by disperser


By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright February 2013

George counted out the $100 bills.  Eleven of them.  It was only the second time he had ever held so much money, and he was handing it over to a rather impatient gentleman.  

It had taken months for George to save enough, and now he was trading his savings for a new car.  Well, a used car, but a new car for George.  The man was getting rid of his old truck, and George had negotiated a price he could afford, without borrowing any money.

“ . . . ten, eleven.”  Despite receiving something in return, George felt a pang with letting go of that last $100 bill.  

The man quickly recounted them, and, satisfied, handed George the title and the keys.

“You understand all the stuff that does not work on it, right?”  So maybe the guy was not a total jerk.  He had taken decent, if not perfect care of the truck.  And he had been up-front about the stuff not working.  The seat heater, the HVAC was spotty, the radio and CD player had stopped working some time ago, two of the windows, and a number of the dash light; indicators for this or that system.  “I don’t want to be accused of misleading you.”

“I understand.  Thank you.”  George watched the man leave, and get into a newer model of the same truck.  Within seconds, George was alone with his purchase.

He got in, and sat behind the wheel.  He had checked it out thoroughly before agreeing to the price.  Engine-wise, and with the other major mechanical systems, the truck was in pretty good shape.  A small oil leak, but that would cost too much to fix; he’ll be adding oil once a month or so.  Joints and mounts slightly worn, but she still rode well.

He ran his hands along the steering wheel.  She; she needed a name.  

“Fleetfoot.”  George smiled, patted the dash, and spoke loud and clear.  “I shall name you, my first car, Fleetfoot!”

He turned the key, and was rewarded with the sound of the engine revving up, then dropping back to idle.  This vehicle opened up opportunities for George;  perhaps a better job, perhaps a chance to do slightly better at the construction jobs he did on the side.

He smiled, put on his seatbelt, and put the truck in gear.  “Let’s ride!”

“We are named!”

“We have a name!”

“Let everyone know!  We have been named!”

“Finally! Wake the sleepers, we have an identity.  We have a purpose.  We will honor our Name!”


As George drove, he started to feel very warm.  The seat was heating up.  He glanced at the dash, and saw the indicator light was on.  He pressed the button to switch it off, and just then the radio came alive.

Surprised, he reached to switch it off, when he noticed other lights were on.  The 4-Wheel-Drive indicator, the two window switches that had previously been dark.  He tried them, and the the windows went up and down.  They squeaked a bit, and the motor ground a bit, but they worked.  

He patted the dash, smiling.  “Well, what do you know.  Good girl!”, he said while giving it a bit more gas.  The engine revved up slightly in response.  He thought it sounded a bit smoother, and more responsive, but it must have been his imagination.

The End


The idea for this story has multiple sources.  One is the Shinto concept of Kami.  Essentially, the belief everything contains Kami, a spiritual essence or spirit.  Taking that to its logical conclusion, if logic can be thus be employed, there would then be an interactive relationship between the object and its owner/user.  The idea then, is that treating things with respect would in turn earn respect.  

The other source is that we tend to take very good care of things we own.  Some of the things we own have been with us for many, many years.  It’s difficult not to form an attachment of sorts.  So much so, that we find it difficult to part with them, especially since these days people are not interested in things that, while functioning, have outlived their usefulness.  We can’t bear to throw things away, but we can’t seem to give them away, either.  It seems like a waste.  It seems as if these objects should have more value. 

The story plays on the idea that it’s a two-way street; you take care of things you own, and they respond by working well.

Cars are an especially interesting thing.  We spend a lot of time in them.  For me, at least, there is a relationship of sorts.  A bond, if you will, that is formed.  They get me safely and reliably to and from places, and I make sure they are kept in good working order.   

Mind you, not all cars.  Some of the Kami inhabiting car’s I’ve owned were pretty much bastards, and I was glad to see them go.  

So now you know; I border on being nuts.


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