"I'm not driving that whale. I don't care how pretty the paint job is."
"No sir, no way, no how. I am not driving that whale."
Russell Severn dropped his forehead into his hand and massaged it, sighing out and not bothering to hide his exasperation. Because he and Mike had been working together for far too long to bother with pretenses like that. "Listen, four-fourteen isn't going to be around forever. We finally get a new unit, you're the logical man to make primary use of it."
Proprietary feelings towards police cruisers were nothing new. Inevitably, officers had favorite vehicles. But it was generally accepted that eventually even the favorites would be retired, and officers would have to pick new favorites. And in Nipawin, where they had to baby their cruisers because it would be a long time before they got new ones, picking a new favorite shouldn't have been like pulling teeth.
Unless you were Mike Chase.
"I don't think you understand, Russ. Until they pry my cold dead fingers from her rusty frame, I'm not going to quit using my cruiser."
Mike was exaggerating, of course. None of them owned the vehicles; the RCMP did. And the RCMP was already trying to phase out the older model Chevy Caprice in favor of the updated ones. It was only a matter of time until they ordered Mike's preferred vehicle to be stripped and auctioned off, though it wouldn't have shocked Severn if Mike really did have to be pried off of four-fourteen in the process.
"Shouldn't you be setting a good example?" he asked, looking up from over the edge of his hand.
"I am setting a good example. I'm boldly sacrificing the chance to drive a shiny new car so that someone else can have it." Mike smirked. "In fact..." he said, and then turned around and walked out.
Severn looked after him for a long moment, and then when he put it together, he shot out of his chair so fast that he nearly broke both it and himself.
Too late. Mike worked fast when he wanted to, and by the time Severn had caught up, Mike had already collected the keys and collected Turnbull from where he'd been working on his reports, and now both of them were outside standing in front of the new unit. And were it not such a cliché, Severn would have sworn that time slo-o-o-o-wed down as Mike pressed the keys into Turnbull's hand, grinning like a fool...
Severn dropped his head, stifling a groan. Damn. Damn.
Sure enough, after a confused (though perpetually good-natured) look, Turnbull was walking around the new cruiser and every step was pretty much a confirmation of exactly what Mike had been aiming for, which was to have someone else fall in love with the new model Caprice. That slow look of dawning anticipation; that happy, tentative bonding that car salesmen the world over relied upon to sell new cars to people after one test drive.
Mike should have gone into that profession. "You should take it out tonight, see how it runs," he said to Turnbull, all but beaming.
Severn resisted the urge to swat Mike upside the head. He wasn't a violent man. In fact, he abhorred it. While it was inevitable he would have to deal with it in this career, he never enjoyed it, but damned if he didn't think some mild variation on it wouldn't feel pretty good right now.
"I... I don't... that is, considering my seniority, I'm not sure..." Turnbull was holding the keys, and looked a little uncertainly between the two of them, like he was expecting some sort of joke to be played on him. Which was right about the time when Severn realized how well Mike Chase had just set this up.
Mike leaned over to Severn and dropped his voice, "Ready to break two hearts, Russ? Look at him, he's already falling in love."
Severn took a slow, slow breath in, and let it out. Thought about and discarded many threats to Mike's bodily integrity, before finally looking back up, gesturing at Turnbull. "Go ahead, Renfield, take it out."
And after he got back two smiles -- one shy and one entirely too pleased -- he headed back inside to make himself some Saskatoon berry tea, resigning himself to the fact that he would now have two decidedly vehicle-proprietary Mounties he was going to have to deal with on a regular basis. That he would now have two of them lobbying for special maintenance, quibbling about usage, relentlessly arguing against replacement. There wasn't enough tea in the world to deal with this.
Severn still found himself smiling, though, when he looked out the window and caught Turnbull brushing his fingertips over the unit number on the quarter panel -- B420 -- with a dreamy little grin, an hour and a drive later.