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David McAleavey

He made his own self-driving vehicle, gave it a raucous soundtrack, sent it careening through town. Avoiding accidents was easy enough since it swerved so nimbly, but he’d neglected the speed limit guidance so readily available from a good GPS service. Nor had braking been at the top of his list. He’d focused more on messaging, which bordered on the political, funneling people toward considering how they’re going to maintain tribal heritage when they have to rearrange themselves into a new system, to get along.

As the vehicle approached, cascading drumming booming before it, a pedestrian could read, “Who Do You Want / in Charge of the New Order?” On either side, Jesus had placed the sign, “Were You Ever / Who You Thought You Were?” And as the thing danced off from one near-miss to another, the rear message, in a bright LED display, was hard to miss: “Stand Up/Or Stay Down.” The cops finally corralled it in a bus parking lot till it quivered to a stop, their cordon tightening.

The car made the news but they never found its maker, who somehow sent the plans to followers on several continents. A similar vehicle showed up in Hong Kong, and a week later, in Siena. Nairobi had one. Copenhagen, not the world center of capitalism, had four in one week.

Long-term effects remain to be detected.