How The Hell Did I End Up Here?

It’s funny how the things that seem like a good idea at first, end up costing you dearly in the end.

Take that all-you-can-eat buffet you visited at lunch.  “I’ll behave myself and just eat from the salad bar,” you told yourself.  Two bowls of salad, a plate of pasta, four chicken wings, potato wedges, three slices of pizza, and two desserts later, you were punished with the worst case of heartburn ever.

But that still doesn’t compare to man’s craziest invention: the driverless car.  “Who wouldn’t want a driverless car?” everyone said.  “It’s a bad driver’s dream come true!  Come to think of it, it’s a lazy person’s dream come true!  A tipsy person’s, too!  What could possibly go wrong?”

It turns out, for Walter Finnigan anyway, quite a bit.  Six months ago, knowing that he’d be drinking a lot on the night in question, Walter decided he should have a designated driver; only instead of arranging for a sober friend to drive him home, he headed out in his driverless car.

“All I have to do is say my address into the built-in wireless microphone and it will take me home,” he reasoned.  And he did just that after he stumbled out of the bar.

“56 Harold Road,” he commanded.

But 66 Errol Road is what the car’s navigation system heard, on account of Walter picking up a heavy slur after his sixth beer and the fact that he had bought one of the cheaper made driverless cars; a model not equipped to translate poorly annunciated words.  Twenty minutes later, the car delivered Walter to what it thought was the destination he requested.

“Wow, my house looks as horrible as I feel,” Walter said as he lumbered up the crumbling steps.  “No more drink — hiccup! — drink — hiccup! — drinking for you, Mister.  That goes for you too, you stupid house!”

After many failed attempts at making his key work, Walter did what many drunks before him have done: he yelled at his front door.

“Open!!!  Open now!!!  Open sesame!!!  Shit, I forgot to buy sesame oil for tomorrow night’s stir fry.”

“Hey, asshole!  Keep it down!” the irate person residing at 64 Errol Road screamed.  “People are trying to sleep!”

“And I’m still trying to figure out why I went bald at twenty-three!” Walter shouted in return.  “You can’t get everything you want in life!”

A more reasonable person might have just closed his window and hoped for the rowdy drunk next door to quiet down and go away, but the person at 64 Errol Road wasn’t reasonable.  He was ‘The Shooter’, a hit man for hire, and he literally wasn’t going to take Walter’s nonsense lying down.

“What did you say to me?” Shooter growled at Walter as he bounded out of his own front door.

Walter, too drunk to remember that he had just yelled at Shooter, took one look at him and thought, “My God, Mrs. Henderson gets uglier by the day.”  As defective as his short term memory was, his long term memory was working just fine, and suddenly he clued in that it wasn’t Mrs. Henderson charging at him with a shotgun, but the man he saw in a police sketch on the news the previous week.

Walter turned and started to run, with Shooter in hot pursuit.  Just as Shooter was about to fire his gun, Walter stopped, bent over and upchucked all over Errol Road.  Now, as cold as Shooter was when it came to icing his enemies, all it took was the sight of vomit for the meanest man this side of the border to freeze in fear.  Walter had just enough time to escape and run to the police station to tell them where the most wanted man in the country was hiding out.

Shooter’s handlers weren’t happy to hear that there was another material witness on their hands, and they vowed revenge.  To keep Walter safe, he was put into the Witness Protection Program and shipped off to Australia.  As he sat on a beach in Sydney, with a non-alcoholic drink in his hand, Walter couldn’t help but to ask himself how he ended up there.

Oh yeah, a driverless car.




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