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Charon had the task of ferrying the souls of the recently deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron, a largely thankless job burgeoning with ungrateful, miserable gits, that barely garnered him an obolus or drachma at best, and some hilarious and mildly dubious pub stories at worst.


Meanwhile in a hell altogether else, Pasadena, and in an even lower circle of suffering, Penelope Nameless must ferry around 6ft2 of carping, capricious Texan, and three billion of his attendant neuroses. Her payment? Snark, car games, weight assumptions, crash scenarios, and repetitive inquiry into the well-being of the foolishly optimistic “Check Engine Light”. Whether they’d ever wish to toss for whose job was the suckiest, is a matter of hypothetical debate.


From the quest in Season One for four dozen equally distributed eggs and a narrowly avoided Putt Putt golf excursion, through the thwarted return of Darth Vader Sheets (Yoda sheets would have been Return of the Jedi, dammit) to Pottery Barn at hyperdrive over Euclid Avenue’s speed bumps, via a Spock-piloted voyage of the damned at less than warp speed to rescue a damsel in distress with a soup tattoo on their right buttock, meandering past a best-forgotten Teens for Jesus hoedown, to an unseen but doubtless thrilling trip to Court with a surprise juncture at Stan Lee, roundabout at the Mealy Apple Grocery, thence along the Champs-Elysees triumph of Team Community College Night School/Lighting Shards, and finally winding home to the Sheldonic assertion that “He’s not like us Penny. We’re dreamers” it verily has been an interesting ride.


However, alas, alack, as of this dark hour, we have reached a cul-de-sac. The Twilight Zone of oddness and near mishap that is the interior of Penny’s Tornado Cabriolet, is no more. Its long-suffering engine joins its passenger side mirror in the great Hollywood Parking Lot of the sky. Shucked off and forgotten, after a lifetime of plaintive service. The mute witness to the odd occasions when two worlds came close enough together to comprehend the lay of each other’s land, and bemoan that one was wearing flip-flops. Not since Dr Maturin and Captain Aubrey sailed the seas together has one vessel seen such a disparate partnership. Now a new vehicle awaits Penny (presumably) Hofstadter, one which will engender its own memories, and one whose predictable, beige, baggage-ridden voyage we can already foresee.


RIP Check Engine Light.

Your warning was in vain.



by Major Gripe

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