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The only time I had a chance to change a tire, I was sixteen. My dad bought me a crapped-out ’68 Mustang and I spent a couple months watching him fix it up in the garage. I gathered no knowledge, gleaned nothing. I fetched tools and brought out snacks. I held no romantic notions about cars, and was much more interested in what my friends were planning or who was winning the football game than I was in noodling around in a dusty, stifling garage with my dad. I now understand that fixing up a classic junker with one’s father is something lots of American males dream of, but at the time I didn’t understand much of anything, pinched as my mind was with hormones and rebellion and insomnia and teenage philosophy. This episode, my spectator status in the refurbishment of this Mustang, was what labeled me, in my family, as unhandy, as useless when it came to tools, mechanics, manly activities that dirtied the hands.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—John Brandon

John Brandon’s fiction has appeared in Words & Images, Subtropics, Duck & Herring Warm Weather Guide, and McSweeney’s. His novel, Arkansas, was released in March of this year.

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