341-360

341. Insulting rain, dampening the night shades and shades darker, going whap wham whack to every bit of the house’s façade, the rooms I sat in felt soaked to the lights and the cigarette smell mixed with washed away soil, ozone, shakes of the belching fumes of the forest nearby.

342. Her skull was some starving old bone, one she feed until it strained with cigarettes and old French novelettes—she’d have rolled the ones from the pages of the others.

343. I’d gladly be the deaf ears for the tumble of her to fall on, her imbecile need for cigarettes, motel keys, the heated ink of electric typewriters, tap water, pacing floors in nothing but ideas, not-stitched-yet poetry mumbling out of her.

344. The fast food was sniveling, felt like it was pressing out at the skin under his pubic hair—one thing, he certainly wouldn’t envy whoever had to autopsy him were he to keel dead after this cigarette, whichever doc would be called on to poke through the cold bag of his last meal.

345. His promise, she knew it, he knew it, wasn’t worth the spit to slick his teeth saying it, and part of her just wished he’d keep up the bullshit, light her cigarette, call her whatever little pet name made him feel clever, a bright little alchemist combining her and whomever.

346. The worlds of Anton Clever’s fiction were filled with attractive people (unattractive people used only as befitted some symbolic purpose, some ugly trope) were filled with writers writing their own fictions (always ones that meant something) were filled with short cigarettes and kisses to friend’s wives and dialogue that went on and on and on like some kind of incomplete algorithm.

347. The claws of her mistakes had caught too far in to flesh of all the lives hers overlapped, it was only a matter of how many cigarettes she would get through before some knock, some ring, some somebody something would strike back at her from their pierce.

348. From the height of his nose, standing at the table, thighs touching the lip, he dropped his cigarette into the remaining milk in the cereal bowl, the stub vanishing, lurking up just a slightly thicker seeming spot of milk, still submerged, the ripples moving some last few Rice Krispies toward the bowl side.

349. Nobody in the town of Antiadale cared for the secrets they knew of each other, the folks would tread cautiously down every sidewalk and keep as monosyllabic in conversation as possible, anything to avoid knowing one more hidden cranny of a neighbor—one Wednesday, this is true, Henrietta Vonn spied Gary Pilmith smoking a cigarette down behind the cinema and suffered a mild paroxysm there and then just from the revulsion, the revulsion, the revulsion of knowing another stitch.

350. After the squirrel had finished burying its little nut, hoppitied off and round arounded up some tree, young Wendell strolled over, setting casually his cigarette on top of some not-too-dry leaves piled close by, and dug it back up, grinned at the jewel of it in the sullied lines of his palm, popped it in his mouth, sucked, spit it high into the air and caught it, buried it back, and patted the earth over it sturdier than the animal had done.

351. Most of the attending staff placed their bets on how long the elderly would last in numbers of cigarettes—Duncan had put good money that the codger in the room at the corridor end wouldn’t even crack the plastic of the second pack of the two for one’s on the paperback under his bedside lamp.

352. Rene would only head nod or Mmn-hmn while she had a cigarette, but would expect him to keep up talking at the pace and intensity as when she was volleying back and bulldozing him.

353. On the wall just inside the apartment was an enlargement of the photograph of Camus with that scrape of cigarette in his mouth, but Evan had no idea who Camus was, explained the poster was left over from a previous tenant.

354. Steam lurching out from his coffee into the utter frigid of the mid-morning mixed with the cigarette trill he whistled out, the two greys mingling into almost a line of perfect Ws.

355. Real black and white cinema is not glorious or pristine, is not silver or crisp, none of that—real black and white cinema is the world seen through cigarette blown in your eyes.

356. Fever had gaunted his face, cigaretted his skin, made the veins around his forearms slug thick and itch like they were keeping his bones bound.

357. Another dilemma—Bryan wanted to keep smoking the cigarettes Kayla had said he could help himself to, the package up on the dash, the lighter in the coin cup in one of the holders, but he was distinctly not in love with her and could spot it plain she’d take each successive one he indulged in as a more and more reverent wedding vow.

358. But for a good five minutes he gave serious consideration to purchasing a ten dollar copy of the lesbian pornography titled Let Them Eat…starring the pseudonymous Marie Antoinette (really a gal named Giselle Baine, he knew somehow, from some entertainment article or news magazine spot) in the end only deciding against it because he needed cigarettes still and wouldn’t be alone with a VCR for days, his desire for the spread labia and tongue-to-clit sure to have mellowed in the meanwhile.

359. Cigarettes wagged like doggie tails and ticked like the batons of maestros, spiked like the administering of wrong syringes.

360. As Norma died and her husband was too drawn with wanting to join her to weep, the sea outside lapped the scab of beach their property could access, patient and unconscious, drag drag cigarette, knead knead cat paw, kiss kiss lips new and old to each other at once.

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