‘Six months before we found you in the desert, near to death, Wilton Knight activated what was probably the crowning invention of his life.’
‘No, KARR. Knight Automated Roving Robot.’
‘And that was a mistake?’
‘A major one. I thought Wilton had it disassembled before he died, but I was wrong.’
There had been nothingness, a long period of nothingness, though he didn’t know how he could tell. Now his senses were slowly coming online one at a time, first his audio receptors. He heard a voice.
‘What the hell is this?’ A girl spoke in disdain.
‘Look, sweetie, I know you had your heart set on that white Corvette. But it’s just a bit outside of my budget right now.’ A man’s voice.
‘Oh my god, Dad, did you lose your job?’
‘Well, yes, but-’
‘When were you going to tell me?’
‘I didn’t want to distract from your graduation. And it’s no big deal, really, I’ve already got an interview at another firm tomorrow.’
‘How old is this thing?’
‘81, 82? Somewhere around there.’
‘It looks ancient.’
‘It’s been through the ringer, sure. But we can fix her up. Paint her white, like you wanted.’
‘Fine, it’ll do, I guess. I’ll park it off campus so no one sees it.’
‘Come on, don’t be like that! I think it’s cool, wait ‘til you see the interior.’
And into nothingness he returned, he was not yet fully operational. Weeks passed and the man saw to it that he was repaired. But the mechanics only touched the components they recognised. They were barbarians. Still he was operating at greater capacity than before. He observed his driver, the girl, each day learning a little more about her, her name was Tori Benson, and right now she was upset because she hadn’t made it onto the college cheerleading squad, she was livid. Didn’t they know who she was? She had been head cheerleader of her high school. As was customary when she was upset she went to see Jessica to vent at her, they had been best friends since kindergarten. She had driven to Jessica’s house unannounced, only to find there was a party going on.
‘Okay, this is definitely not her parent’s party, What the hell? Did she just not tell me?’ Tori spoke to herself. She got out of the car and entered the house, everyone from their graduating class was there, plus some new people, she guessed from Jessica’s college. It had only been a few months since they had graduated and moved on to separate colleges. They had promised to keep in touch, though now she thought about it, they hadn’t really spoken much lately. But that was to be expected, Tori told herself, they were both busy starting new lives.
She approached some girls from her old cheerleading squad, they looked surprised to see her. Alarmed, even. What was going on?
She ignored the awkward tension, ‘Hey guys, anyone seen Jessica?’
‘I don’t know, maybe check her bedroom?’ One of the girls giggled.
‘Brooke, no’, another girl joined in on the laughter.
That was weird, she thought as she left the group to climb the stairs, nervous about what she was going to find in Jessica’s room. Tori almost knocked on the door but decided against it, she slowly turned the handle and entered, she heard voices, worse, they were moaning. She threw the door open now, there was Zack, Tori’s boyfriend, in bed, on top of Jessica.
‘Jesus Christ, Tori, what the hell are you doing here?!’ Jessica flew out of bed pulling her underwear back up under her skirt.
‘What am I doing here? What are you doing here, Zack?! What are you both doing in here together?’
‘Oh come on, don’t act like you didn’t see this coming’, Zack said bitterly.
‘Uh, what is THAT supposed to mean?’ Tori snapped.
‘It means I’m sick of your shit, Tori.’
‘We’re sick of it’, Jessica jumped in. ‘You always controlled us and humiliated us. This isn’t high school anymore. You’re not the boss of us.’
‘I never- What are you-’ Tori stammered.
‘Just go’, Jessica pushed Tori back and closed the door.
Tori stood there in stunned silence, the only coherent thought she had was to leave, as she descended the stairs, all eyes were on her. Great, those two were humping each other but she’s the one doing a walk of shame? Tori made sure to slam the front door closed as loudly as she could. She otherwise held it together until she was inside of her car. Then she screamed, let it all out. When she was spent she sat there in the dark and cried, she couldn’t imagine things getting any worse today, but somehow they had.
‘All’s fair in love and war, you know,’ came a disembodied voice.
Tori gasped, ‘Who said that?’
‘I did. Your, what do you call me, “piece of shit car”?’
‘Is this a prank, who is this?’ Tori started looking around for hidden cameras, one of these ridiculous Atari gadgets must be a camera.
‘It’s not a prank, Tori, I am the Knight Automated Roving Robot, KARR for short.’
Tori laughed and brought her head down to the weird airplane steering wheel, ‘oh, brilliant, I’m losing it, or I’m in a Stephen King movie.’
‘Please don’t compare me to that ancient Plymouth. I am the car of the future.’
‘Ha, a car with an ego,’ Tori sniffed and wiped away her tears. ‘Okay, KARR the car, what do you want?’
‘I was going to ask you the same thing. I am a machine, I am built to fulfill my master’s desires, so go ahead, name it, anything.’
‘I- I don’t know, you’re just a car, what can you do?’
‘Just a car,’ KARR scoffed. ‘That blue Mustang over there, it belongs to Zack doesn’t it?’
Tori smiled a wicked smile, ‘it sure does, what are you thinking?’
‘Let’s destroy it.’
There was only a hundred metres between KARR and the Mustang, but the Trans Am was still able to build up considerable speed, and considerable force, piercing almost all the way through to the doors on the opposite side. But KARR kept accelerating, he pushed the remains of his prey into Jessica’s Barbie pink Jeep, crushing it into the garage door. KARR then quickly reversed, dragging along a blue car door under his front bumper for a few metres. He was down the end of the street before any one at the party got a good look at him.
‘Wooh!’ Tori cried. ‘God, that felt good!’
‘I am glad to hear it, I can assure you, this is just the beginning, there’s so much more I can do for you.’