Smart Car 21

Heroes Day

Sheila, Duke and their cars Carl/a, Josie and Deuce gathered outdoors in the yard of their house in Lake Grove, Oregon to celebrate Heroes Day 2091, the descendant of MLKing Day and President’s Day.

An atypically happy Duke noted “What a fine day for the first Monday in February.”

Sheila smiled and responded “Cold but sunny. Will you read the bio of this year’s designated hero?” 

Duke’s car Carl/a and Sheila’s car Josie weren’t interested and so drove off for some alone together time. Deuce didn’t have anything else to do, so he stayed to hear the story.

“OK, this year’s hero is unlike the others. Of course, most US presidents have been disqualified by being slave holders or some other unacceptable behavior. Stephanie A. Clifford, professionally known as Stormy Daniels is the first former president to be honored in many years. There have only been one or two others since Heroes Day became a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in February. We had the doctor Jenkins who found a genetic way to prevent most cancers and the billionaire Eugene Springfield who perfected the Mind Phone ™, but politicians aren’t that big a deal anymore. A car, a 2078 Ford named Fred, won in 2080 when it detected a crack in a bridge that humans hadn’t noticed and blocked traffic from crossing before the bridge’s collapse. What do you think of that, Deuce?”

“Makes me proud to be a vehicular American.”

“Sorry, I got way off track there, but I studied heroes day and like to show off my knowledge. Stormy Daniels was born in 1979 and worked in pornographic films. Most of the USA became aware of her when she exposed Donald Trump as someone who paid for sex with her when he was married. After that scandal which hurt Trump’s reputation, but not hers, she went back to her trade, but was back in the news when her lawyer was accused of stealing from her. At the end of her acting career, she transitioned into producing and directing her movies. She followed that with acting, directing and producing mainstream films. Outside of cinema, she became a social gadfly arguing for equal rights, particularly for sex workers. Her social conscience extended to bankrolling a company to provide clean power. Her popularity led to millions following her podcasts and columns syndicated in leading newspapers.”

“When Trump Jr. decided to run for president in 2040 she knew that she had to run against him. The electorate had never been as polarized. Voters went with who they hated the least. The Trump hatred turned out to be the larger of the two. She easily got a second term in 2044.”

“She is the third most popular president of this century so far. Under her leadership the bias against sex workers decreased significantly. Trading massive military cuts and the elimination of overlapping welfare programs for a universal basic income made a lot of people happy while simplifying government. Eighty percent of the country approved of her family planning for all. She sold congress on a one page income tax form, making the whole country, except accountants, pleased.”

“She died in 2073 and was grieved by millions.”

“What do you think of her Deuce?”

“Her energy program allowed me to receive non polluting alternate energy which is both convenient and inexpensive instead of my gas engine, so I’m a big fan.”

Carl and Josie returned in time to see the holiday light show and to join Deuce to entertain the humans with rock hits from the last century starting with a Steppenwolf medley – Born To Be Wild / Magic Carpet Ride / Rock Me / Berry Rides Again. All of the cars in the neighborhood joined in, but the humans knew better than to compete with the cars.


Smart Car 20

 New Year, smart cars 2090

The late 20th Century is a period of relative enlightenment, even though some don’t pick up after their dogs. Cars have personalities (and sex). This is one of the stories about Duke and his car Carl/a (Carl/a goes both ways), Sheila and her cars Deuce a modified 1969 Dodge Charger and Josie, a usually shy smart car, and some of their friends and enemies at New Year’s Eve.

“Wow, this is big. Look at all the people.”

“I see Dr. Box over there. He’s the one that got Carl and I over our problems when I thought we might kill each other.”

Dr. Box saw them first and rolled over. A crooked wheel gave him an odd wobble. “Hi Duke, who is your beautiful companion who is out of your league”?

“I’m Sheila, and you shouldn’t talk like that. If you shrank Duke and Carl, you should know how insecure Duke is.”

“What, robo shrinks can’t joke? Believe, I wasn’t joking about how lucky he is to be with you. Is this a real deal?”

Sheila laughs “I finally proposed to Duke and we did get yoked, but he still thinks that he isn’t good enough for me. Maybe he isn’t, but I can’t back out now.”

Dr. Box wondered “I hear Whimsy will be entertaining later. I’m not sure that I know much about them. I’m so old, I still like whale songs – and they haven’t been big for twenty years.”

“I think that you will enjoy them. Sheila is a part of Whimsy. It is the biggest Indonesian Chant group now.”

“It’s time for me to roll. I love listening in on humans and hearing how absurd they are. Not referring to you two.”

Sheila and Duke together “See you later, take care.”

“I see your old ‘boyfriend’ Roy. No reason to avoid him, he’s avoiding us.”

“Boyfriend? He wished. The bastard tried to sabotage Deuce because I told him to buzz off when he hit on me, but we fixed him. It all worked in our favor. Turning my formerly dumb 1969 Dodge Charger smart was good news for us, and my threats against his car have kept him away from me, much to my enjoyment.”

“How are Josie and Carl doing? I’m glad they held this at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds where both people and their cars could celebrate. You’re taller Duke, can you see them?”

“There are so many cars out there it is hard to spot them. It seems the cars are ignoring their people because they don’t get many chances to hang out in groups like this. Oh, there is Deuce. He decided to mess with the other cars by switching his camouflage back and forth from 2067 Ford Mustang to 2077 Chevrolet Jet. Remember when he couldn’t appear in public as himself because he was an antique that used fossil fuel? With all of the retrocars from our friend Eugene Springfield, he probably could have shown up undisguised.”

“How about Carl and Josie?”

“They promised to keep it low key and sedately hold extensions. Those two are the horniest cars I’ve ever seen. If Carl is behaving as he usually does, he’s probably trying to impress the other cars by talking bad British from our trip in the Emerald Isles. You know, ‘bloody hell’, ‘car park’ and ‘windscreen’ for windshield. When he starts that Josie and all the cars try to ignore him.”

“Maybe he gets that from the stories you tell, and tell, and tell.”

“Hey I just spotted Eugene Springfield. What’s he doing here?”

“Happy New Year Duke and Sheila. Let me guess, you are wondering why I came down from Seattle.”

“That’s right, why is our favorite billionaire slumming down here?” Sheila wondered.

“Even though Seattle is so much better than Portland” he grinned, “it so happens that the Portland area has a better car turnout for New Years. I’m curious about how many of them are my retrocars. It looks like about 30%. Retrocars like the classic 1969 Charger of yours are booming. I’ll probably make another billion, even though Elon’s grandson XYZ is competing with me. I’m looking at how to use it best. Maybe African infrastructure or Indian agriculture. Excuse me, I’ve got to find Medford and Linn before Whimsy goes on. Keep on rocking tonight and the whole year Duke, and especially my retrocar partner Sheila.”

“Say hi to your son and wife from Duke and I.”

After Eugene leaves, Duke tells Sheila “You know as much as I like Christmas, since it goes on for nine months, I prefer the one day New Year.”

“I agree, Christmas is fatiguing.”

“Woo-hoo, I just spotted your old boyfriend Shane, now Governor Shane, with my sort of old girlfriend Jane.”

“So much has changed in a hundred years. A guy with his heritage from every major ethnic group sporting ‘gayface*’ who appealed to the lgbtqiadg and bdsm crowd would not have been elected here in the 1900s. Add to that, Jane is openly known as ‘main kink’ rather than first lady. You said you could only take a few hours of Jane at a time without a few days to heal.”

“Just remembering it brings tears to my eyes in a bad way.”

“Duke, I’ve got to go join the rest of Whimsy for the concert.”

“Are you going to close with ‘Good Times’ again? We are so fortunate to have born after the pandemic and other catastrophes of the early 2000s, plus we have the ‘shrooms to enhance the New Years’ experience.”

Come midnight the organically stoned crowd ‘oohs’ after singing along with ‘Good Times’ as the technical wizards color the sky orange with purple crosshatching.

* Feigning homosexuality for some advantage.