101. Over the pages of his book, he watched her busy with her own reading for five minutes, traced his eyes along the top of her foot into her ankle to where her thighs disappeared into her house-shorts, she meeting his eyes with a quick smile when she reached for a cigarette—he told her he sometimes wished he could fit her whole leg in his mouth, her eyes back to her page even while she struck at the lighter, scritch scratch scritch before it lit.

102. The sharp of Randolph’s cologne, the murk of Erin’s cigarettes, those were there in plenty, but it was the towels—used, damp to touch, but also folded neatly, set down in a precise stack one two—that were the venom squirreling itself in him.

103. Winter differed from autumn, more truthful, the remains in an unwashed mouth rather than the taste of the cigarette smoke only just breathed, still living.

104. Only the bones of the evening left, she lingered outside the cinema and compared the shaven faces to the unshaven, the dresses to the slacks, the cigarettes to the sweet teas purchased from the only kiosk still serving anything.

105. ‘I guess I’ve never thought of marmalade as a color,’ he shrugged, it still not dark enough to see his reflection in the window, so watched more cars pulling in and tensed his abdomen to his stomach grumbling for a cigarette.

106. Birds loitered one of the telephone lines, half pack of cigarettes of them.

107. It was the sort of polite applause which meant very little, Nero knew this, most of the patrons regular enough they didn’t clap, understood there was no need, it was only tourist who thought he was a performer proper, who gave semi-impatient glances up from their meals while he dwindled down the rest of his cigarette, like they were unsure if he was shirking his duties or had lost the muse, uncertain if they were supposed to listen again as attentively when he again started to play.

108. Lurid heat of gasoline air, the dirt hung upscuffed from his car pulling in to the pump, Tara suggested they drive until a station that seemed civilized, but he said he needed to piss and get cigarettes, big silly wink after and some joke he felt he told wrong.

109. It was an entire documentary about colloquialisms—expert after expert, re-enactors of various authors and the characters in their books, images of political pamphlets, clips of television ads, Latin and Portuguese and Finnish in translation, on and on, on and on—the squalor of cigarettes on his half empty dinner plate spreading, spilling to the glass tabletop.

110. Sans bra, in loose, gravy colored shirt, positioned as she was on the folding chair, her breasts had the lean to them of the last cigarette in an otherwise empty pack.

111. Every employee in the store knew none of them ever, ever changed the bag in the vacuum—he thought about this every time he had the closing shift, thought it now as he couched to pick up a wet cigarette stub that must’ve wormed in on some customer’s shoe.

112. The bus trotted stop-to-stop along, but somewhere her thoughts got bitter, the whole day in mouthfuls of reek, lungfuls of his after sex kisses coming back to her, soiling her skin like the cigarette stale of his shirts at the end of his work shifts.

113. Carl wiggled the cigarette into the old keyhole until it got stuck, then stood and regarded it, tried the knob (of course to no avail).

114. So gave the thin tube a snap that spread insects of rice-sized brown out of the broken white, then again a snap to the next, the next—whole fourteen cigarettes gone before his sleep grim eyes.

115. The brightest thing that night, only star in the sky, was the burn of the tip of her cigarette as she walked, invisible, the length of the pavement-black treeline to appear finally in view of his squint, syruped in coat, gloves, what looked like two scarves, the boots he’d stolen for her, and the same tin-grey cap she’d met him in the first time.

116. She called herself ‘cigarette blonde’ and he never asked her what it meant.

117. Unkempt, the cemetery was marvelous, the tombstones—though it was a bit overstating it to call them that, maybe, Markers perhaps the better term—coming out of the ground the way cigarette remains kept scurried under dumpsters all mingled with dead leaves and the odd scraps of junk mail.

118. Hardly the same, for all of Mina’s high poetical claims to it (these made far too often for Eddie’s comfort) what they had in common was maybe they bought cigarettes at the same gas station, but even there it was evident they were as dissimilar as the fancies she bought to have and hold dainty (like pet crickets to show off at tea) the cheaps he longed for so much that’s what he really needed when he asked her most nights if she’d like him to run out to get some bread for breakfast.

119. They saw each other again for one day, total—calling each other ‘best friends,’ ‘colleagues,’ ‘contemporaries,’ in rising pitches of jubilance—just an evening best described as wine-trodden, an overnight until next afternoon best described as fifteen bummed cigarettes and a taxi blare from outside.

120. This train traveled on a track that was a country length of cigarettes laid end to end at even strides.


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