From The Hood :Auto Erotic

Steven Joyce meets Elvis at the bottom of a glass

Satire by Lyndon Hood

steven joyce, elvis, cars, weddingYes sir, you sure do meet some strange types in the wedding chapel line. What I like most about the business – all the folks you meet. Most of ’em happy, too, and a new couple every hour.

Some of ’em, though: powerful strange.

I remember one Thursday – it must have been a Thursday, I was dressed as Elvis – a big, balding fella come storming through the door demanding to be wed. Happened I was free at the time, so I got out the paperwork.

“Where’s the lady?” I asked him.

“Outside,” he said.

“In the car?”

“We’ll get to that.”

“Okay. Y’all got some ID there?”

I looked at the piece of paper. Now, I have no idea what a New Zealand ministerial warrant is supposed to look like, so I had to take him at his word. I wrote down the name.

“Flight of the Conchords,” I said, “Funny guys. And the other party?”

I was on more familiar ground here. These were car registration papers.

“She owns the car?”

Something about the way he paused made me look up and when I saw his face it kind of told me.

“She is the car?”

“That’s right,” he said with a kind of slow, awful sincerity, “I love cars so much, that I literally want to marry them.”

Now, I’m sure I didn’t know how to respond to that. He seemed to feel the urge to kind of fill up the silence.

“I love everything about cars. I love the way they look and the noises they make. I love the way a majority of New Zealanders use them for their daily commute. I love the way they respond when you give them stuff. Like roads. And petrol. And drunk drivers. I love the way voters like cars. I would do anything for cars. I would pluck the highways of national significance from the stars and place them under cars’ tyres. I would pave the world for cars. I’ve driven carelessly in the past, but I’ve changed. And now I’ve realised I want to spend the rest of my life making cars as happy as I can, and helping raise a new generation of cars.”

“Son, I can’t marry you to a car.”

“Civil union, then. Hurry it up. Take any longer with your decision-making process and I’ll have it called in.”

He was sweating a little. His top button was undone and his bow tie just sort of hanging there like he’d lost patience with it.

“Well sure,” I said carefully, “That sounds like a fine idea. But just while the… the lady ain’t present,” I dared to glance out the window – sure enough the only thing in the lot was an actual Cadillac and it surely was pink, “are you sure ’bout this? She don’t look like she’d mind if you some time to consider. I mean, a car is a very fine thing. But wouldn’t it be better if a few more people would catch a train in the morning? Why, it’s surely cheaper and as for all that smoke…”

“I’ll thank you not to speak ill of the class of object I love!”

He face had got very close to mine.

“Son, are you drunk?”

“Not technically.”

“You ain’t sober.”

“Yeah, but I reckon my blood/alcohol level is about, oh, point seven. I require research specific to me before I decide if that make me drunk.”

“It makes everyone else drunk.”

“I require research specific to me.”

“Only I definitely ain’t gonna wed you to your car if you’re drunk.”

“I require respific to sear… ‘fic to me.”

His gaze was probably as unwavering as body could expect in the circumstances. But I wondered.

“Son, why are you sure you want to go through with this?”

“Collective responsibility.”

I’d heard that tone before. He made it sound like a vehicular kind of unintended pregnancy. I didn’t enquire – you have to be discreet.

“Well son, I’d love to help you with your little problem, but I ain’t gonna. For one thing, you and I both know you’re drunk. And for another, you want to marry a car. Now that ain’t legal, and frankly, it ain’t right. I think you’d best be on your way.”

Yessir, you meet some mighty strange folk. So you see, I do take some care about my business, and I won’t wed ’em if it ain’t right.

He didn’t go straight away o’course. I let him have some coffee outta pity but when my nine o’clock showed (lady was an economically liberal political party and the fella was a conservative crime lobby group, marryin’ in a bit of a rush, as you may say) he musta seen I was wasn’t gonna change my mind and slunk off. Probably went to try the every chapel in town, and maybe he succeeded. Some people ain’t got standards.

Though there was one more peculiar thing. When he drove off, I’ll be long time forgetting the sound of that engine made.

Sounded kinda grateful.

ENDS