Ep 2: The Battle of the Dream Cars

in which two guinea pig teams compete at auto mechanics

(As always, click on one of the photos to get to this episode's big-picture slide show, or if you're on a mobile device, just click pics for bigger ones!)

“It takes ridiculously long to get from our potted plant to the kitchen,” complained Macavy around a bite of potato.

The humans had made hash browns again the previous night and as usual several potato schnivels had escaped the stovetop and made it to the floor, fair prey for foraging guinea pigs.

“I agree,” said Blanche. “There’s some downside to being a two-inch long cavy--really short legs. And mine are killing me after that hike.”

“We need a car,” said Zorklotron with resolve.

Iridessa popped up on her hind legs with excitement. “Oh yes, a car!” she squealed. “A big white one with lots of chrome!”

“Not sure we can be so ambitious in our wishes,” said Blanche with a smile, “unless you can make us a car with your magic, Dessa.”

The guineacorn shook her head soberly. “Oh no…I haven’t the first idea how to make a car. I’m out.”

Midas cocked his head. “So you know how to make corn, though?” he asked.

“I guess so, since I did,” replied Dessa matter-of-factly.

That left everyone silent for a minute. Finally Edward spoke. “I hesitate to be so bold,” he said, “but I do believe I might have the body of knowledge to tackle building an automobile.”

“Wow…really?” said Blanche. “That’s amazing!”

Macavy interjected, “Blanche, you act like making a car is so hard. Humph! I’m sure I could do it…fabrication is my specialty! I mean, just check out the attention to detail on this ladybug disguise. You absolutely can’t tell I’m not the real thing.”

Before anyone could respond, Zorkotron raised a paw and pointed at Macavy. “All right, friend--let’s have a competition then! Your team against Edward’s team. Let’s see who can build the best car, big enough to carry all of us.”

“I’ll take that bet,” cried Macavy, and turned to Edward with paw extended.

“I’m game,” said Edward, shaking paws.

“So,” said Zorklotron, “you guys can pick teams…and to decide who picks first, I’ll just throw out a quick math problem. First person to answer correctly goes first.”

Iridessa leaned to Macavy and murmured, “We learned all the math in Episode 1, so you got this, buddy!”

Macavy nodded, not really listening because he was focused on Zork. “Go ahead,” he said.

Zorklotron cried, “54 times 63!”

“Three thousand four hundred and two!” exclaimed Edward.

Macavy turned to him, flabbergasted.

Edward shrugged. “Sorry, my good fellow…my inventor was an Oxford man. He knew the multiplication tables and figured I should too.”

So Edward picked Zorklotron and Iridessa, and Macavy picked Blanche and Midas. “Maybe your car will be gold!” said Iridessa, clapping her paws.

“Or red with black spots,” said Zork sarcastically.

“Funny,” said Macavy. “We’ll see who’s laughing when our car leaves yours in the dust!”

The teams dug into the competition with a vengeance. This is the part where, if this were TV or a movie, there would be a really swell montage. We would show the cavies poring over blueprints and manuals, scavenging for materials, and climbing up to the computer to order parts from Amazon because Magic House didn’t just have gaskets and brake pads and torque converters lying around. Or gearboxes, speedos and sumps if you’re on Amazon.co.uk. We would show a flurry of assembly, featuring blood, sweat, tears, and many hay breaks. We would all wonder why the episode with the labor involved a car while the episode with the magic involved corn.

Let’s throw in a couple more detailed scenes as well, starting with Team Edward.

“Cor, Zorklotron--you’ve sorted that gearbox in record time!” This from Ed of course.

“Thanks…you know I worked in engineering on the Mother Ball. The schematics for that ship would make your eyes cross.”

“I could tell you had experience when I watched you get that diff all tickety-boo in five minutes.”

Iridessa blinked at Edward with amazement. “Are you actually speaking Celeristixian, Ed?” she asked.

Edward burst out laughing. “Not a syllable, Dessa. Just the mother tongue of jolly old England.”

“Cor…” said Iridessa in wonder.

Meanwhile, in the other camp…

“Hold it still, Blanche!” cried Macavy, aiming with his hammer.

“I am! But the other three are still crooked…”

“They’re fine, when it’s rolling you won’t even notice.”

Midas murmured, “If it can roll at all with wheels that crooked.”

“Oh cripes!” yelled Macavy, dropping the hammer. “Get me another thumbtack, Midas.”

“Time for a hay break?” suggested Blanche.

A week of this flurried activity went on before both teams declared their builds were finished. They met on the living room floor with their respective vehicles hidden by drop cloths.

“Well, we’ve got ourselves a crackin’ motor fit to outrun any of the cats,” declared Edward with pride.

Macavy turned aside to his teammates and whispered, “Well, if their motor is cracked, we still stand a chance to win this.”

Midas and Blanche exchanged glances, and the latter whispered, “Only if a cracked motor is worse than no motor at all.”

“Let’s see what you got,” said Zorklotron.

Macavy sighed and pulled off the drop cloth.

“Bloody hell,” said Edmund, followed by a string of apologies for his language.

“Not gold,” said Iridessa quietly.

“Not even close,” said Zork.

Blanche told them, “At this point we’re mostly hoping you guys did better because otherwise we’re still going to be walking everywhere.”

“Valiant effort, chums,” offered Edmund, still blushing from his earlier outburst. “Really…decent. Well then, I suppose we should just show you our result.”

He and Zorklotron unfurled the cloth and revealed…

“It’s big and white, with lots of chrome!” exclaimed Iridessa, clapping her paws in glee.

“Bloody hell,” said Team Macavy in unison.

“She’s modelled after my favorite old Mercedes roadster,” said Edward. “A paragon of German engineering. Britain had the best Navy the world has ever seen, but for motorcars I go with Deutschland every time.”

“I have no idea what he just said, but let’s go for a ride!” said Dessa.

They all piled in, and Edward graciously let Macavy take the wheel.

Sure enough, it did outrun the cats.

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