Ty raced through the kitchen at breakneck speed, trying to eat a Pop Tart and grab his briefcase at the same time.
"When will you be home, dear?" asked his wife.
Ty paused and turned as he opened the door into the garage. "I'll be late…"
His voice was cut off by the whinny from the garage.
"9-1-1 Emergency, this is Officer Liebermann, how can I assist you?"
"Well, my car's been… well… stolen I guess."
"You guess, sir?"
"Well, I'm not sure what to make of it. I left it in front of my building last night and now it's gone."
"So, it was stolen."
"I don't know. They're all gone."
"All what, sir? The cars?"
"Yes, ma'am. But that's not the oddest part…"
"Damn it, Henry, do you have any idea what this will do to us?"
The hapless auto executive threw up his hands. "Do you think that I knew this was coming? Christ, Bob, I have thousands invested…"
"Oh, stuff it," mumbled the company president. "What the hell are we going to do?"
"Why don't we just build more? I mean, we've got plenty of parts on hand to build a few, at least…"
"Damn it, don't you think we _tried_ that? What do you think happened? Take a guess. Do you want to take a wild guess as to what happened when the last bolt was tightened on a brand new one ton truck?"
Henry paled a little. "You don't mean…" He stopped, feeling his heart beat through his chest. "Right in front of everyone?"
"Right in front of a couple hundred very surprised Teamsters. That shiny red truck turned into a God damn draft horse."
"This is Tracy William, reporting from downtown Sacramento. There is no explanation for what happened here this morning, sometime shortly after three in the morning Pacific Time."
The camera panned across the four lane street that ran beside the California State Capitol building, showing the scene that had billions across the planet bewildered. The scenes silently shifted around, to highways, roads and alleys, all lined with wandering horses, mules and donkey.
The scene shifts back to the California State Capitol building. "That was the scene this morning as we all awakened to find out what had happened. For now, people are trying to make due. Most people are simply walking or riding bikes, but some adventurous soles are attempting to do something that they've never done before: ride a horse. This is Tracy William, reporting."
The view switches back to the studio. "Tracy, this is Wink. May I ask how you managed to get across town to the Capitol building with all the satellite equipment?"
The view switched back to a grinning Tracy. "Of course, Wink." She motioned for the camera to follow her as she walked to the side. "This is what we found in the van's parking space this morning," she said, patting the side of the Shire mare.
"I don't wanna go to school today!"
Phyllis just took her sons jacket out of the closet. "Look, I don't want to hear it, Jacob." She tossed his bookbag at him. "The school bus will be here any minute. Go outside and wait for it, I've got to saddle up the car… horse, whatever." As he turned to leave, Phyllis stopped him. "Wait, take this!" She said, tossing him an apple.
"For the teacher?" he asked, bewildered.
"No, for the bus."
"We now go to Brent Waylaid in SkyCam 6. Brent?"
"We're over the scene now. It seems these two suspects attempted to rob the First Tristate Bank on Burke Street, when according to witnesses, their getaway mount wandered off. They hadn't tied him up properly. They are now attempting to get away from the police thoroughbreds on a stolen pony…"
"Mom, why can't I take the horse out? I promise I'll be careful."
"That's what you said the last time, Carla, and when I went to take her to the market the next day she was all banged up! She'd thrown a shoe and you'd left her bridle on all night! You have any idea how much a farrier costs these days?"
"But nothing! You can't have the horse again until you get your permanent riders license…"
"Who-ee! That is a sweet looking ride."
Brandon smiled. "Sure is. Fastest thing on four legs around. Comes from good stock."
"Senator, what do you say about the charges that the military is poorly equipped?"
The aging senator from Maine looked like he was going to blow a gasket. "What the hell are you talking about, Samuel? The United States Army has the finest war horses in the world! We just approved funding for state of the art barding…"
He reigned in the white stallion as they reached the top of the bluff, then twisted in the saddle and kissed his girlfriend. "Sorry, baby, I ran out of feed…"
"I am _not_ taking that to work."
"Honey, I don't think you've got a choice. It's that or you walk."
"Damn it, everyone else got a horse! I'll look like some kind of idiot."
"Oh, shut up and get on the donkey…"
"We are pleased to announce that we are working full time to retool the factory, " boomed the company president. "We should have no problem getting up to full production by the end of next month." He waved to the crowd of assembled workers and stockholders as he jumped off the stage.
Henry met up with him quickly, smiling wide. "Brilliant move, sir."
Bob just rolled his eyes. "It's survival, you simp. Besides, this company was founded as a buggy manufacturer. God knows my great granddad would have loved to see the features we can install these days." He shook his head. "What an insane world."
Henry shrugged. "It's like they always say, when you find lemons, you make lemonade."
Bob chuckled. "Henry, my old friend, if this all turns out to be a grand delusion, we'll be eating horse apples…"