When Alexandra returned from her morning jog, she first noticed that her new housemate was nowhere to be found. It was not entirely unusual; Umi agreed to do some basic errands on top of finding her way back to Japan, and she was at least qualified to drive Alexandra’s car. They had lied through their teeth to get Umi a driver’s license, but, considering she was technically an illegal alien anyway, it hardly concerned Alexandra that she might get busted if she got the local cops’ attention. She mostly had to hope that Matilda did not learn about it. When Matilda had found out about Carrie getting a speeding ticket, she had targeted a sub-orbital missile bombardment on Carrie’s rental car and leveled two city blocks. Now, neither one of them was welcome back to Seattle, and the rental car company banned Carrie from all of their nationwide offices. And Alexandra really did not want her house flattened. The abundance of wall repair was hideous enough.
With any luck, Umi had noticed the grocery list Alexandra had left on the counter and decided to take the initiative. Half of the groceries were requests Umi had made yesterday, so she was likely motivated to get the shopping done. Alexandra went into her bedroom to check her wallet and found her bank card missing. Since Umi also had her emergency set of keys, it was reasonable to assume she was out taking care of the list.
So, Alexandra took a shower and put on a clean t-shirt and blue jeans. Since her tasks for the day mostly revolved around having access to her car, she decided to go downstairs and relax in the living room. She had to look around for the television remote, then she sat on the couch across from her sparse entertainment center.
The first channel was a news report about a high-speed chase that had ended earlier in the morning. She did not bother waiting to hear the details, already bored just looking at the anchor’s face. The next two channels were morning talk shows, nothing of particular interest. One was a soap opera, given away by the over-acted confession of pregnancy delivered to the camera rather than the old woman sitting at an expensive desk in an expensive office. The only reason Alexandra let it go that far was because she had switched to a commercial and she only had cheap cable television.
The next program on was an antiques show. She did not find it particularly fascinating, but she had to admit that listening to the price of a sewing machine from the 1940s was a little unexpected. Soon, she was enthralled by her own observations of different items and trying to guess at their values before the expert could finish talking.
Alexandra shook herself out of her fascination when she heard the front door open and shut. She thought it was a little strange that someone was coming in from the front door and so assumed that it was another story looking for shelter. It was only a matter of time before another showed up, although she might have been able to make use of the fact that Umi was gone to hide her semi-permanent residence. That mostly depended on who it was and whether they cared.
Alexandra stood up, leaving the television on, and walked quickly to the entryway. To her confusion, she encountered Umi seated on the floor, removing her new tennis shoes.
Naturally, the first sound out of her mouth was, “Umi?”
Umi, with her back to Alexandra, yelped and jumped in surprise. She turned to show Alexandra a nervous smile over one shoulder. “Ta-tadaima…” she said slowly.
Alexandra was instantly suspicious. Umi did not even have a grocery sack with her. “Where did you go?” she asked, her eyes narrowed.
“Uuuh… Nowhere?” Umi offered weakly.
Alexandra raised an eyebrow. “You want to try that again?”
One thing Alexandra could always count on was Umi’s guilty conscience. So, she asked the inevitable. “Where’s my car?”
Umi had a pained look on her face. “Oooooh, uuuuh…”
Alexandra heaved a sigh. “Umi, no games. Where’s my car?”
“Um… I left it on the I-395…”
“You WHAT?!” Alexandra snapped.
“I-I didn’t mean to!” Umi cried out. “It just kind of happened!”
“My car was running fine!” Alexandra shouted. “I just got an oil change! The tank was full! What did you do!?”
Umi had turned around in the middle of their conversation. She settled on her legs and started pressing the tips of her index fingers together. “I… got into a car chase?”
“You–” Alexandra started to say until she remembered something. She immediately spun and marched back to the living room, Umi only lagging behind to finish taking her shoes off.
In the living room, Alexandra grabbed the remote and quickly switched channels back to the news report she had seen earlier.
“–in custody and currently en route to the hospital for treatment. Uh, again, the cops on-scene are attempting to re-route traffic and locate the driver of that second vehicle, the silver, uh, Ford. There, uh, there you see it still burning. We’ve been told that the fire department is still on its way to, uh… to put that out.”
The screen itself showed a helicopter view of a scene covered in police cruisers. One vehicle, which had its passenger side mangled from impact with the tree it rested against and its rear bumper torn off, was a purple Mustang. Another car, being avoided, was completely obscured by an intense blaze and billowing smoke. The best Alexandra could make out was that the vehicle was upside-down. A large, black stripe across the pavement to where the car had stopped hinted at a long slide following a roll that had left a trail of debris going back to near where the first vehicle was wrecked.
While the news anchor was droning on about the chase, Alexandra pointed a finger at the fire on the screen and shouted at Umi, “IS THAT MY FOCUS?!”
“Um… it was?”
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY CAR?!”
“Uh, well… I-I always wanted to do a P.I.T. maneuver, so…”
Alexandra let her arm drop to her side. Her voice was level as she said, “You wanted. To do. A P.I.T. maneuver.”
Umi caught the flash of pink in Alexandra’s eyes and started backing away. “Um… yes?”
The air began to sizzle, and small flashes of magic crackled across Alexandra’s bare skin.
“YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS.”
The warble in Alexandra’s voice told Umi she only had three seconds. She did not waste them, turning to run full speed for the front door.
Where's My Car? by B Sanders (@fragmented_imagination)
Do you think the "Death by Origin Story" trope applies to cars?
The car in this comic is Sandy's current car. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it was supposed to be; at least a Nissan, I think. However, given Sandy's chaotic life (through no fault of her own), I thought it would be mildly amusing to see what she had before the rest of the stories showed up. Please note, I do not mean to bash any of the vehicles or people who own them in any way. I chose the vehicles at random, perhaps only taking into account their body configuration and manufacture years to make them current to Sandy's taste.
© 2022 B Sanders
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