Greeting to one and all from the land of Quahogs, grinders and coffee cabinets (if you have to ask you'll never understand!). I really should preface this by saying that several weeks ago, my van cracked the engine block and was declared dead on arrival by my trusted mechanic. Since I work I'm a lunch lady and yes, I DO serve potatoes with an ice cream scoop!) for a living and walking a mile and a half each way to work was not all that appealing, we really had to get a second car. The following is based on the less than stellar experience my husband and I had. Oh, we did end up getting a nifty little used vehicle from a friend.
Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or any of the characters
therein. They are currently licensed in North America to Cloverway and DIC. And as their name suggests, they'd be a real bunch of D**'s to deal with if I was stupid enough to mess with their copyright. The idea for the vehicle is mine. If Ford or Chrysler or anyone else wants to talk to me about it, drop me a line at: MearaRI@aol.com.
You can write too. And remember to be kind. The good you do comes back to you, but bad Karma is forever. Really!
He couldn't get to her in time. Mamoru knew with a sick lurch to his stomach that there was no way to save his beloved from the horror that beckoned to her. The smarmy, slick male reached in her direction with an evil smile. He loomed over her smaller form, blotting out the light.
"Coffee, Mrs. Chiba?"
Usagi took the proffered cup and thanked the man. Mamoru had been at the opposite end of the showroom when he saw the danger his beloved was in. Damning his love of muscle cars, the erstwhile Prince of Earth got to her just as she sipped the demon's brew. He was too late!
Chiba Usagi, Princess of the Moon and future Queen of Earth turned an amazing shade of green. As Sailor Moon she had faced some of the worst monsters that the forces of darkness had bred. The vile liquid in her mouth tasted suspiciously like it was made form the toenail clippings of several of those fiends. With the courage of a true Senshi, she swallowed the coffee.
"Thanks," she managed to whisper.
Mamoru sat down next to his wife of six months, slipping an arm around her shoulders in sympathy. Using the wisdom of the Silver Millennium, she put the styrofoam cup on the desk before her. She would rather have been put to a painful death than finish it
The man behind the desk smiled disingenuously and clapped his hands
together. "So, folks, what can I do for you today?" He leaned forward, the light catching the shine from the overabundance of styling gel in his blow-dried hair.
"We're interested in looking for our first car together," said Mamoru with some pride. They had been dutifully saving for this event since before they were married. Mamoru's sports car (which he'd won in a contest) had been stolen off the streets of Juban almost a year ago. His motorcycle was nice, but a pain to haul the groceries home on. They had both agreed on a nice, small, sensible vehicle. After looking in the newspaper, they had seen the advertisements promising "We sell cars you can't find any place else!" Little did they know the reason for that boast.
The Salesman laughed. "Well, you've come to the right place, my friend! Tell you what, you being newlyweds and all, I'll let you two have first crack at a vehicle I was going to be unveiling later today." He rose from his chair and motioned for them to follow him onto the car lot. "You are so lucky that you came when you did." He continued on. "What I'm going to show you will be the biggest sensation in cars since the mini-van." He led them to a small corner of the lot where a vehicle sat swathed in canvas. With the flare of a cheap showman, he ripped the canvas of the vehicle to reveal…
"May I present, the 'Sailor Senshimobile!"
Usagi reached for her husband's hand. She grabbed it and held to it tightly to as she spoke for both of them.
"Oh my God."
Before them was a vehicle in a color scheme that could cause strong men to weep. It was fire engine red to the first wheels, then faded into seasick green. From there, at the back door, it changed into electric blue and finally into a shade of orange not found in nature on the trunk. Decals went with each color; a burst of flame, a sprouting vine, a tidal wave and finally a large heart.
"See?" said the Salesman, ignore the stuptified reaction of his clients, "It's a tribute to the famed Sailor Senshi. Red for Mars, Green for Jupiter, Blue for Mercury and Orange for Venus. I even had decals made to represent their best attacks! Is this a van fit for the Moon Princess or what? It's the biggest, best, most luxurious eight passenger van on the market!"
Mamoru leaned over to his wife as the Salesman went on and on about the
vehicle's appointments. "We have got to stop this. It's an affront to
everything we've ever worked for. This is crash commercialism at it worst and this Tuxedo Kamen will not forgive!" He straightened up. "Excuse me, but do the Sailor Senshi know that you're trying to sell cars using their names?"
"And what about Sailor Moon?" Usagi said. Mamoru turned to look at her.
"Well, she is the leader, after all." she said lamely.
"I'm glad you asked," replied the Salesman. He leaned over and knocked on the hubcaps. Usagi hadn't noticed their color, or lack of it, before. They seemed to be made of rhinestones. "This is pure, Imperium Silver Crystal. What a deal, huh? I know you'll want to be the very first to have this baby. Tell you what, I'll let you two kids have it for only twenty-four million Yen."
It was Mamoru's turn to turn green. "Twenty-four million Yen?! For this piece of…"
Usagi had to restrain her beloved. "It's a little out of our price range," she said as she delivered a sharp kick to his shins. "Thank you, but we were thinking about something a bit smaller."
The thought of letting them go was more than the Salesman could bear. He just knew that they'd cave in if he sweetened the deal enough. "Yes, it's a little pricey, but it's the first of a new line of vehicles. Why, it'll be a collector's item and double in value in no time. Tell you what, though, for you two I'll throw in the deluxe Tuxedo-Kamen-Black plush velvet interior."
Mamoru's face had gone from green to red to purple. Before he could injure the Salesman, Usagi took him firmly by the arms and began to drag him away. "Thank you, but we'll have to think about it," she called. The Salesman was seemingly oblivious to the danger he was in. He pulled a card from his ill fitting polyester suit and thrust it at Usagi.
"Take this Mrs. Chiba. I'll call you in a few days. You'll see - you won't be able to stop thinking about the Sailor Senshimobile!"
He was more right than he knew. Mamoru and Usagi had no soon gotten home than Mamoru had insisted they call all of the Inner Senshi for a meeting. He had contacted each of them and they promised to come to the apartment at once. Mars was the last to arrive, out of breath from climbing the stairs. The elevator was out of order.
"What..what's the emergency?" she huffed. The Senshi of Mars looked into Mamoru's face. She could read the outrage and anger in it. This must be bad, she though. Indeed it was, but for Mamoru. He told the assembled warriors about the offending vehicle in a voice full of menace. Finishing his oratory he paused and waited for the righteous wrath of the Senshi to be voiced.
Mina and Mako turned to look at each other. "I think I'll go help Usagi make some more coffee," said Mako.
"Me too!" Mina was off after her in a shot.
Ami was suddenly very interested in the plant to her right. She began to examine it in painful detail. "This fichus needs water and a little more light."
Mamoru was stunned. "Didn't you hear me?" he asked, aggrieved.
"A car?" Rei finally said. "You dragged me up seven flights of stairs that smell like old sneakers because of a car? You've been married to Odanga Atama for too long. Have you got dumplings for brains or what?!"
"Weren't you listening, Rei! The 'Senshimobile'?! The damn fool is using the Senshi's good name to make a quick buck! You should see this thing. Mars get to have the hood and front quarter panel, Jupiter has two doors, Mercury gets the rear quarter panels and Venus is the car trunk…"
Usagi jumped in from the kitchen. "And all I get is the lousy hub caps!" The conversation was brought to a screeching halt as everyone turned to look at her. "Hubcaps!" she reiterated.
Rei and Mamoru were settling in for a fine argument. He made a stern point at her, she bellowed back at him. All in all, they seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Mako, Mina and Usagi were in the apartments' small kitchen making coffee. Ami had sighed, then started digging in her purse. She knew she had a roll of Tums in there somewhere. After ingesting more than was likely good for her, she was able to ignore them by becoming deeply immersed in a physics textbook.
They all knew from experience that there was no stopping Rei when she got like this. Over the years they had given up even trying. This could have gone on for hours but for Mina's rushing into the living room.
She leapt for the small television and turned it on. "You have got to see this…" she shouted over Rei and Mamoru. When they didn't even pause for breath she leaned over and turned their heads toward the picture on the television. "I said LOOK!"
What they saw stunned them into horrified silence. It was ghastly beyond telling. It was…the Salesman.
He was enthusiastically hawking his latest and greatest vehicle, the Sailor Senshimobile. As he rattled off the van's many features, five well-endowed young women in abbreviated fuku's popped out of the doors. They jiggled their main assets at the cameras and struck a sultry pose. The Salesman finished his lines with, "And remember, if you don't come on down and see the new Senshimobile…"
"In the name of Mars…" lisped the first one
The lens zoomed in on the five girls and they formed a cheerleader-like
pyramid. The last girl, dressed as Sailor Moon, licked her lips and pouted at the camera. "We will punish you!"
The silence in the Chiba living room was deafening. Ami quietly got up and turned the TV off. The stunned Senshi sat in stuptified silence. Mamoru turned to Rei. "Well..?"
The Senshi of Mars looked at him with wide eyes. She glanced at her friends and they nodded their approval as if reading her thoughts. "He's dead," she said lightly, "oh yes, he is sooo dead."
When the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen had descended on the Salesman that night (as he headed for his car) he had laughed at Sailor Moon's
"Please, please do sue me. I can't buy that kind of publicity! And of course, you'd love going into a court room, having to tell everyone who you really are." He cupped one hand under Sailor Moon's chin. So, please, do sue me, honey."
She yanked her head away. Tuxedo Kaman put his hands on the man's shoulder and lifted him off they ground. "You show no respect." He growled.
The Salesman was sweating but managed to keep his voice cool. "I know my rights! If you want to stop me then take me to court, hero." Tuxedo Kamen let him go and he fell to the pavement with a thud.
Mars suddenly loomed over him. She gave him a feral grin as she crouched down beside him. "You know, a friend of mine has a saying - 'The good you do comes back to you. But bad karma is forever'. So mister, I-know-my-rights, I have two words for you." She leaned over and tapped him gently in the middle of the forehead. "Bad karma." It burned slightly where she touched him. He blinked his eyes, and they were gone.
Rising to his feet, he brushed off his cheap suit. They could try to
frighten him all they wanted. He had a gold mine in his "Senshimobile" and was damned if he was going to give it up. "Bad karma" he huffed, "Hah!" So why did he feel so odd?
It was the little things that went wrong at first. He snapped three
shoelaces in the two days. His blow drier didn't work and he had to go to work one day looking like Alfalfa from the "Little Rascals". Two of his suits came back from the cleaners and a half-size smaller than when they'd left his closet. Wearing them made him look like a "before" picture in an advertisement for Big and Tall men's stores.
Then things began to escalate. The showroom's air conditioning unit was invaded by an angry skunk. His secretary quit on Tuesday. But worst of all, the coffee machine was on the fritz. This was bad - bread may be the staff of life, but coffee is the life of the staff. He spent his days in a caffeine-less fog. Sales were falling off.
Across the street, at an ice cream stand five beautiful young women sat
under a table with a large umbrella. They had met here everyday at noon to watch the Salesman as he went to the next cart to get his lunch. It was the same thing each day. He'd order a hot dog, with mustard, and a drink. In his coffee-deprived state, he'd get mustard all over his shirt as the hot dog fell out of the bun. In his haste to get a napkin, he'd spill his drink on his pants in the worst possible place. He'd then spend the rest of the day alternatively attempting to wash the stains off his shirt and pants. As a result, he always had a sticky shirt and pants stained at the crotch.
"I give up!" Usagi finally said on the fifth day. "How did you do that Rei?"
Rei adjusted her sunglasses. "Actually, I didn't do anything. He just
thinks I did."
Mako began to laugh, "You mean.." She giggled.
"Yep," added Mina running a hand through golden hair. "Bad Karma".
Ami joined in the laughter until tears were running down her face. She
pulled herself together for a moment. "Really, we have to tell him. This is cruel." She still couldn't keep from laughing.
The other four Senshi looked at each other before they turned to Ami and said in unison. "Not!"
The end came in a fitting manner. The Sailor Senshi had been battling a Youma off and on for days. Finally they had it on the ropes in the sales district of the city. As bad luck would have it, it was the Salesman's lot where the Youma decided to make its last stand. Jupiter had just used her Oak Evolution" attack on the increasingly desperate monster. With the last of its strength, the Youma broke free and jumped over the Senshi into the middle of the car lot. It tried to make a break for it when roses hurled from the skillful hands of Tuxedo Kamen forced it back and back and back..
Right into the side of the Senshimobile. The Salesman was trying to get a middle-aged couple to take a used van off his hands when he happened to look up. The Youma dug it's claws into the side of the Senshimobile and lifted it high just as Sailor Moon began to chant the opening words to her attack. The arcane energies washed over and through the Youma. Even though it was being reduced to moon dust, the kinetic energy of its movement was still in the Senshimobile. The multicolored horror made a graceful arc in the air, heading for the Salesman's showroom.
"Mother" he moaned softly.
The Senshimobile met its end as it crashed through the plate glass walls and into several of the most expensive cars parked in the showroom. The Salesman began to cry openly as a hubcap of "Silver Imperium crystal" rolled by.
The event made the newspapers. It seems an enterprising young photographer visiting from America (named Peter Parker) was on the scene. He clicked the exact moment when the Senshimobile had impacted the other vehicles. It was poetry is stop motion to the group of young adults that sat in an apartment as they sipped coffee. The article, which explained the events, and the Salesman's pledge never, ever again to build another Senshimobile, was of less interest that the caption of the picture. The pun was just too delicious.
It read simple, "Bad Car-ma".