This Mortal Coyle

Maureen Corley from Full Throttle

The cover of Unwinnable Monthly Issue #147. It shows an ornate bronze crucifix on a verdigris background.

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #147. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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Fictional companions and goth concerns.

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“When I think of Maureen, I think of two things: asphalt and trouble.” This is how Ben Throttle, motorcycle gang leader and antihero of LucasArts’ 1995 adventure game Full Throttle, first describes Maureen, a mechanic and rival gang member who saves his life.

Full Throttle was an important part of my childhood, but it left me with questions I could not answer in elementary school. Chief among them: why didn’t Ben and Mo get together? Why was there no kissing?

Having replayed the game in its 2017 remastered edition, and playing the game again as I write this in 2022, I still have questions. My interpretation of the characters and their relationships has shifted, although the question plaguing me now is thematically similar to my youthful concerns: were Ben Throttle and Maureen Corley secretly boning after all?

Officially? No. Implicitly? Absolutely.

To be clear, there is no kissing or explicitly romantic dialogue in the game but allow me to make my case.

Our protagonists meet after Ben’s motorcycle is sabotaged and crashes; an unconscious Ben is deposited in Mo’s workshop because Mo “can fix anything.” She saves his life and repairs his motorcycle – a Corley, the last domestic motorcycle manufacturer in the country. (Corley Motors symbolizes a lot in the Full Throttle universe, but that’s a subject for another time. Back to Maureen and Ben.) “I’m a mechanic,” Mo tells Ben when he wakes up. “And apparently a pretty good doctor, as well.”

Ben tells Mo he doesn’t have money to pay her for her work on his Corley. This brings me to Exhibit A of my argument: Maureen replies, “Hey, this one’s free. I haven’t touched anything besides a toaster for so long, getting my hands on your hog has really been a pleasure.” Listen – I don’t have to explain this one.

But I will explain the game’s climactic reveal: after a lot of attempted murder, gang fights and a little bit of torture, we learn that Maureen is actually the illegitimate daughter of Corley Motors’ late founder. Shockingly, she inherits the company, creating the ubiquitous class rift between herself and Ben.

In the final cutscene, Maureen and Ben sit in the backseat of a limo, awkwardly staring in opposite directions. Mo says, “Things aren’t going to change, are they Ben? I mean, just because I’m in charge of the company now . . . and living in a mansion and riding around in limos . . . That doesn’t mean we won’t spend a lot of time together, right?”

Hold up – they have been spending a lot of time together? It’s unclear exactly how much time passed between the game’s climactic reveal and this conversation, but – okay, okay, wait, hang on. Back to the limo.

“Look, Mo,” Ben says, “You’re in a different league now. You shouldn’t be hanging around with the likes of me anymore.”

Does this sound like something you say to a platonic friend? No, it sounds like something you say to a STAR-CROSSED LOVER.

Maureen is interrupted by a phone call – on her ’90s cell, of course – and starts talking about meetings and inspections. When she looks up, Ben has left the car. Maureen sighs, and then returns to her phone call. We last see Ben riding off into the sunset on his Corley, credits trailing behind him.

As a kid, I watched the entire twelve minutes of credits, doggedly waiting for Maureen to leave the limo, get on a bike and ride after him. She doesn’t, and Ben doesn’t turn around, either. The credits continue rolling over the sunset, and we’re left to assume that Ben is still a dirtbag wanted in every neighboring county and Maureen is still the bad bitch CEO of Corley Motors. In the ’90s, I was devastated that Ben and Mo did not – as far as I could tell – “get together.” Now, it seems clear to me that they absolutely did get together, and then went their separate ways. And you know what? Probably for the best. They’re both adults capable of, uh, following their bliss. That final scene still breaks my heart a little – but only a little. I am thrilled that Maureen decided to continue revolutionizing the auto industry, rather than chasing after a dude she (probably) banged a few times between cutscenes. Oxytocin isn’t everything.

But that’s not the point. The point is that I’m right. Whether or not Ben and Mo were in love, they were definitely doing it. And if Full Throttle’s writers want to drop me a line to confirm this, I’d welcome it. Unless I’m wrong – in which case, please let me live in ignorance.

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Deirdre Coyle is a goth living in the woods. Find her at deirdrecoyle.com or on Twitter @deirdrekoala.

 

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