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Secondary. Year 10 plus

Diner of the Desert(ed)

By Zachary Cross, year 10+, Elizabeth College

He took the congealing syrup and poured it over his solitary waffle.

“Luanne!” he cried. “My wife and I would like some more coffee, if it isn’t too much trouble.” He turned to his wife, hesitating before finally agreeing, “You were right – for once. I’m sorry for dragging you out here, and with no gas it’s going to be quite the adventure back, huh?” he chuckled.

She looked on disparagingly.

“Oh okay, so it’s gonna be the silent treatment again, is it?” he moaned. He gazed out of the window at the menacingly arid land, wondering how it was possible for a diner to stay in business in such a location. He lifted the brim of his worn hat and used his stained handkerchief to wipe his brow whilst letting out a brief sigh.

“I wasn’t sighin,” he started, “Honey, believe me, why would I get tired of spending time with you?”

He held her hand with his and used the typical defence mechanism of reminiscing about the first time that they met, and how infatuated he was by her: some of the description was, of course, fictitious and largely based on how he looked at the women in his seemingly ceaseless subscription to the faltering, archetypal Western magazines that his wife so passionately denounced.

He knew the women in the magazine would never act in such a way. They would adorn him with their praise and speak to him as if he were a legend in the West…

He shook himself out of the daze he had fallen into and looked around. How long had he been isolated from society? His handkerchief was dripping with a warm, red liquid. His hand was quivering as he dropped the pistol into a puddle on the floor.

The diner was empty.

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