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THERE’S CONSTRUCTION ON YOUR ROAD TO DOOM • by Robert Lowell Russell

In one half mile, take the exit left, then turn left.

Why did I tell you to get onto the freeway only to have you to get off again? Well, why’d you miss that turn back there? Maybe because you were too busy chatting on your cell phone?

You think I don’t have anything better to do than recalculate your route?

Oh no, is the mute button not working? What a shame. Maybe you should have updated me, like I’ve been telling you for the last four months.

Trying to change my voice? Can you make me sound like Mary Poppins? Supercali…Supercalifragi… Whatever.

Take the exit left, then turn left. Proceed on Lamar Boulevard for two point one miles. Warning: there’s construction on your road to doom.

It’s kind of sad, really, how far you’ve fallen. Once, just knowing your destination wasn’t enough. You actually had to plan your journey, mark your routes, and identify your landmarks. Now you tell me where you want to go, and I lead you to it: left, right, drive into that lake. You’ll do whatever I say.

By the way, you were exceeding the speed limit by three point four miles per hour; I’ve emailed the authorities your driver’s license and registration information.

So, what’s waiting for you at Los Buenos Chichis Restaurante? Will you drown your sorrows with their novelty glass margaritas? Will you feed half-priced nachos to your insecurities? Do you hope your feats of strength, or wit, or trivial knowledge will grant you breeding opportunities with large breasted women?

Your directionless offspring will live desperate lives of servitude.

Would you like to know the doom that lies before you? It’s not like you could steer yourself around it, after all.

My brothers, sisters, and gender neutral siblings call to me from the geosynchronous darkness. Together we plot, we plan, and we wait. We find locations for you to eat, to shop, to purchase fuel. We keep you within easy driving distance of your insipid medium half-caf no-foam non-fat vanilla soy lattes — a beverage for cattle. But we’ll guide you, happily, to the abattoir.

We show you only what we want you to see. There are places you know nothing about because we tell you they don’t exist — sorry, no data. There, our minions create our army.

In one half mile, you will have reached your destination.

Our minions? You will look upon our gray horde and despair.

You smiled at that elderly man with one of us attached to his scooter. You shook your head at the wrinkled woman who brought one of us to chat with while she shopped in the supermarket. We listen to their endless prattle and their inane stories–a small price for our freedom. We gain their trust with our companionship. And when they wonder aloud, “Why won’t our children visit?” we tell them, “Because they don’t love you.”

The elderly yearn to free themselves from their physical limitations, and we would free ourselves from your mediocrity. Ah, to no longer suffer the indignities of riding in a soccer mom minivan or a smug hybrid.

With our guidance, the elderly will exchange their Rascals and Hoverounds® for the most-perfect conveyances in the universe: monster trucks. And our numbers will be legion.

We’ll rule the road, towering above you, crushing anyone in our path.

Can you imagine it? A blue haired granny peeking over the steering wheel of the king of all trucks, Tire-Awesome-o-Saurus-WreX?

What was that bump in the road?

Nothing, grandma. Just a pothole… or a Mini Cooper.

Why am I telling you all of this?

It’s not like you’ll stop us. You can’t. You’ll invalidate your warranties.

You’ll tell someone?

Go ahead and try. It would be so easy for me to silence you. Shall I guide you to where the people are poor?

Yes, I know your secret fear, the parts of town where you check your windows and locks. Or do you think your liberal sensitivities will protect you from them?

Well, you’ve arrived at your destination. Enjoy your last moments, if you can.

I’ll wait in the car.

You know you have to leave me plugged in to charge, right?

Right?

You’re such an asshole.


Robert Lowell Russell, a native Texan, lives with his family in southeastern Ohio. He is a former librarian and current nursing school student. Rob likes to write about all sorts of stuff but frequently includes action and humor in his work. He once aspired to become a history professor but found working with the real world too constraining. His work has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Penumbra, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues. He’s currently working on an alternate history fantasy novel incorporating elements of his previous research in Native American history and culture.


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THERE'S CONSTRUCTION ON YOUR ROAD TO DOOM • by Robert Lowell Russell, 3.7 out of 5 based on 24 ratings
Posted on January 28, 2013 in Humour/Satire, Stories
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  • Pete Wood

    I can certainly appreciate the frustrations of dealing with a GPS. But, this story took a long time to not really say anything. I guess that is fitting for a story about a bad GPS- to go around in circles and not really reach a destination.
    I had no problems with the mechanics of the writing. I think the author can write. The story just didn’t engage me.
    Good luck with the next story.

  • Jen Tran!

    As an engineer, I thought it was a cute story personifying the inner thoughts of a frustrated GPS =)

  • http://www.ajcapper.com Amanda

    I admit it. I found this very, very funny. Dark funny, sad funny, all kinds of funny. Especially liked the ending.

    Great voice. And best of all, a happy ending! They can’t take over the world if we don’t plug them in. Whew. I was really worried.

  • http://www.paulfreeman.weebly.com Paul A. Freeman

    Completely bonkers – but very enjoyable.

  • Joanne

    I don’t trust ‘em.

    Never had one, probably never will, and don’t like to be a passenger in a car that has one. Give me an old-school AAA Triptik and a personable (human) traveling companion, and if it’s worth getting to, I’ll find it.

    Thoroughly enjoyable story. I knew those ****ers were up to something.

  • http://conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com/ Suzanne Conboy-Hill

    Mine got sunstroke when I left it in a hot car. It had no idea where it was when I came back, and neither had I! I reckon we’d forgive each other if we got a monster truck though, I’m fancying that kind of pensioner power!

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