As I type this, there’s the beginnings of a huge storm brewing outside, I’ve seen dogs and lawn furniture flying by, and there’s waves of rain and just a minute ago the power went out, so I’m tethered to my phone’s cell connection. But, hopefully this will be enough to crank out a refreshing edition of Autopian Automotive Would You Rather, because, as you may recall, I promised the Bishop’s kid I’d do these. So, in defiance of Hurricane Ian, let’s get on with it! Here’s your Would You Rather scenarios:
Scenario One: The Gnome King
You’ve been hearing all sorts of loud, strange noises from your crawlspace, and it’s gotten so bad, especially the sounds that resemble metal being ground into powder and a strange, late-night oontz oontz oontz rhythmic pulsating noise, that you need to do something.
You put on your filthiest Dickies coveralls and squirm under your house, only to find a thriving gnome village complete with, right under your bedroom, a well-equipped machine shop and an all-night dance club, filled with scantily-clad gnomes. Angrily, you scream at the gnome community, raking your arms around and trashing the place, until finally a large group of gnomes subdues you by swarming all over your face and in your nostrils.
After finally shutting you up, the King Gnome approaches you.
“We gnomes pay our debts,” he tells you, “and we know we have intruded upon your space. That is why I wish to offer you payment, a reward great enough that you will happily endure the sounds of our manufacturing (we make key blanks for all major hardware stores, you see) and our unstoppable, sweaty, intense nightlife scene.”
Trapped under your house and kinda impressed by the whole gnome setup down there, you agree. The King Gnome takes you to the main metalwork facility, and invites you to shove your face into the door. He then removes his pants, pulls off his underwear, and throws them into a cauldron of molten metal.
“I am ordering my artisans to create for a you a very special gift,” he says, still pantsless. “A key. A special key that, thanks to the incredible magical power of a Gnome King’s underpants, will let you open any car, and then use that key to teleport yourself to any place that car has been! Just imagine the location in your mind, and if the car has physically been there, poof, that’s where you’ll be!”
The Gnome King watched as two gnome workers poured the molten metal into a mold.
“The car will go there with you, of course,” he added. Then he paused, looked you in the eye, and continued.
“There is a restriction, though: if you pick a location in your mind that the car has never been, you will instead be teleported to that car’s point of origin. Say, Gothenberg, Sweden, for a Volvo PV544, or maybe Emden, Germany for an old VW, or Tokyo or Seoul or Turin or South Bend or Toledo or Detroit or wherever. You get it, right? And there’s no warning, so if you need to be somewhere specific, you should be sure!”
“Do we have a deal?” the King asked. You grunt, confusedly, which is enough for the king, who shoves the still warm key in your mouth.
“Great!” he bellows. “Now scram.” And with that you watch his tiny bare ass recede into the distance, turning back into the nightclub.
You’ve always wanted to be a racecar driver, but you never really felt you had the skills needed. The dream consumes your thoughts and dreams, to the point that it makes you susceptible to some really questionable influences, like that exciting new cult that just moved in down the street from you. You find yourself wandering over more and more, and before you know it you have a shaved head and are wearing matching track suits with about 60 other people, all devoted to The Leader.
The Leader singles you out, because you have what he calls “dangerous eyes” and he wants to mold you into something greater. He asks you what do you want from yourself, and you confide in him your desire to be a great racing driver.
He smiles, and places his finger in your nostril, one of the cult’s signature gestures, and he reveals to you an amazing secret: thanks to his years of spiritual training, he can transfer the driving skills from any living driver for as long as you need! It’s immediate and comprehensive: whatever action that driver would take, you would take.
You want to drive as well as Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton? Done. Easy.
There is a catch, though: while you have those skills, the targeted person would lose them, as they’d be transferred to you via powerful ribbons of orgone energy. Also, the amount of time you borrowed those skills need to be repaid in full, so for every minute you had someone else’s skills, whatever skills or other mental abilities you had will be on loan for an equal amount of time.
Because the Orgone Neurological Energy Network is global, the skills borrowed from you could be anything and go to anyone anywhere: ability to speak your native language, walk, do math, interpersonal skills, swallowing, being able to not wet yourself, whatever. And while you know how long you’ll have skills borrowed, you won’t really know when they’ll be loaned out.
So, you could be doing something and then forget how to speak English for three hours, or stop being able to draw or dance or make love or swim or swallow a milkshake without coating your shirt or whatever.
So what’s it going to be? The magic teleportation key from the Gnome King, or the ability to borrow racing skills from the best drivers on Earth, via Orgone energy? Let’s vote on it!