It was true what they said. When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you. Sometimes the abyss is an aftermarket axle manufacturer. My ears rung and my vision swam as I lifted myself out of my six point restraints. I probably had a concussion, but you should have seen the other guy.

A couple weeks ago, I ordered replacement half shafts. I was so excited; at last I would have a functional car that could put power to the ground instead of endlessly and futilely spinning a shattered tulip joint inside a parched vulcanized boot. The install went great, with only a moderate amount of swearing. I was getting good at this, I thought.

Fast forward to yesterday. Merging onto the Trans-Canada, I heard a wet squelch and smelled the fetid aroma of fresh moly grease on a header. Siri woke up, having recognized at least part of my swearing as a distinct order, and began plotting a course for the axle manufacturer’s factory. I swear that’s how it happened, officer.

I emerged from the Shadow, its front end smashed beyond repair. A worthy sacrifice. Before me was the lead QA technician, crawling backwards on his ass, weeping openly out of fear of the avatar of revenge that had appeared so suddenly in his life.

“I want you to look,” I growled, grabbing his head and forcing his sight towards the demolished corner of my Plymouth once-economy car, the axle obliterated by the impact into a haze of moly grease and shattered high tensile steel.

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“Looks like install error to me,” said a voice from the bank of elevators. The hair rose on the back of my neck. This was a trap. They knew what they were doing. I played right into their hands. Everyone was in on it. Et tu, Siri?

“I’ve been waiting a long time to get you in for an interview,” said the man, clad in a thick grease-proof coverall, his face covered by a 3M Tekk mask. “Congratulations, you just got the job of lead stress tester.”

I would have been more enthusiastic, were it not for the QA tech applying his pocket tazer to my genitals while I was distracted.