the short story project


Motorway Mark

Right eye 

Motorway Mark zip klip bangs down the battered road in his hard bodied European sedan. As his engine purrs, so does his craving for caffeine and small talk. 
He reclined on the hood of his car as he stretched his calves, surveying the foreboding sign that formed a comforting shadow over the cavalcade of cars, trucks, motorcycles. 
The sign was a deep emerald green, much like the colour of the stripes adorned across his jet black tie and the insignia of Cleo’s Coffee House. 
He removed some dry tobacco and lint from the aforementioned tie as he waited for his order; a double shot espresso, a peppermint tea made extra hot, a slice of white bread with jam and butter on the side, not on the bread and a peeled granny smith apple. 
Motorway Mark spent a couple of hours savouring his breakfast. Although he drank the coffee in a short amount of time, he savoured the tea and enjoyed playing with the tea bag; plunging it to the bottom of the green ceramic mug and watching small amounts of residue liquid creep over the circular opening of the mug. This pleased Motorway Mark, as did crushing small parts of the apple in between the sides of his index and middle finger. 
After splashing some water into his hair and adjusting his overgrown pompadour, he exited the bathroom and approached the counter to pay for his meal. 
Motorway Mark was not satisfied with the receipt that Coffee House Cleo presented before him. After making derogatory comments about her posterior and and the state of her establishment, Coffee House Cleo fought back with a seething lambasting of Motorway Mark’s letterman jacket/formal attire costume. 
They were now even. A stalemate ensued. 
After the exchange of some compensatory pleasantries, Motorway Mark paid for his breakfast. Not with the preferred monetary sum however but with his right eye, which now rested on the bottom of Coffee House Cleo’s thick, gold chain, alongside her thunderbolt pendant and crucifix. 
Motorway Mark wiz wang clangs down the battered road in his hard bodied European sedan. As the winds of the Macarthur region slap the sides of his car, so does Motorway Mark to his own face. Thirty minutes have passed since breakfast, Motorway Mark needs a drink, preferably alcoholic. 
He laid sprawled across the musty, viridescent outdoor sofa in the smoking area of the RSL club. He gazed at the half empty schooner on the glass table to his side. The soles of his leather loafers rubbed against the aged cushions, his size 36 houndstooth trousers laid ironed across his size 32 frame and his green belt kept his white dress shirt tucked firmly into place.
As he brushed his hand across his jacket, he pulled out a black beanie from the inside of his jacket. It was an unseasonably cool morning. He buttoned his jacket and pushed the beanie onto his dark hair, causing his mane to split in the middle and push a tuft of hair towards each of his ears. 
RSL worker Robert cautiously entered the outdoor area, yet asserted authority by brushing lint off his vest and straightening his back. Despite being significantly aged, he refused to let the ravages of time limit him. RSL worker Robert at first asked politely, then sternly, then assertively, then frustratingly, then menacingly but be it as it may, he could not enforce the dress code of the club through verbal discourse as Motorway Mark refused to remove his beanie. 
Legend has it that Motorway Mark left the club and entered his car without removing his beanie. Legend even has it that Motorway Mark looked at the memorabilia cabinets in plain sight of several appalled RSL workers. 
While this is legend, the fact that remains is that when RSL worker Robert left Motorway Mark alone and returned to his post at the front of the club, he left with Motorway Mark’s nose in the right pocket of his vest. 
Motorway Mark shim bim blams down the battered road in his hard bodied European sedan. As he veers out of the exit lane for Picton and back onto the motorway he is met with an armada of violent sirens from both the motorcyclist and the driver of a sturdy, white van. 
Motorway Mark was outnumbered by two men who dwarfed our hero. Motorcyclist Matt demanded a justification for Motorway Mark’s reckless driving whereas Van Driver Vince wanted one thing that Motorway Mark simply could not give; an apology. 
Eventually the three struck an agreement. It did not give any passenger the verbal satisfaction that they craved nor did it involve any form of violence. Simply put, Motorway Mark drove away from the pair without his mouth on his face. As his sedan disappeared into the horizon gazing upon the Southern Highlands, Van Driver Vince flung Motorway Mark’s mouth into the chicken wire fence encasing green pastures and brown cattle, while Motorcyclist Matt bellowed in laughter. 
Motorway Mark slowly, surely and eventually slows his hard bodied European sedan into a quiet, residential street in Mittagong. As he runs his hand across the smooth nub of his face and rubs his left eye he walks across the green lawns and into the white walls of the centre in his sight. 
He sat by the hospital bed of a dying, old woman, staring at her with his eye whilst she stared into the nothingness of the tiled, white ceiling, her mouth agape, her eyes glossy and blank. As a nurse entered the room, wrapped a lime green, thickly knit, wool blanket across the woman’s legs, she exited after making light small talk on the ‘toll’ that his journey had taken. 
As he listened to the slow exhales of the woman, his eye started to well with tears as he knew exactly what he wished to say to her but simply couldn’t.

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