Burn Out

On the night after his release, still half full of surgical plates and pins and his beautiful face forever scarred, Marlon received a text and I knew we were through. ‘They’re racing tonight,’ was all he said.

‘Marlon, you promised.’

 The last time we’d been up there he’d just finished rebuilding the Monaro. We cruised out along Highway 8, the grumble of low revs like a big cat on a leash.

It was a perfect night—no rain, no wind, no coppers. I pushed my fingers into his thigh, wrapped my other hand around his shoulders and whispered the reward he’d get when he won.

The corner of his mouth turned up. He said nothing. He let the engine talk instead giving it enough gas for the grumble to become a purr.

I dropped the flag for them that night. Marlon and Billy—I’d been with him a couple of years before, but he was all brag and bluster. I smelt burnt rubber and unburnt petrol. They sped past, all smoke and noise. Horn blasts and headlights all around. Then Billy’s mustang twitched. It dived across as if it had been flicked aside. Marlon had nowhere to go.

The last thing I did before he left was tell him exactly how Billy was now. From now on he could ride his luck alone.