Vignette 10: Car-disintegrator

Row of cars parked along the edge of a road
Picture by Nile on Pixabay

This week I invented a car-disintegrator. I’ll probably rename it an Auto-Atomiser or something like that. Catchy, but clear about the purpose. For now, car-disintegrator will do.

It looks like a glove. The prototype is black, but it could come in colours too. I’ll have to do some market research. For now, it’s a glove, with a bit of a fat, raised lump on the back. I made it for my right hand, but it could be a left-hand glove too. Depends on demand.

Why a glove? Well, it’s operated by gesture.

You start with your thumb in the down position, palm facing away from you, towards the car that you want to disintegrate. Push your hand towards the car, and then, as the light beam envelops it, extend your arm fully and turn the fingers clockwise, if you are right-handed. The palm still points at the car.

The car dissolves with a satisfying metallic “sha-zing” into a mist of shining particles which are drawn towards your palm. As you feel them hit the glove, make a fist, turn your hand and pull it towards your chest to absorb the impact.

That’s it. One less car in the city.

Stop and admire the space that is left behind. Look at the gravel, or tarmac, or cobbles that you could not see before. Admire the tiny plants defiantly peeking out of cracks. Apologise and stroke the startled cat that was napping in the shade. Enjoy the spaciousness. Imagine a bench here, another tree. Now shake the dust from your glove and start again.

The glove is solar powered. Each full charge will eradicate three average cars; two if they are bulbous status-symbols. This limited my swathe of destruction when I took the prototype out for a trial.

I started with the cars directly outside my apartment. Yes, they belonged to my neighbours, who might be upset. I’ll promise them free Auto-Atomiser gloves as soon as they get to production. That should mollify them. And aid my cause, mwa-ha-ha-ha! (Go back and read that last sentence in an evil-villain voice.)

I left the glove charging on the balcony and made some tea. Next target were the cars that park, anti-socially, on the Praça across the street, spoiling the space for everyone who wants to use it. The range of the glove is short, only a few meters, so I had to go down and do this on the Praça. Fortunately, it was early. I dispatched the first three cars and went back for more power. Sunlight for the glove, tea for me.

When I went down for the remaining two cars, there were a few joggers about. A fine opportunity to judge public reaction. Two of the joggers stopped in surprise, but they seemed delighted by the result. At least they laughed and cheered. A third jogger sprinted off at a pace. Was he running to spread the good news, or to put his car in the garage? Hmmm. More market research.

I have spent the week discretely testing it out around the neighbourhood, exterminating a few more cars every time I go out. The streets around here are quiet, often not a soul about, so it is easy to take out one here, another there. The neighbourhood looks a lot better already.

There have been a few heated conversations on the streets. Police have been snooping around and asking questions. I stay out of the fray and feign ignorance. But I listen from my balcony. A passing jogger tried to tell the neighbours about shimmering lights and sha-zing sounds, but they muttered “maloco”, “doido” and shook their heads.

The device doesn’t harm living things, so in theory, I could disintegrate a car with people in it and all that would happen is that they would drop to the street. This could work for low-slung cars, but it would be quite a drop for those in bigger vehicles, so I haven’t tried it out yet. I do have my eye on some of the camper vans that park at the end of the street. Imagine the surprise of waking up in a bed under the stars? That would make for a memorable holiday.

The number of cars in the streets that I walk along is down. Children on bicycles are taking advantage of the extra space to play. One café has filled the parking spaces outside with tables and chairs. This is obviously better. I imagine people are selling their cars. Getting something for them before they disappear, ha ha. That, or just parking somewhere else, using garages. I’m not sure.

Time to take my invention to market. I’m heading off to the Porto Innovation Hub. Perhaps they will have some ideas on production, help with the market research. Do you want one? You can place an advance order here.


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