Of Mac's true stories this is one.
The GTO yet existed then. This was summer when light was long and nights sparsely houred. After eating supper he would go driving and dark would still be far away.
Mac sometimes played out in his mind what happens to cars when they come to the end of being cars, where the parts go to be reused, where they go after that, to trash heaps, the bottom of the bayou.
Way out east he ventured that late evening upon rural Love Road, scouting the new high school site. The steel frame was just starting to go up in the middle of a bean field. It looked huge, like the capitol of something.
He headed on, toward the Highway 80 intersection. Along there was a hitcher, trekking the scoured brown pavement itself. He was old, probably fifty or sixty, white clumps in the scraggedly curly hair. His outstanding feature was the large gap in his left nostril that resembled less of a congenital defect than a long-past hooked knife swipe.
Mac talked steadily, in his manner, but the stranger was not of loquacious inclination.
They followed 80 in for its better length and cut right at North Eighteenth. The hitcher at this point announced his destination as south of Desiard at the old railway station, nowhere near, but Mac was entirely insistent upon McDonald's first, his treat. Hitchers were always hungry, Mac said.
The hitcher seemed wary, but finally managed to express small interest in Mac's car, the '72 GTO. They were stationed at the Glenmar stop light. Mac swelled a bit, pointing out the tachometer and custom dash, even though it was an automatic. During the enthusiastic demonstrations the hitcher asked, "May I?" and Mac said sure, he could touch the custom chrome tiger that served as gear shift. "Smooth," the hitcher complimented.
Mac carried on, describing the 427 cubic inches, unaware that the hitcher had tacitly slid the automatic into reverse.
"Alrighty then. Show me what all those inches will do."
Mac grinned, waited for the light counting down. Gunned it, as they say. For the long instant that followed great disorientation seized him.
The disaster resulted in heavy damage to a hapless blue Cutlass behind, and the ultimate loss of the GTO for financial imperatives. The hitcher disappeared in the course of the survey of tangled metal and glass. Mac was at a conspicuous loss to describe what happened when the reporting officer arrived.
The selfsame hitcher subsequently turned up as a semi-regular at the Coney Island and came to be called Jimmy Lee. All was denied upon his first encounter with Mac there. Martin was even dragged over to arbitrate, never having known Mac to lie, later securing the accident report: no witnesses listed other than the Cutlass.
"Aw man, leave him alone Mac. He aint ever hurt a fly."
"Walks everywhere. I bet nobody even seen him in a car. I aint."
A silent appeal to Martin, who shrugged. No expression from the hitcher. Not that anyone had ever seen one on him before.
In time it became so that Mac even came to doubt himself, among the patrons there. The allegations were subsequently forgotten and the two men consorted intermittently thereafter.