Quantum Truck II, Fiction
Awareness of the outside world. From the bookshelf, all by P. Djèlí Clark. “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” (Tor 2016) text & “The Haunting of Tram Car 015” (Tor 2019) excerpt. Looking forward to *A Master of Djinn* coming out in 2021.
An addition to an earlier fragment. You might want start there. [Quantum Truck, A Writing Sketch]
Stay safe. Stay sane.
She learned not to refuse a person in need. With a great car comes great responsibility?
A while back, her least favorite co-worker created a scheduling conflict. They needed to finish up a presentation for a client meeting that afternoon. At the same time, treats for the meeting needed to be picked up. This person insisted on using a bakery that did not deliver. They claimed the cupcakes were worth the drive. Since they usually did the pick-up, the rest of the office let it slide.
On the day in question, the presentation needed to be redone at the last minute. See above, favorite person, least. The cupcakes needed to be picked up. The obvious answer was for someone with a cute, zippy little pink/green hatchback to offer. She thought the situation was ridiculous. There were perfect decent bakeries with perfectly decent corporate cupcakes. Bakeries that understood delivery deadlines.
She never actually said no. She just made sure not to be around to be asked. She put out of her mind the fact that the hatchback had the ideal space for transporting treat trays. The food was obtained. The meeting went well. The client was pleased. The cupcakes were eaten.
On the way home, she ran out of gas.
The fuel gauge needle suddenly dropped from half to zero. The car rolled to a nearby parking lot. There was a gascan on the backseat and she was an easy half-mile walk from a gas station.
It was not up to her to pass judgment on what was important to another person. If there was a truck/hatckback/sedan-shaped hole in someone’s life, it was on her to drive into the space. Dodging equaled refusing.
Was she in thrall to an unknown puppetmaster? Did she have as little control over her fate as a pawn on a chessboard?
A more positive, less creepy, way of looking at it was that she enjoyed helping people. It was nice to be useful. Usually.
Plus there were often perks – a few hours with a friend, an interesting place to visit, for example a tour of an free-range chicken farm that resulted in a subscription to weekly fresh eggs. She had see parts of town that she never knew existed. She had gone on rides around the state that were both scenic and scary.
It was fun. If you didn’t think about it too closely.