Year 7: On the rarest of occasions, John shared a special day with his father and it nearly always involved cars. It began a year before. John had seen through his mother’s attempts at manipulating his father into taking him, but it was nice all the same. The weather was dry, but it wasn’t hot. It was the sort of day where it hurt to breathe, to blink.  It was magnified by the dirt lot of the car show.

There were two types of people at the show. The type that looked like his father: short hair neatly parted to the side, no facial hair, and a stiff posture. And the other type: those with long, stringy hair and beards that touched their chests. All of those that  looked like John’s dad seemed uncomfortable in their stained collared shirts and pants that had gotten too tight. The messier men seemed free, like they didn’t care where the wind blew them.

The cars were all freshly polished and glinted in the sun so that John’s eyes squinted everywhere he looked.

His dad wasn’t looking at any of them. He was in a hurry and moving towards the end of the row. John dragged his feet, feeling rushed. He imagined himself in one of those cars one day and not in the bus that his mom took everywhere.

Dan Warren shook hands with one of the men dressed like him. “So, where is it?” he said without any preamble.

The other man nodded and pulled a cream colored tarp to reveal the ugliest car John had ever seen. “Are we good?”

Dan nodded and the man dropped something into his hand. He walked away without another word.

“What do you think, kid?”

“I dunno know.”

“Well, do you like it?”

“It’s ugly,” John said, thinking about the other cars they hadn’t even seen.

“It’s yours.”

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