The Flying Maserati
by Joseph Johnston

Even before the pie was sliced that Thanksgiving she was done. She removed her driver’s license from the wallet in her purse and set it atop the coffee maker and dumped her nephew’s satchel of Matchbox cars onto the laminate kitchen floor. Cheap metal with plastic wheels radiated outward and if you closed your eyes it sounded like a bowling tournament. Silence, deliberate friction, definite collision.

She walked among the die-cast autos tenderly and chose the silver simulacrum of a two-door Maserati and said goodbye under her breath and climbed inside. Her right blue Chuck Taylor coaxed the Italian engine into top gear and she tooled around the kitchen floor, hauling ass around the claw feet of the table and betwixt the feet of her aunts who were talking about potatoes and sighing and lamenting the lack of participation from the younger generation.

She roared down the hall into the football cavern of the living room. An ungodly huge screen of badly pixelated carnage illuminated the bad breath of the giant dudes nestled into mismatched recliners in there. It was all sweaty and disgusting so she maneuvered the Cabrio out onto the back patio where crazy uncles thickened the November air with cigar smoke and the politics of identifying the other on which to lay blame and hate. She peeled out a defiant brody to which no one paid any mind and decided to end it all like Thelma and Louise down the hard basement stairs and onto the laundry room floor.

As she floored it over the top step, she remembered a rule from the playground: Matchbox cars with doors that open can fly. She opened the car doors and lifted off, far away from the unhappy Thanksgiving playing out on her mother’s TV tables and braided rugs.

PHOTO: Red Maserati Cabrio.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Sometimes it can be difficult to return home for the holidays. If you’ve been away it can be hard to find a space where you fit. It can be hard to remember what a family is. There’s an uncomfortable alienation for a lot of people during the holidays, which I’ve attempted to encapsulate here.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo is me and my brothers and sisters in matching Snoopy sweaters from our Christmas card, 1981. I’m third from the left.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer and filmmaker Joseph Johnston made his first movie at the age of 11, an industrial espionage thriller that continues to play to excited crowds in his parent’s living room every Christmas. His prose, poetry, and video literature have appeared in Old Northwest Review, Arcadia, and the Iron Horse Literary Review. He currently resides in Michigan, where is working on a documentary and book about the history of boxing in Detroit.