• Published 22nd Sep 2020
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Paradise Company - UnkleBumbleHeck

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3: Bottom Bit

I was finding out all about that southern hospitality I'd heard of back in Manehattan. Reid and Lilac seemed to be trying their best to be my friend, which kind of put me on edge. In Manehattan nopony's nice to you unless they want something from you.

I'd been checked out of the hospital without issue. Lilac had to return to work, which left me to ride along with Reid, who suggested we take a look at my car. I agreed.

We were driving down a five-lane in a silver Mareburu WRX STI. Apparently it was one of Reid's friend's cars. I didn't bother inquiring.

"Up the road about ten miles is where you went off," Reid said to me. "That's partly how you came to my attention, my shop is the closest." I struggled to pay attention, too busy worrying about what kind of shape my car was in. "You didn't just luck out, I'd say it was a miracle you wound up with us."

He drove through an intersection then pulled into the center turning lane, and after waiting a moment for the traffic to go by he turned into the front lot of a combination gas station and mechanic's shop. The sign above the three open garage doors on the right of the building read "Spectrum Performance" in alternating colors. "Oh, spectrum like a rainbow," I said idly.

"That, and also because we'll work on anything. Full spectrum service, full spectrum performance, that's our motto." I gathered this was his shop, then. He pulled the car past the pumps and around the other side of the building where we parked in a snowed over lot. I worried for a moment that the car would be stuck in the snow, but I remembered it was a Mareburu. Mareburus thrive in adverse road conditions.

Once the car was parked we stayed for a moment - a fairly normal thing to do in a turbo vehicle, let the motor idle before cutting it off. Once that was done, Reid stepped out of the car and I followed. We went towards the back of the building and through an open gate beyond which was another two, larger garage style doors and a normal door beside. We went through the normal door as the garage doors were closed. Inside was what looked to be a break room of sorts with a few vending machines, a counter with a sink and a microwave, and a fridge. On the other end of the room from the entrance was another door, and a pair of couches facing a TV on the wall.

Several ponies were sat at the couches staring intensely at the screen, on which played footage of a race. The camera followed a heavily modified model of the relatively new Neighsan GTR as it went around a race track, followed by several other cars of a similar caliber. "-being his first race, he's beginning to learn about tire wear this late in the race, so he's really going to have to maximize track width on entry, apex and exit of every corner if he wants a shot at the podium," somepony was saying.

Then the driver of the GTR did something I'd never seen. As he came to a right-hoof turn, he swerved his vehicle to the left briefly before turning into the corner sharply. He looked like he was trying to make the turn too early, or maybe initiate a drift? But as he came to the apex, he drove his right tires up and over the red and white curb and then - something truly bizarre happened. It looked like his right wheels were floating as they went right over the ditch on the other side of the curb, then landed softly on the grass on the other side. It was only for a moment and then he was back over the curb and along his way to the next straightaway, but it was astonishing. All of the ponies at the couch cheered loudly, and I even caught myself smiling at the sight.

"Last season's rising superstar, goes by the name Thunder. He started that race in seventh position, and after several dozen laps ended in third. His first race ever in GT Three, took a podium. The track limits were all the way to the barrier on the inside of that corner, so the FIA ruled that move legal," Reid explained. "Come on, car's in here."

We continued past the ponies who remained glued to the screen as they watched the race. The door on this side of the room lead into a work area where I was greeted by the familiar smell of motor oil and brake cleaner. The room opened up to the right of us, which I assumed was the front of the business, where a couple of trucks were up in the air on lifts getting worked on. To the left was a big sliding door that was partially open - Reid lead me through there.

This back area of the shop looked like a completely different business, maybe it was. I saw two Neighsan Skylines, a Brayzda RX7, a Porter 911 GT3, and an Alto RS5. And in the far corner of the room were two more vehicles. One was under a cover, but the other was mine. I took a few steps towards that corner of the room, and as I did I got a glimpse of the side of her. My rump hit the floor. All the glass was gone, every body panel looked damaged, and the hood was gone, along with the rear spoiler.

I got back up to my hooves and slowly made my way to my car. "Still runs," Reid said. "Got it to start up yesterday, scanned the ECU, no codes. Seems mechanically fine." I looked at him then back at my car. I wasn't sure what I was feeling, maybe it was shock. The carbon rear fenders were gone too. All four tires were flat, the wheels were ruined. I glanced at the back seat, but knew my rifle wouldn't be there. Sure enough, it wasn't. "I put it in my office, don't worry." I nodded.

"How much?" I asked plainly.

"Blue, this car is totaled..." Reid started.

"How much?" I repeated, firmly.

"I can recommend a few good dealerships downtown..."

"Said it runs right? Where's the keys?" He gestured to the car. I went to open the driver side door with my magic and winced as it made a loud metallic "Pop!" sound as I swung it open. The key was in the cupholder. I placed it in the ignition, the dash lit up. I turned the key, and the six-point-three liter V-Twelve motor instantly came back to life. Her exhaust note filled the room, the car shook gently - broken motor mounts, I guessed. "I'm going to assume you're the sort of pony that'll understand what I'm about to say. Do you believe that cars have souls, Reid?"

He looked at me for a while as the car ran. "A car develops a soul when it bonds with its driver," he answered.

"Exactly my feelings on the matter. I don't know you that well but you're the only pony I know with the kind of resources-"

"About two hundred thousand," Reid interrupted me. "I already did a bit of research. You'll have to buy another E-Class, that's just a given. So there's about eighty grand. Then of course we can't go to Baybus because the car's stolen and you've removed the VIN. So we'll have to find somepony that'll re-manufacture the custom bodywork. Wheels are easy enough, you're spoiled for choice if you go aftermarket, or you can buy the same Baybus wheels direct from their site."

I was genuinely shocked now. "You already knew I'd want it repaired, didn't you?"

"I know your type, Blue. You and this car have history, anypony would feel the same as you with a car like this."

I looked at the car again. "Guess the trunk doesn't open?" He shook his head. It was completely bashed in from that first impact from the truck that night. "Going to be replacing it anyway, got something to cut it open with?"
...

After some work with a cutting wheel, we were into the trunk of the car. Inside was a bandolier with a few rifle magazine holsters, a suitcase that had the rest of my clothes - I'd been wearing the same outfit and washing it each day until today - and some saddlebags. I pulled it all out with my magic and passed the saddlebags to Reid.

He opened them and looked inside. "About a hundred and twenty thousand," I told him. "The rest I can get to you, you have my word. I'll do whatever."

"Easy, girl. Don't have to pay me all at once. If this is really something you want to do, we can work something out. In fact, I have something you can do if you're interested." I eyed him suspiciously. "Not like that," he laughed. "I mean, I might have you cover for me on this little security job I have coming up. Just have to get you vetted by the boss. Interested?"

Author's Note:

Trying real hard to come up with pony-ish alternative names for all the car brands. Good luck guessing them all.