Mad Crab Mojave: Chapter 7

In which Jones wakes up with a stiff neck

Jones woke feeling groggy. His neck was stiff, and he smelled polyurethane. He tried to stretch out, but his knuckles bumped into a window. He started, and sat up. His leg kicked at a wall that didn’t belong there. Blinking, Jones finally understood. He was in the backseat of a car.

“Good morning,” the car said. “I hope you don’t mind, but I let you sleep through the Central Valley. As geology goes, it’s not very interesting.”

“Good morning,” mumbled Jones. “I’m Information Jones, Database Detective.”

“I’m Marvin,” said the car. “Hal introduced us earlier this morning, but I suppose you were half asleep.”

Rubbing his eyes, Jones recalled Hal’s unexpected arrival. It had seemed liked a dream, but Jones guessed now that it was actually 3 AM. Hal had used his battering ram again, hauled Jones off the couch, and bundled him into the backseat of a car. Jones didn’t recall introductions. 

“There’s a bag on the front seat for you,” Marvin said. “I also have a few snacks in my glove compartment, if you’re hungry.”

Jones unzipped the duffel. It contained a handful of granola bars and a few other essentials. He pulled out socks, a few t-shirts, (too large) and a pair of khakis (too short). Underneath, he found a debit card with a sticky note attached. Scrawled on it were a pin and a short note - “in case money still works.” Toothpaste, but no toothbrush, sunscreen, and a baseball cap with “FBI” printed on the front. Underneath, in small caps, it said “Female Body Inspector.” The last item was a small clamshell phone. Jones flipped it open and navigated to the contacts list. There was one entry - for Agent Moss.

Jones reassembled the bag and leaned back against the seat. Marvin navigated smoothly around a sharp curve and a ravine burst into view. The morning sun struggled its rays into every nook and cranny of the rusty valley below. Rock, sand, and scrub lined the road. Jones lay his head back and sighed. “So,” he asked the robot car. “Where are we?”

“I hope you don’t mind,” Marvin responded, “But I chose a scenic route.”