Teamwork: Skipping Town

At the risk of being repetitive, I’m talking about cars again. It’s just–Do you ever just want to outrun your own life? I go on errands and, when it is time to head home, I want to take the wrong on-ramp. I want to head in the general direction of Away. With speed. Don’t care what I’m leaving behind. Don’t care that I don’t have a scram bag. I just want to run.

The truth is, I can’t. Not just because I have pets and people who depend on me. Not just because I have things in my life that I don’t want to leave behind. Not permanently, anyway. Outrunning my life would involve work. It would involve skills and resources I don’t have. (I have a book on the subject. Possibly I’ve thought about this too much. It–it was research, okay?)

Point is, if I was going to do something like this, I would need help. This is a teamwork post, so help is a thing we can have. I had something of an embarrassment of riches on this one. Lots of my favorite fandoms have someone skipping town at one point or another. Buffy runs off at the end of Season 2 and makes a go of it as Anne. Spider and the filthy assistants of Transmetropolitan spend half the series operating on the run, living underground. But there’s one choice that I think wins on volume of experience, if nothing else.

The Brothers Winchester.

I am a late arrival to the Supernatural fandom but oh, how I love it. (For the love of puppies, do not spoil me for anything! Though, I already understand that everyone dies repeatedly, all hearts are broken, go cry into your beer, so maybe I’m spoiled enough.) The neurotic, obsessive, walk-through-fire dedication between Sam and Dean (and others at various times) hits me right in my teamwork weak spot.

(An Aside: I am aware that Supernatural does a lot of not-so-attractive things as well. It screws up on a regular basis with regards to gender and race and sexuality. If queer baiting were an Olympic sport, they could bait for the U.S. team. I like the show in spite of this crap and I happily engage with these issues in the spirit of “goddamn it, my chocolate cake did not require that layer of shit you just frosted it with.” This, however, is not the post for that discussion. [For posts on that discussion, see 98% of Tumblr.])

There is something else, though, that appeals to me about the show’s premise. That something is…fraud. That sounds terrible, but look: the boys use fake names, fake credit cards, fake government credentials. They juggle money and phone numbers and identities. They know how to get the resources they need, get out of jail, and get the job done. They don’t live like kings, but they have regular access to indoor plumbing and pie. That is more than I would manage if dumped on the streets with only a pocketful of money and my wits. And when the job is done? They get in the car and get out of town. Skipping town is as reliable an element of the show as death, manpain, and things with too many teeth.

Yes, yes, the show makes life difficult both because of and in spite of those helpful little shortcuts. Accounts get frozen, identities are compromised, roots are cut off before they can form. Life is deeply unpleasant for them in a lot of ways. One of the chief pleasures of fiction, though, is to deal with someone else’s problems for a while instead of your own.

What I want, more than anything right now, is to have the ability to pack up everything that matters to me into a vehicle and run away from all my problems. I want to cheat the system and wander the country and live with a heart on wheels. Because that is as far away from my real-world situation as I can get.

I won’t do it. Neither my ethics nor my skill set would allow me to. But in fiction, I can pretend.

So. The whole “clearing your name” thing last time didn’t work so well. You’re in jail or hiding in somebody’s basement or up a tree. Nobody believes you’re innocent, the Powers That Be are closing in, and all hope looks lost. Who do you go to who will believe in your innocence (or, alternatively, have a questionable moral compass and/or lack of respect for the law) enough to risk life and limb to get you the hell out of Dodge? Who has the shady contacts to set you up with a new life in the Great Away from Here?

Published by Joyce Sully

Joyce Sully believes in magic and dragons and ghosts, but is not convinced her next-door neighbors are real. So she writes stories. Really, what else could she do?