Because I wanted to believe that a man’s grasp of the deep mysteries of the internal combustion engine certified his command of the mysteries of maleness itself, I play-acted the role of the creator of those wheels, the individual who had somehow conjured it from a mass of metal on a garage floor in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The machine was a mask, a charmed exoskeleton that protected me from thoughts about my inadequacies; my voice an extension of its glass packs’ throaty roar. I never felt the equal of people who really could work such wonders. I worried that someone would pose a question about it—assuming that everyone had similar preoccupations with cars since most of my friends did—and that my response would expose me like a clueless guy with an unzipped fly.
But nothing like that ever happened. And now with the hot Chevy’s rusted carcass long declined to earth, the adult men I’ve known haven’t seemed interested in who I am in that way—any more than I about them. They only want to hear what dovetails with who they think they are, and what I offer of myself. It seems preposterous that a car ever had a connection to any of it.
About the author:
Steven Murray taught literature and film, and later ran a state-funded counseling intervention program in a Brooklyn high school. He has been a writer and a jazz pianist all along. His love of radio and music initially spurred putting together tape narrations of his fiction set to his own sound designs and compositions. He presently shares digital productions of this sort with interested friends, musicians, and family. He’s recently begun submitting work for publication and was delighted when Word Riot accepted Motor Magic. It’s his first published piece.