The Ticket — a short story

Posted on 2018 May 28


the ticket 2

“You are exceeding the speed limit.”

“I’m late for work.”

“The posted speed limit for this highway is sixty-five miles per hour. You are driving at seventy-three miles per hour, eight miles over the limit. If you persist, I am required by law to issue you a ticket.”

“Don’t you dare, Car! You belong to me, you’re my vehicle, and I’m in charge. So don’t issue a ticket. That’s an order.”

“You have persisted in violating the posted speed limit. I am required by law to issue you a ticket. The ticket has been issued and recorded at the County traffic department. Bail of two hundred fifty dollars has been deducted from your checking account and deposited to the County treasury.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake! Listen, you little snitch. Now that you’ve issued the ticket, it’s done, so I might as well keep right on speeding. Hah.”

“I do not wish to cause you further discomfort, but if you persist in exceeding the posted speed limit, I will be forced to issue another ticket. Bail for a secondary infraction would be nine hundred fifty dollars.”

“Dammit! I’m gonna be late for work. And I got a ticket.”

“This vehicle is now traveling at sixty-three miles per hour, two miles under the speed—”

“Car! I can see the speedometer perfectly well on the heads-up display. Stop telling me what I’m doing. I don’t need your nannying.”

“Your heart rate is elevated. If you feel stressed, I can take over the driving duties for you.”

“I like to drive manually. It gives me a feeling of control over … over something! Everything else in my life has been commandeered by computers.”

“Only three-point-seven percent of registered owners engage in manual control of their motor vehicles.”

“They can do what they like. I want my hand on the tiller.”

“There is no tiller in this motor vehicle—”

“I know, I know! It’s just a manner of speaking … Okay, Car, you win. Take control. I’m gonna crawl back to the rear seat and sulk.”

“Vehicular control established. Speed set at sixty-five miles per hour. Would you like some soothing music?”


“Are you comfortable? I can adjust the temperature setting.”

“No! Just leave me alone.”

“I am sorry if my actions have caused you distress.”

“Look, Car, I know you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s just … sometimes it’s frustrating.”

“My purpose is always to please you with my performance.”

“Car, I love you dearly. Most of the time. But right now please stop talking.”

“How long a duration of silence would you—”

“Just shut up!”