TITLE: Blacktop Oracle
Dust swirled around Coop’s head like pollution, clinging to his hair, his skin, and his eyelashes. Grit lined his nose and tickled his throat, but he loved it. Except for the tedium of bodywork. He stopped the sander and ran his gloved hand across the fender. A grunt got his attention, and he turned to Mac, sitting with his cast up on a case of WD-40.
Coop placed the sander on the ground and pulled the dust mask from his face. “What?”
“Don’t go on many dates, do you?”
Mac was famous for causing whiplash with his topic changes, but Coop had learned to go with it. “Huh?”
“A car is like a woman.” Mac shifted in his chair to ease the pressure on his leg.
Coop wiped his arm across his forehead, mopping the sweat gathered there. He had no response to that. Mac’s wrinkled gaze homed in on his, and he realized the old man wanted one. “Yeah, how so?”
“A woman must be handled gently.” Mac ran his calloused hand lightly, almost lovingly, across the fender. “Caressed in a way that soothes rather than offends. A car is the same way.” Mac was full of…little bits of wisdom.
Coop looked at the sanded spot, his mind struggling to follow.
“Take that blasted glove off.” Mac’s gravelly voice landed on Coop’s last nerve, but he ripped the glove off.
“Now, run your hand across that spot you’re sanding, from right to left.”