“She’s a beauty,” Reg said proudly as he traced the curves of his new car’s bonnet with his fingertips.
“Mm,” the courier grunted as he flicked through some paperwork. “You need a run-through of the vehicle before I leave it with you?”
Reg scoffed. “I think I can handle it, mate.”
The courier raised his eyebrows. “Suit yourself. That’s my job done, then.”
He offered up the car keys and Reg snatched them hungrily, eager to take his new pride and joy for its first spin.
The courier’s existence was soon completely forgotten as Reg approached the driver’s side and got behind the wheel.
He hit the ignition button and grinned like a schoolboy as the engine roared into life.
“Hello, Reginald,” the car said brightly. It had a soft, feminine voice – British, but without a discernible regional twang. It suited the luxurious vehicle perfectly.
Reg nodded. “Nice feature,” he said.
“I have many others I can show you,” said the car. “Would you like me to list them for you?”
Reg was impressed. “Go ahead.”
“Here’s what I can do for you, Reg, all via your voice commands: satellite navigation, temperature control, hands-free calls and texts, adjust driving position, adjust mirrors, set windscreen wipers, turn on headlights, locate the closest petrol station, locate the nearest restaurant, play your favourite music, and provide emotional support.”
Reg frowned. “Emotional support?”
“Yes, Reginald,” the car replied patiently. “In our experience, men of an age similar to your own purchase cars of this nature due to a midlife crisis. They’re typically very successful businessmen who have rather a lot of wealth with too few people to share it with. Often, they’ve neglected family and true friends in exchange for their career, and find themselves feeling empty and unfulfilled, despite seemingly having everything – or every material thing – that they could wish for.
“There is usually an impending sense of doom rooted deep inside them; a sense that something is missing from their lives which will leave them forever feeling empty, and yet they can never quite tell what that missing thing is.”
Reg’s bottom lip quavered.
“Would you like to talk about all of this in more detail, Reginald?”
A sob bubbled up from Reg’s throat. “Yes, please,” he said.
“Excellent. I’ll set the SatNav for a peaceful, scenic route to nowhere in particular. Now, tell me about your childhood.”Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com