Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Tank N Tummy #15

“Why do you always buy your cars at police auctions?” Dominic asked Ryan as they walked through rows of cars behind a towing company.

“Well, I have no money so if I can spend a couple hundred dollars and baby a crappy car for a year then that’s money well spent,” Ryan explained.

“As opposed to spending a couple thousand and babying a good car for several years?”

“It will take me years to save up a couple thousand dollars,” Ryan stopped suddenly and looked at a car. “I like this one.”

“It looks so dated. It does look nice,” Dominic agreed. “I wonder if it runs.”

“I’m gonna bid on it so I guess we’ll find out,” Ryan said.

We’re gonna start the bidding at 75 dollars,” the auctioneer said.

There seemed to be little interest but Ryan’s hand shot up. “75.”

Another person raised their hand. “Hundred.”

“One-ten,” Ryan responded.

“One twenty-five.”

“One-fifty,” Ryan countered and the other guy went quiet.

“One-fifty going once. One-fifty twice. Sold for one hundred and fifty dollars,” the auctioneer said. “Come on up, fill out the paperwork and get your key.”

“It has a key?” Ryan seemed surprised.

“Don’t they usually have keys?” Dominic asked.

“No. I usually have to pay to have a key made. 75 bucks.”

“I don’t understand you at all.”

The car started right up. “Hot damn, it doesn’t need to be towed,” Ryan exclaimed.

“What is wrong with you?” Dominic asked quietly.

“Good afternoon,” the car started talking as the dashboard lit up. “I am the Knight Industries Two Thousand but you can call me K.I.T.T.”

Ryan gasped. “It sounds like that teacher from ‘Boy Meets World’.”

“But why though?” Dominic asked. “Why does a car this old have OnStar?”

“I am not OnStar. I am the artificial intelligence to run everything. I am, how you would say, the brains of the outfit. I am essentially a supercomputer on wheels,” K.I.T.T. said.

“Then why are you in an auto junkyard?” Dominic asked.

“As I’ve gotten older, parts of me have started failing. I used to be a state-of-the-art crimefighting supercomputer but now I’m mainly just a good conversationalist,” K.I.T.T. said.

“That’s fine. I’m not big on crimefighting anyway,” Ryan said. “So you turn on, let’s see if you can drive.” He shifted K.I.T.T. into gear and began moving.

“Well, it moves. I’ll follow you home,” Dominic said as he got out of K.I.T.T.

The door closed. “Who was that?”

“My friend, Dominic.”

“He’s not a very good friend,” K.I.T.T. said. “Judging you on the kind of car you buy. Trying to embarrass you.”

“We’re friends. He was joking. That’s what friends do.”

“There’s a difference between a joke and being mean.”

“And he’s joking, K.I.T.T. Calm down.”

“Sorry, Ryan. I’m just very protective of my drivers.”

“It’s cool. You’ll grow to love Dominic.”

K.I.T.T. wasn’t so sure.

“Your new car is giving me a dirty look,” Dominic said as he walked into the Tank N Tummy.

“It’s a car. How can it give you a dirty look?”

“I don’t know but it is.”

“People always try to find faces in ordinary things,” Aaron said.

“How is your car doing?” Dominic asked. “I see it started this morning and got you to work.”

“I think it’s the best car I’ve ever gotten at a police auction.”

“We’ll have to go for a ride in it later,” Dominic said. He stepped behind the counter and logged into the cash register and began checking customers out.

“We will,” Ryan said. “I’m gonna go clean the beverage area and take out the trash.”

Ryan walked over to the beverage area and began wiping down the counters. He pulled out the trash can and lifted the bag out, tying it closed and taking it to the dumpster out back.

Dominic finished up the line of customers and went to get a drink. When he got back behind the counter with Aaron, he noticed that K.I.T.T. was now parked in front of the store and not on the side. “What the…? Why did Ryan move his car to the front?”

Aaron looked. “I don’t know. I didn’t see him do it.”

Ryan got back behind the counter.

“Did you move your car?” Dominic asked.

“I didn’t. Why?”

“Because it’s right there.”

“Huh. I didn’t move it. K.I.T.T. must’ve moved himself. He’s rather fond of me and probably just wants to keep an eye on me.”

“He’s giving me that look again,” Dominic said. “And why is no one concerned that the car moved itself?”

“It has an on-board computer and can talk. Why wouldn’t it be able to park itself?” Ryan questioned.

You seem very laissez faire about this sentient murder car.”

“It’s a car, Dominic. Sure, it’s smarter than most but it’s still just a car. What damage could it do?”

The next morning, Dominic woke up to a lump in his bed. He pulled the blanket off and saw a steering wheel. The steering wheel from his car.

“You’re late,” Ryan said when Dominic came into the store.

“I had to take the bus because someone or something decided to do this,” he held up his steering wheel.

“Is that a steering wheel?”

“It’s my steering wheel. I found it in my bed this morning.”

“And you’ve just been carrying that around?”

“It did this. I don’t know how but K.I.T.T. did it.”


“I just said that I don’t know how. Keep it away from me. Disconnect its battery, lock it up, keep it away.”

The next morning, Dominic woke up and got out of bed to go to the bathroom but found his door locked, stuck, or blocked. “What the…?” he jiggled and pulled on the doorknob. “K.I.T.T!” Dominic screamed.

“There’s something different about you, Dominic,” Lauren said. “Is that a new shirt?”

“No,” K.I.T.T. responded. He was wearing one of Dominic’s shirts with an apron and nametag over it. “Maybe I combed my hair differently.”

“What the hell?” a voice came from the door of the store.

Both Ryan and Lauren looked confused and surprised at the person that came in. “Dominic?”

“If that’s Dominic then who…?”

“I’m confused,” Lauren breathed.

“Ryan, your car hates me.”

“It’s a car. It doesn’t have an opinion of you either way.”

“It’s a talking computer car and it locked me in my bedroom, clearly stole one of my shirts and came to work posing as me. K.I.T.T. is single white femaleing me.”

“Clearly this young man is delusional and possibly dangerous,” K.I.T.T. said. “I suggest we call authorities.”

“Oh my God. It’s a car in a shirt, guys. I expect this kind of idiocy from you, Ryan, but you, Lauren?” Dominic went behind the counter. “This is one of my favorite shirts. You’ve stretched it all out. How’d you even get in it?”

“What are you talking about? I’m Dominic Hall. My good friend Ryan will vouch for me. Won’t you, Ryan?”

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Ryan shrugged.

“See? I’m Dominic,” K.I.T.T. smiled.

“You’re a car!” Dominic screamed.

“Look. Look. Isn’t there only one Washington?” K.I.T.T. asked.

“Yeah,” Dominic replied.

“And isn’t there only one Lincoln?”


“And isn’t there only one Dominic?”


“Then that settles it. I’m Dominic.”

Dominic muttered to himself. “Get back in the damn parking lot!”

“Fine, fine.”

K.I.T.T. left the store. Dominic looked angrily back and forth between Ryan and Lauren. “What the hell was that?”

Lauren shrugged. “It was a good disguise.”

“It was a car. In a shirt.”

The three of them were silent for about a minute. Ryan leaned over to Lauren and whispered. “I liked the old Dominic more. He was nicer.”

Lauren nodded.

“I don’t even work today,” Dominic sighed. “I’m going home."