Hoopty Time Machine
by Christopher DeWan
Dad is outside working on a hoopty car in the driveway, always working on it. It’s never going to start. It’s a family joke. He comes home from his job, pops the hood, bangs away at the car’s insides, gets covered in grease, tries to turn over the engine, curses, kicks the car, comes inside for dinner, and goes to bed.
Every night like this.
Finally, “Dad, why are you always working on the car?” And he answers, “It’s not a car. It’s a time machine. It’s how I’m getting out of here.”
Sure enough, one day, Dad and his car are gone, and I know without being told that he’s never coming back. He’s off somewhere in his hoopty time machine, without me or Mom, trying to correct all his past mistakes.
Note: This story originally appeared in The Binnacle as the winner of their annual Ultra-Short Competition.
I’ve always liked the idea that magic might be in the eye of the beholder–and we all know the eyes of children more open to behold things that the rest of us can’t see. I like when my stories act almost as optical illusions, where you can look this way or that way and see two different things. That’s what I was hoping to do in “Hoopty Time Machine.”
Christopher DeWan is a writer and teacher living in Los Angeles. Learn more at http://christopherdewan.com
FF.Net Editor Commentary (Randall Brown)
We’ve all seen it–haven’t we? A dad working on a car. Why? I love the answer here, something so surprising that I say aloud, reading the ending, “Well, of course that’s it.” It’s what takes him way from his family, sure enough.