This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - Google released its new self-driving car. You step in and press “I’m feeling lucky”
“God fucking damn it! What does it even mean? Tell me what does “Late LG load” even mean? You stupid car! I said “8 MG road” I yelled at the car. Regret had started creeping in my mind. Early adopter my butt. I should have waited for Google to perfect their voice recognition before getting this stupid self-driving piece of junk. Every. Single. Time. I watch this snazzy product video and fall for it. Stupid stupid. This thing doesn’t even have a steering wheel. Why would you do that? I’ve been at it for more than half an hour trying God knows how many destinations to try to take it for a spin but Indian accent + Indian road names = Big fucking nope. This is bullcrap. It will have to go back. I didn’t get to drive it even one. What a shame. It would have been so cool to be driving down the Delhi roads in India’s first self-driving car.
I decided to call it quits and opened the door and suddenly it hit me. It might still work. I could still maybe try pressing the “I’m feeling lucky” button. I know what it does, theoretically. I’ve never tried to on the search but looking at how I can’t get this metal box to move and that being the only button present I should give it a try. At least it will move. I won’t be devoid of even a single ride in this car. Hell! Why not? I shut the door and pressed the button. It was a physical button, not the touchscreen kind and rather stiff. The lights on the car turned red and a pop-up appeared on the HUD. “Are you sure ?” It said. That’s not very Google like, I thought. I touched the button and pulled back. Something did not feel right. But nothing ever felt right to me. If destiny herself came down to me and told me the exact place to go to to find a buried treasure I would still not be 100% confident on that. Thirty years of shitty luck would do that to you. Still, I pressed the button. What’s the worse that could happen I thought? Hah. The motors whirred into action and the car jerked. And then the motors died. Of course. At this point, I was half expecting this. The only thing consistent in my life is my luck. “You have reached your destination”. What? “We did not even move” I yelled at the navigation lady. “I know you are recording everything and will use it for analytics so record this - THIS CAR IS SHIT”.
I powered off the car and stepped out stepping right in a pile of shit. I was not surprised at first. But then it dawned on me. I am standing in my driveway inside a gated complex. This means there is a stray cow somewhere in the complex. I raised my head to find the damn animal when it hit me. Not a thought or a realization as one might assume. The animal hit me. Any doubts I ever had about the laws of conservation of momentum were cleared then and there when the cow transferred all its momentum right to my chest. I took off. I braced myself for a butt-breaking fall but I landed rather softly. I stood up to see that it was a patch of thick grass that had broken my fall. Wondering at this unexpected feat of good luck I turned around to see the cow charging at me again. No. Not a cow. What is that? It looks familiar. Very familiar. Like something I’ve seen before. In a movie most likely. I get it. It’s a Tricera-whatsitsname. Yes it;s a Tricera-something dinosaur. Yes. Now I’ve got it. See I knew I’ll get it. Then it hit me. This time the dinosaur and the realization both at the same time. Dinosaur? DINOSAUR? What? When I landed this time my luck had caught up with me after a momentary break for sight-seeing and I landed on a hard leathery rock. I tumbled down the rock, calculations of the costs of tail-bone repairs running across my mind. I hit the ground face down. The thought of getting up knocked on the gate of my mind which had closed itself like a tortoise scared by the sudden stream of events. My mind was on the verge of answering this know when the rock started to move. Self-preservation kicked into overdrive and I leaped up leaving my brain to take its own time. The rock had a face and the face was moving closer to me. It was a big triceratops face. 10 times bigger than the one that had imprinted itself with dirt on my t-shirt. All the Jurassic Park movies fast forwarded in the front of my eyes at that moment. The big rock stared at me for a few seconds and went back to sleep. I turned around slowly to find the smaller one now messing with a huge long necked whatsitsname. You could call it playing. My brain had decided to come to my aid by then and looked around to see what all had changed. “I am not in my apartment complex” I observed loudly. No shit Sherlock! I was surrounded by trees and tall grass. The kind I had never seen before.
Yes, I had not seen many trees and grasses anyways but still, I know this was different. I am not in a hologram or a simulation for sure. My sore tailbone was a proof of that. I needed to sit. I needed to think. I found a small rock, kicked it to confirm that it was indeed a rock and sat down. What is happening? I know why it is happening to me but what is it that is happening? So here’s what we know. I pushed a button and now there are dinosaurs and trees. Ok. Nope. Nothing still makes sense. Has the car taken me to a zoo, the kind they show in the Jurassic park movies? I didn’t know they existed and the car didn’t even move. It doesn’t look like a zoo anyways. No borders, fences, cages etc. Sanctuary maybe? But I would know if there existed a sanctuary for dinosaurs. Real live hitting shitting dinosaurs. This chain of directionless thoughts was broken by a roar. It was much more than a roar but I don’t know what you’d call it so I’ll settle for the word roar. I turned towards the direction the “roar” came from to see a lot many rocks and long neck dinosaurs fleeing towards my general direction from there. They looked scared. I might be a failure at social cues from humans but I can read fear on any face in the animal kingdom. I needed to run away too. But where? I couldn’t go with the other dinosaurs. I will be a trampled to a wafer in that chaos. I as was frantically searching for a place to hide or run away to the thing, that everyone was running away from, appeared in my peripheral view. I knew what it was. The star of all the Jurassic Park movies. The T-rex. Not surprised. Not knowing what to do I ran towards the car and got inside and turned it on. Shit! still no steering. What will I do now? This metal piece of junk stands out like a sore thumb. Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! I could see the t-rex getting bigger and bigger in my rear view. This is my end. Eaten by a dinosaur. Who would have thought? At that point, my luck decided that since it was my end already, it was not needed here anymore and went away for a stroll. Or something like that. Because at that moment the t-rex caught a long necked dinosaur and was in the process of killing it. This meant that it had stopped. The giant tiny armed dinosaur tore open its kill and at it taking its own sweet time all the while I stared in horror at the sight and disbelief at my luck. The t-rex left back towards the direction from where it had come. I realized I had not taken a breath in a very long time and had started to turn blue. I remedied that and sunk back in the seat, eyes closed covered in sweat. A few minutes passed. “I don’t think it’s coming back,” I thought. I opened my eyes and looked outside. This is not a sanctuary. They wouldn’t keep killer ones with the grass eating ones. Something is blinking on the center console. I turned to see what it was. I first saw the map screen which showed my location. That’s where my house is!! Was? Going to be? What? I saw the time readout - 66 million BC. WHAT? I stared at it for a full minute before I moved my gaze towards the blinking words in the middle of the console.
“Do you feel lucky, punk??”
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