The Genie Z-60/34 Series
Sonic mustered all of his energy, and tried once more, but he just couldn't match the others. He was lifting construction material to the iron workers. Although they all had diesel engines, Sonic was just not as loud as the others. He was a Genie Z-34/22, and all of his friends were of Genie Z-60/34 series. Although Sonic was an articulating boom like the others and had the same blue and white color scheme, he always knew there was something different about him. At first he was constantly bullied because of his smaller size, and soon his quieter sound along with it. His father, Alpha, unfortunately, did not help in this matter. Sonic’s father, in fact, was also a Z-60/34, and was the loudest of them all. Whenever he was rented for a construction site, the other machines would come back bragging of his mighty sound.
“Did you hear Alpha yesterday morning?” One would say.
“Man, he really puts the ‘boom’ in articulating boom!” Another would reply.
Even the humans would brag to each other when they had “lucked out” and got the loud one.
As the son of the dominant lift, Sonic had many expectations. This, coupled with never knowing his mother and already being smaller, put an unbearable pressure on him. He couldn't hold the 430 lbs of weight and had to come back down. The human was furious, but the other machines just laughed. Sonic was so disappointed in himself; not only could he not be loud enough, but he choked under pressure with the weight too. He had proven to himself before that he could keep up pound for pound with the bigger lifts, but he cracked.
When Sonic finally arrived back home, Alpha was waiting for him with a glum look on his face.
“Sonic, I…I just can’t handle these disappointments over and over again. I've tried everything to get you to be like the rest of us, but you just aren't. I've accepted that. I've accepted that…you don’t belong here.”
“What are you saying, father?” Sonic replied cautiously.
“We've decided to send you away. The humans said there are work environments with much lower standards of decibel levels. You’re just holding us back here. I’m sorry, Son.”
And so, Sonic went to this new place, bringing with him a broken confidence and a longing for loving family. However, when he arrived, he noticed something. Or, rather, a lack of something: sound. This area had smaller, spread out buildings, and was much quieter.
Sonic was to stay in a storage garage with a few other machines, and only one other Genie lift. She was older than Sonic- maybe about fifteen years old. She was a Z-34/22 N. She took him in instantly. Sonic soon learned from her that her name was Maurine, and that they were to be used by the local humans to help paint their houses and cut down trees. Sonic knew he would be much more suited to this suburban environment. In fact, the local residents actually appreciated Maurine’s quiet sound.
However, the local residents feared him. The first thing anyone saw was Sonic’s diesel engine, and it turns out that what the people and machines appreciated at his former site- a roaring engine- was the opposite of the people at the new site- quiet, emission free operation.
Sonic was devastated. He was judged before being given a chance. He just couldn't catch a break. Sonic considered leaving town. He had no destination in mind, but figured that once his gas ran out, he wouldn't have to worry anymore. He wouldn't have to worry about the pressure, the people, and the physical and emotional weight. The more he thought about it, the better the idea seemed. In fact…this was what he wanted to do! Sonic knew this now. He just wanted to escape.
It was in the middle of the night. Maurine was sleeping. She was tired very often lately. Sonic didn't think much of it though. He crawled forward out of the garage, for once thankful of the engine only giving a faint purr. He was outside now, going down the street. A few cars passed by, giving confused and curious looks. Sonic didn't care. He kept going.
He could feel the engine getting low on gas. Sonic started coughing and sputtering. It wouldn't be much longer now. He started slowing down. Each second seemed like an hour, and was coupled with excruciating pain. As each second crawled by, Sonic slowed by more and more until finally stopping. He could go no more. His body craved more gasoline, but there was nothing he could do even if he wanted to replenish. He sat by the side of the road for several minutes, eyes closed, waiting for the pain to melt away.
Suddenly, Sonic began to feel it. He began to feel the pain go away. Wait, how was this possible? Energy seemed to boil up in him. His engine started again. This didn't feel like an engine, though. Sonic realized what it was…but, it couldn't be? Yet, it was: a battery!
Sonic rushed through town the next morning, shouting to everyone with glee, “Hey everybody! I have a battery! You don’t have to worry about an engine anymore!” One man stopped him with a grim look. It was a look similar to the one his father had not too long ago.
“I can see from your joy that you haven’t yet heard the news, boy,” The man said. “Ya see…Maurine passed this morning. She had a good run, but we all knew her time was soon to come. That’s why we got you.”
Sonic was crushed. He had finally felt on top of cloud nine, and with one sentence had fallen back to the ground, and hard. He hadn't known Maurine for long, but she had been such a strong person. She was an anchor when he felt like he didn't have a home. She couldn't be gone already.
“But, hey, while you’re here, might as well get some work done.” The man continued. “I have a tree with overgrown branches in the front. Let’s put that battery of yours to the test.”
Sonic was still in shock all day, however, his quiet and efficient procedure proved to be to the liking of all of the residents.
One woman commented to her neighbor, “Did you hear Sonic this morning?”
“Nope!” replied the neighbor. “It’s like magic. He really puts the Genie in Genie Lift.”
“You guys really think I’m doing a good job?” questioned Sonic eagerly.
“Oh, sure!” exclaimed the woman. “You are definitely your mother’s son.”
Sonic was taken aback. How did she know his mother? He hadn't known a mother his entire life.
“My…my mother?” he stammered.
“You didn't know? Sonic, Maurine was your mother.”
Again, Sonic was shocked. His world had flipped too many times for one day. He had to leave. He didn't know where he was going at first, but soon realized he had subconsciously started toward his original site.
When he arrived, he saw his father coaching the younger cherry pickers. Sonic told his father about the town, the battery, and his mother.
“Your mother…I haven’t heard from your mother in years. She couldn't handle the intense noise around here. She went to find a new place, much like you. I now realize that I was wrong to be disappointed in you, Son. I knew as soon as you were born that you were a combination of your mother and I. A hybrid, if you will. However, I had high hopes that you would feature my extraordinary sound with her efficiency. I was right to have high hopes, but for different reasons. I shouldn't have judged so quickly. Your combination of battery and gas allows much longer life before recharging or refueling, allowing a quiet demeanor without sacrificing any power.”
Hearing the praise from his father was what Sonic truly wanted. He had recently gained confidence, and now, this confidence was locked in. No matter what happened, he knew Alpha would have his back, and that meant the rest of that community along with him. Unfortunately, construction zones were still not the place Sonic wanted to be. He knew he had to return. He said farewell to his father, knowing he would visit him regularly.
Sonic spent his life impressing the people with his electric and gas combination. He spent his life around a town that liked peaceful quiet as much as he did, yet appreciated his power and strength. He spent his life doing what he loved. He was at inner peace, because Sonic, the Genie Z-34/22, had finally found his niche.