Machine Man (serial)
When I was fifteen, I was almost killed by a shirtless man in a Dodge Viper. He came around the corner of the suburban street I was crossing and accelerated toward me. I think he expected me to scurry out of the way. But I didn’t, because I was fifteen, and it was more important to appear tough to strangers than live. I think the shirtless man shared this philosophy, because his car jagged toward me. I was sure I was about to die. I probably would have, if the vehicle had been anything less than a triumph of engineering. But at the last possible second—a second too late, in a different car—the Viper slid to a smoking halt before me.
The driver leaned out the window and screamed abuse. This was when I saw he was shirtless. He wore mirror shades and chunky jewelery, which flew around as he gesticulated. He stabbed fingers in my direction to emphasize points I couldn’t hear over the torrent of perfectly reproduced music pouring from his stereo.
Eventually he finished, and the Viper swerved around me. I watched it slingshot around the next corner. It was lucky nobody was coming the other way.
I hefted my schoolbag and continued walking. It occurred to me that we had, as a civilization, reached a milestone. We had begun making better machines than people.