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Smart Car
by Doug Hawley

9: Auto Talk

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Because everyone else has had a turn, I’m writing this one. I didn’t have much interest, but everyone said “Come on Josie, tell us your story.” I’m only a couple of years old, so I don’t have as much experience to draw on as the others do.

At first, I didn’t know how to write, but Carl shared his app with me. Carl told me that my inability was nothing to be ashamed of; most cars don’t know how to write. I think that Carl has some nasty ideas about me, but I don’t want to rush into anything. I’ve never been intimate with another car, and I’m proud of it. I want to protect my virtue until I’m sure about another car, and I know that Carl has been with other cars and may have some diseases. It’s even scarier knowing that he has been both male and female with other cars, even though he always tries to be macho with me.

My most important relationship is with my human Sheila. She got me after she moved back to Oregon. She already had that stupid, antique car Duke, I mean Deuce. She had to change Duke’s name to Deuce because she hooked up again with her old high school love, also named Duke. There must be something good about Duke, because she seems to like him a lot, but I liked her old boyfriend, Shane, who is a very important person. He’s a city counselor in our Oregon town Lake Oswego. Not only that, but he has excellent taste. He is always well dressed and has wonderful suggestions about how Sheila should decorate her house and he knows which clothes would look really good on her. Better yet, he doesn’t even try to do the nasty things to her that Duke and some of Sheila’s former boyfriends have done. I hope that she comes to her senses about finding a good match.

Sheila should follow Shane’s advice on how to dress. She goes out in public with clothes that don’t match and sometimes even a pair of jeans and an old tee-shirt. Because I can’t get into her house, I don’t know, but I imagine that it is filled with knickknacks and memorabilia without any fine art at all. When I criticize, she always says “You dress the way you want, I’ll dress the way I want.” You would think that she could learn from my example, I always look my best. There was one time that we got into a screaming match which she ended by saying “I could turn you into a guy.” I was so terrified that I’ve had to be careful what I say ever since.

There’s another thing that bothers me about her. She spends a lot of time driving Deuce and leaving me at home. I shudder thinking about the trouble she could get into with her dumb car. If discovered, she would become a known criminal and her secret identity as Rogue would be discovered. Worse than that, with that overpowered, under safe monster, she could injure herself and others. If my imagination weren’t bad enough, sometimes she comes home smiling, telling me about her latest horror show – going through yellow lights, speeding and “laying rubber”, whatever that is.

Does it sound like I’m jealous of or dislike Deuce? First of all, Deuce is just a piece of metal. It’s just there. There isn’t anything to like or dislike about it. It is true that I don’t like what Deuce and Sheila do together and I might be just a smidge jealous of her time with him. One way that I would just as soon spend less time with Sheila is when she is out with Duke. Sheila thought that I should get to know Duke, so I took them to a movie. That wasn’t so bad, but afterwards, she had me go to a local make out spot, Rocky Butte in Northeast Portland. Ew, gross! I hope that she always takes Deuce or he takes Carl when they go out in the future. A really chilling thought is that she or Duke might suggest double dating with the two of them, Carl and me.

I don’t mean to emphasize the negative. Sheila and I have great times together. She appreciates my suggestions about where to shop and trips to take. I really enjoy our trips to George Rogers Park. We can spend hours just watching the river go by. I don’t get to into the stores when she shops for clothes, but she likes to model what she bought for me after we get home. Sometimes I can be a little critical of her tastes. Whenever she calls me Josephine, my full name, I know to back off. One thing that we never argue about is my cleanliness. We both enjoy the times that she cleans me inside and out. She makes sure that she gets every nook and cranny.

I don’t always hang out with humans. Every week, our car group, Feminine All The Time, or FATT, meets at a drive in theatre. For some reason, Sheila says that FATT would be a bad acronym for a human group. They always show a special movie for us, usually about English women of a certain age, who spend a lot of time drinking tea and worrying about human things. We can gossip during the movie without spoiling it. We like to talk about some of our favorite model cars and their affairs, such as the scandalous liaison between a lowly Ford and a Bentley. We also get to trade stories about our humans. I don’t get to contribute much because Sheila and I get along well, but other cars have some great gruesome stories. Julia was left for a couple of weeks locked into a garage and became a playground for raccoons. Even after she was reupholstered she never felt any pride again. Her new interior was purple and orange. I think that her human was crazy. Sandra’s person jabbers all the time about meaningless stuff, like how he’s either going to start a war or go to the moon. The worst story that we ever heard was about Henrietta being caught in a landslide and being stuck for a week. Even worse, her person blamed Henrietta for not getting out of the way. Some humans are just savages.

Earlier I had some bad things to say about Carl. I shouldn’t have been so judgmental and so sure that we would never get along. After all, he is the one that taught me to write, and he tells me that he loves being cleaned by his human, so maybe we are not that different.

By Josie

The End

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