“I had my own BMW when I was your age you know,” Dad boasts as I drive crookedly out of our garage.

“An old one that didn’t work?” I ask with a grin.

He grins back. “It worked fine. It even had a steering wheel.”

“Ooh!”

“Just drive, punk,” Dad laughs. “I’m saying I have a lot of experience. I could be a good teacher.”

We start a crawl around the neighbourhood. I had to wait till the summer for this first drive. Dad keeps a Batman-shaped thermometer hanging off the rear-view mirror, and he said if it’s under 29 Celsius, I’m not allowed to use the car.

“You’re a girl, right?” he asks.

“Yes, Dad.”

He cradles the Batman thermometer in his hand and points the head at me. “Batman saves girls. Boys too, but he enjoys it less.”

“Is that my first driving lesson?”

Dad snorts. “Yes, actually! I’m just saying keep an eye on this. If you’re not sweating, it’s not safe. This car dies easy if it isn’t hot.”

“Aw, why can’t we get a new car already?”

“No thanks,” Dad scoffs. “It wouldn’t have character.”

“You could kick it a few times. That builds character.”

Dad chuckles and releases the thermometer, watching it swing. “Mom tried that on you and it didn’t work.”

I smirk while we turn a corner. But I’m going too slow. An old man with a new hat passes us and speeds off, honking at me like a big metal goose.

Dad shakes his head. “Jeez! What’s the point in making all that noise?”

“Maybe he wanted us to look at his hat.”

“He was angry and rude — and being an ass impairs your judgment,” Dad insists. “While you’re driving, you should always smile.”

“What?”

“It’ll make you feel better about yourself.”

“Will that make me a better driver?”

“No, not really. But you’ll feel like a better driver.”

I speed up a little. “Mm-hm.”

Dad turns to face me. His eyebrows soar and his lips bend slowly into a warm yet terrifying smile. “Like this. Try it.”

“But-“

“But?”

I sigh. I turn, face him and smile.

THUNK!

The car embraces a mailbox. We’re brought to a halt and shoved forward.

“Whoa, whoa! Are you okay?” Dad asks.

“Yeah… I think so.”

“Alright,” he exhales. “But that was bad.”

“Yes, but at least I feel good about it.”

***

prose?! PROSE. well actually it’s more like a wad of dialogue shoved into prose’s mouth. but it was fun to write anyway.

this is fiction; I’m not a girl. I promise.