Once again, I am tested by my circumstances. The local animal shelter was looking for someone to drive some dogs to their various appointments. That responsibility fell to me, a drivers-license-having individual with a community service requirement with an “exponent” symbol in it in Microsoft Excel, to truck them there. Nobody else wanted to do it, possibly because some of the dogs have what medical experts are calling “the terror shits.”

Naturally, I couldn’t do this in my own car. Not only is the Volare incapable of holding any passengers due to the structural rust issues, but I like to keep the car clean. That’s why there’s the big holes in the floor: any dropped candy wrappers, stray strands of hair, or spilled coffees will just run out when I lift the floor mat on the expressway. No: the animal shelter was very insistent that what I would receive is a 2005 Chevy Express van, white-on-white.

This van was, well, a van. For some reason, everyone I met was apologizing to me about “how old” it was, and how they had “no money” in the budget with which to upgrade it. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it was several decades newer than anything I’d ever operated, and I was a little bit intimidated by driving something that could go forward and backward, without having to turn the engine off and push it a little bit first.

Still, after a few minutes on the road, I immediately saw what they meant. It didn’t have any soul, this new automobile, being enormously competent at virtually every task. It didn’t shake violently on the highway, all the doors stayed closed, and it could go around corners without the windshield falling out. Soon, I was going an integer multiple of the posted speed limit, still feeling it was too slow because the sensation of danger was no longer prickling its way up my spine. I was practically falling asleep, and when I arrived at the vet’s office an hour away nearly 45 minutes ahead of schedule, I decided something had to be done for the safety of my canine charges.

While the dogs were in the shop, getting their tires rotated, I decided to do a little bit of work on my own. I had been stuck behind a slow-moving BMW SUV on the off-ramp. It was now parked outside a realtor’s office, taunting me with its copious reserve of compressed air and torque. I decided that if they weren’t gonna use their turbocharger, then I should rightfully be entitled to it. After all, it’s for the public good: who would deny these dogs an efficient, comfortable ride? Using the BMW’s toolkit and a piece of parking lot rebar as a lever, I soon had the turbocharger worked off of the engine, dropped out the bottom, and swaged into the van’s induction system. To test it out, I jumped in and pinned the throttle a few times, hearing the delightful whoosh of at least a hundred more horsepower. Yeah. This would do nicely.

All I’m legally allowed to tell you about what happened next is two things. One, the van really was less boring after all this work. The little V8 sang with the joys of forced induction, and the tires smoked well through however many gears this magic future transmission had in it. Two, it was a good thing I was going to the dog groomer’s next, because none of these animals were in a presentable shape. It turns out dogs afflicted with the terror-shits don’t like to pull a deep thirteen-second quarter mile, which is definitely something they should have told me before they gave me the keys.

Not every day of volunteering is going to be perfect. Next time I go back, I think I’ll cut a hole in the floor instead. At least that will make the cleanup easier.


#storytime #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #(”arrived at the vet’s office an hour away nearly 45 minutes ahead of schedule”) #unreality cw #unsanitary cw #this post was queued because my to-reblog list is too long and I didn’t want to dump it on you all at once

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