Author : Jason Frank

“Would you drop it already?” not really a question, not the way he said it. “They are not alive. A little self repair, a little self preservation, and occasional self replacement do not make things alive. They make them some damn good products that cost plenty of damn good money, that’s all.”

She didn’t say anything. He had more to say, she knew that but she wasn’t going to encourage him. Of course, sometimes he got on a roll and could keep going without anything from her.

“They don’t have the spark of life. They don’t seek out things, they don’t build things. They don’t have dreams. They don’t have self direction. Whatever the program they have says, they do. We can do whatever we want, that’s why we’re alive and they’re not. Are you getting any of this?”

“So,” she began with that most versatile and complicated of beginnings, “when was the last time you sought something out, built something, or told me about a dream you had? Are you a damn good product, too?”

“I can’t even talk to you. I’m going out. I’m going to the bar,” a familiar phrase he punctuated, as usual, with the slamming of the door.

Walking up to the car, his eyes caught on the traces of the dent he’d picked up in a parking lot the week before. It had mostly healed. Three good kicks took care of that, put the dent back the way it was.

He backed out of the driveway fast, barely looking. What was worse, a bunch of uppity products trying to make him look bad or being married to a half wit who thought she was friends with said products? Thank god her deathly cat and dog allergies had spared him from a home overrun by furry quadrupeds. They should have had kids. Sure, it would have been a huge pain, but at least his wife’s maternal drives wouldn’t have her talking to the damn furniture.

Turning the corner and starting down the hill, the inevitability of his situation was on his mind. He had to drink; there was no getting through to that woman. Wednesday (was it Wednesday?) he was out getting a beer in the garage and there she was with two ottomans and an end table having a tribal council with the car. What could a man do in that situation? He broke out of his thoughts when he realized that he was going a little fast.

He went light on the brakes but nothing happened. The sense of being out of control was novel enough to his sober brain to create a little shock. Still, the sober brain had a number of tricks up its sleeve, such as shifting into neutral, etc. Nothing worked. He couldn’t even open the door to jump out of what was an increasingly speeding death trap. He began screaming just as the car stereo cranked itself up so loud he couldn’t hear himself. That song? He hated that song. She loved it.

“If he was wearing his seatbelt… it wasn’t that bad of a wreck… I’m sorry” the officer was telling her while she stood there in her pink and frayed bath robe, crying into a handful of Kleenex like it was Oscar season. “The car… it’s not badly damaged.”

“Don’t… I don’t want to junk the car. He loved that car. I want to bring it home and let it recover,” she said through the thick tears and aforementioned Kleenex.

“That’s probably a good idea,” the officer said.

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