secret network of demon hunters operating in America
Once, while battling an ancient Native American curse, which caused insects to kill people, the Winchesters made the sun come up five hours early in order to defeat it. This legend is known as The Bee Story.
Dean and Sam Winchester’s mother died in a house fire when they were young. There were no suspicious circumstances. Their father, John Winchester, didn’t cope well with her death; he found it hard to keep a job, and the family traveled a lot, staying in cheap motels and backwoods cabins. An ex-Marine, there is some evidence from his contact with various gun dealers that he may have become a para-military survivalist. Sam left the family to attend college, but later dropped out to go on a road trip with Dean after their father took off for good. They supported themselves through credit card fraud, and other minor scams. Over time, this criminal activity escalated to include murder and armed robbery. In 2008, they were implicated in the bombing of a police station that resulted in the death of nearly ten law enforcement officers and civilians. While no evidence has been found to indicate ties to either local or international terrorist organizations, recommendation is that Homeland Security should be alerted.
Extract from preliminary briefing notes, FBI Case File #28677-7s. Winchester, S and Winchester, D.
And then there was this one time a monster racist truck was possessed and killing people….
One Tuesday, Sam watched Dean die over a hundred times. He saw him run over, choked, eviscerated, mauled, shot, crushed, asphyxiated, electrocuted, eviscerated, defenestrated, poisoned, drowned and hugged to death by a large furry bunny. The pain of Dean’s death never waned, the grief never lessened. Every time, Sam had felt his heart was being shredded with a cheese grater.
“Why so serious?” asked the Trickster.
History: How American Myths Are Made
Nations need a good story line to learn how to cope with their tragedies.
By Evan Thomas and Andrew Romano | NEWSWEEK
Aug 7, 2015
A myth is a story that explains individual and national realities-- why certain things happen in the course of a life or through history, and what fate may have in store for us. Myths are a peculiar hybrid of truth and falsehood, resentments and ambitions, dreams and dread.
The story of workaday people rising to greatness is one of America's most cherished myths. In America, the underlying faith is that in a truly free and democratic society, every man and woman has the potential to realize greatness; that freedom and openness liberate and ennoble ordinary citizens to do extraordinary things. The Triumph of the Common Man is a myth deeply rooted in American culture, and unlike some popular myths, it is true enough. The War Against Demons in the first decade of this century was won by just such ordinary men and women.
John Winchester is Luke Skywalker’s real father.
Dean and Sam Winchester traveled the highways and byways of America in a black Chevy Impala. Two Jesuit brothers on a mission from God. Saving people’s souls. They faced the demons which arose in a sinful and wicked society.
You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. The Dark Knight, 2008.
Three hunters walked into a bar to have a drink with Jack, Jose and Johnny.
“I heard the older Winchester boy has had a girl in every town in the lower forty-eight,” said one hunter who hadn’t had sex since Clinton was in office.
“That’s nothing,” said the second hunter. “The younger one likes to get it on with the freaks – zombie girls, a vampire. Once he even did it with a werewolf chick.”
“Woof,” barked the first hunter, and they all laughed and chugged back on their beers.
The other hunter, let’s call her the third one, lowered her voice and said seriously, “I heard he kills ‘em when he’s done. If you sleep with Sam Winchester, you die!”
“That’s coz his momma did it with a demon. He’s got devil blood in him!” the first hunter nodded wisely. He was from Canada – he knew stuff.
“Can kill you with his mind,” the second hunter, who watched quite a lot of TV added. ”Came back from the dead you know.”
The third one raised the bottle of Jose to her mouth and swallowed till it was near empty. “So did his brother. Came back from the pits of hell. Heard he beat Lucifer hisself in a competition and now Dean Winchester woos his women by playing Metallica on the devil’s own golden fiddle.”
Dean and Sam Winchester lived in Hazzard County and drove a Dodge Charger. Saving people; hunting things, making moonshine. They spent most of their time evading corrupt county commissioner Boss Hogg and his inept county sheriff, Rosco P. Coltrane.
When Sam first met his mentor, Bobby Singer gave him beer laced with holy water to test whether he was pure of soul.
Sam Winchester is part of the western tall tale literature, which often populates the landscape with beings of gigantic proportions. He is a symbol of might, the willingness to work hard, and the resolve to overcome all obstacles. Sam Winchester is said to be 35 feet tall with a head the size of a boulder. He flosses his teeth with a rainbow, and a lost tribe from South America was once found wandering through the thicket of his hair. With his companion, Dean the Blue Ox, they rid the continent of the scourge of demons, and promoted recycling. Sam was popularized by internet blogs in the early 21st century and has been a part of the American culture ever since.
"Do or do not, there is no try": famous saying by Jedi Master Dean Winchester in relation to picking up girls.
A long time ago, in a land far away, lived a family with two children. The mother and father were both good and kind people but the mother’s past held a terrible secret. She kept it to herself, though, and spoke to her boys of right and justice, and exhorted them to keep to the truth, and told them that the angels would always keep them safe.
The elder of the boys looked roguish and enterprising. He took delight in helping people, and small creatures. He never told a lie and he always looked out for his little brother. Father was right, and mother was right—truth holds the world together.
The younger brother was quieter, and buried himself entirely in his books. When he read of tyrants and of the injustice and wickedness of the world, tears would come to his eyes, and he was quite filled with the thought of the justice and goodness that must and would triumph.
Then one night a demon came to their house, and it fed into the mouth of the youngest child three drops of the vile ichor that ran through its veins. Just as this was done, the mother ran into the room, and recognized the evil being with whom she had made a deal so many years ago. Before she could raise the alarm, the demon flung her to the ceiling, where it ripped her womb from her belly and burnt her with hellfire.
- Earth fairy tale from early third millennium.
“Sam Winchester is the antichrist,” declared Gordon Walker.
“No he isn’t,” said the Anti-Christ.
Dean and Sam Winchester traveled the highways of America in a black Chevy Impala. Two FBI agents investigating the paranormal, facing extra-terrestrial life and dark, incomprehensible government conspiracies.
It was the middle of the day but the sun was barely a nicotine smudge between the gravid bellies of thunder clouds. If they had been in a movie it would’ve been a dark and stormy night, thought Dean, one with ‘apocalypse minus one hour’ written on the horizon. He looked at the drawing in the grimoire again, squinting at the spidery lines through the haze before bending down to replicate them in chalk on the cement.
The air inside the ruined church was thick with ash and sulfur and silence. The quiet was broken with the harsh sound of Sam coughing again; and this time grime and fear caught in his throat and he spent nearly a minute bent over, his hands on his knees, chest heaving. Finally, he straightened, spat a gob of dirty yellow phlegm over the pew behind him and examined their handiwork.
Between them on the floor, Sam and Dean had inscribed a complex design of runes and symbols and invocations in long dead languages. The brothers stared at each other across the circle. Both were bloodied and bruised – Sam’s right eye was swollen shut and his hair matted sticky and dark with blood. Dean cradled his left hand in his right, and tried not to look at the fingers crossing each other at unnatural angles.
Suddenly a plume of smoke, demon-dark, descended through the shattered roof. It circled them, once, twice, pausing briefly over the chalk design as if examining it before spiraling away into the sky.
“So, Sammy, think this’ll work?” Dean’s tone was casual; not a hint of ‘can we stop the apocalypse’ serious in it.
“No fucking idea,” said Sam with an equally casual ‘not talking about saving the world’ shrug. “Thing is, either way we’re not going to be around long enough to find out.”
“Well, at least we’ll go down fighting. Sorta like Butch and Sundance,” Dean said with a smirk. He had to get one last smirk in.
“Yeah, and that ended well. You never know, maybe one day they’ll make a movie about us.”
They stood toe to toe inside the pentagram, looking up as the clouds above them spewed forth the black tendrils of a thousand demons.
“Don’t think that will ever happen.”
“Why?” asked Sam, raising his voice as the howling around them grew. “Coz no one will ever know what we did here?”
“Nah,” said Dean with a wink. “Coz they’d never find two bastards handsome enough to play us.”
And then the darkness descended.
A tall tale, a myth and an urban legend walked into a bar and started swapping stories about the Winchester boys.