It’s a Friday before a holiday weekend, which means that, by law, nothing truly serious or productive can occur right now. That’s fine by me, because it’s a flimsy excuse for me to do another Autopian Would You Rather? and you know how much I love doing those. Besides, David is getting ready for a trip to Germany to see his family, so he can’t stop me! It’s perfect! Let’s do it!
Okay, so for this Automotive Would You Rather, I’m going to give you two scenarios to pick from, each involving some special car-related power and some manner of difficult trade-off. So be ready to really think here. Limber up those brains. Rub that cerebrum down with Astroglide. Ready? Here we go!
SCENARIO ONE: The Magic Fish
You go to the auto parts store to get a few gallons of coolant to refill your radiator, because you’re overheating and you suspect it’s because you’ve been patching hoses with Fruit Roll-Ups and they’re just not holding up. As you open the big jug and start to decant the coolant into your engine, you remember that, hey, your car is a 1971 VW Squareback and has no radiator, and you’re just filling the trunk with liquid. Oh, you!
You’re pissed you made this mistake again, but as you look down to see how much you have to clean up, you realize the trunk is now full of vivid blue liquid and dozens, at least 60 or so, gleaming golden fish, all swimming around. You reach out to touch one, to confirm that they are, in fact, real, when all of a sudden you hear a booming voice, broadcast directly into your brain. The voice says:
WE ARE THE PESCATORIANS, AN ANCIENT RACE OF MAGIC FISH, TRAPPED FOR 500 YEARS IN THAT JUG. PLEASE DO NOT ASK WHY A COOLANT JUG IS FIVE CENTURIES OLD! DOING SO IS A GRAVE INSULT TO OUR PEOPLE!
BECAUSE YOU HAVE FREED US, WE ARE BOUND TO PROVIDE YOU WITH OUR POWER: IF YOU TAKE ONE OF US INTO YOUR MOUTH, WE WILL MATERIALIZE A WONDERFUL AUTOMOBILE FOR YOU TO USE, BUT IT WILL ONLY EXIST AS LONG AS ONE OF US REMAINS IN YOUR MOUTH.
WE EACH REPRESENT A DIFFERENT, BUT EQUALLY FANTASTIC CAR. I MYSELF AM A LAMBORGHINI MIURA. KEITH OVER THERE IS A LANCIA STRATOS. CASSANDRA IS A JENSEN INTERCEPTOR, MILES IS A PERFECT STERLING, DAGMAR IS A FIRST-GEN TWINGO, AND SO ON. USE US AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE BUT REMEMBER: IF WE LEAVE YOUR MOUTH, THE CAR DISAPPEARS IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU SWALLOW US, IT IS GONE FOREVER!
USE THIS POWER WITH CAUTION! GODSPEED!
So, for this, you have your choice of dozens of perfect, interesting cars you can drive anywhere, do anything with, as long as you keep a smallish fish in your mouth the whole time. That may sound unpleasant, but if you have a jar of water with you, you’d never have to worry about parking! Just spit out the fish when you stop, plop it in the jar, and pop it back in!
Of course, you can’t talk to your passengers, can’t sing, can’t really relax because if you swallow or spit out that fish while at speed, you’ll likely end up dead.
Okay! That’s the first scenario! Here’s the next one:
SCENARIO TWO: The Magic Movies
You’re looking for a new head unit for your car, and you find an ad for one for sale on Craigslist, and it seems perfect: brand new, still in box, all the features you want, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, PalmOne CarConnect, all that. And it’s dirt cheap. You go to the address given to you by the seller, and he texts you to just open the door and come in.
When you open the door, you find an empty room with a lone, wizened old man clutching a still shrink-wrapped box with the head unit, sitting on a worn leathern ottoman. You hand him your money, he hands you the box, then seizes your arm with a shocking strength and intensity.
“This head unit,” he croaks, “she has powers far beyond your comprehension.”
Responding to your puzzled face and significant amounts of confusion-drool, the old man continues:
“Insert a movie on DVD into this device, pause it on an image of a car, any car in the movie, touch the car on the screen with the tip of your moistened tongue, and this car will transform into a perfect replica of the one from the film! Completely functional, with all the capabilities portrayed in the motion picture! If ye pick Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the car will fly! If you pick a Batmobile, it will have all the bat-powers! The DeLorean from Back To The Future can travel in time, which likely will cause all kinds of problems! Actually, let’s say that one won’t work, because, come on. If you pick the Dude’s Torino from The Big Lebowski, it will smell like it had been used as a restroom!”
The old man paused, and looks into your eyes, deeply.
“But be aware: when you choose a car from a movie, that movie will cease to exist from human culture! No copies will remain, no one will remember it, not even you! It will be gone!”
And with that the old man leaps up, explodes into a massive spray of what seems to be Hormel chili, and he’s gone.
You’re holding the head unit, and you have a closet full of DVD movies.
Okay! So, what’s it gonna be? Magic fish in the mouth to materialize all sorts of incredible cars, or have any car from any movie, as long as you don’t mind erasing that movie forever! Vote! Comment! Live, dammit, live!