361. Her entire sexuality was a dark attribute, to call it something, he admired it from the end of his cigarette and from no closer than that.

362. However little long he might have left, the memory of Denise on that sidewalk, smiling in to her turncoat cigarette, would be a treasure.

363. On these cloudful days he felt the most insignificant, pen strokes long since finding life in his notebooks, abyss-headed, too timid to drink, his only contributions to any day were drifts of cigarette, these puny in comparison to the current bustling heaven, just pfts, labored and man-made under this cavorting, effortless canopy.

364. Salt of the phlegm she’d hucked into her mouth, collected underneath her sore tongue, mixed in a distinctly poor way with cheap of this latest brand of penny pincher cigarette she was trying on.

365. Without his cigarette he seemed decidedly less articulate—all the content of thought was there and all the energy was there, but denuded of smoke the hand gestures seemed blind pats for support walls, and lacking something to his lip every few seconds to excuse it, the unique punctuation and repetition of phrase work seemed just a cat that wouldn’t stop mewing at nothing.

366. Just no energy in him to clean up the glass of the dropped bottle—white wine, Easter egg dye smell gripping the apartment with two hands—he did drop the butt of his cigarette in, hoped for flames, tragedy, but the thing just doused, bloated, drowned heavy there (yes, and he remembered hearing that just dropping in a lit cigarette wouldn’t even ignite gasoline).

367. Walter possessed all the good breeding of a plate from a late night diner, it was sublime caricature, perfect how he looked the loser—cigarette always cracked in the middle and always the matchbook in his pockets had twice gone through the laundry.

368. The entire month of June had been one grumpy, disconsolate wait for a returned call—July, August, September, surely they’d be all the same, cigarettes chained alive from the dregs of each other, no other flame would touch them.

369. Vera found one of the posters showing her missing, the photograph year-and-a-half old—she looked no different, stared, let her cigarette go, it bipped the pavement pleasantly, stayed lit in a light breeze all the way until its length was just ash.

370. Odd memory this cigarette stirred: my best friend (when I was six) and the basement where we played, his father in the corner reading books about the war he’d been in.

371. He wore a cigarette in his lips while he stood at the urinal, effeminate twerp beside him asking if he could bum one—‘A bigger dick or a smoke?’ he drawled back murder-mouthed.

372. All growing up, what turned out to be crows she’d thought were called larks, made her wonder if she really knew what a cigarette was.

373. It would never work, but Ana sometimes wanted nothing more than to have the whole length of her middle finger tattooed to resemble a cigarette, she could hold it up (smile smile) to all of these late night pick-up artists who figured her having a smoke was their time to shine, faux swagger over and aw-shucksing could they have one of those.

374. How many times had the passed this same street corner set of shops—check cashing, smog check, empty store front that once was a window blinds shop, family owned foreign grocery—and not noticed the extra R is the big sign saying Cigarrettes—single most lovely thing in the town now that he knew it was there.

375. As long as there were deadbeat insomniacs with a few coins left over from cigarettes they shouldn’t have bought, payphones would always have a place in this world.

376. The headlights of his car seemed to soak right in to the pavement as he advanced, no other cars for the mile ahead, hadn’t seen any behind him in forever, just night from an evening that got dark way too fast and a sun that would rise hung over, not even half lit—just stop for cigarettes, there’s places coming up, just at least slow down below ninety, just at least turn down the radio, he thought.

377. Another kid his age, in their bedroom, across the way from his, was leaned out their window to have a cigarette—he felt invisible in the dark, nose to inside windowpane, nonetheless sank as flat as he could to the mattress, sucked in at his tummy to compensate for the tangle of blanket beneath it.

378. The moonlight was blonde, the trail of her cigarette flaxen—Ian, though, was a meager kind of colorless.

379. He and most every other employee spent the duration of cigarettes, shops left unattended even with customers inside (constant peeks in through the windows, though) wondering aloud about Eva’s alleged boyfriend—in this, Eva had turned needlessly grotesque, he wondered if the others felt that too, wondered if he could, for himself at least, do anything to reverse the transgress of this obviously wrong head he had gotten about things.

380. The morning after heavy rains—and he’d verified this—if one walked the old cemetery the ground would be utterly littered with shreds of cigarettes parts and bird remains, like the water floated them up from the corpse soil.


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