And Then She Did That Orange, Glowy Thing

“This thing hasn’t run in fifteen years,” I reminded her.

She didn’t look up, still fiddling with the fan belt. “We should have left days ago,” I continued, “but you insisted –”

“Rubber mallet,” she ordered, still not looking up.

I laid it next to her. “- insisted on wasting time on this rusty -”

Several meaty thumps reverberated under the hood. Her minute frame wobbled as she used the radiator as a fulcrum, feet in the air.

“- broken, lifeless heap -”

A clang and a muffled curse as the dropped mallet bounced off the oil pan.

“- and now you’re ignoring me!” But as I spat my last words of protest, a muted orange glow began to emanate from the engine block. There was a noiseless blast of intense heat, and for a moment she appeared to go limp, leaning on the engine with both hands. It struggled to turn over once, then twice, finally heaving to life in a belch of smoke on the third try.

She emerged from under the hood with a coy smile, my face contorting in disbelief.

“Go ahead,” she dared. “Ask me how.”

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