Horseman of the Apo-car-lypse

Hayden Holmberg, Director of Technology

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You’re sitting in your car. You’ve been waiting for this moment for six months. Practicing. Preparing. You look out your windshield. Death himself is walking up to your car. He’s carrying a weapon more sinister than a scythe… the dreaded clipboard. He approaches your driver’s side door. He motions for you to roll down your window. You grip your steering wheel tight… It is time.

 

You roll down your window, looking the face of death in the eyes. He’s wearing not a torn cloak, but a blue sweater, the words “Minnesota Department of Driver and Vehicle Services – Examiner” emblazoned on the breast. You tremble with anticipation and fear as he works around to the front of your car, commanding you to activate your turn signal. You can do nothing but obey. He then repeats the process, meticulously inspecting all of the functions of your vehicle, writing on the clipboard as you do. You hear the sound of footsteps from the right side of your vehicle. The specter reaches for the handle of the passenger side door. There is no going back now. He opens the door, carefully entering the vehicle, silently judging the interior even though you spent an hour cleaning every nook and cranny of your car. He shuts the door behind him, fastening his seatbelt, looking over to you. “Turn on your front and rear defrost,” he demands, and you comply again, bending to his will. He examines your knowledge of your vehicle’s functions, and your heart starts racing in fear of what will happen next. “Whenever you’re ready, pull out of the parking space. Drive straight, then take a right.” You do as he orders, driving ever so carefully, your eyes watching for pedestrians like an owl watches for field mice. You slowly drive out of the parking lot, being sure to stop completely before the sidewalk, accentuating your head movements as you keep your eyes open for hazards and sternly pressing your turn signal, the monotonous clicking smashing the tense silence. You slowly turn, getting into your lane, stopping well behind the car in front of you at the red light. The cold silence returns, neither you nor the entity beside you making a sound. You wait patiently, seemingly for eons, before the light finally turns a bright shade of green, its glimmering a small symbol of hope standing out in the otherwise dreary atmosphere. You wait for the vehicle in front of you to begin accelerating, and you follow suit, ever so careful to keep your distance as you press your tense foot smoothly onto the accelerator. “Take your second right.” His deep, gravelly, utterly terrifying voice piercing the silence once again. You continue onward, moving your head in exaggerated nods to check your surroundings, the apparition writing on his slate as he analyzes your movements. The first road on your right passes, and you begin to slow, careful to look for any hint of an anomaly as you begin to gently turn the steering wheel, taking the second right as the demon ordered. You make it a point to move your hands one over the other carefully, desperate to please the Mephistophelian beast who controls your fate. The road begins to curve upwards in a gentle hill. As you approach the zenith, once again the voice slashes through the air like a scythe into your soul. “Park somewhere on the road.” You can do nothing but obey, carefully checking your surroundings and your blind spot as you shift the vehicle to the right, finding an open boulevard and finally coming to a rest, forcing the shifter into park. You carefully position your steering wheel to the left, the wheels grabbing onto the curb beneath you. You move your hand down, grabbing the parking brake, pushing in the button and pulling it upwards towards you, finally a small form of barrier between you and the wraith that is the blight on your vehicle. He reaches his undead manus down to the door handle, forcing the door ajar as he views the distance between your vehicle and the curb. He shuts the door with a slam, jotting down onto the pad onto his lap, instructing you to continue. You pull away, ever so careful to use your signal and check your surroundings. He instructs you to drive back to the starting lot. You follow his commands, driving slowly and carefully, making sure to maintain constant speed and smooth braking and accelerating. You pull into the parking lot. He directs you over to the cruelest torture device ever conceived: the dreaded cones. You pull up slowly. “Do the 90-degree reverse first.” His voice sends chills down your spine, but you cling to the small bit of confidence that you still have, praying you don’t fail. You slowly pull forward, aligning yourself, making sure to use your signal and check obviously for obstacles. You put it in reverse, turning the wheel and slowly backing up, gently sliding the vehicle into the space. You pull backwards, pushing the shifter into park. He looks at the positioning, marking the paper once again. You then pull out of the parking space, slowly pulling to the final and most evil portion of the test… the parallel park. You slowly pull forward. You signal, moving your head left and right, putting the vehicle back into reverse. You move backwards until your tires align with the cone, and you turn your wheel all the way to the right, slowly backing up. Once you feel that you are back far enough, trying desperately to remember your training, you move the wheel back to the left, maneuvering yourself into the parking space. You stop, gently pulling forward to make sure you are perfectly in the middle of the space, pushing the shifter into park. The specter opens the door once again, inspecting your work. He marks a rune onto his slate. You then pull out of the parking space, gliding into a parking space, pushing it into park. You realize you’re holding your breath as he inspects the little piece of paper that will govern your freedom. He looks up at you, and you can barely muster the strength to look at him. You glance upwards fleetingly, looking up at him, waiting for your final judgment. He puts his pen down, looking up at you, his cold, dead eyes piercing your soul. For the final time, his gravelly, horrifying voice pierces the air, the apocalyptic final judgment finally upon you.

 

“You pass.”