261. ‘Okay, okay’ he said, likely didn’t know his air was that of a cigarette that’d been offered and declined.

262. It just wasn’t fair of his cigarette, his last, to be done—not now, just here, the roil of another heartache just about to start, the only aggression he’d been able to show nothing but a scuff mark from a thud of his boot to the base of Martin’s door (already so many others there what would it matter?)

263. At the age of twelve, pianist Novak Yale for the first time played with a cigarette pinched between the third and fourth fingers of his left hand, at that time, though, not a proper cigarette, just a dollar bill made into a tube, pretended into a cigarette, tube held closed with a Halloween sticker Yale had had on his cheek all day.

264. Anxiety wafted, clumps of impolite cigarette smoke to his face from every table, he wrote notation after notation but the earlier miscalculation not only remained for each one, it worsened, snickered like a hornet’s house.

265. The parts of the film that bore no resemblance to the novel it was based on were Tobey’s favorite—he saw nothing wrong with this, but nonetheless distanced himself behind cigarettes from saying so, neither amused nor put off by the thrashing the screenwriter and all sundry manner of other’s involved with the film were getting from Rene, Jonathan, Juliette.

266. Shrieks of wind yawped up such dirt from these fields, she’d never seen anything like it—looked miles off still, likely it would settle by the time her car had slugged that far, but for now she just stared, cigarette lighter needing to be pressed down again, coils gone cold while she’d slack jawed and drifted at low speeds aweing.

267. Neighbor’s back yard, over the wall: the tops of prune colored leaves on weakling branches, chopped ends of mixed ropes of cigarette smoke from the fat laughing voices, scents of the cooking meat and the beer, all of this drowned under the choke of an airplane making a long line of itself off someplace.

268. Nothing like the flesh itself, the mouth with tip tap of cigarette, the naked neck, teenaged, the hands that haven’t touched the things they have such power over.

269. Sheila is a phone in an unplugged house, a cigarette mistaken for a nightingale—that’s what he wrote, and to alter it to anything that meant anything would be to define her with even less accuracy.

270. When the plaza briefly flooded with half-drunks each evening (and a number of flagrant, full blown cases) many of the vendors shut down, just not worth the headaches to them—mostly only the magazine vendors and some illegal peddlers of shoplifted cigarettes were excited for this migration of lushes, they made enough, usually, to guarantee they could drown themselves dumb in whatever hooch they chose, later, not be worse off financially for it.

271. Alone along the street, traffic lights at blink-yellow, she swindled herself with daydream after daydream, cigarettes going from pack in pocket to lip to out at arms-length to lip—again again again again—a wheel she was quite unaware of.

272. His grandfather bequeathed him a single pack of vintage Marigold Blue cigarettes, so to give the doddering coot the heartiest ‘Fuck you’ he could think of under Heaven, Norman spent the evening down on Peak Street, passing the sticks out to scrounging foreign homeless and transvestite under-agers.

273. Now Edvard’s sister was a whole different kind of a thing—she had eyes like a medicine show, an ass like some bottle that could be bought there, spoke like gypsy cigarettes and would betray a lover to their wife over them mispronouncing a word she was fond of.

274. The week went kick-the-can, Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday, then Friday was a deadfall into a barren apartment sloshed in cigarettes and a half-gallon of the unhealthiest vodka he could buy.

275. This man reading over his application results had a persona like malt powder, Jeremy already thinking ahead to being disappointed outside, clamped to a cigarette, putting off the phone call to Darlene.

276. Another boilerplate rejection letter, this time from a place with two editors he knew personally—good God, he was feeling less a writer, more a brain on a soggy belly that was nothing but a storm drain taking cigarette after rain soaked cigarette down it.

277. Only certain women could use the word Yummy with an actual degree of eroticism to it, this woman not one of those, but as far as company to keep for a few cigarettes and then a dish of stew at a local pub he’d never have to set foot in again she was top hole.

278. Whatever sense of elation there had been tobogganed quickly to guilt, unease, and the five dollars he would have spent on cigarettes went instead to a shitty little rose bought from a gas station, the price sticker of which he couldn’t peel all the way clean off the stiff plastic wrapping.

279. Morphine went the noon away, cigarette went the five o’clock, morphine went the midnight away, cigarette went the waking stiff—another day then another, a week before she’d be forced to cobble up some new pattern.

280. It was a blitzkrieg of cigarettelessness, the horror coming out of nowhere and nowhere the sight of an end to it.


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