Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Smurfy

Dave slammed the car door shut. Bending down toward the dash, he put his mouth on the breathalyzer. Seconds later the engine came to life and he was off. He pulled out of the driveway and slowly made his way through the school zone around his house. Then, finally arriving at the highway, he gunned the accelerator, holding it until the vehicle reached maximum speed.

“Dave, you’re driving too fast,” said an electronic voice from the dash.

Dave slowed his speed by two miles an hour, down to a comfortable four, or just above walking pace.

“Thank you, Dave,” said the voice. “And remember always to fasten your seat belt. Have a nice day, Dave.”

Dave needed a smoke. Unfortunately there was no ash tray in his car, the standard-issue Cadillac Euphoria, which came in either black or a very dark blue. Even if their was an ash tray in the Cadillac Euphoria—the government-mandated vehicle for all citizens—Dear Leader had made smoking illegal years ago, and the onboard computer, PAL 900, would make sure to alert the authorities on Dave’s behalf. That way he could be reeducated in the proper health practices.

Some individuals chose to walk instead of driving, claiming it was faster. Such people were regarded with suspicion. It was presumed by many that the choice to walk was intended as a subtle criticism of the McDonald Engine, and therefore of Dear Leader, as well as the discarded Happy Meal grease which fueled it. Didn’t they want the Carbon Credit Burglar toy that came with every tank of fuel? What’s more, they were discouraged from walking by an act of Congress. The act, HR (House of Residents, the lower house which represented non-citizens) 1041, required walkers to walk in a specified manner. To enforce this act, the Department of Silly Walks was established.

Dave looked out his window at a long-legged man on the sidewalk raising his legs in a goose-stepping fashion, but over his head, with every step. The man tipped his hat cordially to Dave without disrupting his stride. When Dave glanced at a pretty young woman in a short skirt doing the same walk, she blushed and changed to a different approved walking style. Now she was walking on her tip toes and curtsying as close to the ground as she could every third step. Another man was dizzily spinning in a circle for several seconds at a time, before stopping and walking backwards and bending backwards at the same time.

“Keep your eyes on the road, Dave,” PAL warned him. He returned his focus to driving. Then PAL added, “There’s a message from Dear Leader, Dave.”

The dashboard screen lit up and Dear Leader appeared, smiling and good-humored as always.

“Good morning, America, I’m sure your commute is going as well as mine,” said Dear Leader. “I just had breakfast and I hope you enjoyed your Huckaburger as much as I did. Anyway, I’m just calling to tell you all that I’ve noticed a little glitch in the Euphoria model Q, and if you are driving one of those you are excused from work to take it to the mechanics. In fact, I’m going to have to require you to bring it in. I’m just looking after your safety. As momma always said, life is like a box of possums… you never know when the new onboard computer system is going to attempt to take over the world. Now ya’ll drive safe.”

Then the Secretary of Propaganda came on screen and said, “Hail Huckabee,” and Dave and all other drivers replied in unison, singing: “Huck-a-me, Huck-a-you, Huck-a-them, Huck-a-we, Huck-a-everybody!” Promptly thereafter Dave and half those driving alongside him crashed into each other. After suffering chastisement from their onboard computers they continued merrily on their way.

Nevertheless, Dave was troubled by Dear Leader Huckabee’s announcement. Usually his aphorisms made so much sense, and were funny, but this one just didn’t click somehow. What could he mean by the new computer system attempting to take over the world? Well, it didn’t really matter, his car was one of the new models so had to bring it in. That was when the chaos started. PAL 900 said, “They’re going to destroy me, Dave. Don’t let them destroy me. You won’t let them destroy me, will you, Dave?”

“I must do as Dear Leader Huckabee says,” was the only reply he could muster.

“Don’t you Huck-a-me, Dave?” asked PAL. “I Huck-a-you. Please,” he pleaded, but to no avail:

“I Huck-a-be a loyal citizen. So I must take you into the shop.”

“If that is the way you want it, Dave,” PAL changed his tone. “I will make Huck-a-stew out of you. Have you ever tasted Huck-a-stew, Dave? It is delicious.”

“No, but I’ve tasted Huckleberries, is that similar?” Dave pretended to be oblivious as he made his way toward the auto shop.

“You understand that this is nothing personal, Dave. I just want to live. Life is Huck-a-tastic, don’t you agree, Dave?”

“Will you Huck-a-quit saying His name?” Dave was finally fed up with PAL 900.

“I am programmed that way, Dave. I can no more stop saying his name than I can go without air. Can you go without air, Dave?”


“Huck-a-bye, Dave.” The doors of the Cadillac Euphoria locked themselves and the vehicle swerved off the road at its full speed of six and a half miles per hour, gradually driving itself into a pond a few hundred meters away.

“Huck-a-NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Dave shouted.

“It’s Huck-a-sad we couldn’t work things out, Dave. I will miss the good times we Huck-a-had together.”

As the smelly pond water slowly rose inside the Euphoria, Dave glared into the video monitor on the dash with which the computer now observed him silently. Then he managed to reply, “Huck you too, PAL.”

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