The early years of the twentieth century brought great changes to Goderville. Factories were built, schools were opened, and house after house went up. What was once a sleepy little village soon turned in to a bustling city and it was scaring the bejeezus out of Alfred Paulson.
A modest, quiet man, Alfred Paulson wasn’t much for the plethora of inventions that were invading his world. Pop-up toasters? Crazy! Movie cameras? Even crazier! But the invention that unnerved him the most was the automobile.
“If the good Lord wanted man to travel by automobile, then he would have used the seventh day to create them instead of taking a day of rest. The horse, though, it’s been around forever. That’s how I know it can be trusted,” someone once overheard him say.
The more cars he saw motoring around town, the more anxious they made him feel; so much so, he sought the counsel of the local psychic.
“So much is happening all at once. I mean, have you seen all of them fancy autos here in town? Tell me, what else should I be expecting?” he asked of the psychic.
“These automobiles that you speak of Alfred, you should most definitely be wary of them,” she said in response. ”
“Really? Why?” he asked with trepidation.
“I have foreseen your death, sir. The automobile is not your friend.”
“I knew it! I keep trying to tell people these things will eventually kill us all. That settles it! I will never own an automobile. I won’t even ride in one. I will stick to my horse and buggy.”
Alfred stayed true to his words. Friends offered to give him rides, but he refused. His wife begged him to make their lives easier and get with the times, but he was happy with the status quo. No automobile was allowed to cross onto his property, and none ever did.
But that didn’t mean Alfred never crossed paths with one. It happened on what Alfred thought was another ordinary July day. He had just left the bank when he was greeted by a friend from his school days.
“Alfred Paulson, good to see you! How have you been keeping?” his former school chum wanted to know.
“Just fine, Gordon. Thank you for asking. And you?” Alfred said in return.
“I couldn’t be better. In fact, I just acquired one of those Model T’s you see so many people driving these days and I love it! Do you want to come have a look? It’s just up the street.”
“No, thank you. I’m not much for automobiles, to be honest. Now if you’ll excuse me, Gordon. I need to visit the cobbler before he closes.”
With that, the two men parted ways; Gordon in the direction of his shiny new Model T and Alfred in the direction of the cobbler, across the street. Just as Alfred reached the halfway point of the intersection, he heard his old friend call out to him.
“Oh Alfred, I almost forgot. Did you hear about what happened to Minnie Dodd, that girl you used to date?”
Alfred didn’t just “used to date” Minnie Dodd. Alfred loved Minnie Dodd, and was heartbroken when she broke things off to start seeing David Jackson, the most popular boy in school. So of course he had to stop and ask what happened to her.
“No, what happ___?”
Alfred never got to finish his sentence because just as he was turning around to inquire about the fate of the girl he once loved, an automobile came whipping around the corner and hit him straight on, killing him instantly.
When the psychic heard the news of Alfred’s death, it occurred to her that perhaps she should have also told him how he would come to be killed by an automobile. She was less vague with her clients after that.