The sharp tang of cat pee was the first thing that hit you. The ducks in the kidney pool didn’t seem too worried they had a little oasis under the fig tree and palms softly lit by the lights of the gym above the reception.
The tattooed families who lived around the pool had been a bit rowdy last night – a couple of domestics, one stabbing, two ambulances, no cops. The Korean family who run the motel, can’t do much about the occasional floating body but they do like to keep the pool well maintained and the garden neat. It’s beyond the kiddy-proof gate and railings that the shit really goes down.
Tonight it was quiet, the hangovers, post party guilt and depression had set in. The blood had been cleaned away and they were all a bit more subdued.
Bucket and Uma rolled up to the “Last Motel”.. for them it was the first motel when you get off the motorway and hit Adelaide. This had been a glamorous place back in the 70’s, now its glory had long but faded. Bucket knew they didn’t always clean the pubes off the wall, and the Koreans may occasionally steal your underwear but they kept the sheets clean and the first aid kit handy. Sometimes Marnie the cleaner even left the “bleach” out for you.
They were both exhausted after a twelve hour drive. The only reason they made it out of “Nohopetoun” was because a local guy Consie stepped in, they still remember his parting words…
“The airconditioning could barely cope today”.
They didn’t expect to see him again as they flew past the wheatfields and silos, gathering bugs on the windscreen.
Bucket had a huge wadge of cash to hide. Uma went to her room to fry some “fleischwurst” and eat cheesecake.
He could hear some guys next door discussing cricket tactics as he unlocked the motel room door. A note had been pushed under his door, in a clean white envelope. His glasses had been smashed the day before in the panic of the getaway, so it took awhile to read – let alone comprehend the message…
“Dear Bucket. This letter is to inform you that your mother called you this afternoon, and asked us to leave a message to you to call her back.”
Bucket knew this was bad news, his mother died two months ago.
He picked up the phone on the bedside table and put it on the bed…
He had never ever used this phone, never heard it ring, didn’t even know if it still worked. When he put the receiver to his ear, he heard a low whine, punctuated by a high-pitch squeal.
Before he could speak to reception, he turned and cursed himself for leaving the window unlatched. He briefly saw “The Vapour Man” silhouetted against the lights of the pool and the pungent vapour crept into his room. Bucket held his bucket in both hands.
His vision and his mind were distorting…
The cricket dudes bashed through his door. They were going for the money wadge. They didn’t make it…
Uma was right behind them. She got the first one over the head with a glass vase, he got kicked in the neck as he went down. The second one turned and she squirted bleach into his face, he went down screaming as she kicked him in the groin with the toe of her stiletto.
Bucket found clean air and fresh thoughts.
Uma stopped to slowly wipe blood or cheesecake of her cheek, she tasted it off her fingertips before she retrieved her stiletto, slipped it back on. She went to leave, looked at him briefly with her hands on her hips just long enough to say “Hey, call your mother“.
Then she left.
<Names and places have been changed to protect the guilty>