by Doug Hawley
12: Auto Flashback
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Three months after Sheilas
formerly totally unconscious car, Deuce, became
aware and then went back to sleep, we heard a lot
of honking in its garage. We assumed there was a
short in its archaic wiring harness. I say we,
because I was staying with Sheila at the time. We
were committed, but not married. When we went out
to the garage Deuce said a little input
Sheila and I (Duke) did a
about I want to continue as a part of Rogue, but
I want to have a little say about what we do?
Sheila said Im
sure we can discuss that, but you should know
that you started that sentence three months ago.
Ok, I didnt
expect that. I thought that you had rudely left
while I was talking. Really, Ive been
unconscious for three months?
I tried to help. Thats
right. At first we had no idea what was going on
because we thought of you as an antique car that
was dumb, I mean unaware. I dont want to be
unkind; you are very good looking, powerful and
fast. It was Sheila that solved the mystery of
your sudden consciousness.
Sheila explained The
clues all led to a guy named Roy that I work with
at Auto Safety. He must have sneaked in and added
an unpredictable form of intelligence to you. We
couldnt work on it because he booby trapped
the system. We didnt know what he might
have programmed you to do in the future, so we
emptied your gas tank to keep you from causing
trouble to yourself, and other cars or people.
Let me check on that.
I think that I can do a systems check to find out
if the warning to not open my hood is valid.
After a minute and a half
Deuce said No, thats bogus. You can
open the hood and just take out the canister by
the air filter. That is where the warning voice
is coming from. First thing that I need to do is
to see if I can find a way to stay conscious. Ill
get back to you after Ive poked around in
my programming. Now that I know that there is a
cut off in my brain, I can probably undo it.
After a pause he continued
Wait a minute; are you two like that?
I thought that you were close, but how close?
Sheila said Were not
That sounded a little
negative so I added But we are an item.
Deuce said Ive
got a lot of catching up to do, but first I need
to sort out the glitches in my programming. Ill
do three quick honks when I know something or
Back at Sheilas house,
she ate some crackers then played her clarinet.
Shes one of the stars of the mega group
Whimsy. I went back to writing.
A couple of hours later
there were three short, quick honks from the
garage. Deuce said, OK, I know where the
problem is, but I need hands to fix it. See that
orange box by the interior of my right fender?
There is a red wire leading from it to my purple
spherical brain. Just disconnect the wire.
Now that we started looking
under the hood, we could see lots of added parts.
We wouldnt have had any idea what to do
without Deuces help. We did as we were told.
Sheila asked Now are
you a normal antique / smart car, whatever that
Id like to say
yes, but Im not sure myself, as much as Id
like to be able to tell you that Ill never
The three of us were silent
for awhile. I finally came up with a contribution.
If Deuce is willing
to live with it I suggest we add a tracker and a
remote controlled gas cutoff that are independent
of his operating system. What do you think?
Sheila and Deuce both
agreed that it would allow Deuce maximum freedom
while adding a failsafe and Sheila assumed from
his earlier romp that he could still perform like
General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard
After we did the re-plumbing
and rewiring on Deuce, we invited Sheilas
smart car Josie to meet the newly intelligent car.
She was weirded out over a car that looked like
an antique from the 20th century, but at least
had some of the attributes of a normal smart car.
After she got used to his added brain, she agreed
to fill in whatever his memory was missing. That
gave Sheila and I a chance to talk about the
vacation to Newberry Crater that we had missed
during the earlier crisis with Deuce.
Sheila started with You
may think this is a crazy idea, but how about I
drive down with Deuce to see how that works, you
can take Carl and Josie can go by herself.
She looked like I would
criticize the idea, but I thought it eminently
reasonable and told her so.
We loaded appropriate
clothes for the short Central Oregon high desert
summer hot days and cold nights - after
getting a reservation at the East Lake cabins
where my family used to vacation when I was young.
The next day we took off in good weather out US
26 east. Please bear with me while I do a
travelogue. After clearing the Portland area, we
start to get fantastic views of Mt. Hood, mostly
bare of snow this time of year. As we head east
past Hood, the trees get smaller and fewer. By
the time we passed through the Warm Springs
reservation, we got into the old west of movie
legend ranches, sage brush, juniper, and
smaller mountains. At Madras, we shift to US 97
and eventually head through Bend, a relatively
small city, but the biggest one in the vast part
of Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains. A little
farther south we get into Newberry Crater, which
technically is no more a crater than a reality
star is a star or even human. Newberry is a
caldera, the remains of a 1200 square mile / 3500
square kilometer volcano which is still active
and now is responsible for a huge amount of non-polluting
electricity. As evidence one can observe the
steaming springs in the otherwise cold snow fed
All the way down, Carl
jabbered about how much he liked Josie and wanted
to get next to her. Now he not only fretted about
her virginal ways, but he had to contend with the
newly intelligent bad boy Deuce as well. You
might think that the romantic problems of your
car are a minor concern, but we are very close,
and I take his moods seriously, particularly
after the time that I irritated him so much that
he put me in the hospital.
I encouraged Carl by
telling him that he shouldnt give up and
that there was a good chance that he could get
lucky with Josie.
But I dont want
to get lucky; I want to have a long
term relationship with her.
OK Carl, I hope that
you get whatever you want. Maybe this trip will
put her in the mood.
After we got to our cabin,
we heard Carl and Josie purring at each other. We
couldnt tell what they were saying, but I
hoped that their conversation was headed in the
Later that evening after
Sheila and I were settled into our cabin all
three of the cars drove away.
The next day Deuce asked us
What the bloody hell were Carl and Josie up
to? I followed them to a deserted section of road
and then all kinds of appendages came out of Carls
bonnet and boot and ran all over Josies
Sheila told Deuce Some
cars are just programmed differently.
Later when Sheila and I
were alone she said Deuces choice of
terminology makes sense because Roy is originally
British, but I dont know why he didnt
teach Deuce the facts of life. Clearly, Deuce
will be no competition for Josies affection,
and if he were to write, he would be putting
extraneous us into his words.
I should have caught on
earlier when Deuce asked about the car park
which is British for parking lot.
The next day Sheila and I
hiked and marveled at the obsidian and pumice
which are the stars of the volcanic landscape.
Pumice is the white frothy volcanic product
filled with pores that can float on water.
Obsidian is the glassy black rock with sharp
edges. It was used for arrowheads and cutting
tools by the aboriginals.
Humans and cars were all
entertained by the volcanic caves in the area. Ive
always been amazed by the ice caves. There can be
a river of ice just within the mouth of a cave
even though summer temperatures can reach 100
degrees f. In earlier times, the ice caves were
mined for ice for Bend.
Im afraid that there
isnt much excitement for the remainder of
our trip, but after we got home Sheila gave me
the scoop on Carl and Josie. Josie told me
that she had misjudged Carl and is so happy about
her first time. My Josie is now a full-fledged
the geographical information given is
generally true today, and there has been talk of
generating thermal electricity in the area. Check
out Newberry Crater online.
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