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Smart Car
by Doug Hawley

5: Auto Pilot

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When we got back from our road trip, both Carl/a and I had intriguing invitations. Jane, my carotic (turned on by sex between cars) playmate invited us over for my birthday celebration and Carl/a had received an invitation to get a free upgrade from the car dealer.

We decided to visit Jane and her car Pat first, Carl/a’s upgrade could wait. Jane suggested that we meet in the same field where car and human had celebrated Eros on several previous occasions. Despite our anticipation, it didn’t end well.

When I stumbled back to the car and hour or so later, Carl/a rather glumly said “You don’t look red hot.”

“I hope my injuries are temporary. Could you soften the seat a little?”

“What went wrong?”

“Do you know what adult toys are?”

“Sorry, not a part of my programming.”

“I’ll skip the details, but suffice it to say they can be used for extreme pleasure or pain between consenting adults. In Jane’s hands they are some of each, but mostly pain. During the pain part, I was screaming too much to use the safe word. You don’t sound too happy either.”

“Something happened that never happened before. I think that I was tired from the trip, first of all. Second, I think that I picked up a virus somewhere. I’ve been leaking fluids for awhile, and tonight it was worse. Worse yet, they were all leaked on the ground rather than their intended target. My various appendages would not extend, and my orifices wouldn’t open. Neither one of us was satisfied.”

“I need to see other women.”

“I don’t think Pat wants to see me again.”
We hoped that Carl/a’s update would be a lot better than my birthday celebration. We ended up spending several hours in the shop because Carl/a had to have his whole system cleaned out and sanitized first, as well as a lot of adjustments. After that, but before the upgrade, he said that he felt fine again.

The upgrade was called “mobility adjustment”. The dealer offered no details, but we thought, it’s free, what could go wrong?”

Carl/a came out with twin rotating blades on his roof! Because he had no upwards vision, he had no idea what they were doing until they were through with him. After they were done, he could see upwards for the first time. He said that it was a real rush.

The service shop manager explained it all to us:

“You may have heard that flying cars were tried thirty years ago, but didn’t fly so to speak heh – heh. Way before that, in the middle of the last century Popular Mechanics predicted that they would become popular. A few were built, but there were too many problems. The ones from this century were much improved, but very expensive and had a few bugs. State of the art technology has fixed all that, and you, Carl/a and Duke, are among the few testers of this Beta version. We’ve gotten the price down to where it will very reasonable once we achieve mass production. All of the safety concerns have been resolved with gyros and total accident avoidance in all directions. At this point, until more testing is done, flight speed is limited to 30 clicks per hour, but later models will go faster. Right now, you need to drive close to your final destination before taking flight, but it will still allow you to get to those places the road won’t take you. All you need to land is a flat spot at least 15 meters square.”

“Any questions?”

I asked “How do we operate it?”

“Silly me, I forgot a very important part. While in the air, you steer as you would an ordinary auto for horizontal movement. There is a new lever on the dash for up and down movement and a simple button to prepare for flight. Don’t worry; you’ll get some training before you leave.”

Carl/a had a very important question “Not that we don’t trust you, but Beta is a very scary word. What sort of assurance do you have?”

I think the manager had been prepared for that question “You assurance is insurance. Duke, you get a $1,000,000 life and accident policy for any time you fly, and Carl/a you get a $100,000 repair policy for any time that you fly. We wouldn’t do that if we didn’t believe in our product.”

Got to admit, the training was very simple and intuitive. An hour later, we went home.

After my very scary session with Jane, I’ve started to see Joanne from work. Not as much action, but after Jane it was a relief. When I told her about our flying car that we’d got used to using around town, she mentioned this great wilderness location, Utopia, close to the Oregon – California border that she’d heard of but never visited because it was thirty klicks from the closest road. Carl/a liked the idea even better than me, so we packed up and took off.

The lawyers and police are still trying to sort it all out. While flying to Utopia, we were shot down by small weapons fire. No human was hurt, but Carl/a had to make an emergency landing, and couldn’t fly again until some supertape was used on the blades. We later found out that unauthorized marijuana growers / survivalists Jodeen and Willie had blasted us from the sky because they thought that we were either government people or aliens. Either way they saw us as a threat.

Even though it was a one in a million event, Carl/a talked me into removing his blades and Joanne has been too busy to see me again.

After assuring Pat that Carl/a was fully operational again, we double dated again and I found that my body is healthy enough to survive one night a week with Jane. Maybe I’m a superfreak.

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