Flash Fiction #25

Edsel

 

 

 

 

 

SPEED KILLS

Bob was the weirdo who bought an Edsel – the Ford sucking a lemon.

He lived a mile outside town, past my house and the hospital, where the speed limit dropped from 50 MPH, to 30. Never content to do merely 50, he screamed in at 80.  Accustomed to standard transmissions, he used the automatic, to slow down for the hospital zone.

Equipped with a Pushbutton Transmission, the controls were located on the steering wheel hub. One day, Bob inadvertently poked ‘Reverse’, instead of ‘Low.’  That was 1960.  They cleaned up the oil, but parts are still falling from the sky.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her weekly photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

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40 thoughts on “Flash Fiction #25

  1. Poor Bob. Didn’t even have time to learn his lesson.
    Claire

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  2. draliman says:

    Ouch! I have this great mental image of his Edsel suddenly flying apart 🙂

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  3. Paul says:

    Ha! That is hilarious Archon. I was with my Dad one day, when I was about 14, and he was acting silly (in a good way) as he was wont to do, when he accidently slipped the automatic transmission into reverse while going about 30 mph forward. It sounded exactly like what you describe.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      With the exception of the hyperbole about parts still falling, every word is true. I’d seen/heard him do this every day for weeks, and figured it was only a matter of time before it exploded naturally. The pushbuttons rotated with the wheel. He told the works manager who supervised the clean-up, that he dodged a stick, lying on the road, “an’ musta hit the wrong button.” 😆

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  4. Dear Archon,

    My parents bought a Valiant in 1960. It also had push-button controls. Fortunately it never exploded. We also got a Beagle puppy that year. She was my brother’s Bar Mitzvah present. The dog lasted longer than the car. My brother? Still around.

    Great story. Brought back memories as you can see.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Shortly after we were married in 1967, we separately owned a used Valiant, and later, a second-hand Oldsmobile-equivalent, of that vintage , both with dash-mounted pushbuttons. I’m not surprised that the dog outlasted the car. That seemed to be the beginning of ‘planned obsolescence.’
      Do you still push your brother’s buttons? 😉

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  5. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Archon,

    I noticed a plethora of commas in your piece and thought to mention which were needed and which were not, but realized that they were like the Edsel’s transmission shrapnel, scattered willy nilly throughout the story and therefore part and parcel of the whole.

    Good job.

    Aloha,

    Doug

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    • Archon's Den says:

      On several occasions my lovely old long-departed high school English teacher opined that commas are often optional but that she would rather err on the side of inserting too many rather than too few.

      She felt that writing should be like the physical act of telling a story. She said, if you stop for a breath, or to emphasize a sentence segment, insert a comma.

      My commas are seldom inserted willy-nilly, but rather, strategically. Thanx for reading them though. 🙂

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    • Archon's Den says:

      In the second paragraph of the above comment, I initially left three and four spaces to visually display sentence breaks. I found that the program ignores them, and mashes everything together with the standard one space gap. I had to go back and edit, and insert the now-needed punctuation. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sightsnbytes says:

    Gotta love the Edsel! Not much of a car, but one hell of a front end loader!

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Actually, it was a much better car than people remember. It was just that stupid grille….and the minor problem of finding the right transmission pushbutton.
      Somehow this comment got trapped in unchecked spam for several days. 😕

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  7. Really came apart on him, huh?

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    • Archon's Den says:

      You snow-blowed the driveway, just to come down and dump that on me??! Well, I’m glad you did! We had a now-gone skiff of snow Halloween evening. Have you got enough to build igloos for the rabbits?

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      • Yup. We got about 5inches (whatever that is in metric) and they’re predicting another 5 or 6 by tomorrow. Temp’s supposed to drop to -18C for a high on Monday. Given the lack of raw material for a coon-skin cap maybe rabbit will work as well? I’ve got my eye on one just about the right size.

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      • Archon's Den says:

        I still speak Imperial, though 5 inches is 12/13 cm. Winter’s blowing in down here, but sissy stuff compared to where you hang your coonskin rabbit hat. I won’t wear my leather jacket, despite the wife’s bitching cajoling, till it gets down to 40 F, unless it’s raining, which it’s been doing lot of.
        I haven’t been reading your stuff, so I can only hope you’re prepared. Speaking of prepared, rabbit stew, and warm clothing – now that’s multi-tasking. 😀

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  8. Jim Wheeler says:

    My dad’s last car was a ’60’s Dodge with push-button shifting on the dashboard, not the wheel. Amazingly to me, they were always reliable. My mother drove the thing to town once a week for 20 years after he died.

    The buttons were apparently a fad at the time, but it was dumb. Having to look for a button to shift was a kind of precursor to texting while driving, don’tcha think? American carmakers still seem to place fads over functionality, which has always been their problem, IMHO.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Ease of visibility and accessibility were why Ford put the Edsel’s buttons on the steering wheel, but they should have been on an un-turning hub, rather than a moving target.

      It took an oil-shortage crisis, and Japanese market invasion to get Detroit to change the way they do things, and they’re still 4 to 5 years behind.

      One of the wife’s uncles died, leaving the car to the aunt for the (maybe) once-a-week trip to the nearby grocery store. It got stolen by a couple of joyriding teens in Smiths Falls ON, and found in Toronto, 225 miles away. When she got it back, she noticed that it was a lot peppier. They’d run it at top speed down the Interstate equivalent, and burned all the carbon deposits out. 😆

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      • Jim Wheeler says:

        I’ve heard that carbon thing is bogus, but I don’t know that for sure. It occurs to me that the kids might have knocked off part of the muffler system though. That could have a similar effect. 🙂

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  9. This makes me laugh, although more because of the Simsons-esque way you skipped over the actual accident and only mentioned the aftermath. There’s why push-button transmissions are a terrible idea. 🙂

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    • Archon's Den says:

      The actual dissolution of the transmission was noisy and messy. It was only the aftermath that was amusing, and I’m forever looking for humor.

      No-one cares whether Homer trips over a cat, or Bart’s skateboard. It’s how many times he falls on his nose that’s interesting and funny. 😀

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  10. My father would have loved this! Fun story, great imagery!

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  11. Oh, my! I love the story within the story – meaning this really happened to a guy you know! Crazy.

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  12. Margaret says:

    Great fun. Loved the ending – and I’m glad the real-life ending wasn’t quite this bad.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      While messy, the ending wasn’t quite as bad. I had to hide a grin and walk away before laughing from schadenfreude. Bob was the kind who would climb out of his car and smack a teen. Back in the early 60s, it wasn’t merely allowed but, in some cases, encouraged. 😦

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  13. wildbilbo says:

    Nice, chuckled with that end.

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  14. Archon, Hilarious. 😀 I’d like to see something like that as long as no one’s hurt. It must have been a mess. Well written. 🙂 — Susan

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  15. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Archon, Clever and cute story – Too bad it exploded. We bought my uncles Rambler when we were in the last year of college. It had push button transmission buttons too. Only lasted 6 months! But it was transportation! Thank you for entertainment! Nan 🙂

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  16. I think a chunk of something just landed in my yard as I type this…

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