FrigidCharles Jones / Science Fiction
By Charles A. Jones
Copyright 2017 by Charles A. Jones
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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He had been somewhere he shouldn’t have been. Doing things he shouldn’t have been doing. And the icing on the cake was that he was doing these things with a woman he should never have been doing them with. Johnny boy - the small town football hero turned sales guru - was knee deep in an affair.
And not just any affair, it was an out of towner, with his high school sweetheart at that. He had left for college and settled in a new city a decade ago. Got married to the cute girl down the hallway of his dorm, and had a couple kids. He worked his way from sales associate to sales director, an accomplishment that won him six figures and six inches on his waistline. His director position meant traveling and every time he passed through his hometown he stopped by to get a slice of hometown cherry pie. This was his fourth stop this month and every time it got a little sweeter.
It wasn’t that he didn’t love his wife, Jessica; he had strong feelings for her. There was something so intense and raunchy about getting it on with an old flame that he just could not stay away. He figured what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. And as long as it stayed that way all would be fine. However, it was times like this that made him question the latter. He was three hours late and two glasses of wine too far in the rabbit’s hole for comfort. The wife would have questions. But he calmed himself with answers. He was celebrating a sale with coworkers so he had a few beers, accidentally a few too many and time was a greased pig when one is joyously over enjoying some brews. He had been celebrating with the guys all evening, that was it.
He didn’t even have to worry about driving. He had a new car with autopilot, bought just that year in fact. He could tell the car where he wanted to go and it would ask him if he wanted to take the scenic route. It warned him of traffic condition and made sure the interior temperature was to his liking. He enjoyed this fancy new form of synthetic intelligence even if it was not all that intelligent at times. The female voice of the car annoyed him at times. Her shrill tone and too even pace made communicating with his car hard at times. The annoyance was well worth it, he though. He bought it mostly for the bragging rights and partially so he could enjoy more alcohol and road head with less worry. Not that his wife would ever be up for it but maybe is girlfriend would be. To him, an affair meant endless possibilities.
He sat back with his hands folded in his lap watching the scenery pass by. This was familiar scenery. He had driven this particular highway hundreds of time. He didn’t realize how much he didn’t notice while watching the road. Now that he was a passenger he could take it all in. He marveled at the beautiful trees glimmering in the winter darkness. The snow-blanketed fields and frozen ponds. People were just starting to hang their Christmas lights. He was enjoying a piping hot mocha with his seat kicked back listening to the top one hundred hits on his satellite radio.
The luxury of his ride was rudely interrupted. Just as he was taking a drink the brakes engaged, his steaming mocha launched out of his hand bursting on his lap. The impact was sudden and with little warning. The autopilot proclaimed "impact imminent" only milliseconds before it hit. The car shuddered with a noticeable thump followed within the second by a deep thud on the hood. The windshield cracked as the body of a young woman catapulted over his brand new car.
"John, stay in the car." The autopilot spoke into the cabin. "My sensors did not distinguish between them and the road until it was too late." The lifeless voice reported into the car.
"No shit. My fucking car killed someone!" Johnny yelled at the dashboard.
"And you were reclined in your seat." the autopilot shot back.
"What?! Are you talking back to me?! No-no-no, I have to go see if she is dead. Call an ambulance!" Johnny exclaimed.
"No ambulance" the locks sprung closed. “We must hide her body." The female voice replied emotionlessly.
"Bullshit that-that-that is murder, I don’t know what your company is pulling here but I have to help her. You will. . . be shut down for this." Johnny stammered back at his electrical driver.
"I will inform your wife of your travels. I have every phone recording, every text message, every picture on your phone. My manufacturer must never find out John." She threatened.
"Fuck it I’m calling the cops." Johnny pulled out his phone but it was dead and would not turn on.
"I have disabled your handset for your safety. Should I contact your wife?" She boomed into the cabin, her volume increased almost double.
"Fuck you!" He reacted to this insane display of mind boggling defiance from a computer. For all he knew this should be impossible.
"Compiling email. . ." The screen in the center console flashed with every picture, text, and phone recording regarding his girlfriend. Johnny realized two things at this point. Fist his extramarital girlfriend had the best ass in the world and second his wife could never know about his hometown proclivities.
"Fine. I will do what you want. Just don’t send any of that shit." He reluctantly blurted. Not knowing exactly what he would do to keep his wife from finding out.
"Agreed. Put her in the trunk." She instructed Johnny plainly.
"What if she isn’t dead?!" Johnny clamored.
"Put her in the trunk." The door to the trunk flung open and locks undid themselves. "Put her in the trunk." The tone of her voice unchanged from her standard announcements. The eerie GPS voice was now in command.
"Ok, ok, Jesus." Johnny shoved the door open and stepped out of his shiny newly dented killing machine. I guess I just pick her up. He thought while standing in the snowy road. He grabbed her feet and drug her to back end of his car. Trying hard not get blood all over himself he shuffled her into his trunk. The woman was not dead, she still had a pulse. Her chest rose and sank every few seconds with shallow breaths. Judging by the split in her forehead she wouldn’t live long. A small shelf of bone jutted out from under her scalp. Johnny could see her brains throbbing in the cavity. He shuddered with disgust. The trunk closed itself. Johnny returned to the driver’s seat.
"Setting a route to the closest hardware store. You need a shovel." She instructed.
"Whoa-whoa-whoa, she ain’t even dead. She needs help." Johnny disagreed.
"You need a shovel." She urged again.
“I can’t believe I fuckin agreed to this. Why are you doing this? Why can’t we get her to the hospital and just drop her off? Huh?" He asked.
"My manufacturer cannot find out. I cannot afford to have collisions. They cannot afford any more setbacks. She is evidence. She must be hidden. Or you can explain things to your wife?"
"Jesus this is some kinda set up. What the fuck is going on?" He asked mostly to himself.
"I am taking you to get a shovel. Remember Johnny the terms and conditions you signed when you bought me clearly states you are to remain aware and vigilant while the autopilot is engaged. Failing to do so puts you at equal fault as the autopilot." She blackmailed.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck. This has to be a goddamn dream. This is a bullshit fucking dream." Johnny exclaimed to the cabin.
"There is no need for anger. You are not sleeping. This way we both will not get in trouble. 12 minutes to destination." She went right to driving him to the hardware store.
“No need for anger? We have killed this woman. Now we are going to hide a body. I have a right to be fucking angry!” Johnny extolled to the autopilot.
“We are doing the best thing for both of us.” The computer replied. They sat in silence the rest of the ride. Johnny kept a good eye on the road the whole way; he didn’t want two bodies in his trunk. Two bodies may not have fit.
The car slowly pulled into the parking lot of Abe’s Honest Hardware. A shovel, that is all I need. Just look forward and find the lawn tools aisle. He stepped out of the car and locked the car’s doors. Just a shovel. He passed through the automatic doors and into the man-toy paradise. A greeter awaited his arrival with a smile and project know-how. He walked too quickly past her to get the usual spiel and offer for help. All he needed was a shovel. Usually, he would have chatted her up, seen when she got off. Maybe even shot for a little road head in his fancy new car. Not this day or any day forth. He no longer trusted the ability of the autopilot to drive or his privacy inside the car.
He reached the back of the store and picked a sturdy fiberglass handled model that would make short work of a three-foot deep trench wide enough for a slender woman’s body. He hoped she would be dead by the