King of the Mountain

A thin wisp of smoke swirled up from underneath the back seat of an off-colored bike, as the man slowly pulled in for a stop. Maybe this motorcycle was red, or even yellow at some point, but nobody could tell anymore. Years of scorching sun, salt and maybe some brake fluid have eaten away at the paint, fading it beyond recognition. Only one thing was certain: it was an old two stroker, maybe a 500cc, ancient trackday beast. It was a clear, warm, spring day and the birds were singing, butterflies fluttering through the air, many of them getting smashed into the headlights and air intakes of passing bikes. The man dismounted and headed over to cafe at the mountain pass, the same way he’s done it every single weekend, for the past forty years. Helmet still on, only stern, ice blue eyes visible through the crack between the chin guard and the dark visor of his rather outdated, scratched up Arai.


Coffee, please”. The voice filtered through the helmet’s air intakes towards the no-longer smiling waitress. She rushed off to the coffee machine, to press out some bitter espresso for the bitter motorcycle man. This man made her uncomfortable, although he’s never made any snarky remark and never insulted her, or anyone else at the cafe. In fact, now that she thinks about it, he’s never said anything other than “coffee please” for the whole time she’s been working there. She remembered him coming in to ask for coffee on her first day at the job, 8 years ago. And something about this guy made her feel as uncomfortable then as it still did now, 416 weekends later.

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Word around the Cafe was that he was a big time racer once, and people did treat him with the kind of respect reserved for those who have had a lifetime of motorcycling. They nicknamed him “King of the Mountain”, but no-one’s ever talked to him. Maybe they were afraid, and maybe they just weren’t interested. Either way, it didn’t bother Marcello that much, as he sat at the top of his mountain, sipping on his dark, bitter coffee, bringing the steaming cup to his grey, bushy mustache.

Hell, if he could drink his coffee with the helmet still on, he probably would.

He's been coming to that mountain pass for so long that his presence has become almost eternal, well, at least in biker time. There were the rocks, the trees, and there was Marcello, with his bike and suit, and boots that have definitely seen better days. Marcello's blue eyes darted back to his bike. There was something wrong, and a few people ran back inside to grab a fire extinguisher.


Marcello felt his chest tightening, but he didn't move. He didn't run, he didn't even put down his remaining coffee. He knew there was no way of saving his bike, now engulfed in flames and smoke. There comes a moment where something's just got to give, it was just a matter of time. It was either going to be him, or the bike, or the boots. Marcello has been waiting for something like this for a while now, he has already played it over and over in his mind, and this was the day.


He got up, leaving his Arai on the table, and started walking. Passing the pile of ash that was his bike, heading down the road that was shrouded in blue smoke, from burning gas and oil. This wasn't a glamorous end, he thought to himself, but it is an end, and he was tired of being king, a king with no crown, no subjects, no riches. Just a mountain.

No one has seen Marcello since then, and it's already been a couple of years. The waitress, still hoping he would show up one day, to ask for bitter coffee. His scratched up Arai hung on the wall behind the bar, waiting for him to reclaim it.


A thin wisp of smoke swirled up from underneath the backseat of a bright red bike, as the man slowly pulled in for a stop. “Coffee please”. This was the only thing the young man said as he entered the café on that bright spring day, ice blue eyes smiling at the waitress through the crack between the visor and the chin guard.

“Excuse me, what?” The waitress asked, slightly shaken by the similarity this man had to the long forgotten Marcello.


Coffee please”.

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