Road, Rock & Leaking Cylinder-Heads | John D Pallot

A lifetime is 300 000 kilometres and counting.


Road, Rock & Leaking Cylinder-Heads 

By John D. Pallot

For The Brevity is What? Award


Dusty Barkly St, Footscray on a hot spring afternoon; artists, bright trilingual storefronts, pho and cheap phones. A bombed out Subaru burbles past, my old bug-eyes, newly riced out with cheap mods – a boys pride-and-joy.

Was my first car, an unedited dream of freedom, who I was; sports suspension, cog-swapper, soundtracked by RATM, blues and a howling 4-banger. The Imprezza took me the 300,000km journey from boy to married man.

University, bleeding hearted romantic with camera and a job in a bar. Bad dates, drifting through the lonely sodium lit streets, chasing the elusive moment of youth; dancing soaked in sweat, bass and the Australian Summer – making love just before dawn. After, bleary-eyed, driving to work to Johnny Lee Hooker.

Years rolled on, new tires, fresh clutch, the downward spiral ended at graduation; trading bad ex’s for a Muay Thai gym in an old factory, pounding out fear and guilt on bags and the concrete city, journeying upwards, emerging lean and fighting-fit, reunited with love.

The car, paint peeling from sunlight and age, drove me to her place, then our place, dinners, weekends away and into new dreams.

The new owner droned up Droop St, burning oil and memories. I wished him well, said goodbye to the car, imagined my own tomorrow; standing at the top of an isle and beginning a new journey.