Consider Mr. Smith — he LOVED his car. And to be fair, it was a really a cool car!
There was nothing else quite like it. In fact, the car was gifted to him by his father, one of the all-time great car mechanics the world had ever seen.
If you wanted to get somewhere really fast, Mr. Smith’s car (nicknamed Frank), was the way to go.
“Frank Smith is faster than planes!” people would often say.
What’s more, Mr. Smith’s job as a delivery man involved a lot of travel. Using Frank, he would zip around delivering packages & letters to mailboxes all around his rural state. And he had been doing so for the last 20 years — over time developing a reputation as the fastest & reliable delivery person in his state.
It was inevitable that over time Mr. Smith’s love made him view the car as a natural extension of himself, rather than just a machine. After all, they had been together for twenty years & there wasn’t even a single day when Frank hadn’t been there for Mr. Smith.
It even got to the point that straying too far away from Frank could trigger his anxiety.
While that may sound strange to you, most people around Mr. Smith didn’t think so. Indeed, most people agreed that Mr. Smith’s reputation as the best delivery person had a lot to do with Frank. It was the fastest car in the nation after all, and using it, he could do the work of a 100 other delivery people.
The car defined Mr. Smith & together they were accomplishing greatness.
It was a frosty Tuesday morning and Mr. Smith was just about to have his breakfast when he received a call that read “IMPORTANT: PICK UP”.
“Mr. Smith — this is the President. Our country needs to make an urgent delivery across the border & as the fastest delivery person ever, we need your help.”
Strangely enough, Mr. Smith didn’t think this was a prank — which is good, because it wasn’t. Instead he felt pride, an indescribable pride that only a select few get to experience — a pride based on getting validation from the leaders of one’s tribe.
The President continued, “We have already dispatched a box to you. Our agents should be approaching your car shortly. This box needs to be taken to the Big City in Neighbouristan. You’ll get the exact GPS directions along with the box.”
The President further explained that it was imperative that Mr. Smith make the 12 hour journey to Big City in just two hours! This was a matter of national importance & delays over two hours could cost their country irreparable damage.
“I know it’s a tall ask, but if there is anyone who can do it, it’s ‘ Frank Smith” said the President.
Mr. Smith didn’t lose his cool — in fact he was excited. He had Frank after all, and he was used to the time pressure. With the stakes being this high, he decided it was time to put everything he’d learnt to good use.
There was also a sense of adventure that Mr. Smith felt. He had heard vague rumors about the Big City, but had never actually met anyone who had been there.
As expected, Mr. Smith & Frank didn’t disappoint. As the synchronized duo did their job, it was only 1 hour and 30 minutes later that Mr. Smith read a sign that said “Welcome to the Big City”.
A few minutes later, he could see the Big City himself. But he couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing.
There were tall rectangular cuboids everywhere he looked. Some of them were as tall as the hills that surrounded his own town.
It was something he had never seen before and he had to make a quick stop to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating.
The cuboids all had windows as well & it looked like people actually lived in these strange geometric shapes. He even saw a few humans at the highest levels of these cuboids.
He would have loved to stop and understand what these things were, but he was on an urgent delivery mission. And one of the unwritten rules of Mr. Smith’s delivery success was to NEVER get distracted — so he didn’t, instead continuing to drive to his destination.
Frank guided him to the address where he was to deliver the box, but when Mr. Smith got there he was more than confused. There was no mailbox to be found!
Rather, the car’s GPS seemed to have gotten him to the mouth of the tallest cuboid in the big city.
A little confused, he honked his horn to get the attention of a burly man who happened to be walking by.
“Hi — I’m not from the Big City, but I need to make an urgent delivery to this address.” he said, pointing to a piece of paper he had been handed earlier. He continued further, “I may be at the wrong place as there’s no mailbox here. Can you help me with the right directions please?”
The stranger may have looked intimidating, but his voice and eyes were kind. You could tell he wanted to help even if he happened to be in a hurry himself.
“Hey there!” said the stranger, “You’re actually at the right address. But you need to go to the top of the building to make the delivery.”
Mr. Smith smiled to himself — of course he had known that Frank would never make a simple address mistake. “Thanks for the info, where is the road to the top of the building?”
The stranger looked at Mr. Smith quizzically. The stranger thought Mr. Smith was cracking a joke, but something about the earnestness in the latter’s voice made him reconsider laughing.
“There are no roads to the top floor, you’ll have to take the elevator” said the man before hurrying off to meet his client across town.
Mr. Smith didn’t have too much time before the stranger hurried off, but he could have sworn the stranger said there were no roads.
“What the hell is an elevator?” he said out aloud, to no one in particular, “and why would you make a mailbox that isn’t accessible through a road!”
With time running out, Mr. Smith honked his horn again. This time to attract the attention of a teenage girl who happened to be crossing the street.
“Excuse me, could you tell me how I can drive to the top of the building please?”
The girl started to laugh, but a quick look at Mr. Smith stopped her in a few seconds.
“You can’t drive to the top of the building. You will have to take an elevator.”
There was that word again. “Elevator”. Mr. Smith was starting to get a headache.
“What do you mean I can’t drive to the top of the building? We,” he said, referring to himself and his car, “can drive any where. We drive and deliver packages, and we’ve been doing that since before you were even born.”
“Well, you still can’t drive to the top of the building. You’ll have to leave your car & use the elevator instead.”
Mr. Smith was in shock. Did this young girl, who was born yesterday, actually expect him to abandon Frank & seek the help of this mysterious “elevator”.
What kind of spineless flip-flopper did she take him for!
“Thanks but no thanks,” said Mr. Smith after a long pause; once he had decided upon the inevitable course of action.
This was no time to try new things, and as the two hour limit approached there was only one thing Mr. Smith was sure of — there was no Mr. Smith without Frank or vice versa.
He still had the mission to take care of & he’d be damned if these “elevators” got in his way. Determined to overpower any opposition & get the job done, he drove full speed towards the general direction in which the girl had pointed.
The political blow-back from Mr. Smith’s actions was understandably severe.
The box that Mr. Smith had been carrying was a gift to the ambassador from Neighbouristan. At a recent meeting between the two nations, an off-color joke by the President had upset the ambassador.
The President knew that the ambassador was to present a report to his king in a few hours; and an angry report could have jeopardized a very important trans-national business deal.
Under these circumstances, the President believed that a thoughtful gift, delivered in the nick of time, could salvage the situation. And that’s where Mr. Smith came in.
If anyone could get to the ambassador before his meeting with the king, it would be the amazing half-car-half-man combo of Frank Smith.
But things didn’t turn out the way the President had hoped.
Even after all parties had calmed down and talks of war had subsided the President would often lie awake, wondering why Mr. Smith had decided to engage in such a blatant act of terrorism in a foreign land.
What in the world could have compelled Mr. Smith to try and bring the ambassador’s building down by driving his car at maximum speed into the elevator banks.
Unfortunately, the answer to these questions would forever remain a mystery as Mr. Smith himself didn’t survive his attack on the building.