Extra Playful

It’s that time of the year. When the Check Engine light stares me down. Challenges me from behind the wheel.

It’s like the mythic eye of Balor, king of the Fomorians, the evil eye that will kill a man if he stares at it too long. And I want to stare at the light because it’s so vatic — but a foreboding one.

I’ve had it looked at. Many a mechanic has had his hands on my engine. And he can find nothing nefarious besides something to do with the gas tank — which is not in my engine.

What the hell lurks under the hood of one’s car? Between the grease and oil falls the shadow, yes? There are more strange and mysterious things going on there than in a Lovecraft story.

The Check Engine light is more Kafkesque than Kafka.

I should send it as a gift to a writer like China Mieville, then maybe he could make the weird more meaningful.

Dystopian or Utopian works. Forget it! Give me Check Engine light novels.

What would Huxley or Orwell do with this little annoyance of technology? Would either man have even thought about the inevitability of some sentient gremlin living in the viscous world of my engine and tapping into my most primal fear?

But what am I afraid of? What I don’t know but what the damn light knows! In its infinite knowledge the light knows what is to happen. All I know is that some disaster is waiting to unfold.

It’s like driving around with my own oracle under the hood.

But I refuse to listen. So what will be the cost? The infernal Check Engine light reminding me always that I am given motion through its benevolence?

Perhaps the whole universe is driven by this omnipotent light. Perhaps when the end comes it will not come with apocalyptic brilliance but with a comical touch: millions of Check Engine lights flaring on from continent to continent with each driver oblivious, maybe a little rankled, but driving on, ignorant of the final pronouncement.

If that’s the case, I should really never get that light fixed. It may be my salvation lies in the mysteries of my car’s engine.

Weirder things have happened; like dead bodies in car trunks.

“You’ve been playing too many hairs on the pianoforte.” Lewis Carroll.


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