I love the smell of an engine

Posted: August 26, 2013 by writingsprint in Slice of Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cougar engineChris and Terry put the intake manifold down on the empty work bench, alongside an open tray of tools. The fasteners and other parts that they’d had to take off along the way were laid out at the far end of the bench. Terry wiped his grimy hands with an old shirt. He started to wipe his face, then stopped himself. Chris walked back to the car, a 1967 Cougar, looking over the empty space. She loved how the metal felt under her hands.

Terry offered her the clean side of the shirt. Chris took it. She said, “Thanks. That was a lot easier with the two of us.”

“I forgot you knew so much about cars,” Terry said.

“Changing the oil is easy. Brake pads, fun. This is a labor of love.” Before she wiped her hands, she held one up to her face and breathed deep. “I forgot how much I love the smell of an engine. My grandfather owned an auto repair shop. My dad was a greasemonkey in his spare time. I grew up around cars.”

She started cleaning her hands. The rough cotton drank in the grease and dirt. Chris felt like she was a teenager again. “If I hadn’t loved writing so much, I would’ve been an engineer. Hell, I would’ve been a greasemonkey.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“It’s a tough day job. Nice hobby, though. I meshed the two together and wrote some articles on auto repair when I was starting out.”

She took a flashlight and looked at the engine more closely. Very little rust, but she saw wear everywhere. “Well, I don’t think the seller was lying. The body is good but the engine needs work. He put it through its paces. Kept it up pretty well but not as well as I would have.”

“My friend Little Pete can help us with the hard-to-find parts.”

“Let’s try my dad first. He knows some people, too. Junk yard people. Classic car people. Ebay savant people.”

Terry laughed. “I need to go pick up the kids at softball practice. See you later.”

She blew him a kiss and waved goodbye. Chris watched him go, then looked back at the car. She couldn’t wait to be up to her elbows in this thing. She’d been looking forward to this. Rebuilding the cougar would give them some father-daughter time. It would also be a lot more fun than art galleries, PTA, condo association and everything else she’d been doing for the past few months.

Something light for tonight. While going through some old emails, I found the quote “loving the smell of an engine” that I clipped from a friend’s Facebook post (thanks, Chris!). I thought it would be cool to write a scene about a wife and husband working on a car. No angst, no heartburn, just friends bonding over family, grease and metal.


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