It was a quiet trip southward down the Barrier Highway away from Peterborough, not just because it was the middle of the night and vehicles were few and far between but because Rigabold the pernicketness’ GPS had remained off and refused to talk to him. It had also refused to play any music and therefore Rigabold had little to listen to other that the engine and even that wasn’t too loud.

Having artificial intelligence had led many Tumcuddulan items to develop attitudes and while some of those attitudes were less than pretty one of the other things was that they were often very petty. Rigabold had scored two for two with his GPS unit, it was attitude driven when it didn’t get its way and it was petty. Of course his refusal to talk to the GPS, after he had ignored its directions several times, was not petty at all, he was teaching the machine a lesson and that lesson was that you can’t always have your own way!

In lieu of provided entertainment Rigabold had considered singing, the GPS might not want to talk to him, it might not even want to listen to him but that was no reason not to sing loudly and annoy the machine until it told him to shut up. The problem was he didn’t know that many songs that suited the situation.

There was a song he had in his mind by a band who called themselves The Poor and the chorus had the words “which part of No don’t you understand?” but he didn’t know the rest of the song well enough to sing it and asking the GPS to play it would mean talking to the damn machine. There was also another song by the same band titled “Tell Someone Who Cares”, which Rigabold would request next time the GPS became petty and insisted on telling him what to do.

Instead of singing Rigabold chose to whistle and hum, out of tune of course, and to no particular song. In fact his chosen songs were wide and varied and he changed them regularly half way through a bar just to annoy the GPS.

“If I could bring myself to be as petty as you this would be one hell of a trip.” Rigabold thought to himself as he looked at the screen which had recently turned to a faint picture, almost a negative of what it should be, to make it harder for Rigabold to read. “But thankfully I’m not that petty!”

With a lack of traffic also came a lack of places open for Rigabold to see. Unlike the busier highways where roadhouses remained open twenty four hours a day to feed any weary travellers there wasn’t enough weary travellers along roads like Barrier Highway to make such a service a necessity. The towns were relatively close together and Rigabold didn’t doubt that each one of them had a story to tell, probably even had something like Bob the Railway dog that set them apart from other towns but with the GPS being too petty to tell him of such things it would have been too easy to get caught up doing something not so productive.

As Rigabold scooted around the small town of Burra a weird feeling developed in the back of his mind, that weird feeling then became an image and the image a story. He could feel and sense someone was within the small town who was not long of this world. The man was on the run from something but he’d run in the wrong direction and the single person he thought was helping him was actually part of an elaborate plan to see him punished for his wrong doings on Earth.

It was a very specific story his mind told and a very clear one which he thought someone should really put down in words because it would make a great novel that dumbarse publishers throughout the world should fight over just to get their grubby little hands on.

Rigabold drove on wondering if maybe he’d cross paths with the person to write that story.

Onward and with a change of direction to the south east Rigabold followed the Goyder Highway through Morgan and down to where it intersected with the Sturt Highway. Without the the GPS and its pettiness Rigabold was able to calculate that if he kept his speed closer to eighty kilometres per hour he’d make the town of Renmark not long after 6am.

It might be a tall ask hoping for Chiko Rolls at that time of the morning, and he was getting very desperate for some having not had any for more than ten hours, but Renmark was a substantially sized town and had a few truck serviceable roadhouses which would operate twenty four hours a day.

Slowing the Dodge down also had the added advantage that it would lessen that chances of being hit by a way ward Skippy, especially with the traffic volume increasing and much of that being truck traffic. Rigabold didn’t fancy being hit by a silly kangaroo with a faulty navigation system, but being hit by a kangaroo spat out from under the rear wheels of a road train was even less appealing. If his GPS had stopped holding a grudge against him it would have been a little bit less of a concern because it would be able to pick up wildlife on the road, but having spent so long in silence Rigabold had long ago decided that it was up to the GPS to apologise for being so petty and not him.

At 6:13am Rigabold slowed down for the outskirts of the last town he’d be stopping in within the borders of South Australia. His first impressions were that it looked like a nice town and he hoped those impressions were right. Without his GPS he’d be on the look out for any twenty four hour roadhouse or service station but he was still doubtful of getting a decent feed of Chiko Rolls.

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First Episode here.