by Doug Hawley
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The morning that I had
planned to go to Newberry Crater in central
Oregon with Sheila, she called me up in a panic
Deuce is gone. Deuce is the antique
Dodge Charger without a brain, and Sheila and
Deuce form Rogue, the tandem that flaunts the
rules of smart cars. Given the importance Deuce
had to Sheila, and to a lesser extent me, we
decided to postpone our trip until we resolved
the mystery. Sheila hadnt seen Deuce after
yesterday morning. When I got to Sheilas
place, she had already noticed the tire tracks in
the muddy driveway from what must have been
yesterday. Someone must have found out about the
antique dumb car Deuce and stolen it. No one
should have known about Deuce, since he was not
legal on the highway, despite Sheilas
adventures with Deuce cloaked as an ordinary
With the illegal nature of Deuce, we were
hesitant to involve any authorities. Sheila,
Sheilas smart car Josie, and I couldnt
think of a thing to do. In the absence of a plan,
we just drove around the neighborhood without
success. After we got back to Sheilas house,
we got an unexpected phone call. Hey guys,
this is Deuce. Ive had quite an adventure,
but Im coming home now.
The only thing that made any sense was that a car
thief was pranking us and that didnt make
much sense. Sheila is the only one that we knew
who could drive an old fashioned car. Besides
that, car thefts were close to zero with any
modern car, with all of the security features.
How would anyone know that he or she could steal
Deuce? Someone must have known about Deuce and
A couple of hours later, Deuce showed up without
a driver and said Hi guys. Now we
were weirded out more than ever. We looked all
around the car for someone hiding in it. There
wasnt even room for midget singing star
Elvis Portabello to hide anywhere in the car.
When no one could think of anything else to try,
we asked Deuce what had happened. I had my
recorder, so I can reproduce the conversation
What happened Deuce?
First thing I know is that I gained
consciousness and intelligence at 8:32 PM
Sheila said I was out shopping from 7 until
I added the obvious So no one was a witness
to what happened to Deuce.
Deuce said in an irritated voice Will you
let me continue? When I became conscious, I had a
spotty knowledge of the past, but I did know that
I could be cloaked and go out and have some fun.
I decided to go out and play on I-5. Somehow I
knew where everything was, so it was easy to get
there. It was exhilarating! I passed all of the
cars, darting in and out of lanes. I suppose that
the people and their dull cars were freaked out,
but since there is no need for traffic cops, no
one could stop me.
So why did you come home?
I got tired of playing after awhile, and I
knew there were people and cars back here that I
could talk to. Mostly I wanted to be a part of
So you have no idea how you gained
No, there were no people or smart cars
around me when I woke up
What do you plan to do now?
Id like to continue as part of Rogue
with Sheila at the wheel like I was before, but
But with what?
Deuce was silent. We waited a couple of hours,
and he showed no signs of life. We decided the
best thing to do was to perform what we decided
was an autopsy, because he seemed to have died
right in front of us.
We started by popping his old fashioned hood. A
disembodied voice, much different than Deuces
said If you want to drive Deuce again,
close the hood and never open it again.
Sheila and I looked at each other, nodded and
closed the hood.
Immediately thereafter Sheila did what can best
be described as a gawp. I thought at the time
Sheila can even make a gawp look good.
Duke, I think that I know what happened.
Today is the second of April isnt it? There
is an obnoxious guy Roy at the Auto Safety Panel
where we work that has been making crude comments
to and about me. I think that he thought that he
was charming me until I told him to buzz off, but
with something different than buzz. Before the
kiss off, I did have a few drinks with him and
may have let something slip about Deuce, or Duke
as he used to be known. Whatever happened to
Deuce, happened on April Fools Day. Roy had
been smirking at me the last few meetings like he
knew something that I didnt. I think that
Roy broke into Deuce and added his own version of
intelligence, but with the cutoff that we just
witnessed and the warning not to fool with his
brain, meaning that we dont know what Deuce
will do in the future. This is that dicks
version of revenge and an April Fools joke
By the way, if you think that working at
the Auto Safety Panel and being a part of the
wild Rogue is ironic, I cant blame you.
But we cant bust him without you
getting busted for an illegal car. What can we do?
For the time being, we empty Deuces
gas tank. There wasnt any warning about
that. Deuce wont cause any trouble without
gas. First chance I have, I get security for my
home and property. That will give time for long
term plans about Deuce.
Deuce had a few more surprises for us a little
Got any ideas about revenge?
Yes, and Ill tell you how it turns
She gave me a report after her next run in with
Roy. He asked if Id had any
excitement lately. I told him the trip with my
handsome boyfriend Duke had been great. He looked
crestfallen. He probably thought that his whole
scheme hadnt worked. Then I stuck the knife
in. I asked him how his car was running. I had
planted the seed that Id done something to
his car to get even.
What did you do to his car?
Nothing, but he doesnt know that.
A few weeks later I asked Sheila how she was
getting along with Roy. Roy had avoided her ever
since she asked about his car.
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