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by Bob Tippee

About the Author: Bob Tippee is a magazine editor and mystery short story writer in Houston, Texas.


Lovingly maintained and prudently driven for two years, the sedan retained its dealer’s-lot shine and dedicated serviceability when the original owner, Seth Townes, presented the key fob to his hormonally incendiary son Ralph. Seth was a financial advisor professionally dedicated to the impression, if not reality, that he possessed immeasurable wealth. Ralph was only then growing into the coordination of observation and motion essential to driving without calamity and bothered himself about the future only to the extent it beheld his next opportunity to palpate tender components of his girlfriend Sienna.

Father and son stood at the front of the car—gun-metal gray with black-leather interior—in the parking lot of Spring Meadows Country Club, embraced by the adoring gaze of Amanda, with whom Seth had brought Ralph into being. The three of them had just dined at the club’s restaurant, an event planned as a chance to deliberate career options, capped now by high vehicular ceremony.

“Take good care of her,” Seth entreated, slurring slightly after three martinis—classic, two olives, neat—and brandishing the fob. “She’s smarter than you in many ways.”

“Sienna?” Ralph asked, palming the tidily buttoned instrument of long-sought mobility.

Seth looked momentarily perplexed. “No, son. She’s a Buick LaCrosse with more computers on board than the space shuttle.” He chuckled, amused by his quickness.

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