Thursday, April 05, 2018

Oscar Friedman's Freakish Occurrence - Part 6 by Dellani

The GPS is sending Oscar all over the place, making him drive in circles. Directions from Jasmine get him where he needs to go. Unfortunately, when he's following his publisher to the next venue, the car stalls and he loses Patrick.

The car started up on its own, hurling him into oncoming traffic as the light changed at the intersection. Spinning the wheel, he got back in his lane, accompanied by the shouts, honks and finger gestures from other drivers.
"Sorry!" He called to no one in particular. "I'm from out of town!"
He caught up with Patrick at the next light. His phone rang.
"Thought I'd lost you, buddy."
"Car's being a pain in the butt, Pat."
"You okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine. Keep going."
"Okay. Call if you need me."
"Yeah." He hung up, tossing the phone on the passenger's seat.
"Calculating route."
"You aren't even supposed to be on, you stupid, sorry, crappy, piece of .... Shit!" The car stopped dead in the middle of the intersection. "Oh, no! What's going on?"
Nothing he did this time would restart the car. He sat there, holding up traffic from all roads, desperately trying to get moving. A police officer pulled up a few minutes later. Oscar's automatic window refused to go down. He mimed that he needed to open the door. The police officer stepped away from the car.
"I'm sorry," Oscar began. In a shaking voice he explained his problem.
"Won't start, huh?" The officer looked angry, turning red in the face as the car purred to life.
"I swear! It was totally dead. It got hit by lightning last night. It's been acting up every since."
"Just get out of my intersection," the cop growled. "Move it! Now!"
"Yes, sir. I'm moving!" Hopping back in, he fastened his belt and took off. "Dammit, now I've lost Patrick." He tried to call, but the phone, which had been fully charged that morning, was totally dead.
Desperate, he set the GPS. "Calculating route," the cheery voice greeted him. "Right turn in five miles."
"Well, at least it's working at the moment—I hope."
He followed the GPS which seemed to be on the right track. Less than three miles from his destination, it directed him off the main road onto a side road.
"This isn't the way Patrick said to go," he mumbled. "This can't be right."
"Of course it's right," the GPS said in the same neutral voice. "Left turn in 1.6 miles."
"Wait a second." Oscar slammed on the brakes, skidding to a halt on the shoulder of the road. "Did you talk to me?"
"Left turn in 1.6 miles." There was a pause. "You can't make the turn unless you get back on the road, moron."
"You did talk! What the hell!" He tried turning the GPS off but it wouldn't comply.
Pounding the dashboard, cursing like crazy, he succeeded to make his fist hurt. The GPS stayed on. The car started moving, despite Oscar's attempts to turn it off. Yelling every profanity he could think of, Oscar eased back onto the road, hanging on for dear life as the car accelerated rapidly, passing the rest of the traffic.
"Left turn coming up!" The GPS shouted. "Slow down, idiot!"
Oscar hit the brakes, slewing around the corner like a madman. The Prius swung wildly across the road, finally coming to a shuddering stop. Before he could get his shaken nerves under control, the car started moving again.
"Calculating route."
"I made the turn. What the hell?"
The car started up again, driving quickly down the narrow, hilly road. Terrified, Oscar clung to the wheel, hardly steering, as the little hybrid careened along the road. It came to a stop at an intersection.
"You have arrived."
"I'm in the middle of nowhere!" He yelled, beating the steering wheel. "Where am I?"
"Oh, so you admit you need me now?" The GPS sounded smug.
"Get me out of here."
"Say the magic word."
"Get me out of here, you useless piece of crap!"
"That's not the magic word." The voice was decidedly hostile.
The car started again, hurtling along the road at ninety, running stop signs, narrowly missing other vehicles. It came to another stop at the crest of a desolate hill. They were well out of town by this time. Oscar's phone was completely dead. He got out of the car, slamming the door, keys in his pocket. As he walked down the hill, he heard the distinctive sound of the motor starting. The crunch of grit and gravel filled his ears as the car backed up, passing him, cutting off his retreat.
"Get in the car," the GPS voice said.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes


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