A large box arrived today. Plain, brown cardboard with Fragile and This End UP, emblazoned on the sides. My hands shook with anticipation, my mouth watered with excitement. Inside I would find my newest, and sure to be finest, toy: the Segway Human Transporter. All sleek and smooth it came out of the box, gleaming in the mid-morning sun like a fresh pearl. The sun glinted off the her beautiful curves illuminating my awestruck face. The handlebars were bent at just the right angle, a few dials and switches were embedded in the center. Her stem was sleek and straight, melting into the platform that I would soon be standing upon. Her wheels were large, black and round. I felt almost dirty staring at her, as if she were the centerfold in a naughty magazine.
I caught a glimpse of my next door neighbors peeking through their venetian blinds. The right side of my lips curled into a smile as I thought about their burning jealousy. Almost as soon as I raised my hand to wave the blinds were swinging back to their original position. I chuckled. My neighbors are a pair of wretched creatures always trying to one-up me. They have never once succeeded. I remember when they bought their first plasma-screen TV. They were so proud and I could tell they wanted me to be jealous. Little did they know that I had already purchased a plasma screen of my own that was bigger and better. Their faces became red with anger and embarrassment as the took in the site of my giant television. That was when they learned that I am the Master, and I now require them to address me as such. They haven’t spoken to me since.
The HT is much easier to ride than I had imagined. I would have preferred a brutal learning experience, one that I could share with all my friends at the club house. Instead I simply stepped aboard, leaned forward and was briskly motoring down the road at a cool 10 MPH. I felt the gentle wind as it wove through my hair. I had never felt such freedom. I had heard men of a lesser ilk comment on the freedom of owning a “hog” but I bet they never felt the pure power of a two-wheeled, upright, motorized vehicle. I had never felt this way before, at least not since I rode the ferris wheel with Madison Avery in the ninth grade.
Mr. Saunders (or Mr. Twister as the kids liked to call him) was pruning his prize roses. His face lifted to me as I whizzed by, a dissatisfied, mopey look upon his tanned leather face. He was not pleased with my new fandangled contraption. He shook his fist as he yelled some cliché about hoodlums and continued on with his chore.
Mr. Twister is an old geezer prone to fits of dementia which causes him to run wildly about town with nothing but an old pair of undershorts twisted around his genitals. Looks painful and is painful to watch. He is also just about the grumpiest person on the block. It’s said that his wife left him when he retired because he couldn’t support her shopping habit anymore. Since then his rose bush has become his surrogate wife. I have had the misfortune of seeing him standing naked in his roses, bloody scratches from the thorns glistening in the moonlight.
The air was fresh and cool against my face as I whistled by the park. Mr Blaze Lightning Brough waved to me as I passed. Looking at his remarkable face and chiselled, adonis body in those tight-fitting athletic pants, I could feel that familiar stirring in my shorts. The stirring quickly faded as his wife, Molly, appeared beside him. Gorgeous in a breezy, thrown together way she threw an arm around him as she smiled and waved. I looked forward and stepped on it—or leaned on it, as it were—topping out at 12 MPH. I could tell he was impressed.
I’ve named her Pearl. From the moment I pulled her from the cardboard prison I knew she was special. In the short time that I’ve gotten to know her she has become the object of my affection. I never knew I could feel this way about a motorized object, but now as I speed down the road, I find myself overwhelmed with emotion for my newest best friend. I contemplate ending my marriage, then shrug it off as silly nonsense. I couldn’t possibly embark on a torrid affair with Pearl, could I? I mean, how would we relate. She doesn’t speak and there is no way we could copulate. I mean, maybe her handlebars… I shoved the thought from my mind. My husband may not be good for much, but he sure has the cure for what ails you, as long as he’s in the mood.
Finding myself alone on suburban streets I started to daydream about life on a HT. My friends and I (Blaze included) would blast down the streets on our HT’s feeling, as we should, superior to those around us. People are clustered on the sidewalks dodging this way and that like little ants in freshly disturbed nest. As they see us coming they part like the Black Sea, some seem to ignore our approach and don’t move. They are no match for our HT’s. Blaze guns it and takes out a homely women in a suit too smart for someone like her. Marco Balding, my accountant, sees a blue-hair and promptly mows her down, her beaded flower-print hand bag tumbling end-over-end through the air. I laugh at the minions and they all bow before me. “Master” they say in unison, “O’ bestow upon us your vast knowledge and wisdom! Lead us to enlightenment and eternal happiness!” “But you are already there,” I say my voice booming in a deep baritone, a smug, self-satisfied look upon my face. “Just do as I say and we shall all live in harmony! Who am I?” I shout. “Master!” They yell, “Master, Master, MASTER!”
I was violently pulled from the daydream of world domination by a horn blast. I twisted my head around and saw Gennifer Tiller, my nemesis, practically laying on the horn, her face all twisted up into a ball of anger and frustration, her mouth comically drawn down into a horseshoe shape. I knew she loved me and was angry she could never have me. I could see in her eyes the longing to touch my slim swimmer’s build, and could feel her excitement as she took in my HT. I waved and gave her the finger when suddenly my HT jolted to a stop and threw me over the handle bars. I lay dazed on the asphalt staring up into heavens. Genny swerved around my wreckage blaring her horn all the way down the street, squealing around the corner. I swear I heard muffled laughter. She’ll get her’s soon enough, I think as the stars started to clear from my vision.
What happened? I was enjoying my HT just as a lover would enjoy his new concubine, when suddenly I was on the ground staring at cotton candy clouds. I sat up on one elbow and looked at Pearl. She looked a fright. Laying on one side, handlebars poked skyward at an awkward angle. I nearly shed a tear. I lifted her upright and tried to get her to move. She wouldn’t budge. All life gone from her gleaming dials. What was I to do now? My pearl had left me almost as soon as she arrived. My dreams were shattered. No more freedom, no more cruising, no more impressing my neighbors, no more world domination. Oh! And my neighbors! The couldn’t see me like this, disheveled, broken, beaten. I realized I would have to use my enormous brain to figure out a way to make Pearl ride again.
As I stood there brainstorming, an old worn-out pickup truck came barreling down the road. A sticker emblazoned with a cartoon car sporting a sad face and x-ed out eyes and the words “Tote’s Towing” was barely clinging to the rusted out shell of the truck. A light bulb blinked on above my head. I waved him down knowing that a man who tows cars is a man who knows motorized vehicles.
Tote, or so I assumed, stepped from the auto with great effort. He was easily 300 pounds and smelled overly ripe. His white overalls, as far as I could tell, hadn’t been white since they were bought. One buckle was loose and swung wildly as he lumbered around the truck to the passenger side. His shirt looked to be ten sizes too small with about ten layers of grease and grime. Grimy chest hair and sweat poured from the wide, scooped neckline. Flies buzzed about his mussed hair. I wouldn’t doubt if a few had fallen victim to that tangled web. His misshapen eyes and his unshaven face completed the aesthetic.
“Howdy,” he smiled a nearly toothless grin. The stench of three-day old beer hung like a cloud over his head.
“Hello there,” said I, “I seem to have a problem here, can you help me out?” I tried my best to articulate every word for I feared he wouldn’t be able to understand.
“Welp,” said he of the pigsty, “What seem’s to be yer problemo?” He chuckled at this. I never would have guessed this man to be bilingual.
“I’m not exactly sure,” I replied, “One minute I was happily riding her, and the next thing I knew I was on my back and she was on her side.” He chuckled at this as well and I began to question my decision to flag him down.
“Well then, let’s have arselves a look-see.” He turned to Pearl and started poking and prodding with almost gleeful abandon. What was he doing? He seemed to be molesting my poor Pearl! His inhales became quicker and more aggressive. I was afraid he was going to orgasm all over my poor defenseless Pearl.
“Whatcha call this thing?”
“Pearl—she’s an HT, Human Transporter.”
“‘Human Transporter?!’” He chuckled again, “What in the the lord’s name is a Human Transporter?” He asked the question, but I could see he didn’t need a reply. I just chuckled awkwardly right along with him.
“It appears to be yer battery, son,” he said at last, “All she needs is a chargin’.” Of course! Silly me, why didn’t I think of that? In all the confusion and commotion I wasn’t thinking clearly.
“Oh thank goodness,” I sighed in relief, “I guess I should get her home and plug her in.”
“How ‘bout a lift?” he offered. I was about to decline when he lifted Pearl and threw her into the truck bed. I gasped and turned away as she clattered into the truck bed. I was about to protest the inhumane treatment of my poor Pearl, but quickly bit my tongue. This 300 pound gorilla was giving us a free ride home after all. I sighed and stepped into the truck.
His truck was veritable sea of trash. I buried my legs into Big Gulp cups, Little Juan’s wrappers, empty cigarette packs, hamburger wrappers, dirty magazine pages, and lord knows what else as he slid in behind the wheel. I groaned in agony.
Mistaking my agony for ecstasy, Tote snatched from the pile a page torn from what appeared to be a magazine featuring women with unnaturally large breasts.
“She hot ain’t she.” he giggled, “I wouldn’t mind chargin’ her battery!” At this he expelled a mighty guffaw, his breathe practically green with rot. I nodded my approval but secretly wondered how in the world a woman with such gargantuan breasts stood upright.
As I contemplated her struggles with gravity Tote snorted loudly, slid her into his visor, gave me a wink that made me a little more than uncomfortable, and turned the key. We were off. I realized I had only gone a few miles from my home. While riding Pearl it felt like hours or even days since I had left. It felt like together she and I had traveled the world.
“So... where d’ya live buddy?” he said.
“Uh...” I stammered, “Just drop me off at the corner of Wesley and Juniper.” I couldn’t have my neighbors see me with this monster. I'd walk the two blocks to avoid the embarassment.
Tote drove without haste, although I couldn’t imagine this beast of a truck moving much faster than a snail’s pace. Tote’s stench mingled with the stench of the truck was becoming unbearable, draining all the color from my face. I felt as though I could lose my breakfast at any moment. I distracted myself imagining Tote’s life. I couldn’t imagine living like a slovenly ape, I would probably kill myself. Of course Tote will probably kill himself too, but it wouldn’t be intentional. I imagine that it will happen one day while he’s reclining in his easy chair watching some sporting event, eating a massive salami, roast beef, and pimento loaf sub and downing a gallon of beer. At the moment of the winning goal, while in mid-cheer his heart seizes up, sandwich falling to the floor, beer spilling down his front, tongue gently lolling on his chin.
“—and darned if that woman didn’t kick me in the ass!” Tote bellowed in uproarious laughter. I realized he had been having a conversation with me. I nodded and forced a laugh, checking to see if he noticed I had been daydreaming.
“That was the first time she left me. The second time she left...” His words became a garbled mess of incoherent nonsense. Not because he lost the ability to speak, but because I lost the ability to listen. I imagined hurling myself from the moving vehicle, rolling to a stop at the curb and looking up just as his head pops off his neck and bursts through the roof of the cab. Suddenly his head explodes and a beautiful fireworks display rains down upon a gathering crowd. I chuckled a little at the thought.
“You want out or not, li'l fella?” I don’t know how long we had been sitting at the intersection of Wesley and Juniper, but I got the distinct impression we hadn’t just arrived.
“Yes...of course,” I began, “I was just thinking about...the proto nucleous of the...nano atom...” I looked blankly at him.
After a beat he says, “OK, dude. Well...” He smiled thinly and gestured towards the door. I hopped out of the cab, inhaled a deep cleansing breath of fresh air, and retrieved Pearl from the truck bed. I felt alive once more.
Fully intending to pretend like Tote no longer existed I started for the sidewalk.
“Hey man,” he called after me, “c’mere a sec.”
I warily made my way to the driver’s side window. I fully expected him to pull out a pistol and blow my brains to bits, or ask me to perform some ungodly task too gruesome to mention. Instead he just smiled and held out his palm. For the second time today the light bulb blinked on. I reached into my slacks, pulled out my money clip and gently placed a twenty from the thick stack into his open palm. Instead of taking the twenty and vanishing from sight, he just stared at me. I was getting uncomfortable. His beady little eyes bore into me like drill bits.
After what felt like fifty years I said, “Thank... you?”
He laughed, threw the truck into gear and shouted as he peeled away, “Anytime buddy, anytime!” I stood in the middle of the road confused for a moment. I grabbed Pearl and started to walk her home.
A light, pleasant breeze was singing through the trees and the birds were tweeting a sweet melody as I slowly made my way up the street with Pearl. I glanced at my watch and gasped. It was well past noon. My husband would have lunch set by now since I demand it at 12:00 pm sharp every single day. I quickened my pace and hurried home salivating at the thought of eating his delicious home-catered meal. It was in that moment I realized that my life was perfect.
Originally posted September 21, 2005 on DeviantArt