by Doug Hawley
13: Auto Show
Return To First Chapter
I was on the couch when
Sheila got the call. I wasnt paying much
attention until I heard her say Listen Im
not wasting any more of my time, youre not
THE Eugene Springfield. After a bit, she
said OK, Ill put it on projector.
Because Eugene Springfield is probably the
richest man in the world and the inventor of the
MindphoneTM, on which Sheila was speaking, my
attention perked up.
Sheilas MindphoneTM then showed what
appeared to be Eugene Springfield, based on all
pictures, moving and still, which had been in the
media. A woman who appeared to be in her fifties,
the same age as Springfield, and what could be a
twentysomething man were with him. Again,
based on all of the publicity that he had
received, they looked like his wife Linn and son
Sheila probably also recognized the family, but
wondered if the projection was digitally faked.
The real Eugene Springfield is a genius, so when
he spoke we were both more convinced that he was
the real thing. Sheila, you probably wonder
if this image is a fake. Watch my lips. Do you
think that even a good fake could make my lips
move like my speech? Pretty hard to fake, dont
Lets say for now, I believe you. Why
would Eugene Springfield want to talk to me?
First, let me ask you if I may call you
Sheila, Ms. Vasquez?
Sure, and I should call you Eugene?
Make it Gene, and this is my wife Linn and
son Medford. Do you mind opening up the projector
on your end, so we can all see each other?
OK. The man you see is my friend Duke.
Sometimes it bothered me that I was just
described as a friend.
Now that the introductions are over, down
to business. I like to put on car shows for
myself and a few close friends at my ranch in BC
north of Vancouver. One of the things that Ive
always missed is having a Dodge Charger as in the
Dukes of Hazzard at my show.
Sheila and I involuntarily looked at each other,
and she asked unconvincingly, What has that
got to do with me?
Lets not be coy. With my resources,
it wasnt that hard to find out who the
Sheila mumbled something under the breath which
was not at all complimentary about Roy, the only
other person that we thought knew about Rogue.
I dont know if Mr. Springfield heard her or
not, but he said Dont worry about Roy
Baker. It is all taken care of. We believed
Lets say hypothetically, that I have
1969 Dodge Charger. What would he, I mean it, do
in your show? There is no way that slip got
past Springfield, if he didnt already know
that Deuce had a brain.
To start, I just want to see it in the
metal, so to speak. After that, we can discuss
what you and Deuce are willing to consider. You
will be very well compensated, and will receive
the best accommodations for you and your plus one.
I wondered what very well compensated
meant in Springfields world.
May we put our heads together Gene?
Sure, and if you want privacy, just turn
off your MindphoneTM.
Not necessary. I think that this wont
Sheila asked me What do you think?
He looks like the real deal, and he has a
reputation for being an honest guy. I think that
it could be exciting, and that we should go for
it, if Im your number 2.
Yes, lets do it, and please try not
to be so insecure.
She has a point, but corny as it seems, I can
hardly believe my luck to be her guy.
We agreed to Springfields proposal, and
then negotiated the itinerary. We would start off
the next day and spend the night in Seattle, and
then go to Springfields ranch named
We spent the next day talking to the cars.
Because my car Carl and Sheilas car Josie
were in the early stages of love, they were happy
to be left alone without any humans to interfere
with their fun.
We set a course to the Bezos Hotel in downtown
Seattle. Deuce was cloaked and on his best
behavior. From the outside, we looked like any
other smart car and its passengers. Because
almost all the traffic was on mass transit
between cities, it was a smooth eventless trip.
The mountains and trees changed a little between
Lake Oswego and Seattle, but that was about it.
We had never stayed at the Bezos before. Not only
was it the premier hotel on the West Coast,
Springfield had booked us into the penthouse
suite on the102nd floor, and how sweet it was. We
ordered room service without restraint. Hard
though it may be to believe, before this trip, I
had not drunk twenty year old champagne out of
crystal while in a Jacuzzi set at our perfect
temperature. Sheila and I must have a small
puritan streak, because after we had surfeited
our sybaritic sides culminating in a luxurious
spa, we spent time at the sparkling gym. I didnt
have any interest in anyone but Sheila, but Oh My
God, the masseuses.
After a leisurely day at the Bezos, we took off
early for the Newberry Ranch. Things looked very
different across the border in Canada. It had
never had a mandatory buyback program for pre-smart
cars as the US had, so there were a small number
of brainless cars on the highway. The Newberry is
a mostly flat area, which is unusual for British
Columbia, of 976 hectares. There were the usual
magnificent mountain views.
Springfield staffers Jean and Kelly met us at the
gate and led us to the Klamath guesthouse. Jean
said Make yourselves at home. You will meet
Gene, Linn and Medford tomorrow, so just relax
We took her at her word and poked all around the
guesthouse, which was about the size of an
ordinary residential house. It was an interesting
mix of the rustic and the high tech. The interior
and exterior were largely rough wood and stone. I
could not tell you all of the gadgets that were
inside, but we couldnt miss that one whole
wall was a video screen. A note left on control
panel said Choose item 1245732. After
we discovered how to choose a program by number
fifteen minutes later, we did as instructed. I
was surprised, but Sheila wasnt. It was the
first Dukes Of Hazzard show from the
last century. I suppose that if we had continued
to watch, we would have seen the whole series,
but we wanted to see what else was available.
Almost everything imaginable was. I suggested
that we watch Lair Of The White Worm, a bizarre,
funny, horror movie that my grandfather had
described to me years ago. We were not
As we were told, after a perfect nights
sleep, we met the Springfield clan. Gene and Linn
looked like they could have been my uncle and
aunt. They both wore casual and comfortable
clothes, which showed no signs of fashion. They
were each a little chubby and their haircuts
looked like they may have barbered each other.
Medford looked a little slicker and athletic, but
After the ordinary Good to meet you,
How was your trip, Gene got down to
Before I ask you this question, you should
know that your answer will not affect any other
negotiations that we may have. Would you sell me
Let me talk to Deuce first.
Sheila went out to deal with Deuce and the rest
of us traded stories about our favorite hikes
after Gene mentioned hiking on the ranch.
Deuce said he didnt want to give up
being a part of Rogue.
Fair enough, I had to ask. Now let me
compensate you for your trouble so far. Heres
a check for you.
Both Sheila and I tried to be ever so cool by not
looking at the check, but we would definitely
Gene continued Id like Deuce to
perform at the end of our show. If you agree, it
will be something special. All the other cars in
our show will have human drivers, but Id
like Deuce to go solo, since he is that rare
creature that is a smart antique. Will you
Sheila opened her mouth, but before she could
speak Deuce spoke for the first time since we
headed north It sounds exciting. I
definitely want to try.
Sheila said to Deuce It could be dangerous.
That may be, but we can repair any damage
here at the ranch.
Id like Deuce to reenact some scenes
from twentieth century movies like Bullitt, The
French Connection and Live And Let Die.
Ive got the sets and other cars lined up.
Of course wed do some Dukes Of Hazzard
stunts and twenty-first century gags as in the
Fast and Furious films. Then there are the pure
stunts like the driving on two side wheels, car
jumping and the back flip. Ive got all of
the details for Deuce to check and he can veto
anything he wants.
Sounds good to me, Ive got enough
knowledge to calculate all of the approach speeds
Sheila whispered to me Just what a parent
always wanted a child that knows advanced
science but nothing about sex.
Sheila and I giggled, but Deuce said Watch
it, I can hear that.
Over the next day the titans of sports, industry
and entertainment arrived. I guess we shouldnt
have been surprised, but the actor that played
the villain Boris Malvo in the latest James Bond
show Evil Lives is the nicest guy ever.
The fact that he didnt want to talk about
some of the show good guys indicates that they
are just the opposite of their image. Some of the
CEOs portrayed as workaholics left it all behind
to have a good time. I cant believe some of
the stories portraying them as tyrants. We didnt
talk to the football people too much, but we did
get a chance to see some demonstration matches.
It still seems weird that the worlds
biggest sport disallows use of the hands.
After all of the antique cars with human drivers
finished their show, it was time for Deuce to
star, and he was great. He nailed the drifts, the
360s, the back flip, and did a great replay of
car scenes from old movies. What drove the
audience nuts was that he was the only smart
antique; all of the others had drivers.
For the finale, he jumped ten Hyundai Tiburons.
Because Deuce had only been aware for a little
while, we were thrilled to see that he was a
natural showman. He got a standing ovation for
about fifteen minutes when he finished closing
Oh yeah, we looked at the check. Oh, yeah.
We stayed around for another couple of days and
mingled with the stars and the drivers. Deuce was
fawned over by both people and cars. Because
Deuce was always in male mode, the cars that
could be female made all kinds of gross proposals.
He was polite, but always told them that he wasnt
that kind of car.
As we said our goodbyes, we couldnt help
but gush over how well Gene and his family had
treated us. Before anybody else could suggest it,
Deuce said Gene, if you dont mind,
even though you couldnt buy me, Id
like to visit from time to time.
Gene said Sure, anytime, and if no one
objects, bring your people and their cars if you
Thinking back, you never know what a new day will
bring. Crazier yet, Sheila might have hung up on
Gene, and we never would have this great new
Only one thing bothered us. Tiburon is Spanish
If jumping the shark is not clear to you,
look it up.
Return To The Story List And
Biography For Doug Hawley
Read A Random Story
From The Writers' Showcase