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Somewhere to Turn
by Linda Courtland

"I want you to meet someone," Ally says. "Get in."

I slide into my best friend's new car.

"In 100 yards, turn left," a soothing male voice says.

"Thanks, Brad." Ally giggles, flipping her hair.

"You named your navigation system?"

"He's my new boyfriend."

I guess it's an improvement over the one who just broke her heart.

"Follow the road for six miles," Brad says.

"See how considerate he is? He anticipates my every move."

"Did you bring the tickets?" I ask.

She points to a corner of the touch screen. "Brad's holding them."

"In 400 yards, turn right."

"Shouldn't we get on the freeway?" I ask.

"Brad probably knows a shortcut."

Two miles later, we're cruising through gang territory.

"Let's turn around," I say.

"Brad will protect us."

At a stop sign, some tattooed teens move toward us.

"Brad?" Ally says.

The group hurls obscenities in our direction.


Ally makes a decisive U-turn.

Brad's screen disintegrates into a manic mix of colors.

"Recalculating route," he says, pulling himself together. "Turn right in 200 yards."

"Don't fall for it," I say.

Ally gets on the freeway.

Brad breaks the uncomfortable silence.

"Recalculating route."

Several miles later, we exit the freeway.

"Turn right ahead," Brad says.

Ally turns left.

"Brad told you to turn right," I point out.

Ally clenches her jaw. "Yeah, but it was the way that he said it."

Ally's hand flies over the dash, pushing buttons.

"Destination ahead," a female voice says.

"You gave Brad a sex change?" I ask.

"Maybe being a woman for awhile will teach him some sensitivity."

We pull into the parking lot and pay the attendant to enter.

"A woman would never send us through that neighborhood at night," Ally says.

A 10,000-seat sports arena towers in front of us. Brad chimes in.

"You have reached your destination."

"Does he think I'm an idiot?" Ally asks.

We pull into a parking space.

"I'm sorry, Brad, but I just can't do this anymore." Ally presses a button, plunging her ex into utter darkness.

We get out of the car and start walking.

"I'm sorry it didn't work out," I say.

"He was too bossy, anyway."

But a single tear traces her cheek.

"We had some good times," she sighs. "I hope that we can still be friends."

"Everything will be okay," I tell her, meaning it.

"Let's get some wine," she says.

We head toward the concession stands. Two guys stop to look us over.

"They're kinda cute," I say.

The guys take a detour in our direction.

"I'm not sure I'm ready yet," Ally says, facing the true source of her sadness.

We recalculate our route.