Asking for Directions

By Adrian Tullberg.


The police car missed him by an inch. Honestly.

House raised his cane at the rapidly retreating vehicle. "Watch out for the cripple, okay?"

He lowered his stick, and looked at the sky. Time to be heading back to the hospital anyway.

When testing out his new Honda motorcycle, he found this mini-mall about ten minutes walk away from Princeton-Plainsboro that, so far, seemed to have few if any staff from the hospital in the area.

Just far enough to walk off the ever-present kink out of his leg and near enough so his leg wouldn't get too painful. Not to mention that his bike would be prominently present in the handicapped space, allowing Cuddy to engage in her game (or serious obsession she should seriously seek help for) of Make-House-Do-Clinic-Hours while thinking he was still in the actual building.

He looked left and right, carefully, before making another attempt to cross the road. Right now, there was a semi rig heading in his general direction, but judging by it's rate of deceleration the driver had probably seen him.

House took a chance, and lurched across the road. He made it to the other side easily enough, but the semi was slowing down to a crawling speed, drawing up to him.

Big Kenworth rig. Mostly blue around the cab, with red flames emerging from the grill and surrounding the engine. He'd seen one as part of Gravedigger's entourage.

"Excuse me."

House glanced at the now stationary truck .Was some interstate trucker looking for directions?

"Excuse me."

The passenger side door was right next to him. House shrugged, reached out, and grabbed the rail next to the door. He hauled himself up to the step and peeked in the window.


House checked the engine block to his right, then hopped off the step, looking at the left before kneeling slightly (and awkwardly) to find any feet.

Either somebody was playing a really elaborate prank involving a self-driving mechanism for a Kenworth rig, or this vehicle drove itself.

House hefted his cane thoughtfully. How much could he fetch on E-Bay for a cane that had been lodged up Ashton Kutchner's ass?

"I'm sorry about this…"

The truck exploded –

- no, there was flame, heat in an explosion –

- collapsing? The truck was collapsing? –

- wheels, door, windows -

- collapsing, expanding, shifting, folding –

- rising, rising upwards –

- reforming –

- elbows, knees, arms, chest, legs

- and a blue head on top of a red body and blue legs nearly twenty feet high …

House stumbled, and inelegantly fell backwards on his ass.

The massive shape loomed over him, head tilting sideways in an almost quizzical fashion.

Punk'd must have had a massive budget increase.

The thing reached out to him …

At least you went out with dry underwear.

… and pulled him up, hauling him to his feet by his jacket with a gargantuan index finger and thumb.

"… but I need help. Did you see a police car pass by here?"

That voice he heard earlier. One of those deep and reassuring ones you hear on movie trailers.

"Ah … yeah…" He pointed down the road. "It turned south on the highway."

"Thank you for your help."

The machine suddenly – folded again, imploding into the previous shape of a semi rig.

It drove off, accelerating towards the highway.

House felt his arm go up, and listlessly wave towards the departing … thing.

When it turned out of his sight, he slowly reached into his pocket and extracted his Vicodin.


Dr. Lisa Cuddy leaned back, her face quizzical. Technically she'd been told some good news, but she didn't know how to take it.

"Did he say why he gave up the Vicodin?"

Dr. James Wilson's expression showed he was just as much in the dark as she was. "He came barging into my office yesterday afternoon, slammed his meds on the table, and demanded 'a brand change'." He scratched his head. "I've put him on a reduced level of Lortab for now…"

"Is there anything else I should know about?"

"I gave him a lift home…"


"He wouldn't get in the car until he spent ten minutes stabbing it with his cane…"