"Will you please just come and help me?" the voice from the corner of the service station pleads into
Standing at the counter, an impatient sigh escapes my lips. My rigid fingers drum roll service, and
the mercy of a swift escape.
"I’m stranded here! Moana’s gone – she slapped me, called me a bitch and drove off
without me. No, I don’t have money for a taxi…"
Her eyes are drawn to mine. The phone cord twists and coils through stubby fingers; dark hair enfolds
an oval face atop a squat, wide frame. She wears a moko. Dark green lines slither up and around her chin.
The attendant shuffles through our line of sight, curtailing my fascinated stare. He rolls his eyes
and bangs the hinged counter up. Impact sways the garish bags of fruit bursts wildly on the wall. Pendulum candy waves.
Leaning towards me, spittle flicks from lips that purse and hiss.
"We’re always getting lowlife in here."
The moko woman turns her back and lowers her tone. The Shell sign on the forecourt casts a yellow haze
through the plate glass window. She slumps alone in her neon aura.
"The gas station at the beach, yeah near the roundabout. I really appreciate it. Couple of hours? S’pose
I’ll just have to wait. Soon as you can please babe. See you when you get here."
Hanging up, her glance darts past our eyes. Tears erupt as she cringes by, and flees towards the anonymous
night. Neon seems to pulse as she passes through the door.
I pay the attendant for my cigarettes and linger at the magazine rack. Air brushed pornography obscured
by the wide expanse of celebrity cellulite.
My Volvo is parked beside the air hose that spits compressed contempt. The moko woman stands forlornly
at the kerb. Her head is bowed, as if in prayer as she waits for her rescuer.
A tattooed Maori knight will eventually charge to the rescue of wahine fair.
Neon glows through her tears. Iridescent snail trails trickle down a burnished complexion, snaking
down to the green lines chiselled to her chin.
She feels my stare - hesitates, then walks towards me.
I grasp for keys to flee and avoid the impact of her world on mine.
The moko has changed colour – tears have darkened the bold green brush strokes to create a deep
translucent glow. It moves as her mouth moves, the emerald serpent dances.
"Any chance of a smoke, mate?" her tear filled eyes do not meet mine.
"Sure." I reply, offering the packet out.
The moko woman’s head stays down, fixated by the swirling oil stains patterned to the forecourt.
Her profile framed by golden light.
Her aura suddenly glows with an intensity that dwarfs my very existence. I feel empty and withered,
shed reptilian skin - a papery remnant of humanity lost.
"Sorry, but I couldn’t help but overhear your phone call. I was wondering if you needed a lift
Copyright 2005 © Brian Fitzgerald